Wednesday, 14 March 2012

A little birdie told me

Cute and simple to make, these little chicks are the perfect decoration for Easter.
I am picturing a little 'tree' made from dried twigs, strung all over with these little birds.
You could also use them at place settings for an Easter meal, use them as napkin rings, make an Easter wreath filled with them to hang on your front door, string a ribbon across a room, and add the little birds like bunting, etc etc.

Fold your fabric right sides together
Cut a square with one side on the fold
Sew up two sides, adding a folded beak (made from bias binding) to one of the seams at the top edge.
Fold under a seam in the open edge & iron in place
Stuff the bird with child safe stuffing
Add the legs into the opening & stitch closed
Add a loop to the top of the bird to hang it from.
Paint on eyes (or you could sew them on)

All done!!

Get crafty this Easter!

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Can you tell I like this bag pattern?

Getting ready for trip home!

I have a number of gifts to get ready for my trip home.  Tonight I started with the one for my 'nanny' growing up - our family housekeeper, who still works for my Mum - Anna.

I made another Keyka Lou Cross Body bag.  Different fabrics really change the look!  I made a smaller flap - which I prefer, and took it over to the side without an outer pocket as I added Anna's name.

My Man Bag travels!!

If you read my previous post on designing the man bag  for the winner of the Charcutepalooza competition you can now follow the adventures of said man bag on Peter's blog here.  

Monday, 12 March 2012

Test run for Thursday

On Thursday I will be giving another BIWC sewing class.  We will be making the gorgeous bag you can see on the right hand side of this page - the Cross Body Bag - from Keyka Lou.  Her patterns are always clear, concise and easy to follow.

I am about to start the test run of this bag, and am looking at which fabric combo to use.  Here are some of the options I am deciding between:

I have decided on the greens - the fabric is from roman blinds I had made for my Mom in SA.

I am making one little change to the pattern, I looked at the ties & decided that, while they were very cute, they were not really practical for me - I could not see myself tying them up each time & I wanted something to keep the bag shut... so I used the flap from the 'Lots of Pockets Tote' (also from Keyka Lou), made it wider & added a magnetic popper to it.  Pick-pocket protection!

I used a green velvet for the backing of the outside pocket to add some texture to the bag.
And I used a chopped in half belt for the bag strap! (thanks Frauke for the belt!)

And here it is...

Above you can see the velvet lined pocket which is hidden under the flap

An inside view shows the interior pocket of the bag - a very clever design!

Friday, 9 March 2012

Making a Schnullerband

Today I am trying a new idea I had for a Schnullerband - otherwise known as a dummy chain.
I had an idea to top the dummy chain with a stuffed animal in miniature - or an animal head.

My 1st idea is an owl.  

Over to my wonderful Generations software to design the face...

Now stitch out in small hoop ...

Draw owl shape around this face with dissolving ink 
Cut him out on a fold so you have two sides (front & back)

Stitch around all the sides, leaving a gap between his wings.
Stuff your little owl with a small amount of baby friendly stuffing - I bought this at Karstadt - the packaging says it is approved for baby items.
Cut your ribbon  40cm long, place both ends in gap you have left.  Stitch opening closed with small stitches, going over the stitches a few times.
Add your clip to the ribbon & stitch down again, securing the clip to the owl in such a way that the owl will cover the clip once it is attached to baby's clothing.

Thread ribbon loop through dummy ring.

Ready to go!

Monday, 5 March 2012

Making a scatter cushion with an oxford flap & zip

A single, flat border is appealingly simple, yet adds a tailored appearance to your cushion.
It is simple to make, here is how:

Cut your fabric for the front of the cushion the size of your inner + 1.5cm for each side seam (so + 3cm) and then add the width of the flap you would like x2.

