Tag Archives: lists of tutorials

Friday finds – a tutorial for a repurposed denim pouch, and other ideas for DIY tween birthday gifts

Continuing my theme of preparing a post here in order to work out what I will make for my chicks, the flavour for today’s list of suggestions and links is the tween girl.  My eldest chick is turning 11 this week, and is right in that middle stage– not quite a teenager, but not a young child.  She still loves playing imaginary games, but also enjoys Dr Who.  She is happy playing with younger children, but is keen to wear makeup and listen to her own style of music.  She is finding her feet as a leader at school, in the last year of primary school, and starting to think about high school, boys, and relationships in a very different way.  This can make it hard to find gifts that aren’t too young for her, but that aren’t too old for her.  I don’t want to push her to grow up, but I want to give her the freedom to do it at her own pace.

With all of that in mind I am starting this list with a tutorial that is great for many ages, but particularly good for the ‘tween-agers in your life!  A list of other suggestions and links follows at the end.

 

 Repurposed Denim Zipped pouch – tutorial.

Zipped pouches can be used for so many things including for holding iPods, chargers and earphones, for pencil cases, for carrying the little toys that are still attractive to this age group (tiny cutesy miniature things that hurt parents a lot when they are stood on in the middle of the night), for feminine hygiene products (yes – they are starting to grow up), for makeup or for hair-ties, hairclips, etc.  You can make them using cotton, laminated cotton, or repurposed jeans (my newest addiction!).

This tutorial produces a zipped pouch that is 8” x 5” using repurposed denim.

Repurposed Denim Pouch

Materials

One pair of used denim jeans (well – actually one small part of a pair of denim jeans – the bottom of one leg, or the seat and a bit of the thigh is enough!)

Cotton for lining – a piece 17” x 5 ½” – cut into two pieces 8 1/2″ x 5 1/2″

Zipper that is longer than 8 ½”

Optional – small piece fusible fleece (for more body use Vilene H640, for less use Vilene H630).

 

Repurposing old denim jeans

To make this pouch you will need two squares of denim 8 ½” x 5 ½”.  There are several easy places to salvage this much denim from – it will depend on where your jeans are most worn.  The bottom of the legs, below the knee and above the hem tends to yield the best quality denim, but I am also partial to including a back pocket as a pocket on the outside of the pouch that can be used as a pocket on the pouch.  If the fabric around the pocket is a little worn, then some fusible interfacing can assist to provide some added stability to the fabric.

If you want to add some padding to the pouch, then follow the directions for the fusible fleece and adhere it to the wrong side of the denim before you start sewing..  I recommend cutting your piece ½” smaller than the denim (i.e.  8” x 5”) so that your seams aren’t too bulky.

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  1. To insert the zip it is useful, but not necessary, to use a zip foot.   Take your first square of denim and place it face down on top of the zip so that the top edge of the fabric lines up with the top edge of the zip.  The right side of the zip and the right side of the fabric will be facing each other.  Ensure that the zip ends overhang the fabric on each side.  Then take one piece of your lining fabric and place it on the other side of the zip, with the right side facing the right side of the denim.  This is often described as a zip sandwich.  Pin the three pieces together and then stitch along the top edge ¼” from the edge.

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2.  Flip the fabric back so that the right side of the denim is now facing up and the right side of the lining is facing down.  Repeat the same step with the second piece of denim fabric and the lining fabric on the other side of the zip, making sure that the sides of the pieces line up with the fabric already attached to the zip.  (NB – if you are using a pocket from the jeans, make sure that the top of the pocket is nearest to the zip seam!  It may also be a bit bulky so be prepared to ease the fabric under the foot.)

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3.  Denim is quite heavy, so you can either finger press, or use an iron to press the top and bottom pieces so that they sit flat along the zip.  The next step is optional but I recommend top stitching along the edges of the zip to stop the lining getting caught in the zip down the track.  To do this measure one inch from the edge of the fabric, and then top-stitch a line along the edge of the seam and stop one inch from the other end.  (Starting and stopping before the edge of the fabric enables you to sew the pouch sides together with relative ease.)  Repeat this on the other side of the zip, matching the start and finish points.

