A new dressing gown for my daughter

Here in Tropical North Queensland just now it is winter.  Now winter here is relatively mild - days are around 20-25C, but we do get some chilly mornings - getting down to around 10C.

I know 10C isn't that cold for most people - and I grew up in the North of England - so really it shouldn't be that cold to me - but I have adapted and gone soft - living here in Cairns, so anything below 20C is decidedly chilly!

Anyway, the other morning was one of those cold 10C mornings, and it inspired me to make a new dressing gown for my eldest daughter - whose current one is far too small!

I used the funkiest fleece I had in my stash - although not very girlie - she does like it!

I persuaded her to do some modelling after school..

But by then it was too hot outside - so that didn't last long!

Mickey approves too!

All snuggly and warm - and hopefully it will last her for a few years as she grows!

I didn 't use a pattern - just used some of her current clothes for size and her old dressing gown for the style.

I'll probably have to make one for my younger daughter, so perhaps I will make a tutorial for it when I do that!  Watch this space!


How to make a personalised drink holder in 5 steps and 15 mins

Ever thought it would be great to have the equivalent of a wine glass marker for your kids drinks?
These drinks holders are perfect for outings, parties and 
get-togethers. They fit around most drinks bottles or cups and help your kid remember which is their drink!
Best of all, they are small and flat and slip easily into your bag to take with you!

Would you like to make one of your own?

Here's how:

Step 1.

Cut 2 rectangles of fabric - 30cm x 10cm (12" x  4")
and two pieces of stitch in velcro 8cm (3.25") long.
Plus personal embellishment!

I chose to add names - for which I used scrap material, vliesofix (fusible webbing) and cut out the letters to iron on.  I like to stitch around the edge of my finished applique for extra strength!

You could use any embellishment you choose - buttons, fabric flowers or none at all - the fabric you choose may be distinctive enough to remember which drink is yours!)

Step 2.

Attach your embellishment, and pin and stitch on the velcro pieces like this:

Step 3.
Place the rectangles right sides together..

And pin all the way around, then stitch,leaving a small gap to turn out when you're done.

Step 4.

Trim all four corners, then turn out through the gap you left in your stitching.

Step 5.

Iron flat, then top stitch all the way around the rectangle, as close to the edge as you can.


Now you can wrap your drink holder around your bottle !

Great if your kids drinks bottles look the same....

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

And for over 100 more free sewing tutorials for all levels of sewing ability, visit My Free Tutorials Page.

How to make a handibag from a pillowcase - in 5 easy steps and 15 minutes

I made one of these last year, and thought it would make a good project for my "Anyone can sew" series of 5 steps in 15 mins.

Here's how to make your very own handibag - great to slip into your handbag for when you go shopping - or perhaps to carry your kids artwork home from school!!

Step 1 - Cutting

Take a pillowcase you no longer use (or buy a pretty one from the charity shop).

Cut off the flap that is on the inside of the pillowcase - You'll use this for the pocket!
NOTE - This has caused some confusion amongst readers. Here in Australia and in the UK, there is a small 'flap' on the end of the open end of the pillow case, this slips over the end of the pillow when you put it inside the case - it's essentially just an extra strip of fabric. It seems to be missing off pillowcases in the US.  You can just use any scrap of fabric for the pocket if there is no flap on your pillowcase!

Then cut two strips from the open end of the pillowcase - 10 cm (4") in width. These will be the straps:

Then cut one side seam from each 'strap' so you have two long strips, and your main bag left:

Step 2 - The Straps

Iron each strap in half length-ways,
then open out,and fold either side in towards the middle crease and iron again..

Then fold in half again and iron.  This will give you two straps, approx 2.5 cm (1") wide.

Then machine stitch down both sides of the length of each strap.

Step 3 - Attach the straps:

Fold the top of the bag in on itself approx 2.5 cm (1") and place the end of one strap where you want it to be.

Then fold the bag end AND the strap over another 2.5 cm (1") and pin into place.

Repeat for all 4 strap ends:

Then machine stitch around the bag opening at both the top and bottom length of your fold.  You can also stitch a cross on each strap for extra strength!

Step 4 - The Handipocket!

Take the flap you first cut from the pillowcase,
and cut a rectangle 16 cm x 23 cm (6.5" x 9")

Double turn all 4 edges to finish off neatly:

Then fold right sides together - ALMOST in half, like this:

Then pin it to the INSIDE top middle of your bag with the folded edge at the top.

Then stitch along the three sides of the pocket.

Step 5 - Into the pocket!

Now you have a nice strong, large bag.

Open it up and find the handipocket inside..

Then push the bag UP into the pocket from the bottom - turning the pocket inside out as you go around the bulk of the bag.  Then finally flip the little flap over at the top.

And there you have - one handibag - to slip in your handbag - you never know when you might need one!

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

For an updated version of this tutorial, plus more tutorials for making a selection of shopping bags from upcycled fabrics, 
check out my e-book here!

Dance bags

I made these bags using some
 white lace music notes:

They are the perfect size for a pair of dance shoes and one dance outfit, and my girls adore them!!

Here's how I made them:

Cut 2 rectangles of fabric - outer and inner, 55cm x 35cm (21.5" x 14")
2 circles for the base - one of each fabric.  I used a circle with radius 8cm (3.25")
2 strips of fabric for the handles 70cm x 10cm (27.5" x 4")
White lace music notes - 55cm long (21.5")

For the 'handles' or drawstrings.  Fold the fabric in half lengthways and press, open out,then fold the sides into the centre and press again, then in half again to make neat strips with no raw edges showing.

Top stitch all the way around both strips:

Next, stitch the lace to the main outer bag part. I neatened the top edge with a double hem, then added some silver ric rac to cover the stitching.

Fold the inner fabric rectangle right sides together, and stitch down the side.

Then pin the base circle to the bottom of the bag right sides together and stitch:

Repeat this with the outer fabric - making sure to match up the lace when you stitch the sides together.

So now you have 2 bags - the inner and outer.

Before you put them together, you need to sew two buttonholes in the top of the outer bag - around 3cm (1.25") down from the edge. This will be where your handles/drawstring threads through.

Now turn the outer bag inside out, and push the inner bag inside it - so the right sides of both parts are facing each other.

Pin the bags together around the top - remembering to leave a small gap to turn them right sides out.  Then stitch.

Turn the bag right sides out, and push the inner bag into the outer bag.  Then top stitch around the top of the bag:

Run another line of stitching parallell to your topstitching but below your two buttonholes.  This is to make the casing for the handles / drawstring.

Then using a nappy pin / large safety pin, thread your handles through the casing in the top of your bag. One through either side - all the way around, and tie or stitch the ends.

I used velour for the outer fabric - and shiny fabric for the inner - this works best for the drawstring handles as it slides through well when you open and close the bag.

Perfect for little dancers!! or even big ones!

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

If you enjoyed this tutorial, there are over 100 more free sewing tutorials for all levels of sewing abilities on 
My Free Sewing Tutorials Page