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DIY – All natural heating pad

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Did you know that heating pads are CRAZY easy to make by yourself? You can do them in any size you want and using any scraps of fabric you might have lying around, even old and broken clothes, which is why this project is perfect for recycling. You could also make very small ones for you children and have them decorate them with textile pens. Any kid will love a warm little bag on their bellies before bed time, especially if they helped making it.

Here is my version of a microwaveable rice (sweet lavender-smelling) heating pad that you can use for your neck, belly, leg or head! Or just to cuddle with 😉 Heat it up by putting it in the microwave oven for about 5 min on full speed.

 

 

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What you’ll need:

 

* Cotton or linen fabric (if you use anything else, it might melt!)
* 1 kg – 2,2 pounds- of any kind of rice from the supermarket
* matching thread
* sewing machine
* scissors
* lavender oil (optional)

 

 

How to do it:

 

1. Iron your chosen fabric. Cut out as much as you need, following the grain line of the fabric. A good size to start with could be 20×40 cm (7″8 x 15″7).

 

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2. Fold the fabric right side to right side and pin the edges. Leave an opening of about 10 cm (4″) on the short side. (I always mark out my openings with double pins so that I don’t miss them 😉 )

 

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3. Stitch around (remember to leave the opening open!) with normal straight seam, about 1 cm from the edge. Zig zag the edges. (again, not on the opening!)

 

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4. Get help from someone to fill the pad with rice (my daughter is always my extra hand!). A good trick is to “hook hold” the opening with your fingers and then carefully pour in about one kilogram of rice (2,2 pounds). If you want to add lavender oil, now is a good time to do it. A few drops will be enough. Drop the oil into the rice, close the opening with your hand and shake so that the rice will mix with the oil.

 

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5. Close the opening: Fold down the seam allowings of the opening with an iron or with your fingers and pin the edge nice and neat. Stitch on top of the pad, from the right side with a normal straight seam, about 3-5 mm (0,2″) from the edge.
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Finished! Now you can go and warm up that aching belly of yours. Good luck!


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DIY – Easy made fabric and wood shelf

shelf

I desperately needed a new shelf for our bathroom a few weeks ago: I had a piece of wood, but nothing to hang it on. I went up to my studio and grabbed some left over fabric, sewed together a double layer and added a button hole in the centre of each end. I hung the fabric bands on two screws in the awl and balanced the wood shelf/ plank in between. Easy peasy and endless design choices: old clothes, old curtains, leather, fabric scraps …


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Apan’s new school bag

 

My son loves his monkey, Apan. He takes him along absolutely everywhere. We’ve already lost him so many times, but somehow we always find him back. Actually, it’s quite funny to watch them together: my son only uses one hand. The other one is always busy holding Apan. Sometimes he needs both his hands, but he never puts Apan away, instead he keeps him neatly under his arm until his hand is free again.

This has been fine until now: he refuses to let go of a red race car which is now occupying the only free hand he has. This was also ok, but as he has to put one of his beloved friends away, lately, it is often the race car that disappears.

Today I came up with a clever idea to keep them both together and to give my son back his free hand: I made Apan a little blue school bag! Now Apan will be the one carrying around the little race car instead and hopefully we can have peace at home again. (If you don’t have kids this might not seem like such a big deal, but trust me: bedtime, food time, toilet time, any time without these beloved items is impossible and leads to a lot of sadness… Luckily kids change and this chasing after favourites will be over one day, but I know from older siblings that I will miss the chasing.)


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DIY – Moon pillow

 

I can look at the moon forever. I love the surface: how it’s been beaten up and scared over time … it’s a great pattern to duplicate as a print on fabric: all you need is something round to print with, a plain pillow case and some white textile color.

 

What you’ll need:

– a plain pillow case in a darker color (brown, black, blue, dark grey – all will do well as the night sky)

– fillings ( I always use left overs from my fabric waste basket, see this post: http://raori.blogspot.be/2013/06/storage-inspiration-in-my-studio.html

– White screen print color

– a plastic lid to print with (I used an 8 cm wide lid for a toilet cleaning flask!)