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4.  Before you sew the sides of the pouch, open the zipper at least half way so that the zip pull is in the middle of the zip.  Then put the right sides of the lining together and match up the edges, and the right sides of the denim together and match up their edges.    Pin the zip so that the teeth of the zip are facing towards the outer fabric when you are pinning it in place.

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5.  You will leave a gap in the side of the lining to turn the bag in the right way, so start your seam about an inch below the zip on the lining, and sew around the edge of the pouch, until you reach the bottom of the same side of the lining.  When you are sewing across the seam and zip where the lining and the outer fabrics join, you will need to open the edges of the fabric to compensate for the top stitching that you did earlier along the zip.

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Leaving a gap of about 3 inches will allow you to turn the pouch inside out.  Open up the seam on the side so that you are sewing the fabric without it being caught by the top stitching near the zip.

6.  Once you have sewn the edges of the pouch, clip the corners, and then clip the excess fabric around the zip, so that the long ends are cut off and the bulk of the fabric next to the seam is removed.  Be careful not to cut the stitching and consider applying an extra row of stitching as reinforcement here.

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Clipping the seam where the zip ends helps reduce bulk.

7.  Turn your pouch inside out, so that the denim is facing out and the lining is tucked in the pouch.  Make sure that your corners are pushed out properly, and ensure that your zip corners are pushed up properly.   Then either handstitch the side seam in the pouch closed or use your machine to stitch a line to close it.

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8.  Sit back and admire your handiwork.  Take a photo and, if you post it to instagram, tag it #alittlebirdmademe so that I can admire it too!!

9.  Of course you could also appliqué the ‘plain side’, or use different fabric.  The options are endless!  (Wish I had thought of the appliqué before I finished.  Might have to make another one now!!)

Other suggestions for DIY  ‘tween gifts.

Bags of all shapes and sizes!

Personalised duffel bag

You might recall that last year I made the eldest chick a weekender bag from Dr Who fabric.  It continues to get much use and be a big hit.  This free tutorial from Jembellish for a personalised duffle bag is another alternative to this.

Cross body bag

This style of bag is just right for a tween – sophisticated and yet not overdone – perfect for taking when they are going to a friend’s house, to the shops, or out to a cafe!  And I just happen to have a tutorial to make one here on my site – Tutorial for cross body bag

Wallet

My eldest chick seems to be quite good at saving her money to use for special purchases, but is carrying around a very small coin purse that likes to pop open and empty it’s contents into whatever bag it is carried in.  Maybe I need to make one of the wallets designed by Color Me Domestic!

Dr Who pouch

The eldest chick is a big Dr Who fan.  If I was to present her with one of the pieced pouches generously shared by Flying Blind on a Rocket Cycle showing a Tardis, I could well be voted best mother of the year.  (I won’t have time to do it this year but will need to keep reminding myself about it for another big occasion!)

 Clothing

The tweens I know are starting to develop their own fashion style – recognising what they like to wear and what makes them feel good.  Making something to encourage or complement that style will always go down well.  The following tutorials provide a lot of inspiration!

Sewing Like Mad – How to draft and custom fit a skirt pattern

Polkadot Chair – Fat Quarter Skirt Tutorial

Mama says sew – The Capri top

Make it Love it – Knit Scarf

Ruffles and Stuff – Easy ruffled t-shirt scarf

Scrap hacker – DiY Sneakers  This has a list of ideas for decorating your own sneakers.  Another option is to give the tween a pair of blank sneakers and a packet of fabric markers (I like the retro bright set by Sharpie) and let them decorate their own!

