Make It: Monkey Pyjama Case

So it turns out pyjama cases might not be a thing most people have heard of, but in my family they were (and are) a thing! My brother had one in the shape of Mr Chatterbox from the Mr Men. For my niece’s second birthday I made her one in the shape of a monkey, her favourite animal. I was going to make this as a downloadable thing but it didn’t work well enough!

Here is the finished case (with thanks to my sister for taking the photo!):

I did a search on pinterest for pictures of monkeys for inspiration and I came across this one! The first thing I did was to try to draw this photo in a way that I would be able to recreate in fabric, and I came up with this:

I then drew it a bit bigger on tracing paper (i.e. greaseproof paper), then traced all the smaller bits of the face onto other pieces so I could cut them all out, I also traced the face shape with the mouth cut out. I added a 1cm seam allowance to all the pieces except the eyes and nose (which don’t have seams).

I bought half a metre of brown cotton fabric from my local shop, which was more than enough for the size I made. I also used some cream jersey (which I used to underline my Sallie Maxi Dress) and some black jersey which I already had in my stash. I was going to use felt but I didn’t have enough cream/white felt for the mouth pieces.

Cut 2 each of the back of the head, and the front of the head (face) with the mouth hole cut out in brown cotton.
Cut 4 ears in brown cotton.
Cut 2 of each of the top lip and bottom lip from the cream jersey (or felt).
Cut 2 outer eyes from cream jersey (or felt).
Cut 2 ear inners from cream jersey (or felt).
Cut 2 pupils from black jersey (or felt).
Cut 2 nostrils from black jersey (or felt).
You will also need a zip for the mouth and some stuffing.
Cut wadding for the back of the head, the front of the head (face), and the ears. I cut 2 pieces for each part that needed stiffening as my wadding was quite thin.

The first thing I made was the mouth. The advantage of using jersey is that it is forgiving if it’s not quite perfect. Also it stretched to accommodate the stuffing.

I was using an invisible zip, but I sewed it with a normal zip foot so I think this would work with a normal zip too. I sewed a top lip piece and a bottom lip piece to the zip, with right sides together so the seams (and stitching) are hidden.

I then lined up the other 2 lip pieces, mostly so I would remember which one was the top lip and which one was the bottom lip.

I then repeated the first step with the other 2 lip pieces, with them right sides together with the other side of the zip. It will mean the zip is sandwiched between the 2 top lips and the 2 bottom lips, with the zipper tape hidden between the 2 layers.

This is what it looks like with just the top lip pieces sewn on both sides. It’s like it would look if you sew a lining to a zip on the inside of a dress, but you’re doing it with a machine.

This is what it looks like with both lips sewn on both sides, though you can obvs only see one side!

And yet another picture with the zip zipped up. I could have moved the top lip slightly to the left in the below photo – the monkey’s jaw is a little wonky!

I then sewed (with a zig zag stitch if you’re using jersey) the 2 top lips together, and the 2 bottom lips together, leaving a gap at one edge for stuffing. You can sew these wrong sides together, because the stitching will later be hidden when you sew the mouth into the mouth hole. The stuff both sides, and stitch up the gaps. And you’ll have something that looks like this:

Now you’ll want to attach the inner ear parts to 2 ears pieces, like below. You will also want to sew on the eyes at this point – I left it to a later step and had to fiddle to get them on without going through both face layers. You’ll want to sew the eyes onto only one face piece so you don’t see the stitching on the inside.

Next was to assemble the ears. You put the 2 brown pieces right sides together,

The the 2 pieces of wadding on the top (it doesn’t matter which brown piece you have on the top, it just matters that the wadding is on the outside of the brown pieces and not in between them). Stitch around the long curved edge, leaving a gap on the inside of the ear so you can turn it the right way around – and this part will be hidden when they’re attached to the head. You’ll need to trim the wadding of the seam allowance to reduce bulk.

Now you need to sandwich the 2 head backs with the wadding, and the 2 faces with the wadding. For these you can sandwich them – brown cotton, wadding, brown cotton – and just stitch around the edge because these edges will be sewing into the seams attaching the back of the head and the face. You’ll not want to stitch around the mouth hole, because the inner piece will be used like a facing to hide the stitching attaching the mouth to the face.

