Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Hot air balloon shopper

I have a thing about hot air balloons.  Every time I see one I have to go outside and just watch it float past.

Perhaps it's the way they soar seemingly effortlessly across the blue sky. 

Perhaps it's the colours. 

Perhaps there doesn't have to be a reason.

So can you imagine how excited I was when I discovered a hot air balloon tablecloth?

Well, I had to make something out of it, didn't I? 


So I made a shopper.

What I like about it is how sturdy it is, being vinyl tablecloth and all.  It can carry pretty much everything that you want to put in it.  Everything!

The handles are doubled up so that they are more comfortable to hold.

And the inner seams are taped to provide extra strength and a neater finish.

I'm planning on making either a backpack or a flight bag from hot air balloons at some point. 

Watch this space!

And perhaps one day I might even go up in one!

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Berries bag

When I see some fabric with potential that I love, it doesn't matter whether it comes from a skirt, dress or fleece blanket, I just have to have it and use it to create something delicious that I'd love to use myself.

So when I found a preloved burgundy cord skirt it just had to come home with me (I have a thing about cord).  I could look past the mumsy-ness of it and see a bag waiting to get out.

And then I thought, why stop at a cord skirt - why not pair it with some fabric from a dress that I already have (which was far too small when I bought so I converted it into a skirt and wore for ages!)

So I did.

I made a saddle bag out of it.

The O rings came from an existing bag that I had but no longer loved.

The frill was created from cutting off the very bottom of the dress/skirt (above).  So much easier than cutting some fabric and turning a tiddly little hem!

The interior was created from an off-cut of a pair of curtains.

The bag itself is expandable with poppers to let it out if need be.

Or keep it small and petite if desired.

I can't wait for my next project now!

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Butterfly bags

A butterfly bag.

Plain and simple.

Apparently, the only thing that one little girl would like for Christmas.

I saw the fabric and just knew that I had to have it.  It's perfect.

The zip was trimmed with some matching gingham and a ready-made handle added.

It's lined with Barbie pink satin.  And it's tiny.  As all good things are.

Wish I could be a fly on the wall!

Tablecloth aprons

You may have noticed that vinyl tablecloths are one of my new favourite things :)

It's so darned versatile!!

So I added a pocket and plenty of cotton tape and made a child's apron.

And another one...

And then a full-sized adult version.  As you do.

I might even see if there are any festive tablecloths to tinker with...

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Lavender bags

Which comes first - fabric or inspiration?

Sometimes it's neither!

Sometimes it's as simple as someone giving me a huge bag of locally grown dried lavender.

Then I find the fabric.

Then I find the ribbon.

Then I decide on what shape to make the bags.  If I'm making something with a heritage, I always like to know if there are any particular traditional shapes associated.  But it seems there weren't with lavender bags.

So as the fabric was cherries, I thought I'd make the first bag in a sort of bowl shape and call it 'Life'.

Then I made a square one too.

They smell really yummy!

I have enough lavender to create a whole host of other items too - watch this space :)

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Tots fleece dress

Libraries.  Not somewhere I would normally associate with inspiration for making children's clothes.  But when I found one particular brand new book I was jumping up and down with excitement as I knew the perfect little girl I could make something for!

There were pattern pieces in the back but I had to tear them out to trace the one that I needed.  And as I was the first person to take the book out I thought it best to ask.  So off I go to the library again just to double-check that it was ok to tear something out of a book (sacrilege!) 

They were more than happy.

The pattern itself was for a girl's summer dress.  But I wanted something that she could wear this time of year when it's a little brrrrrrrrrrrrrr-y.

What better fabric than fleece?

I fell in love with the fleece hearts on this brand new blanket.  See, why should it be used as a blanket when there's a perfectly beautiful dress just waiting to get out?

It was lined with some fleece from the pyjama bottoms I made a while back to make it into a reversible dress.

Two looks for the price of one!

I cut out a flower and appliqued it to the front, added some satin bias binding to the bottom and it was done!

The ties do up at the top of the dress to keep it on.

I do hope it's long enough though!  But even if it isn't, I could probably convert the ties to either button holes or snap fasteners. 

I'll let you know!

