I recently took a trip across the country and flew for the first time in 12+years. I’m not deterred by terrorists, I just happen to hate the whole confusing process in airports and the few flights I took as a teen were less than ideal experiences. :/ Anyway, to combat pre-flight anxiety I decided to do some sewing.
This bag is really just a prototype so don’t critique it too harshly.
I went with blue and black to mimic the early uniforms in Star Trek Next Generation. If I worked for the Federation in a Sci-Fi future, I’d almost certainly be on the Science/Medical team.
The badge is Voyager style with a rectangular, rather than oval base. Although, from the way the bag ripples and scrunches it appears more oval in the photo. It really is a rectangle!
I used a recycled pillowcase, zipper and straps for the bag. The blue canvas was new.
When I saw it was turning out fairly decent I decided to actually take it on my trip as my personal bag. So I added a few quick elastic pockets to a semi-lined interior.
So yeah, it’s cute and all but I will be ripping it apart fairly soon. I hate the zipper and unfinished interior.
It was totally worth spending the $2 on sale canvas and the 3 hours to whip it up though. I felt pretty special carrying it on my trip.
This has to easiest toy to make for any Nintendo fan. Cut two simple star shapes with rounded points from fleece and make two long oval eyes from felt or fleece. I didn’t spend more than 20 minutes on this and it was a big hit with my daughter.
I took this picture after a month of play and it’s holding up nicely.
Every year for my kids’ birthdays, I sneak a bit more reusable or cloth wrapping into their gift pile. I wouldn’t move away completely from having them tear and toss any paper, that’s part of the fun, but I do aim to keep it at least 50% reused wraps or fabric wraps. So besides the assortment of twice used, thrice used and who knows how many times used gift bags we wrapped in I also made a few special wraps this time. It was especially handy since the items I needed a cloth wrap for were sleeping bags. Thus a pillowcase to match was ideal as a wrapping.
For my son I purchased a somewhat holey Thomas and Friends fitted twin sheet at Goodwill for $2. It was a bit tricky planning the case to avoid the holes in my material but still include every printed character. His sleeping bag of course was blue.
For my daughter, to keep with her Pokemon/Nintendo theme, a red sleeping bag was the obvious choice. I only needed to decide whether to emblazon the case with a giant M for Mario or piece together a Pokeball scheme. I decided to go with a Pokeball scheme since I had extra time that day and not too much in the way of red fabric.
The idea behind the Pokeballs was that with a vinyl circle where the button should be would act as a window to insert Pokemon cards or print-outs to have an ever-changing sham. The circles are sewn onto the pillow in a U shape, leaving the top open for card insertion. As of right now, my daughter has Hippotatas, Lucario and Pink Shellos in her case. I figured this would be a way to keep up with her desire to acquire more Pokemon without actually having the expense of buying them, the time of making them or the burden of owning and organizing them. Having more Pokemon is as cheap and simple as printing a picture from the internet and slipping it in the case.
I’m so glad my daughter likes stuffies because they are fun to make. This one almost kicked my tushie though as I made over 4 prototypes before hitting on the best proportions. I don’t know why it’s so easy to make a ball but so hard to make an oval. At least, hard to make an oval that doesn’t resemble a football anyway.
I had to make it big enough to encase any of her collection of 7″ Yoshi plushies and a way to keep them in. I decided on hook & loop tape over a zipper in this case. It seemed easier and I didn’t have a white salvaged zipper in my collection anyway. The egg is fully lined to add more stability to the thin fleece. It would have been nice to find a lighter green fleece but I have one fabric store within 20 miles of my house and that’s the dinky section at Walmart. I have to take what I can get, especially when I only need a fraction of a yard.
Toys really are fun to make and extremely frugal, I think, from fleece. This item only cost $1.10 total to whip up(lightweight fleece at $4yd and I have some leftover). Fleece is especially nice to work with since it doesn’t fray like crazy, is easy to needle and forgiving because of the fabric stretch in the finished item. Handstitching a toy is so calming to me.
I probably mentioned this before but two of my kids and myself have birthdays three days in a row in December. Even with extensive planning, trying to make the most of the kids’ days while still enjoying mine is a bit overwhelming. Every year I keep trying to make it easier and less stressful for me. So when my son again requested a Thomas birthday cake I immediately knew I was not going to spend hours decorating something. My foray last year into the more “simplified” decorating plan of using a character cake pan(Lightening McQueen) wasn’t the easier choice I thought it was going to be and not something I wanted to repeat. I have a finite amount of hours and I’d rather spend them enjoying him as he enjoys his day rather than dealing with frosting.
So I had the idea to make a vinyl-encased cake topper. Basically I bought a patterned sheet at Goodwill(for $2 and made two items out of it)and close cut a Thomas character from the fabric. If I had had some fray stop it would have been nice to use it but I’m rather cheap about buying supplies so none of that stuff here. I then cut two squares of vinyl. I had purchased a roll of high quality clear vinyl at Walmart years ago with the intention of making removable covers for our sunroom screens to keep the room more comfortable in the winter but I never got around to it before we moved. Anyway, I washed my squares of vinyl and then sandwiched the fabric between and sewed around it and cut outside the seam line. I was trying for an oval but since I was in a hurry I failed at making it very oval-ish. It didn’t really matter though since I layed the fabric decoration on my iced and raked cake and then piped a wide shell border around it over the stitched edge so that it was a true oval and around the borders of the cake. I then sprinkled the piped areas with blue colored sugar and surprised myself with how impressive it really looked. It was easy enough(with a circle cake)to slip the knife under the decoration to cut slices so that we could enjoy the look of it longer than simply removing it altogether to cut.
