Monday 28 February 2011

Crochet Hat

I often used to see lovely pieces of crochet work that people have made, and always feel very envious of the person who knows how to crochet. Above is a photograph of my first ever crochet project. A lovely baby or dolls hat.

My gran has tried a few times to teach me how to knit, but I have never felt comfortable with the needles and have given up straight away. I thought that maybe using just one needle might be easier for me! So I decided to have a go at crochet instead.
The photo opposite was a picture of what the hat was supposed to look like!

I went to my local wool shop and purchased some crochet hooks of different sizes, and not forgetting, some wool. Now I needed to learn how to crochet.

Firstly, I thought I could learn by watching the many ‘how to’ videos available online. That didn’t work for me. Secondly, I thought that trying to learn from a book would work. I borrowed a book from the library called ‘The ultimate sourcebook of knitting and crochet stitches’ This was useful to understand the stitches, but I was still not getting anywhere. Thirdly, I asked a friend for help. Thankfully, Marjorie from the Friday Coffee Morning I attend offered to show me how.
I sat with Marjorie (THANK YOU MARJORIE) and made my first crochet square, using yellow wool (this was being used to make knitted chicks for Easter by the knitters of the group). I was so pleased that I had actually done some crochet. Marjorie thought I was now capable of trying to follow a pattern. She let me borrow her pattern for an adult crochet hat (beanie) with a flower motif. It was the motif, that I was particularly keen to be able to learn to make. These would be great for embellishments for my girls’ accessories.

During our Coffee Morning, Marjorie sat and watched me do the first few lines from the pattern. She felt that I was capable of finishing this project at home by myself. I just knew that was going to be a disaster!  I did try my best to follow the pattern, but I immediately realised that this was not going to plan. I unpicked the wool and started again. Again the hat was not turning out the way it was supposed to be. However, it did look like it could be a cute baby hat, so I continued with the pattern to see what would happen!

The result was a lovely small and cute crochet bonnet. If you didn’t know what the pattern was, I think you would be quite impressed for my first ever crochet project. I didn’t follow the pattern completely for the motif, otherwise the flower would be as big as the hat! I had to miss part of the pattern to make it small enough to add to the small hat.

I took my finished work to the coffee morning the next week for the ladies to have a look at. They all thought the hat was great, but they did have a laugh when I showed them a picture of what it was supposed to look like.

Even though I didn't get the pattern right, it hasn't put me off, I will try to attempt to have another go.

Sunday 27 February 2011

Child's Picnic Mat

child picnic mat
My youngest daughter just loves to play with her tea set. She sits with all her teddies and dolls and serves them cakes and drinks, and of course she doesn’t forget mummy! She normally has all the cups and saucers etc, spread all over the floor, making it impossible to walk around safely.

Above is a photograph of the Child's Picnic Mat I recently sewed. (Made from an old curtain.) I noticed online that someone had made a picnic mat for their child, which involved it having strings attached so that you could place the tea set inside the mat/bag for easy storage.
Unfortunately I didn’t save the link, I really need to make a point of noting all the links that I find interesting.
Opposite is a close up photo, so you can see the lovely pink/white patterned material.
I made this mat a lot larger than the one on the tutorial, as my daughter does have quite a lot of teddies and dolls to sit around the mat. The only problem I found was that because it was larger, the strings didn’t gather very well, making a large opening at the top. However I was still very happy with my project. My daughter loves the new picnic mat, and it keeps all the tea set in one place, making it easier to walk in the room now.

I used an old curtain for this mat. The edging around the circular mat was from the sides of the curtains, which I unpicked and then sewed them to the edge of the mat. Another project under my category, upcyling.

Saturday 26 February 2011

V Shaped Pillow Case

v shaped pillow
My gran owned a V shaped pillow (cushion), when she no longer needed it, it came my way. It was a light coloured pillow and quite plain. This was very useful and well used when I was pregnant.

Above, is a photograph of the finished pillow, with the cream and white pink patterned material.  It blends in well with the girls bedroom.
My eldest daughter wanted this to be in her room, so she could rest on it, on her bed. As you may already know, both my daughters like everything to be pink! So I needed to find a cover suitable for this pillow. This was harder than I thought, I couldn’t find any in the shops. I looked online, but I couldn’t find the style I wanted, or the size I wanted. So, I decided to make my own, using spare material I already had in the house.

I couldn’t find any tutorials on how to do this, so I just had to make it up as I went along. I basically just measured the cushion as best as I can, and tried to make a pattern. I made this a bit big at first, so just had to adjust where I sewed the hem. It wasn’t very difficult, it just needed a few tweaks, here and there.

