Easy iPod Case / Sunglasses Case

IMG_5914I made this little iPod case for a 6 year old friend.  She came into my workroom and chose the fabric herself. It’s safe to say she loves this simple little gift and, if you are making for a person that doesn’t have an iPod, it’s really easy to make sunglasses pouches in the same way. It takes about 20 minutes to make one of these pouches (once you have the dimesions!) so it’s great for a last minute present.

For an iPod Nano case you will need:

  • Outer fabric (13cm x 15cm)
  • Lining fabric (13cm x 15cm)
  • Thin wadding / Interlining (13cm x 15cm)
  • Ribbon, cord or tape
  • Keyring
  • Decorative items if desired (beads in this case)

First, cut the fabric and interlining to the desired measurments.

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Then place the fabrics right sides together with the lining underneath.

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Put the beads and clip (if it’s not one that can’t be attached afterwards) on to the ribbon and make a loop. Then place the loop on one side, 3cm down from one of the longer egdes (the longer edges are the top and bottom of the case, the shorter edges will be the sides). Put the loop between the innner and outer fabrics but with the loop, beads and clip inside. Pin in place.

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Sew around three of the edges leaving the bottom longer edge open. Trim edges and loose threads and clip the corners close to the stitches but not going through.

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Turn it right way out using a chopstick to gently push the corners out.

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Fold in half with the outer fabrics facing each other.

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Then, starting 1.5cm from the top (and then doing a few strengthening backwards and forwards stitches) sew down to the base and along the base making sure to catch all the layers. Add a few strengthening stitches at the end too.

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Tidy the bottom edge by snipping away any excess fabric and snip the corners. Turn right side out using a chopstick to turn through the corners. Fold the top down to reveal the lining and attach your clip if you didn’t already. I also made a little pouch for her headphones.

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You can add ribbon ties or velcro to secure theses cases very easily, but if you make the case the right size it doesn’t really need it.

A few years ago I made loads of kids sunglasses cases this way for all of my son’s friends birthdays. They are still going strong.

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Vintage Patterns

 

Last year I was looking for a simple pattern for a top. I couldn’t find the sort of thing I was looking for. I realised the look I was after was a slightly 70’s style.

I had a look on eBay and was astounded at the price people were selling used, cut, partially complete patterns for. I decided to ask on freecycle as I know that people hold on to these things sometimes. A very kind lady said that she had loads of UK size 10/12 patterns and that she would be happy to give them to a good home…So I went to collect…I was skipping all the way home with my bounty. I couldn’t have been more pleased with the gorgeous patterns she gave me and already cut out in my size!

I wanted to share the lovely vintage ladies adorning them…and when I make something, I will share that too! Okay, I admit I’ll need to be a bit selective about what I make, and I think the 20′ waist does enhance some of these design somewhat!

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Advice for sewers and crafters alike…

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My friend Jess sent me this funny passage the other day which I had to share.  Apparently it’s advice from an old Singer sewing machine manual.  Authentic or not, it made me laugh A LOT!  (and for those without their reading glasses – I typed it out below)

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Advice from a Singer Sewing Manual from 1949

Prepare yourself mentally for sewing.  Think about what you are going to do…Never approach sewing with a sigh or lackadaisically.  Good results are difficult when indifference predominates.

Never try to sew with a sink full of dirty dishes or beds unmade.  When there are urgent housekeeping chores, do these first so that your mind is free to enjoy your sewing.  When you sew, make yourself as attractive as possible.  Put on a clean dress.  Keep a little bag full of French chalk near your sewing machine to dust your fingers at intervals.  Have your hair in order, powder and lipstick put on.  If you are constantly fearful that a visitor will drop in or your husband will come home, and you will not look neatly put together, you will not enjoy your sewing.

Oh and thanks for the gorgeous new machine Mum 🙂

Dream Catchers

Gabe decided the other day that he wanted to make a dream catcher. I said we would do it this weekend and of course they held me to it. I know you can get kits for these but I think home made ones give a much more artistic, individual feel, much less ‘straight out of a packet, all matching’ etc – you could also use things you find outside like seashells or stones with holes in.

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So on Saturday (only the second nice weather day in 6 months!!), we took the boys scooting down to town and we spent about an hour lazing around in the Cathedral grounds absorbing sun and smiling at everyone. The boys found some sticks for their dream catchers and I took the bark off of them with my little pen knife.

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This morning, when I was supposed to be doing laundry and housework, I got out my plentiful piles of beads and buttons and bits and bobs….

