Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Fabric pizza or pie box

After making several items out of old siver car windscreen shades recently, I was asked if I knew of a tutorial on how to make a ' pie carrier' - something to take a pie to a picnic in.  I didn't but liked the idea of this, and so decided to have a go at something myself!  And here is what I came up with - a fabric pie or pizza box!
It is padded and lined with ... what else?....a silver car windscreen shade, which provides insulation to keep your pie or pizza warm, and can also be wiped or hand-washed clean!

So, here's how I did it:

First I gathered my materials:
Silver car windscreen shade (the last one in my stash!!)
Outer fabric
Fleece for batting
2 Plastic chopping boards
Pie dish for size

First I cut the plastic chopping boards into 2 squares that the pie would fit on (mine were 28cm square)

Next I cut 2 squares of siver car shade 5cm bigger on each side than the plasic board.
I cut 2 pieces of fleece the same side as this and machine stitched one to the back of each silver square. (I used my new overlocker, but you could just plain stitch as the edges will be covered in.
Then cut 2 outer squares 2cm wider again than the silver shade.
So now you have 3 squares for each box like this:

Now you make the silver inner box.
Pinch up the corners around the plastic square, and pin

Do this for all four corners so it's starting to look like a pizza box!

Then stitch each corner where you have pinned it.  I stitched over the line 3 times for strength, then cut off the pointy end.

Lay this box on top of the outer fabric (right side up), and pin the corners of the outer fabric into a box too.
(keeping the plastic square inside helps you know where to pinch the corners and keep the shape even- but you need to take it out to stitch!!!)

Pin all four corners, and stitch as you did for the silver square.

Then stitch 3 times along the pinned corners and snip the pointy ends off, just as you did for the silver part.
Turn right sides out.
Now you have the inner and outer boxes ready to join together.

Place the plastic square under the silver box, inside the outer fabric.
Turn the top edge of the outer fabric double over the edge of the silver box and pin down.

Top stitch around the edges to join all the layers together.

You're done!! One box is completed, and you can place your pie dish inside it!

Now repeat with your second set of squares.
I found with my second box, that I cut strips off the remaining pieces of plastic chopping board and inserted them along each side of the box to give those sides strength.
The box with strengthened edges then became the bottom box, and the floppier one worked well as the lid as it stretched over the edges well. (Love it when things just work out like that!!)

You can see what I mean here the floppy one is on the left, the strengthened one on the right. 

Of course you could strengthen both boxes, and just make one very slightly larger than the other so they fit together!

So now the only problem left to solve is how best to carry this to your picnic!!

The answer?

A furoshiki!!

What is a furoshiki? I hear you ask!!

It's a Japanese wrapping cloth.  Basically a square of fabric with finished edges, that you can tie in various mindboggling ways to carry things, wrap presents, make bags....... (Go on, google it and see!!)

So, take a nice large furoshiki and place your fabric pizza / pie dish in the centre:

Then tie opposite corners together over the top of the box:

Then fold the remaining corners over and tie them.  Just use a double granny knot, and tie the second corners on either side of the first knot for extra stability!

Then just pick it up, and off you go to your picnic!!!


I hope you liked this tutorial!
If you would like the PDF downloadable version with measurements in both cm and inches,
Happy picnicing!!


Monday, May 24, 2010

Helping others

Today I've been making a reversible pinafore dress for a very worthy cause. 
The Craft Gypsy at Dance for Cheese, has been highlighting a project undertaken by some lovely ladies at a Spotlight store in  Bayswater.  They are making reversible pinafore dresses to be sent to Dago Dala Hera Orphanage in Kenya.
I'm not too hot on making clothes, but wanted to try and help out, so I Googled a tutorial, and came up with this, and gave it a go!  I think it turned out ok. Tricky to tell for sure on my lovely model here (a wooden frame wearing my daughter's clothes stuffed with newspaper!).  Here's the front (got my pictures a bit mixed up!! - the previous picture was the back!):

And it's reversible as I said, so here's the other side:

So I just need to pop that in the post, and hopefully in a few weeks it will be on it's way to Kenya and some little girl will be happy to wear it!

