Origami in fabric!

A few months ago, I got a free get creative magazine from Spotlight (fabric and craft supplies store here in Australia). 
It had a pattern in for a fabric origami bukuro (little bag) that I wanted to try.

I finally got around to it. 
Basically you cut two fabric squares and sew them together, then use that finished square to do the origami with!
.... and  here's the result:
First a pink one - cute little pockets in the front..
The soft, thin fabric made it easy to sew through all the folds..

And a little drawstring at the top to close it!

I also tried one in thicker fabric, which worked well too.

I've tried origami lots of times with paper - but must admit I'm not so good with the accuracy you need in the folding!  Fabric is much more forgiving!

I see doing a quick google search online, there are endless possibilities for fabric origami!  Wonderful! yet another project to add to my long list of things to try, make and do!

How about you?  Have you ever tried origami fabric? 

UPDATE: I've now added a photo tutorial showing how this bag is made:


Scrappy Friday - ladybugs

This week my girls had a friend sleepover here.  They were very excited about this, and I thought it would be a good excuse for me to try out a scrap project I found.

So I printed out the pattern, and cut a few scraps. The only thing I changed was what I stuffed them with. Oh and I didn't give them eyes either (mine are sleeping bugs who have their eyes shut!)
I'm not very good at throwing things out - and I mean anything!  This is my bag of scraps that are REALLY too small to make anything with - I chop them up a bit and use them for stuffing!

I love making things for my 2 daughters - they love everything I make - no matter how it turns out! It's always nice to be so appreciated!
So this time it's nice to make for their friend too!
Here's the little bugs:

Exploring the Secret Garden!

Cool way to use up those scraps! 


My Creative Space - teaching my girls to sew

This week my girls learned to make little bags.  My eldest had asked me for a bag that would fit her princess game into (in the picture above) so I thought this would be an easy thing for them to try and make for themselves!  I shall call it the 'Annelise Bag' since it was Annelise who asked for it!

My younger daughter chose something to make a bag for too - her cuddly Kookaburra!  And they chose their materials!

They're getting good with the machine!
Through teaching them, I'm learning myself - learning what I need to explain (like 'right sides together' is better described as 'pretty sides together'; and that it's important to explain which way your pins face when sewing so it's easy to pull them out as you go!)
I also learned not to sew with the stick on velcro.  It's all I had left in white, so I thought we'd just use that -
Great! no need to pin it in place! 
Oh no! the machine needle did NOT like stitching through the glue!
Out came the eucalyptus spray to clean the needle - off came the velcro, and on went black stitch-in velcro!

The girls followed the instructions really well, and were both very happy with their little bags!

Kookaburra didn't like being in the bag - he decided he wanted to fly free - so kitty got the snuggly bag instead!

Afterwards the girls said,
"Oh I wish I'd put a pocket on the outside of the bag"
So next time ...........


Foam dice - a tutorial

For Christmas, I made my girls a set of dice to play the game of  'Yahtzee'
I have such happy memories of playing this game as a kid - on holiday with my family, and I'm thrilled that my girls seem to love it just as much.  Now that I'm playing it as a parent - I'm seeing too, just how good it is for my girls numeracy skills: 
If you're interested in that side of things - I wrote about it on my other blog 'Be Our Best' here.

But back to the dice themselves.  I used some cubes of foam that I got years ago.  Originally I covered them with pretty fabric and appliquéd letters on them, so when my girls were little they could use them to spell out simple words like c-a-t, and use them as building blocks.  They'd kind of grown out of that, so this was a good way to recycle them!
Of course when I made them I forgot to take pictures for a tutorial, so I popped to our local rubber and foam shop and picked up another cube (they have a large bin of offcuts for just a few cents each, and will even cut them to cubes if you ask nicely!)
Then I used an old pair of trousers - and my bag of scraps left over from other appliqué projects - these are great scraps with the iron on Vlisoflex / Bondaweb stuff already on the back! A nice budget project!

So here's how to make the dice:

First cut 6 squares of fabric, 2 cm wider than the cube itself, and 6 numbers ready to iron and appliqué on.
I used the numerals this time as the girls already have 5 large dice with dots on, so thought it would be good for them to have a different one!

Iron one number onto each square

Then appliqué around them for extra strength (I often find the glue comes unstuck after a while - partly thanks to the humidity of the tropics!)

Then lay the squares out upside down like this:
and pin the long row together

Then stitch them with a 3/8" seam
 (sorry my measurements are a weird mix of cm and inches - comes from growing up in a metric country, with imperial parents!)

Then pin and stitch the two side squares on too:

And then pin the sides together to form a cube - and stitch!

Almost there! The push the foam cube into the pocket you've created (now turned right sides out)

And using a needle and thread - stitch the remaining sides together!

Then roll your dice!!

Having a big foam dice means a simple board game can become quite an 'active' game as the kids run around the garden chasing after the dice!
Or perhaps you could draw your own 'board game' with chalk on the driveway or pavement outside!

You can use your imagination as to what you could put on the sides of the dice, for example you could make a 'conversation dice' - similar to the talking coasters I made recently...

Or you could use fur and make your own set of fluffy dice for your car! (do people still have those?)
The possibilities are endless!

For the downloadable PDF version of this tutorial, click here.