The next couple of steps were quite hard to photograph! Pin the top lip, with right sides together, to the top of the mouth hole. I found it quite hard to stitch all the way to the edges of the zip, so you may find you have to sew it in smaller sections. This is where jersey is your friend by the way! You may need to turn the face inside out, via the mouth hole, to be able to get access to the right bits. You will be able to turn it the right way around using the zip opening, so you can completely seal the mouth into the hole. I found this out the hard way, with some unnecessary unpicking!

This is what it should look like on the right side with the top lip sewn. (You can see I hadn’t sewn the pupils into the eyes – I thought I could do it without having to change the thread loads of times, but I should have just sucked it up!

This is kind of what it looked like with the bottom lip pinned. I’m not going to lie, it was fiddley and took a few goes to get it right!

Once you’ve wrestled the mouth into the mouth hole, it’s time to assemble the thing! First I handstitched the nose into place – I don’t think you’ll be able to sew it on before everything is assembled on the face.

Then pin the ears on top of the face, with the inner parts face down. You may also want to baste them in place, which I didn’t do, then I turned it the right way around and one of the ears fell off because it wasn’t attached properly. 😦

If you’re putting hair on your monkey (which I made with pieces of wool which I undid, to make smaller strands) you’ll want to place it a this stage too. The part of the hair that will show is the part on the monkey’s forehead, not the part sticking out the top. I basted these in place. Then you lay the back of the head on top of the face and stitch all the way around. You can, again, turn it the right way around via the zip. Hopefully the ears and hair will all be in place and not falling off! I was going to do french seams, but that felt too fiddley in the end, so I overlocked the seam allowance on the inside to try to neaten it a bit. The last thing to do (which I did really late the night before I was travelling to deliver it so failed to take any photos!) is to hand sew the inside face layer around the edge of the mouth, folding back the seam allowance, just like a facing around a waist seam. I hope this makes sense!

And here is the finished monkey!

I made the mouth with the zip so that it could eat the pyjamas!

And here are the pyjamas inside the monkey’s….head…..

Have you every made a pyjama case? Have you every heard of a pyjama case!? I’m going to make another one for my nephew, who was just 4 (so I’m a terrible aunt and it will be late!), in the shape of a penguin. If anyone has any ideas how I can make it similar in having the pyjamas get in via the beak, do let me know. I’m struggling to think of how to get it to work!

My first commission (sort of!)

A couple of weeks ago, one of my colleagues sidled up to me and asked if I would be able to sew something for a surprise party she was organising to celebrate the CEO working at the company for 20 years. The idea was to do a sort of raffle, but where all the names in the hat are the CEO because every team bought him a silly gift. So they wanted something to keep the gifts in, which is where I come in!

bag-for-work-2I made a sack! Like a Santa’s sack but in company colours instead of Christmas colours. I bought 1.5m of purple fabric from my local shop – it’s quite a sturdy cotton twill. And it matches the branding shade of purple pretty closely. I measured that the sack should be about 70cm x 85cm, with the writing (on the other side of the above photo) taking up 30cm x 50cm. I made a photoshop document of 30cm x 50cm, typed the writing and made it as big (in Tahoma font) as it would go, which was size 180pt.

bag-for-work-5I printed the letters, cut them out then cut 2 of each one out of the white fabric left over from my Quiet Books (1 & 2). I cut them out twice because I was worried a single layer wouldn’t be thick enough, and the letters wouldn’t look totally white. I zigzagged around the edge of each letter to help it not to fray. It took ages! There are 27 letters altogether!

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Another part of the branding/logo for my work is an ear of corn, so I used the leftover fabric from my Mustard Victoria Blazer and Astoria to applique it on. I drew the shape onto paper, then used that as a pattern. Because it’s a knit, I used a straight stitch rather than a zigzag to sew it on.

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I originally wasn’t going to make a gusset, but when I measured the fabric, it was about 30cm too long (folded in half) for the height I roughly wanted. So I measured 25cm from the ‘bottom’ (the fold was down one side), then cut off the 25 cm from both sides. I have one of these left as I only needed one for the gusset. I used my own tutorial from my tote bag post to put the gusset in because I forgot how to do it! And I used all french seams, to make it a bit stronger. I did cut through the fold on the side and sew the seam again, to make it uniform, but if you’re in more of a hurry, you could use the fold as either the bottom or one of the sides.

