Tag Archives: DIY

Friday finds – a list of Geeky gifts to make

While I was reading the Gifts for Geeks list of Handmade Holiday gifts posted at Sew Mama Sew I realised that the chicks and I like a lot of geeky things! Which prompted me to pull together the following list of ideas that I have collected for gifts to make for the people in your life who love geeky things! Our geekdom stretches beyond Dr Who, Star Wars, and Lego but I have stuck to our favourites!

Dr Who
Being a woman-of-a-certain-age I remember watching Dr Who in my teens, when it was a BBC production, when Tom Baker was the Doctor and when, having a choice of only 2 television channels at the time (it was North Queensland in the early 80’s) we regularly were in trouble with the nuns for being late for dinner, as Dr Who finished a few minutes after the dinner bell went. Now my eldest chick watches it and it is slick and shiny and has a much bigger budget, but the basics are still there! Time Lords, TARDIS time machines, travelling companions, and the occasional Dalek. Luckily the resurgence of it’s popularity means that there are piles of tutorials on how to make things for fans!

Although I haven’t had any luck finding ‘licensed’ Dr Who fabric, there are quite a few “police box’ designs available through Spoonflower that can be used to make great gifts, like the messenger bag I made!

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Dr Who snow flakes tutorial

Free Printable Doctor Who Stencils

Printable Colouring Pages – Doctor Who

Tardis Garden Shed – Build your own – Gadgetizer
Tardis Garden Shed

DIY Tardis Bag – Quiet Nerdy Thing

How to Paint the inside of a glass ornament – Hey Hey Heather K

DIY Tardis Shoes – PS

Dr Who Sewing Kit – Craftster

Dr Who Free Crochet patterns – Moogly
Doctor Who Crochet Patterns - all free! Grab your hooks and allons-y!

Star Wars

Once again my age is an advantage in understanding Star Wars.  I remember going to the cinema to see the first movie.  We went into the city, and it was very exciting.  When the next two movies came out we were living on an island in the Pacific that didn’t have a cinema with proper movie releases (although there seemed to be an abundance of Kung Fu movies available to watch in a shed near the beach!).  When the next three were released I was busy with babies and didn’t see them.  Despite that I have developed a great knowledge of all the movies as my son is quite taken with them, and all things related to them!

If none of thesetutorials grab your fancy, there is a great range of Star Wars fabric available and you can use it to make bags, hats, skirts, pillowcases, etc!

DIY Star Wars Christmas Ornaments – DIY Geekery

Soft cuddly Chewbacca – Draw Pilgrim

Star Wars Stencils – Grrl

Star Wars stencils

Star Wars Snowflakes – Matters of Grey

Stormtrooper snowflake templates!

Star Wars Egg Ornaments – Instructables

Lightsabers made from pool noodles – Bit Rebels

DIY Star Wars Pillow – Craftiness is not Optional

Star Wars Peg Dolls – Pink and Green Mama

Free Star Wars Crochet Patterns – Moogly

Free Star Wars Crochet Patterns - Roundup on Moogly!

Lego

Lego was an important part of my childhood.  My grandmother would always bring some back from any trips to the Netherlands (there were only a few grandchildren at that stage – now it would break her bank!).  My mother still has all of our Lego and it has been used by all the grandchildren too.  Now my children love Lego.  They have the themed sets – Star Wars, Chima, Harry Potter, City, Ninjago, Pirates of the Carribean, the Hobbit (not ALL of them obviously) but they also have just general bricks and it is rare for them to use the patterns – they build using their imagination.  The tutorials below include ideas to store Lego bricks, ways to use bricks to make things, or making other items that look like Lego bricks.

Lego Earrings – Coupons Are Great

make-Lego-earrings

Lego Key hanger – Felix Grauer

LEGO DIY Key Hanger by Felix Grauer in style fashion home furnishings  Category

DIY Lego Beanbags – One Artsy Mama

Train table to legl table – Over the Big Moon

Lego Ninja hat – We lived happily ever after

DIY Lego Storage Solutions – All Things with Purpose

Lego Cufflinks – Instructables

DIY Lego and art travel boxes – Repeat Crafter Me

DIY Lego magnets and necklace – She’s Called Claire

Lego Tray – That’s My Letter

Lego Spice Rack – Instructables

And finally – not a tutorial – but a lovely way of bringing all three themes together, this great picture from The Dalek Hugger

Stormtroopers and the TARDIS.

I hope that you find something suitable to make for the geeks in your life!

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Tutorial – A cross body bag

Despite my intentions to prepare and post tutorials throughout the year, it has taken me quite a few months to actually sit down and write one up. I decided that if I was going to prepare one, it had to be for a bag that I like to make, and that I hadn’t already seen a tutorial for. So here we have my design for a cross body bag.  I love the versatility of these bags – great for slinging across your body when you are travelling, walking, shopping, or for having over your shoulder when you are feeling a bit more dressed up and business like!  The options for mixing and matching fabrics are endless – you can bling it up, or use recycled jeans, patchwork it, or have classy linen in muted tones.  As usual, the only limits are your imagination!

