Thursday, 1 June 2017

Twine-wrapped Plant Pot & Bottle

Do you have any unwanted items like empty bottles, instant noodles cups or cans? What would you do with these unwanted items? Throw them away or keep them for other purposes?  We usually throw away what we no longer make use of. Do you know these "useless" items can be used to make a lot of great DIY projects?

I have some empty instant noodles cups stuffed into a drawer that I purposely keep for my DIY projects. I used these empty cups to make two rustic-looking plant pots in different designs. This is an inexpensive and easy craft, you can finish it in less than half an hour's time.

You can grow flowers or herbs in the twine-wrapped plant pot. Anyway, I prefer a low-maintenance greenery like a cactus.

Let's start with the simple materials that stated below...

1. Empty cups/ bottles
2. Twine
3. Super glue/ hot glue
4 Self-adhesive tape (ribbon)
5. Buttons 

This craft does not require any special skill. What you need to do is wrap the cup in twine and put on your decorative accessories.

By referring to the above photo, you can see two different designs of twine-wrapped plant pots. The first one is decorated with a piece of self-adhesive tape and a twine-braided bow. You can braid the twine and knot the both ends before you tie it on the pot. The second pot is decorated with a piece of self-adhesive tape and a button flower. It is very easy to make a button flower. You just need to get ready four pieces of twine and a four-hole button. Do cross stitch on top of the button and make two bows with the twine's' ends at the bottom of the button. Arrange the loops evenly and attach to your desired point of the pot.

The above twine-wrapped bottles are my daughter's masterpieces. These are her own ideas. She finished this project during her school holiday a few months ago. Making this kind of craft is simple, easy and inexpensive. Furthermore, it is suitable for younger children and adults. Do you agree on training a child to reuse some unwanted items is a great way to reduce the environmental issues? Let's make some unique home decors for ourselves and at the same time make some effort to protect our earth.


Friday, 31 March 2017

How to Make a Sock Rabbit

Sock rabbit is my recent project. I did think of making a sock rabbit quite some time ago but never took action to make a try. One day of last month, one of the members in my facebook group requested me to make two sock rabbits for her. I promised her and charged her a friendship price. Her request gave me a motive force to make a start. Hmm... I should thank her for giving me a push.

I like big ears rabbit, so do you? This project is easy to pull off. You will need 3 mid-calf socks to create a sock rabbit. If you have some unwanted or mismatched socks, now you can recycle those socks and turn it into a sock rabbit. If you think you want to make a pair of brand new sock rabbits as a gift for someone, then you should buy three pairs of mid-calf socks. Let refer to the material list below and follow the guided picture and instruction to get it done.

1. Three mid-calf socks
2. Two shank buttons (for eyes)
3. Decorative button (for shirt)
4. Felt cloth (for nose)
5. Poly-fill material
6. Matching embroidery thread and sewing thread
7. Ribbon (optional)

First, turn a sock to the wrong side with the heel facing up. Lay the heel part towards the calf part and sew a curved line along the curved heel part. After that cut it into 3 parts as shown in the photo. There are the parts for rabbit's shirt, head, and one of the ear. Set the parts aside.

Turn the second sock to the wrong side with the heel facing up. Draw the pattern as shown in the photo onto your sock. Follow the yellow line and sew, then cut out the pattern by following the red line. It is about 1cm apart from the yellow line. Now you should have two different parts, one is for the body and legs and the small part is reserved for making a tail.

Turn the third sock wrong side out ( the photo shown above is not with the wrong side out, I forgot to turn the sock wrong side out when I took the photo, sorry for that 😅). Then, put the ear part which cut out from the first sock on the third sock as shown in the photo in order to cut out the other ear part in the same size. After you have cut out the ear piece, draw the hands and the sleeves patterns (the yellow line) on the other cut out piece. Try to push the front heel layer towards the back layer as deep as possible so you will have enough place to draw the hands. Follow the yellow lines and sew. Once you have finished, cut out the pieces follow the red lines.

Follow the instruction below to create a sock rabbit step by step:

Step 1. Start to make the bear's head. Turn the head piece to the right side and stuff up the head with poly-fill material, then run stitches along the raw edge. Before pulling it tight, fold the raw edge inwards. Tighten up the opening by pulling the thread fully and then make a few stitches across, knot and cut thread.

Step 2. Turn the body part to the right side. Stuff up the body. Then, run stitches along the raw edge.Tighten up the opening. Do it the same way as you made for the head. Now, join the head and the body together with a slip stitch.

Step 3. Turn the shirt to the right side. Put on the shirt with the raw edge facing the legs and fold the raw edge inwards.

