Tuesday, 22 November 2011

'Toot Toot'

Another up-cycle project, this time with a couple of magnetic pull along wooden toy trains I picked up at a baby market.
Each train carriage has grooves that must have once held something that you could slip in and out, but this wasn't part of the purchase so I decided to make my own.  This was the result.  A perfect stocking filler for the Little Imp!

Part of this project was playing around with my sewing machine and some free motion embroidery.  I had a go using this to attach the felt letters to the fabric backgrounds and although I have a way to go until I am happy to embroider something a bit more special, I was surprised that it wasn't as hard to do as I expected.

Although I have made these little fabric letter cards to fit into the train carriages, they would also be great for kids for lots of other things - attach magnets for sticking on the fridge, adapt as a memory game or shape recognition with different felt symbols....

Basic 'How To' 

Cut out cardboard, background fabric and felt letters
  1. Measure and cut pieces of firm cardboard (e.g. from a box) to the size you want
  2. Measure and cut your background fabric  (here from blue & orange spotted patterns) - it needs to be double the length of the card with approx 1-2cm seam allowance all around 
  3. Cut out letters (or shapes/ symbols) from felt to fit the card
  4. Sew the felt letter onto the bottom half of the background fabric, positioning it to allow for bottom and side seams in the next step. This is where I played around with free motion embroidery, but you could  do this with a standard machine stitch or by hand)
  5. Fold each piece of background fabric in half, wrong sides together.  Using the cut cardboard pieces as a guide, mark the position for the side seams leaving a few extra millimeters on each side.  Then machine straight stitch up each side along these marks.  
  6. Trim side seams and turn right side out
  7. Slip cardboard piece into fabric pocket that you have created
  8. Slip stitch the bottom seam closed
Pieces from left to right demonstrating steps 4 - 8 

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Fabric covered ideas book

 I'm a visual person.  I like making lists and planning things.  Sometimes I write these down, but more often than not I loose the scrap I've written on. This doesn't help with falling asleep at night, attempting to recall lists and plans somewhere from within my whirring brain.

On a recent op shop expedition for photo frames for Little Imp's room (I'll post about that project some time soon), I came across an unused notebook for 50c that I realised could do the trick.  A new cover to make it mine and I would have a place to jot and store my thoughts and ideas.

I'd had one of the Japanese-y pieces of fabric I bought a while back earmarked for a book cover of some description and a strip of thick linen from an upholstery swatch (also from an op shop) worked perfectly as a coordinating feature.   A very easy project indeed.

Here's how it turned out.

Basic 'How To'
  • Use a hard covered bound book for this project.  To work out how much fabric you need, open the book flat on the fabric and mark leaving an additional 5cm all the way around (to fold over and secure on the inside).  If the fabric has a design you want placed in a particular area on the cover take this into account (e.g. I wanted at least 2 full birds showing).
  • Cut the fabric to size using scissors or a quilting cutter.
  • Cut a coordinating/ contrasting strip to use as a feature on the front cover.  I used a teal upholstery linen that I frayed by pulling out a few threads along each long edge.
  • Work out where you want the coordinting strip placed and pin to secure it to the main fabric.
  • Machine stitch the strip to the main fabric using a small straight stitch in your choice of coloured thread along each edge.  I also used my machine to stitch 'OneLittleImp' along the strip for fun.
  • Then reposition the open book on the wrong side of the fabric.  Use PVA glue along the inside side edges of the front and back covers and stick the fabric down, pulling it taught across the book and spine as you do so.  Do not use glue on the outside of the covers as it will show through the fabric and ruin the finish.
  • Before you glue down the top and bottom edges snip the fabric on either side of the spine to allow the fabric to sit flat when you fold it over.  
  • Take care when folding over each of the corners to ensure you get a nice neat point. 
  • Use the flat blade of your scissors and a bit of extra glue to poke the thin pieces of fabric left at the top and bottom of the spine into the gap between the book cover and binding.
  • Measure and cut 2 pieces of card to stick over the fabric edges on the inside covers at the front and back of your book.
  • If you want to add some ribbons as page markers, cut these at approx 1.5 times the length of the book and secure them in place under the card on the front inside cover.