Tutorials

Easy Make Burp Cloths

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Baby Lilly needs burp cloths, she goes through so many! I made this project up as I went along but they really are “easy make burp cloths!” I followed the same simple method that I used for the taggie blanket, only difference being I didn’t add the tags. I made 2 and it only took me 30 mins, including the ironing.

 

Materials 

 

make burp cloths

I used some face/wash cloths my Mum gave me when she was having a clear out for the back. A simple square shape and perfect for making a burp cloth. For the top I had a couple of fat quarters left from the bundle I’d bought for a previous project.

 

 

 

Instructions

 

iron fabricFirst, most important, iron your fabric. I repeat this on every tutorial because I used to take shortcuts and think it didn’t matter, wondered why pattern pieces were the wrong size! Another tip, keep your iron clean and if its past it’s best and keeps sticking, think about replacing. There’s nothing more annoying than ruined fabric because of sticky iron.

 

 

Fabric pinnedLay your fabric on the table right side up then pin the face cloth to it. Cut around the edge so you have equal size square of face cloth and fabric. I didn’t bother getting the rotary cutter and cutting mat out for this small project, just used the ironing board and scissors.

Do you like my cute pin cushion? My sis crocheted it for a Christmas present, I love it!

 

 

 

 

trimmed burp clothsYou’ll now be ready to get straight to the sewing, your fabric is already pinned from the previous cutting step. Sew 3 side and halfway up the 4th leaving an opening for turning right sides out.

Trim the cotton edges with pinking shears to stop fraying. The face cloth already has bound edges so won’t need to be trimmed. I could have taken my overlocker/serger round the edges at the start but wanted to demonstrate how you could make this with basic tools and a basic sewing machine.

 

Turn the fabric right sides out through the gap left in the previous step. Press, turning in the ends of the open gap then top stitch all the way round.

 

easy make burp cloths

I plan to run up some more this week, make sure Lilly has a good supply!

If you’ve any questions or suggestions feel free to contact me, or leave a comment below.

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How to Patchwork Quilt – Part 3

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We finished How to Patchwork Quilt – Part 2 with the patchwork completed and now it’s time to move onto the quilting part.

There are many different ways to make a quilt but, for the purpose of this tutorial I’m doing it the simplest way.

Making the quilt.

A quick note here….3 layers of patchwork quiltI decided to add a cream strip along the top of the patchwork, (about 15/16 cm), the idea being I can embroider the baby’s name in the corner once he/she’s born.

Lay the batting/wadding on the bottom, then the patchwork facing up, then the backing.

 

Sew around 3 sides Open End of patchwork quiltleaving the top open. Trim the seam then turn right sides out leaving the batting in the middle.

 

 

 

Time to get the iron Patchwork quilt ironedout again! Turn the open edges in and give the quilt a good press. Top stitch all the way around the edge. You can use a contrasting thread colour for this, I kept it white as I don’t know whether it’s for a boy or girl.

 

 

Quilting.

As with the joining of the pieces, there are many different methods and patterns for the quilting part. You can see some elaborate examples in How to Quilt – Part 1

A lot will depend on the machine Patchwork quilt squareyou have and the thickness of the quilt. My sewing machine isn’t a quilting machine so I chose a simple straight machine stitch criss-crossed over a 4×4 square. Again I kept the white thread. It’s hard to see in the image but hopefully you get the idea.

 

Another press and finished! How to patchwork quilt finishedThis was the easiest patchwork quilt I could make, it’s a new skill for me to learn so always best to start simple! It’s not perfect, there are some “wobbly” bits but for a first attempt I’m pleased with it.

 

Finally.

I enjoyed the process and some of the examples I saw in my research have inspired me to do more. Proper quilting rulers would have made cutting the patchwork pieces easier. If you want to learn more about quilting and the best tools to us, take a look at this site.

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How to Patchwork Quilt – Part 2

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In How to Patchwork Quilt – Part 1 we finished by having fabric squares prepared ready for piecing together.

How to Patchwork Quilt Part – 2

Lay out your squares in How to patchwork quilt squaresthe pattern you want. I decided to put the cream squares down the sides, I liked the look of it better.

 

 

 

We’ll sew the squares together How to patchwork quilt Sew Squaresone strip at a time. Take the first 2 squares and sew right sides together, then sew the next square on in the order you laid them out.

 

 

Keep adding the squares till How to patchwork quilt stripsyou have the first strip finished. Continue with each row of squares until you have all the rows sewn.

 

 

 

This is where you’ll see how Inaccurate cut squaresaccurate your square cutting was. You can see quite clearly in the picture on the right that my squares weren’t all created equally! I unpicked this particular block and cut another square of fabric.

