Archive | sewing RSS feed for this section

Another beanbag!

7 Jan

I made a beanbag for my nephew for Christmas 2016 and he and his sister have so much fun playing with it that their mum asked if my neice could get her very own this Christmas. Yes!!! 

These are so fun to make, from finding fabric (Goldhawk Road again) to cutting all the curves to pouring the beans in and seeing it become properly 3D (and watching the kids immediately start jumping on it)!

The tutorial from Reese Dixon is great, my only additions (not even changes) are:

  • I use 50cm zips and extend them to the ~150cm needed using a matching fabric to subtly insert it as an extra (thin) panel (like in this purse tutorial) the same length as the others.
  • I use scrap fabric (e.g. old bed sheet) to make an inside beanbag cover so the pretty outside cover can be washed – or changed when the kid’s preferences do! 
  • I buy 3 cubic feet of beans, for about £6

I am a very slow sewer, and it took me maybe three evenings. It’s not much cheaper than buying a basic one (say £15 for 3m of outside fabric, a few quid for a bed sheet, £6 for beans, and £5 for zips and thread … comes to about £30) but is excellent value for being able to choose exactly what you want out of the pattern!


Pot holders

6 Jan

My sister got a slow cooker / crock pot for Christmas, so before she headed back to the new university term I decided to quickly make some convenient pot holders for carrying the ceramic pot to the dinner table.

I used this fun red cotton I got from Goldhawk Road in London (about 3m for £20), with a plain black cotton and insul-bright inside.

I didn’t use a pattern and just measured around my hands – so I used rectangles of fabric about 6″ wide and 17″ long. I might change it slightly if I make any more, maybe 7″ by 14″. I made two for my mum too! 

A lined tote bag and a new laptop case!

3 Dec

I am doing a lot of travelling for work at the moment (not to anywhere exotic :( ) and so I need a sturdy tote bag to carry my laptop, notepad, etc, between the hotel and the clients’ offices, letting me keep a small handbag for my essentials and a small suitcase for lugging everything on the flight.

Enter a lined, box bottom, tote bag!

I was super chuffed to find that my local charity shop has opened a haberdashery section, and even moreso to find that they had 2m of this gorgeous blue Laura Ashley fabric for just £7!

I used the tutorial from CrazyLittleProjects but only used one outside fabric (instead of two) and the lining fabric. I also made my fabric pieces 14″ wide and 18″ tall, but next time I might make the bag wider and straps shorter. To make the box bottom I measured in two inches from the corner, which gave a nice size bottom to put A4 papers in the bag. The right side of the strap should face the right side of the outside fabric when sewing them in – took me a while (and a few pin pricks) to work it out in my head…

I love that the fabric is interesting but work-appropriate!

Although the bag has a bit of padding with the interfacing, I just got a new laptop so I want to keep it extra safe. I used the same tutorial, cutting the fabric to the same size as the laptop and replacing the strap with a 4*7″ piece of fabric to act as the flap to hold the velcro to close it.  It used two fat quarters of fabric.

The outer fabric, lining, velcro, and battng were all from my stash – and it only took an hour! Very happy with it :)


Quilted pencil case

15 Sep

My sister asked for a pencil case with a flat-ish design so it doesn’t take up too much space in her bag, for when she goes into her final year of university soon. It was for her birthday so I also got sone cute simple earrings and a cross stitch magazine which comes with several kits for Christmas cards and decorations – she is keen to get into crafts and I thought this would be a good introduction.

Anyway, about the pencil case!

I got this lovely Liberty Tana Lawn “Betsy”, with a darker fabric on the inside so it will better absorb pen/pencil mess. I used the tutorial for a coin purse from sew me happy, but with 10×10″ pieces of fabric and a ~12″ zip. 

The zip looks way more wonky in this photo than it actually is!

I decided to use fusible wadding, as I felt a pencil case could use more structure/support than normal interfacing would give. I then quilted 1.5″ squares on both the outer and lining fabrics before continuing with the tutorial. Awkwardly I could only find my bobbin spool of lilac fabric, so had to use that as the main/top thread and a different colour (I chose white) for the bottom/bobbin. Hopefully it’ll never be visible!

I am really happy with it!


Kids’ name bunting

8 Sep

This month my niece and nephew have their birthdays, and their mum asked me to make them some bunting with their names on.

As it had to fit on their door I only had about 36″ length to work with – for 9 letters!

