Tutorial: Repurpose Jeans to Clutch

These days, my handbag is full of 95% Squish stuff, 5% my stuff. So when I get the chance to go out without her I either have to take all of her stuff out and carry a sad, empty looking bag, or just carry my wallet and phone. Until last week, when I finally got around to making myself a new clutch, the day before going out for dinner with friends!

It’s made from an old pair of my husband’s jeans, and the piece I used is also leftover from another project that I needed the jeans for. Perfect repurpose!

Just the right size for the essentials: phone, keys and cards.

Wanna make one yourself?

Go find some jeans! (or use something else for the outer fabric)

Supplies:

  • Outer fabric
  • Inner fabric
  • Double fold bias tape/binding (or single fold, and iron it in half lengthwise like I did!)
  • Scrap fabric and button for embellishing (optional)

Cut your fabrics to the desired size. Make the width the same size that you want your finished clutch to be, and the length 3 x longer than the finished length. I cut my jeans so that the pocket was straight which meant that the top edge was angled (original waistband). The inner and outer fabrics should be the same size. If your binding is single fold, iron it in half now.

Unpick the top of any belt loops that are in the way. We will sew them back down over the binding soon.

With fabrics wrong sides together, sew binding on to top edge (the edge with the belt loops). I just sandwiched it on, but if you have the time and patience, you may like to sew the binding on properly. Repeat for the bottom edge. Sew the belt loops back down if you have any.

If you are new to binding, check out Dana from Made’s tutorial:

Fold the bottom up as far as you want it to go. Mine was just over a third, because I didn't want the top flap to fold all the way down.

Now it's time to bind the edges. To encase the ends nicely, you will need to open up the bias tape, fold the top down and the side over. You may need to tuck the folded piece in a bit so that it is nice and neat. You may notice my binding skills aren't that good in these pictures. I was rushing, I should have done it the proper way.

Now you should have something looking like this. Woohoo! Nearly there. Time to embellish if that's your kinda thing. Whoops, looks like I missed the second line of stitching on the lefthand side.

Cut out your shape. I just freehand cut a flower out of the same fabric as the lining, but you can use whatever scrap fabric you like and cut any shape.

Sew carefully around the edge of your shape, about 3mm from the edge. You could pin or use fusible web to keep it in place, but I was in too much of a hurry for that. You could also have done this step right at the beginning on just the outer fabric so that the stitching doesn't show through on the inside. It doesn't really matter too much though.

Sew a pretty button on or finish embellishing however you like and you are DONE!

A quick and easy clutch, just the perfect size for everything you need when going out for dinner with some lovely friends. Or to the movies. Or to someone’s house for coffee. Without all that kid stuff. Wooooo!

Hope you enjoyed this tutorial, thanks for stopping by. It takes me so long to put a tutorial together, I really hope some of you have a go and make some awesome clutches for yourself or maybe as gifts for your friend/mum/sister etc.

Let me know if you need any help with any of the steps. I’m just an email or a comment away :)

Nicola xx

Show me your neutral

In case you missed it, the other day I announced that I’M PREGNANT! I’m actually about halfway through but thought it was about time I shared our news with the blogging world.

Quick story: When I was pregnant with Squish, we wanted to see whether she was a boy or girl. We went along to our 20wk scan, keen to see our beautiful baby again and check that all was well, but also looking forward to getting a sneak peek of who this baby was. She was fast asleep, with her legs crossed, one hand over her genitals and the other hand up with one finger pointing.

Last week, we went along for our 20wk scan for Squirmy. We were so excited to see baby, and again interested to know if it was a boy or girl. This one was happily sitting with it’s knees pulled up by it’s chest, butt facing outwards. Apparently we breed babies that just don’t wanna let us know. I probably won’t have another scan, so we’ll just wait patiently again and look forward to meeting our little Squirmy in a few more months.

Right, back to what this post was actually about. Gender neutral baby stuff. With Squishy I didn’t let myself get too excited and I only made her really practical things like sheets and nappies before she was born. This time is going to be different. This time I’m going to get really baby-excited and make as many awesome baby things as I can fit in, but since I don’t know the gender, I’m looking for ideas of things that will suit any flavour baby. I’m not into pale colours, so no typical pale greens and yellows for us. I’m going to have to get creative. Shouldn’t be a problem, right?

