Baby Blanket PJs – a total winner

Hello!

A bit more love than in my previous post, I am thrilled with the blanket PJs I made for my “baby” boy for this month’s Sewing Mamas challenge.

So what is a blanket PJs? Yes, it’s exactly what you are thinking. I made a PJs out of the million baby blankets we got given when he was born. I don’t know about yours, but my little boy moves as if it was going out of fashion when he sleeps, so he’s usually lying on top of the duvet after about a minute of falling asleep. Worried (like mums do) of him being cold, I thought of making a PJ with a blanket so he keeps warm through the night. Genius!

For this project I wanted to use just fabrics and bits that I had so I chose this stripy blanket and I use an old baby grow to do the cuffs and the neckline. I also had the right length zip, so this was a total stash buster! As per the pattern, I chose a PJ pattern from one of my very dear Ottobre Magazines.

I sewed pretty much everything with the overlocker, except cuffs, neckline and zip, and it came together very nicely and very quickly. The only changes I made were the exposed zip instead of  an invisible one, and I added a little bit of fabric at the top so the zip didn’t scratch his little beautiful face. This fabric turned out to be quite tricky to sew mainly because the fluff keeps you from seeing the actual edge of the fabric so I had so re sew a couple of bits that I didn’t catch with the overlocker. Probably next time I’ll sew everything first to make sure there are no little gaps here and there and then overlock the insides.

 

Oh, I’m so glad I made this, it’s been so cold here in Zaragoza and I think I slept a little bit better safe in the knowledge that my little angel was nice a warm. As I write this, I can’t help but think of all the kids that are not nice a warm, because they don’t have a home, or because they had to flee, and I think of their mums and I admire that they are some how pulling it together for their little ones. We should never forget how lucky we are and help those that we can on the way.

Thank you so much for reading!

Pilar

African Fabric Malvarosa Top – heartbroken

Hello everybody!

It’s 31st of January with means… I get to share my makes for the Sewing Mamas makes! If you don’t know what that is all about, make sure you check this post.

So for this month we went a bit nuts and instead of suggesting a garment as we usually do, we set the fabric to use instead. I know, it’s totally bonkers! My lovely Kate had mentioned a while back that she like to make something with African fabric since she had seen the awesome stuff that Vicky from SewVee usually posts about, so we thought what better than gloomy January to embrace colours and patterns to bright up our days? And there we went.

I chose some lightweight cotton fabric from my stash. It was actually quite lucky that I had some from when I lived in England because here in Spain is actually quite difficult to find (or at least I don’t know where to get it). I love the stripy pattern on this fabric and whilst it’s quite bold it’s also not too crazy.

For the pattern, I chose the Malvarosa Dress pattern, but with the intention to make a top instead of a dress. I had been wanting to sew this one up for a while and I thought the busy fabric with the simple lines of the top would marry well.

The pattern itself it’s easy to follow and it’s pretty straight forward, but there is one thing that made me fell out of love with it pretty much straight away: the facings. In my opinion, the facings are way to big and way too ugly. They overlap at places and it just makes the garment to feel so clumsy finished inside. I know it is perfectly wearable, but I probably won’t because of this and I’ll just take this make as a toile. I may even shed the cap sleeves off if I make it again and just try to line the whole thing instead of using those damn facings. I’ll also try to do French seams next time just to make it a bit prettier in the insides.

And this is how it looks from all angles:

So overall, I enjoyed sewing with the African fabric, but I’m just gutted that it’s not going to be something I’m going to wear. I’ll probably give it another go, but with a different pattern.

Hope you enjoyed the post even though it’s a sewing failure one!

Thanks for reading!

Pilar

Vintage linen napkins

Blue napkins

Hello everybody!

Today I bring you another stash busting project with vintage linens, in this case, a blue and white table cloth that I picked form a charity shop a few years back. Yes, that’s right… it’s been sitting on my stash for years!!

I wouldn’t normally pick linens from a charity shop because usually they tend to be quite worn out and have a funny smell, but this old tablecloth was tip-top and it seemed like it had been used sparingly.

This project is as simple as it gets and you can even do it without a sewing machine, so it is going to be like the shortest tutorial ever.

You will need:

Vintage (or not) tablecloth

Needle

Thread

Sewing machine (optional)

How to make the napkins:

  1. Decide what size you want your napkin to be. In this case, since the tablecloth has a check pattern, I’ve cut my napkins following the grid on the fabric. As a guidance, meal napkins then to be about 22″ square and dessert napkins about 12″ square but my suggestion is to be creative and make them the size that works better for you, we all know about extra messy children!
  2. Now you just need to hem the edges and you are done!

