Saturday, 15 June 2013

Friday's Challenge

Not only do I have a chest of drawers full of scrap fabric, I also have an old wicker chest full of larger pieces of fabric that I'm not sure what to do with.  They are either ugly or an odd texture or old clothes or just don't really have an obvious purpose for any of my current projects.  Think upholstery samples, worn out clothes, old curtains, that sort of thing.

So yesterday I set myself the challenge of coming up with one or two projects using an old pair of my jean's and one of Ben's unwanted shirts.

Mission accomplished!

I've been meaning to try this shirt-to-dress idea for ages...and I've finally done it!
To find out how to transform an old shirt into a pretty little frock you can check out my tutorial here.

And I used a small square of my old jeans, along with some other fabric and wadding, to make this pot holder / oven mitt.  You can see what I did here.

Square Hot Pot Holder

The other part of my Friday Challenge was to make something using an old pair of jeans.  This is what I came up with...

1.  OK, so this first bit has nothing to do with my old jeans!  Cut a square of cotton 9 inches by 9 inches.  I had a few scraps of this tea cup fabric left over from some coasters that I made for Christmas presents last year so I stitched them together to get my square.

2.  Cut an 9" x 9" square from your old jeans.

3.  You'll also need an 9" x 9" square in heavy duty wadding.  If you haven't got the really thick stuff you could also use a couple of layers of less weighty wadding.  I got mine from Fabricland in Brighton and I've been assured that it is 'combustion-modified', which basically means it won't burst into flames.  Pretty crucial for an oven mitt.

4.  Once you have these 3 squares layer them as follows: wadding, cotton fabric right side up, denim square right side down.  Pin.  Using a 1/2 inch seam allowance stitch 3 sides of the square.

5.  Trim corners and seams and turn inside out.  Press.

6.  Turn the open seam inwards half an inch, press and pin.  In one corner I tucked in a folded piece of 1 inch wide fabric braid to form a hook.

7.  Once pinned in place top stitch around the whole of the square about 5mm in from the edge.  This will close up the open seam and hold the tag in place.

The dress formerly known as daddy's shirt!

And yes - don't worry - daddy did know about it!

What's great about this is that most of the hard work has already been done!

1.  Find a dress that fits your little one.  You will use this as your stencil for the outline of the dress. 

2.  Place this dress on top of the shirt - lining up the collar/neck line.  Using tailor's chalk draw the outline of the dress on the shirt.  Be sure to make it wide enough around the waist, bottom and skirt.  Mine could have done with being a bit wider as the orange dress is made in a much stretchier fabric.  I realised too late!

3.  Being sure to add a seam allowance, cut out the shape of the dress in the shirt.  I'm going to use a french seam which will require twice the amount of usual seam allowance for your side seams (not the arm holes).

4.  Pin and stitch the side seams of the dress.

I've used a french seam here.  This is neater and feels smoother against the skin!  To do this line up the seams wrong sides together.  Pin and stitch both side seams.  Trim excess seam allowance.  This feels counter-intuitive as initially your raw seam is on the outside of your dress.  Now turn inside out and press.  Pin the seams again and stitch using the same seam allowance.  The seam will now be on the inside of your dress and is a very neat finish.

5.  Pin and stitch bias binding around the arm holes.  To ensure a neat finish allow for a little overlap and be sure to fold and press the ends of the binding before pinning in place.

I've made my own binding but your local haberdashery should have a good selection, including pretty patterned binding.

6.  Pin and stitch bias binding around the bottom hem of the dress.  This really neatens it up and looks very sweet if it matches the binding used for the arm holes.

It's that straight forward!  I'm now hoping that Ben will be having another clear-out soon!

I didn't get the chance yet but I think that changing the buttons over to these will make this dress extra sweet!

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Build Your Own Tipi - Teepee - Wigwam!

Last week as the sun started shining I wanted to get my little girl some exciting things for the garden.  I was initially looking into some little pop-up tents when I came across a couple of amazing tipis - so much prettier and lovelier!  They are so fun but I didn't really want to spend too much money so I decided to give one a go myself.

You will need:
- 4 metres of 44" width fabric or 2.5 metres of 60" width fabric for main body of tipi
- 5 x strips of fabric measuring 3" by 60" for the pole casing
- 5 x 6ft bamboo canes (or other similar poles)
- 2 x 44" pieces of bias binding
- 4 x 16" strips of fabric/bias binding for ties
- small piece of fabric and Bondaweb for star patch

I got my star fabric as an emergency purchase from Dunelm Mill - I desperately wanted to start making this and didn't want to spend the normal few days researching!  I had a meeting in Eastbourne and was passing so I popped in.  Saw this immediately and loved it! I also got 10 6ft bamboo canes from B&Q for under £4.

1. Cut 5 triangles to this size:
You'll need to do this in different ways depending on your width of fabric.  If you have 60" width fabric you can zigzag your way across the fabric until you have 5 pieces - they'll be slightly taller than 60" but that's fine (just adjust other measurements accordingly).  If you have 44" width fabric (like I did) it's a bit trickier but you can definitely do it with 4.5 metres. 