Friday 25 February 2011

Card Making

crad making
Above is a photograph of some of the cards that my two girls have made today.

Today as usual, I went to my friday Coffee Morning.  With it being the school holidays, my children were tagging along with me.

The ladies decided that today they would be making some handmade cards. My daughters both decided that they should join in with everyone. Anything that involves using glue and cutting, they won’t miss!  I normally design my own cards on the computer and print them out.  I don't normally do it this way, so it was a nice change to watch how it is done.
Marjorie, one of the ladies who attends the coffee mornings, provided all the card making equipment, which included the cards, envelopes and shape punches. Both of my daughters had a go at making the cards.  I had to help a little with my 3 year old, but my 8 year old did all of the cards all by herself. I never got a chance to personally make any cards, as I was making sure that my youngest was not getting glue everywhere or messing about with the scissors!
Now my eldest daughter has a few cards ready for the next birthday or special occasion.  I was quite surprised at how good my youngest was at attempting this task.  The only thing I did for her, was write the words 'with love' on the card. Her card is the one on the left, on the photo below. All the other cards were made by my eldest daughter. The photo opposite is a close up of one of the cards shown below.

Tuesday 22 February 2011

Ironing Board Cover

ironing board cover
I haven't posted for a few days because we have friends staying over.  They are still here so I am quite busy, but I have managed to post this quick project.

This project was for my small ironing board. The cover had been completely worn and was past the point or being repaired. I already had some material in mind, which was from the remnants of an old quilt cover. I had some wadding going spare so used that under the cover. This task was fairly quick and didn’t cost me anything. The photo above shows the basics needed (board, wadding, material), also needed were: elastic, and thread.

I placed the ironing board onto the material and traced the shape of the ironing board. I then gave enough space for hems (including an elastic casing space). This was a fairly simple task and didn’t take too long.

Sunday 20 February 2011

Aprons for Boys

boys apron
When a friend of my daughter invited her to his party, there was a need for a present to be bought or made. This was for a young boy, and my daughter has always liked to give girly handmade aprons as birthday gifts.

This this time, a different type of material was required. She liked to made the aprons hersel, but this time, I was given the task. I had previously bought a cushion cover in a sale and it was still wrapped up with no home to go to! It was a camouflage style material and I thought this would be ideal as an apron for a young boy.
The photograph above is the finished apron, with a small bag I also sewed with the remnants.  The apron can fold into the bag for easy storage.

As my daughter didn’t want to attempt his one, it was down to mummy. I unpicked the edges where the cushion was joined, so I had two square pieces of material. I kept the zip and stored it in my collection. The front part of the cushion was used as the apron skirt, I then used the back part to make the chest part of the apron. I used a black bias tape to go around the outside of the whole apron. I couldn’t find any matching material for the apron strings, so I purchased these (in black) from the Dunelm store. I normally have white apron strings in my collection, but I had never used black before. This was a quick and easy project and took less than 1 hour from start to finish. I will label this as another upcycling project.  So now I have made aprons from dresses, skirts and now cushion covers!.

Saturday 19 February 2011

Football Themed Room

football theme bedroom
My son wanted his bedroom decorated in a football theme. I didn’t need to change the wallpaper as it was quite a neutral colour scheme. I did however, need to change the border. Because I had to cover the original border, I had to find a football border that was extra wide. Eventually I found one on an online store.

 I also managed to find a football lightshade (from B&Q) to go with the theme. Then the sewing part of my task was required. I managed to find a suitable quilt cover but didn’t find any reasonable curtains to match.

The photo above shows the red quilt cover, the blue stool cover and the blue cushion covers. You can also see the border.
Then the sewing part of my task was required. I managed to find a suitable quilt cover (choice of red or blue) but didn’t find any suitable curtains to match.

I decided to buy an extra quilt cover (blue) and turn this into a curtain (only one curtain, was needed as the window was narrow). There was plenty of material left over for other projects.  I added some blackout lining to the curtains, which helped with strengthening, as the quilt cover material was quite thin.

From the remnants, I also made a padded stool cover and a couple of cushion covers to help make his room all co-ordinated . I also bought a football lightshade to finish of the room.

Above is a photo of the curtain I made.

Friday 18 February 2011

Glass Painting

glass painting
Above are the two glasses mentioned.
Today I have been learning how to paint glass. I have never done this before, so I was quite excited to have a go. A glass painting lesson was given to a group of us who attend a weekly community coffee morning. At our coffee morning we like to do a few different crafts, mainly card crafts and some ladies also do knitting and crocheting. The lesson was lead by the lovely Lesley who helps run the coffee morning.

