Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Under the Lemon Tree (Part 2)

Here I am, I'm over here, won't you come and find me

Oh there you are, spotting you was really easy

For you're such a lovely sight, with a face so very pretty

Now we'll never be apart, together we'll be happy....

Pardon me for being so corny!!! Ha ha, couldn't help it...just had a bit of fun taking photos of these two in our backyard.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Under the Lemon Tree

Oh my little guinea pig**, daydreaming under the lemon tree
Waiting for his sweetheart, wondering where could she be?

Soon enough, my friend, just be patient and you'll see

She'll be right here with you and you'll be dancing with glee...

** Lenny the Guinea Pig pattern from Bit of Whimsy Dolls

Monday, August 25, 2008

And custody goes to... (Winner of Giveaway)

Ok, I am going to make this introduction quick. You've probably been checking since this morning. My daughter wanted to draw the winner herself and so I had to wait for her to come home from school this afternoon.

I received a total of 44 comments, combined from the post here and on Craftster. Thank you to all who responded! I printed out all the comments, cut them up in strips and put them all folded in a basket as my daughter got ready to pick out the lucky one...

And the new parent is...

Lyn from New Zealand! Congratulations! I will be contacting you shortly so we can arrange for your little baby to fly out very soon....

Thanks to everyone again. Keep reading!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

I should have been cleaning the house...

But this little boy demanded much of my time yesterday morning. Should have gotten away from him while I could, but I just didn't have the strength to resist. Oh well, aren't kids like that anyway? You just have to drop everything else to attend to them...

(Click to view larger images)
How could I say no?

The Spaceboy pattern is from Wee Wonderfuls' Put-together Book No. 2.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Messenger Bag Tutorial now in PDF Format

I have been wondering for the longest time how I would be able to upload my tutorials in PDF format. A couple of days ago, I finally got to install Adobe Acrobat Professional in our computer. With a little experiment, I successfully converted my existing Word document into PDF. And just tonight, while viewing another blog, I accidentally discovered how I could make my file downloadable from the web. Excuse me if I sound like a complete idiot...I really am not but these things I am learning on my own!

And so, hopefully, this will work. If you want my Messenger Bag with Zip Top Closure tutorial in PDF format, you can now download it here. I will work on converting my other tutorials very soon...

Monday, August 18, 2008

My Very First Giveaway...Softie Up for Adoption!

I am feeling very good tonight...Australia won 3 Olympic gold medals earlier today. At midday, I was in the middle of stuffing a new softie whilst watching the women's triathlon. With the Aussie women winning both gold and bronze in the said event, I found myself in joyous tears. I haven't been this emotional about sports in a long time. Emma Snowsill is definitely one amazing person and athlete!

I thought of spreading this happiness by sharing this with you...

(Click photos to view larger images)

I finished her this afternoon. She turned out quite beautifully. She is 15" long, with printed cotton flannelette body, felt cloth face and hair, black button eyes and embroidered mouth. Unlike the doll in my previous post, this one is wide-eyed, smiling and looking forward to something. She is set to be adopted, sent to a new home and be given a name!

If you are interested to be her adoptive carer, all you have to do is leave a comment here or in my Craftster post and your name will go into a draw. Entries close on Sunday (the 24th), as soon as the Beijing Olympics closing ceremony ends. Only one comment per person, ok?

'Winner' will be posted here on Monday, the 25th of August. Good luck and hoping to hear from you all!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Slowly Getting Better...

I'm getting a little bit better at this...but still not quite at my desired level of satisfaction...

This is Doodle Girl, again a pattern from Bit of Whimsy Dolls. I increased the prescribed dimensions slightly and changed the way it is closed up after more messy and crooked stitching at the base of the body. Main fabric is printed cotton flannelette. Face and hair are felt.

Must be patient...more practice and I'll get it perfectly right soon...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Meet my Lilly Lamb

I want you all to meet Lilly Lamb...

Polar fleece body, cotton fabric scraps for legs and limbs

Felt face, embroidered nose and mouth, button eyes
Isn't she sweet? Not perfect but, nevertheless, still sweet. Purchased the pattern for this softie from Bit of Whimsy Dolls, an Etsy shop run by stay at home mum, Sarah. Great project for a beginner like me. The instructions are very clear and well-written, with lots of supporting photos. What's even greater is that an online video tutorial for this doll is available for viewing over at You Tube! You can watch it here if you'd like to...

