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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.

 

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Child’s drawstring backpack

22 Dec

I wanted to make my nephew a small backpack with some cute teal elephant fabric I got from Goldhawk road a few months ago – but obviously, at the time, I had no idea what I would use it for I just loved it so bought some!

Joseph's bag.png

The photo on the left is closest to real colours – terrible winter light!

I used the tutorial from Hobbycraft’s blog, but make  sure you read it through carefully and slowly before you start – it is an easy process, but they have made it fairly confusing. I wanted to use the Hobbycraft one despite the many good ones out there because I REALLY wanted to use the eyelets. Here’s the changes I made:

  • I used 4mm drawstring (because then I could get it in grey, and it’s comfier too).
  • I used Prym’s 11mm silver eyelets as the 5.5m ended up too small to fit the drawstring.
  • I didn’t use the quantity of fabric they said to use. Instead I used 4 pieces of 14×12 inches to make this a little bit smaller.
  • As the bag was smaller, I only needed 2m of drawstring, which is great because that’s all I had received despite ordering 3m!

I then filled it with lots of chocolate coins – I don’t expect a 2y old to be particularly delighted by a bag so this is to make sure he still loves his Christmas present!

I still have two sewing Christmas presents to finish off – I hope yours are all going well! :)

A circular pot holder

18 Dec

I’ve been using a tea towel as a pot holder for months, so decided it was time to make a cute pot holder for the kitchen!

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I used the tutorial from Nancy Zieman, although I made a few changes:

  • I used normal insul-bright rather than quilted, so added a layer of white cotton fabric to the inside
  • I didn’t have the circle cutter, so just used a side plate which was about 8 inches
  • When I’d finished, I realised it’d be really useful to have a hanging loop, so I used an extra piece of binding (folded in half, sewn  up, then attached using a ridiculous amount of thread).

I had this cotton in my stash, from making my sister a purse a while back, so just had to buy cotton thread (as I normally keep synthetic but that might melt…) and the bright red binding – and waaay more insul-bright than I need so there might need to be more “insulated items” coming to use that up..!

This took me a lot longer to make than the tutorial suggested it would, but I hadn’t sewn in months and was using it as a “getting back into sewing before making Christmas presents” activity, so I am happy :) I have already cut out the fabrics to make another identical one!

Back after two months: kindle case and eye mask

13 Dec

I’ve been missing since the end of Sew Selfless September – a combination of moving house (moving out of my parents’ and into a flatshare with a uni friend, halving my commute in the process) and being quite ill (mainly very very sleepy).

Anyway, I finally decided to get a little bit of practise in before I make my sister’s Christmas present, and made TWO things:

I made a Kindle Case using a tutorial from Whip Stitch – it is a really good tutorial and fits perfectly but make sure you read a couple of steps ahead to make sure you have understood, I made a few mistakes… I also had to do two lines of topstitching on the far left edge because my batting was VERY thick (about 1cm)

Kindle Case Inside

Kindle case!

I know that people who love books tend to feel it is important to love the feel of a book, and while I definitely won’t stop buying and reading paper books (I am reading one atm and have others on my Christmas list) it is so much more comfortable to read a kindle, it doesn’t matter if I finish a book when I am unable to buy one as I’ll have others stored, and I can look up definitions of words I don’t know without a huge interruption to reading as is needed if I consulted a dictionary while reading a paper book.

But I’ll never read a kindle in the bath.

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Then I decided that in my new flat the curtains don’t quite cover it enough, so I then also made an eye mask, this time loosely using the pattern from the red kitchen. I didn’t even realise that she had done a double row of topstitch, I did it because it looked a lot neater – and it was easier to first do the inside one and then do the one closer to the edge with the first line holding the fabric in place. Ta-da!

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I feel ready to attack some vintage fabric for my sister’s Christmas present… eek! :)

Laptop cover: Sew Selfless September

7 Oct

This is the last of my SSS items! I didn’t actually finish it in September, but that is due to a combination of: making the beanbag cover from my last post when I should have been doing this, then being ill, then my sewing machine going haywire after I’d only sewn about a quarter of it. Anyway, my sewing machine perked up again on Sunday so I decided to finish it and hope that it could still count.

