Monday, August 31, 2009

"Flat-Out" Handbag

Thought I might update my blog with the "Flat-Out" handbag I designed & made (before I started this blog). I started with a square bag:
Then made a rectangular one:

  • The fabric is an upholstery fabric and looks a bit like felt, so it is a little 'furry' or 'fuzzy'.

  • They all have this great chunky black zipper that zips the bag out flat (hence the name) - which is great for cleaning, or finding that "I know I put it in here" item!

  • The washing instructions for the fabric is to spot clean with upholstery cleaner, but I throw mine in my front loader washing machine with everything else (I usually wash in 40 degrees). I have even put it in the dryer!

  • The base insert is removable. The base is made of a sturdy plastic board - like those real estate signs - so it won't go floppy and loose it's style.
This is what it looks like when it is un-zipped (outside, inside, half undone):

These are currently for sale in my Etsy shop, and I also sell them at the Coledale Markets (4th Sunday in the month, 9am to 2pm, at the Coledale Primary School).

Here is a photo of the colours of fabric I have:

Painting smock / art smock

This afternoon I created a prototype for a painting smock for Lilly's family day care carer. The front is a rubber backed curtain fabric. I am hoping this stops liquids soaking though - not sure how it will take the frequent washing (thanks for doing the testing Leesa!). The back and sleeves are different cotton/mix fabrics so it's not too hot in summer. Long sleeves for a great cover-up!

Detail photos:
Ribbing around wrist for comfort.
Velcro closure for easy on and off & for adjustment.
Tie at neck for additional adjustment in neck size.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Easy stretch skirt with large decoration - AKA my "Birthday Skirt"

Hip-Hip-Hooray for me - it's my birthday! It's also my uncle's 70th birthday today too. He's having a party on the weekend so I decided that I needed a new skirt to wear. Speed was important so I used some double stretch knit fabric I had in the cupboard. I have also had this idea in my head for a while for a large florally kind of decoration. So to start with here is the finished product:

To make the skirt:
Take your measurement around your hip - the largest part of your bum. Mine was 40". I added 3" to this for ease & seams - if you want a tighter fit you will may want to add less. Now also decide how long you want your skirt - mine was 23" long. The fabric I had happened to be wider than 43", so I just cut a strip 43" wide & 23" long.

Remember I said this was a speedy skirt?... Well fold the fabric in half and sew up the side to make a tube. Now fold over the top to make a casing and sew - leave a gap for some elastic. Thread the elastic, stitch the ends of the elastic together and close the gap.
Your done....told you it was speedy!

Now for the fun part...
Start with your fabric selection. I went for similar tones, and tried to add some texture by using different types of fabric.

Get your fabrics ready:

  1. Decided how wide you want your strips - I used 2" just because it's an easy number!
  2. Cut your fabrics - I cut some on the bias & some straight. The satin fabric I knew would fray too much, so I cut that one 4" wide, on the bias (it would be folded with no raw edges).
  3. Prepare the strips - some of the fabric strips I ran a gathering stitch down the length.

Mark the centre of your circle. And start with the outside of your spiral. Pin in place. Take it to your sewing machine and start sewing! When you get to the end of what have prepared you can follow either of the following methods:

  1. just keep sewing, randomly adding your fabrics as you go
  2. take it back to your table and prepare another round of the spiral (or you can do concentric circles)

You can keep going until you have filled in the whole circle. Make sure that each strip covers the stitching of the fabric underneath. I thought that this would be a bit heavy for the skirt fabric so I filled the centre with a doily. Here is a detail photo:

When I tried on my skirt I found that the top 'frills' were a bit 'floppy' and showed a bit of the sewing underneath. I added a few hand stitches to hold them back at a few strategic spots. Later tonight I may even run an extra row of stitching near the outside.
I think this might also look good on a cushion, or maybe in blacks for a 'going out' skirt...the possibilities are endless!

Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

T-Shirt to Pants - Reconstruction Tutorial

I have been cleaning out my shed/studio for a while, sorting out my stash and all my other hobbies, trying to fit everything into the one space... my husband thinks he got the raw end of the deal... anyway, more about that later.
I came across a t-shirt I couldn't bear to throw out, but know I will never wear again. But I have a 2 year old, and I thought she could do with a new pair of light weight pants.
So today I tried my first t-shirt reconstruction. I took photos as I went to - hoping it would all work out wonderful, and I must say I was quite pleased with the results! Here are the before and after shots:

Here is the basics on how to do it (this took me about 40mins - which included some playdough time):

1) Choose your shirt, and your pattern. Lay out your shirt nice and flat, and position your pattern on the shirt. The shirt I used was one of those shirts that never lay flat with the side seams, or the seams twist around the shirt if you hang it from the shoulders or arm pits (you'll see more on this later).