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Two things I would like to modify with the method next time. Firstly, I would do the face embroidery before assembling the doll. That seems a whole lot easier, doesn't it? That would eliminate having to sew through the stuffing and pulling those knots in. Secondly, I would try to find an alternative way of closing up the doll after stuffing. Sarah's method is a little bit tricky. I really do not like exposed stitching, especially because I can't stitch perfectly straight!

I certainly have still a lot to learn...I am starting to get a hang of it so you will most likely see more of this softie stuff in here in the coming days...bag-making will take a back seat for a little while...

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Learning a New Craft

Here are the rest of the wristlets I've sewn so far....

After making 15 of these, one after another, I was getting a little bit tired of it...I just had to find myself a diversion. With heaps of fabric scraps left and some polyester fill from some old pillows set aside, I thought of trying this out...

Cotton fabric scraps for the body

Felt face, cheeks and hair/embroidered eyes and lips

This softie was made using Jhoanna's free downloadable Ruby doll pattern. I initially thought the doll was too small to work on, so I had the pattern photocopied to an A3 sized paper. My finished doll ended up being 15" long (the original, I believe, is 12").

Being my first time at making a soft doll, it was a little bit frustrating. It actually wasn't totally fact, everything was going on rather smoothly until I got to the assembly part. Having already stuffed the arms and legs, it was quite hard to sew the body piece together. The bulk of the stuffed parts made it awkward to stitch around. I don't know if you can picture probably can if you had already made this or any other softie before. Faced with this major issue, I nearly gave up but my daughter encouraged and supported me. She said, "Mum, last year you couldn't even sew a bag." She kept on telling me that the doll was lovely and that even though it wasn't perfect, I had to remember it was my first time. I left out most of the suggested embellishments but she, nevertheless, absolutely loved her Ruby Doll....and she's already 11.

Speaking of Jhoanna, you should visit (if you haven't done so already) her website, One Red Robin. Even if you're not a softie-kind of person, I assure you, you'll get hooked on her amazing creations. She is one totally talented lady!

Well, I am not making this first experience at doll-making discourage me. I, in fact, went to the library today to find some books that will help me learn more about this craft. I must say that, although I am not a naturally creative person, I do learn really fast...

Enjoy your weekend!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

TUTORIAL: Zippered Wristlet/Pouch Made Easy

There are quite a number of good zippered pouch tutorials already in the internet. There's one in Craftster, Twelve, Bored and Crafty, Henrietta's Handbags , U-handblog, among others. I had attempted to follow these tutorials twice in the past and in both attempts, failed miserably. Why so? It was simply because, up until recently, I did not have a zipper foot...a real must in this kind of project. Why make another tutorial then?

I am happy to say I have found an easier way to make the zippered pouch. While the whole process is only slightly modified, I have eliminated a couple of steps and have also done away with the need for a zipper foot! These were made possible, firstly, by using the same fabric for the outer bag and the lining and secondly, by using a slightly longer zipper.

For inspiration, here are the zippered wristlets I have been working on these past few days.

Aren't these lovely? So easy to sew, very inexpensive to make, great to use your fabric scraps on and would certainly be appreciated as handmade presents!

Want to try it?

How to make a Zippered Wristlet/Pouch

To make a fully-lined 5" x 7" zippered wristlet/pouch, you will need:
2 pieces of 11 1/4" (L) x 7 1/2" (W) fabric of your choice (preferably with non-directional prints)
2 pieces of 11 1/4" (L) x 7 1/2" (W) suitable fusible interfacing
1 10" all-purpose zipper in a coordinating colour
matching thread

for the optional strap: small swivel hook, 14" (L) x 1 1/2" (W) strip in the same fabric as pouch, 13 1/2" x 1 1/2" suitable fusible interfacing
1. Fuse your interfacing to your fabrics.
2. Fold one of your 11 1/4" x 7 1/2" fabrics in half, right and short sides together. Press well on the fold.

3. Insert your zipper inside your folded fabric in the manner shown in the photo below. Pin zipper in place.
Zipper is right side up with zipper pull on the left side. Fabric is centered between the ends of the zipper.