Martha Stewart – Reversible Hat

I heart Naptime – Infinity scarf

Decor

Being able to move away from the decor of childhood to a more grown up decor is all part of being a tween.  Gifts that can assist with this include posters, new doona covers and curtains, and things that personalise their room.   This link has a tutorial for basic bunting – using fabric that is personal to the tween, or adding their name can make it personalised for them.

http://www.craftaholicsanonymous.net/how-to-make-a-fabric-banner-tutorial

I have already collected a fair assortment of free tutorials for cushions and pillowcases, and added two of my own.  Adding these to a tween’s room is another inexpensive and easy way to jazz up and personalise their decor!  Tutorials for cushions and pillowcases, Pillowcase from fat quarters with an iPod pocket and A PDF tutorial on making a buttoned-back envelope cushion cover are all here on the site ready to inspire you!

 

Jewellery

Tween chicks are starting to express their individuality through their choice of accessories too, so these links provide great inspiration of ways to make jewellery for them.

Coupons Are Great – Create Lego earrings tutorial

Scraphacker – Button Bling  This link has a great collected of linked tutorials on making jewellery from buttons.

Coconut Lemon Lime – How to with Deena has tutorials on making jewellery using shells.

Love this pic – DIY Cork Pendants This is an image that shows you how to make pendants by cutting up wine corks.  No tutorial but the picture is quite clear.

 

Spa wrap

That growing independence and budding sophistication means that  tweens are starting to be interested in beauty products and makeup.  A wrap for their hair is a great gift, and the next link takes you to a lovely collection of tutorials for making your own spa treats.

Eeny Meeny and Moe – Spa Hair Drying Wrap

Random Tuesdays – Handmade Bath and Spa Gifts

 

Other lists

A further list of ideas for tweens is found on the site The Childs Paper.  If you are interested in making gifts by recycling old sweaters the links on London Local Services  are wonderful!  Lots of ideas that could be adapted to tweens very easily.

I think I have narrowed down my options (particularly given my time frame of a week) for the eldest chick, so will show you the outcomes next week after she has received her gifts!

 

 

 

 

 

Friday finds – a list of Geeky gifts to make

While I was reading the Gifts for Geeks list of Handmade Holiday gifts posted at Sew Mama Sew I realised that the chicks and I like a lot of geeky things! Which prompted me to pull together the following list of ideas that I have collected for gifts to make for the people in your life who love geeky things! Our geekdom stretches beyond Dr Who, Star Wars, and Lego but I have stuck to our favourites!

Dr Who
Being a woman-of-a-certain-age I remember watching Dr Who in my teens, when it was a BBC production, when Tom Baker was the Doctor and when, having a choice of only 2 television channels at the time (it was North Queensland in the early 80’s) we regularly were in trouble with the nuns for being late for dinner, as Dr Who finished a few minutes after the dinner bell went. Now my eldest chick watches it and it is slick and shiny and has a much bigger budget, but the basics are still there! Time Lords, TARDIS time machines, travelling companions, and the occasional Dalek. Luckily the resurgence of it’s popularity means that there are piles of tutorials on how to make things for fans!

Although I haven’t had any luck finding ‘licensed’ Dr Who fabric, there are quite a few “police box’ designs available through Spoonflower that can be used to make great gifts, like the messenger bag I made!

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Dr Who snow flakes tutorial

Free Printable Doctor Who Stencils

Printable Colouring Pages – Doctor Who

Tardis Garden Shed – Build your own – Gadgetizer

DIY Tardis Bag – Quiet Nerdy Thing

How to Paint the inside of a glass ornament – Hey Hey Heather K

DIY Tardis Shoes – PS

Dr Who Sewing Kit – Craftster

Dr Who Free Crochet patterns – Moogly
Doctor Who Crochet Patterns - all free! Grab your hooks and allons-y!

Star Wars

Once again my age is an advantage in understanding Star Wars.  I remember going to the cinema to see the first movie.  We went into the city, and it was very exciting.  When the next two movies came out we were living on an island in the Pacific that didn’t have a cinema with proper movie releases (although there seemed to be an abundance of Kung Fu movies available to watch in a shed near the beach!).  When the next three were released I was busy with babies and didn’t see them.  Despite that I have developed a great knowledge of all the movies as my son is quite taken with them, and all things related to them!