Sew Selfless September_bigger

Click to go through to Sometimes Sewist’s SSS intro

My boyfriend has decided to replace his 8-year old laptop (surprisingly) with a shiny new, fast, smaller one since he is starting his PhD. He got a MacBook Pro 13″ (normal, not air). Ages ago he chose this zig-zag fabric without us knowing what to do with it, and when he got the MacBook I hoped that the single fat quarter which we bought would be enough for – and it turns out that it definitely is!

I decided to opt for an envelope-style, as he wanted it to be waterproof and I felt that needed something which was covered on all six sides. So this needed a FQ of outside fabric, a FQ of batting (I used quilting cotton batting), and a FQ of waterproof fabric (mine was navy nylon).

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Here’s the stripes all lining up next to the flap:

Laptopcase_tom

And a close-up of the binding which I used to close the edge where the case opens to let the laptop in/out – it is not perfect by any means and I think the envelope style makes it a little harder to have neat edges – I wonder if somehow a zipped-up case might have actually made it easier to have all the raw edges enclosed and everything a bit neater? Anyway, I made my own bias binding for the first time! It was only about 25cm worth but still.

Laptopcase_binding1Laptopcase_binding2

I haven’t written out all of my instructions but I kept all of my measurements and doodles, so feel free to ask, though there’s so many out there already that unless you are as fussy as me I am sure you can find what you want.

He is really happy with it and it kept his laptop dry when he and the contents of his bag got quite wet during a cycle in the rain (yay British autumn) so it serves its purpose!

I didn’t have any sew-on Velcro and my metal snappers/fasteners risk scratching his laptop so it doesn’t fasten for now, but the flap is just long enough to get away with that until I can get to Hobbycraft / John Lewis.

If that is allowed to count in my Sew Selfless September, then I managed to complete my task successfully! Though if it doesn’t I don’t mind much, as I was able to make plenty of things for people and three people have benefitted well from it :)

Sew Selfless September: A sewing kit

14 Sep

My sister leaves in two weeks for university, and doesn’t have anything resembling a sewing kit. Not even some black/white thread and a needle. She can definitely hand sew to mend her clothes as she sometimes borrows my stuff to do so. It is also her birthday today, which is a perfect coincidence. I decided to make her a hand-picked sewing kit. I used Truly Myrtle’s Box Bag Tutorial, which I should say upfront was really excellent. It is quite a tricky process (for me as a beginner) and you have to look at the pictures carefully to make sure that you understand as you go along, but it works really well and I was so pleased with the result. I’ll definitely be making another sometime, maybe for my cross-stitch stuff. I was originally going to make the one which I mentioned in this post, however I feel that the box bag offers more opportunity for expansion, and I am hoping that this will be the main kit she uses – the one in that link would be better suited to a travel version. 20140914 Sewing kit_equipment I wanted my bag to be the same dimension as that in the tutorial, so I used:

  • Two pieces of fabric 13.5″x17″ (from fat quarters)
  • Two pieces of interfacing 13″x16.5″ (one heavy, one light)
  • One 14″ white YK zip
  • Scissors, pins, zipper foot, ruler, rotary cutter, cutting mat, white thread, and my SEAM RIPPER

20140914 Sewing kit_closed bag 3 It is not symmetrical as you can see there, however I take comfort in that the line is at least straight so it is ok for it to be off-centre. 20140914 Sewing kit_bag contents 2 I hand-sewed on this ribbon that I got from eBay (only half of those red stitches are mine) You’ll notice that I left off the handle. By that point of the tutorial I had found it so hard (I am a little ill and it was 2am, my fault not that of the tutorial!) that I was convinced that it would be a royal mess when I turned it out, so chose not to add the handle. I regret not adding the handle, as it was one of two really good things about this tutorial (the other being that it is lined and seamless) and I think it would have looked nicer than I thought in my tired state. 20140914 Sewing kit_bag contens full It contains:

  • 6 spools of thread (black, white, red, beige, blue, brass)
  • two needle threaders
  • a thimble
  • safety pins in 4 sizes (36)
  • sew-on snappers (helpful for gaping tops/dresses!)
  • a dressmakers’ measuring tape
  • hemming web
  • a seam ripper
  • 24 needles in a felted needle book which matches the box bag!
  • some nice sewing scissors which my mum has bought her separately

I made the needle book quite quickly out of some scrap fabric – I had been planning to make this really awesome one from Diary of a Crafty Lady, but again was a bit tired and couldn’t face it, but I wouldn’t have had enough matching fabric for it anyway. Maybe I’ll buy a pretty fabric and make her one for Christmas and she can use this one for her pins? 20140914 Sewing kit_needle book closed 20140914 Sewing kit_needle book p1 20140914 Sewing kit_needle book p2 The needle book took about 10 minutes to make and just uses two bits of felt and two bits of fabric. I bought the ‘hook and loop’ (John Lewis brand instead of Velcro) and didn’t realise it was adhesive until I went to use it. I also didn’t realise that you can’t sew through adhesive hook and loop (unless it is the special ‘stick and sew’ kind) until my needle got stuck and subsequently broke. Oops. It was a really simple process. Sew two rectangles of fabric together right sides together, with a small seam allowance all around, leaving an inch un-sewn to turn it right side out. Turn it right side out, iron it, and top stitch around the edges. Sew the two pieces of felt onto the book with a line completely down the centre of the fabric and felt, and iron it folded so that it holds that shape easier. Attach two pieces of hook and loop, and it’s done!

20140914 Sewing kit_maythethoughts

I am giving it to her alongside my favourite book, a collection from a London artist from http://www.maythethoughtsbewithyou.com (a personalised signed copy!)

With this post I am two-thirds of my way through my Sew Selfless September pledge. Jess of the Sometimes Sewist  set up Sew Selfless September to encourage us all to sew for others this month. I pledged to make items for three people: my sister-in-law (posted here), my sister (this post), and my boyfriend (which won’t be easy, but I have some ideas – watch this space).

Sew Selfless September: a pillowcase and an eye mask

6 Sep

Sew Selfless September_bigger

This is my first Sew Selfless September post (see my pledge here), and I’ve made two items! It has been a bit hectic this week so I am posting them together :)

It was my sister-in-law’s birthday this week. She had asked me to make a baby pillowcase, and I had some fabric leftover from the baby quilt which I’d been (secretly) making. The pieces of fabric that I had were perhaps an inch or so too small, so it didn’t fit perfectly, but I am happy with it (the closest I have ever got a line of stitching to the zip – unfortunately no close-ups)

Baby_pillowcase_front

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The back – excuse the poor lighting/angle/background

And it matches the quilt, so I gave them to her together:

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I was so happy about the zip that I couldn’t face ripping it out when I realised that I’d sewn it in upside down. I wanted the zip pull to be at the TOP of the pillow when closed so it’d be away from the baby’s face. I have several potential solutions: cover it in ribbon/soft stuff; use the pillow upside down; or cut off the zipper pull and attach ribbon or some other soft thing. Hmmm.

Another snag about the zip: I didn’t really think about merging it in. I normally insert zips like in this coin purse, so didn’t really think about the zip being in a corner. I’d appreciate any tutorial recommendations / tips!

 

My SECOND make this week, and one that took about half an hour without a pattern, is an eye mask also for my sister-in-law.

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20140903_EyeMask_back

I used some of the fabric which I used for her Christmas presents, and bought some purple lingerie elastic as I didn’t know how big her head is and it has plenty of give, is pretty, and comfy! I decided to use two straps, as that is what I have on the shop-bought eye mask which I have, and it is MUCH better than having just one strap – highly recommended.

I used a fleecy material for the back, which is so comfy. I wonder if I should have used interfacing – though as I had half an hour to make and wrap this I didn’t have time to find and cut some once I realised!

Even though I made two items, I am still only really a third of the way through my pledge, as I pledged to make items for three separate people – I’m hoping to get some time today to make my sister’s birthday present….