Saturday, 30 November 2013

Christmas Stocking Tutorial and free pattern

Christmas fever is rising in our house! I LOVE Christmas and as we will be away in America for two weeks over Christmas visiting my hubbys Granny and Grandad, I thought I really ought to get the tree and decs up two weeks early in order to enjoy them to their full. You see the logic! In the process of untangling lights, fawning over all our lovely baubles again I found our stockings. The plainer one Dave made for me for our first christmas together and the following year I returned the favour for him with holly trim and buttons.

As people have requested a template for these christmas stockings,  I have made two different sizes, 1 large and one small you can down load the Large stocking template here and the smaller stocking template here. I have also done a photo tutorial ( Click "read more") so you can make one too!

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Wallpaper envelopes DIY

Today Im going to show you how to make these super cool and easy customised envelopes! 

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Saturday, 23 November 2013

Free Downloadable Blog Post Planner

For quite a while now I have really wanted to get my blog up and running more professionally and try and get a post out at least once a week, and now I'm doing supply work I have the time to do that which works out perfectly! I really wanted to get more organised and plan out what I was going to post so that I didn't get writers block, and I could see in advance all the lovely things I had to write about. I have looked online for individual post planners but I couldn't seem to find many at all, only a full week plan, which would make me feel defeated as I only wanted to post one day a week! (How do you post something everyday!!??) So instead I thought I would make my own! I have looked at various planners to see the sort of thing that need to be included, like links, photo lists, publishing dates etc and  also included a little mind map space a the bottom (with a cute little cloud :-), as sometimes I structure my writing all wrong, so jotting it down first helps. Not only do I think it's cute and pretty, but I hope you will find it really useable, I certainly do! Help yourself to the free download here or click on the picture. Enjoy!

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Saturday, 9 November 2013

Floor blanket for baby

I've wanted to make a small baby blanket/play mat after seeing some really cute chevron fabric in John Lewis, there are so many nice fabrics, I didn’t want to use it up on small projects, but instead I wanted to display it in a large chunk so it could be fully appreciated! I had never done any quilting before this and it was such a good starter project. I didn’t have any cotton batting and didn’t really want to buy a load in case it didn’t work well, but a friend suggested a cheaper solution-thermal curtain lining! I can get it for £4.50 a metre in John Lewis and it’s really wide as it is used to curtains, so it works out really rather reasonable. They grey fabric I used came from a double bed sheet that had a tear in it and couldn’t be fixed, so good up-cycling there! I made a paper pattern of the size I wanted and then divided it up with a pencil until I was satisfied with the division. I then cut along the lines I'd made and used the paper as my pattern pieces, adding 1cm when I cut out the fabric. then I simply stitched them together. Once I had made my back and front, they had to be “basted to the batting” (batting is the filler that goes in the middle, you can get 100% or polyester and you can get it different thicknesses depending on what you need) . There are several ways that you can baste (which basically means temporarily joining the fabrics together so that you can stitch them on the machine without them moving)
1. Basting by hand-hand stitching the layers together in big stitches to stop the layers shifting around when you stitch
2. Basting spray-Spray on quilting adhesive that sticks the layers together and doesn’t affect the finished look or feel of the fabric (this seems to be the most popular and easiest)
3. Quilting safety pins-(they look like normal pins but have a kink in them, although I used normal ones and they worked fine) joins the fabrics together and can be removed as you sew.
I decided to use the safety pin method as I was in a hurry (like usual!) and didn’t want to spend ages hand sewing. I used the walking foot (good tutorial here: Anyone Can Quilt) to stitch the layers together, I didn’t do anything fancy, just straight lines so as the stitching didn’t distract from the fabric patterns. I thought I had to use bias binding to bind the edges of the quilt and really wasn’t looking forward to it as I’m hopeless at getting the binding to sit equal on the edge of fabrics-BUT hope was at hand! I found this amazing photo tutorial from Old Red Barn Co and Diary of a Quilter that shows how to bind a quilt using strips of fabric. It means you can make your binding out of whatever you like, make it matching if you need, and it’s much easier to get it equal and professional looking. You do half of it on the machine and the other half hand stitching, but its really vey quick and easy, so don't be put off! One thing i'll say is, that I found the more lines I added the stiffer the blanket got, so now it is definitely more suitable for the floor and not so much for wrapping a child in, I’d like to try and make a more flexible one in the future, and might try some free machining,  so watch this space!

Here you can see the full blanket and how I divided up the strips of fabric, with the grey in between. I had originally bound the blanket in yellow, but it looked horrible, and so I ordered the aqua green fabric from e-bay. It's not 100% cotton, which is a shame, but the colour was perfect and I was in  a hurry to get it done to be honest!

This picture shows how I bound the corners, and also shows a bit of my straight (ish!) stitching across the blanket.

