Monday, November 5, 2012

DIY bed canopy for children’s bedroom – under $20

Inspiration: Pottery Barn Kids canopy

I have always admired them – but not their steep price ($60-$140). I have now come up with a way of making one, just as effective, for less than $20.

Note I have not made one as yet, because there is a note on IKEA’s website that the nets are not suitable for children under seven (then how is Pottery Barn Kids selling them…for kids?). My oldest is three, so just to be safe, I’ll wait another year or two before I make one and hang it over her bed. This is how I would do it (will do it), though:

1)      Buy this BRYNNE net at IKEA for $9.99:

Product dimensions: Length: 90 1/2 " or 230 cm Diameter: 22 " or 55 cm
Note PB Kids’ canopy is made of tulle, and IKEA’s one is made of polyester. You would need a lot of tulle for the canopy, so your total might add up…IKEA’s should be good enough: it’s precut, transparent and long enough to do the job. 

2. Sew a wide bias tape or a ribbon in colour of your choice along the vertical opening. If you are using this for a canopy over a child’s table and chair, then you  will need another opening. Cut it as vertically as you can and then sew the ribbon along the vertical edges. 

The ribbon sells for about 50c-1$ a yard, so this should cost another $5-6.  If you don’t have a ribbon, you can easily make one from strips cut from the fabric that you like. Almost any fabric would do, but cotton or silk would be the best for a girl’s bedroom.

3)      Decorate the ‘roof’.  Those flower petals on PB Kids’ canopies look great. It’s possible to make them using felt, but my experience is that felt is expensive ($6 a yard and you need 3-4 yards for this easily). My choice is to purchase inexpensive fake but realistic-looking flowers. Dollarama sells a bunch of beautiful peonies for a dollar. Buy few bunches for $4-5. Sew them over the roof, tightly next to each other, so that the background cannot be seen.

4)      Optional: Dollarama sells a number of cute decorations like birds or butterflies with their own little wires that you can pierce through the netting and tie (no sewing required). Scatter them around the canopy body.

5)      Hang it and admire it!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

DIY Upholster a Chair

Here is my chair - plain and boring. I got a bit tired of it, but I am not planning to get a new one for the moment. So I decided to dress it - not much, just to cover the seat.

I chose IKEA's GURINE fabric for the job. We have open concept dining/living room and our living room already has some green, so this fabric would tie things nicely. I purchased 1.5m and still had some leftovers. The whole thing cost me $9 in total for four chairs.

Here is how I did it:

First, make a pattern, using a newspaper cut along the line, but remember to add seams when you cut the actual fabric.

This is what I want to make - a little skirt for each chair, with pleats on the front left and right corners.

Lay the pattern on the fabric and cut (with seams):

This is how I did the pleats (optional):



and the seat (the top):

Note that I decided not to do the bottom, because I already had soft cushions from before and just placed them underneath this piece.

As a final step, I have attached velcro to hold the skirt at the back.

Finished chair:

DIY Conversion Adult to Toddler Cardigan

Inspiration: Title page photo of the book "Sewing Bits & Pieces" by Sandi Henderson

The conversion material: An old cardigan of mine, good quality (wool) and great condition.

Pattern: use an existing pattern or make your own from a cardigan or jacket your child already has. Copy over the sleeves and front and back pieces. Put on the clothing and cut.

Stitch sides leaving the opening for the sleeves.

At first I thought I would keep cardigan a little bit longer, so at this point it was still too long. I changed my mind and I cut it shorter, as I decided to do the ruffle on the bottom. I also attached sleeves by reversing the body and inserting the right side of the sleeves into the armhole.

Finally, I have cut a long strip from a cotton fabric - I needed something to make this cardigan more fun. The strip was about 1/2 times longer than the entire bottom hem. I basted it on my machine and gathered by hand to make my ruffle. 

I also replaced buttons (by hand) and attached new matching ones (red, blue etc. - one in each colour (not shown on the picture).)

And there is our new (old) little cardigan! :)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

DIY Fall/Winter Toddler Dress

Inspiration - a dress found online:

Materials required (for a 3-4 year old):
- about 0.5m by 1m

The hardest thing by far is trying to make your own pattern. I suggest you start with a shirt or jacket or another dress that you like. All you're interested in is the size of the shoulders, the back, overall length, etc. I cut my pieces from a jacket, then extended them to fit the model above.

Note: The frontal piece (far left) and the back (far right) are to be put on fold and cut once. The remaining pieces in the middle are to be cut twice each.

