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1  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Tea Towel Cushion TUTORIAL on: February 26, 2011 03:33:57 PM

NOTE: I have included the full instructions below, however in order to keep this tutorial post relatively clean of large photos here's a link to the full tutorial on my blog which includes step by step photos: http://thecraftrevival-magdalena.blogspot.com/2011/02/tea-towel-cushion-tutorial.html.

I'm not a big measurer myself, so for this purpose I simply folded the tea towel in half (so the top edge is lined up with the bottom edge) to work out where the half way point was.  But you can be more precise and measure the length of the tea towel and divide it by two to get the length of where to cut your tea towel in half.  Yes, I said CUT!

Now that you have two pieces, you essentially have a front and back panel for your cushion.  The size of these two panels is how you will determine the size of your cushion insert.  I suggest you take your tea towel to the shop with you to figure out which insert size will best suit your particular tea towel (remembering to fold your tea towel in half if it hasn't been cut yet or using one of your panels to measure the size).  TIP: You want it to be snug, not loose.

I didn't have a zip in my zipper stash which was long enough, but I did have one that was red and matched the main colour of the tea towel, so I decided to use it.  I suggest using a zip which is at least the width of your tea towel and no shorter than two thirds of the width.  It needs to be wide enough so that you can insert the cushion insert when you're done.  So just keep that in mind when selecting the length of your zip.

Take your "front" tea towel panel and lay it with the print/pattern facing up.  Now take your zip and lay it facing down (with the zipper pull facing towards the print) then align the bottom edge with that of the tea towel making sure that it's centered across the width of the tea towel's bottom edge.  Now take some sewing pins and pin the zip and tea towel together making sure that your pins are all facing with the pin head away from the direction which you'll be sewing so that it's easy to pull them out as you go (you don't want to be trying to pull the pins out against the foot of the sewing machine).

Then making sure you have the zipper foot attachment on your sewing machine, sew about 1/2cm from the edge of the zip and tea towel using the edge as a guide to sew in a straight line and pulling out each pin as you reach it.

You should end up with something that looks like this (it's difficult to tell, but there is a line of red stitches along the bottom of the zip)...
Now it's time to sew the other side of the zip onto the "back" panel of the tea towel.  Gulp.  Don't sweat it if you've never sewed a zip onto anything.  I promise to make this as painless as possible.

Lay your back tea towel panel with the print facing up, as you did with the front panel earlier.  Now, take the front panel with the zip sewed onto the bottom edge, line it up (print side down) with the width of the back panel of tea towel.  The idea is that you use the edges of both panels to line up the placement of where you need to pin your zip onto the back panel.  Confusing?  Take a peek at the images in my blog link at the top of this post if you're like me and need a visual aid. 

Now just stitch along the bottom edge of the back panel and zip as you did with the front panel.

When you're done and you flip your panels back out, you should see a nice, neat centered zip.

Now that you've inspected your zipper, sandwich your panels back together (print facing in), but before you do, unzip your zip almost all the way to the end - this will make it possible for you to turn your finished cushion cover the right way.  If you accidentally forget this step, you'll have no way of turning your cushion cover!

Now comes the fun part.  Starting with one end of the sewn zipper, you're going to start pinning your front and back panels together along all of those loose edges. 

Start at one end of the zip (HERE'S THE TRICKY PART) and with the metal teeth of the zip facing out and visible against the raw edge, pin the zip right at the part where you're going to sew (near the small metal stopper where the zip can't zip-up or unzip any further).  You don't want there to be a finger-sized gap between where the zip ends and the fabric of the cushion starts, so get in nice and close when pinning either end of your zip.

Once you've pinned both zip ends, you can pin all of the loose edges together making sure that you're keeping the front and back panels aligned as much as possible AND making sure you're pinning in one direction with the pins pointing sharp end towards the direction where the foot of your machine will be sewing.

Before you get all excited and start stitching, make sure you've removed your zipper foot and attached your regular foot back onto your sewing machine.  If you haven't, you're certainly going to notice how difficult it is to sew the fabric with a zipper foot attachment.  I've made this mistake before!

