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21  CLOTHING / Clothing for Kids: Completed Projects / upcycled apron from a patterned pillowcase ***(now with tutorial)*** on: January 22, 2011 12:07:57 PM
Do you have a place in your linen cupboard where all the neglected old pillowcases live? I'm so glad to have repurposed at least one of mine - here's the pillowcase apron.

And here's side B:

Here's how to do it:

You will need:

one pillowcase
sewing machine
ruler and pencil (or washable fabric marker)

(I used a housewife pillowcase with a folded-over section - if yours doesn't have this you will also need some ribbon or other fabric for the ties and neckband).

Turn your pillow case inside out, and carefully cut away the folded-over rectangle of fabric at the open end.

First: the neck-band and apron strings

(it's good to get the fiddly bits done at the start)

On the cut-out rectangle of fabric, mark three 4cm wide strips, starting at the long hemmed edge.

The strip which already has one hemmed edge is going to be the neck band.

Fold and press a 1cm hem on the other long side, then fold and press again to form a double hem.

Stitch along the folded edge.

The two strips without hems will be the waist ties.

Fold and press a 1cm hem on one short end of each.

The press both in half lengthways, fold in the long raw edges to the centre and press again.

Fold again lengthways to enclose the raw edges, and topstitch along the open edge to form the ties.

(They will still be unfinished on one end - this is where they will attach to the apron later).

This is what they should look like now:

Now for the body of the apron:

Fold the pillow case in half lengthways.

Mark a point 11cm from the fold on one of the short edges - this will be the top of the apron.

Mark another point 28cm from the top edge on the side-seams of the pillowcase.

Join these two pints with a smooth curve - this is the stitching line.

Draw a cutting line 1cm outside the stitching line and cut along this through all four layers of fabric.

Cut off the top seam 1cm from the edge.

It should look like this now:

Now it's starting to look apron-shaped....

Attaching the ties and neck-band

Fold back the upper layer of fabric to separate the top halves of the apron - now you are looking at the right sides of the fabric on the inside of the pillowcase.

Pin the neck band in place, aligning its raw edges with the top of the apron.

(The neck band needs to be placed 1cm in from the sides to allow a seam allowance when the two layers are joined together - as in the photo above).

Baste neck band to apron and pin to make sure it doesn't get caught in the seam allowances later on.

Pin the waist ties in place with their raw edges against the side seams 1cm below the point where the curved edge meets the straight side seams
(again, this is so they don't get caught in the seam allowances).

Now to stitch it all together:

Pin the two layers together, sandwiching the waist ties and neck-band inside the pillowcase, between the right sides of the fabric.

Stitch all the way around the edges of the body of the apron, leaving a 10cm gap in the lower edge for turning.

Leave a 1cm seam allowance all the way around - even on the side seams which are already stitched. You need to sew inside the original seams in order to catch the waist ties in the new seam allowance.

When you come to sew over the waist ties and the neck-band, backstitch and sew over them again to secure them really well.

Trim the corners and clip the curves to help it all lie flat when turned.

Turn through the gap in the lower edge, and press very well all the way around - it's worth doing this from both sides if you're wanting the apron to be reversible.

Press the lower edges under by 1cm at the turning gap, and pin this closed.

Now topstitch all the way around the body of the apron.

Hurrah! All done...

There are more details (and lots more photos) at http://runcibledays.blogspot.com/2011/01/apron-tutorial.html

Thanks for looking!
22  CLOTHING / Clothing for Kids: Completed Projects / Snuggly fleece PJs for cosy nights on: January 13, 2011 02:10:45 PM
What to do with old fleecy baby blankets (eight years on)? Make them into snuggly big boy PJs...

These are based on New Look pattern 6131, but with a few modifications: I've rounded the neck-line; lengthened the top and sleeves; added white panels to the sleeves to create the stripes; and narrowed the trouser legs and waist for my tall skinny boy!

The stripy sleeves are my favourite part - they tie together the colours of the top and trousers, and remind me of the scene in Shark Tale where the vegetarian shark disguises himself as a dolphin. (Can anyone else see that? or is it just me?)

23  CLOTHING / Clothing for Kids: Completed Projects / Liberty pea-pod smock (with matching leggings for the colder months) on: January 10, 2011 01:49:24 PM

What do you do with a miniscule scrap of lovely Liberty jersey? - you make a very small dress, and some even smaller leggings, and hope that the whole outfit will still work next summer as a top/shorts combo...

I'm nervous with knits, but this turned out ok! All the main seams are sewn with a standard zigzag stitch on my very old machine, the only straight stitches (ie non stretchy ones) are in the yoke which is interfaced with a non-stretchy lining fabric. It all seems to be holding together so far.

