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Thank you for visiting my blog and allowing me to share my thoughts and pictures with you. You will find entries on a number of topics, including sewing and cooking and life in general. I have also attempted to create some useful resources in the form of recipes and sewing tutorials.

There will also be occasional guest bloggers.

I look forward to hearing your comments.

Whilst you're here, why not visit my shop which offers unique, handmade (by me) ladies bags & accessories and children's clothing ?  Thank you !

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Category: Tutorials

  1. Easy pattern free PJ pants for all ages

    Posted on

    Sorry, it's been ages since my last blog, but the past few months have been hectic with work and lots of Christmas sewing, and rather marred by a traumatic experience with a tooth abscess ( me), tonsilitis (Mr Stickytarts) and the death of our cat Amber.

    I have been sewing Pj/lounge pants for a while now - for myself, friends, my dad and Mr Stickytarts. They really are easy and once you get a hang of it can be completed in about 1 1/2 hours (yes really). No pattern is required and they can be made in any fabric that drapes well, ranging from flannels, to midweight cottons and even interior weight furnishing fabrics.

    The 3yr old LOVES PJs and if we let him would spend his life in them. I have been meaning to make him a pair for ages, and yesterday whilst he was watching Monsters Inc. (93 minutes long, so perfect), I was rummaging through my fabric remnants and found two that I knew he would love. Neither was big enough to make a pair of PJ pants, but I had enough for one leg in each fabric - so these are the Mr Tumble/Dinosaur pants, and  how to make your own PJ  pants.

    Running away   3yr old was not keen on having his picture taken

    MATERIALS

    • 1 x pair of well fitting PJ pants from the recipient
    • Enough fabric to be able to draw around the pants FOUR times when folded in half, with a 1" seam allowance round the sides & 3" allowance top and bottom. 
    • Matching thread.
    • Length of 5mm or 7mm elastic approx 1 1/2 times recipient's waist measurement
    • Sewing machine
    • Fabric pen/chalk
    • Fabric scissors
    • Embroidery scissors or similar
    • Ruler
    • Iron
    • Bodkin or large safety pin

    MAKE IT !

    Sketching round
    • Fold the PJ pants in half & lay out on the wrong side of your fabric, ensuring you follow the direction of the fabric.
    • Sketch a line around the pants which is 1” from the sides, but 3” from the top and bottom.  I have given an example of this on the left hand side of this picture. Remember to fully stretch out the waistband of the pants before sketching round it. This is easier with the help of another person. 
    • Cut out ( this will now be called part A)
    • Use part A as a template and cut out another part  (B) in the same way.
    • Now flip over piece A and cut out 2 more parts (C & D).
    pattern piece a

     

     

    sewing together leg

     

      • With right sides together, sew together the long straight sides of parts A & C with a ½” seam allowance.  This is now part 1.
      • Sew together the other side, but ONLY up to were the crotch curve starts ( I have marked this with a fabric marker on the picture).
      • Repeat above steps with parts B&D. This is now part 2.
      • Zig zag stitch all round the seams you have just sewn together to stop the fabric from fraying.
      • Turn part 2 right side out.

     

     

     

     

     

    • Tuck part 2 into part 1 so right sides are facing.
    • Sew together the two seams marked with arrows.
    • Zig zag stitch the seams you have just sewn.
    • Turn right way out.
    • THE HARDEST PART IS NOW DONE.

     

    sewing legs together  basic pants

     

    • Round up the intended recipient. Hopefully you will find this easier than I did, as my 3yr old kept shouting “Too big, too big” and running away.
    • Get recipient to put on pants. Measure where the waist should be. It should be 3” from the top as this is the extra you added to the original pants. However, this is where you can make fine adjustments if you want and alter the height of the waist.
    • Turn pants inside out.
    • Make casing in same way as the hemming stage ( see picture below). Each turn should be 1”, BUT if you have decided on a different measurement earlier, simply divide this by three and that gives you the correct measurement.waist
    • Secure casing by sewing it to the pant about ¼” from the bottom of the turn. Make sure you don’t go all the way round and leave 2” unsewn as this is where you will insert elastic.
    • Thread your bodkin  with , or secure large safety pin on, the elastic. Feed through casing. Turn pants right way out.
    • Recapture recipient.
    • Adjust elastic until recipient feels there is a snug but not too tight fit, tie a knot.
    • Now measure how much the legs need taking up. This should be 3”, but again you may make adjustments here.
    • Sew shut casing.
    • Turn pants inside out.
    turning up legs combo
    • Mark 1” from the bottom of trouser leg ( or use your adjusted measurement as discussed above), make first turn on this line.  Press into place. Turn over again. Press.
    • Secure hem to trouser leg, by sewing a seam about ¼” down from the top of the hem.
    • Go round all the seams and snip off any stray threads with the embroidery scissors.
    • Turn right side out.

    Recapture recipient to prove to him/her how marvellous the fit is - even if they frantically try and get away from you and refuse to have their picture taken.

    pyjama pants combo

    There is just enough time before Christmas to make one or two of these PJ pants before the big day - so I hope you find this tutorial useful. Please remember, especially when making these for children, that some materials are flammable ( e.g. the cotton I have used here ) and as such care must be taken with open flames or sources of ignition.

    Please do not reproduce this tutorial or parts of it in any way. Instead, if you would like to refer to it, please link to this page. Thank you. Here is wishing you a happy and peaceful Christmas !

