february makes

Lola_lavender1

Lola_lavender2

My dear friend Lola loves the smell of lavender, so I made her a set of sachets for her birthday. (Quite a few ladies got these for Christmas, too.) Simple and sweet, with a loop long enough for a clothes hanger if so desired.

Cali_three_dresses

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And then Miss Cali Hashi turned two, prompting a trio of jersey dresses and a little Aster Cardigan to go with them all.

Felix_alien_shirt

Cali_alien_dress

When I heard she was having an alien/space birthday party, I whipped up a tshirt for her brother Felix to wear at the celebration. But why should he be the only one in alien garb? Cali obviously needed yet another dress, to match the birthday theme.

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Then there was some very utilitarian sewing: blackout curtains and a ‘cozy’ for the electric saw. Projects like this aren’t exactly thrilling, but still provide their own satisfaction.

Coming up in March: Sew The Perfect Fit with Lynda Maynard on Craftsy. Wish me luck.

january makes

Rhea-papercut-before-after

It’s been more than a year since my last papercut portrait. They are somewhat time-consuming and hard on the hand, but I absolutely love the result. I swiped a favourite pic off Rhea’s instagram feed and made this as a birthday gift for her. The one I made for the Guy was three colours (not including the background); this one is four. I like the extra detail that the fourth tone allows.

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The Guy and I leave notes to each other daily, as we keep very different circadian cycles. We’ve nearly filled an 80 page sketchbook, so I made another to have ready. Unlike the Christmas journals which were case bound, this one employs coptic stitch. I really enjoy book binding; it combines my loves of paper and sewing, and the finished product is tactile, useful, and beautiful. Can’t wait to start using this.

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And of course, there was sewing. Inspired by this tutorial, I made a chess set for a favourite soon-to-be-9 yr old. I bought the bottle caps on ebay, and drew the icons with an ultra fine sharpie before sealing them with polymer medium. I made small and medium-sized drawstring bags; one for the bottle caps, another to hold the whole shebang, folded up.

There was a lot more gift-making in January, but reveals will have to wait until the recipients open them. And there was a big fat shirt-making fail, but I’ll post those pictures another day, hopefully when I actually have success with garment-fitting.

lap duvet

Lap duvet

Lap Duvet

I finally handed over the last Christmas gift yesterday, a simple whole cloth quilt made of a couple of yards each of soft swiss dot cotton and a linen/cotton blend. Bamboo batting is sandwiched between; quilting is simple bar tacks. It’s just right for covering the lap while knitting and watching tv.

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Or, it seems, for their little Lucy to lie on.

toddler tshirt dresses

#calihepburn 's birthday gifts arrived so I can finally post pics. Upcycled toddler dress #1
Upcycled toddler dress #2 for #calihepburn

Upcycled toddler dress #3 for #calihepburn

Little Miss Cali Hashi recently turned one, and her gift finally arrived downunder (really, Australia Post? Three and a half weeks to deliver a small package?). So at last I can post pics of the upcycled dresses I made from cast-off tshirts.

I started with this tutorial, and just used what I had on hand to craft some cute-but-not-too-cutesy outfits for our little rock chick.

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Mama and baby approve! Yeah!

simple floor mat: tutorial

Here’s a super simple bath mat that can be customized for your recipient. It’s even — gasp — suitable to give a guy.

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Better yet, all it takes is a towel from the sale bin, plus a yard and a half of flannel, to make TWO.

Note: If you wish to share this tutorial, please repost one photo and link back to this original post. Do not repost the entire text and pictures. Thank you!

Wash and dry your towel and fabric on high settings, to get maximum shrinkage.

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If your towel has woven band near the ends, you’ll see how much it shrinks! Cut off the bands, then cut the remaining towel in half. Cut flannel the same size as your towel pieces, then pin one piece of each right sides together.

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With a good half inch seam allowance, stitch around the edge, leaving about 8″ unstitched in the middle of one long side. Tip: to avoid accidentally sewing the gap closed, mark start and finish points with two pins.

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If you want to, round the corners as you sew, then trim the fabric back to match the rest of your seam allowance. If not, clip your corners. Turn right side out.

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Version 1: stand on the mat and trace around your feet with chalk or a soluble marker.

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Using six strands of embroidery thread, outline the feet in running stitch. To start, knot the end of the thread then insert the needle between the two layers, through the still-open gap. This way the knot will be in the inside of the mat. Finish off in the same way.