Step 4. Turn the ear piece right side out and roll it up. Secure the base of the rolled edge with needle and thread. Do the same for the other ear and attach the ears to the head.

Step 5. Turn the hand piece right side out, stuff up and close the opening. Press the point near to the opening to form a flat-shaped upper arm. Repeat the steps for the other hand and sew the hands to the body

Step 6.  Put on the sleeves and secure them in place. Then sew the decorative butoon on the shirt.

Step 7. Take the tail portion and simply cut out a circle. Run stitches along the raw edge and put some poly-fill material on it. Pull the thread tight to close the opening. Don't cut the thread, sew it to the lower back with the same thread.

Step 8. Sew the eyes on the face.

Step 9. Cut out a nose (small love shape) from a piece of felt cloth and sew it on the face.

Step 10. Sew the mouth with the matching embroidery thread. Done!!

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Water Bottle Bag

A new semester has begun. My youngest girl asked for a new water bottle bag to carry her new water bottle since last two weeks. She had a few requirements for her new water bottle bag. It must be a stiff and round bag, the height of the bag must be a little higher than her bottle and she didn't want the ends of the strap to be visible on the outer bag. In fact, this is a very simple water bottle. Besides her requirements, I wanted to try out a new method to sew the inner bag. Therefore, I had spent some time to think about the sewing method. I am not sure whether the method that I was using is a good method for you. Basically, I just want to share with you a new method that I had tried out.

1. Linen fabric (for outer bag and strap)
2. Lining fabric (for inner bag)
3. Non-fusible woven interfacing
4. Batting

Making a Water Bottle Bag Step by Step

According to your water bottle size, cut out a piece of round linen fabric with 1.5cm seam allowance. Then, cut out a piece of round interfacing and batting without seam allowance. Place the wrong side of the linen fabric facing up, sandwich the batting between linen fabric and the interfacing. Top stitch the layers with three circles so that the layers can be held in place. This is the base of the outer bag. After you have finished this, cut out a piece of round lining fabric exactly the same as the round linen fabric. Set these two bases aside and continue sewing the body part.

Now, it is the time to sew the bag's body. You need one piece of rectangle linen fabric, one piece of rectangle lining fabric and one piece of rectangle non-fusible woven interfacing. The widths of the linen and lining fabrics should be equal to the circumference of the round linen base with batting and interfacing (the round fabric with allowance) that you made just now and the heights should be your desired height plus 5.5cm (4cm for the top seam allowance and 1.5cm for the bottom seam allowance). Then, cut out a piece of rectangle non-fusible woven interfacing without seam allowance and sew onto the wrong side of the linen fabric. I just sewed a horizontal line at the bottom to held the interfacing in place. Make a double fold hem for each top edge by folding the fabric 1cm towards the wrong side and fold it over 3cm again to encase the raw edge inside of the hem. Pin the hem in place and sew the hem about 0.2cm from the double folded edge.

After you have finished the top edges, place the two fabrics wrong sides together and align the top edges properly. Then, sew a vertical line at the middle of the layers. Start sewing from the double folded edge (about 3cm from the top) and stop before the 1.5cm seam allowance. Please don't start sewing the straight line from the hem top, just leave about 3cm from the top edge unsewn. Then, fold the lining fabric right sides together as shown in the photo. Sew a 1.5cm seam along the edge. Repeat this step for the outer fabric.

 Now, you should have two fabric tubes as shown in the photo. 

After that, pin the round lining fabric that you made onto the bottom of the lining fabric tube as shown in the photo and sew along the round edge. Repeat this step for the outer fabric tube. Once you have finished sewing the two bases, turn the outer bag right side out. Automatically, the inner bag will be fit into the outer bag.

Lastly, make a long shoulder strap with the linen fabric. The length of the strap would be your desired measurement.  Align the top edges properly and pin each end of the strap between the layers at the appropriate position. Sew the top edges together with a 0.2cm seam and sew a triangle at where you inserted the strap ends. 

 A simple water bottle bag is done.

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Criss-cross Weave Bag

When the black and white stripes meet the criss-cross weave, a wonderful creation begins, which together with the solid black, bring out a beautiful integration and impression. Do you like the criss-cross weave pattern? Do you like a bag with a big bow?  If you do, just go through the steps below. I hope this will give your project more "Oomph"!!

How to Make a Criss-cross Weave Bag Step by Step

First of all, make some fabric straps of different colors. I made 16 pieces of striped straps and 2 pieces of black straps the same width for this project. Anyway, you can use your desired number, size and color of straps. A different number, size and color of straps will form a different pattern. You must be sure the length of the straps are long enough for the vertical and horizontal weaving according to your desired size of bag.

