Saturday, August 31, 2013

Upcycling Baby or Kids Clothes

One thing I really wish is that I'd discovered blogging and all the crafty inspiration there is out there when my girls were babies.  There are so many things I wish could have made for them, like busy books and toys.

But the biggest regret I have is that I didn't keep all those cute clothes they wore that had happy memories of things they did or places we went.

The idea of making a quilt from your child's old baby clothes is so precious! I would have loved to have done that, but instead we passed our girls clothes on to friends or charity shops.

Still - I can pass on the ideas now, so that new parents and grandparents out there can save those clothes and precious memories to make something more lasting and practical with!

So here are some ideas for upcycling baby clothes:

You could use them to make dolls clothes with,

Extend the life of the clothes as your child grows, like 

There is always the bag, that can seemingly be made from almost any clothing item,

Or a bag from another:

As I mentioned at the start - what I wish I'd heard of when I still had all those cute clothes was a quilt made from baby clothes.
You could keep the clothes and make one yourself, or there are people around who offer to make them for you.
For example - one I found is Jelly Bean Quilts
Do head on over there and take a look at some of the gorgeous quilts she has made for people from their baby's clothes!

For more baby and kids clothes upcycling ideas you can check out my Pinterest Board here

Other individual clothing items upcycling posts can be found here.

Or to browse through over 600 Clothes Upcycling projects - do visit the ongoing linky here. There's plenty of inspiration there and always space for more so please do add your own clothes upcycling projects.

Happy Upcycling

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Bags pillows and pincushions - a book review

I got this book (Bags, pillows and pincushions) out of the library recently as it looked like it had some neat projects in that I'd like to try.

The book is full of pretty sewing projects that are very well photographed and made using beautiful fabrics.

The first project I tried was the Oh So Soothing Bag.
Here's my version:

The pattern was easy to follow assuming you have basic sewing knowledge - although I have to admit that I'm better at following tutorials and patterns that have more photos than this book did as I like to be able to see along the way that what I'm making looks like the example in the book at each step rather than just at the end!

I was also disappointed with this bag that the finished bag has raw seams exposed on the inside of the bag.  Looking at the other patterns however, I seem to have picked one of the only bags in the book that is like this - the other bags having nice, tidy, enclosed seams!

I also wanted to try one of the pincushion patterns - and chose the square-in-a-square pincushion. Here's mine:

Again this pattern was easy to follow - with nice clear diagrams of piecing together the triangle and square pieces for the top of the pincushion.

There's lots more projects in this book that I'd like to try, like this pincushion:

Or this very cute yo-yo pillow:

If you're looking for some pretty ideas and how-to's for bags, pillows and pincushions - a lot of which use patchwork and quilting then this is a great book!

Disclosure:  I have not been paid to recommend this book, the opinions are entirely my own, I genuinely like this book. However, the link in the post does take you to the Book Depository, where I buy my own books, and I do get a commission for sales made through my site.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Pins and PIncushions

How important are pins to you when you're sewing?

For me until recently, I just bought cheap pins and assumed that 

"a pin was a pin"

But little did I know.....

I have some very small pins with tiny heads...
But these are small and tricky to get hold of to pull out, so I mainly just use these for pinning up my daughters' sporting ribbons!

Then I have lots of pins with round coloured heads - like these on this cute Christmas pudding pincushion that my daughter was given last year!

However, after posting a picture of the sad state of many of my pins on
 my facebook page recently..

I did receive lots of advice as to what pins to buy.

A few days later I went out and bought these:


Whereas my old pins..

were shorter and would bend easily when I tried to push them through thick layers of fabric, these new pins are longer and stronger and as yet, I haven't managed to bend even one of them! (I've had them about a month now!)

So since I bought some new pins, I decided that I needed a new pincushion to put them in!
Cute, isn't it?

So what kind of pins do you use?

Then of course there is the other question of how you use your pins? Do you put them in the fabric in line with where you're going to stitch, or at right angles to the line of stitching?
Personally I've always put them in line with the stitching:
(see my dodgy bent pins?)
That's the way I learnt and it never occurred to me to do it any other way! Recently however, I've been trying to experiment with pinning at right angles to my stitching to see if it's easier ...
I'm still deciding. It's hard to break a habit!

I even found a whole article written about 

Who would have thought that 

"a pin could be so much more than just a pin!"

I'll be linking this post to many of the fabulous linky parties whose pretty buttons can be found on the bottom of this page and whose direct links can be found on my linky party page.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Insulated Picnic Bag

Yesterday I made this bag to use for picnics and days out.

I used my tutorial for the Zipped Cylinder Toiletry Bag,

 and resized it to make a larger version!

For the outer fabric, I used some sturdy 
Cotton Canvas Fabric.

For the inside, I used some pieces of old inflatable pool toys - as this was waterproof and could be wiped easily if any food or drinks spill inside!
I also added a layer of insulation between the outer and inner fabric using an old car windscreen shade, and some other thin foam packaging pieces I had in my stash. 
This layer of insulation should help keep our drinks and food cool!  I've used old car windscreen shades for this before with my insulated lunch bags which our girls have been using for a few years now!

The car windscreen fabric - or packaging foam also provides stability and shape for the bag.

I tried my bag out filling it up with drinks in the main section..

And bags of chips in the drawstring section in the top of the bag - a great part for keeping lighter packs of chips or crackers separate from the bottles of drinks.

If you're interested in the measurements for this bag, I used:

Circular ends (2 of inner and outer fabric) - 26cm (10.25") diameter

Bottom bag part 

(1 Outer fabric, 1 Inner Fabric, 1 Insulation Fabric) 

- 82 x 30 cm (32.25 x 11.75")

Top bag part (1 Outer fabric, 1 Inner Fabric, 1 Insulation Fabric)

- 82 x 12 cm (32.25 x 4.75")

Drawstring section - 82 x 20 cm (32.25 x 8")

Zip measured to 70 cm  (27.5")

Strap - 100 x 10 cm (39.5 x 4")

I attached the strap to either side of the bottom bag part just before 

attaching that part to the zip. I just eye-balled where to put the 


Then I just followed my tutorial to make the bag, stitching the 

insulation layer to the outer bag part.

I'm really happy with how the bag turned out.

I even found a zip in my stash that was nice and strong and had 

two zip pulls on it!

And of course my daughters have already tried to claim it for 


But this one I'm keeping for use as a family!

What do you think?

There are over 100 more free sewing tutorials for all sewing levels and abilities on 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Upcycling trousers / pants

This week I want to take a look at different ways that you can upcycle those old trousers or pants.
I've already looked at jeans, (which are obviously a type of trousers/pants), but this post aims to look at other types of trousers/ pants. So here goes:

I had to start with this AMAZING transformation of 

Here's a wine bottle bag I made from a pair of kids trousers:

How to turn a pair of mens pants to boys pants by What I Live For:

Some great ideas there - do you have any more?

For more ideas check out my 

You can visit the other posts for individual clothing items here, or the general clothes upcycling linky which has over 600 fabulous ideas and projects here.

Happy Upcycling!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Conversation Coasters

A couple of years ago I made some conversation coasters to encourage our daughters to tell us about their school days over dinner.
I posted a tutorial here on how to make your own.

I decided this week to make some new coasters and start to use this idea again.
Here's the ones I made this time:

And if you want to know more about how we're using them,
 take a look here!

I'll be linking this post to many of the fabulous linky parties whose pretty buttons can be found on the bottom of this page, and whose direct links can be found on my linky party page.