Fabric Christmas Decorations part 2

If you folks have read any of my other posts about making stuff for Christmas, you might have noticed that I like red and white stuff rather a lot.

Here is another easy tutorial for making fabric Christmas decorations, a little fabric gingham heart.

Fabric Gingham Heart Christmas DecorationIMG_1119

You will need: scraps of cotton or polycotton fabric, scraps of felt, buttons, ribbon, polyester filling, paper and pencil, sewing machine (optional), needle and thread.

1. Find or make 2 heart shaped templates, a larger one and a smaller one. If you do not feel confident drawing a heart, you could print out a template or follow my instructions below for drawing a heart!

Draw round a cup. The cup I used for th  larger heart had a diameter of 8 cm. IMG_1076Cut the circle out and fold in half. IMG_1082Starting about a third of the way along the fold draw half a heart shape. For the widest part, follow the curve of the circle. IMG_1083Cut out.IMG_1086

2. Cut out 2 larger hearts out of cotton or polycotton and 2 smaller hearts out of felt.

3. Applique the felt hearts to the cotton ones. You might want to use a zigzag stitch, I just used a straight stitch.IMG_1101

4. With the right sides together, sew around the hearts, leaving a small opening. Trim seams, clip curves and turn out.IMG_1102

5. Fill with polyester filling and slip stitch the opening closed.

6. Sew a button onto either side.

7. Make a loop out of ribbon and sew onto the heart.IMG_1108

The great thing about these is that once Christmas is over, you could hang them up in other places around your house!

You might like to take look at another of my heart themed posts! Burlap Hearts.

I also have a hearts board on Pinterest, Hearts.

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Fabric Christmas Decorations part 1

IMG_1136Now that Bonfire Night is over, it is officially not too early to start on Christmas!

These decorations can be made from scraps of fabric and in a variety of shapes and sizes, all from one easy template. Different shapes can be achieved by changing the number of pieces used.

How to Make Fabric Christmas Decorations

You will need: paper and pencil, a cup or glass, scraps of fabric, strong thread, ribbon (optional), beads (also optional), polyester filling, sewing machine, needle and thread.

1. To make the template, draw around a cup or a glass. The cup I used had a diameter of 6 cm. IMG_1067Fold the paper so that the circle is in half. IMG_1068On the fold,make a mark a little way from the circle. Make a second mark on the opposite side of the circle. Mine were about 4 – 5 cm away from the edge of the circle. IMG_1069Draw from the top of the circle to one of the marks, following the curve of the circle a little way, then curving the line slightly the other way. Repeat for the other side.IMG_1070

2. Fold in half again so that the circle is in quarters. Pick which side you like the best! Cut out.IMG_1071

IMG_10743. Decide how many pieces you want to use. 2 will make a more 2d shape, 6 will make a squat shape. Cut out the pieces you need.

4. With the right sides together, sew two pieces together along one edge. IMG_1087If you are using more than 2 pieces, add another by sewing it to one of the raw edge of one of the pieces already sewn. IMG_1088Repeat until you have joined all the pieces.IMG_1097

5. Join the last 2 edges, but only half way. Trim seams, clip curves and turn out.

6. Fill with polyester stuffing and slip stitch the opening shut.

7. To make a loop, you could make a loop of ribbon and sew it on.

If your decoration is a squat shape, you could make a loop using some strong thread and some beads. With a needle, thread on a bead, then push the needle through the decoration from top to bottom. IMG_1109You will probably need to squish the decoration so that you don’t end up losing the needle in the middle of it! Pull the thread through, leaving 8 ish cm at the top with the bead on.

Thread on 2 more beads. IMG_1111Draw the thread back through the first of the 2 beads, then back through the decoration bottom to top, then back through the bead at the top. IMG_1112IMG_1115IMG_1116Tie the ends of the thread together.

I made 3 different fabric Christmas decorations using this template.

For the squat one I used 6 pieces and the thread runs right through it and is held at the bottom by the beads. IMG_1129For the longer, thinner one I used 3pieces. IMG_1133For the white one, I used 5 pieces of felt. IMG_1124I didn’t turn it out and I didn’t use any polyester filling either. I sewed the beads to the bottom and a ribbon loop to the top.

Happy Christmas crafting!

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How to Make an Advent Calendar

People round here start Christmas early. There are people in my village who get all their lights up as soon as Bonfire Night is over. As today is Bonfire Night, I expect to see some Christmas lights appearing over the next week or so!

It might seem early, but it will soon be upon us!