I thought I was being careful and accurate when I cut out the squares so perhaps I need one of those special quilting rulers mentioned in How to Patchwork Quilt – Part 1….

After redoing that strip it was Patchwork Quilt pressed seamtime to trim the seams, switch the iron back on and press them open.

 

 

 

Join the strips.

Pin the strips, right sides Pin patchwork at seamstogether. I pinned right on the seams to make sure the seams lined up when sewing. (Click on the image to see full size).

 

 

 

All patchworked strips pinned

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sew all the strips together trying Patchwork Finishedto keep the seams aligned. Once you have all the strips sewn, trim and press.

You should now have a complete piece of patchwork!

 

Keeping the seams aligned Patchwork finishedwas the most challenging part. I’m sure this is one of those things where practice makes perfect. If you click to see the full size image you can see where my seams aren’t aligned perfectly but I’m pleased with what I’ve achieved so far.

 

How to Patchwork Quilt – Part 3 will cover making the quilt using the patchwork made in Parts 1 and How to Patchwork Quilt – Part 2. You’ll also have the opportunity to disguise mistakes made in the patchwork!

If you’ve any questions or comments about this tutorial please leave a comment below or contact me, I’d love to hear from you!

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How to Patchwork Quilt

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I don’t know how to patchwork quilt so take this journey with me and we’ll work together to create a patchwork pram quilt. I have another Grandbaby on the way and thought this would make a great gift. There are plenty of tutorials and advice, I’ve already done my research, and am ready to get started!

I’m going to do this ‘How to patchwork quilt’ tutorial in 3 parts. This will give us time to complete each part before moving onto the next.

I have the materials that I need having taken advantage of the special offer from Hobbycraft (see here) and buying the half price fat quarters (Fat quarters are usually 56cm wide x 50cm, (22 inches x 18 inches)). I’m using an unwanted quilt cover for the backing and some of the patchwork squares.

What is a Patchwork Quilt?

A quilt is described Elaborate Quiltas being a type of blanket composed of three layers. A top layer, a layer of batting or wadding in the middle and a fabric back. Quilting is where the layers are stitched together with either simple or very elaborate patterns. (Image “Russellquiltera” by Russell Lee Courtesy of Wikipedia)

Patchwork is described as simple patchworkneedlework that involves sewing geometric pieces of fabric together to form a large piece. Generally the larger piece is based on repeating patterns built up with the fabric shapes. The simplest form is squares, which you can see in this image.

 

So, a patchwork quilt is using the pieced patchwork to form the top layer of your quilt.

Of course, there is much Elaborate quiltmore to this kind of sewing. There are some beautiful examples like the picture on the right. (“Korea-Joseon-Bojagi-01” by by angela n.)

I’m keeping it simple for my first attempt by using a basic square patchwork.

 

Lets get started.

Based on an existing pram cover I’ve decided to make my pram quilt 61cm x 81.4cm (24″ x 32″) with each square being 10cm (4″)

If I’ve done my calculations correctly that means I’ll need 48 squares. There’ll need to be a seam allowance added so I’ll add 1.27cm (1/2″) to each square.

Materials.

  • A piece 61cm x 81.4cm (24″ x 32″) How to quilt materialsfor the backing.
  • A piece of wadding/batting 61cm x 81.4cm((24″ x 32″).
  • Colourful fabric for cutting the squares. I’m using two of the fat quarters mentioned earlier plus a one fat quarter cut from the backing. So that’s three fat quarters.
  • Rotary cutter and self-healing mat (optional, you can use scissors).

Instructions.

The next step is vey important; IRON YOUR FABRIC! For accuracy when sewing the squares together this needs to be done. You’ve cut out your backing and wadding piece so now it’s time to cut out the squares. There are special patchwork and quilting rulers for this, like this one here Sew-Easy Patchwork Quilting Ruler 24×6-1/2in. I don’t have one of these so I’m going to mark out the squares with tailors chalk and a mitred ruler.

Lay the three fat quarters on top of each Fabric choiceother and mark out 48 x 11.27cm (4.4″)squares.

 

 

 

 

Measuring the squares

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once you have all the squares Fabric Squares Cut outmarked out it’s time to start cutting. Cut along the long length first. You’ll then have 4 separate lots of fabric. Cut along the markings you made earlier to form the squares.

You should now have 48 neatly cut squares ready to start forming the patchwork.

 

The next step is to lay out the squares in the pattern you want to sew them. That will be covered in Part 2 of How to Patchwork Quilt.

I’m really enjoying learning and will definitely want to do more patchwork quilting. I found this great resource where you can download all the quilting patterns you want – it’s FREE!

