Tag Archives: sewing

An old favourite gets the chop.

12 Nov

I have this pair of pants that I love, they are a high-waisted, bell-bottom, Charlie’s Angel style. However, due to the need to wear high shoes with them they don’t leave the wardrobe as often as I would like.DSC_0977

So I decided to give them the chop and turn them into shorts!

The first thing I did was try them on and put a mark just above my knees, then with trepidation I chopped.



I wanted to put a cuff on them as the original pant had cuffs and they were super cute. My sewing skills are not flash so I wasn’t sure how to do this. After examining the original cuff I turned the shorts inside out and made a deep hem, pressed, sewed, then pressed again.



I topstitched very close to the edge, then turned them back the right way, turned the cuff up and just put some stitches in at the inner and outer side seams to hold it in place.DSC_0988

The fabric is stretchy and I have no experience with stretch fabric. the edge is wavey but once they are on this flattens out.Photo: I turned these pants into some cute new shorts yesterday.  I'll have a blog post up later this week if you want to see how I did it.

They are longer than I normally wear my shorts, but the length balances the high waist nicely.

This was really easy to do and it feels great to add a new item of clothing to my wardrobe for the cost of a spool of cotton.

And I have already worn them out.


Fab Finds Friday- Sewing for Boys

12 Jul

I don’t often find the time  to sew, I would like to sew more so that I can improve, but other things just get in the way.

Maybe if I had girls I would sew more as there are so many sweet little dresses, skirts, accessories and knick knacks that you can make for a girl. Often I am not inspired by patterns available for boys. This Friday I am dedicating the post to some great sewing ideas I have found and would actually make for boys!

1. Boys Cargo Pants from Shwin&Shwin

These cargos are just great, so many pockets and the tutorial is so simple and easy to follow. While you are there have a look around, there are many wonderful sewing ideas for kids!

2. Car Play Mat

Car Play MatThis is from the book Sewing for Boys: 24 Projects to Create a Handmade Wardrobebut I think it would be quite possible to make this without a pattern.

3. Dino Tails from Running with Scissors

Another great tutorial. What little boy doesn’t love dinos!

4. Sailboat Pants from Oliver + S.

These guys make great kids patterns, often with a cute vintage feel. I love the button detail of these pants.

5. Upcycled Pyjamas from Mens shirt from Prudent Baby

I love that these are upcycled, and I love the skinny leg on them.

Has this inspired you to run to the sewing machine? I think I will be doing some more sewing for the Minimen in the future after seeing these Fab Finds!

Something New from Something Old

26 Jun

As you know, I returned from my last trip to my Mum’s laden with all sorts of crafty treasures. One of the things I brought back were a pile of crocheted doilies. Most of these were made by my Great Grandmother and since she died when I was only five these doilies are at least as old if not older than I am.

Now, I have little use for doilies. I am a minimalist. I don’t have vases of flowers or other nick knacks that I need to protect my tables from but I do want to keep these things that have been passed onto me.

I decided to sew several doilies together to create a table runner.

Out of the sea of doilies I chose ones that feature the pineapple motif.DSC_0683DSC_0684DSC_0686

There were a couple that needed their ends woven in. This was daunting, I was so worried about ruining the perfect tiny little stitches, but it went well.DSC_0691 After doing that I gave them a quick hand wash and blocked them so that they would sit nice and flat. They came out so beautifully after being blocked, they sit perfectly flat and they are nicely crisp, I had a little “ooohhhhh” moment after I unpinned them. Blocking is so satisfying.DSC_0695

Then came the arranging. I played around for a while trying to figure out the best combination and shape. I did this on the table that they would eventually adorn so that I got the right shape for the table. It wasn’t quite working out initially, but then as luck would have it I found another doily in the bottom of the bag and I got the design to work.

To stitch them together I used cotton of a similar colour and just put a few stitches where each doily touched. I had to carefully make sure that the doilies would still sit flat once stitched together so this was time-consuming making sure each stitch was going in the right place.

Once I put the last stitch in I stood back and fell in love! It turned out so much better than I expected an adds a lovely old world feel to my dining table.DSC_0755

It is really wonderful to be able to preserve and show off the work my Great Grandmother did rather than have these doilies being stored away unloved. I am so happy to be able to give them a new life.DSC_0757

Now that I have a beautiful table runner to show off I just have to teach my family that the dining table is not a dumping ground for all their crap!

Treasures in the Garage

17 Jun

Last weekend was my Grandma’s 84th birthday, so I traveled back to Lismore for the weekend. This gave me a chance to go through my Mum’s shed again and sort out some of the things she has stored there. I can’t believe the treasure trove that I found!


At first I thought I just had bags of yarn, which is great, there were some really beautiful colours and textures there. I was really taken with some delicious dapled lemon and peachy baby merinoDSC_0668but was completely puzzled at the abundance of some pretty wretched colours, particularly bubblegum pink, burgundy and beige, however I continued to sort.

