How to Make A Wardrobe Freshener

Last night I had a couple of friends around who wanted to learn to sew. We made up some lavender scented wardrobe fresheners because they were small enough to make up in an evening. Here is one all finished up which I used as the example:



Here is how we made them. Materials needed:

Small scrap of fabric, ribbon, buttons, heart stencil (I just drew out the shape I wanted), soft toy stuffing and lavender scented pot pourri.

IMG_0399 IMG_04001. Start off by cutting out two heart shapes from the fabric and a bit of ribbon about five inches long:



2. Lay one heart right side up.

3. Fold the ribbon in half, right side of the ribbon facing out and lay it on top of the heart with the folded part pointing towards the bottom of the heart, ensure the cut ends of the ribbon over lap the top of the heart and then pin in place:



4. Lay the second heart on top with the right side facing down (right sides together) and pin in place:

IMG_04045. Sew around the heart, leaving a one inch opening for turning the heart the right way out and stuffing:



6. Cut off the exposed ribbon so that it follows the outline shape of the heart:

IMG_04067. Now to get the curved seam to lay nice and flat we need to notch the seam. This means cutting down into the top centre of the heart (making sure not to cut the stitching):



and cutting a regular intervals around the curve of the heart:



8. Turn the heart the right way out, and press (the iron is your friend):



9. Stuff with the stuffing and potpourri, I made sure that i put in a bit of stuffing, a bit of potpourri, a bit more stuffing, some more potpourri etc. This ensured that the potpourri was evenly distributed around:



10. By hand, slip stitch the opening closed (this is where the previous step of pressing really pays off):





11. Hand sew on the button for decoration:



12. All done, admire your handiwork:





Getting Romantic at Make Lounge

Last night I attended the Valentine Craft night at Make Lounge in Islington, London. Despite my initial confusion over the change of venue (although they have moved only a few doors down the street) I had a lovely evening. I was greeted by a glass of Champagne (who doesn’t like that on a Wednesday night) and a bag containing the bits I would need to participate in the crafts on offer.

Firstly I sat down to make the bath truffles. After some careful measuring and mixing by hand, here are my finished truffles:


I next moved table and proceeded to make my Valentine card, I decided to make an origami heart and use this as the basis of my card design:


I was enjoying the paper craft so much that I thought I best decorate the envelope too:


My final two makes of the evening were a pair of glasses for tea lights, these were shockingly easy to do with a couple of Sharpie pens and glass pens:


That completed my makes for the evening, I arrived late but am pleased that I managed to have a go at all on offer. It was a lovely evening and nice to spend time with some crafty people. I spotted that they have a workshop to make Macaroons, think I might give it a try as this is one of my Make and Do aims for 2013.

Not so Quick Craft – Week Seven (Cushions for Dining Chairs)

This is my seventh quick craft, the challenge where I make something within one hour. This weeks quick craft was hit by a few hiccups including running out of materials, me resetting the stop clock by mistake and receiving a telephone call in the middle (I use my phone as the stop clock so I couldn’t stop it once I was on the phone). Anyway, I am still pleased with the outcome so I do not really mind that it all went a bit funny for the quick craft challenge.

This week I wanted to make some cushions for my dining chairs, I sit at the table for my sewing and for my study and the chairs can become uncomfortable when I am sat on them for a while. This is what my dining chairs look like:

I started of the quick craft this week as normal, by getting out all of the materials I would use and threading up my sewing machine. I used some patterned fabric, plain turquoise fabric, self cover buttons, black buttons and some washable stuffing (very important for this type of cushion as I am sure they’ll end up with food or wine on at some point). I then set the timer and got ready to start.

To start with I cut out the fabric that I would need. By ten minutes I had cut out all of the patterned fabric pieces (four circles for the self cover buttons and four squares the same size at the chair top with two adjacent curved corners) and all of the main panel pieces from the blue material, I had also cut out two of the strips for the ties meaning that I needed to cut out another six.

I then cut out the other six strips and then set to ironing the strips. I firstly folded the strip in half and pressed the seam. Next I opened it back out and folded the bottom and top edges into the middle crease and then pressed again. I then folded it in half again and then pressed, this meant that the raw edges were caught in the middle. At nearly twenty minutes I had ironed all of the eight strips.