Ok, now go.  Position the needle of your sewing machine at the left edge of the end of the zipper and on both panels and zipper edge.  You're going to stitch a line straight across the zip until you reach the stitch line of where the zip is attached to the tea towel panels.  Once you reach this line, lift your sewing foot and spin your fabric around so that the foot is facing along the edge which you're going to stitch along.  Essentially you're going to stitch an upside down 'L' to ensure there is no gap between the teeth of your zip and the part where the fabric sides of your zip end.

Stitch along the outside of your panels and when you get to the other end of the zip, lift the foot and turn your fabric around so that you can finish in the same method as you started - by sewing a line along the end of the zip near the metal stopper.

When you're done stitching, you need to snip any loose thread ends and then...

CLIP - clip each corner on an angle so that when it's turned, the edges which you've stitched sit flat on the inside
TURN - turn your cushion cover inside out... or right way out!
PRESS - give your cushion cover a nice steamy iron to get it looking nice and crisp
STUFF - insert your cushion insert into your newly created tea towel cushion
FLUFF - give your new cushion a nice fluffing to plump it up and get it into shape

and lastly... the most important step of all...

2  CLOTHING / Shoes: Completed Projects / customised canvas shoes on: January 08, 2011 10:45:53 PM

How could I resist a brand new $3 pair of Kmart white canvas shoes for my 5 year old?  As soon as I saw them, I thought, how can I make them funky for my son!?  He likes clothing and shoes with character.

So, armed with a 24 pack of Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens, I sketched some designs and coloured them in. 

The end result?  Designer-looking shoes for a fraction of the price.  And my son?  He ADORES them!

For more photos and an easy how to, just check out my post here: http://thecraftrevival-magdalena.blogspot.com/2011/01/canvas-shoe-makeover-tutorial.html

It can make an easy and fun craft for the kids to do on a rainy day too!

Hope they inspire you!
3  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / Tutorial: Paper Snowflake Garland for Christmas on: November 27, 2010 03:18:02 PM

I've been saving up all of my opened security envelopes - you know, the ones with the great patterns printed on the inside to make them more difficult to spy through - knowing that one day I would come up with a use for them.

I've covered sketch books in them and used them to make designs on cards... but the other day, an idea came to me which I had to try out.  The varying patterns on the envelopes make a great Christmas garland of snowflakes.

I thought you might like to try this at home as a cheap and eye-catching Christmas decoration, so I've written a tutorial on how to make this simple yet effective snowflake garland.

Snowflake Garland Tutorial
1. Round up some security envelopes.  It works best if you have a few different patterns otherwise your snowflakes won't stand out against each other.

2. Using a circle template, trace and cut out as many circles in various sizes as you'd like for your garland.  Don't worry if you don't have a circle template at home.  Just use anything circular you can find around the house to trace around: hairspray can, drinking glasses, bowls, food tins, formula lids... you get the idea!  
You can also use square pieces to mix it up a little and to give your garland some varying shapes and designs.

3. Once you have your circles, you need to fold each one in half, over and over as many times as you can without it getting too bulky.  You need to be able to cut through them with scissors without too much hassle.

4. Now the fun begins. Get your sharp pair of scissors and start cutting small shapes into the folded edges.  You can basically use any edge of your folded shapes to cut into.  You can also use a hole-punch to punch out areas in the middle of your surface that you can't get into with your scissors.  Try cutting triangles, half-circles, half-hearts and squares.  If you cut the tip of your folded triangle off you will get a hole in the middle of your snowflake.

5. When you're satisfied that you've cut enough cheese-holes out of your folded piece, set down your scissors and carefully unfold the snowflake making sure to remove any bits of cuttings still attached to your main piece.

6. When you have made enough snowflakes, it's time to get the creases flattened out.  The best way to do this is to spray each snowflake with a little water from a spray bottle before carefully ironing both sides.  You'll find this also stiffens up the paper a little.  Make sure you spray each snowflake with water individually prior to ironing otherwise you'll find that the snowflakes waiting to be ironed will have curled up from the water which will make it harder to get them flat to iron.

