Monday, 30 September 2013

Homemade Christmas presents - Lavender fabric sachet tutorial

How to sew fabric sachets, to fill with your favourite herbs and spices. 


This is my first proper photo tutorial, I hope you guys find it helpful.  It's definitely a beginner tutorial, it's very simple and only requires small amounts of fabric and ribbon.  You could even hand stitch them, if you don't have a machine and have more patience than I do!  They make perfect scents for drawers, leaving your socks smelling lovely and fresh, or I use them in my yarn and fabric stash to keep the moths away.  You could hang them in a wardrobe for the same purpose.  They also make cute little stocking fillers, for those of you organised enough to be thinking about Christmas already!  This is a quick and simple make, perfect for the odd 20 minute sewing break.

First, cut a rectangle of fabric, approximately 20 by 10cm.  You can experiment with the dimensions to get larger, smaller, fatter or thinner sachets. You can see here I'm using off-cuts of material from a failed clothing project, you can cut around stains or cut rectangles out of the oddest shaped bits of material - waste not, want not and all that!


Next, fold down each of the shorter (top) edges of each piece, press and pin in place.  These will form the channel for the ribbon.

Note - I am lazy and haven't pinned here.  You should.  Do as I say, not as I do.


Sew this folded portion down, leaving enough room between your line of stitches and the fold to be able to thread a piece of ribbon through. 



Now, fold your rectangle in half widthways with RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER and the folded edges aligned at the top.  Pin the two non-folded edges together and sew, making sure not to sew into or into the folded channel.



Turn inside out.  You should now have a sachet with 2 folded channels running along the top.  Take your length of ribbon (you can measure the ribbon length by doubling the width of your sachet and adding on an extra 10cm to tie a bow.  The additional length will change depending on how thick your ribbon is, thicker fabric needs more length to tie a bow.  Experiment!) and attach a safety pin to one end.  Thread the safety pin, dragging the ribbon, through the channels, doubling back on yourself to make a 'U' shape so both ends exit their respective channels on the same side.



Now, in a bowl, make up the mix of 'smellies' to fill your sachet.  For this batch I made two types, lavender and cinnamon.  You can experiment with your favourite scents.  The lavender was a mix of dried lavender, lavender essential oil and grated plain soap.  The dried lavender I bought off a market stall years ago, though you can google for any manner of different shops that sell it.  Ebay shops are where I buy a lot of my craft supplies.  The cinnamon was a mix of dried cinnamon bark, cinnamon essential oil and soap.  I used some decorative cinnamon sticks to embellish the ribbon, though buttons or beads would look good as well.  Again, experiment! (can you see a theme developing here?)


Cinnamon mix


Lavender mix

Fill your sachets and pull the ribbon tight to hold the contents inside.  I use these in the bath when I want a relaxing, scented bath but don't want bubbles because I want to wash my hair.  You can reuse them to scent a bath about 2-3 times before you start to lose the scent, though be careful the contents don't get mouldy, make sure to leave them somewhere to dry thoroughly in between times.


This is an excellent project for using up those little scraps of fabric or ribbon and is super quick and simple, I made about 8 of these in just over an hour.  You can make a batch to give to a friend, arranged in a nice tin with some handmade soaps to accompany them.  They're a great beginner project if you're just dipping your toe in the sewing waters, or just a 'down and dirty' project for a more accomplished sewer who just wants a quick fix.

Link to your version in the comments, I'd love to see what you guys make!

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Vintage pillow & thrifted fleece to baby blanket


Another upcycling project, in a similar vein as the Kilt + Sweater = Cushion project.  I love combining two items that by themselves are nothing special, to create something that you can proudly give as a gift and say, "I made that".  I especially like the thought that in doing so, you're keeping unused, unwanted textiles from ending up in the landfill. A double wammy of feel-good!


This was a super quick and simple project, for my friend Heather's new baby.  I found the vintage pillow slip in a charity shop for 99p and I do love me some E.H. Shepard so I snapped it up.  Between moving from York to Edinburgh and changing jobs, the past 2 months have flown by so Jasper's arrival caught me somewhat by surprise.  For the first Maciver baby, I knitted a cardigan with sheep round the yoke, so I feel a bit guilty that this craft offering is so simple in comparison but Heather assures me it will be super useful.  She has to say that.