I then used the sewing machine to sew down the edge of all of the strips. Then I laid out one of the patterned pieces right side up, laid to of the ties on top of it and then put a turquoise square on top of that (so right sides were all together). I then stitched around the edge leaving about a two inch gap for turning it back the right way out. At thirty minutes I had sewn all of the strips and done two and a half of the cushions:

Next I completed the sewing of the third cushion and the fourth cushion and then turned them all the right way out. I then started stuffing the cushions with the stuffing. At forty minutes I had managed to stuff one cushion but just as I was about to take the photograph I hit the reset but on the stop clock:

I then stuffed another two cushions which finished off the stuffing meaning that I was now down to completing three of the four today and that I would need to buy some more stuffing for the fourth. I then started to cover the buttons, just after fifty minutes I had stuffed the three cushions and covered on button:

I continued to cover the buttons and then my phone rang in the middle and I spoke to S for a while, this meant I abandoned timing (quite handy really seems as it was already obvious that I could not possibly complete the cushions within the hour). After I finished speaking to S I finished covering the buttons and then attached them to the center of the cushion on the patterned side whilst at the same time attaching a black button to the plain side. I the decided to put more stuffing into the cushions, meaning that I had two cushions fully stuffed, one part stuffed and one without stuffing, I thought that it would be best to complete the two with plenty of stuffing and then work on the other two when I have brought more. All that was left was for me to slip stitch the gap that I had used to turn the cushion the right way out.

This is the cushion on one of the chairs:

This is the cushion on the chair from the top view:

This is how the dining table now looks:

I would estimate that the completed cushions too about one hour and twenty minutes which is well over the time for quick craft, but I am pleased with the finished cushions. I will get some more stuffing soon so that I can complete the other two, two are fine for now though seems as it is just S and I.



Quick Craft Week Six (Owl Coaster)

I am currently feeling a little under the weather and have not got around to posting for a while. I have been doing some knitting because I can just pick it up and put it away again very easily. I managed to do quick craft on Thursday but did not have time to write up the post. This week I decided that I would make an owl coaster, although I am really not particularly happy with the results.

I started off by getting out all of the materials that I would need, the owl material, some wadding, embroidery floss, hand needles, blue felt and the drawing of the owl. I also threaded up my sewing machine.

I started off by cutting out a square of the the two blue felts (one bright, one navy) and a slightly smaller square from the owl material and the wadding. I then cut out the inner part of the owl from the bright blue felt and tow circles for the eyes (although I ended up not using these). At ten minutes I had reached this point:

Next I worked on sewing the feathers of the owl directly onto the owl material. (The paper owl from the picture was used as a guide and then tore the paper away when I had done the stitches). At twenty minutes it was looking like this:

I then sew the beak in the same way as the feathers and then tore away the paper. I then used a paper guide to machine stitch the outline on the own around the bright blue felt. At thirty minutes I had reached this point:

I then laid the the blue felt material onto the top of the owl material and restitched around the outline to attach the felt to the owl material. I the added some buttons for the eyes (mainly because I was unhappy with how the cut out felt eyes looked). At forty minutes I had reached this point.

I then laid the navy blue felt square, wadding and the owl on top of one another and stitched around the outside. I managed to finished the coast within forty-five minutes, but as I have said I am unhappy with how it has turned out. I had this thought that having the owl material showing through would look good but I really do not feel that it works, mainly because now enough of the owls show through. My plan for this now is to open the top seam up, put some lavender in, attach a ribbon and use it in my wardrobe. I plan to still make some owl coasters but I will do the following things differently:

1) Use different fabric (not felt) for the main part of the coaster.

2) Use felt for the all sections of the owl and applique it on.

I’ll let you know how they turn out.


Quick Craft – Week Five (Dog Themed Cushions)

This is my fifth week of quick craft, where I try to make something within an hour. Today I decided that I would make some dog themed cushions. I started off by threading up my sewing machine, setting the stopwatch and getting out my materials, this included tartan material, red material, star material (which I ended up not using), double sided fusible material, bias binding and my drawings (a bone, a paw print and and dog outline):

I started off by cutting out the paper shapes and then cutting out the material for the three cushions (13 inch square for the front and two 13 inches by 8 inches for the back – I made an envelop type cushion)  . This is what I had done at ten minutes:

I then cut out the dog shapes from the fusible interfacing and cut the dog shapes from the red material. This is what I had done at twenty minutes (some dog shapes still needed to be cut out):

I then finished cutting out the remaining dog shapes and then attached the dog shapes to the cushion fronts by ironing them onto the cushion with the fusible interfacing in between. Next  I attached the bias binding to one edge of all of the back pieces. By thirty minutes I had attached all of the shapes (waiting for stitching) and attached bias binding onto four of the six back pieces:

I completed the bias binding on the other two back pieces and then started to do the zig-zag stitching around the edge of the dog shapes. At forty minutes I had completed the paw print and started on the bone (not shown as it was in the sewing machine still):

I continued with the zig-zag stitching around the dog shapes and at fifty minutes I had completed the bone and most of the dog (again not shown as it was still attached to the sewing machine):

I then finished off the dog shape and then started to make up the cushions. I did this by laying the cushion front right side up and then laying the back pieces on top, lining up the edge without the bias binding on to the top and bottom of the cushion front. I then sew around the edge (1/2 inch in so that it ended as a 12 inch square), clipped the corner and turned the cushion the right way out. When I had finished all three I stopped the watch…it read six seconds past the hour. I think considering that I managed to make three cushions in this time it is not too bad going. This is the finished cushion set.

I am going to put these to one side, I have a plan to give them to someone as a birthday or Christmas gift, so I will keep them until then.

Quick Craft – Week Four (A t-shirt for my niece)

On the 17th March, my niece will turn nine (I can not believe that she is nine already!) so for quick craft this week I have made something for her. This is what the finished item looks like

Prior to starting I got out all of the materials that I would need, this included a white t-shirt in her size, some fabric, pink wool (it matches the hearts from the fabric), sew on velcro, stick on velcro, fabric paint, plain paper and a brush. I also had some wooden scrabble tiles.

For the first ten minutes I drew the picture of the lion (this is her favourite animal) and a speech bubble onto the plain paper (I am not particularly artistic so I traced onto the paper directly from the computer by making the image the right size, holding the paper over the screen and drawing around the edges), I then cut the pictures out to form my stencil.

I then placed a big book, wrapped in newspaper into the inside of the t-shirt (this is very important when using fabric paint because the paint does go through). I then taped the stencils into place onto the t-shirt and painted the gaps. At twenty minutes I had done the painting and carefully removed the stencil from around the lion.

Next I concentrated on the scrabble tiles to give the paint a chance to dry. I cut some of the stick on velcro into small squares and started to stick it directly onto the back of the scrabble tiles. I must be honest though due to my job I had lots of the little bits of velcro pre-cut (I make up a lot of visual communication aids which use velcro on) so I only needed to cut about fifty, this saved me tons of time and by thirty minutes I had cut out all of the squares of velcro that I needed and stuck the velcro onto the back of about half of the tiles

I then continued sticking the velcro onto the remaining tiles, when I had finished that I cut out the fabric squares for the drawstring bag, this was how it was looking at forty minutes.

Next, I cut out the sew on velcro (I had used the hook type on the back of the letters so I used loop) into three strips, one for the front of the bag and two for the t-shirt. I then attached one strip to a fabric rectangle for the bag, next I placed the fabric for the bag right sides together and sew around two long sides and one short side, clipped the corners and turned it the right way in. I then plaited three strands of wool together and knotted it at each end. This is how it was looking at fifty minutes.

Taking the drawstring bag I then folded the top over (in towards the inside) and stitched along the edge ensuring that I left enough space to tread the wool through. To put the wool through I attached a safety pin to one end and the fed it through with my fingers. All that was left was to sew the velcro onto the t-shirt within the speech bubble, the gift was then finished. I finished it nearly three minutes after the hour, so it overran a little bit.

This is the t-shirt with the letters bag.

I am visiting my family at the weekend so will hand it to my sister to give to my niece on her birthday, hopefully she will like it. I decided to do a t-shirt like this because she has always enjoyed words and can now make her own messages.

Quick Craft – Week Three

I had originally planned to make my niece’s birthday gift today as part of quick craft, however part of the material has not arrived yet so it will have to wait until next week. I have therefore made myself a case for my glasses today. I started off by getting out all of my materials: cotton patterned material, blue felt, double sided fusible facing, extra firm interfacing, a button and my stop watch. I also threaded up my sewing machine with blue cotton and set the ironing board up.

Ten minutes in an I had managed to cut out all of the material that I would need for the project this included two rectangles from the cotton fabric, two rectangles from the blue felt, a small blue square, a felt “J” (the first letter of my name), two rectangles of the firm interfacing (slightly smaller than the cotton and felt rectangles) and a “J” and square (same size as the blue square) from the double sided facing.

I attached the “J” to the blue square with the fusible facing in between and then attached the blue square with the “J” to one of the cotton rectangles. I then zigzagged stitched around the edge of the blue square and the “J”. Next I placed the two cotton rectangles right side together and attached them with a straight stitch around three edges (two side and bottom). This is how it was looking twenty minutes in.

