Monday, April 28, 2008

Craft tutorial and Free Pattern - Recycle T-Shirts as a Doona Cover

Here is a pattern for a fabulous way to recycle your old T-Shirt collection. The T-shirts are reborn as a great new doona cover for your bed. That way you can enjoy the prints from your favourite old T-Shirts every night as you go to sleep. With enough shirts you can do a reversible cover that allows you two looks from one doona cover. My husband loves this project - there is less storage space used for something you can't part with, the beloved prints are where they can be seen regularly, and this doona cover is soft and comfy from all the washing the shirts have already had.

Materials: 25 large t-shirts (you need to be able to get a panel out of the front and the back that each measure 48cm * 50cm)
1.2 metre length of clip tape (like you find on children's clothes)

Cut a template 48cm * 50cm square from paper. Use this template to fussy cut 50 panels from the front and backs of the 25 T-shirts. Pin together ten strips of five squares right sides together and use your overlocker to join the squares (1.5cm seam allowances). Make sure the prints are all facing the same direction and facing upwards. Now join 5 strips together to form two large squares. Join the two squares right sides together along three sides leaving bottom open. Pin the strip of clip tape to each side of the middle of the bottom seam of the doona cover. Attach the clip tape and use your sewing machine to complete the bottom seam. Turn through the cover and put in your doona. My finished doona cover measures 212cm by 202cm.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Craft tutorial and Free Pattern - Recycle Jeans for Apron

This is the second of my E-Patterns. With this pattern you can turn two pairs of old jeans into a snazzy new apron just right for cooking, craft, or just making a talking point at barbeques. The apron is created using two pairs of jeans - you need three back pockets, one for the bib and the other two from the base section. I've used two old maternity jeans pairs from my sister.

To begin, cut one pair of jeans in half - front from back. be careful to retain the outer side seams (the double stitched one)as a long strip about 1cm wide and as long as the jeans as these lengths are used to form the ties at the neck and the waist. Cut the bib section by centring the pocket as much as possible. My bib was cut 25cm wide and 34cm in length. Stitch the sides of this down in a straight seam with 7mm seam allowance. Sew down the top seam. I've shaped mine a little to a wave shape but you could also sew this straight.

To form the bottom section, again seperate the second pair of jeans fronts from backs and again save the side seams. Now take the crotch seam and open it up around 15cm or until the panel becomes flat with a missing triangle in the middle. Then sew along this crotch seam to flatten it out. The two bits of the old crotch seam will overlap and you can trim the excess off the back. You can work out how long you want this bottom panel to be. The original waist will still be at your waist and you don't need to cut this off in any way as you just sew the bib behind it. the final length for mine is down to my knees (53cm from waist to knee). You don't need to turn under any edges of this base if you want the same fringed look as mine. The missing triangle can now be cut from you leftover jeans bits and you can just overlap the sections to sew as the unfinished edge becomes fringed when washed. To finish the edge of the bottom section I have used a length of decorative cord straight stitched on but you can use any ribbon or trim you like. To make the ties, take those side seams you retained and measure a length in one or two pieces for the neck (mine is 60cm long). Just stitch the ends of this section to the back of the bib top edge.
The waist straps are again cut from the edges and stitched on behind the waistband (mine are 65cm each). I have turned up the very ends of the ties but you could also tie knots.

To get the fringed look, wash the apron in a load with a tennis ball or something rough. Then dry in the drier. The more times this is done the more fringed it gets.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Craft tutorial and Free Pattern - Recycle a man's shirt to a pillow

This is the first of my e-patterns so be gentle with me. Please provide feedback/comments on how this patterns works for you.
The pattern is designed to recycle a mans button front cotton shirt into a Tooth Fairy Pillow. The design is super easy and so fast you should be able to finish in an hour or less. I got my shirt from my Grandfather's estate but you could also get a shirt from a second hand store. I chose mine with a nice multicolour stripe that would work well with the lovely bit of ric rac I have. The cushion back has a pocket of putting the lost tooth in.

You will need:
Man sized button front cotton shirt with pocket.
Decorations for pillow front - wide ric rac, button.
Cushion Insert (40cm by 40cm - about 15 and 3/4 inches )
Sewing machine and thread to match the shirt colour.

Draw up a pattern on paper of a square measuring 42cm square.
Cut the shirt front and the shirt back apart along the side seams as close to the seam as possible. Leave the shirt front buttoned up. If there are any pockets on the front, carefully unpick them and hold onto one to re-attach to the cushion back as a tooth pocket.
Line up the paper pattern against the shirt front alligning the buttons about 1/3 of the way along one side. Be sure to evenly space the buttons and not put any in the direct line of cutting. Pin and cut the panel. This becomes the cushion back. On the back , I have reattached on a pocket from the shirt front but on a 90 degree angle to the line of buttons. This is the tooth pocket.

From the shirt back, pin and cut a pattern panel. This will be the pillow front. With right sides together, pin the two sections together and sew completely around the edge. This is okay since to turn the pillow cover through all you have to do is undo the buttons. The basic cushion is now formed. Just put in the insert.
To decorate, I have sewn a line of 1cm wide ric rac along two of the shirts own design lines so that the form a diagonal cross. I have then cut a 4.5 cm circle of fabric from the shirt leftovers and made a suffolk puff (you could use a yo yo maker). I have secured this with a lovely art deco style rose button. The pillow is now ready. My daughter uses hers on her bead to store her lost teeth. A bigger back pocket could make this into a place to store pyjamas. Make and enjoy!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Some of My Bags

Here are some of my recent totes. They were completed late last year. The tote are decidedly girly with a lovely frill on the top. They are constructed of a patchwork of cotton prints. I have appliqued hearts on the bag in a plain colour and embellished them with blanket stitch and then a line of running. The hearts are joined by wavy lines of running stitch. I have highlighted some of the hearts with recycled buttons.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Babushka Dolls

I, like many people, have a fascination for Babushka dolls.
Also known as Matryoshka, a word derived from the Latin Mater or mother, the nesting dolls are usually imagined to have originated in Russia although there is some speculation that the idea may have come from Chinese nesting boxes.
But whatever the origin, these dolls are warm lovely and familiar. Their decoration is usually of a robust friendly peasant woman with an apron and scarf around her head. The Babushka dolls are normally a set of 5 or more dolls and are usually painted and varnished wood.
I became enthralled by the lovely Babushka some years ago when I got one from a craft fair, and I have found myself returning to the motif in my craft on a regular basis ever since. I have created a range of Babushka style plush dolls in patchwork cottons with individual felt faces. Previously I have experiemented with the motif on bags, table runners and felt. Here are some of the pictures of the Babushka ladies I have created over the past few months. More can be seen at my Etsy shop.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Pixie Pockets Revisited

I have been busy making some more pixie pockets. I wanted to try my favourite colour scheme: ivory and ruby (very yummy), and a dragonfly design (super bright). I also tried some beads in the combination. Check out the results.