August 31, 2010

Australian native flower-press

I had some flowers fading fast, so I decided it was time to do some flower-pressing!

I love the design & colours of this flower-press, which is from my childhood. It still has bits of paper & cardboard from back in the day wedged inside it...

After a few weeks, I could wait no longer and prised open the press.

Results as expected! The white flower wasn't very pretty, but the jonquils turned out really well.

Unsure as to what I actually wanted to do with the flowers, I whipped this up. You can spin the wheel for different early-morning remarks!

August 28, 2010

Stencilled morsbags using the handle in the design

I was prepared for the 8th International Morsbagging Sunday, organised by I bag you, and had 26 kits cut and and ready to be sewn.

Here are the finished bags! The material is from 4 single sheets from my childhood. There wasn't quite enough for them all to have matching handles, so I decided that some of them would get one black handle which would then work into a design. Much like the red lemur bag!

Next came the planning stage. This involved lots of quick sketches to get some inspiration. I ended up with 17 bags to stencil! So far, I've managed...

A snake bag...

A hanging monkey bag (with one skinny ankle)....

A power cord bag (with sparks - first time I've used colour fabric paint)...

An umbrella bag...

A cat bag (I used a photo to design this one, hence its realism)...

And last but not least, a fatty fatty boombah bag. As you can see, realistic anatomy is not my strong point, unless copied from a photo!

There's a bit of go-go-gadget arm action happening there. And some cankles. And boy is that ape one fatty boombah. No more bananas for you!

Six down, eleven to go... If you have any ideas, please share!

August 22, 2010

Toy Society Drop: No llores, Lorretta #2 (with added lightning!)

Since I made the ¡no llores, Lorretta! pattern available, I thought I'd better test it. The first time I made the toy I didn't really use a pattern.

I had different colours of felt to work with, so it came out a little differently. Still pretty cute, I reckon.

After making the toy, I made a few adjustments to the pattern for next time (the right hand was a little wonky, redid the cloud bumps between the arms...). Looking at the pictures now, I probably should have also trimmed the dark felt a bit more so it didn't show up on the happy side!

I decided to leave her for someone to find, as a Toy Society Drop (#1332).

I left Lorretta attached to a tree near one of Lake Burley Griffin's walking tracks (Canberra, Australia) around midday.

Related post: Free toy pattern: Lorretta

August 18, 2010

Free toy pattern: Lorretta

UPDATE: Pattern updated 09/10/10
UPDATE: Alternate "retro" version of pattern added 09/10/10
Please scroll down for details.

You may recall I did a Toy Society Drop (#1179) earlier this year called No llores, Lorretta!

This was the toy in question:

I've finally gotten around to making a pattern for it, which I am releasing under an attribution, share-alike creative commons license, which means you are allowed to modify and redistribute the pattern, as long as you do so under the same license and give credit.

UPDATE: After realising that toys made from the original pattern posted here look quite different to the ones in the photos above, I made a second pattern which matched the first toy better. I'm calling it the "retro" version. I also added a lightning bolt to the original pattern.
The files below have been updated, and the old version is still available too.

Original pattern v2.0:
Retro pattern:

If you want to edit the pattern directly in Inkscape or an equivalent program, here are the original design files:

Original pattern v2.0:
Retro pattern:

Lorretta comes in shy of 15cm (~6") but the pattern can be easily scaled to any size. The construction is very basic, hence the lack of tutorial. I used running stitch in matching colours to sew the face to the cloud and running stitch in black (for contrast) to sew the two main pieces together. I started with the arms and used a chopstick to stuff in small amounts of polyfill as I went.

Mary Corbet has a fantastic video library of stitches including running stitch and blanket stitch.

I hope you enjoy the pattern, it's fun to do a little hand sewing from time to time!

Related posts

August 14, 2010

Leather book sleeve

I first saw a pattern for a book sleeve in Zakka Sewing. I'd been waiting for a special occasion to make one, as unfortunately books here come in every size and shape, making such a sleeve unlikely to be reusable for other books.

(Spot the cathy cullis doll in the pic above!)

I was tossing up which fabric to use for it when I remembered that the recipient of this gift had been given some thin leather that had been cut out from the back of the couch of a loved one. It had special meaning for him. Leather is not a material I've worked with before, or plan to work with again.

It didn't need any lining, but I was keen to use this green fabric that I'd saved from the ends of a pillowcase, the rest of which was made into a Morsbag.

Unfortunately I didn't think it through very well and the fabric was threadbare and the leather had a mind of its own. Let's just say that turning it inside out and poking out the corners was a little nerve-wracking.

I used some old packaging to make a little clear pocket on the front.

I also had some beautiful woven ribbon that I'd picked up from my local op-shop which I used to embellish the book and make a bookmark.

I guess I can always whip up some blank books in that size to fit inside the sleeve for future gifts!

If you'd like to make your own journal cover, there are some great resources here:

August 8, 2010

Jumping on the breadwagon

I think I may be late to the "Artisan bread in 5 minutes a day" party.... The master recipe is available free online, so go forth and experiment if you haven't already!

August 1, 2010

Reversible cycling cap

UPDATE: Pattern updated 02/10/10
Please scroll down for details

This reversible cycling cap was intended ad a gift, and as you can see it's a bit big for me! I scored the tweed material for next to nothing at my local op-shop, and the plastic in the brim (which allows it to flick upward like a traditional cycling cap) came from a display folder's cover. No that is not a real fingerstache tattoo, and the brooch is from Dog Daisy.

I got the idea from Panda Face's original pattern on flickr, which has some interesting comments and links to photos. Dude craft's video tutorial and PDF pattern were also a great help. The pattern is for a non-reversible cap and his brim is more like a baseball-cap. Unlike Panda Face's pattern, which needs some adjusting to get the proportions right, Dude Craft's is correctly proportioned and ready to print. It helped me create my own pattern using the more traditional brim as per Panda Face's pattern.

With their permission, I am releasing the pattern under an attribution, share-alike creative commons license, which means you are allowed to modify and redistribute the pattern as long as you do so under the same license and give credit.

UPDATE: After feedback from the recipient, I have modified the pattern to make the brim a little skinnier and the hat a little shorter. The files below have been updated, and the old versions are still available too. I have also removed the non-commercial clause from the creative commons license.
This pattern makes a cap with roughly a 62cm (24.4") circumference.

If you want to edit the pattern directly in Inkscape or an equivalent program, here is the original design file:
One day I plan to write up a proper tutorial on how to make the cap reversible and adjust the pattern size for different heads.

The basic idea is that you cut out 8 cap pieces and 2 brim pieces. You sew up the middle seam of each cap piece, then sew the cap pieces together in pairs. Next, grab two double cap pieces and join them. Check size against your head, adjust seams in as necessary. Repeat with the two remaining double cap pieces.

Next, take the two brim pieces and sew them together. Insert the plastic piece, sew around the edge of the brim (through the plastic) to keep in it place and sew the opening shut. Finally, put the two cap pieces together (right sides facing) and sandwich the brim piece between the two. Sew around the edge, leaving an opening at the back through which you then pull the cap right-side-out.

Fold under the sides of the opening and put some elastic in if you like. To finish it off, top-stitch all the way around the bottom of the cap, thus closing the opening and making sure both sides of the cap sit correctly.
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