I then placed the two felt rectangles together and stitched around three edges (two long and one short). I then basted the extra firm interfacing onto the felt (wrong side). Next I placed the felt and the cotton right side together and stitched around the top edge, leaving a gap to turn it back the right way (this gap needed to be quite wide because the extra firm interfacing in not good at going through tight spaces). I then turned it back the right way around, tucking the felt lining into the cotton and ensured the that corners were turned out. I then pressed it flat (on the back because the felt would stick to the iron) and then top stitched around the top, closing the gap for turning as I went. This is how it was looking at thirty minutes.

I then added a button hole to the center of the front top edge and sew a button on for closing. The case was then finished.

This was an unbelievably fast project taking just under thirty-eight minutes. I now have somewhere safe to keep my glasses and the extra firm interfacing in the project means that they will be protected in my handbag. This is the case with my glasses in

I then decided that I would make some cakes seems as I had more time left than I expected.

For next week’s quick craft my material for my niece’s birthday gift should have arrived.

Quick Craft – Week Two

Today I work on my second quick craft. In March I am going to an event where I have to dress smartly so i have decided that I will wear my royal blue dress, yellow tight and a necklace that I made before. This is the necklace:

So today for quick craft I decided that I would make myself a bracelet to go with the outfit. Prior to starting I got out the materials (a selection of buttons, ribbon, needle, tread, fabric glue, needle, scissors, self cover buttons, material and most importantly a bracelet that I do not wear)  that I would need and set my stop watch.

I started by wrapping the ribbon around the bracelet and then fixed the end with a small amount of fabric glue. I then cut out a length of felt and glued this to the inside of the bracelet. At the ten minute point I had reached this point and also cut out the template for the fabric for the self cover buttons.

I then cut out two circles of the fabric for the self cover buttons and did a running stitch around the edge of the circle to cover the buttons. By twenty minutes I had covered one button and done the stitches around the edge of the circle for the second button

I completed the covering of the second button and then started to sew the buttons onto the bangle by hand. This is how it was looking at thirty minutes

And this is how it was looking at forty minutes

I then decided that I was not happy with how it was looking so I took off all of the buttons apart from the big blue one with the small yellow one on top. I then carried on sewing buttons on. This is how it was looking at fifty minutes

This is how it was looking at fifty minutes from the other side

I then added the last button and it was finished at just under fifty-three minutes, well within time (obviously it would have been loads faster if I had not changed my mind half way through)

This is the bracelet with the necklace

I am pleased that I decided to take off the other buttons, I think keeping the design simple worked so much better and I think it will work well with the dress.

For quick craft next week I will be making a birthday gift for my niece who will turn nine on 17th March.

Quick Craft – Week One

Today I started my first ever quick craft, this had a couple of advantages; firstly it was nice and easy to fit it into my study day without it impacting too much and secondly I had half a chance of completely finishing it.

Today I worked on a Pac-Man inspired book mark for S. Prior to starting I got out all of the materials I would need.

This included some blue cotton material, 14 count aida, embroidery floss, needle, fusible fleece and the stop watch on my phone. I also threaded up my sewing machine and set up the ironing board.

After ten minutes this is how far I had got, I had cut out two pieces of the blue fabric and one piece of the fusible fleece. I ironed the fabric and then attached the fleece whilst I had the iron on. I had also managed to cut out three pieces of the aida and sewn four rows of the pac man (cross stitch)

After twenty minutes I had completed the pac- man and started the blue ghost (see below)

After thirty minutes the blue ghost was completely finished and the pink ghost was started (needle threaded and two stitches done)

At forty minutes all cross stitching was completed and I had placed them onto the material that did not have the fusible fleece attached ready for sewing on.

At fifty minutes I had sewn on the ink ghost, pac man and about 3/4 of the blue ghost. I used a simple blanket stitch to do this.

At sixty minutes, it was not complete. I had completed the sewing on of the blue ghost, then placed the two pieces of material right sides together and attached them on the sewing machine with a straight stitch, clipped the corners and turned it the right way out

I then pressed it and then top stitched the whole way around which also closed the seam

The project over ran by nearly three minutes. I also wished that I had placed the ghosts and pac man on the vertical as opposed to the horizontal, although I am pleased with how the ghosts and pac man came out (I designed them by counting the pixels from a still shot of the game and I think pixels work very well for cross stitch).