Thanks for looking - comments and suggestions (especially about knits and stretchiness) are always very welcome.
24  CLOTHING / Clothing for Kids: Completed Projects / bubble dress for winter on: December 31, 2010 07:06:08 AM

Bubble dress made in cosy corduroy for cold weather. The pattern is by oliver+s - it's especially nice as the bubble hem is gathered with elastic, so it stretches to make room for busy little legs.
25  CLOTHING / Clothing for Kids: Completed Projects / germ warfare! - reversible aprons to keep the bugs at bay... on: December 20, 2010 06:57:25 AM

I don't often (indeed, ever!) get to dress my boys in co-ordinating outfits, so this is the nearest thing...  Both aprons are reversible, so they can choose whether they want to match each other or not. Looking forward to seeing my budding chefs in action at Christmas!

26  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Baby Showers And Gifts For New Babies / rainbow baby bib - with link to tutorial on: December 15, 2010 02:44:19 PM
I've posted another version of this bib before on the children's clothing page, but had to post this one as it's my favourite yet (maybe my favourite fabric ever?) and I've only just discovered the baby shower page. There are so many lovely things here!

Here's the bib:

The fabric is nest corduroy by Valori Wells, bound with rainbow bias tape. Here's a link to the process over on children's clothing...


Comments always welcome!
27  CLOTHING / Sewing Pattern Reviews / Oliver+S music box jumper on: November 28, 2010 01:08:50 PM

Hot on the heels of the O+S bubble dress, here is the music box jumper. This is in size 12-18 months, and fits my plump 8-month-old nicely with some winter layers underneath. (Hoping it will still fit next summer as a little sun dress). Once again - lovely pattern, fabulous instructions. The bodice is lined, so with french seam in the skirt it looks almost as good inside as outside! It's on the expensive side, as patterns go, so I'll need to make lots to make it worthwhile financially. But I've already started on another - the only change I'll be making is to use a smaller print next time, as the large print doesn't work so well with pleats.

There's another version of the skirt with several pleats front and back - I've made the version here with just on central pleat and a slightly flared skirt. It also has optional decorative pocket flaps - I left them out as the print was so busy, but will be using them next time.

(photos of the inside here...
28  CLOTHING / Clothing for Kids: Completed Projects / baby bib from flannel and oddments - in less than 15 minutes on: October 22, 2010 03:50:37 PM
This is an instant gratification project - I have to share it because I'm so excited at having broken to 15 minute barrier. My first few bibs were marathons of pinning and repinning to keep the layers together for the binding, but not any more. Here's the super-speedy version:

The best thing about making bibs is that they use up a lot of scraps. The binding for this one was an old tie, the inner part was a very old flannel. The outer fabric pieces are only 10 by 14 inches - I used a fat quarter folded in half for this one, and an old shirt for the two below. I went for very busy patterns so the inevitable food stains wouldn't show too much.

This is the stage which will cut down on pinning issues later: before cutting the bib shape, sandwich the flannel between the two pieces of outer fabric (right sides facing out) and sew through all three layers in a criss-cross pattern, up and down and side to side across the whole rectangle. This picture shows how it should look at this stage...

Now cut the bib shape - you could cut around an existing bib, or go for a slightly more generous size - my template was 10 inches across, by 13.5 inches top to bottom.

The criss-cross stitching will hold everything in place, so now all you have to do is bind around the edges with bias tape and add a snap fastening. No pins! All done in a twinkling.

Hope someone finds this useful! More pictures on http://runcibledays.blogspot.com/2010/10/embracing-imperfection.html

29  CLOTHING / Sewing Pattern Reviews / Oliver+s bubble dress on: October 14, 2010 05:56:43 AM
It's taken me a while to try an Oliver+s pattern as they are so much more expensive than many others - but now I've tried the bubble dress I think I'm hooked! Here it is:

This is a size 6-12months, and it fits my chubby six month old perfectly, with a bit of room to grow. It came together really easily, and I didn't have to mess with the pattern at all.  The instructions were very clear - and they includes lots of advice on how best to go about each step, more like a tutorial than a standard pattern.

The only (very small) change that I made was to omit the top-stitiching on the bodice - it just didn't seem necessary, it looked so sweet without.

This pattern goes up to 2 yrs, and then there's another which goes from 3 - 5. I might have to buy that too in time! I've already had two requests to make this dress for friends, so it will be a good Christmas present stand-by, and it's versatile enough to make in summer or winter-weight fabrics. It could work as a pretty sundress without the bubble hem as well, so on a cost-per-use basis it may yet work out better value than some of the cheaper patterns that I've used only once or twice.
30  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / springtime tote bag ready for hibernation... on: October 13, 2010 01:29:50 AM
This is an Anna Maria Horner pattern from "Seams to Me" made in various Cath Kidston fabrics - I bought the fabric a few months ago when it seemed quite seasonal, now, not so much! Time to put it away for the winter, maybe (or move to the southern hemisphere?).

spots on the inside...

and this is what it's supposed to look like...

It's a great book - would recommend!
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