Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Scrap-busting coasters - a tutorial

There are lots of quick and easy tutorials out there on coaster-making. Here’s my little contribution to that list. (This one’s for you, Ella!)

You’ll need:

- 2 bits of fabric cut to 5-inch squares (incidentally, charm packs are great for these if you do not have a stash to bust – you can get them on Ebay or Etsy or online quilting shops like Cotton Patch for example. Buy a couple of small packs and you’ll have a good selection of squares to make coasters from.)

- Some soft and spongy sew-in fleece/batting like Vilene Thermolam (you can also use fusible fleece if you prefer)

- Thread to match

Here’s how you make these coasters:

Here are my 3 pieces – two 5-inch squares of fabric and one 5-inch square of fusible fleece.

If you’re using fusible fleece, you can fuse it to the wrong side of one of your fabric pieces.

If you’re using sew-in fleece / battting, make a little stack by placing your two fabrics right sides together and the fleece on the outside (wrong side) of one of the fabric squares. Here are my fabric squares places right sides together.

Pin the little stack together. I’ve drawn a line which is ¼ (quarter) inch in from the edges to show you where you should sew. Make sure you leave a gap in the stitching – a gap of 1.5 – 2 inches will be fine.

Put your needle down on your starting point.

Stitch a few stitches forwards and backstitch a couple of stitches to secure your line of stitching. Then stitch forwards until you get to the corner.

Leaving your needle in the down position, lift your sewing foot and pivot your coaster 90⁰ anticlockwise. Put the sewing foot down again and you're ready to now sew down the next side of the coaster.

Stop at every corner, keep your needle in the down position, lift the foot and pivot to sew down the next side until you find yourself back on the side of the coaster you started from. Sew down a little way, then backstitch a couple of stitches to secure the line of stitching. Don’t forget to leave that gap I showed you a few steps back.

Carefully clip the corners off – taking care not to cut too close to your stitches.

Then carefully grab the inside of your coaster through the small gap and pull it through the gap.

Using a blunt but slightly pointy object like a chopstick or a pencil, carefully poke the corners out neatly. You should then end up with something that looks like this ...

Press your coaster with a hot iron, making sure to tuck the seam allowance of your gap in neatly. Then run a line of stitching all around just inside the edge (dropping the needle, lifting the foot and pivoting on the corners) and if you like, you can quilt it any way you wish. I’ve simply run a continuous straight stitch with my sewing machine in this one, starting from the edge and pivoting at each corner until I get to the middle.

If you are hand-stitching this project, you can do all the steps above right up to the turning right way out and pressing bit. Then at the end, slip-stitch the opening close and hand-quilt your coaster with a design of your choice. You can find some good tutorials on how to do a slip-stitch here and here.

I hope you have found this tutorial helpful.

Happy sewing!

Monday, 1 November 2010

All stacked up

This is the last lot of coasters for my colleagues at work. There are 30 of us all together and we’ve all just moved into a new workspace. This is my ‘office-warming’ gift for each of my lovely colleagues.

Don’t they look great stacked up like this?

Flip them over and you have these sides to look at ...

I can’t get over how cute these look – it’s such a great scrap-buster project.

Here’s a bunch of them all quilted up and ready to go to their new homes on new desks at my workplace ...

A colleague from work has asked if I could put a quick tutorial together for her on these as she is just started sewing. The tutorial is now here.

A dinky wee thing

I first saw this little thing on Lisa Lam’s (she of U-Handbag fame who is also now an author of a fabulous book) blog here.

When I looked at it closer, I realised that the logo on it was that of a local company called TeamUKI.

Isn’t that the cutest, dinkiest little thing you ever saw?! I now have my own dinky micro-iron and Mr CraftyAdy laughs every time he sees it. It is pretty teeny but it actually gets really hot and it’s small enough to get inside a purse or bag if you need to iron certain seams open.

I have to hide my micro-iron from Missy Moo as she thinks it’s one of her toys!

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

My Creative Space

I'm currently obsessed with making fabric coasters ... I decided I was going to make some coasters for a few of my colleagues but as we're all now in one big open plan office like one big happy family, it seemed a good idea to make everyone a coaster (note to self - it is not a good idea to action any "Ah-Ha!" thoughts late at night, after a long day and a couple of big glasses of wine).

