Tag Archives: sewing

FWS Sewing Workshops – Day 1, Wrap Skirt

Last month I was lucky enough to host two more sewing workshops for the mamas from the Kesho Leo childrens village run by  Food Water Shelter (FWS) in Arusha, Tanzania. The day before the first class, I went fabric shopping to choose the fabrics we would work with. I selected three vitenge, and ended up donating an extra one as well – the chicken one. Continue reading

Upcycled jeans iPad Sleeves

These are my latest creations, five iPad sleeves made from the denim from one pair of maternity jeans and some African kitenge fabrics. The jeans weren’t worn for long, so the denim is still nice and dark but still softer than new. I loved making these, using the jeans meant I had to be a little creative Continue reading

Door Stop!

I have had a fantastic suggestion this week of making something like my rattle blocks, but as a door stop! I think it’s a great idea, and something I will definitely make for myself, so this afternoon I designed a small, cute fabric door stop with a carry handle. Continue reading

Flip Out Sofa Cover – Goodbye Buzz and Woody

after

My little one was given a flip out sofa by his Nan, and he loves it. I think its great too, what I don’t love are the huge pictures of Toy Story characters all over it. After looking at it for months and thinking, I really should make a cover for that, this afternoon I decided to get around to actually doing it. Continue reading

Patchwork Bookmark Tutorial

What to do with lots of little fabric scraps? Turn them into a cute patchwork bookmark! This would be a cute gift to pop inside a card for an avid reader, or just to keep for yourself. Here’s mine, which will soon be available for sale along with some others in my madeit.com.au shop, and here’s how I made it. Continue reading

Craft workshops at Kesho Leo

Thanks to the generosity of friends and family for donating the supplies needed and/or cash for craft stuff, I have recently been lucky enough to host three craft workshop afternoons at Kesho Leo, an eco-friendly children’s village run by foodwatershelter.org.au, just outside Arusha, Tanzania. I volunteered with fws for the year 2009, and it was so wonderful to be back to see the mamas and kids again. The mamas have learned to sew since being employed as live-in house mamas at Kesho Leo, and have been making bags and purses for the past couple of years which they sell in town. I decided to give them something a bit different to do, something which I was hoping would spark some creative interest and make use of otherwise wasted materials. Before I left I got googling, and found a lot of different things to make with recycled magazine paper. I felt this would fit in well with fws values, as there is no paper recycling facility available in the area so this paper would otherwise go to the local dump and be burned. Why not make something beautiful with it instead?
Tiring work for some! My baby enjoys a nap while I get crafty
 
We started with paper beads, a tutorial I found here. These are quite simple to make, and you would never know they are made from paper.. and they make gorgeous unique necklaces!
Next thing we did was make some beautiful gift bows. One brightly coloured magazine page makes one bow, and I thought they would be a hit at the Arusha Christmas fair this year. Another Christmas themed project we made were tiny origami “lucky stars”, which can be strung together to make a garland.
Oliva’s beautiful bow
Lastly we used scraps of fabric and spare buttons to make some fabric yoyos. Some fabric scraps are too small to use for anything, and a project like this is a great way to use them, and also for developing fiddly hand-sewing skills.
 
As with everything in Africa, these projects took a lot longer to teach than I expected so unfortunately I didn’t get to the other craft projects I wanted to show the mamas. On my list were paper bowls and coaster sets, patchwork (for bags, cushions and purses), baby bibs and nappy covers. Oh well, there’s always next time I guess!

DSLR pouch

I love photography, and on the first day of 2011 I began the 365 Project. The challenge is to take a photo every day for an entire year, although with all the sewing I have been doing lately I have become very slack with it. I do still take my DSLR most places with me so as not to be caught out without a camera if a photo opportunity arises, and I have developed a bad habit of just throwing my beloved camera into my handbag with nothing more protecting it than a plastic bag. So last night with some time on my hands I finally got around to another project I have been meaning to do, a little padded bag for my Nikon, small enough to put into my big handbag, but nice enough to use on its own with space for a phone and purse if I am just popping out quickly. I didn’t want it to look obviously like a camera bag, or as chunky and boring as one of the conventional black camera bags either.


I made it out of African kitenge with chocolate minky lining. For protective padding I used a layer of thick polar fleece in between the layers. I added a small pocket inside to hold spare SD cards, which is large enough to hold the lens cap while I am shooting. I had been thinking about all sorts of ways to enclose the bag, from using a zip, or a large flap with velcro, but I decided the handiest way was to make a drawstring which when pulled closed would form an ideal strap for carrying. I am thinking now though that I could have made the strap longer with a padded section in the centre for shoulder comfort, as I prefer to wear bags across my body rather than just hanging off my shoulder, but this one I made with the intention of putting inside my large tote bag so it’s perfect for that.




Easy peasy fabric yoyo tutorial



I have been seeing cute little fabric yoyos everywhere lately, from hairclips and hats to t-shirt embellishments. I have heard that people used to make whole quilts out of them! I learnt to make them about ten years ago, and thought I’d share. They are so easy you don’t even know how to sew, and you don’t need a sewing machine. 

1. You need: a piece of fabric, something round (I used a tea cup which gives a pretty small yoyo), a pen, a pair of scissors, and needle and thread.

2. Trace around your round thing with a pen

3. Cut out your circle

4. Take your threaded needle, and tie a knot in one end. With the fabric the wrong side up, turn the edge over and straight stitch, turning the fabric edge down as you go. Try not to make the stitches too small, and it’s ok if they aren’t exactly even.

 



5. When you have stitched all the way around, take the thread and gently pull so that the fabric gathers and the hole closes. 

6. Tie both ends of thread together, then flatten out your yoyo.

And you’re done! You can do different sized yoyos and stack them (just stitch through the middle to keep them together), or stitch a button to the top to make a little flower like I did with this one. 

What is a Pram Snuggle?

I have had a lot of new fans on my facebook page lately, so just thought I’d explain a bit about my business. I started making Pram Snuggles after talking to a friend about the trouble of keeping babies wrapped nice and warm while in a pram. I then made up a trial blanket, changed it a bit, tried out some different fabrics, and the Pram Snuggle was born! A Pram Snuggle is a specially shaped, very warm and snuggly pram blanket with universal harness holes that will fit any three or five point harness system in any pram, car seat or bouncer. Having harness holes means baby can be snugly wrapped while safely secured. 

Pram Snuggles are simple to use!
1. Undo the velcro tabs and place your Pram Snuggle in a pram, car seat or bouncer
2. Pull the harness straps through the holes, secure velcro tabs
3. Place baby in as normal, wrap side wings around baby, then bring the bottom part up and tuck into sides around your baby and under their bottom.
A Pram Snuggle is just like a blanket, so it will be held in place by tucking it in around and under your bub, but unlike a blanket, it won’t fall out of the pram.
The total length is approx 120cm. It is 60cm from the centre harness (the buckle that comes up between the legs) to the end of the blanket, this part folds up and tucks under bubs bottom so that their weight secures it, so the bottom part (from seat to feet) will be about 35cm when folded up.
Pram Snuggles are hand made so care should be taken with them. They can be cold gentle machine washed.