Thursday, January 22, 2015

Comfy Toddler Trousers

You can make these trousers using any material, as long as you have some nice stretchy material for the waistband and ankle cuffs. I chose to make mine with a fine black cord and some stretch jersey purple material with white stars the same material I used to make E's dress).
Here are the material pieces ready and waiting:
4 legs (2 left/2 right) length 40cm, width top 17cm, crotch 21cm,bottom 14cm
2 ankle cuffs 27x17cm
1 waistband 43x17cm
4 pockets top 8cm, side 13cm, formed into 2 arcs
Pin the pockets right sides together, then sew the top and bottom arcs using a stretch stich and stretch needle. Turn right way out.

Then pin trouser legs right side together and sew down the outside leg.
Open out the trouser sections and pin the pocket on and sew along the longest outside arc.

Then pin the trouser sections together at where will be the front and back down to the crotch and sew together.
Pull the trousers sections so they are still right sides together, but look like a pair of trousers lying flat. Then pin the inside leg and sew it all together in one go.
Turn them the right way round and they are starting to look like a pair of trousers!
Fold the ankle cuff lengthways and sew along the longest open side. Then fold the material into itself so that you form a little cuff that has 2 folded sides at the top and 4 open sides at the bottom.
Now slip this onto the trousers and pin at the opening and sew together.

Flip them down and you now have your ankle cuffs done.
Do the same for the waistband, except make sure you fold the material in half widthways instead, join together and then pin to the top of the trousers and sew. Then just fold it back the right way when you're finished.
There you have it ... a simple pair of trousers!
 And here's my model who won't stay still modelling them!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Repurposing a T-Shirt into a Dress

Have you ever bought a t-shirt for a toddler and then got annoyed when said t-shirt shrinks in the wash or their little tummy is just too pot-bellied to fit into it properly or they spill food on it and stain it, or any of the above?! Well, I decided to take that t-shirt, cut it up and make it into a dress.

I cut the t-shirt to the length I wanted it (leaving an extra couple of cms for the hem).
I then measured the width of the opening at the bottom of the t-hirt where I had just cut and multiplied that by 2. This then gave me the width of the fabric for the skirt section. I wanted the skirt to finish below the knee so there's growing room, so I also measured that length.

Measurements for Ella (19 months old):

I then changed my sewing machine setting to the loosest stich setting and sewed a row across the width of the skirt material at the top where the t-shirt will be attached leaving a long thread at the beginning and end so I had lots of space for size adjustment.
I then gathered the skirt from one side, gradually moving the bunching material along until I had gathered the skirt to be the same length as the t-shirt opening.
I changed my sewing machine back to the normal setting and sewed a row of stitching just below the gathers to set them in place.
I then attached the two width pieces of skirt right sides together and joined them using zigzag stictch to close the skirt.
I then cut the material so there was only 1cm hem at the top and matched the t-shirt to the skirt, pinning it so it lined up together.
I then sewed zigzag stich to join the two pieces of material.

I then folded the hem up and folded that over again and then used a double needle to sew a quick hem around the bottom.

The belt was made by cutting out a rectangle twice the length of the width of the skirt and 12cm wide. I folded the material lengthways and sewed down one width side and one length side. I then turned the material out the right way and sewed the final width side closed.
I attached the belt by sewing a line all along the top and bottom of the belt but stopped at the sides so that it's only attached to the front of the dress.

 Here's E modelling the goods!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Play Kitchen Christmas Present

For E's Christmas present I decided to make her a play kitchen. They have the Ikea one at her nursery school and she loves it.
I took the measurements from the Ikea kitchen and reworked it so that one of our spare shelves from our oven would fit in her oven and made it no wider than the little bit of wall separating our kitchen and living room, so it would fit nicely in the corner and not get in the way.
I made my design using sketchup.
It's hard to say how long the actual project took as I did it before I started back at work but when E had just started nursery. They have a good system here where they break them in gently by going for half an hour one day, an hour the next etc. and then slowly building up to staying for lunch and then for nap time. This meant that I had various half an hour slots in the morning to have a quick tinker in the kitchen and just slowly worked on it over time.
I built the main kitchen using spruce wood. The units are painted white and the worktop is stained chestnut and then nicely buffed so it's super smooth to touch.

The tap is made out of 3 pieces of spare wood I had that are all loosely screwed together so you can still twizzle it round in all directions.

Added extras:

Kitchen mixing bowl for the sink
Door knobs for the taps and for the oven knobs (all attached loosely so they spin around)
Cork coasters painted black for the hob
Door handles left over from our kitchen for the cupboard and oven handle
Grill shelf from our oven
Battery LED light that turns on when you push it for the oven
Perspex for the oven window with a balsawood frame on the inside to protect it
Hinges painted black for both doors
Opening hinges for the oven door so it doesn't bang directly on the floor (These need to withstand a lot of wear and tear and E loves to lie on the door and generally mishandle it!)
Hook rack that I had lying about and some S hooks
Magnetic paint for one side
Chalkboard paint for the side and the cupboard door

E was ill with bronchitis and a fever over Christmas so it wasn't the lovely look of surprise I was hoping for when she saw her new kitchen... in fact, she didn't want to open any presents at all! Since then though, she has played with her kitchen every day so far and loves baking her cakes and making a cup of tea. The only thing missing for her is that no real water comes out of the tap!

Here are some snaps of the work in progress...

A door clamped in place to dry after gluing and screwing together

Painting in progress

And here's the big reveal Christmas morning!

Checking her cakes in the oven!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Reversible Fleece Hat & Blanket

I wanted to make a nice, personal present for my friend's baby's first birthday and came up with the idea of a reversible hat and blanket for these cold winter months.
I used purple fleece for one side and a nice green cotton material with foxes on for the other side.
I started by using my daughter's head as a starting point (she's 6 months older but they're about the same size)! I measured the circumference of her head and the height that I wanted the hat. The hat is essentially just 6 pieces of material (2 hats consisting of 3 pieces).
I started with the dome cap section of the hat. I cut out a rectangle the circumferance of E's head 48cm and 12cm for the height of the hat, folded it concertina style into 4 bits and then snipped off the top bits so they looked like curved triangles but were still connected together.
I then cut a band the same length but 5cm height and then the ear flap section was 3cm ear flaps that were 4cm deep.
I measured E's forehead (10cm) and made sure the middle section of the band was that length before I freehanded the ear covers.
I then started with the domed section. Right sides together, I stitched the adjoing sides to make an inside out hat.
I then sewed the band to this dome, right sides together. Then I sewed the ear cover section to the band.
I did the same with the fleece material, so essentially had two hats.
I then slipped one hat inside the other with wrong sides facing, pinned the ears sections together turning in a little seam as I went. I then sewed carefull round the whole bottom edge making sure my seam was close enough to the edge to catch the two folded in materials.
I decided I wanted a chin tie with the hat too, so I cut a piece of fleece (20 x 5 cm), then cut it into 3 tails almost the whole length and then plaited the fleece strands together and tied a simple knot at the bottom with a couple of cms of fleece left at the bottom.
When I got to the ear flap section I was sewing shut, I simply slipped the fleece plait inside and sewed it shut.

For the blanket, I cut two pieces of material (1x1m), put right sides together and sewed it almost shut, apart from a little 5 cm gap. I then turned the material the right way and invisible stitch sewed up the gamp. To keep everything in place, I then sewed a seam around the entire edge of the blanket.
Here's some photos of the hat, the blanket and E modelling the hat!