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The final thing to do was to sew a channel at the top for the drawstring – which is where the extra 5cm from the height comes in. I folded the top down by 1.5cm and stitched it, then folded it by another 3.5cm and stitched it again, as far away from the top of the bag as possible, to leave a channel for the ‘string’. You can leave a gap in this final line of stitching to get the drawstring in, but I decided to unpick the side seam a little (making sure the stitching lines were secured and unlikely to undo), so the drawstring wouldn’t pull the top of the bag inside out.

The CEO really liked the bag, and the fake raffle thing worked really well! Also, we were all convinced he knew about the party but he really didn’t which was pretty cool! I’ve called this my (sort of) first commission because I got the money for the purple fabric back, but I didn’t get paid for my time. I guess because it was for my day job, it was a slightly awkward situation. I did mentally add up how long it took me to make, and it was 9 hours – it took ages to cut out and stitch all the letters! If I was paid minimum wage for those hours, I would have earned £65 but all I got was the £8 for the cost of the purple fabric – I didn’t get money back for the fabrics and drawstring I already had in my stash. I did sort of mention that I should charge for my time, but then I chickened out. How do you justify your worth for work done? It’s not like I would do my admin paid work at home in my spare time, but I found it hard to charge for something I do for a hobby.

Ikea Hack – Fixing a Bedding Ordering Mistake

So when The Boyfriend and I moved into our current flat in Cirencester, we bought a load of furniture as we’d always lived in furnished flats in London. We did a big Ikea order of a bed, some kalax shelves (which seem to be the only thing in which to store sewing supplies!) and some bedding. Luckily The Boyfriend shares my love of yellow so we bought some cute yellow and white striped bedding. Less luckily, it seems there is a difference between UK and European bedding sizes and the quilt cover looked like this:

ikea-bedding-hack-1As you can see, the quilt cover is way too small. I think we have a standard double quilt, but I guess the European double is smaller? Luckily we also ordered (totally by accident) a single fitted sheet, so I decided to use this to add strips to the sides of the cover to make it fit over our quilt. It would have been better if this had been a flat sheet, though, because I had to unpick the elastic from the edges and then the sheet isn’t a full rectangle.

ikea-bedding-hack-2Having laid the Ikea cover on top of the quilt, I measured (flat) that I needed an extra 65cm on each side to make it fit our quilt – it was 151cm wide but needed to be 216cm wide. The reason it needed to be 65cm on each side was because it needed to be that much bigger on the bottom and the top, so I had to add twice as much fabric as I originally thought. I also made sure to add a 1.5cm seam allowance. Because I was using an unpicked fitted sheet, I had to piece the strip on one side:

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You could choose to piece it if you wanted anyway, to get a side seam still on each side – I have a side seam on one side but not on the other, so it probably looks a bit funny, but I didn’t have quite enough width to be able to make a seam on both sides. So in the above photo, the one on the left is the side that ended up with the seam (obvs!) but it was also a bit shorter because fitted sheets are like a cross on each end, so the middle is longer than the sides – the whole side on the right is the middle and the 2 pieces on the left are the 2 sides of the sheet. If that makes any sense at all! It didn’t matter in the end that one strip was shorter as they both ended up too long, but I left them a bit on the long side so I’d be able to neaten the ends and would have some fabric to play with while I worked it out.

ikea-bedding-hack-5I’d actually unpicked the original side seams of the quilt cover back in November but only got around to sewing it back together this month! I first sewed each side of the strip to the 2 sides of the quilt cover, with the quilt cover inside out so both edges would be right sides together. With the quilt cover still inside out, I went to each corner, where there was a hole at the ends of the new white strips, and pinned it in a straight line from the original top and bottom, then sewed it from the original seam, so the new edge of the quilt.

ikea-bedding-hack-4I ended up not taking too many useful photos, so I hope my written instructions vaguely make sense. It was fairly easy to figure it out as I went along, so hopefully if you do end up having made the same ordering mistake as me, you can increase the size with the help of a sheet. I felt it was easiest to add strips to the edges so I didn’t have to alter the buttons at the bottom – it has ended up with a narrow opening compared with the new width of the quilt cover, but we can stuff the quilt in so that’s good enough for me! It definitely makes our bedroom look a lot brighter!

ikea-bedding-hack-6I want to make some kind of something to go above the bed on the wall because there’s just a big empty space at the moment. I’m thinking of a big weaving, like they’ve made on A Beautiful Mess, but with more colour! The Boyfriend also quite wants to paint our bed frame and bedside cabinets, but I’m not convinced as I don’t really like painted furniture, but I see his point that it’s all a bit bland and beige! Any thoughts?
 

