Thursday, November 24, 2011

Turning the bookcase(s) upside down

My bookcase project is nearly complete!

You might recall that I had two of these bookcases in need of a revamp:


I'd made them about 15 years ago, then added the doors when the Schoolboy was a baby to stop him climbing on the bottom half.  Somehow I'd never gotten around to painting the doors.  With the Newbie on the way and in need of office storage I crafted a plan to re-use them as part of a hutch over my new desk.

I need to paint and add some trim on either side of the fabric (Verano Petals from Yardage Design) to neaten the edges, and finish painting the shelves, but I'm so excited that I thought that I'd share their transformation now (its also your last chance to see this desk looking so clutter free!).

Here's the process in brief (fabric decoupage tutorial to come):

Upside down, with the old top cut off & sides shaped...

Painted and in place...

With the doors added...

'mini-desk' from offcuts and $1 'seconds' from Mitre 10

I should be working right now, but I'm off to check out more creative spaces over here instead!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Its beginning to feel a lot like Christmas...

... my apologies!  It really is to early to be thinking about Christmas, and I can't face any sort of present list yet, but there are some craft items on my 'to do' list that I really want to cross off before the start of December.  Last night I finished the first of them: a Christmas stocking for the Newbie.  In theory this could have waited - our tradition is that we hang them on Christmas Eve, but as Christmas and new babies come hand-in-hand in our household, making a stocking just seems like part of the birth preparations.
I've made each of us Christmas stockings, and a friend asked me for the pattern some time ago.  Looking at my instructions for her I was a little confused by the whys and wherefores of some of my instructions, so I thought I'd revise them for you.  I've also tried my hand at preparing a PDF pattern based on my design.  If you print it at 100% you'll end up with a stocking that's around 47cm from the top to the heel and 40cm from heel to toe.

I'm going to make one of Tania's Voucher Wraps (but slightly smaller - mine will measure 6" by 11" unfolded) with some of the leftovers.
If you'd like to have a go at your own version of my Christmas stocking feel free to download the pattern (please only use it for your own personal purposes - don't reproduce it/sell them).  Some of the great looking examples here might provide additional inspiration for fabric choices.  There are written instructions in the pattern download, but if you're after visuals as well here goes:

What you'll need:

Main fabric & calico/lining (115cm wide)
70cm of each
(180cm will do 3 stockings)
Cuff fabric (115cm wide)
Ribbon/webbing (~2.5 cm wide)
~70 cm
Iron on interfacing (light-medium weight)
20cm (if 115cm wide this should do two stockings)

What to cut:
2x      Stocking shape from main fabric (add 1cm seam allowance all round)
2x      Stocking shape from calico (add 1cm seam allowance all round)
2x      18cm x 56cm rectangles from cuff fabric
1x      18cm x 56cm rectangle from interfacing

How to sew it up:
1.          With right sides facing, stitch front and back stocking pieces together using a 1cm seam allowance, back-stitching a few stitches at the start and end of the seam, and leaving the top open.  If you like, then zig zag/overlock the edges (I have used a straight stitch to neaten the top of the stocking, but as the whole lot is going to be lined I haven’t worried about the rest of the edges).
2.          Do the same with the calico/lining.
3.          Clip seam allowance to curves.
4.          Turn the main fabric stocking through the right way, and press.
5.          Insert the calico stocking inside the main fabric one, matching seams and top.
6.          Apply the interfacing to one of the cuff pieces.
7.          With right sides, facing stitch the cuff pieces together along one long edge (this becomes the lower edge).
8.          Press flat, with seam allowance toward the un-interfaced half.
9.          With right sides facing, stitch the back seam (short edges) of the cuff, then press open.
10.       Fold the cuff in half and press.
11.       Insert cuff inside the top of the stocking, matching the back seam on the cuff with that on the stocking, and ensuring that the non-interfaced side of the cuff is facing the stocking lining (ie. When turned over this will be on the outside).
12.       Fold the ribbon/webbing in half, and pin between the stocking and the lining, so that the fold matches the edges of the fabric and the remainder of the ribbon/webbing hangs inside the stocking.
13.       Stitch the cuff and the stocking together, catching the ribbon/webbing into the seam.
14.       Fold up the cuff so that it lies flat, then topstitch the seam allowance to the stocking.
15.       Turn the cuff down.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Inspired by...