So, if you can sew, even a little, why not join in?  The store has asked for dresses to be sent by the second week in June. See Dance for Cheese for more details.


Friday, May 21, 2010

Reach for the stars, they're closer than you think!

This is "The Pyramid" a mountain just under 1000m which every year people race up and down.  It started as a bet between two men in a pub 50 years ago, and has grown into an annual event and festival! 
Last year, my husband and I decided to join in the race.  Now until 3 months before the actual race, we hadn't even climbed the mountain, but it was something we wanted to do, so we set our minds to it, and completed the race (at the back of the pack, but we did finish!).
It was immensely satisfying, and we're doing it again this year, aiming to beat our time from last year, and this time, a good friend is doing the race too, inspired by our efforts last year. He's writing a blog to chronicle his preparations: Mounting a Challenge

I've told you this little story, to illustrate my thought for the day, which is that :
Our biggest limitation is our own belief.

There's another smaller hill near here, that is a very popular place to run and walk each day.  I have been trying recently to run all the way up the steps to the top.  I finally succeeded last week, on my birthday by following my daughter's birthday theory (When I'm 5 years old, I'll be able to....)
So last week I said, "Now that I'm 37 years old, I'll be able to run all the way to the top."  And I did!  I went back today, a week later, and did it again.  It seemed much easier this time somehow, just knowing that I could do it!

So it got me thinking about what else I would like to achieve and do, but there's always some excuse, or reason why I've not done it yet.  It's time to set my sights a bit higher, and believe in myself some more!

Something that reinforced this today too, was seeing my tomatoes starting to turn red!!  I've had little to no success growing tomatoes over the past few years, and this year decided that I was going to make it work!  So tried upside-down tomatoes!! 
I was determined to grow tomatoes - and LOOK!!  I'm so excited, there's not one but 2 just about ready to eat, and lots more green ones growing!!

I've also gained inspiration from my 5 year old this week, who moved up a level in her swimming lessons, and found the new class 'really tricky'.  We had tears and lots of frustration, but this past week, she faithfully 'trained' every day doing 10 laps of our swimming pool at home to build up her strength.  She did this even on the days she was tired and didn't feel like it (She's a very determined little lady!)  Anyway, yesterday was her big lesson again, and she swam the whole time, every length, every activity!!  She did it all, making me, her instructors, her sister, and most of all herself very proud!!

So, go on:

Reach for the stars!  They are closer than you think!!


p.s This post has given me an idea for a button for my blog.  I've decided I'd like to have a groovy one, like so many other wonderful blogs do, and I'm in the process of figuring out how to do it.  If anyone has any tips, hints or advice on how to make a button, I'm all ears!!

Linking up with Favourite Things Friday

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Roman Blinds - a story

When my daughter was born,
Her room was forlorn,
With curtains so plain and so drab.
So out came the fabric,
I whipped up some magic,
Coloured fishes and seaweed looked fab.

Now my two princesses have grown,
And are sitting on their throne,
Issuing decrees to make everything pink!

The fish are no more,
Having been labelled a bore,
So it's back to my sewing room I think.

Pink fabric of course,
With Spotlight the source,
The discount rack as always keeps me sane.

More stuff from the Op Shop,
To lay pretty on the top,
And hey presto, the Princesses reign!!

By Jill

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Insulated Bag Tutorial

After making Michelle's Insulated Bag, I decided to make some more smaller versions for my two daughters:

I'm also trying to become more organised, and have decided to record the patterns and instructions of things I make.  So here is the tutorial for these insulated bags, which use, of course, my current material of choice....old silver car windscreen shades!!!!

So here are the materials I used
Silver car windscreen shade
An old Chinese style dress from the charity shop
An old curtain swag given to me by a friend
Toggles from an old bag
Straps from some kind of old car seat (I have a bag of useful straps I've saved off broken bags etc over the years)
Black fabric remnant also from the charity shop
Velcro and cord

I wanted to personalise the bags, so if you want to do this, print out initials (or whatever you like) on paper

Then trace upside-down onto Vlisoflex
(also known as Bondaweb in the UK - iron on sticky stuff for applique, if it's not called either of those where you are!)
Iron this onto the wrong side of the pretty fabric

And cut out the letters / your design.  This now has a peel off backing with the sticky stuff you can iron onto the fabric.

