I'm still trying to locate the pattern I used for this bag. It was found free online. It looks complicated, but was simple to make (the second time round anyway lol).
Saturday, August 1, 2015
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Saturday, January 18, 2014
I wanted to make a decoration for my kids' rooms, something for their walls that would have a bit of impact, and really personalise their rooms for them.
I decided I'd like to make their names to go on the main wall in their rooms. Now you can buy, ready made, personalised letters and names from companies on the internet, but they're certainly not cheap. I decided to have a go at it myself.
I decided I'd like to make their names to go on the main wall in their rooms. Now you can buy, ready made, personalised letters and names from companies on the internet, but they're certainly not cheap. I decided to have a go at it myself.
You can buy ready made letters from most craft and DIY stores. They can be made from acrylic, MDF, wood and even cardboard. To make the project easier, I decided to look for a plain sans-serif font. A sans-serif font is a name for letters that don't have the little fancy flicks and curves on the edges and tips of the letters. You can choose to use these types of fonts on letters if you like, but it make the job a little bit harder (make that a LOT). Eventually, I found a great discount, on these letters. They're made from painted wood. They were on sale at the clearance branch of a trendy stationery store, that carries all sorts of fab, retro-style items for the home and office too. As some of the letters were slightly damaged (small chips, scratches, little dents etc) I got them at a super cheap price.
Now, the benefit with these letters, is that they were pre-painted. If your letters are plain and not painted, you can easily paint them yourself. You can use remants from your household paints.
A non-fabric way of making your letters look fab, is to match up some of the main colours in
your child's room, and paint your letters to match.
Kids acrylic paint is also good to use too, as a cheap alternative.
It's also a great way to use up leftover spray paint cans.
Most of my letters were white, which was the base colour that I wanted anyway. A few of the letters were black. Now, as they were in limited supply at the discounted store, I didn't have much choice with these. Luckily, we still had a can of satin-finish white paint, leftover from a previous project. I lightly sanded the black letters, and gave them two-to three coats of the paint. (This type of paint needs a few hours to dry in between coats).
Now you've painted your letters, it's time to choose fabric. I took my kids along to my local (and favourite) haberdashery store. I got them to choose some fabric that they liked. Now a cheaper alternative, is to have a search through your fabric that you already have, and see if there's anything that they like in that. Or, if you're looking to make this as a surprise, look around until you find something that really suits and represents your child's personality. I only needed less than half a metre each of the fabrics.
The amount you need will depend on the size of your letters.
Once you've got your fabric, iron it and, lay it, right side down, onto a table, or floor. Lay your letters out onto it, face down. Try and work out how you can make the best, economical use of the fabric.
You need to make sure that you have a one-two centimeter gap around your letter.
Now using a pencil, lightly trace around your letters. Once you have traced them all out, remove your letters and cut out the fabric pieces. Re-match up your fabric pieces to their relevent letters.
Working with one letter at a time, coat the front of the letter with kids/craft type PVA glue. Give it a really good coat. Now turn your letter over and place it, face down on the wrong side of the fabric, ensuring you still have your 'border' around the letter. Turn the letter and fabric over, starting at the centre gently squeeze out creases, and air bubbles. Repeat those steps until you have covered all of your letters.
You can use paper instead of fabric for the above steps. I've done this myself on a smaller lettering project. You can have good results, but I've found that on larger surfaces, that the paper can tear easily, once it's wet from the glue, so go slowly if that's what you choose to use.
Leave to dry overnight.
To get nice, tidy edges on your letters, use a craft knife, to slowly slice off the excess fabric. This is best done with the letters remaining face down, on a cutting mat (or an old, thick magazine).
When you've finished cutting out your letters, they need a protective coat, to stop grubby fingers leaving dirty marks :) You can easily protect them with a simple, thin coat of the same PVA glue. If you'd like a shinier finish, you can spray your letters with a glossy type of varnish.
*Be aware that spray-varnish eventually yellows slightly.
Now to attach your letters to your door or wall, I used a velcro-system, sold by a major brand over here. You can also attach your letters with a heavy duty permanent tape, found at most major DIY stores.
(Don't forget to prepare all of your surfaces before attaching them, to ensure they stay up.)
