An evening of craftiness

“handmade presents”

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I usually consider my main craftiness to lie in the realm of sewing and textiles. This weekend though I had a friend’s birthday to attend and the jewelry making bug got me. I got to making while inspiration was high and here is what I made:
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evening of craftiness_earrings
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evening of craftiness_bracelet
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Hardly any tools or space are required making this a great portable project. Although (based on the amount of small beads that were lost in the shag pile carpet I was sitting on whilst making these) I would advise a bowl or tray to work over.
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Tools & supplies used

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evening of craftiness_tools

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  • round nosed pliers
  • wire cutters
  • stretch cord for bracelet (thickness and colour will depend on the project you are working on – the thicker the cord the stronger the bracelet but the larger the hole in the beads needs to be)
  • earring findings (style to suit you. would work equally well for non-pieced earring clasps)
  • selection of beads – variety of colours and sizes
  • aluminum crimps (check out your local fishing supplies store – I find crimps great as they seem to hold more securely than many other methods I’ve tried for elasticated bracelets and it’s quick and easy)
  • head pin and eye pin findings – I used a selection for the earring design
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It turns out my friend had indicated to her family she would appreciate jewelry for her birthday. Seems I was on the right wavelength when I got that buzz of inspiration and was glad the earrings and bracelet were well received.
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Fun Recycled T-shirt Pillow

“more ideas for those old tshirts lying in the back of your cupboard”

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old-tshirt-pillow-side-one

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Construction
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I’ve had some much loved old tshirts in my collection of sewing materials for some time now. They shrunk a little too much to be worn but the design is still in really good shape.
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In the past I would often feel compelled to give such items, with life left in them, to charity so someone else could enjoy the item. However I also enjoy re-purposing and recycling items so I saw the chance to create a fun pillow from these old tshirts that would give them a new lease on life.
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old-tshirts

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Mark out the pillow shape to encompass the existing design. To quickly mark out the other side use the first one cut to mark the other half.
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cutting-out-tshirt-pillow

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old-tshirt-pieces-cut-out-for-pillow

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Place the pieces together design side inward and sew around the edges. Leave a small opening to fill the cushion. Once filled zigzag the ide with a hole closed. As a design feature I chose to zigzag stitch two sides as a finishing touch. I also chose not to leave an opening for cleaning as I felt the whole pillow can be washed including the innards.
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An alternative to the method I used here would be to add a zipper and or buttons to allow a store bought pillow to be added. I had a large European sized pillow I was no longer using that I have been progressively pulling the stuffing out of and reusing.
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If you favourite tshirt is so well loved it has holes in it consider adding another layer using  a plain tshirt and allow the holes to be a design feature.
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Completed
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Here is my completed tshirt pillow – front and back. What do you think?
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old-tshirt-pillow-other-side

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old-tshirt-pillow-side-one

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Conquering Zippers

“about finishing projects and (mostly) conquering zippers”

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skirt front

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Over the years I have found numerous work-arounds or ways of avoiding zippers. If I had no other option I often resorted to hand sewing as I tend to find I can work more slowly and accurately this way.
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Often when working on a sewing project I get such a buzz to see the end result that when using a sewing machine I tend to race through the project with a view to getting to the end result. When it comes to zippers my technique is just hasn’t been there and the results have always been frustrating. Not matching up to the image I have in my head.
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So I figured it was about time I address this and spent some time learning how to finally conquer zippers even if it means sewing zipper after zipper and unpicking the failures until I get there. As a start point I thought I’d turn to the many talented sewers sharing techniques online to see if perhaps I had been missing some crucial knack.
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One post I discovered in my search stood out and I’m excited to try this particular technique. Melissa’s guest post on Keeping it simple titled ‘zippers unzipped‘ outlines a technique that struck a cord in it’s simplicity and in that it addresses a major issue I always encounter of ensuring the zipper is even fitted and sewn.
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I have a skirt that has been sitting there waiting to be finished. Awaiting only a zipper installation to finish. This struck me as the best time to test out this technique and hopefully finish my skirt. I’ve also been wanting to wear the resulting skirt and determinedly avoiding purchasing one instead.
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The time has come to finally conquer zippers head on and enjoy the satisfaction that comes from achieving a goal or two. So an afternoon later and the skirt is done and zippers mostly conquered (a little more practice required for the perfect finish). Here are some photos of the completed skirt:
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skirt front

