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Tutorial: How To Make A Faux Sheepskin Bag / Tote

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No, your eyes don’t deceive you, this IS yet another post featuring the lilac faux sheepskin fabric I bought last month. It really has been the fabric that keeps on giving as I have made not only a full length coat and two pairs of mittens, but also TWO tote bags!

If you would like to make your own, either from similar fabric or from a thick fleecy fabric, here’s a quick tutorial on how I did it.

Materials: Approx. 3/4yd of 45″ wide Faux Sheepskin or fleece

2 Magnetic Snaps

Cut pieces from your fabric following the diagram below (which is NOT to scale). If your fabric has a nap or a directional pattern, be sure to take this into account when cutting out.

You may have to adjust the size of the pocket to suit your particular ‘phone – this pocket is the perfect size for a normal (not ‘plus’) iPhone and you may well have to make it larger for a Samsung Galaxy or similar.

Sheepskin Tote Pattern

This photo shows the main pieces; front and back, gusset and interior mobile ‘phone pocket.

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Seam allowances are 1/4″ throughout.

All raw edges are left unfinished and the seams are constructed with WRONG sides together, making a feature of them.

If you have your own labels, sew them to all pieces before any construction takes place. This avoids any fiddly sewing later on.

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Sew your pocket to the inside of the BACK section of the bag around three sides only, leaving the top open.

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Apply the magnetic tabs according to the manufacturer’s instructions, using the photos as a guideline for placement.

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Pin a tab to the top centre of the front and back sections.

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Sew in place.

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Pin the gusset to the back section with WRONG sides together. There will be surplus fabric to cut off later.

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Stitch with 1/4″ seam allowance, being careful not to get any puckers as you sew around the corners.

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Pin the front to the remaining long edge of the gusset and stitch as before.

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Trim the corners off the front and back sections to give a rounded finish.

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Onto the handles.

Fold in half lengthways with WRONG sides facing in.

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Stitch close to the raw edges.

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Pin handles about 3″ in from the sides of the bag, on the INSIDE.

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BASTE loosely in place if necessary, although I just pinned them.

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Take your 4 little squares – these will cover the ends of the handles to lend a neat finish on the inside of the bag.

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You will need to remove as much of the pile on the reverse side of the fabric as possible. This will reduce the bulk and leave a flatter surface.

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Pin each square over the raw edge of a handle and stitch in place, crossing your stitching to strengthen the base of the handles as shown below.

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And that’s all there is to it!

This is the first one I made.

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I even managed to make a second one using the rest of the scraps. There wasn’t enough to cut the main sections out in one piece, so I had to make a seam for the centre front and back, and I actually prefer this version.

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I added my label in a slightly different position and it looks just as good.

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The inside is nice and roomy with the all-important interior pocket to keep your ‘phone easily accessible.

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The magnetic tabs give an element of security and stop the bag falling open.

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As always, your own label adds a professional touch both inside and out.

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The handles are short enough not to have the bag dragging on the floor (if you’re around the 5″ mark like me!), but also long enough for you to carry over your shoulder if that is your preference.

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One of these is to be a Christmas gift for family and the other one may well end up in my Stitching Santa parcel, depending on who I get in the draw.

Which is your favourite?


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Stitching Santa – How To Make Faux Sheepskin Mittens

Remember the faux sheepskin coat I made a couple of weeks ago?

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Well, despite messing up the sleeves and having to re-cut them, I still had some largish scraps of fabric left and started looking for ways to use them up, preferably for Christmas presents or for something to add to my Stitching Santa parcel. The first and most obvious thing that came to mind was to make a pair of mittens.

Having trawled the internet for a pattern, I discovered that it would probably be just as easy to design my own based on a few that I’d seen, so I gave it a go and this is the result.

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They turned out better than I imagined and only took a couple of hours, most of which was taken up hand-sewing the thumb in place.

Boosted by my success, I thought I’d do a quick tutorial as these would make a great handmade Christmas gift. They would be great in a fleecy fabric, too, as the raw edges can just be left as they are without fraying.