For example:  If your inner is 50 x 50 and you would like a 5cm flap.  Add 3cm for seams and 10 cm for both oxford flaps - cut your front 63 x 63
Cut your back piece in two pieces.  You will need to put your zip in just above the bottom flap, so one piece will need to be 5cm (size of flap) + 1.5cm (seam) + fold for zip 2cm (in our example) so that piece will be:  8.5cm x 63cm

The 2nd piece will need to be the inner (50cm) + one flap (5cm) + one seam (1.5cm) + fold for zip - enough to hide zip under (approx. 8cm).  In our example the piece will be: 64.5cm x 63cm

I use endless zips for almost all projects!  For cushions you need to use a zip with the narrowest teeth possible (or an invisible zip if you like, but with the flap to hide the zip, I feel this is not necessary).

Have a look at my VERY simple video on how to use endless zips here.
And the EBay shop I currently get endless zips from,  here.  The colours in the photos are accurate.

Sewing it all up:

Add the zip to the small piece of the back fabric 1st.  Place zip right side down on the top edge of the small back piece.

Line up with edge, and stitch in place using zipper foot

Fold back the fabric, and on the right side top stitch next to the zip, without overlapping the fabric over the zip

Now lay this piece (you have been working on) on top of the bigger back piece with right sides together.  Make sure the pattern of the fabric runs the correct way!

Match the edges & stitch together using the zipper foot again.

Fold the bigger back piece down to create a flap to hide the zip as you see in the next picture:
Pin in place on the right side
Then flip this whole piece over & pin along the zip as shown in next picture:

Stitch down making sure you stitch just next to the teeth of the zip.

Move the head of the zip within the cushion edges now & pin the end of the flap closed in place.  Stitch where this pin is (in the next picture) for a short way - about 4cm in from the edge.  This will be within the oxford flap.  Make sure your zip is open about 20cm.  You will need this space to turn your cushion right side out!

Now lay the front piece of the cushion directly on top of this completed back piece and trim them to fit perfectly together.

Straight stitch all the way around the edge, keeping to a straight line.  If you find this difficult, draw a line with a ruler to follow.
Once you have gone all the way around - you can stitch right over the plastic teeth of your zip, your machine will have no problem with them - trim the corners off MAKING SURE you do not cut through the stitches!
Now you can either zig zag the edges OR you can use your pinking shears & cut the edges off with these, ensuring the fabric will not fray.  Pinking shears are a recent addition to my sewing room, and a worthwhile one too!  Spend a bit extra & get a good pair, with longer blades that can cut through a few layers at once ... it is well worth it!

Now turn your cover the right way around, and carefully poke out your corners with a crochet hook's blunt end (or similar).  DO NOT use a sharp point (like a pencil) as you can easily poke through the fabric.

Now use your fingers to flatten the seam perfectly, and then iron in place.  This part is VERY important as you will be sewing this down, and you need a perfectly flat seam to make a nice, concise oxford flap.

Measure 5cm in from edge, you can use masking tape or electrical insulating tape (neither are too sticky and therefore easy to remove!) to make a line to follow on your machine, see photo:

Now you have an easy guide to line the edge of your cushion with to make a clean 5cm hem.
Stitch all the way around to form your 5cm oxford flap.

Your beautifully made cushion is complete!

This one is especially for you Jilly Dilly... now you know how to make the rest yourself!

June 2012:  I have recently discovered (thanks to Pinterest) that another name for this type of cushion is a flanged cushion.  Yet another good reason to browse Pinterest  :)

Friday, 2 March 2012

Easter Bunny

Skip the usual chocolate this year, and give a handmade bunny!

Same pattern with a few adjustments

Only have one good handbag pattern?  No problem!  If a pattern is well made and the sewing sequence is well thought out by the designer - as is the case with Keyka Lou patterns - then you can play with them & get many looks from only one pattern.

Here I have taken the Many Pocket Tote pattern, moved the fold on the pattern to make it wider, made the closure flap bigger, and changed the handle...

The gorgeous Pierre Frey fabric makes a striking focus fabric, teamed with fun spots for a nice contrast.

Then another look:  I kept the bigger flap, added a zip and made a single, adjustable handle...

This gorgeous thick velvet is from Natasha Marshall and teamed here with a cute apple fabric for a touch of whimsy. 

Go on, give it a go!!