7. Snowflakes ironed? Now it's time to string them together.  Using white cotton thread in your sewing machine and a mid-size stitch length, pull out a decent lenght of cotton from the machine (top and bottom) so that you have something to string them up with when you're done.  Insert your first snowflake into the foot of your machine and making sure to stitch through the centre of the snowflake otherwise you'll have a lopsided garland that doesn't look quite right.

In between each snowflake, let the machine run at least a dozen stitches to space the snowflakes out.  You don't want them too close to each other or they will not hang or look right.

8. When you're done, you can hang your new upcycled Christmas decoration on the wall using blu tack or sticky tape - depending on your walls.  You can hang a few strings vertically to create a feature area or string them up like you would bunting.  It's up to you.

I hope you this inspires you to make your own garland and if you do, drop me a comment or email me pics of your finished garland.  I'd love to see what different snowflakes you come up with.

For the full tutorial with all images, please visit: http://thecraftrevival-magdalena.blogspot.com/2010/11/tutorial-snowflake-garland.html

<3 Magdalena
The Craft Revival
4  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Super Cute Owl Cushion + TUTORIAL! on: May 25, 2010 07:26:10 PM

There are so many of us owl lovers out there these days that I thought I'd share an owl cushion tutorial which I created.

The text-version is below, however if you would prefer a printable tutorial with accompanying photos, you can find it on my blog here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/31708500/Owl-Cushion-Tutorial-by-The-Craft-Revival

Happy owl decorating!

What youll need:

   A sewing machine nothing fancy
   3 x pieces of complimentary fabrics (fat quarters work best and are cost effective!)
   2 pieces of different coloured felt
o   Optional you can have a third colour if you choose to do the inner eye also
   Complimentary coloured sewing thread (for machine and hand stitching)
   At least one embroidery floss colour.  You can use two different colours if youd like a little more contrast
   Embroidery needle
   A piece of heavy-weight cut away stabiliser a little larger than the eye mask (cut-aways are permanent stabilisers that remain on the back of the fabric and keep it stable during and after embroidery. They prevent the designs from stretching out during embroidery)
   Clean toy and hobby fill a 500gm bag will be plenty

Lets get started!

Firstly, print and cut out each template piece.  Once you have them all cut out, pin them to the wrong side of each fabric piece and trace around them using a fabric pencil.  For this tutorial I have used a fabric pen so that its easier to see the outlines in the photos.  You can use a fabric pen if you prefer as long as you cant see it through the right side of the fabric (it wont wash out).

When cutting out the body and belly pieces, leave a 2cm allowance around the lines youve traced.  These lines are going to be the ones you follow when sewing your pieces together.

For the mask, eyes and nose cut along the lines.

Take the front body fabric piece, stabiliser, felt mask piece and embroidery floss.  Sandwich the body fabric between the felt (front) and stabiliser (back) making sure that they are in the right position (you dont want your eye mask to end up too far down the body).  

Make a knot in the end of your embroidery floss and starting from the back (through the stabiliser) stitch the felt mask in place by making simple straight stitches ensuring you capture the stabiliser, body fabric and felt mask with each stitch.

Once your felt mask is attached, you need to follow the same process with each eye.  Place both circle felt pieces over the mask to make sure youre happy with how theyre going to look.  The further apart the eyes are the better and cuter it will look in the finished product.

With either the same colour embroidery floss or a different colour, start stitching one eye on following the same straight stitch method which was used to stitch the eye mask on.  Or if you want to do something different, you can use a running stitch around the inside rim of the felt eyes.  

Remember to start stitching from the back so that youre embroidery floss knot is hidden!  Once youve attached one eye, attach the other. It should look something like this once youve finished this step.

To finish off the eyes you can stitch an asterisk onto the felt using embroidery floss, or you can add another smaller circle to create an inner eye, stitching it on in the same manner that you did for the larger eye piece.

Next, its time to attach the nose.  Again, you can use whichever stitch you prefer.  Ive included photos of both options so that you can pick which youd like to use.

Once youve finished embroidering the felt pieces of the owls face, turn it over and the back should look something like this.  Pretty!  But dont worry, you wont see any of this when youre finished.

Now onto the belly.  Take your belly piece and trim along the curved edge (every 1-2cm) towards the outline making sure not to cut through the line you traced.  