For each set I needed:

  • 18 triangles 4″ tall and 3.5″ wide – 10 in one fabric and 8 in a coordinating fabric e.g. light and medium pink
  • A 7″ square of one of the triangle fabrics to make bias binding for the bunting string
  • About 2″ by 12″ of whichever fabric you want the letters in
  • About 2″ by 12″ of a contrasting fabric (e.g. dark pink) to use to make the outline on the letters
  • Pinking shears
  • Matching thread (light-medium)
  • Fabric glue and/or paper-backed fusible interfacing
  • Letters to trace
  • Craft knife and cutting mat

I had most of these fabrics in my stash, except the lighter letter fabrics which I got from the market in Durham.

 First, I cut out the triangles using a rotary cutter, and sewed each pair together up the diagonal ends about 5mm from the edge. Then I trimmed the diagonal edges with the pinking shears. Since the width of the bunting was limited, I wanted to make the most of the space, and so this worked better than having seams on the inside, and it sits flatter.

Then, I had to cut out the letters. I used the Microsoft font Impact, in bold with a black outline and coloured in white, in about size 200. I was going to print it off and cut out the letters, to trace onto the fabric but then I realised: I recently bought a tablet, so I could trace the letters off that! It worked perfectly, as it is backlit it is really easy to see the outlines of the letters. I downloaded an app called Touch Lock (on Android) to make sure that I didn’t move the screen or zoom in etc while tracing. Important to remember when tracing: you might need to reverse/mirror the letters (I did, writing on the paper side).

I traced the letters onto the paper-backed webbing, ironed them onto the fabric, and cut the letters out using a craft knife. Then, I ironed the letters onto right side of the darker / contrast fabric, and ironed paper-backed webbing onto the wrong side of the darker / contrast fabric. Then, I cut out the letters in the contrast fabric close to the original letters, to give a nice outline. I then ironed the letters onto the triangles.

Next, I had to make the  bias binding. I used the technique from So-sew-easy, using a 7″ square of fabric. I pinned the triangles into the binding and sewed one line down the bias binding close to the open edge.

I should have used the fabrics on the blue one differently -the navy polka dot triangles should have been swapped with the medium blue pattern outlining the letters, which would have helped the letters to stand out more – it is more readable in real life though so I am happy.

Also, when making the blue one the paper-backed webbing just wouldn’t stick. So instead of freaking out I bought fabric glue and I think it’s great! As I wasn’t intending to sew around the edges of these, the glue is better as it is stronger, especially if kids play with it and lead to it needing to go in the washing machine – I have no idea how the interfacing would hold up in the wash.



Liberty print sleeping eye mask

1 Sep

It’s September again, when my sister-in-law, sister, neice, and nephew all have their birthdays – which means lots of fun sewing for me!

My sister-in-law asked for a new eye mask, and since it’s for a gift I figured I should go for a slighty more expensive fabric than I usually would – I decided to buy a piece of gorgeous Liberty Tana Lawn (maddock) and team it with some fleece and lingerie elastic (cute and comfy!). I really love this fabric! I added some Montezuma chocolates and a bath bomb.

I like to add two straps rather than just one, which helps to stop it rising over the head in the night as the lower strap sits under the ears. You can see on the left in the photo below where I add them.

I used the tutorial from the red kitchen, which has a really helpful template too!


Envelope cushion covers

24 Jul

I lovelovelove this fabric. It’s by RoseandHubble fabrics (available here, although I got it from London’s Goldhawk Road)

I havent sewn in a while but I boughtnew pillows and didn’t want to bin the old ones (they’re not as firm as I need but still in good condition!) 

Since I have been struggling to find cushions for my sofa, I decided to’upcycle’ the pillows! 

I cut them in half with scissors, rearranged the stuffing to be centred/ thicker at the new ‘middles’, and used a zigzag stitch to close up the edges. 

I then :

  • Cut 1m of fabric into three strips (about 14″ by 42″)
  • On the short fabric edges, folded over 1cm twice, using an iron, then stitched it closed with a straight stitch
  • Folded it over the pillow to measure how much the fabric should overlap for the cover to fit the pillow – about 4″
  • Finish with French seams: Trimmed the long edges using the rotary cutter to keep it neat, and pinned them with right sides out. Use edge stitching on the two long edges, then turn the cushion cover inside out, iron the seams, and close the long edges with another line of stitching each.

I’m very happy with them!! It was fun getting back to sewing :-)