Thursday, 15 December 2011

A place for ones pegs

You see, the thing is, I love sewing.  Anything. 

You might have guessed. 

So when a friend asked me for a peg bag I thought - never made one, but let me figure out how. 

So I did.

I thought long and hard about what size, design, colour.  Then I added my favourite fabric of the fortnight (vinyl tablecloths) and had a play.

I designed it myself and I like the way that it turned out; the roundedness of it; the colour.

I added some bias binding around the hole, added a coat hanger and ta-dah - a peg house :)

Next time I'll figure out a better way of getting the coat hanger in there without struggling LOL - still, it's a prototype, but a very workable prototype.

I think I'll make one for myself too!

Saturday, 10 December 2011

*Roadtest results* - polka dot lunch bag

You may remember that I went up to London for lunch with some friends last week.  It was great to see everyone again!

The lunch bag itself held up to being carried across London - the tupperware container and all its contents stayed the right way up.  There were no spillages of any description whatsoever <grin>.  The handle was comfortable and just the right length.  The velcro strap between the handles worked well to keep the bag closed.  And I loved the polka dots!

But surely it wasn't perfect first time out?  Well, not perfect, no, there were a couple of things that I would alter slightly for the next version...

So what have I changed already?

I've added some velcro at the top inner corners to prevent the bag from gaping open or the cottage cheese tub from skittering about on top of the container.

What would I change for next time?

I'd make sure the bottom was a teensy bit more solid.

Anything else?

Oh, I might just line it with more tablecloth fabric to make it wipeable inside and out.

And I'd love to make it with proper oilcloth in the future and see how that feels to work with. 

You'll be sure to hear about it here when I've had a go :)

Thursday, 8 December 2011

King's horses and King's men

Humpty.  Someone we all remember from childhood, right?

So I had a go at making one. 

I chose to use preloved fabric - because that's what I love doing.  His head and hands are made from a velour towel so he's really soft.  Meanwhile his shirt and arms are made from my daughter's school dress (well, I'm sure she would have grown out of it by next summer anyway!).  His brown cord trousers are made from the same fabric that I used to create the dog coat.  And everything else is made from felt including his boots.

 He looks even more impressive when he's sitting on the stairs as his knees are sewn ensuring that he can bend them and sit up straight properly!

But when he takes a tumble the velcro on his arms and legs ensures that 3 year olds can play out the nursery rhyme over and over.

I think those King's horses and King's men may have their work cut out - poor thing!

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Sewing ain't for sissies

I met a friend from Sweden a couple of months ago.  It was so lovely to see her again. 

She brought me a gift - I was so touched by it.  She had seen it in Sweden, thought of me and bought it, wrapped it up in beautiful butterfly paper and brought it in her luggage all the way over to England.

It was a wonderful metal sewing tin which contained a large pair of scissors, retractable tape measure and seam unpicker (which I was told I probably wouldn't need, but let's be honest, it's probably one of the most used items in my sewing kit!)

I just adore the sentiment on the lid :)

Thanks, K!

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Oilcloth (ish) polka dot lunch bag

I'm going to lunch with some friends in London on Saturday - I can't wait! 

Whenever I've been up in the past I've always taken a tupperware container of food for the trip home as it's a long journey.  But by the time I've come to eat it, it's been spread out all over my bag/main bag/anything else that gets in its way.  The container had shuffled around, tipped over and dumped its contents liberally throughout my bag.  Not a good look.

I hadn't found the 'right' bag to carry it in either.

So, with my new-found enthusiasm and polka dot tablecloth fabric I set about designing a lunch bag that would do the job - keep my food up the right way!  Copious research proved fruitless so I had a go myself.
Using baking paper I figured out how best to carry the tupperware container and made a miniature prototype first - just to make sure it worked out ok!

Here's the resulting lunch bag with the container inside it already:

The view from the side:

The interior is quite large too:

The top gaped a little so I added a velcro strap to keep it together.  The velcro was repurposed from my daughter's old school book bag - it's perfect for this project because it was bright red - you don't see red velcro very often!!

I throw nothing away LOL!

Early results indicate that it not only keeps my lunch up the way it was intended, but it's also large enough to hold other food/items too.

