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Kindle Covers

12 Dec

I got a Kindle for my birthday a few months ago and I am really enjoying having it. It won’t replace real books for me completely but it’s very useful for work and for reading on the go. But I don’t have a cover and don’t want to damage it so I decided to have a go at making one with the apple fabric I used for my washing line cover.

You will need:

Some stiff card

Some padding or wadding. I used an old towel.

Sewing machine


First draw around the Kindle on the card and cut two pieces. Wrap a piece of wadding around each piece of card and glue it on.

Take two pieces of fabric and sew them together inside out leaving one of the long edges free to insert the card.Trim the corners and turn the right way round. Slide the card into the pocket.

Trim the excess fabric away at the corners

Now you have the front and back pieces. Cut another piece of fabric and measure and draw out the pieces you want to remove so you can see the screen and work the keys on the reverse. Carefully cut out and sew onto the back piece making sure you leave enough slack to create the pocket in which the Kindle will go.

Finally sew the front and back pieces together with the rough edges together so that they will be inside when you fold the cover in half. I’m calling this a prototype as there are some alterations I’d like to make but I’m pretty happy for my first attempt.

Here are some Kindle covers I found that inspired me.



Oh My Cake


Making a Washing Line Cover

1 Dec

This wipe clean fabric has been on the garden table for a few summers and is nearing the end of its life but there are still some good pieces. I needed a new cover for my washing line so decided to make one from it.

I measured and cut a strip wide enough to fit round the line and simply sewed the edges together (inside out) to form a tube.

Next I cut a triangle larger than the top of the line when closed and folding the tube into the same shape sewed the three sides.

Then I simply turned it right way out and popped it over the washing line.

It will keep it clean and dry when not in use and in effect cost me nothing.

Reupholstering a small armchair

27 Oct

I found this chair at the tip in my old home town about 10 years ago where I paid £5 for it. I handed it over to my mother who helped me restuff and reupholster it the first time but earlier this year I decided it was time for another refresh.

I unscrewed the seat from the frame and stripped off the fabric. Originally this frame was stained black but I stripped, sanded and painted it the first time round and that didn’t really need doing again this time.

So turning to the chair seat I cut pieces of fabric the same size as the ones I removed, working with the pattern to ensure it was symmetrical.

With a heavy duty stapler attach the fabric to the chair frame, pulling the fabric firmly but not too tightly around it. Fold and pleat the material at the corners and don’t worry too much about left over fabric because it won’t be seen after the back is fixed on. For the back staple the fabric on the wrong side at the top and then fold it down. To get a really neat edge on the curve of the back I cut a piece of cardboard to the correct shape and used it inside the curve to give shape to the material. When it gets to the point where you can’t staple on the wrong side anymore it’s time for careful hand sewing.

Screw the chair seat back into the frame and it’s all finished.

Christmas card making

7 Oct

A couple of weekends ago, I was in France, making hand puppets for a friend who is moving away. What I didn’t mention is that I also made an card for my fiance, with some of the embroidery thread we used for the puppets. I loved making the card – it was quite relaxing to sew and came out really well, so I have decided to do a series of embroidered Christmas cards!

Today I went down to Morley’s to get some thread, and drew a couple of little Christmas animals – a doe and a pigeon with a Christmas hat on. Cut the drawing art, place it where you want it to go, and use some light tape to keep it where it is.

To get the drawing onto the card, just stick a needle into a cork (otherwise you will hurt your fingers) and prick out the outline of your drawing, putting the holes where you want the thread to be pulled through.

You’ll need to go around the entire thing twice because otherwise your thread will look like a dotted line.

I actually had to do this first card THREE TIMES because I pricked my finger and got blood on the first card, then forgot and did exactly the same thing on the second card. So best advice? Don’t prick your finger, and if you do, put a bandage on it! I did eventually figure this out, and my third doe and the pigeon were both a LOT more straight forward…

If you are interested in buying some embroidered Christmas cards, I’ll be selling a small selection (of totally not blood stained cards, I promise) at the Shoestring Splendour swap party on October 29th. If you are interested in coming, just add yourself to our Facebook event.

Wine, cheese and hand puppets

28 Sep

This weekend, I travelled to France with one of my oldest friends, Aline, and her two close friends. The ‘real’ reason for the journey was to carry suitcases of her clothes to her mum’s house in France, as Aline is moving to Zambia for two years in October. However, we all knew the real real reason was to have an excuse for drinking wine and eating cheese.

What does one do of an evening while eating wine and drinking cheese? The obvious answer? Play board games or cards. We had none of these. The second most obvious answer? Make hand puppets of yourself for your friend to take to Africa so that she doesn’t get lonely.