– thick paper or cardboard (to help avoid the color going through to the other side)

 

How to do it:

1. Start by ironing your fabric / pillow case.

2. Put the paper/ cardboard inside the case, lay down your project on a working surface and make sure the whole thing is lying flat.

3. Decide your pattern: diagonally, next to each other, in rows … you can use a fabric chalk or marker to guide you when printing if you don’t want to “eye it”.

4. Most of the time, textile print color comes in a small and handy bucket. If it doesn’t, pour some color out on a plate or in a small bowl and start printing by dipping your plastic lid in the color, try to get the color surface as un-even as possible – lumps and thicker areas will form “the craters” of the moon. Alternatively, you can put something un-even inside, like that when you print, the color will not print the entire area and leave some parts of your moons un-printed. Just make sure the fabric is without pleats- the moon is certainly not striped, which will happen if your fabric is folded.

5. Put your project away to let it dry for a while, 4-5 hours should do it.

6. Fabric color is washable unless ironed, so make your color permanent by ironing it all over as hot as possible. Avoid steam.

7. Once dried and ironed, start filling the pillow with all your old socks (washed) and cut to pieces, your fabric left overs, your old threads, your overlocked cut-aways etc. Or you can just buy fillings (the one that looks like synthetic cotton) in any fabric store.

 

To make your own pillow case, please follow this simple guide.


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DIY – pajama set from daddy’s old t-shirt




I never see the point of throwing away clothes. Giving them away- that’s different; if you have discarded clothes, clean and whole, which can be used by someone else, than it doesn’t make sense to cut it into pieces. If however, there is just a small hole, a stain somewhere or just a worn out fabric, then there is still so much you can do with it! 

Here is one of my favorites: a DIY pajama set from daddy’s old t-shirt! Your kid will love it- not only will he look like a mini-papa in his new pajama, but he will spend the night smelling the scent of daddy 🙂 This pajama is very easy to make, just follow me step-by-step and you’ll be done in no time. Let’s go!

– – –
 How to make it:

1. Take your kid’s jersey pants, fold them in two like on the picture and put them on the sleeve of daddy’s tee (from now on called “DT” !!) The end of the DT sleeve becomes the leg opening of the pajama pants (“PP”) and the bicep area becomes the crotch of the PP.

Draw around the folded crotch with a pen, on the sleeve of DT. Cut out. You should now have two pieces like this:

– – –

2. Now put one leg inside the other leg – right side to right side! Pin from the top edge all the way around.




3. Stitch together with a thin zig zag (normal zig zag, but decrease the width a little). You can check out my tutorial on how to sew in jersey to find out more.

4. The last step of the pants, is to fold down the top (the waist) to make a channel for the elastic band. Pin down the fold to around 3-4 cm and stitch with zig zag a presser foot width from the end. Leave an opening to insert the elastic band!

5. Attach the elastic band to the safety pin and insert it into the channel. Grab both ends and zig zag them together on the machine, securing it by sewing back and forth a couple of times. You can also tie them together, but it’s not so nice to sleep on a knot, I think … Anyway, pants are done! Let’s continue with the t-shirt.

– – –

1. The lay out of the Pajama tee (PT) will look like this on DT. The dark blue center part of DT will be the body of the PT and the side of DT will be the sleeves of the PT. Get it?

Mark out with a pen along the lines of the shoulders, the neck and the side seams of the PT.

2. For the armhole of the PT, lift carefully without moving anything else, and draw along the armhole seam of your kid’s t-shirt. Don’t cut yet!

3. Now, let’s move your kid’s t-shirt and place it like this on DT. Lift up the sleeve to draw out the sleeve head, following the seam of your kid’s t-shirt. Do the same on the other side, using the cut out sleeve as a pattern if you want. Go ahead and cut the rest.