So far, these are some ideas I’ve thought of for projects: (Click images for links)

Sweet and Simple Swaddling Blankets by Delia Creates

Except I’d of course need to use different fabrics. I’ve got some already that will be perfect for a few of these!

Freshly Picked Baby Hats by Delia Creates

Cute hats right? Maybe I can come up with some other cool fruits to model hats after.

Knit Baby Blanket and Baby Hats by Make It and Love It

Obviously not in bright pink or embellished with flowers, but the idea, YES.

Re-Purpose: Stuffed Owl by Make It and Love It

Cute little stuffed toys made from repurposed materials? YES.

DIY Baby Rag Quilt by Do It Yourself Divas

Nana is making Squish one of these for her 2nd birthday, but I’ve got everything I need to make a mini bassinet version for Squirmy!

Felt Owl Mobile by Homemade be Jill

I’m not really on the Owl bandwagon, but I’ve got plenty of felt to make a cute mobile.

That’s just a handful of the ideas that are spinning around in my head right now. Obviously some of them will need different fabrics etc. to make them gender neutral but they will still work. Now I just need to decide on a colour scheme/theme to plan everything around! Oh exciting!

I’ve been pinning lots of other ideas if you are after some baby sewing/crafting inspiration too.

What great unisex baby ideas do you have? Leave me a comment or send me an email with your ideas, I’d love to hear all about them!

Nic x

Refashion: Adult hoodie to toddler hoodie

So in my wardrobe where all my fabric is stored, I also have a couple of huge bags of clothes that I can’t bear to throw out because I figure I can cut them up and use the fabric for something someday.

For one of those pieces of clothing, that day was finally here. The day I cut up one of my old zipup hoodies and turn it into a new hoodie for Squishy. I’ve been thinking about doing it ever since I saw this refashion:

Toddler Sweatshirt Tutorial by Craftiness is not Optional

Toddler Sweatshirt Tutorial by Craftiness is not Optional

The idea of refashioning one of my old pieces of clothing really stuck with me but when I came to do it I didn’t actually follow Jess’ tutorial at all (not because there was anything wrong with it, I just realised mine could work a little differently), so I figured I would have a go at showing you all what I did to go from this:

To this:

Got a hoodie that needs transforming into something for your child?

First you will need a pattern. If you have a hoodie pattern, great. If not, you can use a long sleeve top pattern and then draw up the hood section like I did, or you can have a go at drawing up your own pattern using one of your child’s sweatshirts.

Side note: If you use the link above to make your own pattern, don’t worry about folding it to make a symmetrical pattern piece. Half will work fine. And make sure you use a longsleeve top.

 

Lay your BACK pattern piece on top of the hoodie with the fold line along the zip and the bottom of the pattern piece slightly below the bottom of the top. As you are reusing the bottom ribbing or hem and saving yourself heaps of time, you don't need to include the seam allowance. Cut around your pattern piece through both layers of fabric, making sure that the zip pull thing (what is that called?) is down and out of the way.

Flip your pattern piece and cut out the other half.

Take your front bodice piece and fold it in half. Lay your FRONT pattern piece on top, and cut the neckline to match. Cut straight through the zip.

Lay your arm pattern piece on top of the original arm. Line up the fold of the sleeve with the fold line of the pattern and hang the sleeve end over the end of the sleeve (no need for seam allowances as you are using the original ribbing or hems). Cut around the pattern.

Now for the hood. I had to make my own hood pattern so I'm going to add this in in case you need to too. Using one of your child's hoodies, lay the hood down flat on to some paper. Trace around, remembering to add in seam allowances, except for the front as you will be reusing the hem on your adult hoodie. As you can see, I added seam allowace at the front, silly. Cut out your shape.

Using your hood pattern, cut out your new mini hood. My pattern piece is off the edge because of my unneccessary seam allowance.

Time to put it together! With right sides of the bodice facing, sew shoulder seams with a straight stitch. Use a zigzag stitch to finish the edges. Press with the seam towards the back.

Next you need to pin the arm pieces to the bodice. With right sides facing, start from the centre and work your way out. You may need to stretch the pieces to match. Sew together, again starting from the centre. Press, with the seams facing in to the sleeve. Repeat for the other sleeve.