I love this napkins because they are extra strong and they wash great. They also have a great rustic/country-kitchen feel to them and since you are making them from a tablecloth, odds are that you’ve got plenty more fabric to make many more. I think they make a lovely pressie!

Blue napkins 04

Napkins ready to gift 🙂

Here you can appreciate the pattern of the cloth

Blue napkins 03

Blue napkins 02

That’s all for today folks! Hope you enjoyed my stash busting project #4. I have to say I am still not noticing a major decrease of my fabric stash but hopefully by May-June time I will be able to see the bottom of my drawers!

Have a lovely everyone and thanks for reading!

Pilar

Reusable fold-away bags

You can never have too many :)

You can never have too many 🙂

Hi there!

Welcome to project #3 of my Stash Busting challenge 2016: the super useful, super hardy and super cute reusable fold-away bags.

When I moved back to Spain about a year and a half a go I was quite surprised at how very few places gave you a bag with your purchases so I was always caught off guard and I always had to end up buying a bag. I know it’s only a few cents, but when you see the volume of plastics bags accumulated in your kitchen after a weeks worth of shopping, then you realise that it is about time to start taking your own bags with you and do your bit for the planet.

As it happens, I had a look for a fold-away bag that I could carry always with me but, surprise surprise… I didn’t like any of the ones that were available in shops so I decided to make my own. At this point I decided to take my project a step further and make them from recycled vintage linens, just so they were fully “green” bags.

To make the bags, you will need:

1/2 metre of fabric of your choice (ideally washable and resistant)

Button

15cm cotton tape

Needle, thread and sewing machine

How to make it:

(all measurements include 1cm seam allowance)

  1. Cut two pieces of fabric measuring 42 by 45cm each (bag body)
  2. Cut two stripes of fabric measuring 8cm by 47 cm (bag straps)
  3. With right sides together, sew both long sides and one of the shorter sides of your bag body. At this point you can serge or zigzag stitch the raw edges to avoid fraying when washed.
  4. Still with right sides together, fold out 1cm all around the open top of your bag. Press. Then fold 3cm around the top of the bag and press.
  5. To make the straps, fold the strap fabric in half  lengthwise and press. Then fold in 1cm from each side and topstitch all along the edge of the strap.
  6. Place the straps on the bag before you topstitch it. Leave 10cm at both ends of the bag and place the straps. You should have a gap of about 16cm between both ends of the strap.
  7. Now place the cotton tape right in the middle of the bag, catching it under the top seam that we are going to stitch now.
  8. Topstitch all around the bottom edge of the bag’s top seam top of the bag, catching both straps and the cotton tape.  Now topstitch around the top edge of the bag, catching both straps and leaving the cotton tape free.
  9. If you wish, you can square the bottom stitch across the bottom corners. I’ve boxed mine by 11cm.
  10. Sew the button in the middle of the bag… and you are done!

I’ve haven’t had the time to sketched a diagram explaining how best to fold the bag, but I’ll upload it in the next few days so please bear with me!

This bag is super handy and since it folds so small, it is great to carry in your bag all the time. As you can see in the picture, I’ve made quite a few and so many never seem to be too many. The make wonderful gifts too because they are pretty and useful (and you can make them last minute!). The only risk is that if you lend them to someone you’ll probably never see them back…

Here there are some more pics of foldaway gorgeousness:

 

Folaway bags 02
Untitled designHope you enjoyed project #3 of my stash busting project! I’d love to hear about your makes, I’m always looking for inspiration for future projects!

Have a lovely day!

Pilar

Easiest patchwork baby play mat ever

 

Playmat

Make your own baby play mat (baby not included)

Hello everyone!

Continuing with my Stash Busting Challenge 2016, today I’m writing about one of my first sews after Mateo’s arrival: his baby play mat. Just the fact that I managed to make it when he was 2 months old puts to show how quick this make is.