The only things needed for our glass painting lesson were: glass paints, glass liner (pen), paintbrushes, a glass (eg tumbler) and a tray to mix paints onto.
Firstly, I painted the large glass, I used a black glass liner to make the outlines of flowers and butterflies. I then waited for this to dry for about 10 minutes. Once dry I then coloured inside the lines with different coloured glass paints. I then coloured the bottom of the glass with a green paint. The glass liner is used to keep the paints inside the drawn picture, so not to spread out and mix.

Then I painted the tumbler, I coloured this without using the liner. I simply painted in some of the squares with different colours and allowed this to dry for about 10 minutes. Then I went over the whole glass with a yellow paint. Because I didn’t use a glass liner, some of the colours ran into each other, but I didn’t mind for this project.

It was not easy to draw a neat line on a curved glass, but with practice you would get better. For me I noticed that some of the colours had run, but again with practice you would know exactly how much paint is needed on your brush, to get the right effect. However, even though it wasn’t perfect, I was very pleased with my first attempt. I would definitely like to try to do this again sometime, it was great fun.

I placed a candle into the tumbler, so that I could use it as a candle holder.  This is a great craft to upcycle some of your old non-matching glasses you have in your cupboards.

Thursday 17 February 2011

Arm Covers and Remote Control Holder

arm covers chair
My gran asked me to make some arm covers for her chair and settee. They were both different sizes and the standard shop ones would not be suitable. She wanted me to make them from some spare material left over from her curtains, so that they would be co-ordinating .

Above is a photograph of one of the arm covers.
I searched the internet for tutorials and then followed their basic instructions, but with a slight variation. I wanted my gran’s armcovers to be tucked under the seat cushion so that they didn’t slide off, so I made one length longer for each one.

Here is a link to the tutorial that I used as a basis.
remote control arm cover
There was still plenty of material left over after doing all her chairs and settees, that I decided to make her a matching remote control holder. She already had one at the side of her armchair, but it did have a tendency to slip off. I made two remote control holders (for both sides of her armchair) and added an extra piece of fabric to join them together. This extra piece of fabric does not need to match as this would be hidden underneath the seat cushion.
I made sure that when I measured the extra piece of fabric it would ensure that the remote control holders which were on each side of the armchair were at the right position. Because the main fabric is underneath the seat cushion, this makes sure that the remote control holders do not slip off, as did her previous one. This is much better for my gran as now she has a choice of which side to put her remotes.

Wednesday 16 February 2011

Handmade Sewing Machine Bag

sewing machine bag handmade
When I first started sewing, I would borrow my mother’s sewing machine. This was an old machine which had a hard plastic cover with a carry handle. The handle made it easy to transport to different places, the only downside was that the machine was very very heavy!.

When I received my own very first sewing machine (a birthday present from my husband) it didn’t have a case to help protect it, or for me to be able to carry it to different places.

At the time I had started to attend a small sewing group that were specialising in making curtains. Everyone had to bring along their own sewing machine as the venue was just inside a church hall. I knew that I needed to have a carry bag for my sewing machine. I had struggled somewhat with my mother’s machine when transporting it, and also having to carry other bags! So, I decided I wanted a strong shoulder strap handle so that my hands were free to carry the fabrics.

I decided to make my own bag with some materials I already had. I decided to use some lovely strawberry design vinyl cotton material that I had purchased from ‘Dunelm Mill’. This fabric was just sitting waiting for a project. I also used some spare carpet remnants to be used as a filler for the sides. This carpet would be beneficial to strengthen the bag and also add protection for any bumps to the sewing machine when being transported. I used some bright material for the lining, again that I already had at home.

I used the same vinyl material (I think this is also called oilcloth) as this was quite strong, for the shoulder straps. I also added an inside pocket into the bag, this comes in useful to keep notes or loose threads etc. I attached press stud fasteners to the closing flap of the bag. I have a small handheld fixing tool for applying these.

I use this bag to store my sewing machine in, whilst it is in the house, and also for when I need to take it outside to other venues. It makes it so much easier transporting the machine with a bag that has a shoulder strap. I had previously looked at purchasing a bag, but I could not find any with shoulder straps. And the normal sewing machine bags sold in the shop were also quite pricey. Now I have exactly what I wanted, at a fraction of the price. I have had this bag for over 4 years now and it is still going strong!

Tuesday 15 February 2011

Child's Arm Sling - Upcycling

Over a year ago my youngest daughter broke her arm (unbelievably she did this when playing in the soft play!).