So for those of you who like to enjoy Advent with your children, or on your own, here is a tutorial for how to make an Advent Calendar with pockets.

How to Make an Advent Calendar

Advent Calendar

Advent Calendar

1. From cotton or polycotton fabric, cut 24 rectangles measuring 11 cm x 14 cm.

2. Arrange them either on a table or on the floor. You’ll need some room! Once you have arranged them, you might like to take a photo to help remember how you have arranged them.Advent calender 1

3. Lay a piece of greaseproof paper over the top of the rectangles. On the greaseproof paper, draw a triangle with a rectangle at the bottom, ensuring that it covers the rectangles. This will be your tree template.

4. EITHER fold in all 4 edges of each rectangle, pin and press, OR cut 24 bits of fusible interfacing 11 cm x 14 cm and iron onto the back of each rectangle. Hem the top edge of each rectangle.

5. Using either cotton or polycotton backed with interfacing, or felt, cut the numbers for the pockets. If you are not confident drawing the numbers straigt onto the fabric, you could print some numbers out in a large font to use as a template. Applique the numbers to the pockets so that they number from 1 to 24. If you don’t fancy all that sewing, you could glue them on with fabric glue.

6. To make the tree, cut a piece of interfacing using the paper template made earlier and a slightly larger version out of cotton or polycotton. Iron on the interfacing, then hem the raw edges of the tree.

7. Pin the pockets to the tree, then sew along the two sides and the bottom of each pocket.

8. Depending on what you are planning to put in the pockets, you might wish to add a piece of dowel to the bottom of the tree. To do this, add some little pockets to the back of the bottom corners of the tree and tuck the ends of the dowel inside.

What you add to the pockets is up to you! It bothers me a little that Christmas seems to be about stuff, so I have divided the Christmas story (ie the one in the Bible!) into 24, and written each little section onto a label. The labels are numbered so I don’t get into a muddle! The labels go into the pockets, along with 4 sweets (1 for each of my boys!) and a Christmas decoration.

The boys have their own tree, so each night before bed, they take the stuff out of the appropriate pocket, read out the label and hang it on their tree along with the decoration. Then they eat the sweeties. Then they clean their teeth!

Other possibilities for the pockets would be a little toy, or The Night Before Christmas divided up into 24, or a do it yourself lego advent calender or a craft activity for each day.

If you use an Advent calendar with pockets, what do you put in them?



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How to Make a Wrap Skirt

Despite it having been quite warm the last couple of days, it is definitely time to shove the summer outfits to the back of the wardrobe and dig out the winter clobber.

Unfortunately I’ve got rid of some stuff that didn’t fit, had holes in and whatever, so I’ve been wearing summery stuff with leggings and a jumper.

After a little bit of though, I decided to start on my handmade winter outfits by making a wrap skirt. The main reasons being that a wrap skirt is very easy, very quick and you don’t need a pattern. It’s also a thing that suits most body shapes.

This is my easy little tutorial for how to make a wrap skirt without a pattern.

How to Make a Wrap Skirt Without a PatternIMG_0880

You will need:

3 m of fabric. I used cotton drill because it is thick and therefore good for winter.

A tape measure

Chalk or a pencil

Usual sewing supplies, ie sewimg machine/ needle and thread, pins etc

1. Take some measurements! Firstly waist, where the skirt will sit. Secondly hips, at the widest point. Lastly the distance between the two measurements.

Add 10 cm to the waist and hips measurements, multiply by 1.5 then divide by 3.

2. Divide your fabric into 3. Fold the first piece in half. Divide your waist measurement in half. Beginning at the fold, mark your waist measurement along the top of the fabric. Next, mark the distance between your waist and hip measurements on the fold of the fabric. From this, measure half of your hip measurement out from the fold.

The top button marks my waist measurement. The left hand one the distance between the two measurements, and the right hand button my hip measurement.

The top button marks my waist measurement. The left hand one the distance between the two measurements, and the right hand button my hip measurement.

3. Draw a line from your waist measurement at the top of the fabric, through the hip measurement, to the bottom of the fabric. IMG_0831Cut, then open out your first skirt piece.IMG_0834

4. Using the first skirt piece as a template, cut another 2 pieces the same size.

5. Join the 3 panels at the sides so that the shortest edges are at the top and it is one continuous piece.

6. Hem the sides at either end and the bottom.IMG_0878

7. To make the waistband, cut a strip 12 cm wide and 3 times as long as your waist measurement. You may need to cut 2 strips and join them. Fold in half lengthways and press. IMG_0864Open out and fold the raw edges into the middle. IMG_0865Fold in half lengthways again and press.IMG_0867

8. Find the middle of the waist band and the middle of the back panel of the skirt (the back panel is the middle panel). Matching up the middles, pin the waistband to the skirt. Top stitch along the waistband.