Now stand up and enjoy the surprised look on their faces when they get home :)
This project could also be used to make an impact in other rooms in the home.
Sunday, January 12, 2014
In the light of the moon... My 'Very Hungry Caterpillar' bag, based on Amy Butler's Blossom Bag pattern and tutorial
Ever seen a piece of material that you 'just had to have' - but when you bought it you had no idea what you were going to make with it...
I think anyone who sews, has probably more than one piece of material that's lurking in their sewing area, that's been bought, with no specific project in mind.
This was one of those pieces for me:
The Very Hungry Caterpillar book, written by Eric Carle, is very close to my heart. It's a book that I've read a gazillion times with both of my girls. I can reel most of it off by heart. For me, it's a lovely, happy book, filled with bright, cheerful images, and lots of good memories of 'reading' time with my girls.
So...when I saw this piece of material I "just had to have it"! Though, I was pretty good, and I waited, and waited until it was on a special at my local store - then I bought it.
I brought it home, put it in the fabric box. And there it stayed... Until, my friend (and sewing buddy) showed me the fab new bag that she had made for herself, from Amy Butler's Blossom Bag pattern and tutorial, that is available for FREE, yes FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!
on the sewmamasew website.
I guess it's fair to say that I'm a bit 'out-there' sometimes, with the fabrics that I use, for some projects. I love making things from a fabric, that's design would normally be thought to be used for something completely different.
So off I trotted to download the fab free pattern and instructions from the site.
Now, as my sewing buddy will vouch for me, I sometimes (make that 'often') struggle with the instructions for patterns. I prefer to make things from my own designs when I can. That way, if something turns out wrong, I can say it was meant to be that way in the design lol.
This was one of those struggling projects. After a few phone calls with my friend, I mostly worked it out.
With a few changes, this is my Blossom Bag based, finished item:
I used the 'spotty' parts of the material (which appear at the beginning and end of the book) for the main outside parts of the bag, and handles.
I wanted to make it look like the caterpillar had 'eaten' it's way through the bag (like he does with the food in the book), so his bottom appeared at one side of the bag, and his head at the other:
When you open the bag... the caterpillar has turned into a... Beautiful butterfly :)
Later in the making of the bag process, I returned to the store to pick up a small amount of material, from the same series. Luckily at this stage, the material had been in the store for quite some time, so they had reduced the price even more! This material showed the food from the book, complete with the 'holes' where the caterpillar had eaten through. It also showed the caterpillar on his leaf. I used this extra material to make the zipped pockets that are inside the bag. Note: my zips don't match. This is because I used zip's from my 'recycled bits box' (which I will talk about in another future post in this blog).
Most of the purple, used in the handles and lining was from a random piece in my fabric stash box. I thought it matched the purple bits in the designs fabulously, and it seems to make the other colours 'pop' a little bit more. I later had to buy a tiny bit more (matched as best as I could) as I was a little bit short.
Wonky fancy stitch on the back of the bag:
I've bought a larger magnetic clasp, that I'm going to replace the smaller one with,
to allow the flap to close a little easier.
There were a few mistakes along the way, but I'm pretty happy with the result
and it brings a smile to people's faces when they see it :)
Let me know what you think :)
Saturday, January 11, 2014
Hermione Granger (from Harry Potter) costume (Hogwarts cloak and tie costume) - made cheap or for FREE! Here's how to do it...
Making a Hogwarts cloak, patch and tie
This can be used for any of the Hogwarts Houses and characters
My oldest daughter has discovered the wonderful world of Harry Potter. She loves Hermione Granger (not a bad role model, I think.) My girls like to dig into the fancy dress box we have, and try to create costumes for their characters. When none of the fancy dress clothes work out, they then dig into their own wardrobes, to try to create something similar.
She did a great job of teaming her school skort, with a white t-shirt, ruffling her hair to create the 'Hermione' hairdo, and using a pencil as a wand. She even tied an old blanket around her neck for the cloak.
I thought that the 'Harry Potter Game' might be short lived, but both her, and my younger girl, still enjoyed playing it regularly, so I decided to try to make a basic 'Hogwarts' cloak, and Gryffindor tie.
Here's how to make your own Hogwarts cloak and tie. You can modify this to be appropriate for any of the four, Hogwarts school houses.