With both arms sewn on, your hoodie should be looking like this. Time for some side seams.

With right sides together, sew up your side seams. Take care to line up the underarm seam as you go and keep the seam pointing into the sleeve. You could pin this before sewing if you like, I don't, but I'm just a bit lazy. Press.

Before you sew the hood on, you will need to cut a few of the teeth off the zip so that the fabric can be folded over later. I cut three teeth out from each side.

Next up is the hood. Put right sides together and sew up the seam. I was trying to keep the string freeflowing so I did a little tricky sewing at the top, but it didn't turn out that neatly. My advice is to sew right over it, securing the string as you go. It won't matter.

Pin the hood to the bodice. For this you will need the zip down a bit more to make it easier. Start from the centre and work your way out to keep it even, stretching the fabric as you go to match if you need to. Sew up and finish the edges. Press.

With the seam facing down, topstitch the hood to keep it tidy. When you get to the zip, fold the fabric over and stitch back and forward a few times creating a nice strong end which will stop the zip pull thing from coming off the top.

And that’s it! Go find yourself a cute toddler, stick it on them and then let them check out their cute new hoodie.

Pockets!

It didn’t take her long to find those pockets. The girl has been obsessed ever since the green easter dress. Found here by the way:

Ooohh and what's that Mumma?

Strings!

I am so happy with how this turned out and I’m sure you will be too. It’s so cute seeing a miniature version of my old top. Possibly because it’s also being worn by a miniature version of me!

Love you Squishy.

Nic x

A new sweatshirt and a tutorial

My lovely daughter has decided that tops with zips are for taking off, not leaving on to keep warm. Helpful, huh. So I needed to get her a warm top that she can’t take off. And considering I didn’t have any suitable fabric and The Baby Factory were selling plain sweatshirts for $8.99 I wasn’t about to go making one.

Trouble is the ones at the Baby Factory were just plain colours. Not quite fancy enough for my baby girl. I just had to add something:

Don’t look too closely at the actual applique. My technique is crap. This was only the second time I’ve ever tried it and I’ve obviously still got a LOT to learn. But the idea? I’m happy to share that.

Wanna make one of your own? Maybe not a heart, you could do whatever shape you like.

Find yourself a plain sweatshirt. Plain ones are usually cheap, so that's a bonus.

Cut out your base shape (apologies for the ribbon already sewn on there, I got a little ahead of myself). I used red polarfleece because it was the only red fabric I had.

Sew ribbons one by one to the base shape you cut out. Sew each one close to the edge, on both sides.

Keep going, adding ribbons and ricrac or whatever you have until it looks the way you want it. Trim the ends.

Pin in place on your sweatshirt. Now this is where I need help. I couldn't put interfacing on the back of the heart because it wouldn't stick to the polarfleece. Should I have used it on the inside of the sweatshirt to stop the fabric from stretching? Can anyone help me with that? If so, please leave me a comment. I could do with the help!

Using a zigzag stitch with a short stitch length, applique around the edge of the shape. I used a width of 3mm and a length of 0.2mm. I think that the length was too short. Anyone wanna help me out with that one too?

And that’s it! A great way to give your kids cute, unique clothes without the expense of premade stuff or the time and effort involved in making something from scratch.

Nicola x

Some new hairclips and a little how to

I’m on a roll with completing projects at the moment. The other day I finally glued the alligator clips to the felt shapes to finish up the new hairclips for Squishy. Why didn’t I do that sooner? It took no time at all!

A nice pile of new hairclips for Miss Squish.

Wanna know how they were made? I’ll do my best to explain the steps.

We'll start with the big circles. These look complicated but they really aren't. They are made from a whole lot of circles in different sizes. For the one on the left, the circles are folded in quarters and stitched to a base circle. The one on the right is made in the same way, except the circles are folded in half, then into 3. You can experiment a lot with different fabrics with these, have a play and see what you can come up with.

For this navy clip I cut 3 sets of 3 circles from felt, and stitched them together with embroidery floss and added a knot at the top of each stitch to make it stand out. I then glued each set of circles to the alligator clip, slightly overlapping each other.