I have to confess that until recently I hadn't made any clothes for my kids.  I'd made some dresses for my nieces last Christmas, but nothing for the boys.  I remember making the girls dresses, and losing the piece of paper that I had their measurements written down on several times during the process.  I recently measured up the Schoolboy with a view to making him some pyjama pants, but once again I've lost the measurements.  I came across this idea on the Owly Baby blog, and decided that it was fantastic.  The only issue is that the picture is rather too girly for my household (and particularly for the Kinderboy who currently declares to all and sundry that Nanna is the only girl he likes!).

This morning I've come up with my own version, the starting point being the diagram in the back of a Burda Kids pattern book I have:

I've added some extra measurements that I thought would be useful, printed them onto A5 paper, trimmed them, then mounted them on card.  I covered the lot with Contact, but you could laminate them.  This'll mean that rather than reprinting them all the time (and potentially losing them), I'm going to hang them inside my craft cupboard and write on them with overhead projector pen (I've found it to be a bit more permanent than whiteboard marker, but still able to be erased) so I can update the measurements as I need to.  Now I just have to find the Schoolboy's measurements...

If you're interested, feel free to download my template, which also has a girl version.  Please only use for your own personal purposes however.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A brilliant idea...

My fabric stash is made up of a mixture of fabrics I've bought for clothes that I've never made, patchwork fabric I've deliberately bought as a stash, and then leftovers from completed projects.  These leftovers are often too big to throw away but not big enough to do much with.  I tend not to throw them out 'just in case', and because they've cost me money.  They often stay in the cupboard for years though, taking up space before I either ditch them or find a project for them (hence the 20 year old satin lining this bag).  

I saw a great idea on someone's blog, and have modified it slightly for my own purposes.

I purchased 3m of 137cm single pass curtain lining (the original used vinyl which the author kept rolled up, however I thought that lining would be lighter and therefore easier to deal with.  I also plan to fold it rather than roll it up).  I then 'borrowed' some textas off the Schoolboy and marked the length of the fabric with:
  • The centreline (using a dotted line)
  • A 114cm wide section (using a solid line and different colour), plus its centreline (using a dotted line)
  • A 75cm wide section (ie. half of a 150cm wide section)
I then folded the fabric at just over 80cm from the end, marked this line, thereby getting a line which was perpendicular to the selvedges.  Finally, I measured in each direction, marking every 10cm (I haven't bothered with a 10cm or 30cm line at this point, if it becomes an issue I'll mark it in later).

The idea is that, because I usually buy a pattern separately to (ok, years before) the fabric I'm going to use it with, I will lay out my pattern pieces on the relevant section of the lining and work out how much fabric I actually need to make up a garment, rather than relying on the metreage shown on the pattern.  Once I'm happy with the layout, I'll take a photo and save/print it for future reference, and then go shopping.  Marking the centreline for each pattern width allows you to take account of a fold in the fabric.  Hopefully this will reduce the amount of miscellaneous scraps in my stash, and the additional cost associated with over-purchasing.

I spent a fair bit of time over the long weekend scouring the net for the original post, but to no avail - if this was your idea please let me know and I'll link to you and give you the credit!

Now I've finished it, and after looking at way too many pictures of projects from Japanese sewing books today, I really want to break out the patterns and start a new project.  Better finish a couple of things first though I guess (sigh).  Off to check out other creative spaces instead.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

More freezer paper

As promised I've been doing some more freezer paper stencilling - a Star Wars logo at the request of the Schoolboy, who loves his '86' tee so much he's determined to show it off to all rather than save it as a pyjama top.

This time round I actually did three coats of paint (a little thickly I think - perhaps thinner coats wouldn't have bled so much?).  The colour does look slightly more solid than my previous efforts, but isn't darker - when buying fabric paint in the future I'll be tempted to go a shade darker than what I'm looking for to account for the fact that it does seem to dry lighter.

I have another (actually, another 5!) project on the go, but for now I'm heading over here to look at what other people have been up to.


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