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trivet!

Don’t know about you, but we are a family that likes to help ourselves.  I’ll bring dinner to to the table in the wok (or straight from the oven) and need to put it on something to protect the table.

So I fiddled with the idea of making a fabric trivet – and while I made mine in Christmas fabric, you should feel free to substitute anything bright and cheerful and make the trivet in any size you like.

The construction method is so simple.

You will need:

  • 2 x squares (or rectanges) of fabric cut to the same size.
  • Rice (or beans or wheat to fill)
  • A funnel (or paper cone) to pour in the filling.
  • A sewing machine
  • Iron

Step 1:

Turn right sides together and using a small stitch, sew on 3 sides.  Trim the corners, turn right side out and iron flat.  Turn a small hem inside the raw edge and iron flat.

Step 2:

Sew 3 vertical seams 5cm from each other across the square up to the raw edge.  You should now have 4 long channels with an open edge at one end.

Step 3:

Place a funnel (or paper cone) into one channel and fill with rice – leaving a gap of 2 cm at the top unfilled.  Pin open edge, and repeat with the remaining 3 channels.

Step 4:

Carefully sew the open edge closed with a small stitch on your sewing machine.  I did a matching topstitched edge on the bottom as well but that’s optional.

And you are done!  Not so pretty but very, very practical.

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cheep thrills

Cute huh!

An ideal tree decoration, or fun to just have around because of their funny little legs.

You will need:

  • A square of pre-cut felt – and from that you will probably get 6 birds.
  • 3 red pipe cleaners (cut in half)
  • embroidery thread (in a variety of colours) and needle
  • Fibre-fill
  • scissors

Here is your template:

The felt bird should be about 7cm wide by 6cm high when you cut it out of the felt.  You will need to cut 2 shapes for each bird.

Embroider one side using the above diagram as a guide.  Make a french knot for the eye.  Use running stitch to pick out the wings and tail feathers.

Flip another bird shape over so you have a mirror image and embroider that side in a matching thread.

Now join the two together with blanket stitch following the guide above.  I found that it was easiest to start at the bottom and work my way around, stuffing the bird as I went.  The beak is a small space, so is the tail, so you want to make sure you can stuff it while you can reach it or it will be difficult to get the filling in.

When you get to the bottom part of the bird, fold a cut pipe cleaner in half and insert it into the bird.  Push some stuffing into the crook of the  pipe cleaner and keep doing your blanket stitch, making stitches around each leg as you go.

Fasten off!

The bird will be easy to attach to a christmas tree branch or stick with its legs.

Not meaning to alarm you, but you know, it’s only 10 weeks until Christmas.

Deep breaths.  No need to panic.

I LOVE Christmas, but have always felt a bit of resentment when the decorations creep into the stores so early.  It took me until now to get it.

If you get organised early, you can enjoy the celebrations in an enthusiastic manner.  Go to the parties, take time wrapping up presents, decorate the tree thoughtfully and enjoy your beautifully crafted and designed decorations.

Every Christmas (with a few exceptions) for me has involved dragging out the decoration box (which looks a bit sorrier every year), dusting off last years pine needles and then throwing what is salvageable over the tree, the mantle and front door in what I hope looks like a considered display but usually looks a bit. . . Random.

I am resolved, this year to make some decorations myself one at a time (perhaps one a week in front of the TV), involve the kids in making some too, plan a bit more, and hopefully, by the time December is here enjoy it peacefully with the kids instead of distracting them while I am in frantic catch-up mode.

Project one is a quick Christmas Apron – made with just 90cm of Christmas fabric which is available in store now (fabrics change from store to store at Lincraft so apologies if this one isn’t in your local store).  I decorated this one with a couple of jingle bells for a bit of low-key festive spirit.

Such an easy pattern – made with two rectangles joined in the middle with a waistband tie and suitable for sizes 10 – 18.  If you are after a smaller or larger apron it is very easy to customise the pattern.

Cut your pieces:

  • Lay your fabric out and make one long horizontal cut down the middle parallel to the selvage.  Reserve one piece for the skirt (A).
  • From the remaining piece cut one rectangle 35cm wide x the height (approx 66cm).  This will be your bib (B).
  • Cut 8 horizontal strips (C) out of the remaining fabric (I folded mine in half, in half again, in half again and cut through all thicknesses at one edge).  These strips will be your neck strap and waist ties.

Sew the apron:

Take piece (A) and hem all sides.

Take piece (B) and fold (right sides facing).  Sew all sides (leaving a small gap to turn right side out), and iron flat.  Top stitch all edges to give a neat finish.

With the shortest sides at the top and bottom, centre piece (B) over the middle of the skirt (A) and sew together.

To make the neck strap: take one of the strips (C) and pin in half horizontally (wrong sides facing). Sew a narrow hem at one end and for the length of the tie.  Trim corners, turn right side out and iron flat.  Tuck the raw edge inside the tube and topstitch along all edges to give a neat finish and reduce stretching.

Attach one edge to the top right hand side of the bib and stitch in place.  Leave the other end loose, fold it back on itself and sew it in place on the outside of the apron with a button.

To make the waist ties:

Sew 5 strips together at their short edges to make one very long tie.  Iron all seams flat.

Pin this long tie in half horizontally (wrong sides facing).  Sew a narrow hem at one end and for the length of the tie.  Trim corners, turn right side out and iron flat.  Tuck the raw edge inside the tube and topstitch along all edges to give a neat finish and reduce stretching.

Find the centre of this long tie and pin it to the middle of the apron, covering the seam where the bib (B) meets the skirt (A).

Sew the tie to the skirt at the top and bottom edges.