After a visit to the hospital, they put a lovely bright pink chalk on her arm, and supplied me with a blue band sling. As soon as we got home I realised that this sling just wasn’t suitable for a toddler. It is a standard issue sling, which is given to children and adults.  I have attached a photo of the blue sling at the bottom of this blog.  It never stayed in place, it just kept slipping of everytime she was walking about.  Also, it didn’t really blend in with her many pink outfits!  I don't think she owned any blue clothes apart from a pair of blue jeans, and those were not worn that often.
Opposite is a clearer photo of the pink sling on its own.  The straps look small, beacuse they are tucked into the shoulder padding. I searched the internet for ideas about how to make a sling. I couldn’t find any tutorials or patterns for what I wanted.  There were however, a few sites that sold some lovely slings with great fabrics suitable for children.

I took my inspiration from the photographs online and came up with my own design. I didn't want one of the many cartoon character type fabrics which are most common in the children's slings. My sling, obviously had to be pink.

Looking at the photographs, I could tell that this wasn’t really a difficult task, they are simply shaped and sewn as a bag (except you leave one side open for your arm to rest out. I had a lovely pink top which I had bought for my eldest daughter, but she never wore because the fitting wasn’t very good. I used this top to make the bag part of the sling. I then used some other pink material to make the adjustable handle. I didn’t have any fasteners, so I sewed on a few buttons and a button hole so I had a choice of adjusting the length. These were hidden under the moveable shoulder padding I made. For the padding I used matching pink material and used wadding to pad it out. I also added a couple of press studs to fasten the sling so her arm was a bit more secure.

My daughter loved her new matching sling. I decided to make another one so that she can alternate. This time I made a nice yellow one. I used an outgrown yellow summer dress that had belonged to her, as the main part of this sling and for the straps. Photos of this sling are above.

I didn’t take many photos of her when she originally broke her arm, so a few photos here are recent photos of my daughter without the chalk on. I took these for demonstration purposes.

The photo below is the original blue sling that the hospital had provided for her.

Monday 14 February 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone. Here in the UK we don’t really do any crafts for Valentines Day. I love looking at the websites in the US because they are full of ideas of sewing projects for Valentines. I didn’t want to miss mentioning that it was Valentine’s Day so I thought I would just add a short Valentine's blog alongside my other blog of the day: Summer dresses.

Opposite is a photo of a heart cushion that I made quite a few years ago, it is the only Valentine’s related project that I can think of, that I have done. The photo shows my eldest daughter when she was just a pre-schooler, holding the heart shaped cushion.  I made it with a red/wine coloured type of velvet material.

Sewing Children's Clothes: Summer dresses with Matching Headbands

 handmade summer dress
Opposite is a picture of two matching dresses I made for my daughters. I didn’t follow any pattern, I simply followed the design of other dresses that the children owned and that I knew fitted them perfectly. I bought the material in the sale at the Dunelm Mill store in the fabric section (they should have a small choice of clothing fabrics). These dresses were lovely and bright and great for the summer.

I had forgot about these, because they had outgrown them. However my youngest is older now, and can fit into the dress I had originally made for my eldest daughter.

At the time my eldest daughter would like to wear the same matching clothes as her little sister. Not now however. They both love Hello Kitty and the colour pink, but I always have to make sure that I buy different items of clothing for them.

Above is a photograph of my youngest now wearing the dress that had originally belonged to her big sister. She is also wearing the matching headband that I had made to go with the dresses. Unfortunately I didn’t show these matching headbands in the original photo with the dresses. My youngest enjoyed being my model for the day.

I know it isn’t summer yet but I thought I would put these photographs on my blog, so to brighten up my day and maybe yours too!

Sunday 13 February 2011

Hot and Cold Packs

hot and cold packs
These are frequently used in my house and I always make sure that I keep a couple stored in the freezer door.

These hot/cold packs are great for aches and pains and can be either placed in the freezer for a cold pack, or in the microwave for a heat pack. I mainly use these as a freezer pack for when I have a migraine.  I keep two there, so that I can alternate between them. They are also used as a cold pack for when the kids have a temperature or a bump on the leg. In our house they are used in the microwave to ease stomach cramps or any other aches.  Everyone has a different preference, some people prefer a heat pack for migraine, you decide yourself how you want to use these packs.

You can also make miniature versions to be used as ‘pocket warmers’. My son made a couple of these last year. He would heat them up in the microwave before he set off for school, and then place them into his coat pockets. Every now and again he would put his hands in his pockets for a warmth, very useful in the winter months!