I backed it with navy fleece from an Ikea blanket I inherited from a friend, it's warm, soft and easy to wash along with the 100% cotton topper, so practical for a baby who produced copious amounts of bodily fluids in the hour and a half I was visiting.  Love a good baby project, so quick and simple yet so satisfying!

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Gamer gauntlets (or how I knit gloves for geeks)

A while back I knit Andrew a pair of fingerless gloves with the logo of his latest computer game, Planetside 2, on the back.  In fact, it's the logo of his chosen faction, Terran Republic, who he swears are the good guys but according to Wikipedia are "An authoritarian government that leverages military might to maintain strict control over the colonial citizens."  I'm suspicious my fiancé is secretly a military dictator, instituting martial law from our spare bedroom.


Anyway, he posted them on his clan's facebook page (Men In Turrets, for any Planetside 2'ers in the audience) and they. went. NUTS!  They were so popular I offered to knit them for sale, thinking I might get one or two people interested.  So far I have made 5 adult pairs and one child's set, meaning I've made nearly £100 from gloves.  GLOVES!  It's mental.



I love crafting and blogging but I don't have any aspirations that this will ever turn into a book deal or teaching sewing classes or opening a shop, the way so many other blogs have done.  I'm happy that this is a hobby that I enjoy and the added bonus is that it occasionally makes me some pocket money.  To spend on more craft stuff of course...this whole crafting-for-money thing could become very addictive, like Breaking Bad or something...

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Vintage Cluedo cards to button packaging

Just a quick one today dear friends, I'm on lates this week so working until 8.30pm.  Doesn't give me much time to blog or craft, sad face.  Don't you hate it when real life gets in the way of valuable crafting time?


I made these up recently as a way of organising some buttons I was giving away to a friend.  I've had these vintage Cluedo cards for ages after I inherited a copy of Cluedo that was missing half the pieces ("Miss Scarlet in the conservatory with the thimble" - just doesn't hold the same terror).  I bought the vintage Edinburgh photographs from a jumble sale, back when I had an Etsy shop.  They sold quite well but these ones were left over when I shut up shop and I wanted to put them to good use. 


I especially like how that gurny face peeks out from between the buttons.  Some of these photos date from the early 1900s, I actually got in touch with a collector to find out if they were worth anything before I went and poked holes in them and apparently you can pick them up for between 10-50p per photo.  I didn't feel too guilty destroying them after that.


I would definitely do this again, so quick and simple but I think they look quite unusual!  If I were in the business of selling vintage buttons, this would definitely be my preferred method of packaging I think.  Thrifty, sustainable and unique, the whole package!

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Still Light jumper dress frankenjumper

Gosh, what a title.  This jumper started life as Still Light Tunic by Veera Välimäki (you can see an in-progress post over on Second Fiddle from February and it was last Wednesday's Work in Progress but I actually started this project almost exactly 1 year ago!) and gradually mutated into the jumper you see before you today.  I started the tunic with high hopes, but realised when it came to increasing for the front folds/pockets that the style wasn't going to suit me.  So, rather than take it all out and start again with a different pattern, I decided to go off road and turn it into a basic, plain sweater, the type you can pull on over a vest or shirt without having to worry about the colour or neckline or length of sleeve.  I don't have enough of those, I have a lot of multi-coloured fairisle that's difficult to match or thrifted sweaters that are too big.  I actually just consigned a few of these to the 'to be altered/felted' box, leaving me with very few sweaters to get through the winter!


I'm really pleased with the finished sweater, back nipples aside, which I'm told may vanish once it's blocked.  I'll be honest, I didn't block it before taking these photos, I just wanted to wear the bloody thing after a year in the making!


The yarn is an unknown tealy-green that Andrew's dad bought me from the Inverness car boot sale.  Classy, right?  He paid a princely £2 for it and I've still got at least half left.  Matching sweaters ahoy!  No, not another year of knitting with 4 ply...the horror...


I had several buttons in my stash that I wanted to use but the button hole is actually pretty small, so I was limited.  I like this tartan fabric covered button though, no clue how it came to be in my stash.  I think my buttons are breeding. At the very least, they're not using protection.