But, what led me to make this blanket? Probably most of you will think “because she likes sewing”. Well, it wasn’t that obvious. As parents do, me and my husband started looking for some early age toys for our baby boy and we thought that a baby play mat would be a good start. When I thought of a baby play mat, it came to my mind images of softness, comfort, candied colours… you get the picture, right? But when we started looking around for mats, none met my expectations. For a start, the fabrics… all polyestery and cheap-looking, then the colours, the patterns, the sizes… they were all just wrong, a real fabric eyesore. I know babies are appealed to bright colours and that these encourage their senses, but those can be in other things, for example, their actual toys. I wanted a play mat where he could play and relax, and that felt soft and lovely on his skin. Amid all this search, then I remembered: I can sew!! And THAT’S when I realised that I could make Mateo the play mat he deserved (and that I wanted to see in my home too).

After all this introduction, I get into the nitty gritty…

You will need:

Several scraps of fabric

One large piece of fabric for the backing (depending on the size of your mat)

Wadding of your choice (depending on the size of your mat)

A piece of cotton tape or ribbon

Needle and thread

How to make it:

  1. Cut 25 squares of different fabrics measuring each 23×23 cm. I’d suggest you arrange them on the floor first so you can see how the final composition will look. In this case I picked a fabric that I’ve had in different positions in every row to give some unity to the final design.
  2. 20151027_182111Start sewing row by row until you’ve got 5 long bits of fabric (with 5 squares each)
  3. Sew the strips to one another.
  4. Right sides together, sew the sides leaving a gap of about the size of three of the squares. Turn inside out and press.
  5. Insert the wadding as if it was a duvet cover. If you intend to hang the mat from the wall whilst not in use (spot the one that lives in a small flat…) place the cotton tape making a loop. Then, sew the gap catching the loops with the machine.
  6. Finally, to avoid the wadding moving, stitch through all the layers at the corners of each square. This way, your wadding will always stay in place, even in the washing machine. Also it makes a lovely padded pattern.Play mat -back

Done!

Mat detail

I love my play mat 🙂

Since it is all cotton, it can be washed in the washing machine no problem. I love this play mat, we use it every day and Mateo loves it. I’ve used a rather thick wadding so it is comfy to lye on (for both baby and parents) and also keep him warm from the chilly floorboards. Also, since we live in a one bed and floor space is precious, we hang it on the wall and it looks beautiful, just like a piece of art! I am just so glad I “remembered” I could sew before we got any of those other play mats 🙂

I’d love to see your stash busting projects, I am always looking for inspiration so do leave a comment!

Hope you liked it as much as I enjoyed making it!

Have a lovely day!

Pilar

 

Lavender-scented rice heat bag

Hot pouch

Hello everybody!

So here there is my first project for the Stash Busting Challenge 2016: a reusable rice heat bag.

This was one of the Christmas presents I made for my mum this year. She had been complaining about some muscle ache for a while and despite my suggestions of using a hot water bottle to relieve tensions, she never quite tried it. So I decided to make her something along those lines hoping she would use it because I had made it for her. I’m glad to say I was right, and she is loving it now, yay!

This project is very simple, and it is perfect for any left over bits of fabrics. In this case, I used a fat quarter that I had bought a while back and that was sitting doing nothing on my stash. For the inside, I used a thin cotton just to give it a bit more support and make it a bit more stable.

For this project I used:

1 fat quarter of quilting cotton (outside fabric)

Lightweight plain cotton (lining fabric)

Thread matching outer fabric

Lavender essential oil (or any of your choice) optional

1/2kg of rice

IMG_3435

How to make it:

  1.  Put the rice and a few drops of essential oil in a plastic bag and leave it to absorbe the essence. The longer the better, but even if you leave it for just a couple of hours it will be lovely and fragrant.
  2. Cut the lightweight cotton (lining) to the same size as your main fabric, in this case a fat quarter.
  3. Fold both fabrics in half right sides together and sew around the two long sides and one of the shorter sides, leaving one side open.
  4. Turn it inside out, you should have like a long narrow bag. Now we’ll start filling it.
  5. Fill the bag with a third of the scented rice. Then sew across the bag to create a compartment. Repeat this step until you’ve used all the rice.
  6. Sew close the open side.

Done! It’s ready to use!

In this case I’ve opted for a rectangular shape just so it can be used across the shoulders and/or the lower back. Since it is scented, it can be used in bed before going to sleep and warm up your bed as well as relaxing your mind. Uuuummm… how lovely 🙂 Also, I’ve only used 1/2 kg of rice because I wanted it quite flat, but you can fill it as much as you like, always leaving some room for movement though, as otherwise may not adapt to the body.

You can heat it to your own preference, I like putting it in the microwaves for a couple of minutes, but that may be too hot if you intend to put it directly on your skin. Oh, and you can also put it in the freezer and use it cold!