You can also make larger versions of these. I have never made any personally, but I have seen patterns online to make neck rice packs. These are long and can be draped over your neck or your limbs. I have even seen some made as a feet warmer to go in your bed.

These are very simple to make, as I mentioned my 12 year old son even made some. All you need is some cotton fabric and a filler (either rice, wheat or barley), I personally always use plain uncooked rice. As an option you can add a fragrance such as lavender.

I also make covers as an extra option, the reason being you can’t wash the rice filled pack. I make a simple slip cover to fit over, so that I can wash the cover occasionally. Here is one of the many links to websites that offer tutorials for these packs.

Why not have a go at sewing one of the options that I have mentioned above.

Saturday 12 February 2011

Fabric Liners for baskets or boxes

 fabric liners boxes
Fabric liners are great to cover wicker baskets or other storage boxes. I have even made many fabric liners to cover plain cardboard boxes! I call them slipcovers, I don’t know if there is a different technical name for them. One of the photos above shows a cover I made for a wicker basket that was in my daughters’ room. She used it to keep some of her books in, but she kept scratching herself on the sides. Now she can use her storage box with no problems.
Satin covered box
I have made storage boxes out of ordinary cut to size cardboard boxes available free from many local shops. Once the box has been decorated with nice fitted fabric over it, you can’t tell that it is only a cardboard box. I normally strengthen the box side by putting parcel tape on the sides of the boxes to stop them from coming away, I learnt this the hard way! I use cardboard boxes a lot in my house for cheap and easy storage.
I have one box (photo above) covered in a lovely purple satin material that I keep in the main hallway to store all the family’s hats. I also have some boxes to store under small tables for the kids toys.

Wardrobe box
The photo opposite is a close up of one of the boxes that I use on the shelves in my son's wardrobe (see below)The photo opposite is a close up of one of the boxes that I use on the shelves in my son's wardrobe (see below).

One of my biggest projects was for my son’s bedroom. He had one of them 6 shelf hanging wardrobe organisers in his wardrobe. The only problem being every time he took out an item of clothing from one of the shelves, the other clothes would tumble on the floor and he would just scrunch them back into the space and whinge about it.

After a visit to Ikea one day, I noticed that they had similar shelves with fabric covered drawers in them. The cost was a bit pricey for the whole lot and the boxes themselves were not the right size for his shelves. Then I thought why not make my own – so I did.

I found a style of box that was perfect width and depth. The only problem was the height, but that was simple to fold down/ cut down to the right height.
At the time he had a bedroom in a jungle theme, so I made drawers using jungle style material (upycled from curtains). For these drawers I made them slightly different from normal slipcovers. I made these covers so that they were a bit longer, so that I could fold the bottom underneath the boxes and hand sew them so that the fabric is secured to the boxes. This prevents the covers from falling off.

I also added handles onto the fronts of the covers so that my young son could easily pull the drawers out of the shelf. These are great and keep his clothes all neat and organized. Even though he doesn’t have a jungle themed bedroom any more, he still has these boxes in his wardrobe.
It goes to show that even though I made these drawers from cardboard boxes they can last quite a few years! I didn't manage to find a tutorial for this project, so I had to make my own design. Just make sure that you measure all the sides of the boxes that you need material for and add a little extra for hems and then sew them together in a way that it will slip over the storage box. It would probably be helpful to draw your plan onto paper so that you know which sides need to be sewn together.

Friday 11 February 2011

Sewing Children's Costumes - Strawberry Shortcake

Every year my children’s school celebrates ‘World Book Day’. The younger children in the school are all invited to dress up as a book character.
Last year my daughter decided to dress up as ‘Strawberry Shortcake’. I always like to make something myself so that it is original, not just the usual shop bought costume.
I only had to design a hat and a bag for this costume. Luckily she had a pair of blue trousers and a suitable top in her wardrobe. I searched the internet for ideas on how to make my own hat as I had never made one before. There are quite a few tutorials out there to choose from.

strawberry shortcake hat
The basic materials needed to make this hat were: some cardboard for the rim, some ribbon and some nice pink fleece (which I already had), red and green fabric pens to hand draw a few faded strawberries onto the fleece.

To make the bow I used a few ribbons stitched together, so to make a nice large bow for the front of the hat. I then glued a vinyl strawberry onto the ribbon, which was then sewed onto the front of the hat.
It was my daughter who actually made the strawberry shaped bag. She used a sewing pattern from one of her children’s’ magazines. I had another spare vinyl strawberry , which was glued to the front of the finished bag. 
To finish her transformation, I drew some freckles on her face with an eyeliner pencil.
She returned home happy, with first prize for the best costume in her class!