Weave a cross pattern using the straps as shown in the photo. Making sure the weaved piece is big enough to make your desired bag. If you think that it is not your desired size, just add or deduct a few straps. Don't worry about the uneven edges, you can trim the edges later.

Sew the cross-weave pattern in place by making a few cross-stitches at every intersecting point at the back of the layer.

Now, cut out a piece of  interfacing according to your desired bag size, then iron the interfacing piece onto the wrong side of the back piece. Please remember to add the seam allowance for the back piece before you cut the piece out. My desired bag size is about 11" x 13" so I cut out a piece of 12" x 14" back fabric. Then, place the cross-weave piece with the back piece right sides together, sew the both long sides and the bottom with a 1/2" seam. When you have finished sewing, turn the outer bag right side out.

Trim the top edge so it looks straight and neat. Then, set it aside and continue to the next step.

You can now make an inner bag as shown in the photo above. The size of the inner bag should be the same as the outer bag. I sew a pocket on the right side of the fabric before I make the inner bag. Then sew the inner bag as you sewed the outer bag but you have to leave an opening for turning.

Insert the outer bag into the inner bag with the right sides together. Align the top edges properly and pin the edges together.

Sew around the top edge with a larger seam. I make it slightly larger than the width of the straps so the cross strap can be sewn in place and the top hem will have a neat look when you turn the bag right side out.

Make two straps for handles. Pin and sew them at the appropriate positions as shown in the photo. You can top-stitch an "X-box" at each end of the strap if you want.

Lastly, sew a big black bow on the bag. Done.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Finishing off Cord Ends of a Drawstring Bag

How do you finish the cord ends of your drawstring bag? Just tie a knot or put a cord-stop on them? Here is a simple method that I had tried out for my stripped drawstring bag. I made a fabric flower bud for each knotted end of the cord.

1. Your ready-made drawstring bag with knotted cord ends
2. Two pieces of  8cm x 8cm fabric (different colors)

How to Finish the Ends of the Cord of a Drawstring Bag

Step 1 : Place the two squares right side together and sew around the square completely with a 0.7cm seam allowance. Then, cut a slit or a small hole at the center of the back layer as shown in the picture.

Step 2 : Turn the shape right side out through the hole. You can use point turner to get your corners sharp if you want. Anyway, I didn't use the tool because sharp corners are not very important for this finishing work.

Step 3 : Place the knotted end at the center of the front layer of the square and wrap the knot completely so a "ball"  is created.

Step 4 : Hold the lower part of the ball. Insert the threaded needle through the "ball" and wrap the thread around the lower part of the ball for a few times. Insert the needle through the "ball" again and secure the stitch.

Step 5 : Don't cut the thread, bring the thread through one of the corners and sew together with the opposite corner as shown in the picture.

Step 6 : Repeat step 5 to sew the other two corners together. A small flower has been done!!


Friday, 7 October 2016

Cartoon Frame Purse

Today, I am sharing with you one more frame purse project. I am not going to show you how to create these cartoon frame purses in this post since I have shown you the method to create a basic frame purse on my last post. If you are interested in it, please read the post entitled "Frame Purse".

 Some basic applique and embroidery skills are necessary to create a little purse like these. I like to blend applique and embroidery together. This is a very miraculous combination that let me not be weary of stitching. The finished result of this small project is not perfect. I could not sew a perfect satin stitch! It seems that I am lagging behind in this kind of needlework! When I was facing the stitching problem, a question surged through my mind - I make these purses out of some T-shirt fabrics, does the type of the fabric affect my skills? Hmm... Was I fobbing myself off with an excuse? I think we don't have to worry too much about the work. Sometimes, a little imperfection may brings out the beauty of human touch. Do you agree with me?

Anyway, my beloved princesses love these purses so much. When they received their favorite cartoon purse their faces broke into wide grins. I am so happy!! Their smiles are another type of hearty cheer for me.

Monday, 25 July 2016

How to Make a Frame Purse

The metal frame purse always has an antique feel to it, especially an antique rose print purse with bronze metal frame. What do you say to make a contemporary floral purse with an antique frame on top of it? To me, I like it so much. I think you will like it too. In this project, I use a 5cm arch metal frame with ball clasp and key ring for the top opening. The purse finishes at approximately 5.5cm across the body, 3.5cm across the bottom, 7cm tall and 3cm deep. Now, let me show you the way I create this mini frame purse step by step.