The best thing about this project is that it is so simple and versatile, you can make any shape or size you want, and if you use beautiful fabrics (which I’m sure you would) I think they make a beautiful gift. (I think I’m totally going to gift myself one of those… )

Have a lovely week and thanks for reading!

Pilar

Stash busting challenge 2016

2016

Hello everyone!

Last post inspired me to take action on something that has been troubling me more and more lately, my fabric stash. Let’s be honest, us sewers have an incredible ability to justify keep buying metres upon metres of fabric because we are “definitely going to use it for this or that project” and then it just gets put away in a drawer and never sewn into anything. If you followed the #sewphotohop by houseofpinheiro, then you will have also realised the amount of gorgeous and unused fabrics that lay around all sewers shelves, cupboards, drawers, or even worse, just piled on the floor. It makes me so sad to see all those wonderful fabrics so unloved. This is because I’ve come up with the Stash Busting Challenge 2016.

So, if you feel you could swap the name Alice with yours…

f10709b692c5aa787fc4f6ab6ed5f219

… then this challenge is for you!

What I propose is to turn our stashes into beautiful items and fall in love with the fabrics we already own again. So over the next 12 months I will be posting simple projects using my fabric stash. This initiative will hopefully help us to make the most of what we already own, be more creative with what we’ve got, reduce our ever-growing fabric stashes and also reduce waste (yes, it’s hard to hear but hoards of fabric is just pure waste).

You can share your projects on Instagram with the hashtag #stashbusting2016 and if you’d like me to post one of your stash-busting tutorials, do get in touch!

Hope you join the challenge, it promises to be very exciting and full of creative inspiration. And please share with your fellow sewing friends!

See you there!

Pilar

Re-upholstered mid-century teak chair

Upholstered chair

What a beauty!

 

Hello!

Today I’m very proud to present one of our very few items of furniture that is not from Ikea, our mid-century teak chair!!

We bought this chair last year when we were still living in Tunbridge Wells. We used to take regular trips to Brighton as we loved the vibe of the place, and in one of those we found this beautiful chair at Vintage City Brighton. It came upholstered in a not-so-nice checked woolen fabric that was a bit too big for the size of the cushions, which we used as a reason to haggle it down. Since it was the winter and I was mega busy with work, I did not have time to tackle this project until much later, so we just covered the chair with an (also from Ikea) white blanket, which actually looked rather nice.

In another of our Brighton trips a few weeks later, we found the ideal fabric for our chair in Ditto Fabrics: a hedgehog medium-weight cotton in cream!

Hedgehogs, why not?

Hedgehogs, why not?

When I finally tackled the project and started to rip the fabric off the cushions, I realised that these were in very bad condition so I decided to order some new foam pieces online. Since I wanted to make the cushions as long-lasting as possible, I designed them in a way that the covers could be easily removable for washing. Also, I used concealed zippers so you could not see them no matter what side you put the cushions. I must acknowledge that to make a perfectly fitting, boxed cushion cover was more difficult and time-consuming that I originally thought, but I am extremely pleased with the results.

Corner perfection :)

Corner perfection 🙂

Zipper detail

Zipper detail

This chair still has plenty of adventures to live though! It is now part of the baby corner we are preparing in our room for the new arrival and will soon enough become a nursing chair. I cannot wait to contemplate our baby from its comfy cushions!

Hope you like the result! Thanks for reading!

Pilar

Neon Polka Dot Pillow Cover

 

Welcome to this super easy, super quick trend fix for your home.

You will need:

1 cotton pillow case (always prewash before painting)

1 pot of neon fabric paint

1 pencil with a rubber top

How to print your very own polka dot pillow case:

  1. Lay your pillow case on a flat surface. Put a non absorbent paper inside so the paint does not go through to the other side.
  2. Put a bit of paint on a sleek surface, for example a bit of tin foil.
  3. Then, take the pencil and wet its rubber top on the paint. A little paint will do, so don’t go to mad. It is easier to add more later than to have to wash it off. Then start printing your pillow case as if the pencil was a stamp. Add more paint as you need. In this case I have printed my dots randomly, but you could design a pattern to follow for a more geometrical result.
  4. Leave to dry for 24 h.
  5. To fix the colour, iron at 150ºC with a piece of fabric between the pillow and the iron. Once fixed, you can wash your pillow as usual (max 40ºC).

Pillow detail

I said it was easy! Hope you enjoyed it!

Best,

Pilar