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Version 2: with chalk or soluble marker, draw lines at the quarter, half, and three-quarter marks, going from top to bottom of the mat. Thread a needle with strong thread (I used Coats Button and Carpet thread).

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Sew a row of running stitch along each line. Again, place your start and finish knots on the inside of the mat, between the two layers.

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Close the opening with ladder stitch.

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Optional: increase your stitch length and top stitch all around.

Then vacuum your floor and sewing machine to get rid of all the toweling fuzz!

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divided clutch coupon wallet: tutorial

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I’m not a big coupon cutter, but I do like to use the discounts at Joann and Ralphs, the two stores at which I spent the most money, it seems. They mail me coupons which I stuff in an envelope in my handbag. But with all the other crap in there, the envelope gets torn and ratty pretty fast. So I decided to make myself a little wallet/clutch thingy, divided into two sections, for stowing these useful bits of paper.

Want to make one too? Here’s how.

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You’ll need …

For the outside and lining: 2 pieces 12-1/2″ x 9″

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For the divider: 1 piece 8″ x 8-1/2″
For the accordion folds: 2 pieces 8-1/2″ x 3″

You’ll also need:
Very heavy duty fusible interfacing: 1 piece 8″ x 4″ and 1 piece 12″ x 8-1/2″
About 40″ bias binding
Snap fasteners

1/4″ seams are used throughout.

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Fold the divider piece in half so it measures 8″ x 4-1/4″. Using the fold line as a guide, fuse your smaller piece of interfacing to one half, butting up against the fold.

Fold the fabric right sides together, and stitch the long edge with a 1/4″ seam, right at the edge of the interfacing.

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Turn right side out and press well.

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Center the larger piece of interfacing on your outside piece of fabric. Fuse. Place right sides together with the lining, and stitch along one short edge.

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Turn right sides out, and press well.

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Take one of your accordion pieces, and fold right sides together so it measures 4-1/4″ x 3″. Stitch along short edge. Turn right sides out, and press well.

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Fold in half lengthwise so it measures 4″ x 1-1/2″. Press well. Repeat with remaining accordion piece

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Sandwich one end of the divider into the fold of one accordion piece.

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Stitch 1/4″ from edge. Repeat at other end of divider with remaining accordion piece.

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Place the outer piece with lining side up. Place the divider on top, lining up one of the loose accordion flaps with the side edge, right at the folded edge of the outer piece.

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Zig zag to secure.

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Measure one inch from edge of divider, and make a mark on the lining at side edge. The bottom of the other flap of this accordion piece will line up with this mark.

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Line up the edges of the lining and flap as shown. Pin, then zig zag to secure. Repeat with the other side of the divider, attaching the flaps to the edge of the outer piece.

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With the outside facing up, check to see if your outer fabric and lining fabric still align. If not, trim back the lining to match the outer.

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Using a suitable round object (I used my lens cap), trace curves onto the corners of the flap, then cut them.

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Zig zag around this edge to keep the layers together.

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Starting at the front edge on the accordion side, attach the bias binding. Allow the binding to extend past the edge by 1/2″. Stitch slowly; getting round the bottom curves is tricky. When you get to the end on the other edge of the front, cut the binding about 1/2″ longer than your sewn seam.

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Fold the binding to the outside; press.

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Slip stitch the binding to the outside of the wallet, tucking in the start and finish ends as you go. If you want to attempt this step on the machine, go for it. I just knew I’d get a nicer finish if I hand stitched it.

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Attach one or two snap fasteners, sewing only through the top layer of fabric and interfacing.

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You’re done!

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mini tissue holder: tutorial

fancy tissue holder

I know there’s really quick and easy ways to make mini tissue holders for your purse. This is not one of those tutorials. This is a slower method that requires piecing and a bit of hand stitching. Think of it as the Coco Chanel of tissue holders. OK, maybe that’s going too far. But it does have boxed corners! If you’re looking to make something a bit special, this could be the ticket.

Note: If you wish to share this tutorial, please repost one photo and link back to this original post. Do not repost the entire text and pictures. Thank you!

materials

You’ll need:
Main fabric
2 pieces 6″ x 3-1/8″
Contrasting fabric
2 pieces 6-1/4″ x 3/4″ and
1 piece 6″ x 1″
Lining fabric
1 piece 6-1/2″ x 6-1/4″
Also
Mini hair elastic
Small button with shank
Needle and matching thread
Sewing machine

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Using 1/4″ seams throughout, stitch the main fabric pieces onto either side of the 1″ wide contrasting strip. Press seams open. Stitch the 3/4″ wide contrasting strips to each end, as shown. Press seams open.