This yellow flower clip is made with felt and repurposed denim. Made in the same way as the navy circle sets above, these yellow circles are stitched together tightly to create the slight ruffle in the felt. All of the pieces are glued to a base piece of felt before being glued to the clip.

These ones are made with the same circles that I used in the first clips except this time they are just folded in half and stacked on top of each other using hot glue to hold them all together. The smallest circle is folded and glued around the whole stack to tidy up the edge. Again, be creative with the fabrics. Who knows what you might come up with!

This one is pretty simple, I'm sure you've probably seen the technique before. One wide strip with the ends glued together. One smaller strip wrapped around the center to bunch it together like a bow. Easy.

I love making hair accessories. They are so quick and easy and there are so many different options.

Next time I’ll take photos and do a proper tutorial for you :)

Nicola

Tutorial: Ruffled Fabric Streamers

Ready for another Ultimate Scrap Buster? Good. Me too. My scrap box is thanking me.

Last year I saw these on one of my favourite blogs, MADE:

Ruffled Streamers by MADE

I was instantly in love, although it took me a while to get around to making them. But I finally got myself organised and whipped up a few for Christmas. They are so quick and easy! In fact, the longest part was cutting strips of crepe paper as the only colours I could find in the little rolls weren’t what I wanted. If you are looking for a way to make some fast and gorgeous crepe paper decorations, check out Dana’s tutorial. Actually, go check it out anyway because it will really help you follow my steps a little better. And plus, she just writes the cutest posts!

But after ruffling up some crepe paper I got to thinking, what else can I ruffle? FABRIC! I’m starting to think that fabric is the answer to all of my problems. Quite possibly.

And so, just in time for Valentine’s Day decor, I had a go at ruffling up some fabric in red, white, silver and black. I’m going to be honest, we Kiwi’s don’t go crazy with decorating the house at every opportunity (although I am totally envious of the awesome decorating ideas I keep seeing on my favourite blogs), but I thought these might help me get into the spirit.

They didn’t turn out quite as cute as I hoped, as some of the fabrics didn’t ruffle as well as the others. It seems as though the thinner the fabric, the better the ruffles. But anyway, I’ll talk you through the process and offer my suggestions later.

Now, after all of that waffling, I give you another Ultimate Scrap Buster:

Ruffles!

A little close up action.

Oh, and I also did a little pink and green. Cute right?

I know the strips aren’t all perfectly straight but I think that just adds to the charm, don’t you think? I think the scrappiness of it is cute.

Ready to do-a-lil-ruffling? Great.

Get out that scrap box/bag/pile and gather yourself a pile of coordinating strips. You want some wide, approx. 5cm wide, for your bottom ruffle layer, and some thinner than that (it really doesn’t matter how thin, as long as they are thinner than your bottom pieces) for your top ruffle layer. Don’t be afraid of the funny shaped ones. Here’s my pile:

See? All kinds of shapes in there. No problem.

Now, before you get into sewing, change the settings on your machine so that it is on the longest stitch length and highest tension. Did you read Dana’s tutorial? I hope so.

Layer a smaller piece on top of a bigger piece to start. Back stitch to secure, then start sewing and watch those ruffles suddenly appear.

 

When a layer runs out, just shove another piece right in there. My top layer ran out first, so I just stopped with the needle down, lifted the presser foot and slid in another piece.

 

When your bottom layer runs out, just add in another piece in the same way.

Keep on adding in new pieces until you have a beautiful ruffled streamer to decorate whatever you want to decorate.

Unfortunately, as I mentioned before there were problems. The thicker fabrics and the stretchy fabrics didn’t work very well at all. Stick with lightweight cottons and you should be fine. Also, if you wanted you could do a third layer at the bottom facing down so that it was double-sided. That was my original plan but I got a little lazy.

A lil more pink and green for you. I love this colour combo.

Now go and make a whole bunch in whatever colour combos you like!

Happy Valentine’s! And happy ruffling!

Nicola x

Refashion: Kids pants to shorts

The offending pants

These lovely pants are another find from the Freecycle bag of treats that was desperately needing a restyle. The pants themselves are in really good condition, but kid’s TV programme logos on clothes aren’t really my thing.

My first thought, SCISSORS! Cut the legs off and get rid of the logos! But that pesky one on the right leg was too far up. So, I decided to cut them off into shorts anyway and add a band made from the leg fabric to lengthen them.