  2. How to make an iPhone/anyphone pouch

    Posted on

    This is my first sewing tutorial so please be gentle. I am an entirely self taught stitcher, so some of my terminology might be a bit odd or I might do things in an unconventional way. I don't know - you be the judge. My aim is to make this tutorial as simple to follow as possible and inspire others to make this :

    finished 400 x 400

    'This' being a padded pouch that perfectly fits an iphone, or indeed anyphone with a standard cover ( a Nokia E6 in this case ). It's a snug fit so the phone won't fall out, and it will prevent it from becoming scratched or damaged.

    This being the last week of my Summer holidays ( I am a teacher in real life )- the offspring and I spent the morning wandering round the village, and then had a lovely "ladies that lunch" meeting with my good friend H who is currently on maternity leave.

    All this activity made the 3 year old very tired and as he retired for a deserved nap,  my plans for sorting out the garden were scuppered by heavy rain. So I thought I would sew a pouch and write an accompanying tutorial.

    wet day 400 x 400

    ANYWAY, you came here for the tutorial not to hear me rambling, so here it goes.

    Materials : 

    • materials 400 x 4002 x outer fabric 6" x 4 1/8" ( the 1/8 is actually important !)
    • 1 x outer fabric, measuring between 2 1/2" - 3" x 2 - 2 3/4" (depends how fat you want your tab to be)
    • 2 x lining fabric 6" x 4 1/8" ( I chose calico, excuse the creasing, not properly ironed yet)
    • 2 x medium iron on interfacing 6" x 4 1/8" (not needed if using interior weight outer fabric)
    • 2 x wadding ( I chose 2oz polyester ) 5 1/2 x 3 3/4"
    • 1 x swivel hook with key ring attachment

     

     

     

    Step 1 - pin the outer fabric pieces with right sides facing together ( that is the sides that you will eventually see facing each other ). Sew together at one short side using a narrow seam 0.2" seam - dunno what that is as a fraction. Do the same with the lining fabric.

    Step 2 - with the right side facing away from you, steam open the seams on the now continuous outer fabric piece. If this is difficult, just iron the seams to one side. Do the same with the lining piece.

    Step 3 - with the right side facing away from you, iron on the interfacing ( if using ) according to the manufacturers instructions. Basically, this means make sure the shiny or knobbly side is facing the fabric, and then iron on with plenty of steam. To avoid creases it is best to use pressing motion rather than an ironing one. Check there are  no creases by turning over the piece of fabric and having a look. If there are, try your best to iron them out ( ha ha, see what I did there ?).

    Step 4 - make your tab. Turn down the steam on your iron, otherwise, you WILL burn your fingers. I know 'coz I have done it. Fold the tab in half with long sides meeting. Press. Open up the tab, fold one side to the middle and press, like this :

    tab 400 x 400 half done

    Do the same with the other side. Then fold in half again ( you should now have a four layer piece of fabric ) and press.

    Set your machine to a stitch lengths of about 2 - 2.2 and stitch as closely to the edge as possible to secure the tab. This can be difficult and fiddly ! You may have to cut another tab, and start again - it's happened to me...

    tab sewing 400 x 400

    Step 5 - layer your fabrics together in the following way : outer piece with wrong side facing down ( that is the side you will never see again once everything is finished ), top this with lining with right side facing down, top this with the wadding which you should centre on the sandwich. Pin. It should look like this :

    layers

    Step 6 - Because it is easier, turn over the sandwich, and sew together one short side, one long side, and one long side leaving a 2 1/2" gap for turning as indicated by the pins in the picture below. Backstitch at the beginnings and ends. Use a 3/8" seam allowance. 

    almost sewn 400 x 400

    Step 7 - Fold your tab in half and insert, with unfinished edges facing outwards, where I have drawn the arrow on the above pic on the right hand short side. This is the middle of that side.  Line up with fabric edges. Sew a seam across this side as above. Clip the corners.clipped corners


    Step 8 -  Remove all pins, as otherwise this could be painful, and turn right side out through the gap you have left, and poke out the corners with a pointy object. I use "that purple thang" which can be purchased for a reasonable £2.95 at U-Handbags. At this point everything will look rather creased and horrible. Fear not !

    crumped purple thingy 400 x 400

    Step 9 - iron on low 'coz otherwise the fleece will melt, ensuring that you turn in neatly the seam allowances in the gap you left for turning. Hurray, everything will be nice and neat now.

    all better 400 x 400

    Step 10 - Increase your stitch length to 2.4 - 2. 6, top stitch both short sides using a narrow 0.2" seam, backstitching at both ends.

    top stitch top 400 x 400

    Step 11 - (almost there). Fold the cover in half, with right sides of outer fabric facing out, pin together as accurately as possible, and then sew up the two long sides using a 0.2" seam, back stitching at the beginning and the end. This can be difficult, and you may have to undo a seam if it goes wonky and start again. This too has happened to me.

    sew together 400 x 400

    Step 12 - attach your keyring and lobster swivel clasp, and you are finished. Time for that G&T :).

    finished 400 x 400

    I hope you enjoy making this phone pouch and would love to see pics :). Comments are also welcome, even if it is just to inform me of an unclear step or error. Please only use this pattern/tutorial to make pouches for your personal use and not for commercial gain, as it took time and effort to come up with both. If you do wish to make reference to this tutorial, please link to it here on my website. Finally, if you have read the tutorial, but don't fancy giving it a go, come and buy a pouch in my shop !