Once youve done the cutting you need to iron the pieces down (wrong side) following the line you marked so that you get a nice smooth hem-line when you turn it over to the right side.  Otherwise you would have the ugly raw edges of the fabric exposed.

You then need to pin the belly piece into place onto what will become the front of the owls body.

Then as close to the edge of the belly fabric as possible (without running off the fabric), sew it into place to give you a nice neat finish.  Alternatively, if you feel more confident with a blanket stitch you could stitch the fabric into place using this method instead.

Now that youve embellished the front of your owl, its time to start assembling it.  Sandwich the front and back pieces of fabric which will make your owl bodys front and back with the right sides facing in (youll be looking at the wrong sides of fabric from both back and front).

Pin around the edges ensuring you catch both pieces of fabric in the pin.  Then stitch around the entire piece following the line as a guide.  Make sure to leave an opening where you dont stitch (as marked on the template) so that you can turn your owl right side out.

Now its time to trim off the corners on an angle so that when you turn it right side out, you will get nice clean corners.  If you miss this step, you will get the fabric bunching on the inside and it wont look right.

Also trim around and into any curved areas such as the sides of the owls body around the head and ears.  And make sure to take care and NOT cut through any stitches.  If you do, you will have to sew over the area again. Just remember if you dont trim the curves, you will get the fabric puckering once you stuff your owl.

Now comes the fun part.  Carefully turn your owl right side out.  To help you can use a wooden skewer or a pen (with the lid on) to carefully push out the ears, corners and curves lines.

Your new owly friend should look something like this now.  A little flat, I know, but youre almost there.

Now you are ready to stuff.  Take handfuls of stuffing and using the small gap in the bottom seam, start with the ears, make sure you stuff them so they are firm and plump.  You dont want saggy ears!

You wont believe how much stuffing this little guy will take.  As you stuff, make sure you hold the seams of the area you are stuffing so that you dont over do it and stuff yourself a new hole.  That would be a shame.  Keep stuffing until you have a nice even plump owl body and you think you can stuff no more!

When you finish stuffing, youre ready for the very last step.  You need to close the seam of the opening.  Using a ladder (or blind) stitch will ensure that you cant see where you have hand-stitched once youre done.
If youve never used a ladder stitch before, theres a great tutorial on it at Melly and Me right here http://mellyandme.typepad.com/melly_me/2009/11/cicada-season-tt-tuesday.html

And then youre done!

Enjoy my lovelies!
5  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Owl Cushion/Softie... sssh, I'm giving him away!! on: May 16, 2010 05:02:18 AM

I made this cute little fella today.  I'm currently participating in an owl swap and I've been in an owl-crafting-mood lately! 

He just came out of nowhere really. Well, he obviously came from somewhere, but I kinda think I went into autopilot and he just appeared!!  Once he was made I thought to myself that he needs a good home (not that mine isn't good, but it's a little too full with softies and owls to keep him), so I've decided to give him away.  Yep, that's right - I'm GIVING him away.

If you think that you might be able to give my owl softie a good home you can check out my blog for details on how to enter for your chance to house him and love him. http://thecraftrevival-magdalena.blogspot.com/2010/05/giveaway-time-owl-cushion.html.

Thanks for looking  Smiley
6  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / My cute (and functional) messenger bag/satchel on: May 05, 2010 08:32:11 PM
I've been meaning to post images since I made this really cute satchel bag (or messenger bag).

It was really simple to make after I found the tutorial on mmmcrafts blog which you can check out here http://mmmcrafts.blogspot.com/2009/06/basic-messenger-bag.html.  I have already thanked her for posting the tute.  It was so easy to follow and it really is a great bag to make.

It took me about 3 hours to make including fabric cutting.  It is complete with two internal small pockets as well as a large external one on the outside back.

Hope this inspires you to make one yourself!

Thanks for looking Smiley
7  QUILTING / Quilting: Completed Projects / My First Quilt! And she's red... on: April 30, 2010 10:11:01 PM

So a couple of weeks ago I finally decided to take the plunge and make my very first quilt.  Using a stash of mostly-red (or complimentary) fabrics, I whipped this up over the course of 3 days.  Can I just add, that I have never learned how to make a quilt!  I haven't read online tutorials about it or how to make one in a magazine.  I just thought I would use common sense and tackle it that way.