So here are the cut out fabrics ready to start.  You need:
1 piece silver car shade material  45cm x 26cm
1 piece fleece batting material, also 45cm x 26cm
2 pieces pretty fabric 15cm x 26cm
1 piece plain fabric (for base) 18cm x 26cm
2 pieces plain fabric (for flap) 18cm x 20cm
1 piece black fabric for top of bag 52cm x 14cm
1 piece cord 62cm long
1 piece stitch-in hook and loop velcro 6cm long
1 plastic toggle to secure cording
Strap 75cm long
Applique design ready to iron on

OK, now we're ready to start sewing
Place the applique and one side of the velcro on the right sides of your plain flap material. Then iron and stitch on securely.
Zig-zag around the edges of your applique to secure. Although the instructions of the iron on paper often say you don't need to stitch, I find that after time it does peel off if you don't stitch it!

Pin and stitch the 2 flap pieces right sides together, around 3 sides.

Trim the seams and corners

Turn out and top stitch close to edge.
(I topstitch 1/8" from edge, and my seams are all 3/8" here)

Next comes the black fabric used for the drawstring cover under the flap of the bag.
Double turn the long edge over to make the casing for the cord. Pin securely.
Make sure you turn the final edges under when you pin, as these edges will be exposed when the bag is finished.
Stitch casing closed -  making sure it's wide enough for your cord to be threaded through it.

Then fold the fabric lengthways, right sides together and pin up to cord casing.

Then stitch along the pin line - but only as far as the cord casing - that needs to be left open to get the cord in at the end!  
I also recommend stitching across the top of the seam juut under the casing for a little extra strength on that seam.

Now it's time for the main part of the bag:
Lay your pretty fabric and plain base fabric out like so. (try not to notice how wonky my cutting is!!)
Then pin right sides together and join

Once you've joined all 3 pieces together, then baste along long edges to fleece batting.

Lay your second piece of velcro centrally on the pretty fabric like this (7.5 cm from base fabric): and stitch.

Now you have your inner and outer fabric ready.

Fold both pieces over, right sides together
And stitch along edges to form two separate pockets

Next you need to box out the corners to make the base of the bag flat.  Put your hand inside the pocket up to the corner and flatten it like so:

Try to get the seam as central as possible in your little triangle.  You may like to draw a line with a ruler on the fabric where you're going to stitch.  Here are the measurements I used:

Stitch along this 7cm ruler line. I go over my line of stitching 3 times for extra strength in the bag.
 Then cut the corner off.

Repeat with the silver pocket

Your inner and outer bag are almost ready to be joined together!!

First though, the black drawstring part needs to be joined to the silver part.  Push it inside this way:
And pin the raw edges together all around, then stitch together.

Once you're done, pull the black part to the outside of the silver and fold the top at the seam. This will make it easier when you join the inner and outer bag together later.

Now you need to pin the flap to the back of the outer bag, right sides together.

And then pin the straps to the sides. Stitch the flap and straps securely in place.

Now you're ready for the final join!!

Push the silver inner part inside the pretty outer part.

Now comes what I found to be the trickiest part of all!
Folding the raw edges down inside the bag to get a neat top edge. Then pin securely.

Don't forget to lift the flap, and the black part out of the way when you pin!

Then carefully topstitch around the top of the bag.  I'd recommend a large needle in your sewing machine for this, as it has to go through quite a few layers.  (I broke my little skinny needle sewing this part!!)

Now all you need to do is push the cord through the drawstring casing in the black fabric, using a safety pin.

Then push the two ends through your toggle and tie securely.

One finished insulated lunch bag!  Made from recycled materials!!

This is about what I could fit into one of mine:
Like this:

So now I can pack off two little packed lunches and send my girls off to the secret garden!!  I hope they like them!!

Hope you found that tutorial easy enough to follow.  Do let me know if you try making one, and send a picture! I'd love to see different versions!


For the PDF version of this tutorial with measurements in both cm and inches- click here