I'll let you know how it goes on Saturday!

Monday, 28 November 2011

Skirt + trousers = pencil case (obviously!)

Never one to leave some fun fabric in a shop, I found this fab baby cord skirt and had to give it a new home. 

Some things are just too good to languish in a shop and deserve to be given a new lease of life.

I believe I found these PVC trousers in the same shop LOL!  I just knew that I could make use of these somehow!

So I added a peach zip and some interfacing and made them both into a pencil case.

 Or it could be a make-up case - the interior is waterproof after all :)

Who am I to decide how something is to be used?  As long as its new owner has fun with it, that's all that matters!

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Tablecloth or strawberry?

I found a rather nice tablecloth 'fabric'.  I say 'fabric' because it was made from PVC and I'd not sewn with it before so wasn't sure that it was entirely possible! 

But, why not have a go and see what happens?

So I made a small child's bag with it.  It was easy peasy to work with as long as I didn't use pins to hold it together (pesky hole marks!)

I originally thought about lining it with green felt, as you do, but my daughter suggested making it into a strawberry bag instead! 

So I did!

Of course, as it's made from PVC, it's waterproof so if a child takes it out in a torrential downpour it will be safe and soggy-less.

It was lined with some leftover fabric that I had originally used to make a shift dress.

I'm not quite sure how but it's now been commandeered by my daughter to take along to her pantomime performance tonight.

Ah well, at least I know how to make them and have a feeling that I might be making a few more like this!!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Skirts, skirts and more skirts...

The joy of telling everyone what I love doing is that people give me such fun fabric to play with!

I was given this skirt that the owner didn't really want to part with, but thought I might be able to find a use for it.  Oh absolutely, yes please!!

As an aside - if you have a look at the skirt above you might just be able to make out the hanging loop on the top right hand side of the picture.  When I laid it down on the ground it turned itself into a heart :)  I didn't even realise until I double-checked the picture! 

But I just had to include a close-up of it LOL!

Anyway, when I went along to the fabric shop to get some matching fabric I had a definite idea of what I wanted it to look like.  But the shop owner steered me towards a fabric that I would never have chosen on my own - and to be honest, I really like the colour-combination!

So after much interfacing, arm-waving, unpicking, padding, sewing and threading, I conjured up a shopping bag.  The lady whose skirt it was ALWAYS uses shopping bags!

I took the belt and belt loops from the skirt and added them to the outside of the shopper and I also added two outer pockets. 

As you can see it's really quite sturdy as it's able to stand up on its own - that was lucky then LOL!

The handle is extra padded and the interior is fully lined with two more pockets to put purse, keys, newspaper, celery, whatever into!

And the fun bit is, the person who gave it to me will be getting it back at Christmas-time :)

I just love a happy ending!

Friday, 18 November 2011

Bags and repairs

My daughter takes a fab bag to school - it's like a soft satchel really.  It looks like leather, but it's only pretending!

But she has to carry so many books to school that the handle pulled out.

I mended it a couple of times before I decided that I had to overhaul the bag.

So it would seem that I now do bag repairs too!

I found some similar fabric at the fabric shop but it was either beige or chocolate brown.  That was a step too far.

So I chose something similar in colour but slightly different in texture.  It's very soft and almost velvety but it looks really hard-wearing.

First of all I took the side panels out and replaced both of them.

Then I replaced the inner rim as that had pulled apart too.

Hopefully this should hold it for a while!

And now I've pulled it apart and seen the inner gubbins, I know how to make a bag just like this one <grin>!

Monday, 14 November 2011

More Jazzy Journal covers!

So I have a journal that I wanted to cover and keep safe. 

I think I was onto prototype number 5 before I finally figured out how to size it correctly LOL!  Thank goodness tenacity is one of my strengths!!

Here are two of the covers I created:

This first cover is made from a dress.  It is pink with a mauve hibiscus print all over it.  It is padded to protect the journal and there is a copious quantity of ribbon to ensure it does not fall open when not intended.

The interior was made from a pink satin slip from Salisbury.

The second journal cover was made from a top. 

And it is lined with a polka dot fabric from a dress!