There are just two simple pattern pieces to this pair of mittens; click on the links below to download and print.

Printable Mitten Template

Mitten pattern

Printable Thumb Template

Thumb pattern

Cut out the pieces as below for each mitten, reversing the template for the second mitten.

You will notice that the TOP of the mitten has been cut out WITHOUT the curve. To do this, simply draw a straight line connecting points D+E on the MITTENS template.

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Make sure that any stretch in the fabric goes ACROSS the hand width – you can see where I am pulling the fabric to find the stretch in the photo below.

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You may also spot in the photo above that the first draft was one piece folded in half. I later adapted this to make two separate pieces so that there would be a seam all the way around.

Pin the top of the mitten (no curve) to the bottom (with curve) with WRONG sides together. You may find this easier with quilting clips if the fabric is thick like mine.

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With 1/4″ seam allowance, sew from A to D and from B to E, leaving an opening for the thumb.

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With WRONG sides together and 1/4″ seam allowance, fold the thumb in half and sew from C to D.

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Pin the thumb in place.

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Hand-sew the thumb to the body of the mitten with a BACKSTITCH, 1/4″ from the raw edges.

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You can trim any excess fur from the seams if you like, to tidy them up, but that’s it – finished.

How simple?

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They really are lovely and cosy and much more pliable than real sheepskin, so are much more comfortable to wear.

I managed to get a second pair of mittens out of the scraps, so I am going to put one pair in my Stitching Santa parcel and the other will be a Christmas gift for someone in the family.

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Talking of Stitching Santa the deadline is 31st October – have YOU signed up yet?

 

 

 


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Beach Wrap/Bikini Cover-Up

Looking ahead to the Summer holidays, I wanted to make a simple cover-up that would be quick to throw on over a swimsuit. You know those times; when you want a drink at the pool bar and don’t want to get dressed, but don’t want to sit there in a pair of bikini bottoms!

You can read all about it in my blog post over at Minerva Crafts :- Beach Wrap/Bikini Cover-Up


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DIY Alternative To The “Cone of Shame”!

Back last Summer, Fifi had some mammary tumours removed and had to wear the Cone Of Shame for ten days. She hated it for the first few days, then gradually adapted to moving and sleeping with an unwieldy plastic funnel clipped to her neck.


This week, another trip to the Vet meant either another plastic cone, bandaging or some other method to prevent her from literally licking her wounds.

I found some leftover fleecy fabric from a nightshirt that No.3 Son made, and decided to make her a comfy coat instead. Whilst she already has several coats, none of them were long enough underbelly to cover the affected area.

So, for those of you who would rather not put your own dog through the trauma of The Cone, here’s a quick way to make a lick-prevention jacket.

 Measure your dog around the widest part of her ribs, just behind the front legs, then add an inch for seam allowances.

Measure from the back of her neck towards the tail, at a point just in front of the back legs (so he/she can still wee easily!).

Cut a rectangle of fabric to these measurements.


With right sides facing, sew the short ends together with a half inch seam.


I pressed open the seam and top stitched it flat so there would be no irritation next to the skin.


Measure the distance between the front legs and cut two leg holes on the underside. The distance from the neck to the legs will determine how far back these openings are placed.


Done.

How long did that take? Five minutes at the most, but your dog will thank you for your efforts, trust me!




See? She can’t get to her wound because the coat is completely covering it.


She soon gave up trying and settled down happily. 


And we’re happy because: –

a) she won’t keep us awake with her licky sounds all night long – you’d be surprised how loud (and annoying) licking can be in the middle of the night.

b) no oozing on the (very white) duvet cover. Yes, she sleeps on our bed. She’s 14, what the hell.

c) she can actually get comfortable and sleep, which is virtually impossible when wearing a plastic cone to bed.

Failing the ability to actually sew a seam, just grab one of hubby’s old long sleeve T-shirts, cut it to the right length and make two leg holes in the appropriate place. No sewing needed:)


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Funky Sleeping Bag (and Hoodie!)