1. One piece of outer fabric
2. One piece of lining fabric
3. Batting / felt
4. 5cm metal frame
5. Matching embroidery thread & sewing thread

** I use felt for batting in this project.

Step 1: Purse frames come in difference shapes and sizes, so you will have to draft your own purse template according to your frame. Firstly, place your frame on a piece of paper and draw closely around the the outside of it, stopping when you reach the hinges.  Be sure to mark the hinge points, it is important for you to design your pattern afterwords.

Once you have finished drafting the arch, take away the frame and draw a horizontal line from hinge to hinge (point a-b). Then, find the center of your horizontal line and draw a vertical line at the center from the top curve to a desired height. The height of the vertical line is determined by the height of the purse and the width of the base. For example, my desired height for this purse is 7cm and the width at the base is 3cm, so, I have to draw a 8.5cm vertical line.

Formula :  The height of the vertical line = The height of the purse + (1/2 X the width of the purse)
                                                               = 7 + (1/2 x 3)
                                                               = 7 + 1.5
                                                               = 8.5

After that, design your own pattern with the basic drafting. To create a puffy purse, you have to create a larger arch. To do so, you can extend the side of the arch at your desired angle. In this project, point c is my desired point where I start to draw a line out and point d is my new hinge point. Please note that the length of c-b and c-d must be equal. You can now draw the second vertical line down from the new hinge point to the desired height and draw a horizontal line to connect the vertical lines. You only need to complete one side of the drafting, then fold and cut both out together to make them symmetrical.

Step 2: Fold the paper along the vertical line and cut out the pattern. You will get exactly parts facing each other when you open up the piece. This is half of the pattern piece, you will have to cut fabric on a fold.

Step 3: Now, fold the outer fabric just wide enough to accommodate the paper pattern with the right sides together. Place the paper pattern on the fabric and line up the bottom edge along the folded edge of the fabric as shown in the photo. Pin the paper pattern in place. Trace along the paper pattern (this step is optional for your outer fabric but it is necessary for the lining fabric as well as the batting). Leave a  0.7cm seam allowance for the other three sides and cut the fabric piece out (don't cut the folded edge) . Do the same for the lining fabric and the batting. Then, transfer the seam line to the back of the fabric using the tracing paper and tracing wheel so you will have the full size piece with a complete seam line when you open up the piece.

Step 4: After you have cut out the outer piece, lining piece and the batting, pick the outer fabric and the batting. Place the batting on the wrong side of the outer fabric, align the edges properly and baste along the edge.

Step 5: Then, fold the layers in half with wrong sides facing out. Sew down the two sides as shown in the photo.

Step 6: Now, it is time to create a box bottom for the purse. Open the bottom and squish the purse corner so the side seam lie directly over the bottom crease. This will flatten out the corner into a triangle. After that, draw a 3cm straight line across the corner. Do the same for the other corner. The bottom of the bag takes shape as two corners are boxed. Repeat step 5 & 6 for the lining piece.

Step 7: After making the box bottom for the outer and lining purse you will have to join the pieces together . Insert the outer piece (right side facing out) inside the lining piece (right side facing in). Line up the seams properly and pin in place. Sew around the top edge leaving a 3-4cm opening for turning purse. Before you start turning, make a few small notches on the curve edge to reduce bulk so the curve will look smooth after turning.

Step 8: After you have finished joining the pieces and turn right side out, insert the lining purse into the outer purse and close the opening either with blind stitch or whipped stitch.

Step 9: You can now get ready to sew the purse into the frame. First of all, temporarily tie the hinges on both sides of the purse and roughly insert the top edge into the frame to keep everything in place. An alternative way to keep the frame in place is using clips or roughly sewing the purse into the frame (just roughly sew throng the purse body and over the frame top along the frame). All the temporary stitches will be removed once you have finished the purse.

Step 10: Thread your needle with the matching embroidery thread. Start sewing from the middle of the frame (this is optional, you can start sewing at one side of the frame, anyway the method of sewing purse into the frame are the same). Insert your needle from the inside and sew up through one hole and down through the next and so on. Since there isn't a hole on the back of the frame, so angle your needle about 45 degree as you sew. This will make a stitch on the very edge of the frame. Once you have sewn all the way across, sew all the way back again using alternate holes so the gaps between the holes will be fully filled. If you start sewing from the middle of the frame, you will need to repeat the same step for the other half and finish sewing at the middle of the frame. Knot at the back and hide the knot inside the frame.Repeat for the opposite frame piece.

Hooray, a cute mini frame purse is done!!

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