Finishing:

Sew 2 jingle bells to the bottom of one of your ties.

Super easy!

Feeling free

OK – so it’s a blatant plug, but this is my first magazine for Lincraft and I’m pretty excited by it.  You don’t know what it took to get here… and it is just so pretty!

Yep – that’s me, being all editory and everything.

Fashion, fun and hats.   I loved making the hats.

An easy to sew clutch bag.

Tips and tricks on working with feathers, so you can make your own hat for the races and have it looking professioanl.

Great vest for layering.

Hoop la!

Love this project – so easy and so practical – great for gift-wrapping too.

Artwork to try yourself, and easy enough to get the kids involved.

An easy tee-pee.  Why should boys have all the fun…

Knitted cupcakes!  Too sweet! And the hobby horses turned out beautifully.  Such a fun project.

And some links to some wonderful online resources.

It’s out now – projects are on the website:  www.lincraft.com.au.  Most exciting, and most exciting to have it printed so I can get on to the next thing.

Christmas is coming!

There is a divide, often – over what we want our kids to wear, and what they feel good in.  Kids want to be comfortable, feel cool, feel original (most of the time).  They want to feel special.

Boys fashion, tends to be heavy on the skulls for the under 10’s, and that’s not for everyone either.  My son likes smily skulls but finds the mean ones a bit offputting (there seem to be a lot of mean ones). He likes detail but not to be overwhelmed by it.  My daughter wants to be spectacular.  More is more in her books.

Those of us who like to sew, often do it because there seems to be a lack of good quality, beautifully designed clothing for kids in the stores, but don’t you find sometimes, when you are flicking through pattern books that nothing is jumping out at you either?

I think that’s because generally, love is in the details.  That tiny bit of tartan trim poking out on a sleeve seam brings a very plain garment into new territory.  That unexpected flounce that makes a girl want to get up and dance makes getting dressed fun.  Like all of us, kids wasnt something nobody else has and to be just a bit ahead of the pack.

So I have something wonderful to show you.  Sewing Clothes kids love.

Packed with inspiration and 10 full sized patterns (many unisex and sized from 18 months to 12 years) to celebrate your kids.  You can sew all the clothes in this book, or use it to remind you that sewing doesn’t have to be all about straight seams and one type of fabric.

Isn’t the back of that jacket fab!

One of the best tips in this book is to cut out the one garment in several different fabrics at the one time and mix and match details.  That makes the planning a much less daunting task.  The author advises making ‘kits’ of the mixed garments and sewing them at your leisure.  I will be doing that for sure.

There are loads of tips on making your own trims, and working with purchased trims, appliques and embellishments.

I could almost make that top for msyelf.  Hmmm……..

Gorgeous not cutesy.  Loving that in the biggest way.

Great advice on sewing each pattern presented in an easy to read format.

And all that colour!  It’s a treat just flicking through it.

I am so itching to start sewing!

Cover

There are a lot of reasons someone would wear a scarf  (I think they look great with a ponytail), but I saw a blog post this morning that made me think, and I wanted to find a solution.

It was from a sewer who wanted to make a headscarf for a daughter’s friend who was going through Chemo in hot weather, so a knit wasn’t appropriate.  She was after something a bit younger-looking.

Solution; a scarf made from a fat quarter that has ties.  The ties should make it easy to put on and lose a lot of the bulk that a larger silk scarf has when tied at the base with its own corners.   Who doesn’t have a beautiful fat quarter stashed away?  If you don’t have a stash I want to know your secret – mine is bulging at the seams….

I’m thinking that it is still possible to see part of the back of the head, but that is easily fixed by trying it on the patient, and stitching it closed where it naturally folds (if required).

Here’s how to make it:

Open your fat quarter and cut a bias edge 53cm long (or long enough to go around the patient’s head – you may want to measure with a soft ribbon and use that as a guide).  The triangle you can see above facing right side out* will be an offcut.

Fold the bias edge in half and measure a straight line out to make a long triangle.  Our piece ended up measuring 26cm (folded) at the front and from the middle of the front to the back point was 39cm.

Hem the 2 long sides of the scarf with a narrow turned hem, leaving the short edge raw.

Take a length of bias binding (I used the method from the previous post) 120cm long, and if you like, cut a small piece of binding from your main fabric to trim the edges.  There should certainly be enough fabric left from the fat quarter to make binding for the scarf in the same fabric – I was just after a bit of contrast in my project

Insert the raw edge of the scarf into the fold of the bias binding and stitch closed along the entire length of the binding.

Quick and easy and cheap enough to make a dozen!

* A shorter scarf can be made by using the offcut mentioned above.

I love a bit of bias binding.

Love how a fat quarter can go so far when turned into a trim, and how modern an edge looks when hemmed this way (easy too).

Our Lincraft website has diagrams on how to make continuous bias binding (see here), but I gave it a go myself because I just need to get my hands into these kind of things to see how they work.

Step 1:

and I didn’t take a photo…. Fold a square piece of fabric diagonally from corner to corner and cut along the fold – to give you 2 large triangles.

Step 2:

Pin both straight edges together so it looks like the photo above and join with a seam.

Press seam open.

Step 3

On the wrong side of the fabric, mark horizontal lines 4x wider than you would like your final bias binding to be.

Step 4

Line up the lines you have just drawn – but to the left, so you will end up with a spiralled line.  Pin and sew this seam

Step 5

Start cutting….

and cutting….

until you reach the end!

To finish your binding, fold it in half and iron a seam right down the middle, then fold each edge in towards the middle and iron again, winding it as you go to keep those seams pressed.

You are done!