If you have any questions or comments about this tutorial please comment below or contact me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Baby Christmas Dress

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I was thinking about making a baby Christmas dress for Granddaughter Lilly and wondering about fabric when this appeared at my door. 

Christmas CurtainsA bag full of curtains!

There were four pairs of curtains in the bag, all lined with red fabric. I didn’t take measurements but there was a LOT of fabric in there!

 

 

 

 

 

Unpicking

First was the job of unpicking, Unpicking the fabricI like to reuse as much as possible so the curtain tape came off first. That will get saved in my haberdashery box for future use.

 

 

Then I separated the lining. Christmas FabricI’ll only be using the printed fabric for this baby Christmas dress and will hardly use even 1 of the curtains. Enough to make a dress each year as baby Lilly grows!

 

 

 

Making the Dress

Then it was time to start making Baby dress patternthe dress. I used a BurdaStyle pattern, 9752 which gives a few different options on style.

Following the instructions I pinned the pattern onto the fabric. There’s a tutorial here for how to read sewing patterns.

 

 

 

 

 

I usually find Burda patterns easy Sewing the Collarto follow but the collar on this on really had me stumped. I spent a long time trying to figure it out but after a bit of trial and error and the help of a sewing forum I got there.

I used to have a problem inserting sleeves but have finally mastered that skill!

 

 

This is the top half of the Top Half of dressdress finished ready for attaching the skirt.

 

 

 

The skirt was straight forward with a simple gather around the waist. I’ve used this technique on many baby dresses and will be posting a “how to” tutorial soon. It gives a nice fullness to the skirt and makes sure there’s plenty of room around baby’s hips.

Baby Christmas Dress Finished!

Because of the problems I had with the collar this took me around 8 hrs to make. I did manage to run up a matching bib in that time though. Now Lilly will have this cute baby Christmas outfit to wear over her first festive season!

baby christmas dress

Baby Christmas dress Baby Christmas dress

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Taggie Blanket

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A baby taggie blanket can be so expensive taggie blanketto buy, so why not have a go at making one? These are simple to make and don’t take long. A beginning sewer can easily manage this project. Making a taggie blanket uses up your fabric scraps too.

I’ve explained all the techniques used in this project in previous articles. Just click on the blue links if you need help.

I used microfiber fleece for the main part of the Taggie Blanket. You could also use pretty print cotton fabrics like fat quarters but, if you’ve read my other tutorials, you know I prefer the microfibre fleece. I’ve already made three pair of baby booties and a plush baby toy from it. Why? It’s very soft and feels so good on baby’s (or anyone else’s) skin.

fat quartersHobbycraft have some special half price offers on some very pretty fat quarters.

 

 

Materials

  • 2 pieces of micro fleece 30cm x 30cm (12″ x 12″)
  • 14 fabric scraps of differing sizes. (I used different textures to make it more tactile)
  • Thread
  • Scissors

 

Making the tags

Once you have all you materials, take the scrapsMaterials for Taggie Blanket first and cut into rectangles of various sizes. Remember these will be getting folded in half and sewn so allow for this. My largest piece was 10cm x 15cm (4″ x 6″)

 

 

 

 

Fold each piece in half lengthwise right Tags cut and pressedsides together and press till you have 14 tags ready to sew.

 

 

 

 

Sew two sides leaving one side open Sewing the Seamsfor turning right sides out.

 

 

 

 

Turn all pieces right side out and pressIron the tags. I pressed the seams to the side but you can press seams to the centre if you prefer.

 

 

 

 

Putting it together

Fold the tags in half and lay on 1 of thePin tags on fleece pieces of fleece with the folded ends facing the centre. Space them out as shown in the picture and pin in place.If you’re using fabric pin the tags to the right side.

 

 

 

Baste/tack in place, you can find an Sew Tags onto fleeceexplanation of basting here. Take the second piece of fleece and lay on top of the basted pieces. If you’re using print fabric remember to place the right side down.

 

 

All pieces placed togther ready for sewing

 

 

 

 

 

Stitch around all 4 sides leaving a gap Right sides out and pin open endfor turning right sides out. Turn right sides out then turn in and pin the open end.

 

 

 

Top stitch around the edge to give a nice Top stitchneat finsh.

 

 

 

 

 

The fleece centre looked a bit plain to me Baby taggie blanketso I thought I’d try my new found applique skills. I had an old charity shop cushion cover with animals printed on it so I cut out the giraffe for this project.

 

 

And there we are, I think baby Lilly likes her new taggie blanket!