The qualifiers that I feel compelled to include up front include that the photos were taken at night with dodgy lighting, and then in the day with great natural light, so they aren’t terribly consistent in their quality.  Also, I made a couple of mistakes along the way – so I share those with you, and how I fixed them up.  The lesson – don’t copy me – learn from my trial and error!!  The pattern includes instructions for an outer pocket and an inner pocket – but of course I didn’t follow these instructions in making the bag in the photos, so the outer pocket photo is from a different bag, and the inner pocket is different dimensions….but you will get the drift – I promise!

Final dimensions – 9″ wide, 9″ long and 2″ deep.

Materials (in each case slightly more than you will need)
1/4 yard outer cotton
1/4 yard of inner cotton
1/4 yard fusible fleece (I like Vilene H604 as it is thicker and gives better body)
A magnetic snap (14mm or 18mm)
1 1/2 inch tri-glide strap adjustor and matching rectangle ring
Strong interfacing – 2 pieces approx. 2″ square (support for the magnetic snap)

Cutting pieces
Outer cotton
Body – rectangle 10 1/2″ x 21″
Flap – rectangle 10 1/2″ x 8 1/2″
Adjustable Strap – 2 x (1) 2″ x 10 1/2 plus 2 x (2) 2″ x 44″ (Width of fabric). (2 pieces – your choice whether you make it all from the outer fabric or a side from the inner)
Pocket – 5″ x 10″

Inner cotton
Body – rectangle 10 1/2″ x 21″
Flap – rectangle 10 1/2″ x 8 1/2″
Pocket – 2 x 8″ x 5″  (In these photos I used the outer fabric for the inner pocket – it provides a nice contrast, and highlights the process at the same time!)

Fleece (designed to be a bit smaller than the fabric to allow for tidy seams)
Body – rectangle 10 ” x 20 1/2″
Flap – rectangle 10 ” x 8″
Adjustable Strap 1 1/2″ x 10 1/2 plus 1 1/2″ x 44″

Notes on fabric
It is up to you whether you use all the same fabric for the inner and outer, or whether you mix it up and use the lining fabric for the outside pocket and the outer fabric for the inner pocket, whether you have a combination of fabrics on the strap, or just one. This one pattern can look very different through using very different fabrics. It is also a great pattern for embellishing with applique on the flap. I have made it using drill cotton, and quilting cotton. Using the fusible fleece gives it body and form, even when it is lightweight fabric.

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If you want to make a standard strap, without the adjustable slides, then just use the 44″ width, without the shorter piece. The magnetic snap is optional – but I find it useful to be able to close the bag for a bit of added security.

In this pattern the orange Chinoiserie (by Anna Griffin) is the outer, and the green millefiori (by Kaffe Fassett) is in the inner.

Instructions
1. Fuse the interface (the 2″ x2″ pieces) to the outer body piece, and the inner flap piece.  This interfacing is for providing support to the magnetic snap.

For the outer body piece, the interfacing will be attached to the wrong side of the fabric, so that it covers the point 7″ from the top of the piece (the top is the 10 1/2′ width), and half way across. (I usually just fold it length wise to find the middle, then put the piece of interfacing across the half way mark. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

For the inner flap, the interfacing will be attached to the wrong side of the fabric, 9″ from the top of the flap (or 1 1/2″ from the bottom!), and half way across.  (The flap is 8 1/2″ wide and 10 1/2″ long). When determining which is the ‘top’ of the flap, consider the direction of any pattern – the snap will be at the bottom of the flap, so at the bottom of any directional print.

2. Fuse fleece to wrong side of outer fabric – body of the bag, the flap, and the strap. The fleece will cover the piece of interfacing that you have attached to the wrong side of the outer body.

3. Sew the strap. Place the wrong sides of the two short pieces together, and sew down either side with a 1/4″ seam.

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Turn inside out. Press the strap flat, with the seams flat, and top-stitch along both sides approximately 3/8″ from the edge. If you want to, you can stitch another row parallel to this, about the same distance in.  I usually turn the strap by attaching a safety pin and feeding it through the inside of the tube.  It can be a bit tight, but is manageable.
Repeat with the long strap pieces.

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4. To assemble the strap, fold the short piece in half, with the fabric that you want on the outer facing out. Slide the rectangle ring along the strap to the fold mark,

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then sew the ring in place securely, about 1/2″ away from the ring. (I normally use the edge of the presser foot as the guide.)

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Take the long piece of the strap, and fold it over the middle bar of the tri-glide buckle, and sew it down, tucking the raw end of the strap under to make it neat.  I normally sew a bit of reinforcing at this point.

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Then take the other end of the long strap, and slide it through the d-ring on the short piece, then back through the tri-glide buckle, going over the fabric attached to it.

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You now have your strap in one piece. If my pictures and description aren’t great then this tutorial by Nicole M Design is very helpful!

5.  The next step is to make your pockets.  For the outer pocket, fold the piece in half with the right sides together, so that you now have a 5″ square.  Sew along three sides, leaving a gap of about 3″ on one side, with a 1/4″ seam.  (The pocket in the photos is not the same dimensions, but the technique is the same.)