2) Pin & cut out your pattern. (I use a rotary cutter, as I find this a bit quicker.) The pattern I am using is just one piece. There are no side seams on these pants which makes them quick and easy to make, and makes them a wide leg.

3) Put the 'right' sides together. An easy way to do this is slide the top piece to the side. The slide the bottom one onto the top one - don't flip either of them as you do this. (Or, if you thought about it before you started just turn your t-shirt inside out before you start and skip this step!)

4) Sew to centre front (F) and centre back (B) seams. For those not used to sewing pants these marked on the photo below:

5) Now you need to sew the inside leg seam. Open out the pants so far, aligning the bottom of the centre front & centre back seams. Sorry I didn't take a photo of this. Sew from the bottom on one leg, over the crotch (lay the two centre seams opposite directions), and down the other leg. If you open up the pants and have a look at the crotch point it should look like the above photo (I have overlocked/serged & done a straight stitch on the seams, but just overlocking/serging or even a zigzag would be fine). See the extra seam in white in the top right 'square' - this was actually the original side seam from the shirt that had twisted around the back.

6) Overlock/serge around the top to neaten it up. Then turn over a casing to suit your elastic (and your original pattern!). I turned over about 1", and use 20mm (3/4") elastic. Sew this but remember to keep a little open to thread your elastic! (I leave my gap near the centre back seam.) Use a safety pin to thread the elastic, sew the elastic together (make sure you don't twist it!), and then close the gap.
Ta Da!! If you want you can also sew a hem, but I was after a 'raw' finish.
My little one didn't want to try them on today...maybe tomorrow.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Evolution of a hat

I promised the 'evolution of the leftleg hat' so here it is:

I started with a very 'girly' pink hat for Lilly (she's just over 8 months in these photos). This hat took me quite a while to make. All edges are turned under, and fabrics were all cut straight (not on the bias). There were different types of fabrics too: corduroy, quilters cotton, flannel, retro & upcycled. The inside was calico, which I found shrunk quite a bit in the wash.

Then we did a green one for Oliver (who was going to Ireland for a holiday), and an orange one for Isaac:

The leftleg hat now looks like this:

The first two are for sale, the last one Lilly has been wearing for about 18 months. It's been through the wash plenty of times, Grandad has even lost it at the park before, but it always manages to find it's way home!
The strips of fabric are now cut on bias - I have a box for each colour! They are still quite time consuming to make. Here is an interesting fact: there is 180", or 4.5m of fabric strips (1.5" wide) needed to make a toddler hat! That's a lot of cutting and a lot of sewing - but damn they look good don't they!

New hat for Lilly - cowgirl style!

Lilly needed a new hat... and I need to test out my new sewing machine. The style of hat I usually make is quite time consuming (you will see what I mean later on when I get around to doing a blog on the 'evolution of leftleg hats'). So I made a new style of hat (excuse the grubby face!):

It can be worn two ways, wide brim sun hat, or grooving cowboy/girl style:

I just have to work out an easier way to construct so I can make some for my market stall - I'm sure there's got to be a few kids out there want a cool hat that no-one else has! (PS. Can you see that I haven't quite finished and there are pins holding up the sides? I'm deciding between snaps and buttons - leaning towards buttons.)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Baby Hat & Short Set for Mel

My sister asked me to make something for a friend of hers that recently had a baby boy, and this is what I came up with:

My neighbours daughter kindly modelled the outfit. The hat I usually make with lots of strips spiralling around the hat but I thought I might try something different. The hat is bucket style and fully reversible. I don't use fusing or interfacing in the brim. I find an extra layer of fabric holds nicely. I put a bit of elastic in the back of this one too.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Card Holder Trial

I love sewing, and I need a new place to keep some cards in my bag... so this is what I came up with:

The one on the left reminds me that I can't read a tape measure... it was supposed to be the same width as the one on the right. Here's a close-up of the outside:

And the inside:

I found that the plastic on the outside stretched a bit as I was sewing so it's not the most professional finish. But I have a new sewing machine so I will have to give that a go and see how it handles the plastic (the walking foot on that should help a little). Another tip I read from somewhere was to use bobby pins to hold everything in place as you sew...hmmm.

Library bag for Leesa

Today I gave Leesa her new library bag... I based this on those 'green' style bags you buy at the library (but fall apart after a bit of use with heavy books).

For something interesting on the inside I screen printed some shoes, and on the other side there is a zipped pocket for library cards, cash, keys... Maybe I should try something like this for a nappy bag?