– – –

4. Let’s do the neckline prettier … The front neck should be cut deeper than the back neck, so let’s cut down about 3 cm in the middle of the front neck, center front = CF, and mark out a nice curved line like above. Cut along the marked line, only on the front neck.
5. Now measure the total of the neckline.

6. Mark out a rectangular piece with the measurement of the neckline, width about 4 cm. Cut it out, you only need one piece.

7. Here are your pattern pieces! Let’s put it together and finish this thing.
8. Put together the body, right side to right side (check the already finished hem on DT for the right side). Stitch the shoulders together with zig zag.
9. We will put the sleeves on like above, so open the body with the right side up.

10. Pin the sleeve head on to the armhole. There is some twisting and pulling here, but start by putting together the center top of the sleeve head with the just made shoulder seam, and then move on to the end of the armhole /sleeve crown. Pin down the whole thing, the other side too and stitch it with zig zag. When you’re done it should look like below picture.

11. Side seams: Fold the sweater by the shoulder seam and pin together on the inside of the sleeve, making a curve in the armhole (match up the seams!) and continue down to the end hem of the PT. Same on the other side seam/ inside sleeve. Sew with zig zag.

12. Last thing now… The neckband. Grab the neck band, right side to right side and pin on the edge. Make the neck band to a circle by securing the end with zig zag. Just sew over the pins 1 cm in.

13. Iron the neckband wrong side to wrong side, making sure that the edges match up.

14. Pin down the neck band right side to right side on the neckline. Stitch 1 cm from the edge with zig zag. Take away the pins and iron the neckband so that it stands up over the neck line. You are done!! Well done, that was pretty easy, right?
Emil’s new pyjamas!


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DIY – EASY pillow case

A pillow can change so much in a room or on a sofa or chair. Why not use this super easy tutorial to re-make your bed? All you need is imagination and a little bit of fabric.
What you will need:
How to make the pillow case:
First, let’s look at how a standard pillow case is put together. A pillow case is basically just a rectangle piece of fabric with following dimensions: the width is the width of the pillow plus seam allowance (1,5 cm on each side = 3 cm). The length of the fabric is the height of the pillow x 2 sides (front and back) plus the pocket where we hide /tuck in the pillow, plus seam allowance 1,5 cm + 1,5 cm.
My pillow is 60 cm x 60 cm, so my rectangular piece of fabric measures:
width: 63 cm (60 + 1,5 + 1,5 cm)
height: 143 cm (60 + 60 + 1,5 + 1,5 + pocket 20 cm)
Very convenient as fabric on rolls often measure 150 cm, so if you stick to this formula, it will be easy to calculate the amount of fabric you need to buy. For a standard sleeping pillow (40 x 60 cm) you only need to buy the width measurement 40 cm plus seam allowance. So for 1 meter of fabric on 150 cm width, you get two pillows!
This is how we will put the pillow case together: right side to right side and the pocket folded back over the wrong side.
 
 
 
 
1. Start by sewing a zigzag on all edges that needs it (that is, not if you have a closed woven side, like above).
2. Fold down the short edge (the width edge) and pin it. Stitch with a straight seam (don’t forget to secure it with a back stitch in the beginning and the end!). Iron flat.
3. Now, let’s fold the fabric like the picture shows above; right side to right side and the pocket folded back over the wrong side. Don’t overlap the pocket fold, it should be folded back onto the same side. Stitch with a straight seam, 1,5 cm from the edge. Secure in the beginning and the end.
4. Almost done (I told you it was easy!!) Iron the side seams open and turn the pillow case inside out. That’s it.
Now stuff that old ugly pillow in there and go and find a pretty place to put it 🙂


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DIY – Comfy fabric slippers

I live in a country where people walk in with their shoes on! After five years in Belgium, I still haven’t adjusted to this habit. I come from Sweden and later I lived in Japan- people in the Nordic countries take their shoes off by the front door, so do the Japanese. For me; outside is outside and inside is inside. I don’t want the dirty ground outside on my floors and Belgian streets are d.i.r.t.y! Dog shit on the side walks, the garbage is left in bags on the streets where we walk and the bags often break so people walk in the garbage! Plus it rains constantly here, so what people actually bring in to my house on their feet is too awful for me to think about. We walk around in slippers or socks in our house. We have a basket of socks for visitors, but I don’t always dare to ask them to take their shoes off… Anyway, these slippers are so easy to make, and really cute! Once you’ve gotten the hang of how to make the pattern and how to put them together, you’ll have an entire basket full of them to give your own guests when they enter your house. Good luck!
 