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First I made little grooves in the wood with my pen knife so that the sticks would sit together nicely. (Gabe also had two kebab sticks from a kitchen drawer with his two found sticks).

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I started the dream catchers off myself, securing the sticks by winding in and out with yarn (you could use string, ribbon, garden twine, cotton) and then handed over to the boys. I then had to take them straight back as this was clearly a bit ambitious for my four and six year old boys. They got really tangled up and the sticks went all wonky. I’m sure older or more dexterous children would manage fine though. So while I did the winding of yarn, the boys took some thin wire and put all the bits and bobs that they wanted on their dream catchers. This kept them very busy and made them very happy…You just need to make a knot in the other end for them.

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Zac’s dream catcher was just two sticks as he decided to demonstrate for us how you could brake sticks over your knee (which he learnt at Forest School) and accidentally broke his sticks!

Once I had finished winding the yarn and the boys had finished threading their beads and bells and buttons, I wound the adorned wire around the edge of the dream catcher.

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 Two satisfied customers…and hopefully only sweet dreams…

Den Making Kit

I thought I would share this as I know it can be difficult to think of birthday or Christmas presents when you have two or more boys (or girls for that matter) – this is a great boy present if you are stuck and don’t want any more cars/toys etc.

Den making

You can get it here: Den Making Kit by Flibberty

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Zac got his for his fourth Birthday in January. We also got the leafy cammo thing (not sure what the official term is!) as a separate present. We have been desperately waiting for a day to use it all outside and I think at last those days are here.  Spring, hi, better late than never!

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In the meantime, we’ve been using loads indoors which has been really good fun.  Instead of using the metal pegs and mallet to secure the edges I used clothes pegs and pegged the sides to the edge of our rug.  It endured quite a lot of play…So that was good! We can’t wait to take it to the woods.

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French seam

I’ve been doing quite a bit of dress-making recently, trying to pick up some new skills in that area.

I recently made a cute little top at my sewing class with my fantastic and now famous sewing teacher May Martin…Yes, Great British Sewing Bee, May Martin!  Very exciting stuff for us sewing girls.  Couldn’t have happened to a nicer lady!

I had never done French seams before and I decided to do these on the inside edge.  I thought I would share a little video of May showing me how it is done!

Annoyingly, I had forgotten the power cable for my machine so May and I had to use an old, featureless dinosaur of a machine from the cupboard but even so, I managed my lovely French seams on my little top!

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Re-posting an old but popular post – Bunting – on my new site!

Today I am posting one of my more popular old posts on my new site!

The method for cutting and sewing the flags like this was shown to me by my brilliant (and now very well known!) sewing teacher May Martin (of British Sewing Bee Fame!)

I made this bunting to go above the table in my dining room for Christmas. In the picture are just half of the 120 flags that I got from 2m of fabric. This way of cutting and sewing bunting is very time-efficient (you sew all of your flags from each fabric at the same time) and also almost totally fabric waste free.

What you need:

  • Fabric – depends on how many flags you want – I made 120 small flags from 2m of fabric
  • Bias tape
  • Tailors chalk
  • Scissors
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Chop stick and some tweezers

If you have it:

  • Cutting mat marked out with inches

First of all, iron your fabric.

Next, fold your first fabric in half with the rs facing each other. Or if you are using two fabric types place your back fabric and your front fabric together with rs facing.

If the pattern has a ‘right way up’ your flags will be upside down on one side but the correct way on the other if you are folding one piece, so if the bunting is going to be hung where only one side shows you can have them all the right way by turning the flags around.

If using differing back and front fabric you will just have to put up with half of the flags with the pattern upside down but it will barely notice.

Now lay your fabric out and get your ruler and chalk ready to start marking out the grid for the flags.
To make flags about 3.5 inches across and 4.5 inches down you need to mark along the length of the fabric every 4 inches (this is very easily done if you happen to have an inch marked cutting board as shown in the photo).

Next measure 5 inches down and draw a line the length of your fabric (this line is just so you know where to make the next lot of marks.) So now, make dashes along this line. The first is 2 inches from the end and then after that every 4 inches. So this second row of marks should be in the centre of the row of marks above.