Here's a small stack of cut, pinned and ready-to-sew coasters ...

And here are a few which I finished yesterday ....

Just 25 left to go!!They are a great way of using up leftover bits from other projects.

Find out what other creative folk are up to over at Kootoyoo's blog here.

Stuffies galore

A friend who volunteers with the Girl guides wanted me to make some of my stuffies (little zippered pouch) for her to give to her guiding colleagues as Christmas presents.

Those of you who are familiar with Girl Guides will know that the adult leaders are sometimes called Brown Owls and other leaders are often named after different owls. Here are the ones I made for her.

She also had the 2 owl ones in this trio.

I think I might make some more - those owl fabrics are so darn cute.
If you'd like to make some too, the tutorial is here.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

More fold-away shopping bags

Here are two of my fold-away shopping bags which I made recently. They are based on my tutorial here.

These are made using some of Amy Butler’s gorgeous decorator-weight cotton sateen. Underneath the buttons are sew-on snaps.

Here is one fully opened.

And here is the other.

I have been sewing small things recently – mostly because small things are quick to sew and easy on my brain which has been pretty preoccupied with work of late. Things are getting back to normal very slowly but I now have a new team and need to devote some time to getting to know them and training them.

Wishing you a great week ahead. x

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Apologies for my absence ....

It's been so long since I've been on my blog - work interrupted normal life somewhat significantly. But things are slowly getting back to normal and I have some bags to share with you and some stuffies too. Oh and there is the matter of the prize draw for the "Guess the item" post some weeks back. I shall post about that soon.

I hope you have all been well, friends.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

My Creative Space

I’m still really busy at work hence the slow posting. There are no projects on my creative space at the moment but I did finish this project at the weekend.

Some colleagues approached me with a project – they wanted me to use fabric from a dress from Africa to make a big, huge tie for another colleague who was leaving the team. I used the Father’s Day Tie tutorial on Purl Bee’s blog

The dress had a circle skirt which was pieced from several pieces so it was hard to find enough fabric on the bias to cut the tie from. The pieces of the tie was cut directly from a length of the skirt – hence there were stitch-lines right across the front! I used some light-weight polyester fabric from my stash to line the back.

It was a fun project and my colleagues loved it!

See other creative spaces here.

Have a creative day, friends.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

'Guess the project' mini-competition

I’ve just finished this little sewing project for my cousin and I thought it might be funny to make this into a little competition. I’ll throw in a surprise prize for the winner – but more about that later.

So –here they are.

What do you think they might be? Are they perhaps very small hats for children?

Are they face-masks for children? Or a curious gadget for blowing your nose into?

Maybe they are small dunce caps for dolls (sorry Fireman Sam but you were the closest to hand)?

Or perhaps they are a burlesque related item for grown-ups??

Send me your guesses as comments to this post – you can guess more than once. All the names of people who get the correct answers will be put into a hat on Sunday 26 September and a winner drawn from the hat. I’ll send the winner a surprise prize (handmade by my fair hands) in the post. Please make sure you include your email address so I can email you for your snail mail address if you’re the winner. For privacy, do not include your postal address with your answer – just your email address.

Good luck guessing and have a great week ahead!

Saturday, 11 September 2010

A wee change (plus update)

This morning the blog was looking very weird with a bizzare mosaic of error icons all over the place. So I've swapped over to a simpler, more basic design for a little while whilst I figure out what's gone wrong. It doesn't look as pretty as before but at least it's readable.

I'm working on a couple of fun projects which I hope to share with you soon.
Have a great weekend, friends.

**UPDATE : All fixed and back to normal now!**

Thursday, 9 September 2010

My Creative Space

Things are heating up at work. I work in a local University and we’re preparing for the annual enrolment of new students. This is the point we have been working towards all year. For me and my team, that means enrolling about 650 students in the space of 6 hours. **bites nails and crawls under desk wailing** Enrolment is 3 weeks away and I am feeling rather stressed out and ill-prepared for the onslaught that is to come. To make things slightly more interesting, we’re waiting for the builders to finish our new office so we can move in and get it ready in time for the start of term. The move is in 2 weeks and the place is a mess with rubble everywhere, dust, walls half-built, wiring and electrics not in .... hmmmmmm, that space under the desk sure looks inviting right now. What’s that song by Green Day which sums up how I feel – oh yeah, it’s “Wake me up when September ends”.