Voila!

For anyone that may have pants that need a little change-up, here’s what I did:

I cut the legs off just above the logo. Ignore the fact the I had already made a cut lower down, I thought I may have been able to do it differently.

I cut two strips approx. 5cm wide to make the bands from the bottom of the pant legs so that I didn't have to finish the edges again.

I then pinned the bands to the shorts, right sides together.

Next, ironing the seams flat towards the bottom of the shorts.

And that’s it! A brand new pair of shorts, without the tacky Hi5 logo. Brilliant, and simple!

Squish better start growing faster so that she can fit into her growing pile of new clothes!

Nicola

Tutorial: Kids flared pants to tights

Have you heard of Freecycle? It’s a website where people post their unwanted items for others to have for free in the interests of keeping unnecessary stuff out of our landfills. It’s an international organisation, but you just sign up for the posts in your area.

Recently I scored a huge bag of girl’s clothes in size 4 – 7. There was all kinds of good stuff in there. A lot of it was covered in paint but that just tells me that the little girl that used to own these clothes was very creative! There were also a few homemade knitted and sewn jerseys in there too.

About half of it is in good condition and has gone into a bag to wait until Squish gets a little older. The other half is stained or stretched beyond repair or just not my taste, and so is destined to either be altered or cut up and used for something else. Luckily I have a little while to work on it all since she is no where near fitting any of it! But do keep a look out for a few tutorials on altering kids clothes in the near future.

Right, back to today’s tutorial. Altering these lovely purple flared pants:

into something a little more to my taste:

I’ve altered my straight jeans into skinny jeans before, so I figured this would be no trouble. Got a pair of kid pants that need a restyle? Let’s get into it.

Stuff you will need:

  • Rotary Cutter and cutting mat, or scissors
  • Ruler
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron

Step 1:

Using your ruler, check the outside edge of the leg. If it is already straight, great. If not, like these ones, put a pin in where the flare starts. Put another pin in the bottom to mark where your line of stitching is going to end. I guess if you have chalk or a suitable pen, you could draw a straight line to show you where to sew.

Step 2:

Starting a little before the pin, sew along the original line of stitching and when you get near the pin slowly start to veer away from the edge, sewing in a straight line towards the pin at the bottom of the pant leg. This is where a drawn line would come in very handy! Must get me some chalk.

Step 3:

Repeat for the inseam. Using your ruler, straighten the inseam. The top of the leg on these pants was fitted so I just continued that line all the way to the bottom. Using pins mark your start and finish points as before. Sew as for the outside seam. Trim excess fabric and finish edges by zigzagging or overlocking. Repeat for the other leg.

Step 4:

Iron your seams. If you are working with knit fabric like me, this step is definitely a must. Just press and lift, don't drag the iron.

Turn in the right way, and you are done! One pair of tights that I will happily dress my child in.

Next up, a pair of Hi5 pants that I can’t stand! Shorts anyone?

Nicola x

Tutorial: Gift Bags using a Book

When I was younger I was a Brownie and a Girl Guide. I remember learning all kinds of great things there, but only a few have stuck in my head: how to cook pikelets with a tin can and a candle, and how to make gift bags using a book.

I haven’t made these for years. But since the vow to never buy wrapping paper again, I’ve found myself trying to come up with alternative ways to wrap gifts (even though I don’t have any gifts to wrap just yet, the mind just wanders!). This handy little piece of info was filed away in the back of my mind and decided to come floating back. Very considerate of it!

Gift bags using a book

I’ve used my some of my daughter’s drawings for these, she’s 18mths old and LOVES drawing. We have piles and piles of her drawings already, I can only imagine how many we are going to end up with over the years. But I can see that in my quest to replace wrapping paper with recycled and reusable alternatives her drawings are going to come in very handy.

Ready to learn how to turn your kid’s drawings/magazines/newspaper etc. into reusable and recyclable gift bags? You can click any of the pictures for a larger image.

Stuff you will need:

  • Paper or similar, whatever you are wanting to make your bag out of
  • Tape
  • A book (or two or more depending on your desired bag size)
  • Holepunch (optional – for adding ribbon)

Lay out your paperStep 1:

Check your paper size. Tape 2 pieces together if neccessary. I have used 2 A4 pieces to make my bags (approx 20cm tall).