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Saturday, 26 October 2013

Maile Cardigan from "What to knit When your Expecting"

I would not call myself an accomplished knitter, but last week, after a not very productive day I got the “creative Itch” and just HAD to make something. I have just recently been “pinning” knitting patterns for baby blankets and cardigans and after conquering crochet I thought I ought to up my knitting skills! I found a lovely, not too complicated pattern for the Maile Cardigan from What to Knit When You Are Expecting ( a great blog on all things knitting (and no I’m not expecting!)) (It’s in a lovely pink on my Pinterest board). The most wool that I had was the remains of a bluebell blue wool, no label, and think it must be an acrylic blend to be honest that my mum had crocheted me a blanket from years ago. I also needed size US4 circular needles which works out to 3.5mm-in between a 9 and 10 in Uk sizes and Lo and behold, I miraculously found a pair of 3.75mm circular needles in my stash so I just used them. I also bought two stitch big stitch holders and some stick markers (in my have colours! coral and mint green! See below) The pattern itself is very easy to follow, however due to the difference between Uk and US stitch abbreviations I did have to rip it all out 4 times, as I just couldn’t get the initial vine pattern correct! To learn the abbreviations that I didn’t know I watched on a You-tube channel from Bernat Yarns and they taught me all that I now know! To be honest I am actually surprised at how easy it is to create the lace patterns when you just follow the pattern it just appears! I did have to cross of each stitch as I went so that I didn’t get confused, I’m rubbish at counting and so I also retyped out sections of the pattern to include the purl rows as I can never remember what number row I am on or have just done! I am really pleased with the finished outcome! I think if I was to do it again I would like to do it in a nicer wool, as the synthetic wool that I had will probably bobble over time. Also I think I made the sleeves a little too long, so in the photos you can see I have folded up the ends. Oh and I miscounted where to put the button holes, so ended up with one too many and in the slightly wrong place!  BUT for now, as it’s my first attempt at complex knitting I am pumped and can’t wait to knit something else! Let me know what you think!

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Saturday, 12 October 2013

Animal fabric roundup!

My town doesn't really have many option in terms of fabric buying (Market stall or John Lewis) and so I have been really struggling to find suitable fabrics for my projects. So this week I have been searching the web for UK based online fabric shops. To be honest I haven't really had that much luck in the past at finding anything worthwhile until now. After searching around and a recommendation from a friend my dedicated research has brought up some right beauties!! Literally had me drooling at the yummy fabrics available online! So with my dribble bibs in mind I was looking for some fun unisex animal fabrics and I have made my first round up of my favourite finds! See the shops listed below or click on the images to go to the shop page it's from, ENJOY!
1. The Village Haberdashery
2. Eternal Maker
3. Backstitch
4. Fabric Rehab
5. Modes4u
6. Plush Addict
7. Elephant in my Handbag
8. Modes4u
9. Plush Addict

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Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Dribble bibs DIY

In the evenings I love doing little sewing projects using the scraps of fabric from my stash. Recently as you are aware I have been making loads of baby things, mostly because they don't require a lot of fabric or time, in fact i can usually knock something up in an hour or so. SO satisfying! I had already made several Baprons (funny word I know!) from Craftiness is not optional I downloaded the pattern and I have made mine using scraps of oil cloth to make them wipe clean. Then Dribble bibs caught my eye as they are SO simple, quick and make great presents, especially as the idea is the kid keeps them on throughout the day while teething to stop their clothes getting soggy and making their necks sore.  Ideally I think they would be best made from jersey cotton with some micro terry on the reverse for absorbency. I have looked EVERYWHERE online and no-where in the UK as far as I can see sells Micro terry (which is like normal Terry towelling but tiny loops of fibre). The market near me sells the normal white terry towelling for something like £6 a metre. I bought half and have made over 10 I reckon. I made the pattern from drawing round one bib I borrowed. Below are the photos and you will see the co-ordinating headbands we made too! You can download the PDF pattern HERE.
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Here you can see the different fastenings I used, the shop bought ones tend to have the press stud set up-simiar to those of baby grows. I only had the sew on one and I just used 3 parts, in stead of two pairs, in order to give different size settings. The blue one is fastened with Velrco which makes the sizing much more flexible, I made sure to put the scratchy side so it will always be facing up and wont eve touch the skin.

This is the shape of the bib when it is undone.

Here you can see the front and back of the bib. Ideally I would of used micro Terry as the Towelling I have used is quite bulky, but it wont really affect how the bib works, It would just look more professional with the smaller loops.

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Pretty headbands for newborn girl!