I wanted something non-traditional and a little funky and bold.  My husband says it's slightly 'nanna' but with a modern twist.

What do you think?  Did I do ok?
8  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Tea Towel Stamping Tutorial on: April 18, 2010 04:44:59 AM

For a friendlier version of this tutorial please head to my blog http://thecraftrevival-magdalena.blogspot.com/2010/04/stamped-tea-towel-tutorial.html

Stamped Tea Towel Tutorial
Here's what you need before you get started:

1. household sponges
You can pick up a cheap 5 pack at Coles for a couple of dollars.  Just use the cheapo brand, nothing fancy needed here.  You're going to use the sponge as a stamp pad.

2. rectangular takeaway container lid
I'm sure you'll have some of these laying around from that take-out dinner you had a few nights ago.  If you don't have any used an old plate or something of similar non-porous quality. This will be used as a base for your sponge (so the colour doesn't go everywhere)

3. setasilk fabric paint
you can purchase these in a range of colours at your local Spotlight store.  They can be found in the paint section for around $7 per colour.  This is going to act as your "stamp ink".

4. foam stamps
The best stamps to use for this project are foam stamps because they are more pliable and respond better to filling porous fabric.  You can use an alphabet set or shapes stamps or both to create your masterpiece.  Your local craft store (try Lincraft) should have a range of foam stamps between $5 - $25.

5. tea towel blanks
You'll want to find yourself 100% linen blanks.  Linen is more resistant to continuous washing, drying and general use.  You can still use the cotton tea towel blanks, but they won't last as long and I personally haven't tested this method on cotton.  You can go scouring for some on the internet, or go direct to where I bought mine - Linen Line Australia (email them for a quote).

Prep: Ensure you have washed, dried and ironed your tea towel blanks first.  This will give you an easier surface to work with.    Then prepare a clean and flat area to work on.

    * For each different colour you want to stamp onto your tea towels you will need a separate sponge for your "ink pad".  Hence the reason purchasing a 5-pack of sponges is not only more economical, it's also handy to have a few on standby.  Take one of your sponges and place it on the lid of a rectangular take away container lid so that the sponge sits within the raised edges of the lid (helps to catch any overflow of ink).

    * Pick which colour you're going to work with first, then take the fabric dye and apply it to the sponge working from one end of the sponge to the other until the sponge contains enough dye to successfully ink a stamp.  Remember that less is more and you can always add more if needed but it's a little trickier to take away excess!

    * What works really well for me is having a paper napkin ready to test my inked stamps onto before I attempt stamping directly onto the tea towel.

    * Now onto the creative part.  Work out what design you want to stamp onto your first tea towel.  Whether you're using letters, pictures or patterned stamps, foam stamps are the best as they pick up the fabric ink well and transfer onto the tea towels with ease.  Rubber mounted stamps just don't work as well especially if they have fine detail in the image.

    * do a dry run with an un-inked stamp if you're going to make a border with a stamp so that you get an idea of how many times you need to stamp a repeated image to make up one side of the border.  That way you avoid getting to the end of one edge and realising you are going to lose half of your image/pattern or have a gap left where there's not enough room to stamp another.

    * Ink your first stamp and make sure you test it on your paper napkin or a scrap piece of light coloured fabric first to see if the colour strength is right. 

    * Then away you go. Be as creative as you like with your designs and don't be afraid of minor imperfections.  It all adds to the finished product.

    * Once you have finished stamping your masterpiece, allow it to thoroughly dry before you stick a hot iron onto it.  Make sure you follow the instructions on the fabric dye you're using to correctly heat set it and don't keep the iron in one spot for too long otherwise you could get a nasty light-brown burn mark on your tea towel.

    * Once heat set, pop your tea towels back in the washing machine for a good old fashioned wash.  Once dry, iron each tea towel again to give it that crisp clean look.  And voila, you have your very own customised tea towels which make great gifts for housewarmings or for that special friend, who no doubt will appreciate their very own kitchen masterpiece.
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