Here is what you get once you cut your fabric. The front is on the left (a wider neck line) and the back is on the right.  Make sure the neckline is large enough so that the child can stick their head through. This is especially important if you are not doing any zippers or button on the back. (I can afford to do that, because my fabric stretches enough.) (A sharp eye may even notice an error on the two pieces flanking the back. I had to redo them after I noticed I cut them too narrow at the bottom. They needed to be the same width as the side pieces for the front.)

Start by making the bow. The picture below shows one finished side (the top) and one unfinished. Make each piece by putting the right sides of the top and the lining together. Stitch along the three sides leaving the wider side (on the left below) open.

Reverse and sew one more time along the same three sides. This will give the bow a nice finished look.

Sew all three pieces for the front and three for the back.

You now need to give opening for head and arms a nicer, finished look. Whichever shape for the opening you chose, make another one the same way, about 2 cm wide. Sew with the right sides together, flip over and stitch again just along the neckline.

Stitch once more, this time about 1.5cm away from the neck area, to hold the neckline together.

Do the same for the neck line on the back...

...and for the sleeves opening:

Now you can proceed with sewing left and right sides. Your dress is finally in a single piece!

And here it is, front and back views:

After while I have added ribbons for a fun effect:


DIY Simple Cushion or Pillow Case

For a novice sewer, a simple pillow case is usually the first thing they need to master. Soon it will become your favourite thing. Since I've learned how to do it, I've made dozens of new pillows and cushions. My husband is just thrilled. :)

Material required:
- two pieces of fabric 50x50 cm or 45x45 cm or 40x40 are the usual measurements. To be sure, measure your pillow (cushion) and add some seam allowance.
- zipper, somewhat shorter than the length of the fabric.

First, stitch the zipper on one side. The right sides of the zipper and fabric are facing each other. Hold with pins and remove them one by one as you sew. (You need to use the zipper foot for this).

Do the same on the other side of the zipper and the other piece of fabric. Now the zipper is holding
 two sides of your cushion together.

Now the right sides of two pieces of fabric are facing each other. Leave the zipper half open. Sew the remaining three sides. Going...

....still going...

 Your cushion is done. Reverse it through the zipper opening. Insert the pillow inside, close the zipper. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

DIY Toddler Organza Tutu

In one of my earlier posts I have described how to do a no-sew tulle tutu. In this post I show another easy way of making a tutu. You may use tulle or organza for it; I'm using a beautiful pink organza that I got on sale for $1. Here is my end-result - if you like it, read on! :)

- organza or tulle (see below for dimensions)
- elastic for the waist
- narrow ribbon for the edge (optional)
- wider ribbon for the waist (optional)

Measurements (for a 3-4 year old):
For a two-layer tutu, use 0.5m x 1 m piece of organza or tulle. Fold it in half. This way each side will be up to 25 cm wide. Measure you're child. If you need less, reduce the width by a few cm. As to the length, the longer the fabric cutout you use, the puffier the tutu will look, so it's up to you. No measurement is set in stone. :)

For a three-layer tutu, add another piece 0.25 x 1 m.

Fold the 0.5x1m piece by half. (I used fold to avoid cutting. But you might as well worked with two 0.25x1m pieces.)

Start with your fold. To get ruffles, you will need to use a technique called basting. (Consult your sewing machine's guide to find out how is it done on your machine. Alternatively, you can do it by hand, too - sew loosely with large running stitches so as to hold together temporarily.)

Sew ribbon on the bottom edge. Do this on both pieces. If you don't have the ribbon, try folding the edge and sewing over for a nicer finish.

A finished edge. You may want to trim the edge now or later.

Next, attach your wider ribbon for the waist - stitch one side only. I used a 6 cm wide silk ribbon that I happened to have. Once I fold it, it will be wide enough for the elastic that will hold the waist.

Optional: If you are making a three-layer tutu, now is the time to add the third, remaining piece of fabric. Sew it on the top side of the waist ribbon.

Here is our tutu in full length:

Remains to attach left and right sides and finished the tutu. Start by sewing front and back, layer by layer.

Do the same for the waist ribbon, stitch two short edges together with right sides of the ribbon facing each other.

Now finish the waist. Stitch the the folded waist ribbon so that bottom sides are aligned. Go all around but don't close it fully, i.e. leave a small opening to insert the elastic.

The tutu is almost done. Now you just need to insert the elastic.

Attach a pin to the elastic as shown below. Insert it through the hole in the waist. Keep pushing it until the pin appears on the other end. Tie the knot or stitch one edge over the other.

The finished tutu:

Optional: If you have any leftovers, go ahead and create additional pieces, like flowers or butterflies. I added just one pretty fluffy flower, but may want to go all around the tutu later.