If none of thesetutorials grab your fancy, there is a great range of Star Wars fabric available and you can use it to make bags, hats, skirts, pillowcases, etc!

DIY Star Wars Christmas Ornaments – DIY Geekery

Soft cuddly Chewbacca – Draw Pilgrim

Star Wars Stencils – Grrl

Star Wars stencils

Star Wars Snowflakes – Matters of Grey

Stormtrooper snowflake templates!

Star Wars Egg Ornaments – Instructables

Lightsabers made from pool noodles – Bit Rebels

DIY Star Wars Pillow – Craftiness is not Optional

Star Wars Peg Dolls – Pink and Green Mama

Free Star Wars Crochet Patterns – Moogly

Free Star Wars Crochet Patterns - Roundup on Moogly!

Lego

Lego was an important part of my childhood.  My grandmother would always bring some back from any trips to the Netherlands (there were only a few grandchildren at that stage – now it would break her bank!).  My mother still has all of our Lego and it has been used by all the grandchildren too.  Now my children love Lego.  They have the themed sets – Star Wars, Chima, Harry Potter, City, Ninjago, Pirates of the Carribean, the Hobbit (not ALL of them obviously) but they also have just general bricks and it is rare for them to use the patterns – they build using their imagination.  The tutorials below include ideas to store Lego bricks, ways to use bricks to make things, or making other items that look like Lego bricks.

Lego Earrings – Coupons Are Great

make-Lego-earrings

Lego Key hanger – Felix Grauer

LEGO DIY Key Hanger by Felix Grauer in style fashion home furnishings  Category

DIY Lego Beanbags – One Artsy Mama

Train table to legl table – Over the Big Moon

Lego Ninja hat – We lived happily ever after

DIY Lego Storage Solutions – All Things with Purpose

Lego Cufflinks – Instructables

DIY Lego and art travel boxes – Repeat Crafter Me

DIY Lego magnets and necklace – She’s Called Claire

Lego Tray – That’s My Letter

Lego Spice Rack – Instructables

And finally – not a tutorial – but a lovely way of bringing all three themes together, this great picture from The Dalek Hugger

Stormtroopers and the TARDIS.

I hope that you find something suitable to make for the geeks in your life!

Friday finds – a list of gifts to make for a 7 year old boy (with links to free tutorials)

In a few weeks time the boy will be turning 7. Oh my! My baby is really not a baby anymore. And then it is a month until Christmas. (Now I need to lie down!) So it is time to start thinking about gifts. Again! I do love handmade gifts for my kids. Last Christmas the boy was very upset when he opened his Christmas Eve present and found a pair of pjs I had made him. “A fabric present?” he spat in horror. Once I had him calmed down I explained that I had made the pyjamas for him with my love, so that when he slept in them he was surrounded by my love. He has embraced the concept with relish and joy and is so excited to wear or use things that I have made him now, and reminds me that it means that he is carrying my love with him. But…… there is a limit to the number of gifts that you can sew for a boy, even one as gorgeous as mine, as they get older. And to be honest, for a girl too! But I am determined to find special things to make for my special boy, to complement the Lego I will no doubt give in and purchase for him……again.

This list is designed to work in the same way that the one for 9 year old girls worked – to help me filter through ideas and distill some of my own to suit my boy. (With the girls list I took the concept of a reading nook and adapted it to make curtains for the middle chick’s top bunk to give her a space of her own.) And hopefully it will help some of you with the holiday season creeping rushing up on us!

My boy may be extra energetic (truly hyperactive!) but I think that all boys this age need the ability to run around and make noise, and burn off energy.  So I have been thinking of gifts that will enable that.

Skateboard sling – The boy Trifecta  (You can tell that she is the mother of boys!!)

Water gun holster – The Boy Trifecta

I also think that a satchel, with an adjustable strap to be worn across the body, with lots of external pockets would be great for carrying Nerf guns and bullets, or going on an adventure, or a variety of other outdoor activities.  There are a number of patterns you could adapt to this by just adding pockets, but here are a couple of suggestions.