What a brilliant idea. We all brought along scissors, fabric, buttons, and thread, and one girl brought a metre or so of felt. Each evening, we sat around, drank copious amounts of wine, and sewed beautiful dresses for our mini-me’s.

Making hand puppets is ridiculously easy. First cut out a person shaped blob that fits your hand.

Then stitch its sides together and cut out some fabric to go over it as a dress. After her clothes, I added a face and some hair on to my doll.

We had a lot of time and a lot of wine, so we ended up adding all sorts of embelleshments. I embroidered on some glasses, Sophie gave herself some cleavage, Aline some earrings, and George ended up making finger puppets of her cats. I decided that my hand puppet had no neck so had to perform some very careful neck surgery.

In the end I think it was quite a good likeness!

I know it sounds silly, but the four of us had a brilliant time making these. The puppets were cheap, easy, and absolutely loads of fun. We have made Aline promise to take the dolls around Africa with her, and take photographs of them wherever she goes. Whether this will come to pass, I don’t know, but I like the idea of a puppet version of myself visiting countries I have never been to. And as cheesy as it might be, I think Aline will look at these strange creatures are remember how much she is loved by her friends in London. Good luck Aline!

Patchwork Cushion

18 Sep

Today I tried my hand at machine patchwork using instructions from Queen of Crafts. It’s more technical that I thought, there’s a lot of measuring involved and so you need to be patient and careful.

It took approximately four and a half hours and cost £1.75 for the cushion. The fabric was free as I used scraps from curtains I’ve shortened or other past projects.

Having chosen and collected all my fabric scraps and a cushion pad (in Queen of Crafts she suggests using cushion filling rather than a pad but I think either is fine) I measured the cushion and divided by five to work what size squares I would need. The cushion is 35x35cm so that’s 7cm per square with a seam allowance of 1cm either side so 9cm squares. Queen of Crafts says to use a 6mm seam allowance but 1cm seemed easier to measure precisely. I then cut out a card template and used it to cut 25 fabric squares. I then ironed each square.

Now for the painstaking bit – using dressmakers chalk (I didn’t have any so used blackboard chalk!) measure your seam allowance on the back of each square and mark with a ruler.

Lay out your pattern on a flat surface moving pieces around until you get the pattern you prefer.

Then it’s time to start sewing. Using your machine stitch right sides together (chalk marks facing out) using a straight stitch until you have done one line of the patchwork. Then do the other lines as separate pieces.

Next sew the strips together. This is a difficult stage as you need to make sure all the edges of the squares line up and mine didn’t always. I adjusted things by sometimes unpicking and resewing seams to make it all fit. When you’ve sewn all the strips together you have your piece of patchwork. Iron it all flat, pressing out seams where you can. I say where you can because my erratic sewing meant that sometimes I’d sewn in different directions and sewed edges of seams down as you can see here. It looks fine on the right side though.


To make the back take one piece of material and cut larger than 35x35cm. I didn’t have one piece that big so sewed two together. Sew the front to the back on three sides with right sides together and snip the corners at an angle so that it doesn’t bulk up when you turn it right side out.

I sewed one patch on either side of the open edge, turned it right side out, pushed out all the corners and then squeezed the cushion pad in through the opening. Finally hand sew the cushion closed using  stitches as neat and as small as you can.

Ta da! A patchwork cushion. As I used plain fabrics rather than patterned I might go back to it at some point and embellish it with some beading or applique and will share my results if I do.

Clothing Alterations – 1

23 Aug

I have a pile of clothes marked under the category of ‘I’d wear it if…’. If it was a bit shorter, if that gather didn’t sit at the wrong point at my waist, if I liked the buttons, if I was a bit thinner etc. Most of the time there’s nothing you can do with the garment to solve the last one but often something can be done about the rest. Tiny adjustments can make a huge difference. As I finish each project I’ll post a quick blog and hopefully it will give some ideas of ways to alter clothes you haven’t worn for a while.

First up, a lovely butterfly blouse. It’s from Primark so didn’t cost me a fortune (in fact a kind friend gave me it so it didn’t cost me anything) but that’s no reason just to throw it away. My problem with it is that the elasticated waist sits slightly high on my body and tends to work itself up as I wear it so I’m constantly pulling it down.

The easy and simple solution is to remove the elastic with a stitch unpicker. Carefully find the elastic and pull from the stitching.

Pull all the way through the gathers and cut at the end. That’s it! It looks almost exactly the same but won’t bunch up and feels much more comfortable.

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