Fabric origami experimenting

After making a couple of fabric origami bags,

and also these:

 and then some paper origami flowers..

 it got me to wondering if you can do any kind of origami using fabric instead of paper?

My initial attempts haven't been too successful..

I suspect that I need to use stiffer fabric, or add interfacing or similar. But I figure I should be able to do it using the iron, and a few stitches here and there!

Have you ever tried fabric origami?
If you google images for fabric origami - there are some amazing things around.

Just as I'm writing this - I've found a great little tutorial for 
making little origami gift bags.  This lady used fusible webbing to add pretty paper to the back of fabric, which also stiffened it, then folded origami style! Brilliant!
Ok - watch this space, and I'm going to experiment some more!

If anyone has any ideas, tutorials and tips for me on exploring fabric origami, I'd love to hear them!

I'll be sure to post what I discover and make!!

Handy zip-pouch tutorial

I've been wanting to make a pouch like this for a long time. One that zips open flat, with pockets and compartments for things.
Figuring the zip out took a while - but I finally cracked it and made my first pouch shown here - a small first aid kit to keep in my handbag.  
It's a good handy size..

I also made another pouch filled with a sewing kit!
 I used some 'tape measure' fabric for the inside of this one - and appliqued my initial to the front instead of the ruffle this time!

I used denim from an old pair of jeans for these pouches - nice firm fabric helps keep the shape of the pouch without the need for any interfacing. I used small scrap remnants for the inside and pockets. 

Here's the tutorial if you'd like to try one for yourself!


Outer fabric (I used denim)
2 pieces  17 x 11 cm (6.75 x 4.25")

 Inner fabric
2 pieces 17 x 11 cm (6.75 x 4.25")
For slide pockets: 2 pieces 7 x 11 cm (2.75 x 4.25")
                               1 piece  12 x 11 cm (4.75 x 4.25")
For elasticated pocket: 1 piece 10 x 16 cm (4 x 6.25")
1 cm (0.5") wide elastic, 8 cm long
Ruffle - 1 strip 6 x 28 cm (2.5 x 11")

1 zip, 46 cm (18") long

1. First stitch the inside pockets.
For the elasticated pocket, take one large inner piece of fabric and the elasticated pocket piece with the elastic strip:

Fold the long edge of the pocket piece over twice - once to hide the raw edge and the second fold to make the elastic casing. Make this fold slightly wider than your elastic, and stitch close to the edge.

Then using a large safety pin, thread your elastic through the casing.

Then secure the elastic with a few rows of stitching on either side of the casing:

Now lay your pocket piece on top of the large inner piece of fabric with the bottom raw edges together. Pin then stitch down both sides:

2. Now to the slip pockets.  Take the three smaller pocket pieces and your other large inner piece of fabric:

For each of the pocket pieces, double turn the top edges and stitch to neaten.

Then lay the larger pocket piece and one of the smaller pieces on top of the main inner piece of fabric like this:

Then stitch across the bottom of both pocket pieces together:

Now lay your third pocket piece on the bottom of the main part - raw edges matching:

Stitch across the bottom of the pocket, then down both sides of the whole piece to hold all 3 pockets in place:

3. Now to the decorative ruffle for the front of the pouch.
Take your ruffle strip and you need to finish the long edges off to prevent fraying.  You could simply double turn and stitch, or if you have a rolled hem foot for your machine, you could used that:

Then turn your machine stitch settings to the widest stitch, and the highest tension. Run a single line of stitching down the centre of the  ruffle strip, then pull one of the threads at the end to ruffle the strip evenly:

Next, pin and stitch this ruffle to the centre of one of your outer pieces of fabric:
Remember to turn your machine stitch settings back to where you usually have them for this!

So now you have all your pieces ready to put together with the zip:

4. The zip!
First of all, place the zip around 3 sides of your front outside piece of fabric - the one with the ruffle.  Place so the edges fall evenly along the fourth edge like this:

Then with the right sides of the zip and the fabric facing together - pin the zip into place around the edge.  Clip the corners of the zip to help it stretch around the corners of the fabric when you pin:

Only pin around 2.5 cm (1") down from the edges of the fabric on the final edge where the zip ends are.
Then using the zipper foot attachment on your machine, stitch the zip into place.

Now open up the zip fully, and place this front section of the pouch face down onto your other outside fabric piece so right sides are together.

Then open the pouch up and pin the second half of the zip to the other outer piece of fabric like this:

Again, only pin around 2.5 cm (1") down from the edges of the fabric where the zip starts and ends. Machine stitch into place.

Now you're ready to attach the inside pieces of the pouch:

First lay out your pieces like this, then fold one side of the main pouch across and 'inside' the other.

Lay one inner piece face down on top of this - and pin around the edges where you have stitched the zip.

Machine stitch around the edges - again using your zipper foot, and again only stitching 2.5 cm (1") down from either end of the fourth side.
Clip the 4 corners and turn right sides out:

Then repeat this process for the other inner pocket piece. Fold the finished side in across the other side, place the inner pocket piece face down - pin and stitch:

Clip the corners and turn right sides out - you should have this now:

5. Finishing off the 'spine'
Now you need to close the gap in the 'spine' of your pouch/folder.
Take 2 scraps of fabric - one of the inner one of the outer fabric, approx 12 x 5 cm (4.75 x 2").
Fold the smaller edge over and insert under the edge of the zip and inside both side of the pouch.
This takes a little shuffling around.
The inner and outer fabric scraps basically cover both ends of the zip and tuck into either side of the pouch.

Pin the edges together through all layers of the fabric - checking you have the front and back even. Then machine stitch into place.

All done!

Fill your pockets up..

Zip it up around the edges and you're ready to go!

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

If you liked this tutorial - they you may enjoy my others!
There are over 100 free sewing tutorials for all levels of sewing abilities now available on 

Cascading ruffles - midweek upcycle

This week I wanted to do something with this cute skirt which has been worn and worn by both of my daughters - a favourite with them both. Unfortunately it's a little worse for wear..

First I cut off the ripped part of the skirt.

And found some old t-shirt and tops that were also in my upcycling pile.

The bottom of the large t-shirt was around the right size to add to the bottom of the original skirt - using the bottom of the t-shirt as a ready made hem.

Then I followed a tutorial for cascading ruffles. Using the pattern template provided to cut ruffles from the remaining t-shirt material:

Then I attached the ruffles to the new base of the skirt as per the tutorial.

Then attached the new base of the skirt to the top part, replaced the elastic and voila..
A new cascading ruffle skirt!

I really like the look of the ruffles, but I think perhaps I added too many! It looks good, but they add a little too much weight to the skirt!

I love being able to test out new things with old clothes.  I really want to do more with these cascading ruffles - perhaps with some lighter fabric - and maybe something for me?

Have you tried cascading ruffles yet?