Toddler messenger bag – Kyle and Renae Hill

Messenger Bag – No Time to Sew

Of course if they are going to be outside, then a hat is a must.  Being able to personalise it will help.  (I am thinking that a Star Wars hat might be just the thing to encourage my boy to keep his hat on!)

4 in 1 Bucket Hat – Sew Much Ado

Sun Hat – April Cobb Designs

At 7 is he starting to think that he is a bit grown up, and to want control over his own ‘things’.  So it is probably time for his own wallet.  Both of these patterns look just right!

Basic Boys wallet – Noodlehead

Summertime wallet – The Purl Bee

wallet

Some games for indoors are required too.  I need to accept the reality that my chicks are going to play with their electronic games, in the mix of all the things that they do.  So a cover for a DS, and/or an iPod touch are always useful.

This one is in French – but you can translate it using google!  DS Wallet – By Gabs

Electronics cozy – Make it – Love it

He doesn’t have an iPad or Kindle, but if he did I would be using this pattern DiY Harry Potter Kindle Cover – Skip to the Details

to try and emulate this picture (which despite much searching I cannot find the originator of to give credit to.)

If I ask my boy what his favourite games or Lego are at the moment he will answer with one of the following – Star Wars, Ninjago, Chima, Spiderman, or Minecraft .  So this pillowcase might go down well!

Ninjago Pillowcase – Crazy Little Projects

Or I could get away with a soft toy if it looked like this!

Chewbacc Softie pattern – Draw Pilgrim

I could probably also get away with this!

Boyville tutorial and download – Lil Blue Boo

DIY superhero peg dolls with free download via lilblueboo.com

For when he has a group of mates over and they all need a light saber I love this concept!

Havoc and Mayhem

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Given the sheer volume of Lego that he already has, perhaps this is actually what is called for!

Lego Storage – Freshly Pieced

For quieter times (we can but hope) I think that these games would be great!

Take along games – Dana Made It

A place to sit and read (or in our case to wriggle and squirm) all of his own would also be good.

Bean Bag Chair – Alderwood quilts

Bean Bag Chair - Free Pattern.  www.AlderwoodQuilts.com

He does love his bath – joined by many action figures and Lego “guys”, so maybe his own bath stuff could be good too!

Boy Bath Bombs – Design Dazzle

Homemade Bubble Bath – eHow

Homemade Bubble Bath for Kids thumbnail

I also found this great idea on Pinterest – but cannot find the source.  Under the photo it says

“Science Experiment Tool Box! Made an 8 year old boy birthday gift with ingredients, supplies (all from the dollar store), & instructions for 4 experiments: make a lava lamp, balloon inflator, foam fountain, & gak (dragon slime).  I had some 7 year old help with the labels ☺. Thank you Science Bob!”

Science Experiment Tool Box! Made an 8 year old boy birthday gift with ingredients, supplies (all from the dollar store), & instructions for 4 experiments: make a lava lamp, balloon inflator, foam fountain, & gak (dragon slime).  I had some 7 year old help with the labels ☺. Thank you Science Bob! #scienceisawesome

In addition to the links that I provided in my post on the Science Party, the site referred to, Science Bob has a great list of experiments!

Ideas that have already been successful for him, but might be useful for you to consider:

Super Hero Cape – Ann Kelle

Fort Kit – Saltwater Kids

I have also previously made him a Jedi Knight cloak – and it is the source of much envy by his friends who visit.  I didn’t do this from a link, but used a pattern that I had already purchased and used to make Harry Potter robes (of course!).  Oh – that is another idea, as he does love his HP robe.  The pattern I use for these and other costumes is Simplicity 1583 – I just adjust the sleeve width depending on the character!

And finally, many of the ideas that I used for his sister in this List, would also work for him – just with different colours or fabric.

So – I hope that you can find some ideas in here for the young men in your life.  Now to narrow down the options for my boy, in time for his birthday!!