You need a large piece of black material. I had a large piece of stretchy black material, that I had left over from a previous DIY project. The material you need does NOT have to be stretchy. As I didn't want to buy any new material, I used this piece.
Your material needs to be at least the width of your child's arm-span, from wrist to wrist.
If you want to hem the cuffs, you will need it to be perhaps the width of their span of palm to palm.
Measure your child from shoulder to ankle. Now double this measurement.
This is the length of material you need.
Lay your material on the floor. Fold it in half length ways:
Then fold the material in half again, so you have a fold at the side and the top. Ask your child to lay down on the fabric, and position their shoulder, just slightly below the fold on the top of the fabric, the middle of their body needs to line up with the side fold:
With chalk, draw a line where you would like the sleeve to be. I made the sleeve wide and angled it in to taper towards the armpit area. then mark from that area, to your hemline, angling outwards so your cloak doesn't just hang straight down. Then simply cut along your chalk marks (preferably while your child is NOT laying on the material though - I just put the scissors there to show you what I was doing lol!).
At this stage DON'T cut the length of your cloak, or sleeve
lengths shorter - all will be explained a bit further down.
Pin the arm seam and side seams. By having the material folded in half lengthways, you have eliminated a whole seam - your shoulders of the cloak are now seamless.
Sew up your arm and side seams. Overlock if you have an overlocker, use the overlock stitch if you have one on your sewing machine, or simply cut with pinking shears to stop the material on the seam fraying.
If the sleeves and length of the cloak are quite big - DON'T cut them shorter. Simply make a larger hem - fold and fold again if necessary. Then sew the hems. By not cutting the cloak and sleeves shorter, you can simply unpick and roll out the seams to make lengths longer, as your child grows :)
You will now have a cloak that's almost finished. Lay the cloak out flat on the floor again. In the centre, cut one layer only, from the bottom, up the the top 'shoulder'. Now depending on your material you may or may not need to cut a basic neck hole (semi circle) out of the back of the cloak. Because our material was stretchy, I did not need to cut anything away from the neck.
Then, hem up one side (continue round the top) and down the other side.
You now have a basic cloak.
Making a patch
Go online and search out the patch/badge that you need for your relevant Hogwart's 'House'.
In my case, we did a Google images search, and used the tool to find 'large' size images.
This should give you something of reasonable quality.
As my girl wanted to be 'Hermione' we did a search and found the Gryffindor patch.
If you already have some iron-on transfer paper, you can print out your 'patch'.
Iron it onto some white material, cut it out and stitch it onto the left hand, breast part of the cloak.
We didn't have any iron on paper. We no longer have a colour printer, so our neighbour kindly offered to print out several versions of the patch, onto regular paper. If you don't have access to a colour printer, you could get it printed at your local stationery supplies store, print onto photo paper at a store.
Failing that, you can print it black and white, or try and draw it out, and get your kids to colour it in :)
We're lucky enough to have a small laminator. After cutting out the patches, we laminated them.
If you don't have access to a laminator, wide rolls of sticky tape can do the job just fine.
Cover the front and back of your badge with a few layers. When cutting out, leave a small amount of sticky tape around the edges. It helps to stop the ink running if your badge gets wet.
Sticky tape a basic safety pin to the back of your patch.
Pin your badge to your cloak.
(Remember to take your badge off your cloak when washing!)
To make your Hogwart's outfit a little more complete, try making a tie.
Search on the internet, to see what your house's tie looks like.
If you're a real stickler for detail, note that the younger students and older students wear slightly different ties. Younger students have ties with thicker stripes and older ones have ties with thin stripes.
For making a paper tie:
If you don't have access to any material of those colours, why not simply draw out a basic tie shape. You can make it with either coloured pieces of paper/card, or simply colour in the tie with texta/felt tip pens.
If you are making it with pieces of paper, some of the following instructions, regarding laying out the stripes may help you. After you've made your paper tie, laminate or use sticky tape (see instructions for the patch above), and then sticky tape a safety pin to the back.
For making a fabric tie:
I raided my fabric scraps box and was lucky enough to find some pieces of material of similar colouring to the Gryffindor tie. If you can't find material, small squares of felt can be cheap to buy from your local craft/haberdashery store.