All in, it's been a productive weekend on the creativity front. I also made sushi for the first time (and ate it in the bath with the fifth Game of Thrones book, so decadent!)...


...and made prawn cocktail with the leftover prawns.  I heart food.


Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Out-dated kilt meet shrunken jumper

So, I'm a sucker for tartan.  And wool.  Tartan and wool together = match made in heaven for me.  Add in recycling and thrifting and you've got yourself an orgasm of awesome in my book.


Those of you on Instagram may have seen this little teaser a while back...follow me @craftandthrift

So what happens when you take an out-dated kilt and a shrunken sweater?  Well read on m'dears!

Image credit

I bought a sweater much like this one (I don't have a before of mine, apologies, it looked just like this one), for my Grandad for his birthday last year.  My Grandad is of the wearing-cable-knit-sweaters-until-they-literally-drop-off-him ilk and his oldest, scraggiest, purple one was looking worse for wear.  So I bought him a new one...which my Gran promptly washed on 60 degrees with the bedsheets.

Sigh.  Thanks Gran, that's why you're on the team.  

018 (5)

I bought this kilt from a charity shop, back in the day when I sold vintage on Etsy.  It got many a 'like' on Etsy but no one ever bought it and it was too nice a tartan (and 100% wool) to give back to charity when I shut down the shop, so I kept it for the material.  For £7.99 I got nearly 3 metres of 100% wool tartan fabric - a complete thrifty bargain.  I've already made a tartan tablet case from it and wanted to make a Scottish themed cushion cover for my friend Imogene when she moved from Edinburgh to London so I sent the kilt and shrunken sweater off on a blind date together.  They hit it off, moved in together, got married and produced this adorable little creature...


Image credit

I was really pleased with the outcome.  Ideally I wanted to make a set, one with more tartan than sweater and vice versa but sadly there wasn't enough sweater for two covers.  I've still got plenty of tartan and sweater left though, so more projects to come from these guys.

The lessons, fellow thrifters?

 o When you're shopping for second hand fabric, always check out the clothing, especially larger women's sizes and the men's section.  The bigger the size, the more fabric you'll be acquiring and what may be hideous or out-dated as clothes can be made from lovely material that is often expensive to buy off the bolt in a haberdashery.  Kilts, cable knit sweaters, tweed jackets and tartan trousers are all good examples of this.  If you're looking for leather, try old jackets or trousers.

o Never throw away clothing just because it's 'ruined' in some way.  Look at it critically.  If it's a wool sweater that's shrunk, use it for cushion covers, camera cases, children's toys or smaller clothing projects.  If it's a t-shirt that's stained, maybe salvage the clean fabric for use in other t-shirt DIYs - to make sleeves or straps for example.  We've all tried the classic jeans-to-skirt project with our old jeans.  Think along those lines and the world is your oyster (or denim skirt).  But!  don't be afraid to send things to the clothes recycling if you don't see a use for it.  There's no point holding on to 5 pairs of holey jeans if denim ain't your thang.  This leads onto my last point...

o Recycle your textiles!  I know the Salvation Army are a bit controversial at the moment with their stance on homosexuality (not something I want to get into here folks!) but they run a textile recycling scheme - Wear 2 Bank - where 99% of what's donated is used in some way, either resold in charity shops in the UK, sent abroad for humanitarian aid, or shredded and recycled into mattress filling, sound proofing in cars or industrial wipes (WTF are these??).  This means only 1% of the donations are sent to land fill.  Personally I bag up all my fabric scraps from sewing, old t-shirts with holes or pit stains (we've all got them!), old undies, socks, jeans...basically anything textile based that I can't or won't reuse myself and isn't good enough for a charity shop, and pop them in my local Salvation Army bin when I do my grocery shop.  So much more satisfying than throwing them away!  Anything for the charity shop I pop downstairs to the bricks-and-mortar Salvation Army shop, I basically live directly above one so it seems silly to drive that stuff all the way out to Asda to donate.  You know, I've lived above that shop for a year now (it used to be a stationary shop) and only ever bought 1 t-shirt.  I must have donated at least 10-15 bags of stuff there though.  What a smug end to this post!