I‘ve been trying to stay sane and keep the stress at bay by trying to squeeze in at least half an hour of sewing a night. It calms my mind and lets me wind down enough to get a reasonable night sleep.

My space right now is taken up by these two foldaway shopping bags.

The darker fabric is actually a dark brown although it looks black in the photo. I thought a contrasting red bias-binding might work very well with this fabric. What do you think?

The other fabric doesn’t photograph so well – it’s a slightly darker green than in the photo above. The only bias-binding I had in my stash that goes with it was this green one.

They are both at a stage where I am ready to start attaching the bias-binding. I’ll post about the finished bags next week.

See other creative spaces here.

Have a creative day, friends.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

The Noodlehead Gathered Clutch

I saw Noodlehead’s Gathered Clutch pattern ages ago and have been meaning to give it a try. I finally got around to it last week and here are my two gathered clutches.

I made them from fabric I had leftover from my zipaway tote projects.
One side features the gathered fabric and the contrasting band. The other side is plain.

They are rather lovely, don’t you think?
Thanks for the tutorial, Anna!

Sunday, 5 September 2010

The fold-away shopping bag tutorial

I love fabric shopping bags and I love using them when I’m out grocery shopping. Here’s my tutorial for an eco-friendly shopping bag which folds away neatly into a cute pouch when not used. Sorry it’s a bit long – and pic-heavy. At the end, you should have something which looks like this:

And folds into this ...

**UPDATE : You can now download this tutorial as a PDF.

You’ll need the following:
• Some sturdy fabric - I used half a metre of 55" (142cm) wide home-decorating weight fabric.
• Some poppers (you’ll need one female half of the popper and two male halves of the popper) – I used sew-in ones but you can use no-sew ones and set them with a popper setting tool
• A fancy button or you can make a yoyo or a small fabric flower (optional)
• 92 inches (234 cm) in total of bias-binding (I used a double-fold one which is 3/4(three quarter) inch (20mm). When folded around my project, it’s 3/8(three eighth) of an inch or 10mm – NOTE: If you want to bias-bind the inside bottom seam of your bag, you will have to allow for an extra 10 inches.

You’ll also need some tracing paper or greaseproof paper to draft out your pattern. I will try to get a pdf of the actual pattern done sometime soon but it is pretty easy to draft.

P.S. I apologise if you’re not used to working in inches. I am a bit of an old-school girl and usually only work in inches.

Here’s the flap. See drawing below. You’ll need to draw a rectangle measuring 6.25 inches by 5 inches. At the bottom of the rectangle on one side, mark a point 2 inches in from the side and mark another point 2 inches up from the bottom. Repeat for the other corner of the rectangle. Then using a curved object like a jar lid or egg cup, draw a curve from one point to the other. You’ll end up with a pattern like the one drawn in pink. This pattern includes a 3/8 (three eighth) inch (1cm) seam allowance.

OK, here is the body of the bag. See drawing below. Draw a rectangle measuring 24 inches by 10 inches. Draw a line across the rectangle 8 inches down the long side. Let’s concentrate on the smaller rectangle section now and draw our bag handle. Along the 10 inch sides, make a mark 4 inches in and a second mark 3 inches after that. Join the marks so your smaller rectangle is split into 3 even smaller rectangles. The 3 inch section in the middle is your bag handle. Make little marks 2 inches from the bottom of your handle section on both sides. Make two other little marks 2 inches away from the handle section along the 10 inch line. Join the marks on each side using your jar lid or egg cup. You should now have a pattern which looks like the one marked below in green. Referring to the drawing below, mark the side which should be placed along the fold of your fabric. This pattern includes a 1/2 (half) inch seam allowance (1.27cm).

Using the bag body pattern which you drafted, place it on the fold of your fabric and pin in place. Cut out your fabric. Repeat this process again so you end up with 2 body pieces. Save the U shaped piece you cut out at the top where the handle is. You can cut the flaps out of these U shaped offcuts.

Placing your pieces right side together, pin the sides of the bag.

Sew along the sides of your bag like this using a 1/2 (half) inch seam allowance.