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Snip the corners carefully, then turn it inside out and press the seams flat.  Top stitch along the top of the pocket about 3/8″ from the edge.  (With a second line parallel to give it a nice finish if you wish.)

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This pocket will be attached to the rear of the bag, so you will be measuring from the opposite end that you measured for the interfacing.  I normally fold the pocket in half, and fold the body piece in half, so that I can line up the middle of the bag with the middle of the pocket.  Then measure 2 ” from the top of the bag, and, with the middle’s lined up, pin the pocket to the right side of the fabric.  Stitch along the side, across the bottom and back up the other side, making sure that you catch the seam that has been left open for the turning.  I normally try for about 3/8″ topstitching here too – and reinforce the tops of the pocket with a bit of extra stitching.  (I do love the reverse button on my machine for this!)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI didn’t put a pocket on the bag I was making for the tutorial – but here is a photo of one I prepared earlier!

6. For the inner pocket the process if similar.  Put the two pieces together with the right sides together, and stich around all four sides, again leaving a gap for turning it out the right way.  Carefully clip the corners without cutting the stitches, then turn it out, and iron the seams flat.  Top stich along the top of the pocket and then attach it to the inner body of the bag.  Again I like to match the middle by folding the pocket and the bag and then lining them up, 2 1/2″ from the top of the inner piece.

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Stitch down the side, along the bottom and up the other side, again reinforcing the stitching at the beginning of the stitching and the end.  Then stich a line from the bottom of the pocket to the top at the mid point mark, reinforcing the stitching at the top and bottom.  This then gives you two 4″ pockets which are the right size for slipping a phone into, or keys, etc.  (In this bag my piece was smaller than 8″ wide, because I was trying to use up pieces that I had already cut, so the pockets are 4″ and 3″.)

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7. Assemble the flap.  If you want to embellish your flap, this is the time.  Some ideas are to use a solid fabric that contrasts or compliments your main fabric, or to use the same fabric as your main fabric for the body of the flap, and then applique on to it.  Once this is done, then you will create the curve at the bottom of the flap.  To do this place the two flap pieces with their right sides together.  Fold the fabric in half lengthwise, and then mark a spot 2″ from the bottom outer corner up the side and 2″ along the bottom.  Using chalk draw a curve between these two points (there is no such thing as a wrong curve with an area this small), then cut it through the four layers of fabric.

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8.  Before you sew the flap together you need to insert your magnetic snap.  To do this, fold, or measure to determine the middle of the flap, and mark a spot 9″ from the top of the bag (or 1 1/2″ from the bottom!)

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Then take the round flat piece of metal that comes with the snap, and centre the middle hole over your mark.  Mark the two long pieces with pencil or chalk, then cut those two long marks with a seam ripper, or a box-cutter with a sharp blade.  Then place the non-magnetic piece of the snap on the right side of the fabric and pass the two prongs through the two cuts.

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On the reverse side now place the metal guide over the prongs, and then bend the prongs down into the centre of the snap as flat as you can.

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9.  Then place your inner and outer flap pieces, right side together, and stitch around the edges, using a 1/4″ seam.  Don’t sew across the top of the flap.  Clip the edges of the curve, without clipping the seam, then turn it inside out, and iron it flat, making sure that the seams are properly pushed out.  (I have a lovely enamel blue chopstick that I use for this purpose – part of a sushi set my sister gave me years ago!).

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Then top stich around the edge about 3/8″ from the edge.  Again, you can do a second row parallel in order to give it a nice finish.

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10.  Next is putting together the bag inner.  Fold the inner body piece in half width wise, with the right sides together, so that you end up with a square of 10 1/2″ by 10 1/2″.  Sew up the two sides, using a 1/4″ seam.  If you have an overlocker (serger) this is a good time to use it to finish off the seams for some extra stability.

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11.  Then you are going to square off the base of the bag.  To do this, fold the side seam of the bag so that it lies on top of the fold across the bottom of the bag.  This will leave you with a triangle from the corner of the bag.

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(This is the outer bag in the photo – because I forgot to photograph the inner!)

Measure, pin and mark the point where this triangle is 2″ wide, with the 1″ mark falling on the side seam.  Repeat for the other corner.  Then sew across the mark.  Clip the corner off about 1/2″ from the seam.

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12.  Before assembling the outer body of the bag, you need to insert the other half of the magnetic snap.  Following the same procedure as you used for the flap, mark the spot 7″ from the top of the bag.  (If you like to have a bit more room to fill your bag a bit more, then you could move it up to 6 1/2″.)  This time you are cutting through the fused fleece, the interfacing, and the fabric, and inserting the magnetic half of the snap.

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13.  Then fold the outer body piece in half, right sides together, and sew up the two sides, with a 1/4″ seam.  Then square off the two bottom corners using the same method as the inner, and measuring 2″ wide.

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14.  Once this is done, turn the outer part of the bag so that the right side is facing out.  (Starting to take shape isn’t it?!)