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skirt front detail

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skirt back

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skirt back detail

 
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A growing group of toys

“and a happy inner child”

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hand crafted toys_recent additions

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Every time over the last week I’ve sat down to write a blog post I seem to have been waylaid creating more toys. My boyfriend seems to have a permanent bemused expression whenever I say “I’ve just finished another one!”. And as I sit back to finally write some blog posts for this week I note that it’s getting a little crowded on the couch arm wrest.
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toys_the growing collection

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Jumper monkey

“jumpers vs. socks”

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My latest crafty creation is a monkey toy made out of an old jumper.
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jumper monkey1

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I was rather taken with the sock monkey design from craft passion but didn’t have any socks that would suit so I went rummaging around my craft supplies and decided on an old jumper:
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jumper monkey step 1

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Following the general design in craft passion’s post I created my monkey toy. I felt he was a little plain and after an inspiring chat with my neighbour decided some clothing was required. So taking yet another old tshirt (I seem to have a lot of those laying about) I crafted a small tshirt for the monkey.
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jumper monkey tshirt sizing

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jumper monkey tshirt top

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jumper monkey and mini tshirt cut out

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Here is the finished monkey toy:
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jumper monkey2

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Duck Feet Booties – free sewing pattern

“still infant sized … for now … adult sized pattern coming soon”

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prime-in-booties

(Photo – Booties modelled by Optimus in absence of a little person. I’ll post pictures of finished booties on friend’s baby soon.)
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I’ve been wanting to create a pattern in a format that others can hopefully follow for some time now. My mission over the Easter long weekend was to take the knitted duck feet bootie design idea and turn it into a sewing pattern. It has been a super enjoyable process and I really hope you all enjoy the result.
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The pattern is freely available for non-commercial use so have fun crafting. I only ask you follow the sharing instructions I’ve included in the pdf.
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So without further ado you can download the pattern by clicking on the image below:
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duck-feet-booties-pattern

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The fabric I used is a viscose mix I believe as I couldn’t locate felt in a good colour. Felt would work really well though and would make seams much easier to finish nicely.
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As for embellishments, we (myself and friends) felt the booties were good as they were but you could embellish them further. I had initially considered adding stitching to show webbing. I also briefly day dreamed about making felt from scratch to ensure I got the texture and colour just so (something I’ve done before and the texture would be amazing but it does take a lot of time).
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Please let me know your feedback on the pattern and send me pics of what you create.
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Sophie Digard

“An unexpected encounter that lead to discovering the designs of Sophie Digard”

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sophie digard - h3409LYS-purple

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An almost dead mobile phone battery and embracing ‘being in the moment’ lead me to discover the designs of Sophie Digard. A woman opposite me on a Melbourne tram heading into the CBD was wearing a lovely example of Sophie’s work. I was intrigued after I realised the beautiful scarf was probably the finest crochet I’ve ever seen.
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I got chatting to the woman on the tram and learnt the scarf was designed by Sophie Digard. After some googling I noticed I’m certainly not alone in loving Sophie’s designs. I was also pleasantly surprised to learn that Sophie appears to commission Bosnian Handicrafts to produce her designs. Bosnian Handicrafts trains and employs female refugees displaced by the Bosnian war.
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Sophie Digard is hard to track down which is surprising in a modern world where everyone seems to have a web presence. Here are some of my favourite links I discovered whilst searching for the allusive Sophie:
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I hope you enjoy her inspiring work as much as I have and if someone can point me to her website or more details about Sophie Digard I would love to hear from you.
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