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Make It: 15 Homemade Christmas Present Ideas

15 Homemade Christmas Present IdeasOn Saturday  the boyfriend and I went to see the Christmas lights being turned on in Cirencester and it was really lovely. We all sang a couple of carols then Ben Miller (or Armstrong and Miller fame), who is apparently local pressed the button then there were fireworks on the roof of the local church. It has definitely got me feeling in the festive mood so I thought I’d share my pick of homemade presents I’ve made for various people in the past – I have no ideas of things to make this year, so if anyone has any ideas I’m definitely looking for some inspiration!

(click on the picture for the full post)

One of the most versatile and adaptable presents you could make is a tote bag – you can applique something on it to suit the person you’re making it for. I’ve made them with a car, a strawberry and BBC’s Sherlock on for various people!

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For your tea-loving friend or relative, why not make them a tea-cup candle? You can flavour them with any essential oil – I used chocolate, mmmm.

Do you have a friend who loves lego? If so, you could make them a lego doorstop – there isn’t a huge amount of knitting involved, so you’ve still got time to make this in time for the big day!

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You could make a genuinely one-off present in the form of a scrapbook, as I did for my dad’s 65th birthday.

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For your music-loving friend or relative why not make a vinyl record clock?

For your internet-meme-loving friend or relative you’ve still got just about enough time to embroider a cushion cover 😉

thumbnail_img_1309For your friend or relative who loved cooking and baking you could make them a lovely apron – there are lots of free patterns out there. I used the one from the first Great British Sewing Bee.

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If you have a friend or relative who loves running or exercising, you could make them a useful present in the form of a running armband to hold their phone and keys while they’re out doing their thing.

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For Kids:

If you know a kid who needs entertaining while traveling (or at other times!) why not make the travel match game I made for my friend’s daughter?

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If you know a kid (or have a kid) who would like to learn about growing things, why not make them a felt allotment? (p.s. this is really, honestly, one of my very favourite things I’ve ever made – I was more excited to give it away than I think the recipient was when she opened it!)

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Why not make their favourite book into a cushion cover……..

Sarah-&-Duck-cushion-2or a wall-hanging?

Clothes are sometimes a good option for kiddies (though they will grow out of them in no time at all!) I’ve appliqued babygrows, made dungarees and made the cutest dresses with matching knickers!

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Are you making any homemade presents this year? I’m not sure I’ll have time to be brutally honest, though my sister has asked me to make her some skirts so I think that will count….if I get them made in time?!

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Make It: Another Quiet Book

After the success of my first Quiet Book for my niece, I made another one for my nephew, Teddy. He’s now 3 so the pages I made for him were a bit more advanced than for my niece who only turned 1. The book ended up being a month late for his birthday in May – it just all took so much longer than I thought it would! There are so many fiddley bits and pieces to first of all cut out, then to sew and assemble. Luckily my sister had already started a book for Teddy so she sent me what she had already done, so a couple of pages were basically finished, which was great!

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I used the same dimensions as with the first book – partly because I already had the template cut out and partly because all of the images for inspiration I found on Pinterest would fit nicely into this format.

My nephew LOVES trains. Like really loves them! So I had to include a page with trains on. I tried to think of a way to make it more educational, but I went for just making carriages in different colours which can be taken off and rearranged – not every page has to be educational, it’s also to keep the kid quiet when you need to get on with something else! 🙂

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I cut out 2 of each colour of train and a million little white rectangles for the windows. I sewed the windows on one of each colour and the velcro on the other of each colour, then I sewed the 2 matching ones together, thus hiding the back of the stitching in between the 2 layers. This was very much like the spots I did for the ladybird on the other book, except I then sewed 2 black wheels onto each train, just sewing them on the top – I did it this way around so the wheels wouldn’t have the coloured stitching attached the 2 trains to each other going across the top. The black engine doesn’t come off and I sewed some strips of grey felt on as tracks.