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Now is the time to attach that strap, so take one end and pin it so that it sits long the outside of the side seam of the bag, and reaches just over the top of the bag’s top edge.  The right side of the strap should be facing the right side of the bag.  That means that the top of the tri-glide buckle will be facing in towards the bag.

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Sew across the top of the strap about 3/8″ from the edge to secure it to the bag.  Then, making sure that the strap isn’t twisted, sew the other side of the strap to the other side of the bag.

15.  Next up is the flap.  Line it up so that the top of the flap sits next to the top of the bag, with the right sides facing each other.  The flap should fill the gap between the two straps, and should be sitting on the opposite side of the bag to the side with the snap, and over the external pocket if you added one.  Pin it in place then stitch along the edge of the point where they join, about 3/8″ from the edge.  (This is to hold it in place and then you will stitch over it again a couple more times.  The main thing here is to remember that the next seam needs to be wider than whatever you have used here, so that your initial holding stitch doesn’t show.)

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16.  Now comes the magical part where the bits come together and turn into something greater than the whole of their parts!  (So poetic!)  Put the outer of the bag inside the inner bag, with the right sides together.  Tuck the flap and the straps inside in between the outer and inner so that they are flat at the top of the bag.  I like to have the inner pockets on the opposite side from the outer pocket, so the inner pockets go on the side away from the flap.

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17. Match up the side seams and pin along the edges, easing if you need to so that the two bags match up.  Then stitch along the edge of the top, using a seam between 1/4″ and 1/2″ – remembering that you need to cover the earlier stitching of the straps and the flap.  Start about two inches away from the middle on the front (the side where the magnetic snap is, and the flap isn’t) and sew all the way around, stopping about two inches from the middle on the front.  (In other words leaving a gap of about 4″ at the top to allow room to turn the bag out to the right sides.) Add some reinforcing stitching over the two straps, and the edges of the flap.

18.  Now turn the bag right side out by pulling it through the gap in the stitching.  You should end up with something like this below.

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19.  Now tuck the inner down inside the outer and iron the top so that the seam is flat and the gap is turned under ready for top stitching.  Next comes the top stitching.  As you will see, there are two options for this.  I started by sewing all the way around the top of the bag, making sure to catch the gap and close it, by sewing on the outside of the bag.

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20.  Unfortunately when I inspected my handiwork I discovered that this had happened to the inner lining.

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The top stitching over the flap was messy, had caught up the lining, and generally didn’t look very tidy.  So I unpicked it and re-stitched, this time sewing on the inside of the bag.

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And the finished product was much neater!

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A quick press with the iron and hey presto – you have a bag!

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I can’t wait to see what combinations you come up with to make your own bags – or bags as Christmas presents!  If you want to put a zipped pocket on the inside – or outside for that matter – then this tutorial from U-Handbag is a great guide on how to do it.  (And using a contrasting lining is always a nice touch!)

If you want to make the bag larger, it is just a matter of adding to the width, the length, and/or the depth (by making a wider triangle across the bottom corners).  To keep the flap covering the bag, you need to make the flap the width of the bag, less the depth of the bag.  In this case the width was 10 1/2″, and the depth was 2″,  so the flap needed to be 8 1/2″ wide.

Please let me know if you have any questions, and if I have missed anything along the way!  Happy sewing! If you want to use this pattern to make bags for selling, please credit me with the pattern by stating “Pattern by Theresa van Gessel of alittlebirdmademe.com.

Friday finds – a list of gifts to make for a 7 year old boy (with links to free tutorials)

In a few weeks time the boy will be turning 7. Oh my! My baby is really not a baby anymore. And then it is a month until Christmas. (Now I need to lie down!) So it is time to start thinking about gifts. Again! I do love handmade gifts for my kids. Last Christmas the boy was very upset when he opened his Christmas Eve present and found a pair of pjs I had made him. “A fabric present?” he spat in horror. Once I had him calmed down I explained that I had made the pyjamas for him with my love, so that when he slept in them he was surrounded by my love. He has embraced the concept with relish and joy and is so excited to wear or use things that I have made him now, and reminds me that it means that he is carrying my love with him. But…… there is a limit to the number of gifts that you can sew for a boy, even one as gorgeous as mine, as they get older. And to be honest, for a girl too! But I am determined to find special things to make for my special boy, to complement the Lego I will no doubt give in and purchase for him……again.

This list is designed to work in the same way that the one for 9 year old girls worked – to help me filter through ideas and distill some of my own to suit my boy. (With the girls list I took the concept of a reading nook and adapted it to make curtains for the middle chick’s top bunk to give her a space of her own.) And hopefully it will help some of you with the holiday season creeping rushing up on us!

My boy may be extra energetic (truly hyperactive!) but I think that all boys this age need the ability to run around and make noise, and burn off energy.  So I have been thinking of gifts that will enable that.

Skateboard sling – The boy Trifecta  (You can tell that she is the mother of boys!!)

Water gun holster – The Boy Trifecta

I also think that a satchel, with an adjustable strap to be worn across the body, with lots of external pockets would be great for carrying Nerf guns and bullets, or going on an adventure, or a variety of other outdoor activities.  There are a number of patterns you could adapt to this by just adding pockets, but here are a couple of suggestions.