Baby Lilly holding taggie blanket

 

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Plush Baby Toy

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Plush Baby Toy

Yesterday I had an idea about making Light-bulb-momentmy own plush baby toy but wasn’t quite sure how I would implement it. I did a Google search (don’t you just love Google!) and found this tutorial.…..DING……the ideas started coming in.

 

 

Now I had some fleecePlush Blanket left from the booties I made in a previous post (here) and you’ll know by now that I like to get the most out of everything! This bit of fleece started life as a baby blanket, cost £2.45 and I’ve already made 4 items out of it.

I decided to incorporate the teddy bear embellishment for this one. I also decided to use the purple ribbon I had in my stash but you can use your imagination here, even do different shapes if you wish. I had a cushion I no longer needed so took the stuffing out and used some of that. No purchases needed for this upcycled project!

 

 

I used a 6″/15cm bowl and drew around it Cut 2 circleswith tailors chalk to cut 2 circles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next step is to cut your Showing how to pin ribbon onpieces of ribbon, (mine were about 5cm) then fold each piece in half and lay on the bottom piece of the plush fabric. Lay the upper piece right sides in on top then pin making sure you also pin the ribbon. The folded end goes in towards the middle and leave a small bit sticking out over the edge.

 

 

Leave a few cm open, this is Circles Pinned togetherwhere you’ll turn right sides out, put your stuffing in and add the piece of ribbon for hanging.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carefully sew where you’ve Round circles sewn togetherpinned it, I put the machine on slow speed when I’m doing anything circular for more control. Remember to leave the end open.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Turn right sides out and stuff, Plush baby toy stuffed with  top edge pinneddon’t stuff it too tight, you want it to feel a bit “squeeshy!” Cut a longer piece of ribbon, length depending on where you’re hanging it then, pin into the opening at the top at the same time turn the edges in and pin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I machine stitched this part but in hindsight it might have been a bit neater hand sewing it. And that’s it, a simple plush baby toy which took around 1 hr to make! You could make a few of these with different shapes and colours and hang them from a baby bouncer handle, no need to purchase expensive toys!

plush baby toy finished

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Wall Organizer

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I did say I was going to do some tutorials on the “Home made Christmas Gifts” page and a wall organizer can make a useful and adaptable gift for anyone.

I made this one withCompleted Wall organizer fabrics I had to hand being an avid upcyler but you can really let your creativity lose  and choose according to who you’re making it for. A wall organizer will even work in a garage if you use stong fabrics so there’s an idea for the men in your life!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I gathered my materials together:Materials for wall organizer

  • Cotton velvet and printed cotton, I’m sure you recognise them from other projects, after all this blog is all about upcycling!
  • A piece of cane cut according to the size you make.
  • A piece of strong ribbon or thick string,  cut depending on low you want it to hang.
  • I used gift ribbon for embellishing but you can use anything for this.

You can make this any size you wish, just adjust the following measurments to suit.

Cut out:Pieces cut out and folded

  • 61cm x 102cm of velvet (any strong fabric will do for this)
  • 3 pieces of cotton 25 x 50cm (any non stretch sturdy fabric will work)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fold the velvet in half lengthwise right sides together and pin then fold the cotton in half right sides together and pin.

 

Sew 3 sides on all the pieces Pieces sewn togetherleaving an opening for turning right sides out. Finish off the seams either with overlocking, pinking shears or the zig zag stitch on your sewing machine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Turn right side out then press Square pieces sewn on to rectangleand topstitch all pieces. If you’ve been reading my other posts by now you should recognise a common theme, squares and rectangles doubled and topstitched. There are lot’s of useful items to be made this way!

Make a hem at the top of the velvet piece to hold the cane.

 

 

Pin the 3 cotton squares evenly down the length of the velvet. This is where you’ll see how accurate your cutting and sewing has been so far. I will blush here and admit I got somewhat distracted, making it trickier to line everything up! Stitch them onto the velvet leaving the top open (for putting things in). I used a zig zag stitch for this to add more interest (the photo doesn’t show it too well).

Then it’s time to add your Embellishments sewn onembellishments to suit the recipient of your gift. Buttons work well as do scraps of cloth and ribbon.

Thread the cane through the hem then make a loop at each end of the thick string and hook one over each end of the cane.

 

 

 

 

And there we are, the simplest of gifts and these wall organizers can be made for every room by using colours to suit your theme.

Completed wall organizer

 

 

 

 

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How to Read Sewing Patterns

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In this article I’ll explain how How to read sewing patternsto read sewing patterns, they can be confusing if you’ve never used one before. I’ll explain the basics with images to help. The 2 most important things:

  • Buy a pattern suitable to your level of expertise.
  • Check the back to make sure you have materials needed.