As this is a single layer bag, I want to keep the raw edges tidy. So I pinked the edges with my pinking shears and then pressed the seams open.

Making the flap – cut 2 flap pieces from your chosen fabric using the flap pattern. If you had saved the U shaped pieces left over from when you cut your body pieces earlier, you will find the flap pattern fits in there very nicely.

Place them right sides facing, match the edges together and pin in place.

Sew using a 3/8 (three eighth) inch (1 cm) seam allowance leaving a 2 inch gap along the straight side for turning. Cut the corners off carefully and clip around the curve – ie make small snips in the fabric carefully where the curve is but do not cut through your stitching line.

Turn the flap right side out using the gap you left along the straight edge. Gently poke the corners out with a pencil and using something like a butter knife, gently poke around the curve. Press the flap, top-stitch around the curved edge (see below) and set aside.

Now to form the bottom of the bag. Fold the bottom of the bag so that the side seam sits 2 inches in from the edge like this. Make sure all the edges line up at the bottom. Pin in place and do the same for the other side.

Sew straight across the bottom – see photo below. I actually sewed across this seam twice for strength.

You now have a choice of how you want to finish this raw edge. You can either pink the edge or you can encase the seam in bias-binding.

When you turn your bag out the right way, the bottom of your bag will look like this.

Next you have to sew the handle ends together. Place the handle ends on each side right side together and stitch across. Pink the raw edges and press the seams open. You’ll now have one big opening for your bag and two loops for your handles.

Now comes the binding! You may have come across this tutorial before – but if you have not, have a look at Amy Carol aka Angry Chicken’s video tutorial.

I tend to sew my bias binding on without pinning it first. I learnt how to sew bias binding using this terrific video tutorial made by Angry Chicken. Go check out that video first if you haven’t seen it before. Then come back here for the end of my tutorial.

Turn your bag so the wrong side is facing out. You’ll need to cut 3 pieces of bias-binding – cut 2 pieces which are 25 inches long and 1 piece which is 42 inches long.

Take one of the shorter pieces. Open up your bias tape and fold down the end by about 1/4 (quarter) inch. Place it along the edge of one of the handle loops with the bias-binding edge right on top of the edge of your fabric. I started sewing my bias-binding right by the seam at the top of the handle. Start sewing at your fold.

Sew right the way around until you get to your starting point. Overlap your bias-binding on top of your starting point and stitch on further by about 1/2 (half) inch or 1 cm. Cut off any excess bias-binding.

Flip the bag right side out. Fold the bias-binding over the edge and stitch it down.

Repeat this process for the other handle loop and the long edge around the opening of the bag. Use the 42 inch piece of bias-binding for the opening of the bag. You should end up with this.

On one side of your bag, draw a chalk line 1.25 inch (approx 3 cm) from the bottom edge of your handle loop. Mark the middle the the bag along that line too. Along the middle of the bag, make a chalk mark 4.5 inches below your chalk line. See the blue chalk marks in the pic below.

Place your flap on the line so the middle of your flap lines up with the middle of your bag. Pin in place.

Sew your flap to the bag. I used two rows of stitching.

On the opposite side, make a chalk mark in the middle of your bag about 1 inch from the bottom edge of your handle loop.

Sew one of the male half of your poppers to this mark.

To provide a little added strength to this closure point, I cut a small circle of fabric and placed it behind the point where I was sewing the popper and sewed through both layers.

I sewed the female half of my popper to the underside of the flap.

I sewed the other male half of the popper to the mark which I made 4.5 inches below the joining line of the flap, again using a small circle of fabric as reinforcement. You can also see the decorative button I sewed to the top of the flap in this photo.

That’s it! You’re done! To fold your bag, first fold the handles down like this –

Then fold one side of the bag towards the middle like this ...

Then fold the other side of the bag into the middle like this ...

Fold this rectangle in half and roll the bag up towards the flap.

Press the popper close and you have your cute little pouch which will fold out into a shopping bag.

Thanks for staying with me to the end of this tutorial. I hope you find it helpful when sewing your own foldaway shopping bag. Let me know how you get on and do post photos of your foldaway shopping bags on the CraftyAdy Flickr group. Email me or leave a message if any part is not clear.

Happy sewing!