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With a needle and thread, pierce the hair elastic in two places, close together, to create a pinch. Stitch through again, to hold the pinch tight.

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Hand sew the elastic to the very edge of the pieced fabric, half way down one side, facing inwards towards the crosswise stripe. Secure with a couple of stitches.

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Place the pieced fabric and the lining fabric right sides together, and sew around the edge, leaving a 2-3″ gap in the middle of one long edge. Backstitch a few times over the hair elastic as you pass it.

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Don’t clip the corners! Turn the whole thing right side out, using this method for getting nice sharp corners.

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Ladder stitch the opening closed. Press.

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With the lining side out, fold the edges to meet in the middle.

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Check that your stripe is lining up with itself nicely. Press the two folds.

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Now we’re going to box the corners. Pick one of the four places where your newly pressed fold marks hit the edge. Create a point there by folding down the fabric on each side of the fold. With a soluble marker, draw a line perpendicular to the original fold mark, 3/8″ down from the point. Stitch along this line. Repeat for the remaining three corners.

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You’ll now have something that looks a bit like a boat. Turn right side out.

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The side seam will be formed by holding the ends of your contrasting strips together, and bringing them down to meet the edge.

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Ladder stitch the side seam closed on each side.

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You’re almost done!

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Ladder stitch about 1″ of each end of the opening, so it doesn’t gape so much. Sew on your button.

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Add a mini packet of tissues. Admire your work. Gesundheit!

embroidered flour sack kitchen towels: tutorial

Teatowel tag

Lots of my loved ones received this Christmas gift: a set of two embroidered flour sack tea towels. I thought you might like a tutorial for this easy project.

Note: If you wish to share this tutorial, please repost one photo and link back to this original post. Do not repost the entire text and pictures. Thank you!

embroidered flour sack tea towels

Start with purchased, unadorned, flour sack kitchen towels. (I got sets of four at Target.) Wash and dry them on high settings, to gain maximum shrinkage. Unstitch the hem over the labels, and discard the labels. Iron the towel, stretching it out as you go.

embroidered flour sack tea towels

Draw a line parallel to the selvedge with a disappearing marker. I did mine 1.75″ from the edge, because it seemed a pleasing distance and that was where the previous label had been. Unstitch a little of the hem on the both sides of the towel, for an inch or so on each side of your drawn line.

Thread your needle with all six strands of embroidery thread. The length of the thread should be about 125% of the width of your towel. Tie a knot in one end. Slip your needle inside the hem, and come up through to the right side of the towel within the hem allowance.

embroidered flour sack tea towels

Taking smallish running stitches, sew evenly along your line till you get to the other side.

embroidered flour sack tea towels

Do your finishing knot within the other hem allowance. Stitch a second row just above your first, starting and finishing as above. You can use the same or a different colour thread. I didn’t draw a second guide line; I just eyeballed the distance.

embroidered flour sack tea towels

With white thread, restitch the hems over your embroidery. This will hold your knots tightly and prevent unraveling. Press your towels, fold them nicely, and tie a ribbon around the set.

Embroidered tea towels

I made two versions of the label: this one is for those with littlies in their lives. Spot the difference?

car caddies and (too) tiny pants

More handmade Christmas roundup.

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Above photo by Nettie.

For toddler nephews, a pair of car caddies. Apparently they were a big hit, which of course gladdens this crafter aunty’s heart. I should have included a matchbox car with each, but thankfully they can supply their own :-)

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For Corey-pie, stretchy pants. But I was delusional about babies’ growth in the first four months of life, so these are gonna be no use to him. Cute, but tiny! Ahem, time to make some bigger ones! Sorry, Corey!

blank story books: free download

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The blank story books I made for Miss Six back in July were so well-received, I thought I’d whip up some more for the other smallish people in my life. This time, I created a PDF that you guys can download and use. Just print whichever you pages you fancy, double sided. I reckon eight pages (two sheets, double sided, folded) is about right for a little kid’s story, but you can bundle them up however you like. Mix and match.

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My covers are cut from manila file folders, and hand stitched with dental floss. Easy peasy. I’m sure you can do something prettier or fancier. Give a handful of ’em with a pack of pencils, crayons or markers, then sit back and enjoy the stories they create.

These PDFs are for your personal use, or for giving as gifts. You do not have permission to sell any materials created from these files.

Download for 8.5″ x 11″ paper here.
Download for A4 paper here.

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