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This shapes page is one my sister had already started – her shapes are better than the ones I made because they’re stuffed and therefore 3D, which is pretty cool. Also she sewed the shapes on the background to match the coloured shapes to, whereas I drew them on with a biro – in the interests of speed!

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My sister had made a pouch to keep the shapes in, then I sewed it onto a white background piece to match the sizes I was using. This is on the back of the shapes page.

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Phoebe had also made the weaving page, so all I had to do was to sew it onto the background piece of fabric – WIN!

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Teddy can already count to 20, but I only had enough beads for this page to go up to 15 unfortunately. There are various ideas for counting pages – like cupcakes with a different number of sprinkles on or cookies with a different number of chocolate chips on. But I went for the beads/ abacus version, and I think it works okay – this isn’t my favourite page, but it is hopefully functional and useful for him to practice his counting.

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This is one of my favourite pages – it’s a piggy bank!!

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I made a bunch of coins with 5, 10 or 15 on then the piggy has a slit in the top to put the coins into. I thought this could also be a help in practicing adding up.

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In the version I saw online they had attached a pencil case on the back, with a hole also cut into it on the side that is closest to the piggy, so the coins go straight into the pencil case. I did buy a pencil case for this purpose, but it was a bit too thick and stiff so I changed my mind and made a pouch, like the one the shapes are kept in (but with the zip near the bottom instead of down the middle). You have to make sure you cut the slit into both backing pieces – each page has 2 white rectangles, so the raw edges are all enclosed and it’s all neat and stronger.

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I really like this page too, and it was quite easy to make – not as many different pieces as some of the other pages. The hardest part was making something for the middle of the clock that would allow the hands to rotate to the right time. I used a pin in the end and folded it back on the back of the white fabric. I sewed a piece of felt into the top of the pin at the back to make sure it didn’t poke through the fabric and poke Teddy in the fingers. Obviously you’ll have to sew the clock face on first, then put the middle part through the 2 hands, then through the page.

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Under the petals around the edge are the minutes, so this page should help a child to learn to tell the time. I feel that the numbers are not my neatest work – I was already taking ages to finish the book so I drew them on with a sharpy, but I think they would look better embroidered on, if you have more time and aren’t in such a hurry as I was.

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I also make a Noughts and Crosses page. Teddy doesn’t totally understand how to play yet – even after he had won, he kept on sticking shapes down until the board was full 🙂

I made the noughts and the crosses in the same way as the ladybird spots in the other book – cut 2 shapes for each finished shape (and one extra for the pouches), sew velcro on one, then attach the 2 shapes together. I then sewed down the board pieces.

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This weather page is another of my favourites, though the holding pouches for each weather could have been a little bigger to fit the weathers in more comfortably.

I like the temperature gauge – the orange arrow slides up and down a piece of string, so Teddy can decide how warm the day is, then add the weather icon that best fits the day.

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I saw a few different versions of this on Pinterest – some had an umbrella, a sun hat and other props, but I just went for the weather – lightening, snow, cloudy, sunny, partly sunny, rainbow, windy (which is really hard to depict pictorially!), and rainy. Again each one is made of 2 layers, with the velcro sewn on one and then the 2 sewn together – for the ones like snow, lightening and rain, I sewed the lightenings (and raindrops and snowflakes) between the 2 layers. The rainbow was pretty fiddly – I sewed each colour onto a white background.

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This is my 3rd favourite page and after all the clothes were cut out, it wasn’t too fiddly to assemble! This is another one my sister was going to make, but she hadn’t really started it – but she had bought the mini pegs, so I didn’t have to get those and she had made templates for the clothes and washing basket. I’m quite pleased with the washing machine – the door is 2 pieces of felt, with a circle of plastic wallet sandwiched in the middle, to make it look like a proper washing machine door. The rest of it is fairly self-explanatory.

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I like the fact that you can take washing out of the washing basket, put it in the washing machine, then hang it out to dry on the line. Funny how a boring adult chore can be made into a fun game for a kid!

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The last page in the book is one to help a kid learn to tie shoelaces. I can’t really take any credit for this as Phoebe has cut it all out, bought the shoe laces, and bought the eyelets. I did not like attaching these – it took forever, I think because the tools I had were for a slightly different size of eyelet, so I did mash a few. It also seemed to take more force than needed in the many youtube videos I watched to learn how to do it!

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They do look cute though, so I guess it was worth the effort in the end.