 
 
What you will need:
* pattern paper
* pen
* an insole or ONE old slipper (for your foot shape) you will mirror it for a left and right foot.
* measuring tape
* sewing machine
* ruler
* outside fabric
* inside fabric
* some sort of padding; fleece or thick wool for example
How to make them:
 
 
Step one. Pattern.
1. First thing to do is to copy the base of some old slippers or an insole in one of your shoes (OR you can just draw your foot and calculate the pattern based on the measurements I show you here). This will be your sole pattern piece- the bottom.
2. Now we measure to make the top pattern piece: The top of my slipper is 8 cm and then 8 cm across, leaving a rectangular opening for the foot. Let’s move the measurements over to our bottom pattern piece. First, draw a line in the middle of the sole, splitting the sole in two parts, as centered as you can (as my old pattern-cutting professor used to say: “it’s not rocket science!”). Then draw the above measurement, 8x8cm dividing it around “the center line” or the grain line. We draw all this ON the bottom pattern piece, but that’s ok, we will copy them later! So far, what we’re doing now is called a master draft.
 
3. Next step is to measure the width of the top pattern piece. On the side of the slipper, I measured 3 cm from the sole to the opening around the phalanges. So we add 3 cm straight out on both sides and draw a nice curve from the center front (CF) to the phalanges (see the blue line above).
4. Next we measure the heel, in my case 6 cm. Then measure the length of the top pattern piece: measure from the center front (CF) to the center back (CB) of the sole and note down the measurement (here 31,5 cm for the outside of the foot and 32 cm for the inside). Draw support lines for the rectangular opening straight down, evenly along the line in the middle of the sole. Measure out from the phalanges, the length of the sides (31,5 cm and 32 cm) and draw out in an angle until you have an end piece of 6 cm (the heel). Always draw ends in an angle, that will avoid getting ugly points where to pieces have been stitched together.
 
 
 
voila! Our “masterdraft” 🙂 As you can see you can really just measure on your own foot (or Grandpa’s) and use the same calculations as I have shown here.
5. Ok, next and final step! Let’s make the real pattern pieces that you can use for slipper, after slipper, after slipper, after slipper….
sole pattern piece- the bottom: trace the black line of the master draft, marking out center front (CF), center back (CB) and the side phalanges and grain line (that line in the middle). You will need this markings to put the slippers together without to much fuss. Draw 1 cm seam allowance around the entire sole.


Top pattern piece: Trace, following the blue line of the master draft and marking out the center front (CF) and another marking straight down CF on the opening rectangle (this will be the grain line), plus the phalanges. These markings will match up with the bottom sole pattern piece when sewing. The center back (CB) marking will be the seam on the heel. Add 1 cm seam allowance all over and curve out the rectangle.

Congratulations! You have made your pattern! Well done for your hard work, but it will pay back when you see the result! It’s a great satisfaction to make things yourself 🙂

Now make a nice little storage for your pattern (in a plastic pocket held in a pretty file holder perhaps?). Then have a break before we continue, maybe grab a cup of tea while you draw a nice design of your new slippers. You can put that in your plastic pocket together with nice fabric swatches!

⸌̷̻( ᷇ॢ〰ॢ ᷆◍)⸌̷̻♡⃛ 



Step two. Making up the slippers.