Toddler messenger bag – Kyle and Renae Hill

Messenger Bag – No Time to Sew

Of course if they are going to be outside, then a hat is a must.  Being able to personalise it will help.  (I am thinking that a Star Wars hat might be just the thing to encourage my boy to keep his hat on!)

4 in 1 Bucket Hat – Sew Much Ado

Sun Hat – April Cobb Designs

At 7 is he starting to think that he is a bit grown up, and to want control over his own ‘things’.  So it is probably time for his own wallet.  Both of these patterns look just right!

Basic Boys wallet – Noodlehead

Summertime wallet – The Purl Bee

wallet

Some games for indoors are required too.  I need to accept the reality that my chicks are going to play with their electronic games, in the mix of all the things that they do.  So a cover for a DS, and/or an iPod touch are always useful.

This one is in French – but you can translate it using google!  DS Wallet – By Gabs

Electronics cozy – Make it – Love it

He doesn’t have an iPad or Kindle, but if he did I would be using this pattern DiY Harry Potter Kindle Cover – Skip to the Details

to try and emulate this picture (which despite much searching I cannot find the originator of to give credit to.)

If I ask my boy what his favourite games or Lego are at the moment he will answer with one of the following – Star Wars, Ninjago, Chima, Spiderman, or Minecraft .  So this pillowcase might go down well!

Ninjago Pillowcase – Crazy Little Projects

Or I could get away with a soft toy if it looked like this!

Chewbacc Softie pattern – Draw Pilgrim

I could probably also get away with this!

Boyville tutorial and download – Lil Blue Boo

DIY superhero peg dolls with free download via lilblueboo.com

For when he has a group of mates over and they all need a light saber I love this concept!

Havoc and Mayhem

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Given the sheer volume of Lego that he already has, perhaps this is actually what is called for!

Lego Storage – Freshly Pieced

For quieter times (we can but hope) I think that these games would be great!

Take along games – Dana Made It

A place to sit and read (or in our case to wriggle and squirm) all of his own would also be good.

Bean Bag Chair – Alderwood quilts

Bean Bag Chair - Free Pattern.  www.AlderwoodQuilts.com

He does love his bath – joined by many action figures and Lego “guys”, so maybe his own bath stuff could be good too!

Boy Bath Bombs – Design Dazzle

Homemade Bubble Bath – eHow

Homemade Bubble Bath for Kids thumbnail

I also found this great idea on Pinterest – but cannot find the source.  Under the photo it says

“Science Experiment Tool Box! Made an 8 year old boy birthday gift with ingredients, supplies (all from the dollar store), & instructions for 4 experiments: make a lava lamp, balloon inflator, foam fountain, & gak (dragon slime).  I had some 7 year old help with the labels ☺. Thank you Science Bob!”

Science Experiment Tool Box! Made an 8 year old boy birthday gift with ingredients, supplies (all from the dollar store), & instructions for 4 experiments: make a lava lamp, balloon inflator, foam fountain, & gak (dragon slime).  I had some 7 year old help with the labels ☺. Thank you Science Bob! #scienceisawesome

In addition to the links that I provided in my post on the Science Party, the site referred to, Science Bob has a great list of experiments!

Ideas that have already been successful for him, but might be useful for you to consider:

Super Hero Cape – Ann Kelle

Fort Kit – Saltwater Kids

I have also previously made him a Jedi Knight cloak – and it is the source of much envy by his friends who visit.  I didn’t do this from a link, but used a pattern that I had already purchased and used to make Harry Potter robes (of course!).  Oh – that is another idea, as he does love his HP robe.  The pattern I use for these and other costumes is Simplicity 1583 – I just adjust the sleeve width depending on the character!

And finally, many of the ideas that I used for his sister in this List, would also work for him – just with different colours or fabric.

So – I hope that you can find some ideas in here for the young men in your life.  Now to narrow down the options for my boy, in time for his birthday!!

Friday finds – a list of DIY gift ideas for a 9 year old girl with links to tutorials

Oh dear. The middle chick turns 9 next week and I am drawing a blank about what to make for her (let alone buy for her!) Last year I made her bunting with her name on it, and a creativity suitcase. This year? I am just not sure! So I decided to prepare a list of the links I find and share them with you in an effort to find inspiration for myself! Let’s hope it works!

Hair accessories

These days my nearly 9 year old is very fashion conscious.  She puts together her own outfits with more style than many adults – layering colours, textures and different fabrics to create her own ‘look’.  I think that some hair accessories to assist in her styling wouldn’t be out of order!

Interchangable ruffle headband – Funky Polka Dot Giraffe

Hair accessories – Life and Grace

Hair Accessories – Style My Party

IP-HAIR-ACCESSORIES

Rolled Ribbon Rosette Hair Accessory – Mom Advice

Home décor

Part of developing her own style means that my nearly-nine year old is a ‘tween’.  So it is time to update the bedroom décor and let her have her own space to express herself.  Some of these accessories might just do it!

