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!

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Oh I do love a unique bucket bag!

So I had enough fabric left over from the preloved rose-print skirt to make another bucket bag.

I do like to make unique items so this one has a pink polka dot handle and a fabric flower (magnetic snap) closure.  This handle is softly padded.

The reverse of the bag took another section of the skirt as its focus.

And the base and interior print was from a different black and pink rose-print fabric than before.

It is, as I speak, winging its way to its new owner who I hope has lots of fun with it!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Curtains and Amy Butler bags

Curtains, curtains, curtains - what do you do with yours when you decide to have a new colour scheme in your room?

Well, here's what's been happening in my house...

...another bag <grin>

I used a pattern from Amy Butler's Style Stitches book and I absolutely love it!  The bag itself is huuuuuuuuge!  I'm probably going to be using it for days out, beach trips, shopping trips - you name it, I'll be using it!

It's fully lined and interfaced making it very solid so much so that it even stands up on its own when not attended.

I especially loved the design detail on the sides pockets which are enormous too!  I'm thinking I could stash my sunglasses (in their case!) in here...

The interior is rather fabulous too - there are pockets galore for sandy footwear, umbrellas (if you're British!), water bottles - oh, absolutely everything you could possibly need!!

I just love making bags out of preloved fabric!

Happy days!!

Friday, 4 November 2011

How to make... cushion covers

I recently took up some curtains and made the excess fabric into a pair of cushion covers. 

Why waste good fabric, that's what I say!

So here's a 'How to...'

What you will need:

Sewing machine
Zip foot
Tape measure
Zip (about two thirds the width of the cushion) - ask for a 'closed end zip'
Matching thread
Unpicker (really useful)
Tailor's chalk (or a pencil, whichever you prefer!)
Calculator or pen and paper
Tea (copious amount)

Here's what I did:

Measure the front of one of the cushions from side to side to find the right size and then add on one inch to this measurement to allow for seams.  Keep it somewhere safe.

Then do the same for the top to bottom measurement.

Cut fabric to this size

Using a wide zig zag stitch, sew around all of the raw edges about a quarter of an inch in.  This will prevent your lovely cushion covers from fraying.  Repeat for both pieces of fabric.

Pin both pieces of fabric, right sides together, along the top edges (it didn't matter too much with this fabric as it was the same on both sides but will make a difference if the fabric is patterned)

Measure zip from metal top to metal bottom (there's probably a technical name but it escapes me!) and ensure it works by pulling it up and down a couple of times :)

*Easy Maths alert*
Grab a calculator and do the following sum:

Meaurement from step 1
zip measurement from step 5
divide by 2

This will give you the distance from each side that you need to mark - it's where the zip opening will go.

Sit down and have a cup of tea to recover.

All set?  Ok, let's move on -

Sew a straight seam along the top of the fabric, half an inch down from the top.  When you get close to the zip opening mark, do a couple of backstitches to secure the thread but do not cut.

Increase the length of the stitch to the widest possible and continue with the seam until you get to the other zip opening mark.  Backstitch a couple of times, shorten the stitch length again and continue to the end. 

What you've just done in the last couple of steps is to tack (or 'baste') the fabric together where the zip will go - don't worry, it will become clearer as we go along!

Open out the fabric, with the inside of the cushion cover up, press the seam flat.

Turn the cushion cover over and put a pin in where you had marked the zip opening so that you can find it again

Take your zip and place it underneath the zip opening with the metal top near the pin.  Start to pin the zip in place.  Feel through the fabric to ensure it's centred and continue to pin down both sides of the zip.

Change your sewing machine foot to a zip foot

Begin to sew from the end of one zip along the side taking out the pins just before you get to them.  Keep your fingers on the zip as you go along to ensure it's still in the middle.

When you get to the end of the zip, leave your needle in the fabric, lift the foot up and pivot the fabric 90 degrees.  Sew along the end of the zip and then pivot again so that you can now sew down the other side.

Sew along the other side of the zip and then finish off at the other end.

Using your unpicker, unpick the tacking stitches along the zip and pull out any loose threads.

Check your zip works.  It does?  Well, of course it does!  Excellent!!!

Another cup of tea is in order and maybe even a snack!  Now you've put in the zip you're nearly home and dry!

Ok, so now you will want to open the zip and leave it OPEN for the time being.

Change your foot to a normal foot then fold the cushion cover in half so that the outside edges are touching.  Pin along all three edges.

Sew along the edges, half an inch in, pivoting at each corner

Take the scissors and cut across the bottom corners in the seam allowance making sure you don't cut into the stitching.  This will make it easier to have crisp corners when you turn it the right way round.

Snip off any loose ends.

Turn the cushion cover the right way out using a turning tool to gently encourage pointy corners (oh wait, I used a blunt pencil, that did the same thing!)

Press the cushion cover and insert cushion pad.

That's it!
You've done it!  Give yourself a huge pat on the back!
Must be lunch-time by now or at least another-cup-of-tea-time!

Let me know how you get on!