 

 

I like Burda Patterns, they are easy to understand and very competitively priced.

BurdaStyle.com

 

 

On most sewing pattern Burda and Simplicity sewing patternwebsites there’ll be a selecter for choosing which level you want which is also shown on the front of the pattern. On the front you’ll also see different variations (called views) which are alphabetically labeled.

 

 

 

 

Turn the pattern envelopeSewing pattern Back over and on the back it’ll show you how much fabric is needed depending on which size and view you choose. It will also recommend fabric type and which haberdashery items are needed such as buttons and interfacing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inside the envelope will be InseideThe sewing pattern Envelopepaper instructions and tissue paper marked with your pattern pieces. The tissue paper can be a very large piece so you might need to clear a space on the floor to get it spread out ready for cutting!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The single most important thing Instructionsbefore you start cutting is READ THE INSTRUCTIONS! Seriously even the most experienced sewers will tell you this. It will start with giving you a guide to the symbols you’ll see on the tissue paper pattern.

On the left hand side is where you’ll see which pieces to cut out of fabric and which ones out of interfacing.

 

 

 

Instructions2 Instructions4

 

Once you’ve read everything through and made sure you have everything you need it’s time to spread out the tissue paper and cut out your pieces.

TIP – Watch this video to see how to transfer your pattern onto sturdier paper for repeated use.

 

On the tissue paper there’ll a Laying The Pieces instructionsdiagram showing you how the pattern is layed on the fabric, make sure you keep hold of this bit for when you’re ready to start cutting the fabric. It’s easy to throw this bit in the bin thinking it’s not important (yes I’ve done this!)

 

 

 

 

All patterns will cover a range of sizesTissue paper Pattern sewing pieces and the pattern pieces are marked with the size round the cutting edge. Cut out the pieces you’ll need for your “view” following the line marked with your size.

 

TIP Lightly iron the creases out of the cut out paper pieces.

 

 

 

 

 

You’ll see lots of symbols which again are explained in the instructions (see how important it is to read them!)

Once you have all your paper pieces cut out you’re ready to pin them to the fabric and this is where you’ll need to pay attention to the symbols. A few of the more common ones:

  • fold-arrowThis is a fold arrow and you lay the pattern piece onto the fabric with this symbol on the fold.
  • double-notch Notches are used used to line up two or more separate fabric pieces when starting to sew your garment. You can mark these points with tailors chalk or by cutting a small triangle.
  • circlesSmall circles show where darts (used for shaping), button placement and things like waistline placings are, it will tell you the pattern. I use tailor tacks to mark these, this video shows you how.

 

Now you’re ready to pin your pattern How to lay sewing pattern on fabric pieces on the fabric following the guide I advised you not to throw away! Click on the thumbnail for a close up of the layout cutting guide. Make sure the fold line marked on your paper piece is on the fold of the fabric.

 

 

Once you have all your pieces cut out it’s time to construct your garment. Follow the instructions on the pattern step by step, (they’re written in that order for a reason!) and you’ll have a perfectly sewn garment in no time.

This is just a basic guide on how to read sewing patterns, if there’s anything else you’d like me to cover please feel free to leave a comment or contact me.

 

HAPPY SEWING!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Free Baby Dress Sewing Pattern

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I was searching for a free free baby dress sewing patternbaby dress sewing pattern (I’m using this resource while I  learn how to make my own) and found this
one at See Kate Sew, so simple and I love the elasticated shoulder straps very effective!

I decided to make 2 of these at the same time, they looked so simple. I had some cute apple print cotton which was purchased in a sale and some cotton velvet, (I have a massive bolt of this from a close down sale).

 

 

 

 

I downloaded the pattern then cut all the Pattern pieces cut outpieces following the instructions on Kate’s blog. The velvet frayed terribly and I thought about not bothering with it, bits everywhere!

 

This where my Brother Overlocker came in handy and I went round all the pieces with it. If you don’t have an overlocker you can use pinking shears or the zig zag stitch on your sewing machine or, just stick to a cotton fabric.

 

It’s worth taking a bit of time Overlocked Velvetto do this, it gives your seams a much nicer finish.

 

 

 

From there the instructions were straight forward with clear images to guide you through the tutorial. Three hours later I had 2 cute dresses! The seams on the velvet dress were a bit bulky so if I was using it again I’d just have 1 layer of velvet for the outer bodice and use a thin lining for the inner bodice. I had the butterfly motif in my box so hand stitched it on for a bit of decoration.The velvet dress could be worn over a top with a cardigan making it suitable for colder weather, versatile wee dresses and all from a free baby dress sewing pattern!

2 baby dresses from free sewing pattern

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