This month’s blog post for Minerva Crafts is two-for-the-price-of-one.

I had just enough left over from making a sleeping bag to make a hoodie for one of The Boys as well.

Click on the link to read all about both makes: – Sleeping Bag & Hoodie

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Personalised Christmas Sacks – A Tutorial

In case you hadn’t noticed, Christmas is just around the corner – nine days, to be precise and I’ve got a great last-minute make for you; a personalised Christmas sack for that special little person in your life.

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I’m not joking when I say last-minute as I made TWO personalised sacks yesterday afternoon, each one taking about two and a half hours from start to finish. They’d make great gifts, too, with a little something popped inside and they only cost £12.94 each to make so won’t break the bank.

This is the parcel that arrived from Minerva Crafts: –

P1060959For each sack you will need:

Trim your gingham fabric to the same size as the hessian – 39″ x 56″.

Put the offcuts to one side as you will use these for the tie and the fabric letters.

Draw a reindeer on a sheet of paper and cut out the individual elements separately.

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Cut these out of the felt squares using the picture below as a guide.

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Stitch the nose and eyes onto the felt face – I used free machine embroidery throughout to achieve a ‘scribble’ effect which works well on children’s gifts.

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Fold your hessian in half and arrange the felt pieces in the centre as shown.

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Hessian has an open weave which tends to move quite a lot, so either tack your appliqués on first or use LOTS of pins to keep them in place while you sew them on.

I loathe tacking so I opted for pin overkill instead.

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With the reindeer face stitched securely in place, it’s time to move on to personalising your sack.

You can download a suitable font or just freehand it like I did onto thin card. As I was making two sacks I had both blue and red gingham offcuts to cut the letters from. I also decided to use some paper backed fusible web to secure the letters to the hessian before stitching them.

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Arrange the letters evenly in a curve around the bottom of the reindeer, remove the paper backing and iron in place.

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Two rounds of stitching on each letter gives a good effect.

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When all your stitching is done, sew the top edge of the sack to the top edge of the lining with right sides together (sorry, no photo). Press the seam flat to create a crisp edge.

Then, lay your fabric out on a large table or on the floor and fold in half lengthwise, right sides together to create a ‘tube’.

Pin all the way around, leaving a gap in the lining where shown through which to turn. (I forgot to photograph this step on the first sack so the lining is shown in red).

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Put pins at 8″ from the top edge and 9″ from the top edge – this will be a break in the stitching to provide a channel for the tie.

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Sew all the way around the three sides with breaks in the stitching as described above.

Trim the corners and turn the sack through to the right side. Sew the lining closed at the gap through which it was turned. Press.

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With a soft pencil or tailor’s chalk, mark two parallel lines all the way around at 8″ and 9″ from the top edge of the sack. Pin through both layers of fabric. Stitch along the lines.

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For the tie, use your remaining offcuts of gingham to assemble a length that measures about 70″ x 2″.

Fold in and press 1/4″ at each short end.

Fold in and press 1/4″ along each long edge.

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Bring the folded long edges together enclosing the raw edges.

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Stitch close to the edge to finish your tie.

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Use a safety pin to thread the tie through the channel in the gap left for this purpose.

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And that’s it – finished!

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A beautiful sack which any child would be delighted to have on Christmas Day to pop all their opened presents into.

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They’re huge, too, I would have added The Boys to the photo for scale except that the sacks are a surprise for them.

You’ve still got time, so who fancies whipping up a Christmas Sack for their little boy or girl?

 

 


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Folding Travel Photo Frame And Case

I was contacted recently by Craftseller magazine in relation to their “Blogger of the Month” feature and was asked if I would like a free double page spread in their magazine.

Um, let me think a minute…..yeeees!

As part of the feature I designed a free pattern for the readers, which was to be copyright-free allowing full reproduction rights. This was harder than it initially seems, I mean, what could I design that hadn’t been done before????