9. Put the skirt on. Mark where the waistband needs to pass through the skirt. Cut a slit, then sew zigzags around it to prevent it from fraying. If you have a buttonhole foot that does buttonholes big enough, you could use that instead.IMG_0877

That’s it! A wrap skirt without a pattern! It’s so easy you could make one up in an evening :)

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Buggy Cushion for Quinny Zapp Xtra

IMG_1002Having had 4 babies and also a mild pushchair addiction, I have got through a few pushchairs.

Out of the 12 or so that I’ve had my little Quinny Zapp Xtra is easily my favourite.

There are some issues with it. The wheels are noisy and the basket is small. You have to take the seat off to fold it up, although the newest version folds in on  piece. Other than that it’s not a bad little thing. It’s roomy enough for a toddler yet cosy for a tiny baby and the hood is huge. It’s lovely and light to push and very easy to steer. Although you have to take the seat of, it folds very compactly which makes life much easier when trying to stuff 4 kids, luggage and/or shopping and a buggy into the car.

Another minor drawback is that although the seat can face either way, it won’t go upright when in the parent facing position. Boy 4 was happy for a long time to be reclined, even when he could sit up unaided. I don’t have a huge problem with him facing forwards, I just prefer him to face me. It’s easier to talk to him and I often find when he is facing forwards that he tries to turn round.

I can’t do anything about the noisy wheels or the seat not folding, but the not being able to sit upright in the seat issue, well this sounds just like the kind of challenge I enjoy!

Here is how I made a buggy cushion for Quinny Zapp Xtra!

The first thing I did was buy a piece of foam. I considered just making a cushion with polyester filling or an old pillow, but I needed it to be firm so I decided foam would be best.

There are several places in internetland that sell bits of foam. Unfortunately prices don’t include VAT, so with postage as well it worked out more expensive than  I had hoped. I bought a wedge shaped piece 30cm x 40 cm x 10 cm then set about making a cover for itIMG_0825

IMG_0826I shaped the foam a little bit more with a knife and a pair of scissors and cut holes for the straps. Cutting the foam proved to be difficult. People recommend using an electric bread knife, but I do not have one of those (I would probably not have any fingers  left if I did!), so I had to make do with a normal knife.

Next I cut a piece of cotton about 50 cm x 100 cm. I draped it over the piece of foam before cutting to make sure I cut it to the right size. IMG_0828I wanted to jazz it up by adding a panel of different fabric vaguely where Boy 4’s head would go. I cut 2 pieces of fabric, for the front and the back, folded the raw edges of the 2 longer sides in and pressed them. Then I sewed it onto the main piece.IMG_0975

IMG_0977Matching the sides of the panel, I pinned the fabric to the foam and marked where the holes for the straps needed to go. IMG_0978Once I had cut these, I needed to make sure they would not fray. I made some bias binding but after several minutes of faffing around I decided it would not work. Binding buttonholes is something I need to learn how to do!

I opted instead to zigzag around the openings. My buttonholer does not do buttonholes that big, so I just chose a zigzag stitch on my sewing machine and set the stitch length to short.IMG_0982

Next I draped the fabric over the foam piece wrong side out and pinned the side seam so that the seam would be in the middle of the side of the cushion. This is important for making the corners!IMG_0983

I sewed the seam then squared off the corner by squashing the corner so that the seam was in the middle. IMG_0986I then sewed across the corner at right angles to the seam.

The now half finished cover went back onto the foam pad and I did the same to the other side.IMG_0987

So I now had a weird kind of bag thing with holes near near the top on both sides.IMG_0990

The last thing to was the bottom edge. If you are considering making this and your child is inclined to be sicky or eats a lot in his pushchair, you might prefer to put a zip in here or add a couple of buttons.

I just sewed it up! If it needs washing, I’ll probably just chuck the whole thing in the washing machine ;)

I put the cover on the piece of foam. With the top being chunkier than the bottom, it took some squeezing and squashing to get the cover on. I tucked the corners in so that it followed the shape of the foam a bit more. IMG_0993Then I folded the raw edges inwards, pinned and topstitched it closed.IMG_0996

IMG_0999Here is Boy 4 trying out his cushion He looks comfy, doesn’t he?IMG_1009IMG_1008IMG_1011IMG_1006


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