 

 

 

Fold top of paper downStep 2:

Make a fold of about 3 – 4cm on one of the long sides. This step is optional depending on what look you want. It will provide a sturdy top to thread ribbon through like the one with the red ribbon. If you want a bag like the one with the pink ribbon, skip this step.

 

 

Wrap bookStep 3:

Wrap paper around book and tape all the way along. If you joined 2 pieces of paper together, you may like to make sure that the join is on the side.

 

 

 

Push book to desired positionStep 4:

Slide book up or down until there is just enough to fold the bottom of the bag nicely. Too little and you will have a hole, too much and it will be too bulky.

 

 

 

Fold bottom of bagStep 5:

Fold the bottom of the bag as if wrapping a present. Top first, then sides, then the bottom. Tape in place.

 

 

 

Slide the book outStep 6:

Slide the book out. It looks like a bag, you are nearly done!

 

 

 

 

Step 7:

Using your finger and thumbnail pinched together, crease the four sides of the bag. Don’t worry about the bottom, we will get to that.

 

 

 

Step 8:

Bring the two edges on one side of the bag together, forming in inverted fold in the side of the bag. Repeat for the other side.

 

 

 

Step 9:

Flatten bag, folding the base towards the back of the bag. Crease all edges.

 

 

 

 

Using your hole punch, punch holes in the top and embellish as desired. You could make little ribbon handles, tie a big bow, add a tag, get creative!

And you are done! One gift bag made from recycled materials, which can either be reused or recycled.

Let me know by commenting here if these steps don’t make sense. I’ll be happy to help.

No more wrapping paper!

Nicola xx

Tutorial: Scrap Buster Blocks

There are many great tutorials out there for using up fabric scraps. MANY. But they all seem to involve what I consider rather large scraps. Am I the only one that keeps all the tiny pieces? Probably. But I just can’t throw out those gorgeous little bits and figure they will be good for something one day, so into the scrap box they go.

Of course because of my hoarding, I’m always on the lookout for projects to use them up. So when I came up with this idea I was very pleased with myself! Behold, the first in what I like to call “The Ultimate Scrap Buster Projects”:

This project is an Ultimate Scrap Buster because it uses those tiny little strips that you thought were no good for anything but were too pretty to throw away. The smallest piece I used was approx. 1.5cm x 6cm (the skinny blocks in the picture above).

I made these a few months ago, so for the tutorial photos I’ve used a random piece of wood from my husband’s scrap pile. It’s a piece of treated timber (see how it’s pink?) that I definitely wouldn’t give to my child to play with. The wood I used for the actual blocks is some untreated knotty pine from Bunnings (of course you’d need to be in NZ to shop there!) that I got for a few dollars each. Also, because you are smothering these things in glue, you probably don’t want to give them to children who are likely to put them in their mouths.

Let’s get on with it!

Stuff you will need:

  • Bits of wood – any suitable offcuts you have around, or a few lengths from your local hardware store
  • Sandpaper
  • Fabric scraps!
  • Watered down PVA glue (Elmer’s glue for my American friends) – 1 part water to 1 part glue. Or Mod Podge if you have it. I didn’t, glue works great.
  • Paintbrush
  • Scissors

Step 1:

Cut your bits of wood into block-sized pieces. This could really be whatever size you want. If you are like me, you pester your husband until he goes and cuts them for you. Sand the rough edges.

 

 

 

 

Step 2:

Brush a little glue on one of the faces that you want the fabric (you will do the other side later, unless you wanna be tricky and do both sides at once). Just a thin layer. Lay the fabric on top and press down. Let dry. If you are making a whole bunch, by the time you have done this step on all of the blocks, the first ones should be dry enough.

 

 

 

Step 3:

Trim the fabric as close to the edge as possible.

 

 

 

 

 

Step 4:

Brush some more glue over top,  paying special attention to the edges. Let dry.

 

 

 

 

 

Repeat for all of the faces that you want fabric on, and all of the many blocks that you want to make. After all of that hard work, you will end up with a beautiful, unique, handmade set of blocks for your child or someone elses. Or for your husband to build things while your daughter just bangs two together to make loud noises.

Enjoy!

Nicola :)