Saturday, April 12, 2014

Little monsters sewing little monsters

Last week was unusual…and lots of fun. The Saturday Telegraph's Lift-out section "best weekend" was running a feature on my book that focused on a simple kids' sewing project for their page. They needed photos of kids sewing the project so I asked 3 of my students to come after school for the shoot…they had felt monsters to sew while the Telegraph's photographer Bob took photos of them…the girls got so engrossed in their work that they kept forgetting it was a shoot and would respond to Bob's instructions with "I just need Trixi to check my sewing first"…Bob just smiled and waited:

Here's how it looked in the paper:

And if you want to make your own little felt monster:

Two squares of coloured felt
Scraps of felt for facial features
Needle and thread

1. Place the two squares of felt one on top of the other
2. Draw the shape of your monster onto the top piece of felt
3. Holding both pieces of felt together cut around the shape
4. Sew or glue the features of your monster’s face onto the top piece of felt
5. Pin the two pieces of felt together
6. Sew around the shape leaving an 8cm opening for stuffing
7. Push small amounts of stuffing into the monster until he or she feels right
8. Sew the opening closed

Monday, January 27, 2014

Four-in-a-row as a game-to-go

Four-in-a-row is a game that kids of all ages love to play. Here's a quick-to-make version that can be either sewn or glued.

What you'll need:
Buttons to decorate (optional)
Needle and embroidery thread (or glue and vlisofix)

How to make:
1. Cut two 11" x 8 1/2" pieces of felt in contrasting colours. Select one piece of felt to use as your game board.

2. Sew or glue a 6" x 6" grid onto your felt. In the first version below, I've ironed vlisofix onto the back of a piece of dark pink felt, cut out fourteen 6" x 1/4" strips and then ironed these onto my felt in the shape of a grid. In the second version, I've sewn the grid on with a running stitch.

3. Take the other 11" x 8 1/2" piece of felt and sew or glue your design into place. I've designed my game to be carried or hung like a bag so I've placed my row of flowers on one half of the felt only.

4. Sew or glue the two pieces of felt together. For my handles I've cut two 8" pieces of ribbon and sewed them into place. If you're making this with your kids, you might want to glue the handles in place. Buttons work well to hide the blobs of glue.

5. Select objects to be used as game pieces. I've chosen 20 doughnut beads, 10 in each colour, as my game pieces. I've attached the beads to my handle by threading them onto a length of tiger tail and I've used a parrot clasp to open and close it.

Good luck and I'd love too see your creations posted on my Sewing Projects for Kids Pinterest Board. Here's mine:

Monday, December 2, 2013

Pom Pom Evolution is A Fact

When I was little pom poms were mostly found on the end of your beanie but every now and then we would get all creative and add some wiggly eyes or some big feet to our pom poms and think we were pretty clever…times have changed...I googled pom pom the other day and was amazed to see how sophisticated pom pom creators had become…I still love my 2 little fellas who were made about 15 years ago:

But take a look at what poms poms have become:

Images from top to bottom:  

Sunday, October 13, 2013

How I wished my pencil case looked when I was little: a tutorial on making a simple hand-sewn felt pencil case

This simple felt pencil case is a way of celebrating the publication of my book Sew Together Grow Together which features 20 hand-sewing projects you can make together with your kids...this particular project is something it's not in the book...but it does throw light on the whole aim of the book which is to give parents, especially those who aren't sewers, creative but really easy projects to sew with their kids.

When I was at school I loved my pencil cases...and I remember kids would cover them with all sorts of pictures and doodles. This felt pencil case gives plenty of scope for creativity and uses a really simple way to sew in a zipper...and let's face it... a pencil case without a zipper is like...well I don't know what really...but it's certainly lacking something vital to its true nature. Anyway, I hope you and your kids enjoy making this pencil case...and if you want, you can preview Sew Together Grow Together HERE

What you'll need
Two 12" X 12" squares of felt in different colours
One 9" or 10" zipper
Embroidery floss
Coloured felt to cut out shapes

How to make your pencil case
1. Cut a 9" X 1/4" slit down the middle of each square of felt.

2. Lay a felt square on top of the zipper so that the teeth of the zipper show through the slit. Pin and sew the zipper into place.

3. Turn the felt square with the zipper face down and lay your second square of felt on top.

4. Pin and sew the zipper into place.

5. Turn over so that the zipper and its tag are face up. Open the zipper. Fold the square in half.

6. Pin together.

7. Sew around the sides.

8. Trim off any excess felt from the sides.

9. Turn the case right side out through the open zipper.

10. Now you've made a pencil case.

Cut out whatever shapes you wish to use to decorate your pencil case. Glue them into place. I've chosen to use an underwater scene...partly because the blue felt I'm using reminds me of the sea...and partly because these fish are easy to cut out and easy to arrange in interesting ways. I've made one scene on this side:

And a different scene on the second side...but if you look closely you'll see that the two scenes are the little fish above whose yellow tail you can just see leads the eye around to the side of the pencil case shown below:

It's also fun to add a charm or tassel to your zipper tag. I've attached a little metal bell to mine above. The pencil case below shows you a different kind of design which uses sewing, instead of glueing, to create a decorative effect. My daughter, Yiscah, made this...I guess that the warm orange evoked memories of gardens and summer:

On the other side she has used a few of the flower motifs but added something new with a word that may reflect her love of the Beatles and John Lennon's songs...or perhaps just expresses how she was feeling at the time:

If you want to sew your design, you'll need to cut out and sew your shapes into place in Step 2. It doesn't matter whether you sew the shapes on before or after you sew in the zipper as long as you sew them on before you go on to Step 3...and remember to sew them on the side of the felt where the zipper teeth and tag are showing as this will be the outside of your pencil case.

Have lots of fun, Trixi

Sunday, September 8, 2013

New Ways To Play An Ageless Game

O's and X's or Tic Tac Toe is one of those games that children seem to have always played and I suspect always will play. When I was little we played it with pen and paper and sometimes with chalk on the pavement.

For my sewing workshops I wanted to design a simple to make, easy to take with you O's & X's game and came up with the idea of a pouch which could both hold the pieces and serve as the game board.

One version of this O's & X's pouch features in my book "Sew Together Grow Together", a collection of easy hand-sewing projects that I've designed over the years for parents and children and which should be available in the next few months...actually I'm just waiting for the technical editor to give it the once over so the publisher can send me the final proofs.

In the mean time, I've collected the 9 links above (7 that I've come across in my wanderings and liked plus 2 links to my pouch showing it opened and closed). When they're all put together they sort of look like a colourful O's and X's board and show a variety of creative and pretty fun ways to play this ageless game.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

(Not So Very) Coloured Buttons

I found these amazing buttons in a little op shop south of Sydney near Wollongong:

Lucky me...a very exciting find.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

P.S. I love matchboxes

Recently my mother gave me an old matchbox that she found in her garage...a beautiful sturdy box made from what looks like thin ply wood: 

When I was little an empty matchbox was a favourite addition to my craft stash...and although matchboxes aren't quite as sturdy as they used to be, they're still lots of I thought that I'd post a round up of 10 matchbox crafts you can make with your kids:

Images from top to bottom:
Left: The Tiny Travelling Doll's HouseThe Magic BoxMatchbox Miniature Art