And I thought I had a picture of the cake decorated but alas I do not see it on my data card. Oh well, you will have to use your imagination.
These have the added fun of being reusable. Simply wipe off with a soapy towel and dry. Paper and print-outs from the computer could also be used instead of the fabric to get exactly what you want.
Here’s a little something I made for my daughter’s birthday in December:
My 8 year old absolutely loves Pokemon! Now she can really play trainer with an Ash Ketchum hat, zippered Pokeballs and a Rattata. She has other Pokemon toys to play with as well but this and a tiny Victini from Hong Kong are the only two that will fit in the balls. She’s satisfied with that.
The hat was simply a Goodwill buy and it was actually new with tags still on for $2. I used some cheap fleece to cut a semi-circle for the front and hand-sewed it on. The C was just freestyle and very easy to do and also hand-stitched.
The Pokeballs were simple to figure out since I’d made fabric toy balls in the past. These however were lined and needed to have a zipper so that a small Pokemon toy could fit inside. I used two salvaged zippers from clothing items and cheap fleece from Walmart. As you can see, the button accents are different on the two balls because I wasn’t satisfied with how the zig-zag stitched edge of the first turned out. The black wasn’t bold enough for me so I made the second button with a black fleece backing.
Rattata was something my daughter has been asking for for two years. As far as I know, there has never been a plush Rattata toy manufactured so I resorted to altering an online pattern(found here:http://www.allcrafts.net/crochetsewingcrafts.htm?url=sewingstars.com/mousepattern.htm )to make this one. Alterations to the pattern included enlarging the ears(which I did make too big really), adding little felt claws and whiskers and freestyling the eyes to more closely resemble the Pokemon. It isn’t a fantastic facsimile but my daughter knew exactly who it was and was thrilled. That’s good enough for me.
Wonder of wonders, miracles of miracles, I finally sewed, I FINALLY sewed! Hmm, catchy.
Anyway, after moving to Colorado five months ago, I have been either too busy unpacking, changing all our important accounts over to the new state, house shopping(30+ showings with 3 kids in tow, Oy), gathering and processing loan paperwork, homeschooling 2nd and 1st graders, chasing and cleaning up after my two year old, packing again, and taking two online classes myself. I desperately wanted to sew but kept finding myself completely exhausted at every turn. I knew at some point I’d get up to the speed my life was moving and I would again have free time for crafting, even if it would be just a half hour here and there. Over the last two weeks I’ve really been finding my groove and squeaked in almost 10 hours of sewing altogether.
I’ve been working on three projects, all for the kids. Last night I completed a 3 hour over two nights project my seven year old daughter and I worked on together. She’s still intimidated by the machine and likes how fast I hand sew so she cut the pattern pieces and did the pinning and stuffing while I handled the needles. She even paid for the fabric herself at Walmart. My girl is growing up!
I used this pattern(blown up at 125% and using fleece instead of felt) to make:
Kirby is a video game character my daughter is just crazy about. She inserts him into just about every drawing she makes. Our finished toy is about 6 inches high. This was a really easy project and cheap too. 1/8 yard each of pink and red fleece would have been ample. At Walmart prices that’s about $1 in fabric. Another little way to save some money if you are making toys: use pillows instead of buying polyester fill. A $2.50 pillow is about the same weight as the craft fill bag priced at $5.
And that’s my project of the week!
I’m going to be making at least 60 of these bags for a women’s event in March. I wanted to be sure my concept size would be appropriate for holding a full sized folder, Bible, water bottle and a few personal items before I made all of them so I whipped up just one. Luckily, my prototype was perfect!
In a nutshell, I cut a long rectangle 13X36 inches. I folded the rectangle right sides together and pressed down 1/2 inch on the 13″ sides.
Then I folded it again 1 inch and pressed again. Repeated for the other 13″ side.
Now, the top part will be the casing for straps so if I was using a t-shirt I could leave the edges raw. However, this is woven cotton. So I unfolded my presses and pressed in 1/4 inch on each casing end then redid my folds so that the raw edge was hidden in the casings.
Next I stitched the casings in place. Then I stitched together the upper bag sides with my regular machine. I switched over to my serger at this point and finished the sides. After turning right side out, I stitched two dime sized circles on the bottom corners through both layers of fabric. This was stay stitching for where I threaded through the straps in the last step. Alternately an eyelet could be used but that would raise the cost and not look as “hobo” as I wanted. I used a seam ripper inside the circle to create a 1/4 inch gash. Then I cut two strips from cotton jersey, 2″ X 60″ each. T-shirts could have been recycled for this at a slightly lower cost but yardage was more convenient for making so many bags. Jersey doesn’t have to be finished and it very comfortable for weight bearing straps. Using a safety pin, I threaded one strap through one side of the casing and all the way around and out at the same side it was inserted. I did the same with the other strap on the other side. The last step was to pull the strap ends through the backpack gashes and tie knots to secure. Strap length is easily adjusted by trying on the backpack and pulling the straps to cinch. Then just retie the knots higher and trim the excess.
I will try to add pictures for these steps as I work on more bags in the next few weeks.