There was an old metal biscuit tin which had belonged to my Great Grandmother and inside there were heaps of spools of crochet cotton, some embroidery yarn, embroidery patterns and some unfinished embroidery. There was also an old wooden spool, which was empty, but I kept it as I thought it was a little bit special, as spools are all boring plastic these days, and I know people collect things like that.

Then I pulled out a heavy bag, which to my delight was filled with old fabric, some of these I remember being around the house when I was very small.

Photo: And vintage fabric.  I am in heaven

I don’t know what I will make from them, but I couldn’t turn down metres of free fabric so I will find something to do with all of this.

There were more doilies than you could poke a stick at! My mum can tell the difference between the ones my Great Grandmother did and the ones my Grandma did. Apparently Nanny crocheted looser than Granny, Also Nanny loved colour (she is the one responsible  for all of that bubblegum pink!) so many of her doilies have colour in them. Granny was a no nonsense country woman and all her crochet is perfect and done with a beigey coloured cotton.

I brought home a few doilies that I plan on washing and blocking then sewing together to create a table centre (add that to the to do list)


Then I found the reason for the horrible coloured yarn!DSC_0657

This half finished afghan! I understand why it is half finished, Nanny must have come to her senses and realised what an awful colour combination she had chosen. The other piece in the picture is a jacket and booties which were started for me but were never finished before the end of Winter, so they were put aside and forgotten until now. which is unfortunate as they are nothing short of beautiful!

There were two of these great squares


 but no pattern, my Mum thought it should be easy enough to figure out though. Finishing this might also be added to the to do list.

Here is some of the embroidery


Just look at how perfect all those little tiny crosses are! I really want to learn embroidery but I can’t see myself having the patience for it or being neat enough for it to look any good.

Below is an embroidered table cloth with a crocheted edge. It has a few stains on it so hopefully I will be able to get those out and put this to use!


Then there is all the patterns! Most were from the 70’s and 80’s, some were older, some were much older! Some, I am sure if they were in better condition would be collectibles.

I have to laugh at the pictures in the magazines. Everyone always seems so happy to be wearing the ghastly crocheted creations they are in.


I don’t know if you can see in this picture but the lady on the right is quite exposed in that top, yet she looks as though she hasn’t a care in the world. I don’t think I would be that carefree if I had a nipple hanging out of my shirt, how about you?


I was surprised to find a couple of things that I am going to add to the ever expanding to do list. What do you think of this Egyptian inspired top on the right. I think it could look rather fetching with some gorgeous jewel colours around the neckline.


I love the staging in the old magazines. Just look at how beautiful that navy coffee pot looks against the red pineapple doily, and the simplicity of the tea cups on the tray mat with its fabulous turquoise edging, but my favourite has to be the green chair back cover with the recently discarded magazine perched on the chair just waiting for its owner to return.
I can just imagine housewives from the 70’s falling in love with these pictures and having to whip up their own red doily to serve coffee on when the ladies come to visit.

There was also a lot of knitting paraphernalia, and a half knitted jumper in bubble gum pink! These, regretfully I left behind.
It makes me nostalgic and sad going through all of this stuff but I am glad I have been able to give it a new home and a new life and continue the tradition that has been so strong in my family.

My hooks now have a home.

7 May

I have been carrying my yarn, hooks and scissors around in a plastic bag for weeks now, the bag has become tattered due to the scissors and hooks poking through it. It is quite embarrassing toting this hot mess around.

Since I am home from work this week due to Duck man breaking his little foot I decided that today would be the perfect opportunity to begin phase one of giving the crochet a more comfortable and attractive home. Which was to sew a crochet hook clutch.


I used some fabric I had left over from when I had made sprocket cushions and we had to make a trip to the fabric shop for some contrasting fabric and other supplies.

hook clutch2

Before I was able to start I had to tidy my sewing room as it looked like this….


and before you ask, no, we were not burgled. The Minimen confused my sewing room for their play room and threw the contents of all bags/boxes on the floor.

After a quick tidy I was able to start

For this project you will need

  • 2 pieces of fabric 20cmx30cm (1 in each of your chosen fabric) these are the main body of the clutch
  • 2 pieces of fabric 13cmx30cm (1 in something plain as it will be on the inside of the pocket and not seen, the other in one of your fabrics) these form the pocket
  • 2 pieces of fabric 6cmx20cm (1 in each of your fabrics)
  • 1 piece of fusible padding 20cmx30cm
  • 1 piece of ribbon 10cm long
  • 1 button


First pin the two pocket pieces and two flap pieces right side together.


For the pocket, sew along one long side

For the flap, sew along one long side and one short side.

hook clutch21

Turn both pieces right way around and press.

I top stitched my pocket and flap to give it a lovely handmade finish.

Next fuse the padding to the wrong side of one of the pieces for the main body of the clutch (the one you intend to be on the inside is best).



Take this next step slowly and check that all the pieces are pinned together the way you want them before sewing, you do not want to have to unpick. I actually ended up with the fabric I had planned to be on the outside on the inside, I didn’t bother unpicking as it still looked just as cute.