For the purposes of the following instructions, I'll refer to the gold and red used in Gryffindor, but you can replace these colours with your house colours.
Draw out a basic tie on paper. I looked at my google image to work out the order of the colours on the tie. Cut out your template and lay it on your background colour (in this case gold) material.
Cut the top 'knot' of the tie off your template.
Trace around your tie pieces. These will make up the front of your tie. Trace around again.
These will he back of your tie.
Cut out the ties, leaving a 1-2 cm border around your pencil lines.
Cut your gold coloured material into strips. You need your strips to be long enough to hang over the edges of the template you've drawn onto the gold.
Lay the strips over your tie pieces, trying to get the angles similar to each other.
(this photo shows the fronts of two ties, as I figured I may as
well make an extra tie for my younger girl at the same time)
Carefully lay the back pieces of your tie material, with the pencil lines showing up, on top of your stripes and tie front pieces (so you basically have the right sides of the tie pieces together.
Pin the pieces, being careful to pin the stripes in place so that they don't move around.
Sew around the tie pieces, following your pencil lines. Leave the top part of your main tie piece and the bottom part of the 'knot' piece open and un-sewn.
Trim your edges down, closer to the seams. Your pieces should look a bit like this:
Turn your pieces right-sides out. Join the knot piece and main piece together, by pinning the open seams together, right -sides together, and sew (so your seam will be at the back of the tie.
I sewed a small loop of material onto the back of the ties. This loop can then have a safety pin attached.
This can then be pinned to your chosen t-shirt or shirt for your outfit.
Well, this is a pretty rotten pic of the finished item. I'd forgotten to pin the 'patch' on for this photo too.
If you'd like to go for the full 'Hermione' look, try to recreate Hermione's messy hairdo with a crimper or waver iron. And LOTS of hairspray.
My daughter wore this with a white tee, school skort and shoes. Hermione hairdo too.
She won a prize for 'best girl's costume' in her school year for 'Character Day' at school :)
Have fun with your creating and let me know how you got on :)
Friday, January 10, 2014
I'm trying to do a catch up, and post items that I've made over the past few years.
This is actually the first bag that I made, a 'memory' bag, that was made from clothing.
I made this bag from a baby long sleeved tee, that both of my girls wore, when they were little. It has cute embroidery and appliqueing on the front. It's a bag that they've since played with. Occasionally it comes out and will be carted around the house, holding various little dolls/ teddies etc.
Wherever possible, I like to make things on a budget (or for FREE!).
This bag didn't cost me a penny:
The outer of the bag was made from the tee.
As the tee was a thin material, I wanted to give the bag a little bit of weight, but I didn't want to have to buy wadding. Going through my pile of old baby blankets, I found one that had been washed several times, but wasn't looking its best - with some old stains that would not come out. Two panels cut from this became the wadding.
For the lining, I had a cute, thin cotton skirt, that had finally got too shabby to wear. It held memories for me, as it was one of the first 'girlie' items of clothing that I had bought for myself, in my late teens. It was girlie pink, with a cute ditsy print, so I decided it could be donated towards this bag.
The handles of the bag, were fashioned from the sleeves of the tee. The Cuffs were sewn to the bag, leaving the ruffles to stick out from the bag as an extra little feature.
From memory, the bag took around an hour for me to make. I spent more time thinking, trying to work out how to put the bag together, and deciding what I could use for the wadding and lining, so sewing time is actually quite quick.
Go and dig out some old clothes and blankets and have some fun creating :)
Monday, July 15, 2013
I'm really behind in my blogging, so here's a post that I meant to make way-back last year...
When we got home, my girls nattered me for a few days, asking if I could make some clothes for the dolls. Making tiny clothing is not my forte, so I had to think a while of what I could do.
Eventually inspiration struck, and I dug out an old little girls top (which both girls had worn in their time) which no longer fit. I'd been hanging on to it for a while, as it held good memories of both of my girls wearing it. It turned out to be the perfect thing.
To make your Free dolls dress, you need to find an old top (thin fabric is best). Choosing a top which already has some elastic or shirring elastic sewn into it, it makes the task even quicker, but if you can't find one, follow the instructions as below and simply add a line of elastic across the chest piece of the dress.