Then measure the depth of your flag again (5 inches) and mark out every 4 inches from the end (these marks are in line with the top marks). You keep repeating this depending on how many flags you want to get from your fabric.
You then join them up by using chalk and your ruler…You should have lots of triangles now.
Next pin your fabrics in a few places, particularly if you used two separate pieces rather than one folded piece. This is to hold the fabric in place while you sew. No cutting yet!
Thread your machine and start running straight lines all the way from top to bottom of the fabric either side of the chalked line. You need to leave enough of a gap between your two rows of stitches that will allow you to cut between the lines without getting too close to the stitches. About 1cm should be fine. To make this fast I tended to do one row of stitches and then for doing the second row you line the first stitches up with something on the machine and just keep it straight from there.
Do all the chalked diagonal lines but not any horizontal ones (These were just so you knew where to make  your 4 inch marks). It should end up looking like this all over…
Next you are going to cut between the stitches and you will see your flags begin to take shape. If you have some diamonds, cut them in half.
At the end all that you should be left with is a couple of bits like this piece below…and lots and lots of flags.
Next cut the tips from all your triangles as you are now going to turn them right side out.
Use a chopstick to push the bottom of the triangle to a point and tweezers from the outside to pull it gently out if it gets a bit twisted in there.
Follow the instructions above for your other fabrics and then iron all your little triangles. You are ready to start putting your bunting together.
Next lay your triangles in their different piles out near your machine. Take your bias tape, fold in half and sew the first bit (the tying end). Next take your first triangle, insert and sew. I did all of these flags without a gap but a small gap also looks nice. If you do decide to do a gap, rather than measuring it each time, just make it a distance on your machine. e.g. when the previous flag gets to the back, insert the next one.
et voila…
More bunting posts to follow, Nix X

Fabric ‘Decoupage’ Monogram Canvas

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I got this idea from Jess in New Zealand.  She did it slightly differently (using paper and buttons I think) but with similarly pleasing results and managed it with younger children too.

We did this in the Easter holidays with Macy (12) and Olivia (8).  My boys wanted to join in too but I thought I would save it until they were older.

So you’ll need:

  • A canvas – any size, square or rectangle (think about the letter when choosing?)
  • Strong glue – I love Pritt Stick Power as your fingers don’t get all gluey but it’s much stronger than the ordinary stuff and great for fabric.
  • Scissors
  • Fabric scraps although traditional paper for decoupage would also have lovely results.
  • Mod Podge or diluted PVA glue – (see numerous recipes on the internet for achieving the Mod Podge results with PVA – I think 50:50 is the generally agreed ratio).
  • A printer (optional)

So start by printing out your letter in a size and font suitable for your canvas, this is optional as you could always draw it free hand.  However, as I wanted a serif font for the ‘M’ I used a font called ChunkFive, size 400, bold. For the ‘O’ I used Georgia, size 500, bold.  Just play around with it until it’s right and then print it out.

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Cut out the letter.

Place it on the canvas and draw around it in pencil and then discard the letter template.

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Cut out pieces of fabric. You could use random shapes or squares of the same size for a patchwork effect. Begin to glue them into the area of the letter with the strong glue.

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Once the whole letter is complete,  cover the entire front of the canvas with the Mod Podge or diluted PVA.  I like Mod Podge because you can buy Matt and I prefer that to a shiny finish. When you are applying it use a brush to work under the edges of any bits of fabric which are lifting off as this will secure those.

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When the Mod Podge has tried, repeat with another coat.

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Ta da! Done.

Hello! Welcome!

This is my new blog.

I am hoping by being here at WordPress I will be able to post more often as I shouldn’t encounter the same frustrations that I had at the old site.

Please add your email address to sign up for emails about my posts and please tell your friends if you think they might be interested.

Look out for up coming tutorials and ideas!

Thanks, Nix

They’ve been framed! At long last…

Anyone that has been in my home knows I have a weird number of frames hanging on walls with stock shots of strangers or blank paper in them…I find a frame, I know exactly where it will go, so I hang it and I think, I must put a photo in that. And then I don’t do it for a year! 

Anyway, over the last few days I’ve managed to correct the situation. I’ve thrown out the strangers and put in MY people!

My best framing victory has got to be this Ikea frame 1m tall by 70cm wide. I had loads of Instagram pictures from this summer printed 5×5 and found it very hard to choose which ones to include but pleased with the result.


My bathroom frames are also filled!


And after a mere 6 years of marriage…I’ve finally put some wedding pictures up! and of course, my two gorgeous boys taken by my talented photographer Cousin, Alex Watts in her studio: Willow and Pea Portraits

Right, next project awaits, no rest for the crafty…