Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Eco-friendly recycled wool quilt

This warm and comfy quilt is made entirely from recycled materials.
You can play with patterns and textures, make it small or large, muted or funky. It's a fun, creative and inexpensive project.

Several wool sweaters (don't use cotton or synthetics, they won't felt)
A sheet or blanket for the lining
Another sheet or large fabric scrap that will be cut in strips for binding the blanket edges
If you're using a sheet or thin fabric for the lining, you could use quilt batting to make it thicker. I used fleece as my lining so it wasn't necessary.

The number of sweaters you'll need depends on the final size you want for your quilt. Keep in mind they'll shrink a lot when felted.
For a baby quilt like the one in the picture, I used 6 large sweaters.


1. If you don't have enough old sweaters on hand, try garage sales or goodwill.
Don't forget to look through men sweaters, they're usually larger which is good.
Machine wash them in hot water with soap and put them in the dryer.

2. Cut the felted sweater into squares - the size is up to you. They will be easier to combine and sew if they're all the same size.
Of course you can use other shapes if you prefer.
Place the squares on the floor and decide how you'll combine them.

3. Sew the squares together as shown using a zigzag stitch, letting them overlap just a little. Assemble the squares into strips.

4. Sew the strips together using a zigzag stitch.

5. Place your work on top of the lining, wrong sides together. Put your batting in between if you chose to use some.
Pin and assemble by sewing over the zigzag stitches with a straight stitch.
Pinning is important so that both layers remain flat against each other.

6. Edges:
Cut four fabric strips. They should be 6 times larger than your desired binding width and a bit longer than each corresponding blanket edge.
Fold the strips in two and press. Sew the first strip along one edge as shown, on the lining side of the quilt.

7. Fold against the right side, pin and edgestitch as shown. Do the same thing with the opposite edge.

8. Finish with the two remaining edges, folding and sewing the ends as shown.

I used this tutorial as my inspiration.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sew cute bloomers for your baby or toddler

This fun project doesn't require a lot of fabric so you can recycle old t-shirts and tops instead of buying new fabric. The bloomers in the picture are cut in one of my sister's old tops.
Use only stretch fabric for this project.


For a 3 year old, print the pattern so that the reference line on the right measures 10cm.
Scale it up or down for an older or younger child (you won't need to scale it a lot).

A: Cut 1 in main fabric
B: Cut 2 in main fabric
C: Cut 1 in main fabric
D: Cut 1 in contrasting fabric - optional
E: Elastic, 1cm wide or narrower (enough for waist and both leg openings, depends on your toddler's size)

Dotted lines: place on fabric fold
Red lines = seam allowances
Grey areas = wrong side
White areas = right side

Illustration 1 shows how to place the pieces on the fabric fold (use a different fabric for piece D). However, there are better ways to do it if you want to save fabric.


Sew the heart or any other appliqué you like on piece A, using a zigzag stitch. Don't place it too close to the edges.
Cut your elastic. Waist: your child's waist circumference minus 3cm (I cut 42cm for my 3 year old).
Leg openings: your child's thigh circumference minus 1.5cm (26 cm for my 3 year old).

Assemble piece A and both pieces B as shown, sewing 1cm from the edges. If your machine doesn't have a stretch stitch, use a very narrow zigzag stitch.
When you're done, roll up piece A so that it stays out of the way.

Sew piece C as shown, right side facing up, 1cm from the edges.
Trim the seam allowances to reduce bulkiness.
Turn inside out.

Sew 1cm from the edges. Trim and finish sides with a zigzag stitch if you like.
Fold the waist edge as shown (1.5cm wide). Sew along the edge with a narrow zigzag, leaving a 3cm hole to insert the elastic.

Attach a safety pin to the elastic and slide it inside waistband.
Sew the elastic ends together, tuck it in and finish the waist.
Do the same for the remaining elastics.

Please note that the panties in the first pic were finished using a serger. With an ordinary machine and the zigzag stitch method described in the tut, it will look more like this (use a narrower elastic for a more discreet finish):

Friday, June 5, 2009

Make a crochet roll

This cute crochet hook roll is quick to sew.  Decorate it with embroidery of fabric paint for a more sophisticated look.


A: cut 1 in main fabric and 1 in contrast fabric. You can cut it longer if you have lots of hooks to store (make sure piece B is the same length).

B: cut 1 in main fabric

C: cut 1 in main fabric

D: ribbon or yarn, cut 1


1. If you want to embellish your roll with embroidery or fabric paint, do it before you start sewing (on right side of piece A, main fabric).

2. Fold, press and topstitch pieces B and C as shown.

3. Fold and press pocket as shown. Sew pocket on piece B, right side up. Topstitch vertically to create divisions.

4. Place piece B over piece A (both must be right side up). Pin. Topstitch as shown to create divisions.

5. Assemble the roll, right sides together. If you embroidered or painted the fabric, make sure your art isn’t upside down (I made that mistake twice!) Sew as shown, leaving 10cm open for turning. When you’re done, trim the corners a little to make turning easier.

6. Turn the roll inside out and press. Topstitch all around. Attach the ribbon.

If you find your crochet hooks have a tendency to slide out, you can either roll it tighter or fold the top part over the hooks before rolling.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Free machine embroidery designs

I created these designs myself to embellish my daughter's clothing.
Click on design name to download a zip file with the following embroidery formats: .pes, .jef, .vip, .hus, .sew. Please do not use for profit.

Design A: blossoms (19cm x 14cm)

Design B: beluga (5cm x 6cm)

Simple tote for groceries

This sturdy tote features a large, comfortable strap, handles and a pocket to store your change. It can be embellished with appliqués, embroidery or fabric paint. It doesn't take a lot of time to sew and makes a nice, practical gift for friends and family.