Cut off any big sleeves, collars etc. Take your doll and wrap some of the top around it (if you already have elastic in the top, have the elastic running above the chest or bustline of the doll). Make sure that you have enough room to take the fabric on and off the doll. Cut out your piece.
Add a hem (as in the picture above). bring the two side edges together (right sides of the dress together) and run a seam along to join the dress.
I made a quick and easy 'scrunchie' for the dolls' hair by cutting strips of fabric from the same top, which had elastic running down the centre length. I hemmed each side and joined the ends to form a circle. This made my scrunchies. I simple 'belt' can be made to pull in the dress on the dolls more, by taking a small length of elastic (measured to fit snugly around the doll's waist) and pushing the elastic through a little metal 'o' ring (I found these in my craft drawer, left over from jewelry making). Stitch the ends of the elastic together. Fit onto the doll. The little 'o' ring looks a little like a buckle or ornament on the front of the belt.
These types of dresses can be made for all sorts of sizes of dolls. My Nanna often made me dolls dresses from the arm-pieces of clothing, in a very similar way:
Take a sleeve piece from an article of clothing. Add Elastic around the top (measure it around the dolls chest first, and stretch it as you stitch). Hem the bottom of the sleeve/dress. You're done :)
If you do this (especially for a Barbie doll) with an adult piece of clothing, you can have a really big, ball-style dress for your doll.
Using old pieces of favourite clothing for craft items like this, is a good way to keep those happy memories going of when you child/children wore that item.
Happy Sewing :)
Thursday, January 24, 2013
Thursday, March 1, 2012
One of my favourite ways of recycling, is to make things from items of clothing. Having two girls, you have lots of pieces of clothing, that bring back memories of times when they wore the clothing. So, if you decide to keep these pieces of clothing what do you do with them...? This little bag started life as a denim dress, which both of my girls wore when they were tiny. So I decided to make a bag that they could use for 'shopping', carting around dolls/teddies etc etc.
I began by sewing the bottom of the dress/bag together at the hem, and 'boxing' the corners, to give it a squared off bottom. I sewed the seam of the back of the dress together from the inside (where the buttons are on the bag).
I then chopped off the top part of the dress.
Using the 'armhole' parts of the dress, I made these into the handles for the bag, and sewed them on the main bag. Using an offcut of fabric, I botched together a lining for the bag. This was then sewn into the bag. (For projects like this, I rarely measure the fabric, I just roughly 'measure' by eye and hope for the best :) )
Using some extra material (the same as the lining) I sewed the top 'trim' to the bag on.
The other side of the finished bag.
Keep on recyling :)
Monday, February 20, 2012
We do have a few 'proper' tools that the kids use with their home made play dough. You don't necessarily need to buy things though. Use things around your home. We used these shapes from a tupper ware sorting ball to press patterns into the dough. Have a look around the house for other interesting shapes to use. Sometimes pieces of lego are fun to press shapes into the dough also. Anything plastic is easy care, as it's easy washable.
Remember TWISTER? Well this twister mat is being put to a very different use in our house.
We picked up the game at a garage sale, for I think around $1.
All you need is the mat inside. It's a large size, made from pretty tough plastic sheeting (or the old versions are anyway - I haven't seen any of the new ones to be sure about those).
The mat makes a FANTASTIC all purpose mat to be used in and out of the home for kids crafts. In these pics, we used it, folded up, on the kitchen workbench to keep things clean, while our home made play dough was being used (recipe in this blog). The mat is also great on the floor, when the kids are doing craft projects, and outside, under their painting easel, to keep the paving clean when they're making their latest masterpiece :)
The kids love it because of the bright colours and pattern.
We love it because it's a great, cheap and easy thing to maintain and clean, and it helps keep the mess to a minimum.
Hope this helps :)
I'd like to share this wonderful recipe, which was given to me by a lovely lady few years ago.
Apparently the usual way to make home made playdough, is to stand at the stove, stirring awitch-brew like substance, for quite some time. The younger kids can't get involved in the
making and your left with a VERY sticky pan to clean afterwards.
