Monday, March 24, 2014

the aunty quilt

Any day now, I'm going to become an Aunty for the first time! It's all pretty exciting and of course I had to make something for him or her. A baby quilt is always a winner, it looks like you spent a lot of time & effort on it (which I guess I did!) but it's also practical - something to throw on the ground for tummy time, take for play dates, and of course keep for always as a keepsake. I still have a few quilts my mum made when I was a baby and they are very precious to me.

I tried to pick fairly neutral colours, although the peach colour probably makes it look a bit more girly than I originally had planned. I then found this cute rainclouds print for the backing (organic cotton on sale for a great price) and decided to add a small pop into the front of the quilt too. I did a very random strip quilt pattern, just chopping different lengths & using the width of the fabric.To break up the strips, I sliced one long edge off, then just inverted and sewed it a little offset into the quilt as a feature (that little strip did warp a bit, but oh well).
After assembling the quilt sandwich I just did an easy stitch in the ditch (not my neatest effort, but I was on a deadline for the baby shower!). I think the small imperfections are ok and just enhances the "handmade" vibe. At least I hope so! I love the yellow striped binding (from my stash, bought at Black & Spiro, Brisbane, a few years ago). It really makes the quilt "pop".

What's your go-to handmade baby present ideas?

Saturday, March 1, 2014

2/2 bags: Oliver + S toddler backpack

A very practical toddler backpack that isn't covered in licensed cartoon characters is hard to find. So I made my own. I love the navy/orange combination & also the individuality of this bag (so you can't mistake it for anyone else's).

Pattern: Penguin Backpack, Oliver +  S (obviously I didn't use the optional penguin styling pieces- although I think they are super cute). From Book Little Things to Sew
Fabric: Navy-white stripe cotton canvas, IKEA. Lining, cotton chambray, Spotlight. (Both stash)
Also used: High-vis neon orange bias binding (front stripe), orange travel strapping. White strap connectors. Navy plastic heavy duty zip. -Lincraft.

Some notes:
  • I found the Oliver + S book at my local library & traced the pattern. The directions were great & the bag came together very easily. 
  • I added in a front hanging loop to make the bag easier to carry, and allow for less strain if there was just one hanging strap. Of course I end up carrying the backpack more often than little Q wearing it, so that was just a practical addition. 
  • I topstitched with a neon thread to add a little pop of colour to match the strapping.
  • To use up some scraps, the shoulder straps are cut on the bias. It adds a cute design feature & as the bag will never be heavily loaded up I am not worried about them stretching out much. 
  • I lined the bag with some chambray scraps I had, & added a pocket with a name label ironed onto it. I then slip stitched the lining into the bag (the instructions get you to anchor the seams by machine first within the bag before hand sewing it in. Very clever!)
  • This bag only cost me the notions/hardware. I think $12 all up!

1/2 bags: fold over clutch

a perfect little clutch. take it by itself, with a wrist strap, or across body.

fabric outter: chevron cotton duck, black upholstery canvas, scrap  leather
lining: quilting cotton

Shoes & bags. Yep they're my thing. But I can't make shoes, so bags it is! I love to carry around a big hold-it-all tote, but find my purse/keys/phone invariably get lost. This is the perfect sized clutch for those necessities. Take it by itself or throw in in the tote & you're good to go.

I winged the construction, it's just a lined zippered bag (and there are about a thousand tutorials on the interwebs if you're looking for one. I saw a free pattern on Craftsy by Pattern Runway that looked good). A few notes:
  • I sewed the chevron & black canvas pieces together first & top stitched either side of the seam. I then interfaced it as one piece (basting stitches around the edge) , and did a stich-in-the-ditch through the interfacing & canvas to encourage the fold to happen at the seam.
  • I added little D-rings at the fold to add a wrist or crossbody strap. (still need some black pleather to make that strap. using a white one here to show it's use.)
  • Everything was from my stash (except the zip) so there is a little bit of gold/silver clashing going on with the hardware.
  • I used zipper tabs because my zip (18cm) was slightly smaller than I'd like. This allowed me to add an extra 2cm into the width of the clutch. I used cotton twill tape here. 
  • I used a leather needle to sew the leather patches onto the front piece prior to construction. I then switched to a jeans needle to get through the thick canvas seams. This worked great. 
  • My lining is a perfect colour match for the caramel & black. I included a pocket at the bottom of the bag to keep my phone separate from my keys (to stop scratching).

I really wanted to use the leather accents and had a perfect match for the caramel coloured chevron (you might notice the leftover fabric from my Portside Duffle). I love the neutral tones of this bag, it goes with a lot & doesn't scream HOMEMADE (I like the quote, "handmade not homemade").