Notebook covers - tutorial coming..

Usually I have a tutorial ready to post on Tuesday morning.
However, this week I have my girls on school holidays which slows things down a bit - plus I'm feeling a bit sick at the moment with blocked sinuses and a sore throat! So, I'm not very organised!

Here's a couple more pics of what I've made - I will post the tutorial very soon!

UPDATE! The tutorial is now available here.

Dress to skirt and top - this week's upcycle

As I've mentioned before, my daughters are growing up but not out at the moment, and although their clothes still generally fit, they are getting too short.
This was the case with a pretty dress belonging to my youngest daughter:

So I upcycled it into a skirt and top:

I just cut under the main shirred body part:

Which left me with a wide skirt:

Then using another skirt for size, cut some elastic for the waist, and stitched that on - the fabric was already folded in gathers from the dress so it was easy to fit around the elastic evenly.

Then the top I had left, I matched up with another discarded top that had stretched and become rather shapeless.

I cut a section from the bottom of the blue shirt, and simply stitched down the side, then attached to the top.

Hopefully now she'll get a little longer wear out of it!
And of course here's some cool poses to show off her new outfit!

My first quilt finished!!

Phew! I did it! Finished a whole quilt!

I enjoyed the whole project - learning as I went along.

I started with a bag of scraps:

Which were all sorts of funny shapes and sizes, so mixed with colour scraps I had, I cut squares and strips..

 and gradually pieced together enough to make a single bed sized cover:
I don't own a rotary cutter, and although I read a lot of quilting advice and blogs that said how important it was to cut accurately, I stayed with my trusty scissors.
I am not a perfectionist and much prefer to focus on being able to do something successfully than perfectly (if that makes sense) - a successful quilt to me is one that looks nice, covers the bed and keeps the occupant warm!

I did lots of shuffling around of the pieces until I liked the overall look, then stitched them together.
Only a few fish ended up swimming upside down!! oopps!

The batting layer for the inside was made with all my scraps of fleece pieced together!

Then the backing was made from a large roll of mustard coloured knit fabric I was given recently!

Now things were getting tricky!
I've never sewn anything the size of this before.
Some quilting blogs I read suggested tacking together the layers to stop them slipping when you quilt them. 
I'm too lazy to do that, so went with the safety pin option.
One blog I read, the lady said she'd used 500 safety pins to secure her quilt!! Unbelievable!
I raided my stash and found about 30!
So placed and pinned them at intervals, smoothing the fabric as much as I could!

Then it was time to quilt the 3 layers together!
Oh my! Trying to maneouver all that through my little machine was tricky!

Oh - and I had to test out first that I had my threads right - with blue on top and yellow on bottom to match the colours on the quilt!

I think overall it went pretty well - only a couple of puckers on the bottom:

And a couple of bits of dodgy stitching on the top:

So now all I had to do was the binding!

So I found another yellow scrap piece and cut this into strips:

I joined the strips together, then ironed the long strip in half..

Then opened it out and folded the edges into the middle crease and ironed again to make my own binding!

Then I was very lazy. (again! gosh that seems to happen a lot!)
I got my quilt, binding and machine and stitched it all together as I unrolled the binding strip!

Yes I did end up with a couple of small 'missed' bits..
Which I had to re-stitch to secure.

But hey - I finished a whole quilt!
And in spite of the small flaws and imperfections, I'm proud of it!
Here's the front...

and here's the back..

And my daughter loves it on her bed - now the other daughter wants one too!
And here's one last picture of my quilt on a fence - because it seems to be that you have to photo your quilt on a fence! That's what all the quilters do!! and now - maybe I can call myself a quilter..?? maybe?

I take my hat off to all you quilters out there who have the patience and the skill to make perfect and beautiful quilts!
I love browsing around blogs to look at them in awe!

But to those of you who have never quilted, I say give it a go!
It was a challenge - and yes I will be making another one, which may or may not have fewer flaws and imperfections.  But it's handmade with love, and hopefully these quilts will be ones that my daughters will keep for years - and hold happy memories of growing up alongside the Great Barrier Reef!

Cap Hanger Tutorial

I've been meaning to make one of these for a while to organise the large collection of caps we have:

Years ago, someone gave us a rather nifty cap hanger, but over the years, the velcro has lost it's grip and the hanger itself has lost it's shape.
So I decided to make a new one:
You can see the old one in this picture - made from green and yellow felt.
I chose to use some firm upholstery fabric, with buckram (the white in the picture) to stiffen it.
I had some plain black stitch in velcro too.

Here's how:

First cut your materials:
You will need:
2 strips of main fabric 10 x 118cm (4 x 46.5")
1 strip buckram (optional) 10 x 118cm (4 x 46.5")
10 strips main fabric  5 x 16cm (2 x 6.25")
5 pieces stitch in velcro 2.5cm (1") 
Piece cord for hanging loop, 14cm (5.5") 

Now you need to stitch your velcro pieces to the small strips.
Stitch them onto half of the small strips like this:
Stitch around each piece of velcro twice for added strength!

Now take the remaining 5 strips of fabric the same size. Put them right sides together on top of the pieces with the velcro on, and stitch around all four sides, leaving a small gap to turn out when you're done.
Clip the corners and turn right sides out, pushing the corners out using scissors:

Then fold the edges in at the gap, and top-stitch all the way around.

So now you will have 5 pieces like this:

Now you need to place and stitch these to one of your main fabric strips.
Place them evenly along the strip and pin at the top of each one.
Also pin your loop of cord to the top of the strip.

Then stitch around the top velcro piece on each smaller strip to attach like this:

Now all you need to do to finish is attach the two long strips together, right sides together. If you're adding buckram or interfacing to stiffen, lay this under these two pieces.
Pin and stitch around all four edges, leaving a gap in the middle to turn out.

NOTE: if you add buckram or interfacing, it will be stiff to turn out, so leave a good sized gap - I left about a 40cm (15.75") gap.

Once you've stitched and turned right sides out, top stitch all the way round:

Then find a place to hang it up...

And add your caps. 
 I put two or three on each loop:

A great way to store those caps!
Wouldn't you like one?

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

If you enjoyed this tutorial - there are many more on 

Do go and take a look!