Alphabet cushion – Hobbycraft

Fabric covered magnetic board – Riley Blake Designs

Fabric buckets for storing ‘things’ might also be useful as part of a ‘makeover’ – see the list I prepared earlier! Friday Finds – a list of 23 tutorials for fabric baskets and buckets

Fabric Covered Pin Board – The 36th Avenue

Reading Nook – Club Chica Circle

Clothing

Hmmmm….. perhaps making her some things that fit her ‘style’ might work!  With summer coming on she definitely needs a new hat – and is very picky about what she will and won’t wear.  Perhaps if I make one with funky fabric that might work!

Reversible Bucket Hat – Oliver and S

The other thing about summer is that she wants to wear shorts – all the time.  So perhaps I need to make some of these for her (adjusted to her size of course!)

25 DIY shorts to try – Cameo Blog

Or a skirt?

25 Girls Skirts Tutorials – Every Little Day

Technology accessories

Like so many young people my tween has an embarrassment of electronic gadgets.  A cover to assist in protecting them would be just the ticket (and in fact now that I remember, something that she has been asking for!  Yes, yes – insert the embarrassed face of a forgetful mother here!)
Kindle Cover – Diary of a Young Teacher

Padded Gadget cover – Riley Blake Designs

Ipad Cover with wrap around Pocket – Sewn Up by Teresa Down

Under

Gadget Pouch – WhipUp

iPod Case – WhipUp

Kindle Keeper – Polka Dot Chair

And to assist with the earphones that I keep finding tangled in a heap!

Earbud Pouch – Erin Erickson

A list of iPad and Kindle cover tutorials – TipNut

Things of her own

My middle chick loves to have her ‘own’ things now rather than sharing in the communal household things.  She also loves to ‘borrow’ her mother’s heat pack for all sorts of imagined ills….. so maybe she needs her own!

 Heat Pack – Fellow Fellow

She does have a large amount of pencil cases, but when you are the artist-in-residence you can’t have too many!

Pencil roll – You Go Girl

Notebook Cover – Sew Up by Teresa DownUnder

Although she already has one of these, I need to share the link again as it is such a wonderful gift to make for an artist person!

Creative Suitcase – WhipUp

She does love to cook and create in the kitchen so perhaps this is required!

Chef’s Hat – WhipUp

My tween also likes to complain that she can’t sleep – so this would be a great addition to her accessories!

Sleep Mask – WhipUp

Shower Cap – WhipUp

The good news is that after spending the last hour or so preparing this list, I DO know what I am planning to make for my middle chick!  Now to see if I can pull it off before she returns from her holiday!  I hope that the list helped you a bit too!

Friday Finds – a list of 18 free tutorials for Diaper/Nappy Bags

Although we are a few days away from the official beginning of Spring, the weather has decided to anticipate the change a few days early, and it is beautiful!! The sort of weather where you want to be outside, pottering in the garden, going for walks and being energetic. I love it! Here’s hoping that it will last and not revert to the gloomy winter conditions again!

Today’s list of finds are well and truly for me to make as gifts, not for personal use! When I had my chicks I had a fabulous nappy bag (diaper bag for some) that my sister gave me – a black, quilted, backpack, lined in plastic lined materials, with great pockets. I found that having my hands free was wonderful. And it didn’t look like a nappy bag. I have written before that I think that diaper bags can be sophisticated, with no little duckies or teddy bears etc. Having this cool black bag meant that I felt a bit groovy instead of completely lost in motherhood. So it is with this in mind that I have collected these patterns for diaper bags. The ‘cool’ factor is defined by the fabric that you choose, and therefore only limited by your imagination!

Diaper Bag – Nap Time Crafters 

Easiest Nappy/Diaper Bag ever – Sew Christine 

Diaper Bag – My crazy beautiful life   

Diaper Bag – Prudently Painted Vintage 

2 in 1 Bag – Stroller Bag into Messenger Bag – Make it Love it

Diaper Bag with a Divider – Warehouse Fabrics

Diaper Bag – Sew Much Ado 

Simple Diaper Bag – Life on 19th

Hip Mama Diaper Bag – A Mingled Yarn

Diaper Bag – Sleep Owl Studio (with ideas on adapting the Hip Mama Diaper Bag)

Pretty Bird Quick Trip Diaper Bag – Sew 4 Home 

Diaper Bag with elastic pockets – Craftster

Diaper Bag – Crafty Couple 

Mod Diaper Bag – Vibrant Designs 

Anna’s Diaper Bag – CocoJ Designs 

Diaper Bag – Mommysewing

Angela’s Diaper Bag – Moda Bake Shop 

Baby on the Go Diaper Bag – Moda Bake Shop 

 

Friday finds – a list of 28 free tutorials for making skirts for grown ups

Well, the suspense is over. I have prepared a list of Friday finds after all. The collection this week is a list of tutorials for making skirts. For grown ups! While many of the patterns and theories and lessons can be used to make skirts for little people, the aim of these are skirts for big people. Like me! I am so over this winter and it’s dreariness. I keep looking at my cotton wrap skirts with longing. Waiting for the day I can wear them with bare legs and sandals. A list of patterns might keep me going until the season is right to wear them again. Or I might find one for a winter skirt! Let’s see.