Thursday 10 February 2011

Where to find cheap fabric

This is my own list:

1 Donated items from family and friends
2 Market stalls
3 Charity Shops / Thrift Shops
4 Car Boot Sales
5 Back yard sales
6 Fabric shop sales
7 Online Stores

Send the word round to your friends and family that you are keeping a fabric stock for sewing projects and that any donations are welcome. This can be clothing, sheets, curtains etc.

2 Visit outside markets. They normally have stalls that sell end of roll material, which is generally much cheaper than if you bought this from fabric shops. Also some stalls may have clothes or material that you can make use of for your projects.

3 Charity Shops / Thrift Shops are a great place to find some bargains if you are willing to spend time searching. I have written a blog article just about this topic (dated 29 January 2011).

4 Car Boot Sales – You can find a lot of bargains at Car Boot Sales. There will normally be a choice of new and old items here.

5 Back Yard Sales are quite popular over in the US but I have never seen or been to one in the UK! Here you can find some really good bargains if buying sheets or curtains.

6 Fabric Shops normally always have sales occasionally or some stores have a bargain section where they always have some rolls of fabric at reduced rates. The nearest large stores nearest me is Dunelm Mill and Hobbycraft. The other store I like to shop at is a local family run business store that have a great choice, this is Dainty Supplies Ltd this is their website (

7 Online Stores are becoming a lot more popular. I must admit I have never bought any fabric online, but I do know a lot of people do this. Apparently they can be very reasonable.

There may be some others I have missed but these are the main ones that I personally know about.

Wednesday 9 February 2011

Make an apron from a dress - Upcycling

The photo I have used for this article shows a project of a dress that was donated to me from a family member who no longer needed it.  It was an excellent design to make into an apron for a family friend of mine. Aprons are my main project for upcycling clothes.

The first time I made an apron from clothing was for myself. I had a lovely long flowing skirt, which got torn in the washing machine and was unrepairable. However there was still plenty material left on the skirt to be useful. I used the bottom front part of the skirt (this was the undamaged part) for the skirt part of the apron. I then made the apron front (chest square) from the same material. I then attached these together. The material at the back was long enough to make the straps for the apron too, so I didn’t need to have to use up my apron straps that I had purchased from the fabric shop. I also had enough to add a front pocket to the apron. For this project I didn’t need to use any other fabric, just the skirt!

It wasn’t a particularly hard project, but it made me think that if I had a dress to make into an apron it would be a lot easier and quicker. Obviously the style of the dress makes a difference. So now I look at dresses that normally have a wide waistband and that have straps (not sleeves). Also if a dress already has long straps at the waist for tying in a bow at the back this saves making your own waist straps. I normally sew my own straps if I have enough matching material, however straps can be bought in many fabric shops by the metre.

The photo I have used for this blog was one of the dresses that makes this task so quick and easy. Here are my quick steps showing you how I transformed this particular dress into an apron.:

Step 1: Unpick the front of the dress from the back of the dress.

Step 2: Sew up all the hems around the apron skirt.(I didn’t need to change size)

Step 3: Re-attach the waist straps to the apron.

Step 4: The neck straps of the dress were sewn together to make one strap to go over the neck.

Step 5: Make a pocket from the material from the back of the dress and sew to the apron skirt.

That was it, very easy, very quick and totally unique!

Tuesday 8 February 2011

Sun Lounger Cushion Cover

Unfortunately I didn’t have any photos of the cushion before the makeover. This is my mums sun lounger, the original cover was pretty much threadbare but the cushion itself was saveable.

I was in the Ikea shop when I noticed the material, I thought it looked like the old style deck chair material. It was in the sale section, only about 2 metres left on the roll. I automatically thought of my mum’s sun lounger. I bought the last 2 metres immediately because it was so cheap and I thought if she didn’t like it, then I could find some other project for it. However she agreed it would be ideal for the sun lounger.

When I designed the cover, I mainly followed the pattern of the original cover. I did however add extra large pieces to the back of the bottom and top, so that the cushion would slip over the frame and stay in place. The original one had a habit of slipping off the frame!

My mum is pleased with her new looking lounger. This saved her a lot of money because the cost of replacing the cushion alone would have cost about 10 times more than the price I paid for the fabric, and a new cushion wouldn’t be exactly the same size. So a great bargain in all. At the time I never found any tutorials on the internet. The nearest type of tutorial for sunlounger cushions I have just found recently is on the following website:‐recover‐chaise‐lawn‐lounger_.html

The above mentioned website doesn't cover making extra flaps that I used to ensure that the cushion stays on the frame, but it does cover the basics of how to make a sunlounger cushion cover.