If you liked this tutorial, I have over 100 free sewing tutorials for making all kinds of things for all levels of sewing abilities. Why not take a look at My Free Sewing Tutorials Pages.

Scrappy Friday

I'm on a mission this year to try and use up at least some of my scrap fabric, which is taking up rather a lot of storage space.  I do want to make things with a purpose though!

This week I wanted to try out a mini version of something I made a few weeks ago..

Some mini pencil and notebook folders.
They use up the left over card from the larger versions, and of course, some of my scraps!

The pencils are ones that have been worn down from so much use, and the notebooks are scrap paper (mostly old letters and notices from school) and backed with card from a cereal box, then all sewn together with some wool.  So a lovely project to use things up!

They're nice and small to slip in my handbag for keeping the girls amused when waiting for things!

I think they'd make nice small gifts too!

What do you think?

UPDATE - I now have a tutorial for making these mini pencil and notebook folders. 
Go here for that tutorial.


Jewellery bags - a tutorial

NOTE: for an updated version of this tutorial - please go here!

Last year, my Mum sent me one of these jewellery bags that she'd made. 

She'd seen them around and decided to try making one for me.  I loved it - and so had a go of making one myself! 
This year, I'm slowly working through things and getting patterns made up.  This week I made one for the jewellery bag - which,  since I didn't do this last year, I had to figure out all over again!

I thought since Valentine's Day is next week, I may put some on my market stall this weekend. 
My girls have also been asking for one each for ages  - so there's those to make too!

They really are cute, with the little pockets inside:

Which I have nicely stuffed in the one I made last year!

All this pattern making is finally putting my daughter's pile of artwork from Kindy two years ago to good use!  I knew I was keeping it for a reason...

Here's a  shot of today's bag in our sunny garden - so nice to see the sun again after days of rain and a cyclone!!

If you would like the tutorial for this jewellery bag - it's available in easily downloadable PDF format - ready to print if you like!


My Creative Space - learning to sew

I'm setting this to post in advance - hope it comes up ok.  We've got a HUGE cyclone headed our way, and I'm not sure if we'll have power over the next few days!  Hopefully this posts on time, and all is well!

In teaching my 5 and 7 year old to sew, I want them to be able to make things they will use, and be able to do as much of it as they can all by themselves!
To do this, I'm trying to make up some simple tutorials for them to follow.  I've never liked being told what to do, and my daughters are no different!  So, this way, they feel like they're learning by themselves, and I help when they ask me to!

This week they tried making fabric coasters - a nice basic project, very achievable for them!

I gave them the tutorial, pins, scissors and let them choose their own fabric, then away they went!

I helped them out here and there.  Making sure their pins were facing the right way,

I threaded the machine for them, but they watched how!

I have to have the foot pedal for the machine on top of a cardboard box so they can reach it!

And after not too long... they had made their very own drinks coasters!

Which are handily reversible!

They were very proud of themselves, and so was I!  It was a nice short project, but practiced several skills - using a pattern, pinning, and topstitching. 

I'm going to put all their tutorials in a special file so they can come back to them whenever they like to make more!

Now I have also decided each week to try and learn something new myself about sewing.  This week is a bit of an embarrassing one!
When making my own sets of coasters earlier this week (click here to see my talking coasters post), I discovered how to machine applique properly!!
I've had my sewing machine for around 7 years now, and last week realised that there are several 'feet' and settings on it that I've never used and have no idea what they are for!  Time to learn!

So this week I tried the applique foot and settings!
Look how neat the stitching turned out!!

Now compare this to, say, a mini baby rug I made around 5 years ago..
.(which my girls still play with now!)

Here's a closer look at my lovely zig-zag around the edges applique!!

MMmmm - the machine does it so much neater doesn't it!!

Ok - so maybe I should have done this years ago - but better late than never!  I wonder what else my machine can do that I didn't know about!!!


Talking coasters - a tutorial

I saw something similar to this sometime last year made with tiles - and thought I'd try it out with fabric!
First I decided to make some to use for daily family dinners.  Now that both my daughters can read - they may add a bit of fun to dinner times!

 I wrote the questions I wanted on the coasters - then printed them onto fabric using my regular computer printer.  I've found this works either with stiff fabric, or by ironing bondaweb / vlisoflex onto the back of any fabric - which then makes the fabric stiff enough to go through the printer.
I have found that black ink seems to work ok, and although it dulls a little in the wash - it stays.  I can't get coloured ink to stay - it just washes out. 
Ironing after printing is supposed to heat set the ink and help it stay on the fabric.

Then I cut each question out - each one was now a size that would fit on a coaster.

To help prevent fraying, I used this around the edges..

Then once it was dry, I ironed each question onto a square of fabric (12cm x 12cm) ..

...and appliqued it on securely.

Then I cut more squares for the backing - also 12cm square.

Then right sides together, I stitched around the edges, leaving an opening to turn out, and trimmed the corners.

Finally I turned the coaster right side out, ironed and topstitched.

Here's the finished set - all ready for a chatty family dinner time!

And the fabric on the reverse even has little hearts on - so we can always use them for valentine coasters!

I also decided to make another set of talking coaster, using these ideas we have in a beer mug for dinner parties...

There - now that looks much better!!

For the downloadable PDF version of this tutorial, click here.

And for over 100 of my other sewing tutorials - for all levels and abilities click here.