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I bound the book in the same way I explained in my post on my first Quiet Book but I think my measurements were a little off as the cover ended up a tiny bit too small to cover all of the pages, but I’m sure Teddy doesn’t mind – I hope he wouldn’t refuse to play with it because it’s not perfect!

So are you tempted to make a Quiet Book for any kiddies in your life? They are a lot of work, but it’s really quite satisfying when it all comes together. And Phoebe sent me a cute little video of Teddy playing with the book so it was definitely worth it when I saw how much he was enjoying playing with it 🙂
 

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Make It: Reverse Applique Cushion cover

Today I’m going to show you how to make a reverse applique cushion cover (and, of course, you could then reserve applique anything you want!). Reverse applique is kinda what it says on the tin – you have 2 different fabrics, but the one that would be on the top in normal applique is underneath and the top fabric is cut away to reveal it.

I already had a cushion pad in need  of a cover as I bought a bunch when I bought the pad for my Sarah and Duck cushion. It measured 35cm x 35cm. So my fabric would be 38cm x 38cm, which adds a 1.5cm seam allowance to each side. You could always make the cover first and then buy the pad that fits the size you’ve made – though I would check you can definitely get one in that size before you spend ages making the cover.

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The fabrics I used were a blue fat quarter I was given by my aunt and which had been in my stash for a while,

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an off-cut of my ugly skirt refashion fabric,

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and the left-overs from my yellow skirt gang skirt (which sadly was consigned to the charity shop as I never wore it).

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The yellow fabric is the main fabric on both sides, so cut 2 squares of 38cm x 38cm. The biggest square I could squeeze out of the blue and yellow tartan fabric was 20cm x 20cm. This means I placed it 9cm from each edge (38-20/2). Then pin it in place.

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Top tip: Use washi tape (or other removable tape to make a new sewing guide for your sewing machine if your seam allowance (in this case 10cm) is bigger than the guides marked on the machine).

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Then sew all around the shape – I did this with the ‘back’ facing upwards so I would know I had caught all of the edges and there wouldn’t be any gaps. I also used one of my decorative stitched (D on the second row, below), to make sure it was sewn as securely as possible. Also it looks nice!

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This is what it will look like once you’ve sewn all the way around. Remember this is the back view.

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Flip your cushion over to the front and pinch only the top fabric in the middle – you should be able to tell when you’ve got both fabrics and when you’ve isolated only the top one.

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Then snip a little hole, then use this to cut out the middle of your main fabric up to the stitching – make sure you don’t snip any of the actual stitches!

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You will then have this:

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So that’s one side done – easy, right?

I decided I wanted my other side to be a circle and not a square. I cut the fat quarter into a square of 38cm x 38cm – if you have a smaller piece of fabric, you don’t have to cut it to the same size as the main fabric.

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Find the centre of the squares by folding in diagonally in half twice – push a pin in to mark this spot.

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With your pin still making the middle (you can almost make it out in this photo), pin the 2 squares of fabric together.

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The trick to sewing a circle is a trusty drawing pin! I decided to sew my circle with a 10cm radius (the distance from the centre to the edge). Measure from the needle to where you want the centre of the circle to be.

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Using washi tape (or another removable tape) stick the drawing pin in a straight line from the needle, pin facing upwards.

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Push the fabric onto the drawing pin, exactly where you had the pin marking the centre of your fabric – the drawing pin will act as a pivot around which you can sew your (pretty) perfect circle.

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Now you’re ready to sew your circle – you’ll find it easier to hold the fabric with the pin between 2 fingers to make sure it pivots evenly around in a circle. I also found it helpful to go slowly and to stop often to even up the tension between the pin and the needle. I, again, used a decorative stitch on my machine.

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You should end up with something like this – this is the back as the stitching wasn’t rally visible on the back.

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Then repeat the process of pinching the top layer of fabric,

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snipping a hole and cutting out the top fabric up to the line of stitching,.

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It should look like this:

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You then need to sew the 2 side of your cushion together. Pin them right sides facing (i.e. yellow sides together, blue sides on the outside) and sew around 3 sides, leaving the 4th side open to get the cushion pad in.

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It will help you to get clean square corners if you snip the excess fabric off like this before you turn it the right way around.

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Then turn it right sides out, and hand stitch the open side, tucking the seam allowance inside. Then you should have a lovely new cushion to brighten up a dreary January day!