Monday 7 February 2011

Sewing With Children

My daughter has requested this blog. She has been begging me to mention her and show off her own work. She loves doing crafts and occasionally she does sewing too. I taught her to use the sewing machine about 2 years ago when she was 6, she has since made some lovely things. She loves to make her own headbands and she has also made herself and her friends some aprons. I have attached two photos on this blog and have promised her that I will try to place some more of her and her projects in future blogs.

I know some parents are a bit nervous to allow their children to use the sewing machine but I also know some parents who have 4 year olds using sewing machines. I think it depends on each individual child and you need to judge for yourself if you think they are capable.

Sunday 6 February 2011

Teddy Bear Felt Craft

teddy bear felt craft
My daughter was making crafts this week. She was given a gift from a friend, ‘Easy to Make Felt Teddy Bear’. It came in a box with all the parts included. My daughter busily blanket stitched around the two teddy bear body felt pieces, leaving a gap to then fill with stuffing, then sewed the opening closed. Then she used the glue to decorate the bear with eyes, mouth etc. She also made a lovely bag using plaited straps made with wool. It was a great project that kept her busy for a couple of hours. Her youngest sister also had the crafts out and sat at the dining table and made some lovely mess too.
Below are a few photographs I took of this project.


Table Tent For Kids

table tent upcycle
Kids love to make tents in the house using blankets and sheets which are thrown over the furniture. I remember doing this myself as a child, which seems an eternity away! I have spent many years putting these tents together for my three kids and spent forever putting them back together once they collapse because one of them has pulled at the sides. The last time I did this, I got so upset because they were shouting at each other blaming each other for knocking the tent over. I thought to myself, there must be an easier way to do this, and that is when I thought about a fitted tent. I went online to get some inspiration and couldn’t believe the amount of table tent tutorials there were on the internet. Most of them were for the classic Card Table Tent. I however needed a large tent to cover my large dining room table. I took ideas from the various tents I had seen and came up with my own design.

I had two single quilt covers spare which were similar in design and thought these would be perfect for the tent. I didn’t really think about making it look nice just as long as it fitted over the table. However I did try my best to make it look acceptable. Some tents on the internet look like real miniture houses with their own letter boxes and door numbers! My tent however, was just going to have a quick simple design.
I had the material for the basic sides and top of the tent from the quilt covers. I also used an old brown skirt that had belonged to my eldest daughter for the front door. I put the door on one of the longest sides and then I used press studs for fasteners to keep the door open if needed. The door just rolls up to open and unrolls to close.
I also added a window to each of the short sides of the table so that the kids could look out of the tent. Once I had made the tent the kids also decided that they wanted curtains added to the windows. I made some curtains with some other spare material and fastened these to the tent in a way that they could be left open or closed. The kids can now have privacy!

I also added some large pockets to the inside of the tent. These come in handy for the kids to put their books or toys into.
I keep this tent folded up inside a bag and I keep it handy for when the kids want to play with it. It is so simple to just take out and throw over the table, and also to fold up and put away. And the best part, it never collapses which keeps me and the kids happy!

You can find many tutorials on the internet just do a search for 'table tent tutorials'.

Saturday 5 February 2011

My Crafting Passion

I love crafting, I think I have always been interested in this since I was young. However, I never had much time to pursue this.

One of my earliest memories of sewing something was when I refashioned a long skirt that I owned. I simply cut this skirt into a short skirt and hand sewed the hem. I remember at the time feeling great, because I knew none of my friends would be wearing the same outfit!

Another memory was my DIY table. When I moved into my first apartment I didn’t have a table to put my hifi onto. I did however have a large strong box which used to hold my new TV. I used this as my table for over a year, I simply placed a nice throw over the box and nobody had a clue that it was only a cardboard box.

It has only been the last few years that I have been able to pursue my crafting. Once I became a SAHM (stay at home mum) which was 5 years ago now, I started sewing a few small projects. I used to borrow my mum’s old sewing machine for my projects. Then after a year of using my mum’s machine my husband bought me a new sewing machine as a surprise birthday present for me. This then made it easier for me to do more sewing projects.

Once my youngest turned 3 last year and she started nursery, I then had a bit more time on my hands to do more projects. This was when I started using the computer more for designing my own birthday cards and calendars for my family and friends. I also used the computer a lot for doing research on my family tree, I spent a whole year investigating the family tree and found out quite a lot of interesting facts about the family. I occasionally still do this, but only when I feel in the right mood.