Throw away your old recipes and pick up this lovely one :) Made in minutes
1 cup Plain flour (if you only have self raising, this can be used,
but the results differ slightly, see below)
1/2 cup Cooking Salt
2 tablespoons Oil
2 teaspoons Cream of Tartar
1 cup Boiling Water
Place flour, salt, cream of tartar and oil in a mixing bowl. Add the boiling water (and optional colouring). Mix the water in initially. The mixture cools very quickly, and once you've mixed the water in, the bowl can be handed over to the kids for them to 'make' the mixture themselves. You may wish to add a little more flour to the mixture, until it is pliable, but not sticky.
The colouring is optional. When I first made this mixture, I used to add blues and red etc. Unfortunately, we discovered one day, that some of the dough, that had been dropped, actually stained the paving. After that I left out the colour altogether. The kids still love it. They think that it looks more like 'real baking' dough, and they enjoy forming little 'cupcakes' etc in their kitchen.
The best thing about this? - besides the fact that the bowl is almost clean afterwards when youtake out the mixure; it's not cost much more than a few ingredients in your pantry; it keeps the kids occupied; it lasts a LONG time (can be kept even longer in the fridge).
The best thing is that, because the mixture is SO salty - the kids don't eat it
(as they sometimes do with regular types of playing dough).
Hope this helps. Giving them things like this to play with on rainy days can really save your sanity.
This bag was a little project that I created for myself. I really liked using my first 'Bella Bag' that I made, so I decided to have another try.
I had a think about what sort of things Bella might like after she had been transformed into a vampire. I decided that she'd go for a much lighter look, with the colour scheme. I decided upon staying with the feather theme, but chose a feather that looked close to the type that you might find in a pillow (as in the 'why am I covered in feathers?' line in the book. I decided that this would give Bella good memories of her honeymoon. The inside fabric was a mixture of blues (colours she wore in the books, and reminders of the honeymoon and cottage rooms), and also roses (as in the roses at her cottage).
I managed to find another super-cheap piece of material - this time a cream suede - at the same shop that I found the original leather in :) Super happy!
Amazingly, this time, the old Brother sewing machine glided through this material like butter - who would've thought? This made the whole making process much more enjoyable. I chose to stick to white thread for the detailing, and again, chickened out of the much needed zip pocket (STILL can't work out how to do a successful zip!).
Again, my partner gave me very much appreciated help with the rivet work (I think his words were something like "not another bag!" :)
I would have like to have used silver rivets and hoops, but due to the cost of the rivets, and the fact that I still had a lot of the gold ones left, I really couldn't justify the extra expense.
After trying several super thin brushes, I found the most successful thing to paint the feather on with (using fabric 3D pearlised paint) was to use a needle!
On the whole, another little project that I really enjoyed giving myself to concentrate on :)
(Apologies for the dirty marks on the bag. It has had a lot of use, and is need of a good clean)
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
peacock feathered bag, in Twilight,
and then in New Moon. The bag on the left, is my home-made version of the bag that Bella carries. She's first seen with the bag, when Charlie and herself are outside of Charlie's house, unloading her luggage from his police car. Her first day of her new life in Forks... I made the bag using Christilynn's pattern and instructions, with a few alterations to the base of the bag, to 'box' it out (to hold more of my stuff!). The bag was made on a budget, using a reject offcut of real leather (from a discount haberdashery store local to me). My poor old original Brother sewing machine really struggled to sew it's way through this, but we got there together in the end :) My partner had to do all of the rivet work, to attach all of the straps etc. I used a magnetic enclosure on the inside.
The lining on Bella's bag is a gorgeous tealy blue colour. I initially did find a teal fabric, and began to sew it in, but it just didn't look right. I decided to really personalise it by finding this fabric instead. The paisley style design, really reminded me of the feather, and the fabric was a mixture between the teal, blue's (which Bella appears in regularly in the books) and the reddish brown of the leather. (Apologies for the poor quality of picture, I'm still learning about my camera :) I didn't include a zipped pocket on the inside (which would have been really helpful in stopping me lose my keys all the time), because I am still to master the fine art of sewing in successful zips! lol
The finished bag :) *
*Note: In no way do I claim the design of the original bag from the movie in any way. This is just my home made version. The real macoy can be bought from the designer directly, and can be found on etsy. thank you