4. Stitch zipper to the fabric, approximately 1/4" from the fold.
Place your needle position at its leftmost. As you can see from the photo, the left edge of your basic presser foot is side by side with your zipper teeth. This way, you are actually using the zipper teeth as a guide to stitching straight.
5. Open your folded fabric to its right side. Press well away from where you had stitched the fabric to the zipper.
6. Fold your other 11 1/4" x 7 1/2" fabric in half, again right and short sides together. Press well on the fold. Insert the free edge of your zipper on the fold, again with its right side up and the zipper pull on the left. Align the left and right edges of your fabrics. Pin in place.
You should now have four layers of fabric.
7. Stitch zipper to second fabric in the same manner as in step 4.
8. As in step 5, open your second fabric to its right side and press well away from the zipper.
You will now have two layers of fabric on each side of your zipper. Optional topstitching can be done as indicated by the broken red lines.

9. Open your zipper at least halfway. With right sides facing, bring together the top layer of fabrics on each side of the zipper. Move these to one side. This will become your outer bag.
Do the same for the two bottom layers. Move these to the opposite side. This will be your lining.

Pin the fabrics in place. The zipper should naturally fold towards the lining side. Start pinning near the zipper, making sure your seams are aligned.

10. Starting from the center, stitch all around using a 1/4" seam allowance. Leave a 3-4" gap in the lining bottom. Cut off the excess zipper and clip the corners.
Tips: 1) When you get to the lining bottom, increase your seam allowance slightly (by about 1/8"). This will make your lining nice and neat inside your pouch. 2) As you will be cutting off the excess zipper, backstitch a few times over the zipper ends for extra strength.

11. Turn your bag inside out by first pulling out the outer bag through the zipper opening and then out the lining opening. Push the corners out well. It is good to press your bag at this point.
12. Slipstitch the opening closed. Push the lining inside the pouch.

Your zippered pouch is now done!

Zippered pouch outside with detachable strap
Really neat inside
Optional detachable strap
1. Center the interfacing in your 14" x 1 1/2" fabric strip such that 1/4" of fabric is not interfaced on both the short sides.
2. Fold the long edges towards the center. Fold again lengthwise to end up with a 3/8" wide strap. Stitch all around close to the edges.
3. Slip the swivel hook inside the strap. Bring the raw edges together and stitch 1/4" from the edge.

4. Turn the strap over such that the seams on the side you just stitched are now in the inner loop of the strap.
. Slide the swivel hook over to the stitched side. Stitch across the strap to hold the swivel hook in place. Backstitch several times.
You can attach the hook directly to the zipper pull or you can use a d-ring strap attachment, as shown below, to attach your strap to your pouch.
UPDATED (8/8/08): How to do the d-ring strap attachment
You will need: 2" (H) x 3" (W) strip of fabric, 3/4" d-ring (or key ring)

1. Fold your fabric strip, shorter sides towards the center. Fold again lengthwise to end up with a 3/4" wide strap. Stitch down close to the edges.
2. Slip your strap into your d-ring then bring the raw edges together.
3. After completing step 8 in the main tutorial, pin and baste your strap attachment to your pouch, as shown in the photo below.

4. Proceed to the rest of steps in the main tutorial.Once again, I do hope the tutorial was clear enough to follow. Ask away if you have any questions. I am having so much fun making these....wish you will, too!

New Rosary Bracelets on eBay

I finally found time to make some rosary bracelets for listing on eBay. I have been sidetracked with so much sewing that I have failed to give my rosary making its much needed attention. Didn't I once say that rosary-making is my first passion?

My rosaries are far from being fancy. I do try to keep them as simple as possible. After all, these are not pieces of jewelry, but instruments for prayer. A lot of people do forget that...

To view my items on eBay Australia, please use the link on my sidebar.

Black millifiore glass/Sacred Heart medal

Red Glass/Infant of Prague medal

Crystal AB Glass/Divine Mercy and Our Lady of Guadalupe medal - Edit: SOLD

Yellow Glass/Miraculous medal - Edit: SOLD

Light Sapphire Glass/Scapular medal - Edit: SOLD

Going back to my sewing....
My zippered wristlets are coming along nicely. I will post a tutorial on an alternative (and even easier) method to making the classic zippered pouch shortly. Please watch out for that...

Have a nice weekend everyone!