Place the fabric with the fused padding right side up.

Then place the flap at the top corner and the pocket at the bottom, both of these are also right side up.


Place your other fabric on top of this right side down.


Double over the ribbon and pop it in the side with the looped end inside the clutch.


Now pin.

Double check everything is how you want it.

Now sew.

I back stitched over the ribbon to give it some extra strength, and make sure you leave a gap so that it can be turned the right way round.

Trim the seams and corners then turn right way.

Press all the seams so that they sit attractively and hand sew the gap.

I also top stitched around the entire clutch at this point. Go slowly doing this as the seams are bulky.


Mark out where you want the divisions in the pocket to be, I made one larger one to store scissors and other odds and ends and then 7 other ones in decreasing widths for my hooks.

Stitch down these markings, back stitching at both ends .

Trim all threads.

hook clutch24

Now fold the clutch in thirds, put a pin where the ribbon loop meets the other side. Sew your button onto this spot.

Put your hooks in their snuggly new home, fold up and fasten the button.

Now, like me, you also have a cute little clutch to house your hooks in and make them feel loved.


This could also quite easily work for knitting needles, if you’re that way inclined, by changing the dimensions of the fabric.

Phase two of rehousing the crochet will be to sew a bag to store my yarn and my wonderful new hook clutch.


14 Mar

ImageI wanted to make some cushions to add some colour to the house. The first ones I made were a pair of  rectangular cushions with a border from a sweet damask pattern in my favourite, yellow and white. These were so simple. I used half a yard of fabric and cut it in half and then each half in half again to give 4 pieces. I pinned 2 pieces together, wrong sides facing and sewed them together, leaving a small gap so that it could be filled later. Then after turning it the right side out, I measured and put guiding dots about 3cm in from the edge and sewed around that to create the border, also leaving a gap. I used polyfill to fill it  and then sewed up the gaps, repeated the process and I had two brand new designer cushions for a fraction of the cost. I was so happy with the way these turned out, I think I will be making these cushions again!

The next cushions I wanted to make were sprocket pillows for the Minimen’s play room.

Image I had some left over fabric from the curtains I  made, to this I added a gorgeous teal geometric print and a white cord.

This is the tutorial I used. It was good but mine definitely didn’t turn out the way they do in the tutorial.

They are not perfectly round and I think this happened because I sewed my wedge pieces together as you would sew a normal straight seam, that is with equal distance between the edge of the fabric and the stitch. Doing it this way, I found that the fabric didn’t meet up in the centre the way that it should have and instead of having a semi circle of fabric after sewing 6 wedges together I had a small arc in the centre, which then made it difficult to sew 2 semicircles into a circle. By my fourth semicircle i figured out that I needed to run the seam from the edge of the large side of the wedge to the middle of the small side of the wedge.

I could have unpicked the other semicircles but I decided to persevere and see how they turned out.


I chose to do the reverse side in a single circle of one of the 3 fabrics, you could also do the reverse in the wedge pattern if you wanted to, and I also used a large self covered button to cover up the fact the wedges don’t meet properly.

Overall, I think I could have done a better job on these, however, I do love the fabric combination, it’s so fresh and bright.

For a first attempt at something that is not super easy, I guess it is not too bad.

Mr 4 proclaimed “I love your cushions, Mum!” so at least I have a happy customer in him.

I will be making these again, as I know where I went wrong with these. Once I have them perfected I will post my own tutorial, so check back for that some time in the future!

Chevron Love

5 Mar

I have often been put off sewing because of the high cost of fabric in Australia, but I recently took the plunge and bought fabric from America, one of which was this wonderful yellow and white chevron fabric that I had been eyeing off over here at $22/m and I got it for the bargain price of  $8.79/yd.

I don’t know when the humble zig zag grew up and became the much fancier chevron, but whatever the name I love them for home decor, that is why I decided to use this fabric to create some curtains for the mini mens playroom. I also decided to use an eyelet design as it is simple yet stylish.


After cutting my fabric to size I ran a small hem around all Four sides.


I used eyelet tape, which is readily available from the fabric shop and it comes with the grommits to finish your curtains with. When using eyelet tape you need to make sure that you have an even amount of rings for a perfect finish when hanging.

I measured and cut my tape and pinned it to my fabric.


Using a zipper foot, to make it easier to sew beside the rings, I stitched along all edges of the tape with a straight stitch.

Once the tape was secured to the fabric I was able to cut out the fabric from inside the rings. This was the most time consuming part of the whole project, but once I had a cutting system, I got through I quite quickly.


It was then time to fit the grommits over the  rings for a clean finish. These easily just click on and voila!..brand new gorgeous curtains. Image


I am so in love with these curtains, I can’t wait to hang them! (photos will follow once they are hung) I will definitely be using this technique again when I do the curtains for the mini mens bedroom, it was so easy and quick (I ran up two curtains on a Sunday morning)


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