2.  Cut 6 inches off the top of each triangle.

3.  Fold down (twice) and press the hems at the top and bottom of each triangle.

4.  Stitch your hems.

5.  Measure the finished side length of your triangles.  Your 5 strips for pole casings need to be this length plus a couple of inches for your hems.  Mine measured 56" by 2.75".  Fold down (twice) press and stitch.

6.  Fold strips in half and press.

7.  Take 2 of your large hemmed triangle pieces.  Lay one right side up.  Line the pole casing up against the raw edge (as shown in photo) and lay another triangle piece right side down.  Pin in place.  Using a 3/8 inch seam allowance (approx. 1cm), sew this seam.  Trim seam allowance.

8.  Take another 2 triangles and repeat step 7.  You will now have 2 separate pieces made up of two large triangles with casing stitched in between.  Now repeat this step to join these two parts of your tipi together.  You will now have one single piece of work in the following order: triangle, casing, triangle, casing, triangle, casing, triangle.  Put this to one side for the moment.

9.  You should have one large triangle piece left.  Fold this in half and press.  Cut along the fold line until approx. 9 inches from the top of the piece - the cut will measure approx 44 inches.

10.  Take 2 pieces of bias binding (folded and pressed) and stitch in place along the cut fabric.  To neaten the bottom of opening allow an extra inch of binding and fold it up before sewing.

11.  Iron an 8cm x 8cm piece of Bondaweb to a piece of yellow fabric.  Cut out the shape of a star and then iron it to the top end of the opening, placing it a few millimetres over the top of the binding.  Of course you don't have to have a star - most other shapes will do the same job!

12.  Use a zigzag stitch to sew around the outside of the star patch, securing it in place as well as strengthening the opening.

13.  Use ribbon or binding (pressed and sewn in half) and place and pin somewhere along both sides of the opening using even spacing.  Mine were 14 inches apart.  Sew in place.

14.  Now sew this last triangle piece to the rest of the tipi along the two seams using the same process as in point 7, with the pole casing placed in between the fabrics.

15.  All your sewing should now be done!  Feed the bamboo canes into the pole casings.  Spread out the tipi and use ribbon, binding or a strip of fabric to tie the poles where they cross over (approx. 1ft from the top of the poles) to keep them secure.

16.  All done!  Have yourself a pow-wow!

If I'm honest my pole casings didn't always match the exact length of the side of the triangles - I think partly because I was so desperate to finish it before it stopped being sunny and partly because my triangles were a bit uneven too!  But fortunately little J doesn't seem to care!

Sunday, 9 June 2013

DIY Sleep Eye Mask!

As dawn broke this morning I woke. As I do every morning at about 5.30 because our silly little curtains let all the light in. Admittedly my own fault, but super frustrating all the same. So at 5.30 this morning I planned this out.

It'd make a great going-away gift for someone heading off on their travels.  You could also embroider or personalise the outer piece of fabric before stitching it together.

You will need:
- 2 pieces of fabric measuring 10cm x 25 cm
- 5mm elastic about 37cm in length (cut it a bit longer and then check before you sew)
- 10cm by 25cm piece of wadding
- pattern for eye piece, which you can find here

1. Using the pattern, cut two shapes in your fabric and one piece in wadding.

2. Stack as follows: wadding, fabric right side up, pin elastic as shown in photo and as indicated on pattern, then final fabric piece wrong side up. Pin in place.

3. Leaving a 1.5" opening and using a 1cm seam allowance, sew around the outside of your work.

4. Clip/pink edges.

5. Turn inside out through the opening. Poke out edges (my poking device of choice is usually a knitting needle).

6. Press.

7. Blind stitch opening.

8. Sleep in peace!

Modelled by dishy husband!

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Super Simple iPhone Sleeve

For this very simple iPhone case you will need:
  • Small pieces of fabric
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine and thread
  • Scissors
You can make this for other phones easily by measuring the phone and adding a couple of centimetres for sides and seam allowance.  It's made to have two handy little pockets either side for cards or other bits and pieces.  You can leave these out or just have's up to you!

1.  Cut 2 pieces of fabric 8.5cm wide and 13.5cm long (this is for an iPhone 4/4S; for iPhone 5 add 1 cm to length).  These are the black pieces and they will be referred to as the 'long' pieces.  Cut 2 pieces of fabric 8.5cm wide and 9.5cm long.  These are the patterned pieces and will be referred to as the 'short' pieces.

2. Turn, press, pin and stitch one of the shorter sides of both short pieces of fabric.

3.  Stack your fabric pieces as follows: long piece right side up, short piece right side up, short piece wrong side up, long piece wrong side up. 

4.  Pin and stitch, leaving the top end open. 

5.  You can check at this point that the sleeve fits your phone snugly, and re-stitch seams if necessary.  Then trim corners.

6.  Turn raw edge down, press and stitch.  If too fiddly to do by machine you can do this by hand.

7.  Turn inside out.  Press.  Ta da!