Making the stuff in this post was so much fun! My sister in law has been over from Australia, and she is currently pregnant with baby number three which is going to be a baby girl! (Yay!!) She said that she would like some headbands for the baby so that it is clear she is a girl and looks super cute.  This turned out to be the perfect excuse to get some crafting done! During school last year I had looked up several different tutorials for making flowers for some of my GCSE students and they were the perfect solution for these tiny headbands. I ordered some coloured elastic from e-bay, the sort with one slightly more velvety side, one for cuteness and two so that it was wider and softer on the babies head. Not having the baby there at the time, (lol!) I got the measurements from this website.  Measurements for a new born head were 12" (which is 30.5cms). I cut it 2cms longer to allow for seam allowance when joining the elastic. Behind each decoration we glued a circle of soft felt to prevent any stitching rubbing. Not usually a fan of fabric glue but the tacky glue I found worked great.  Below are the finished headbands, we were so pleased with them and I cant wait to see them on the babies head!! My favourite ones are the really frou frou pink and white pair. I will at some point in the future upload the tutorials on how to make each flower.

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Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Pink and white Mary Janes

Here are the second pair of Mary Janes I have crocheted.( For free Ravelry download see previous post for Itty bitty dress from Made by Rae) For these I used the white Rowan cotton yarn as before and the Pink is a bamboo yarn, but I can't remember the brand! Sorry! It's very soft as I think it's part of a baby range. To do the different coloured sole I changed yarn just before starting Rnd 5 on the pattern. So easy and quick to do. I'm looking for more boyish colours now.

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Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Envelope needle case tutorial

The other day on Pinterest I was looking for a small sewing project to do with the girls from DCI (Dream Create Inspire craft group I teach at) and I came across this super cute needle case in the style of an envelope. I searched high and low for the tutorial but I couldn't find one so I thought I would have a go myself. This is my first tutorial so please bare with me! The photography isn't amazing and artistic, It's just done on my Iphone so apologies for that! If you find anything confusing or unclear, please write a comment at the bottom of this post and ill try and rectify it for you! Any feedback is appreciated!

Equipment and materials:
  • Medium weight Interfacing
  • Felt
  • Plain fabric
  • Patterned fabric
  • Pinking Shears
  • 1 Press stud/ Popper 

Firstly you need to download the pattern for the envelope from here, the template in the pictures doesn't have the seam allowance added on but the download will. You need to cut out one patterned piece for the inside and one plain colour for the outside.

You also need to cut one out of a medium weight interfacing. I like to use the iron on sort as it doesn't slip about! this will be used to stiffen the case and give it better structure. 

So you should have 3 bits all cut out now the same, one plain, for the outside, one patterned for the inside, and one piece of interfacing. Next Iron on the interfacing to the plain piece as this is reinforce the fabric for stitching the address. If you don't have iron on stuff, just leave it till later or pin it to the plain piece.

Next thing to do is to sew the lines of "address" on the front of the envelope, which is the plain fabric. I worked this out by folding up the envelope and working out roughly where it would go. Make sure you have the template up the correct way!! I just used straight stitch but if you had the time and inclination you could hand sew an actual address or someones name on it if you liked!

Now for the stamp, I cut out a piece of felt, using pinking shears to get the zig-zag effect and positioned it using the folded template again. Remember you have 1cm seam allowance around the edge, so don't go up to far into the corner. Stitch that down with straight stitch then you could sew  a button on, or embroider a little motif, I used a small piece of fabric (with a little dog on) and bondawebbed it on then stitched around it again (see end photos)

Now to cut out the felt pages for the inside of the booklet, again I just folded the flaps of the template in and then cut out a rectangle about 1.5cm smaller than the folded template.

Fold the felt to find out where the middle is and then using straight stitch just sew it straight down the middle.

Now to sew it altogether! need to put the right sides together, so the side with the pages needs to be touching the side with the sewn on address and stamp. Interfacing, if you haven't ironed it on just needs to go on top of either side, it doesn't matter.

Stitch all the way around the outside of the needle case, keeping your 1cm away from the edge. DON'T SEW IT ALL UP! Remember to leave a gap on one of the long sides so you can turn it inside out. Before you turn it you need to remove the bulk from the corners to make it flatter when you turn it out. Cut diagonally across outward points, and cut triangles into the inward points. See the picture above.

When you have turned it inside out, use something pointy to point all the corners out, and then iron it. The open gap you have left can now be turned in, and then when you top stitch all the way round on the very edge, this should be sewn in too. If it isn't just use a needle and thread to slip stitch it shut.

All that's left to do now is to stitch in your poppers (or press studs, whatever you call them!), It doesn't really matter which way you do them, but they need to go onto the top and bottom flaps, not the side. i like to to the pointy one on the top so it can press down into the one with a hole in it. I should of used white thread here, but I was rushing to the end, I'm sure you will do a much better job!

So here is the finished one! You can see the little doggy I Bondawebed  and then stitched on. A little squiffy, but not too bad.

Here it is closed, for some reason my machine did a funny lump of thread where I started and stopped, and the point at the top of the envelope wouldn't fold in and so it looks a little shabby I'm ashamed to say (not like the amazing polished tutorials you get on other sites!!)
And here it is Half open so you can see how to fold it up!
 I hope that is pretty clear-if not-write a comment and Ill answer ASAP. O and I'd love to see your results if you have a go! ENJOY!

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