1. Cutting out pattern pieces in fabric is great with a sharp fabric scissor. All you have to think about is to follow the grain line. My slippers will be striped, but on the upper foot pattern piece, I want the stripes to be horizontal, so I’m placing them crossing the grain line. It is totally ok to do this on plain woven fabrics. Many times this can save fabric and give cool patterned effects on the garment.
So how much do we need? We will need 2 slippers with lining and a layer of fleece in between, so let’s start with the main fabric:
2 slippers:
* 2 bottom sole (against the floor)
* 2 inside sole (against the foot)
* 2 fleece layer (in between the two, like a hamburger between buns)
* 2 upper foot (what you will look at 🙂
* 2 inside upper foot (against the foot)
* 2 fleece layer (in between the two, again, like a hamburger)
That gives us 4 sole pattern pieces and 4 upper foot pieces of the main fabric. So, fold the fabric right side to right side (that gives you 2 layers mirrored fabric = one slipper) and then fold it again (which gives you 4 layers of mirrored fabric, right side to right side = 2 slippers). Now pin down your pattern pieces.
Cut out along the pattern pieces and snip (a small cut) 0,5 cm with the scissor on the balance marks we’ve made on the pattern. Be careful not to snip to far in, cutting where our future seam will be.
2. I want these slippers lined with something warm, so I found an old fleece baby blanket that was perfect. Fleese has no grain line, so feel free to cut where you find space. You don’t have to worry about putting the pieces out mirrored on fleece. You need 2 upper foot pieces and 2 sole pieces. Mark out the balance marks here as well!

3. Lay the soles together like a hamburger, the fleece in the middle and the right side main fabric out. Hold the soles together by a zig zag around the edge or quick quilted lines along the grain line. My fabric is striped, so I just stitched on the stripes. When you put the soles together with the upper foot, it’s easier if the soles are held together.

4. Sewing the upper foot: lay the fleece piece down on the table first, cover with one main fabric piece, wrong side against the fleece and right side up! Then put the second main fabric piece on, right side against the first main fabric’s right side, so that you are looking at the wrong side. Pin the rectangular opening.

Stitch with our 1 cm seam allowance and cut into the corners. (why?) I don’t need to remind you to secure the beginning and the end with back tack stitches, right?
Open up the seams by ironing the seam allowance flat.
here are our finished slipper pieces!
5. Sew the heel together: Grab your heel ends, opening up the ironed down upper foot slipper piece. Put the ends right side to right side and pin down. Match up the seam you just made. Stitch 1 cm in.

6. Elastic band: With your fingers, pull and press so that the opening seam is located on the fold of the opening. Pin the entire opening and stitch about 1,5 cm down from the folded edge. Leave an opening about 5 cm wide, where the elastic band will be inserted.
7. The elastic band can be tight or loose (again, “it’s not rocket science!”). Fold the slipper and take a piece of elastic band 2x the straight part of the opening, as shown above. You can test how it feels holding it around your foot.
8. Put a safety pin through the elastic band and have a pin ready.

9. Start inserting the safety pin into the opening of the channel and pin down the loose end of the elastic band. Many bad words will be said otherwise 😉 Pull out both ends when you’re through, and tie them together. Stitch the opening close.
10. It’s finally time to put them together! Start by pinning on the 4 markings: CB, CF, phalanges 1 and 2 and then pin the rest of the layers down. Work carefully! You have 6 layers of fabric here, make sure all of it gets pinned down! Stitch with 1 cm seam allowance.
11. With all these 6 layers, you will probably have a few broken needles and a bit of a messy edge- that’s ok! Take your super sharp scissor and cut 0,5 cm from the edge and all your problems are gone, just like that!

12. Our final step is to finish the inside seam edge. Now, you can do this in a few different ways: you can put a pretty bias binding on it, you can zig zag it or you can use a serger / overlock. (Or if you made these slippers all in fleece or felt you can just forget this step as fleece or felt doesn’t un-ravel!)

13. Last and final step!!
turn.them.inside.out.
you’re done!!!!! You will get a big gold star for this, well done 🙂