I also love organizing. I live by my charts, forms and diaries. I design all my own charts and diaries and I use these on a daily basis. I always carry with me a small diary/notepad with me at all times. I never used to be so organized, but after I had my third child I had to start some kind of organizer, because there were so many things going on with each child that I was just overwhelmed. I had experience of making forms and charts when I used to be employed, so I knew the basics. I started with simple planners, but every year I have always ended up updating them to accommodate all the changes that occur. Children have such busy lives these days!

Thursday 3 February 2011

Personalized Cushion / Pillow

personalized cushion pillow
Above is a photograph of a cushion cover that I made. My daughter’s friend had a birthday a while back and I needed a quick present for her. I didn’t have time to go out to buy anything special, so I decided to make her a present with things that I already had lying around in the house. I chose to upcycle again. I had some lovely yellow material, which was from an old child’s quilt cover. I had a spare cushion too so I decided to use this as stuffing for the cushion cover.

I made this project as an all in one, meaning I didn’t leave an opening to remove the cushion cover. I used the cushion that I was using as a template. Once I knew the size of the cushion, I then made a pattern on paper, but with extra so that I would have a wide edge all the way around the cushion. For the front I used two pieces of material and also used another choice of material to make the applique letters that I attached. The back was just one sheet of the same material.  I printed the name onto the computer and then printed the individual letters out onto paper. I then cut these letters out of the paper and placed them onto the material I was using for the appliques. I then cut out the letters from the material and placed them onto the middle of the cut out cushion cover. I pinned these down and then sewed these letters on using a zigzag stitch. I won’t go into details about how I put the rest of the cushion together, I probably didn’t do it the correct way, because I didn’t copy from a tutorial. I just made it up as I went along, but the outcome was great, so I am not complaining, Normally I will follow a free tutorial that I find on the internet, but I couldn’t find one suitable this time.

You could just buy an ordinary pillowcase and unpick the edges and sew on some appliqued letters. Once you have finished sewing the letters on you can just machine stitch the edges again! Quite simple really. I liked the idea of giving the present with a cushion in it, just so that they can use it straight away. Kids love to get things with their names on, and even us adults too!

Wednesday 2 February 2011

Woodwork Crafts

woodwork crafts
Above is a photograph of the woodwork projects that my son designed.

It makes a change to have a craft blog which involves my son. He rarely dabbles in crafts, so it is nice to write up an article about his work.

Last week my son attended a school woodwork class. This was a free class, which was put on during the school holidays for any of the school pupils to attend.  These classes are great for both the parents and the pupils.  I had a little more quiet time and he got to enjoy himself for a couple of hours! I say quiet, mind with my other two girls also at home, that was a bit of a wish, rather than a true statement.
Opposite is a closer photograph of his ramp.

He also made a small wooden bench at home, to go with the theme for his ramp.  He placed his skateboards and bike alongside  his ramp to give a good photograph. There maybe an artist inside him yet, he just hasn't realised!
He made 3 items at school in total.

1 – A small box with a lid. (painted green)

2 – A Hedgehog Pencil holder (varnished)

3 – Ramp (coloured red and black)

Opposite is a close up of his hedgehog pencil holder.  It was actually his idea to take a photograph with the pencils inside for better effect. Now, he is impressing me with some artistic behaviour!

Because he is only 12, it was the teacher who actually cut the wood. His role was glueing all the wood together, and then painting these with varnish or paint. He was allowed to leave his work overnight to dry, and collect them the next day.

He was really pleased with his work and made instant use of his skateboard / bike ramp!  Being his mum, I was also pleased with his work, well done!

Upcycling Making a Dog Bed

dog bed cot mattress
My mum had two old foam cot mattresses which were of no use to her anymore. She also has a couple of dogs (Chihuahuas) that could do with a nice bed to lie on during the evening! So I decided to make a nice large posh bed for them to lie on! Unfortunately, I didn’t take any photos of the transformation, but I will try to explain briefly how I did this. I already had some spare material in the house so used this to cover the foam parts. For the quilt, we just used two dog patterned blankets sewn together to make a quilt cover and placed inside this an old small cot quilt. The base of the dog bed was one of the complete mattresses. For the sides I used one of the cot mattresses and cut pieces to the sizes I needed. (To cut the foam I used a bread knife!) I used velcro on the covered sides of the cut foam so that the three pieces were attached together, and the three pieces were also attached with velcro to the main mattress.
My mum can keep this under her bed during the day, and then bring it out at night for the dogs to sleep on. I made openings on the mattress cover and quilt cover, so that these can be removed and washed in the washing machine. There was some foam left over from this project so I used this to make a garden bench cushion! See photo below.