Pleated wrap Skirt – Grand Revival Design

Paris Skirt The TutorialParis skirt – Nothing too fancy

Circle Skirt Maths explained – By Hand London

 Miranda Skirt Pattern – Pattern Scissors Cloth

All About the Skirt – Freckles in April 

Simplicity in a Pillowcase – Casa Crafty

Paperbag skirt pattern – Grosgrain Fabulous

How to draw a skirt pattern – Simply Modern Mom

Circle Skirt Pattern and Tutorial – The Ribbon RetreatCircle #skirt #pattern #tutorial by Kaysi on [http://www.craftskeepmesane.blogspot.com/] via, [http://www.theribbonretreat.com/blog/circle-skirt-pattern-tutorial.html]

Hemless a-line skirt – One Avian Daemon

Make your own full gathered skirt – Gertie’s Blog for Better Sewing 

Dana Wrap Skirt by Fitzpatterns | Sewing PatternDana Wrap Skirt – Craftsy

Everyday Skirt – iCandy 

15 free knee length skirt patterns – Fab n Free

Tutorial: A Pillowcase from fat quarters – with an ipod pocket.

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My eldest chick is turning 10 soon, and therefore, so are all her friends.  They seem so grown up, these double digit young people, and yet it seems like only yesterday that they were born.

The 10 year old girls are on the edges of sophistication, starting to decide what they like and don’t like, developing their own style, and identifying where the boundaries that need pushing are to be found.  Bodies are starting to change, relationships are starting to change, and yet they still retain an innocence that balances the ‘growing-up-ness’.  Whispered conversations about boys start to happen at the same time that little houses are being built for dolls, using boxes and tissue paper.   One of the minor questions that arises for parents (long after all the big ones about how to provide the right role modelling, and how to enable them to have the right balance of empowerment, respect, self worth and manners) is what to give them for birthday or Christmas presents.  This year I have hit upon the ‘designer’ pillowcase, with a pocket for an ipod, in an acknowledgement that many of them now set their own sleep time, no matter what bed time is set for them.  My daughter listens to audio books by Roald Dahl, Enid Blyton and JK Rowling (and I wonder why she has an English accent!).

So I decided to prepare a tutorial on how to make your own pillow case from fat quarters, with an optional ipod pocket, and an option to prepare it for a crocheted edge.  If you would like to make a pillow from yardage, rather than fat quarters, I have put in some notes to adapt it, but also recommend that you look at the excellent tutorial from You Go Girl,  as she does a much better job of explaining it than I do!

(Please bear with me as this is my first on-line tutorial and I am working on my photography!)

Materials

5 fat quarters of coordinating cotton fabric (or 1 yard of fabric).

Sewing thread in a coordinating colour (I prefer cotton but polyester will do the job just as well)

1 ½ inch of hook and loop fastener (if you are making the ipod pocket)

Tools

Pins, scissors, a sewing machine, a ruler.

Optional but nice to have – rotary cutter and mat, serger/overlocker, iron.

Process

  1. Throughout the tutorial I am going to assume that you are taking all the right steps like ironing seams open, and snipping threads.  (Even thought I sometimes take shortcuts on this, when I do these properly, the results are noticeably better, so I am trying to be good!)

2.  Prewash and dry all your fabric, according to the care instructions.  (NB If you accidently slip some other fabric into this wash that runs and dies the whole load another colour, say a very muddy navy colour for example, the product  Dylon Run Remover really does work to save this situation……just saying.)   Pre-washing helps to address any shrinkage before you begin to sew, and removes any sizing from the surface of the fabric. (Sizing is a product like starch that can be applied to the thread during the weaving process in making fabric.  It gives fabric an added stiffness required to prevent breakage in the manufacturing process, and can (very occasionally) cause some skin irritation, so washing it out before the fabric is used is advised…….and there endeth the sermon from the former law student who remembers cases about people getting rashes from wearing clothes before washing them!)

3.   Now, moving on to the important part – choosing the fabric combination.  This pattern gives you one large panel each on the front and back, one stripe of another colour on both front and back, a small panel with the optional pocket on the front, and a larger panel that folds to form the internal pillow pocket on the back.  I normally do a bit of layering of fabrics to decide which will be the feature fabric in the large panel on the front and back, then the stripe – which I usually make the same on the front and back, and a highlight for the smaller panels.

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In this tutorial I am using the same fabric (Riley Blake’s The Good Life) for the feature panel on each side of the pillow.  (Normally I use different panels on each side, but there are no rules for any of this – do what you think works with the fabric you have.)  I am using a solid purple for the stripe, aqua gingham for the back and internal pillow pocket, and aqua and green pin dots for the front and ipod pocket.  I am hoping that by using different fabrics, the instructions will be easy to follow.

