Tuesday, 15 March 2011

XS Bunting

Have a miniature party!
A very fast and easy project.

You'll need:
- small pieces of felt
- a sewingmachine
- an iron
- thread
- biais binding
- scissors or a rotary cutter

Cut colourfull triangles out of felt left overs.
A rotary cutter works magic, but scissors do the trick as well.

Cut a piece of biais binding and iron it double.
Finish the first corner (I do it this way) and sew it close for about 10 cm.
Then add the first triangle and carry on sewing and adding triangles.

The last 10 cm you don't add any triangles.
Finish the end corner of the biais and done!

Good luck and good sewing!

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Bib with sleeves

The original tutorial is by Meisjesmama (in Dutch). It is wonderfully easy. A great project for beginners.

You'll need:
- a towel or a piece of terry cloth 
thread in a matching color
- free pattern by Meisjesmama
- paper, pencil and a measuring rod
- fabric scissors
- a needle 
- bias binding (2,3 meter for the maxi bib)
- thread in a matching color
- a sewing machine
- decorations you like (optional)

Draw the pattern. Add 1 cm seaming allowance on the upper and downside of the arms - both on the body piece and on the loose arm.
If you want to finish the sleeves with bias, you don't need to add a seaming allowance at the sleeve gap. If you want to make a seam at the sleeve gap, you add 2 cm. 
On the parts that you'll finish with bias, you don't need a seaming allowance.

Pin the pattern pieces to the double folded terry cloth. Align the bottom of the body piece with the seam of the towel. This way you can recycle the seam. Cut one body piece and two arm pieces.

Finish the parts that will form the sleeve gaps (A and B), if you are not using bias. Like I am doing in this example. 

Pin the sleeves to the body piece. Align the armpits so that they'll fit. If the armpit doesn't match, switch the sleeve to the other side of the body.

Stitch the four seams on the upper and down sides of the sleeves with a zigzag stitch. That works best with terry cloth. 

Cut redundant fabric off.

Turn inside out and stitch a seam where the sleeve gap is (if you are not using bias). To do this fold 1, 5 cm of cloth to the inside. Put pins along the sleeve. Slowly stitch at 1 cm from the sleeve end, starting on the downside seam of the sleeve. It's a bit of a wriggling job, since the sleeve is too small to fit around your sewing machines arm, but if you do it slow it will work out.

Stitch the bias binding on the sides. An explanation on bias binding is posted here, thanks to Mme Zsazsa, our sewing expert.

Stitch the bias around the neck line. Pin the middle of the bias to the middle of the neck. Finish the corners.

I don't know how it is done 'officially', but here is my way of finishing bias corners. Cut a triangle at the end and fold back. 

Stitch to the end and make an L. Pull the thread on the right side of the fabric through to the other side, tie it and cut it off.

If you didn't finish the sleeves with a seam, now is the time to apply bias to the sleeves gap.

And .. Your bib is ready. 
If you want to, you can decorate the front. 

Good luck and good sewing.

Other bib tutorials (without sleeves):
- Simple but lovely pattern from Chickpea Sewing Studio
- Basic bib by Nested
- Three free bib patterns by Poo Pockets
- Reversible baby bib by Petchy
- Laminated bib by Make it and love it
- Vintage bib by Et laine
- Rectangular bib by Spincushion
- Vinyl tablecloth bib by Vanilla Joy
- Towel bib by Vanille Joy

In Dutch:
- Simple bib by Miekk

Bias binding

I am guessing that the right way to use bias binding is a mystery for most beginners. It was for me, before I discovered this explanation by Mme Zsazsa. She's the sewing guru for the Dutch speaking world, or at least for the blogging part of that world.
I recently discovered that she's also very nice. She has allowed me to translate her tutorial on bias and share it here with you.

Here it goes:

1. Put the ribbon to the backside (the wrong side) of the fabric, aligned with the top side, and stitch in the pleat.

2. Turn the fabric and fold the ribbon over the top until it reaches the stitch line or right under it. Stitch it to the fabric, as close to the edge as possible. This way the stitching is positioned in the seam or on the bias on the other side of the fabric and not on the tissue, which looks much nicer.

3. If you don't make a circle, fold the beginning and the end of the bias around the fabric and attach it. See the upper left corner in step 1.
Open the bias, the wrong sides of the bias are now touching, fold them down and stitch as in step 2.

4. If you do make a circle with bias do it as explained in the drawing below.

Goede kant = Right side
Achterkant = Wrong side/backside

A few more tips:

- If you are using a heavy fabric, stitch the ribbon (step 1) on the right side of the pleat and not in it. This way you have more ribbon left to fold over the fabric and reach the stitch line on the other side.
- If you notice that you can't reach the stitch line with the edge of the ribbon (step 3), cheat by cutting a millimetre of the fabric.

Copyright: This tutorial and all drawings are made by Mme Zsazsa. I am very grateful that I could post them here.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Baby music toy

I have a friend who likes to tease me by saying that I am addicted to felt. I've always denied, but apparently she's right. The first project I shared with you on this blog was with felt and today's challenge is as well.
But .. both the fishing game and this music toy can easily be made in cotton if you prefere. You just add 1 cm seaming allowance, put the fabric with the right sides together, finish the seams, leave a small opening and turn inside out.

For a lady bug music toy you'll need:

- black felt,
- red felt,
- two black buttons (or red ones if you like a more crazy look),
- a piece of ribbon,
- filling material (fiberfill),
- a needle,
- fabric scissors,
- two pieces of wire,
- thread,
- pins,
- small music box with rope (can be found here, here, here, here and here),
- a print of my free pattern (ladybug) or this one (owl)

Copy the pattern to an A4-page. Attach the pattern pieces to the felt with pins and cut out the forms. Cut the ladybug's antennas a bit broader than the pattern (if you use felt). It's easier to cut of excess fabric, than to sew perfectly along the seams.