I came up with the idea of a folding travel photo frame and Googled/Pinterest-ed it…….not a single result.

Not one.

No one seems to have come up with a tutorial for such a thing, unless I just didn’t type in the correct keywords. So that was it, decision made, a “Folding Travel Photo Frame And Case” was going to be the free pattern for Craftseller’s readers.

After finalising materials and method on a prototype, this is the final product: –

Travel photo frame and case

Do you like it?

You may remember the “Postcards” fabric from the “Spring In Paris” collection by Studio Voltaire that I bought earlier in the year (see this post), well I thought it would be the perfect match for a travel themed project.

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So, here goes with the tutorial!

You will need: –

  • A single fat quarter of fabric
  • Medium weight iron on interfacing
  • 1 sheet acetate
  • 1 sheet cardstock
  • 2″ length of hook and loop fastener

Cut the following: –

  • fabric: –                     2 x pieces  12″ x 3.5″

1 x piece 4.5″ x 3.5″

  • iron-on interfacing: – 2 x pieces 12″ x 3.5″

1 x piece 4.5″ x 3.5″

  • acetate: –                  1 x piece 3.5″ x 2.5″
  • cardstock: –              2 x pieces 3.5″ x 2.5″

1 x piece 2.5″ x 2″

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  1. Fuse the interfacing to the reverse of the matching fabric pieces following the manufacturers instructions.
  2. Place the acetate in the centre of the reverse of your 4.5″ x 3.5″ piece of fabric and draw around it, marking a rectangle. Remove the acetate and stay stitch the corners of the marked rectangle..
  3. Draw a second rectangle 1/4″ inside the first one and cut this section out to create a window for your photograph.

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4. Clip corners diagonally to the stay stitching.

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5. Fold to inside along the solid lines. Press.

6. Turn down a 1/4″ hem on the top edge and top stitch close to the fold. P1060346

7. Place acetate on the reverse of the window and top stitch close to the inner edge on all four sides.

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8. Turn and press a 1/4″ hem on remaining three sides of the fabric, being careful not to touch the acetate with the iron.

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It should now look like this from the right side.

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9. To make your frame, take both 12″ x 3.5″ pieces and, with right sides together, sew around three sides with a 1/4″ seam allowance. Trim corners, turn and press.

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10. With the right side up, place your window on top of the frame aligning the bottom folded edge with the bottom seam of your frame. Top stitch the window close to folded edges on three sides, leaving the top edge open to slip your photo into.

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11. Insert a 3.5″ x 2.5″ piece of card into the open, unfinished end of the frame and push right down to the bottom.

12. Sew just above the window through all layers of the frame to encase the card.

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13. Insert the second 3.5″ x 2.5″ piece of card and push down to meet the previous line of stitching.

14. Sew across the width of the frame as before, encasing the second piece of card.

15. Repeat steps 13 & 14 with the smallest 2.5″ x 2″ piece of card.

16.Turn in the raw edges of the frame opening, press and top stitch to close.

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17. Window side uppermost, stitch the loop side of the hook and loop fastener to the opposite end of the frame as shown below.

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18. Hand stitch the hook side of the fastener to the reverse of the window along the bottom edge.

19. To assemble your travel photo frame, simply fold into a triangle shape and press together the hook and loop fastener.

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20. Slide your 3″ x 2″ photo in behind the acetate.

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For the case: –

  1. Fuse interfacing to a piece of fabric measuring 16″ x 4.5″. Fold in half width-wise and sew a 1/4″ seam on the three raw edges, leaving a gap to turn.

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2. Turn and press.

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3. Top stitch close to the edge of the bottom edge.

4. Fold up from the bottom about 3.25″, so the top stitched edge stops 1.25″ from the top edge.

5. Top stitch around the side and top edges to finish.

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6. Fold your travel photo frame flat and pop inside the case.

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There you have it, a compact and portable, travel-themed folding photo frame – perfect for the traveller or person who works away from home.

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Look out for my Blogger Of The Month feature in Craftseller magazine soon!