4. Cut three fat quarters to measure 20” by 17.5”.   These will be the front feature panel (A) (Good Life), the back feature panel (B) (Good Life)and the piece that becomes the internal pillow pocket (C) (the gingham).  (If you are using yardage you need a piece 20″ by 30″ and another 20″ by 38.5″ and you can skip ahead to step 9).

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5.  Cut two strips of fabric from another fat quarter so that they measure 20” by 4”.  These are D and E (purple solid)

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6. Cut the final fat quarter to measure 20” by 10”.  This is F (the dots).  If you want to make an ipod pocket, then from the same fat quarter cut a piece 8.5” by 5”, and another 5.5” by 2.5”.

7.  With right sides facing each other pin the long edge of D to the long edge of A, and the long edge of E to the long edge of B.

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8. With right sides facing together pin the unfinished long edge of D to the long edge of F, and sew a ¼ inch seam.  This is now your front piece.  Pin the unfinished long edge of E to C.  Sew a ¼ inch seam (this now your back piece), and finish the edges on both seams with zigzag or serging.

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Your piece will now look like this (and this is a good time to iron those seams open, or flat).

9.  If you are going to add a pocket for an ipod, then this is the time to do it.  Take your piece that measures 8.5″ by 5″ and fold it in half so that it now measures 4.25″ by 5″.  Fold it again and mark where the fold falls, as a the middle of the pocket.  1 inch from the edge, and centred across the fold, place the ‘soft’ or loop side of your fastener.  Stitch it in place.

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10.  Then take your piece that measures 5 1/2″ by 2 1/2″ and sew the hook piece of the fastener 1/2″ from the edge (rather than the 1 inch shown in this photo, and you can avoid the unpicking that I had to do!).

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11.  With right sides together, fold the tab piece in half and stitch around the edges, leaving a space for turning it inside out.  My experience is that leaving a gap half way along the side, rather than from the folded end, gives a much better finish.  Then clip the four corners, turn it inside out and press it flat.  Then top stitch around the whole tab, closing the gap used to turn the piece inside out.

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12.  The take the pocket piece. Fold it in half with the right sides together, and stitch around the edges, using a 1/4 inch seam, and leaving a gap for turning the pocket to the right side.  Clip the corners, turn the pocket inside out, and press flat.  Then topstich across the top of the pocket.

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13. The next step is to pin the pocket and tab to the pillowcase.  It is up to you whether you want to put it on the right or left side of the case.  In this tutorial it is on the left hand side (so appears on the right when looking at the screen.)  First place the tab so that the bottom edge (away from the fastener) is 4 inches from the top of piece F (the dots) and  3.5 inches from the side.  The fastener should be facing up.  Stitch across the bottom of the tab twice to secure it firmly.  (The pictures at 14 should assist in understanding this placement).

14.  The pocket piece then is laid so that the middle of the pocket aligns with the middle of the tab, but so that the top of the pocket is sitting just above the bottom of the tab.  Pin it into place, and check that the hook and loop fastener meets when the tab is folded over to the pocket.  Then stitch about 1/8 inch from the edge of the pocket on the three sides.

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15. Now you are ready to put the pillowcase together. Pin a hem on the edge of F (the dots).  I usually serge the edge, then fold it under ¼ inch, then fold it again about 3/8 inch.   Place the pins in sideways, along the fabric, as you will not want them sticking out during a later step.  You do have a little bit of room for error on the width of the hem here, so focus on making it neat rather than the exact measurement.

16. Finish the edge of C (the gingham) and fold it under about 3/8 inch and hem it.

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17. Now lie, with right sides together, the shorter front piece on top of the longer back piece, matching up the seams for the stripes as much as possible.  Pin the long sides together on each side.

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You will have a piece of gingham (piece C)  extended out past the front piece.  Take this piece and fold it back over the top of the front piece, so that the right side of the gingham is facing the wrong side of the dots.   Try to get the fold as close to the pinned down hem on the dot fabric as possible (hence having your pins  lying lengthways in the pinned hem.)

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Then pin the sides of the gingham on top of the side seams you have already pinned.  Sew each of the side seams with a ½ inch seam, and reinforce over the point where the gingham internal pocket  hem sits, as well as the beginning and end of each seam.  If you intend to add a crocheted edge, you need to ensure that the gap between the two seams is 19”.  If not, you have some room for error here.

18. Now you can sew a ½ inch seam across the bottom of the case.  Finish the seams across the bottom and sides, and snip the corners at the bottom, to help with having sharp corners when you turn it in the right way.

19. Turn your pillowcase out so that the right side of the fabric is facing outwards.  Nearly done!  You now have an option to hem just the front piece, where you have the hem pinned, or to sew around the whole case at ¼ inch.  If you are going to crochet the edges, then you need to sew around the whole case.  If you are not, then it is a matter of personal taste.  My preference is to not sew a seam across the pocket flap, as I like the way a nicely ironed case sits on a pillow, but it really does come down to what you like.

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20. Then – iron all your seams, and voila – you are finished making the case!

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If you want to put a crocheted edge on the case then the tutorial provided by You Go Girl on creating the foundation and then crocheting is the place to go for clear easy to follow instructions.

21. This is the most important step – sit back and admire your handiwork!