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Make It Yourself

As you may have noticed (or not!) I have had a bit of a rearrange of my categories and menu. I’ve made a new category (and archive page) for posts where you could make the things yourself – like my tutorial for making a tote bag and how to make a running armband: Make It.

I thought I’d write this quick post to let you know all the ones I’ve written before, which are now in the archive. I’ll be checking through them to make sure they all have comprehensive enough instructions for you to follow. Let me know if you spot anything that needs better instructions.

I’m hoping to add new posts of crafty, and thrifty things you can make yourself. I love sharing things I’ve made, but I want to encourage other people to make things too.

You can make food shopping/ planning less painful (well, I find it less painful!) with this meal planner pinboard.

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Make your very own Doc Brown costume from Back To The Future – though it might be too late now it’s not 2015 any more 😦

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One of my favourite ever makes, A Beautiful Mess’s Felt Allotment, could be made for any kid in your life – and, in fact, I kinda want one myself!

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Do you know a kid with a favourite show or book? Why not make them a cushion with the character on, like my Sarah and Duck cushion?

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Have you set a New Year’s Resolution to take up jogging (or another kind of exercise)? Make yourself an armband to hold your phone so you can listen to chunes while you work out!

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Ah, the tote bag. If you’re living in the England, then what better way to avoid the new plastic bag charge than by making up a bunch of tote bags?

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I made these tea cup candles a while ago, and I plan to make more as they’re so cute!

Tea Cup Candle

If you know someone who recently had a baby, but don’t really know what to get them, why not applique some animals or flowers or letters or anything at all on some babygrows? Clothes are always a useful gift and this way they’re a bit more personal!

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I made this Polaroid camera case for a friend of mine a while ago, and the principles could be transferred to any camera. Of course, not everyone will probably like an anatomical heart adorning it…….

Polaroid Camera Case

This has to be one of the easiest makes ever – you just need a clock kit from ebay! And a vinyl record, of course.

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For one of my many friends who likes BBC’s Sherlock I made this Kindle cover – it’s got silhouettes on one side and the purple shirt of sex and John’s cabled jumper on the other side!

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If you don’t fancy making a cushion for a kiddie, you could make a wall hanging instead, like this one of Norman The Slug With A Silly Shell!

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Best Makes of 2015

So since it’s New Year’s Eve, I thought I’d do the obvious thing of looking back over the last year and seeing what I’ve made and done. This was inspired in part by the Instragram #2015BestNine hashtag.

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I’ve made myself 14 garments, which isn’t really that many – I have felt like I haven’t had as much time for sewing as I would have liked.

I particularly like my BHL Victoria Blazer, and definitely feel smarter when I wear it instead of a cardigan.  I like my Merchant and Mills denim Dress Shirt, too.

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I made a few things with knits, for the first time this year: a Closet Case Files Sallie Maxi Dress; a Tilly and the Buttons Coco dress; and a Breton-style Deer and Doe Plantain Tee.

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I have also refashioned 7 things, so I’ve been a bit more productive than a first glance might imply!

My 3 favourite refashions were my ugly skirt to Grainline Scout tee (which I unfortunately shrank in the wash, boo!), my Refashioners Dear Creatures rip-off and, probably the one I’m most proud of, my ugly coat which I remade into a Freemantle Coat.

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I’ve made 6 non-clothes things, including my first (pusheen) and second amigurumi (a Minion), and my first scrapbook, for my Dad’s 65th Birthday.

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But my very favourite non-clothes thing (and probably favourite out of everything I’ve made) was the felt allotment I made for my friend’s daughter for Christmas 2 (which happens in January so this was made this year). This was one of those things that I saw on A Beautiful Mess and knew I had to make it, and then was super excited to see my friend’s daughter open it! I was almost too excited to wait until the present exchange, and wanted to open it as soon as I arrived for Christmas 2!

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This is the anniversary of this blog, too – I had an old one but transferred the content over and focused just on sewing and crafty things (I had previously written about food and books too), and I’ve introduced a couple of new regular posts – style inspiration and fashion history. I’ll continue with these I think, as they help me to cement my personal style and guide me what to make next! I’ve also reviewed some books, events and shops. You can see the archive of all these posts here.

Thank you to everyone who has read my blog this year and I hope you’ll come back in 2016. xx