Put a piece of wire between both sides of the antennas and finish the seams. Close all sides (otherwise the wire will fall out).

Attach the dots, the head and the stripe to the front piece of the body with pins and sew them on.

Sew on the eyes/buttons. Attach the antennas and a piece of ribbon between the front and the back piece. Pin everything together.

Sew with a 1 cm seaming allowance. Start at the head side so that the ribbon and the antennas are fixed. Stop in time to leave an opening large enough to insert the music box. Fill with fiberfill, add the music box, fill some more. Close the opening carefully. Do not sew over the pulling cord from the music box.

And done.. A superfast project with a nice result.

I made a musical owl some months ago.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Zipper pouch by Miss Stik

The original tutorial is by Miss Stik (in Dutch).
She was so friendly to answer all my questions. Thanks to her, you find below an easy way of making a zipper pouch with a lot of beginner explanations from me.

You'll need:

- pins
- fabric scissors
- a rectangular piece op fabric double the size of the pouch you want
For these pouches a heavier cotton is best, with lightweight fabrics the pouch puffs up a bit.
Miss Stik uses a piece of fabric that measures 14x21 cm, so did I for the pouch below
- nippers or a pair of old scissors
- a plastic zipper (+/- 4 cm longer than the shortest side of your fabric, in this case I used a 20 cm long zipper)
- thread
- a zipper foot for your sewing machine
- a piece of ribbon (optional)
- decorations you like (optional)
- pinking scissors (optional)

Cut a piece of fabric in the wanted size. If you are a lazy seamstress (like me), use pinking scissors. They prevent the fabric from raveling.
If you are a conscientious seamstress, stitch the sides of the fabric with an overlock or zigzag stitch.

Decorate the right side of the fabric, if you want decorations.

Pin the wrong side of the zipper to the top of the shortest side of the fabric (right side up). Attach a zipper foot to your sewing machine. Stitch the upper part of the zipper to the fabric with a straight line. To do this start stitching, backstitch a centimeter, continue stitching along the line of the zipper and backstitch at the end.

Turn your work around. The right side of the zipper is now facing you. You fold the fabric down along the seam or a little closer to the zipper, whichever way you find prettier. Now the right side of the fabric faces you. You topstitch along the line of the zipper.

Fold the fabric double. The wrong side of the fabric is now on the outside. Stitch the other side of the zipper to the fabric.

Turn inside out. The right side of the fabric is now on the outside. Open the zipper entirely and topstitch the second side of the zipper/fabric.

Turn inside out again. The wrong side of the fabric is now on the outside. Fold the fabric to position the zipper where you would like it to be. Do not forget to open the zipper partially!

If you want a loop or a small handle, put a piece of double folded ribbon between the pieces of fabric. The loop is inside and the ends of the ribbon stick out.

Close the outsides by stitching a straight seam. Be careful to stitch slowly when you come across the zipper. Cut of the redundant parts of the zipper with nippers or old scissors.

Turn inside out and use a crochet needle or a pen to push the corners out.

If you still don't feel up to it after this explanation and the many pictures, one last tip: I'll be giving away two of the pouches soon on my other blog.

Other pouch tutorials:

Skip to my Lou
Instructables (without sewing)
U handbag (with a plastic cover to put transport cards in)
Squidoo (with a flat bottom)
The crimson owl
The purl bee (heart shaped)
Balancing everything (double pouch with button)
Make it modern (box pouch)
Twelve 22 (double sided zipper)

In Dutch:
Miss Stik (with lining)

Tuesday, 27 July 2010


I made this game for Daan's children.

If you want to make one too, you'll need:

- a few pieces of colourful felt;
- a sewing machine or a lot of patience (if you sew them by hand);
- fabric scissors and normal scissors;
- filling material (fiberfill);
- pins;
- a needle;
- small but powerful magnets (without covers);
- thread in contrasting colours;
- a stick;
- a string of wool;
- a small piece of adhesive plastic;
- super glue;
- embroidery thread (optional);
- buttons (optional).

Here are the silhouettes I used. Cut the paper forms out with your normal scissors. Pin the fish bodies to  two pieces of felt and cut them out with your fabric scissors.

This way you get a back and a front which are perfectly similar. The sewing will be easier if you cut them out large (after the stitching you can cut of the excess felt).

For the upper and under fins you need only one piece. The side fins and eyes are in pairs.

Sew the eyes (small circles of a different colour felt or just a cross with embroidery thread or a button) and the fins on the front and back pieces. These small details you can sew by hand.

Pin the fish bodies together with the right sides out (i.e. the sides with the eyes and fins on). If you want an upper or under fin, pin it in between the front and back piece. Stitch along the seam almost around. I like using a contrasting colour of thread, but of course you could use a similar colour if you prefer it that way.

To turn your fabric (to change direction or to make a round line) leave the needle in the lowest position (i.e. inside your fabric). Then raise the pressure foot, pivot your fabric in the wanted position, lower your pressure foot and continue stitching. On one fish I do this about ten times.
Leave an opening of 7-8 cm. *Use a needle to pull the threads through the fish to one side, tie them off and use a needle to pull them into the inside of the fish. This way the loose ends won't be visible.*

Fill the fish with fiberfill and place a magnet in the middle. Carefully place it back under the pressure foot and stitch the opening close. Repeat this part **.

The great thing about felt is that it's so easy to work with. It doens't fray, so you don't need to finish the edges. The last part in completing the fish is simply cutting of the excess felt.

For the fishing line you attach a string of wool to a magnet with super glue. If you want to, you can make it look nicer by wrapping it in adhesive plastic.

Then simply tie the string to a stick and you're ready to start fishing.