Category Archives: tutorial

Christmas Panick

It’s the time of the year when we start talking about presents… expecially as two of our children have their birthdays in November, so by the time we’re done with presents and partyplans etc, it’s nearly time for advent calendars and all the christmas stress fun to begin. Every year I decide to give really personal gifts and preferably make most of them myself as well as remember to post a family letter with all the cards that I’ll send out in the beginning of the month (!) erm, usually I fail at most of the above and we end up staying up late on the last day of November wrapping a gazillion little advent calendar gifts, the christmas cards are sent out AFTER christmas and the family christmas letter ends up being a family new years letter and only gets sent out to half of the family, as I never get around to translating it (half the family is Danish and half is English). This year I’m planning on being slightly less ambitious in an attempt to make failure a little less likely! I do want to send out cards, but I think they’ll be done as a family home evening activity in November and there will be no christmas family letter, but just possibly a post on the family blog (a rare occurance in itself!) around that time. Advent calendars will be just that…  four presents for each child -one each on the four Sundays of advent rather than  72 smaller ones! (Just thinking about finding and wrapping that many makes my palms sweaty!)

As for the christmas presents, I still like the idea of making a few myself. There are some really good ideas around on the internet. Here’s one by Jesicca from Running with scissors that I really like (and which my boys would love):

The tutorial is here on Tatertots and jello. Aren’t they cute?!


Star Wars Themed Wardrobe (On a Shoestring as Usual)

I promised to post about how I’d painted the Star Wars image onto my son’s wardrobe. -I should really stop doing that… promising to post about something specific. It leaves me with no desire whatsoever to then post about it:-) In any case, here is how I did it. I’ve since been asked about a million times, by people much smarter than me, whether I projected the image onto the wardrobe and traced it from that… Well I guess that’s what a clever person in possesion of a projector would do… but appearantly I am neither of those things and so instead I did this:

This is the image I used. Now remember those drawing books we had as children, where you had one image with a grid of squares across it and then you had a larger area with larger blank squares and you had to enlarge the image, using the squares as a guide? -Well I used to find them very uninspiring and always skipped those exercises. However, for this is worked well. I used a piece of tracing paper (actually I’d run out and used baking parchment!), that I placed on top of my son’s Star Wars folder. I divided the tracing paper into squares of 1 cm each. I then figured out how much larger I wanted the image on the wardrobe door and as far as I remember, the squares I drew on there were 15 cm (maybe 10…?) The all I had to do was trace the image, one square at a time, being careful for the lines to start, end and slope exactly how they did on the smaller image.

Here’s how it looked when I’d finished: I didn’t bother too much about shading at this stage, it was really only a line drawing.

Next, I painted it, using acrylic paints. The trick here is to start with the background and also, use the lighter colours first, adding the darker shades for shadows and texture later.

Also, remember to prepare the surface to be painted sufficiently first. It would be such a shame, if the paint chips off too soon. So sand it down and paint with a primer first.

Another tip: Let the children help, but withOUT paint…

Some other things we did in my son’s Star Wars themed room included these pictures, which we printed out in size A3 and mounted in the super cheap IKEA frames, which we’d painted silver on the front (all of them) and each a different accent colour on the sides.

My son’s favourite thing about his new room turned out to be this alarm clock, which counts down from ten and lauches the rocket. It turned out to be my favourite too, as he now gets himself up in the morning!

I’d love to see some of your painted furniture or Star Wars themes kids’ rooms too, so please feel free to leave a link!

Cropped Girl’s Waistcoat Tutorial

My daughter is going to a birthday “disco” party tonight and she asked me to make her a sequined bolero style waistcoat. I started drafting the pattern by draping fabric onto her body, then realised that the vest she was wearing had the perfect armscyes for it and decided it was easier to just draw on that and cut it up. It was so easy and we really like how it turned out, so I thought I’d try my hand at a short and easy tutorial:-)

Here goes (-sorry about the picture quality, but if I’d had to get my camera out I probably would have never taken the pictures… Hopefully they are clear enough to tell what’s going on anyway).

With a marker, draw on your design on the front of the vest (have the person you’re making it for wear the vest while you do this or use a dress stand)

Draw half the pattern on the back. It’s important that you leave in the ease you want at the sides and back or in other words; watch how close to the body the vest falls and adjust this in the side you’re drawing. When you’re happy with this, draw in the centre back line, making sure it is straight. You’ll see that mine doesn’t look straight, but that is because I wanted less ease (or that the waist coat should be a bit more fitted than the vest).

(I think her little brother was hiding, so we wouldn’t notice it was already past his bedtime…)

My daughter, at this stage thought it looked a bit like a cow girls waist coat, so kept Yeeahaw’ing when I tried taking pictures of her…

Next, you cut out your design and end up with something like this:

(Yes I know, my next project should be a new ironing board cover, it’s just a bit too boring, so here it is burn-marks and all…)

Now you need to seperate the two pieces but cutting close to the side seam and shoulder seam, which leaves you with this:

Now you can use these as your pattern pieces and you will need to cut out two front pieces in your fabric and two in lining as well as one back piece (place the centre back line against fold in fabric) in fabric and one in lining. Remember to add one cm seam allowance everywhere.

Next, you sew the lining shoulder seams and side seams as well as the fabric shoulder seams and side seams, leaving you with what looks like two rough edged waist coats (I didn’t think you would need pics of this!)

After this you attach the lining to the fabric at the armscye face to face one armscye at the time, lining up the seams.

And here comes the tricky bit (there always is one, right?!):

You now need to grab the lining and fabric at a reference point for example where there is a shoulder seam or side seam, so you can see where the two sides should line up. Now turn the fabrics in face to face, so you can see how they should meet and pin.

(As you can see, we ended up with bits of sequins EVErywhere!)

Now, you keep pinning the sides together for as far as you can. This will automatically turn the garment inside out and as you have already sewed the armscyes, there isn’t much space for that. I would sew as much as I could, trim the seam allowance to 0.5 cm, turn it back out and repeat this last step again until left with just one small hole that I could turn the waistcoat through. (If this doesn’t make sense, I think it will once you are in the middle of it!)

Now all that’s left, is to hand stitch the last little hole and press!

We also spent 5 minutes sewing this scarf… I went shopping last weekend and couldn’t justify buying lots of fabric, and so just bought a tiny bit of this cotton. I then just hemmed the four sides and added the pom-pom trim. It has got to be the quickest project I ever mad. I love quick and easy projects, lazy me!