Friday, October 29, 2010


"Man" Bag

Doubles as a nappy bag for when I need time off :)

Burp Cloths - also man friendly

Cloth Baby Wipes

Burlap Rose Purse/Nappy Bag with matching wipes holder

Matching Travel Change Pad/Clutch

Inside View

Gifts for a friend...
Cloth Baby wipes

Travel Wipes Case

Travel Change Pad that doubles as a clutch

Inside View

1st anniversary

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

That smirk on his face says everything...

I didn't have a clue where we were off to and he wouldn't tell me a thing. We ended up at the same place we stayed in for our first night of honeymoon. A picturesque bed and breakfast between Kaiwaka and Te Hana. The host is an amazing cook and provides both breakfast and dinner. Very good value for money and even the biggest eater would be well satisfied with the amount of food and the variety.

Off to the Matakana markets for a leisurely morning. A great place to stop in on a Saturday morning if you're ever in the area.

Not the most exciting minifolf course in Mangawhai, but for $4 a person, you certainly can't complain! J won again. Maybe by our 40th wedding anniversary I will have managed to beat him...

Next stop: Tawharanui Regional Park. It's protected from stoats and dogs and there are plenty of walks to do around the area.

Beautiful Anchor Bay

Surprisingly enough, I didn't feel as though I was up for one of the walks around the park so we opted to sit on the beach and enjoy the sunshine.

Then it was back home to good old Whangarei. Had dinner at a new Cafe/Restaurant called Chandoz. Not the most of romantic places, but very reasonably priced, the food was great and it was more than enough for the two of us.

We topped it off with a cheap night in and rented Madagascar, one of our favourite movies.

Ahh, bliss. Making the most of quiet nights with just the two of us while we can.

Man's Tote Bag

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Yay I did it! Here is the last and final tutorial for the month of September. A bit of a mission but possibly the motivation that I needed to get some projects finished.

Well, I finished the project but my camera memory card is dead so I can't take any more photos of it - cry!

I am linking to La Maison Reid's blog again as I used the basis of her tutorial to get me started, changing a few things on the way to make it a bit more manly and practical.

I started off with two rectangles of fabric for the outer layer (45x40cm) and three for the inner layer (2 at 45x40cm, and the other one for the pocket will be 50cm wide at the top, 45cm wide at the bottom and then 35cm high-isosceles triangle shape). Omit the third layer of the inner fabric if you are not wanting a pocket put in or if you are wanting a real simple project to start off with.

To cut out the inner layer fabric, I used a ruler, protractor and fabric marker but feel free to use another method to cut out your fabric! The outer layer was easy as it had lines in the pattern.

To make the tote have a flat bottom, rather than going straight down we are going to square the corners.

Cut a square 5cm by 5cm out of the bottom right and left corners of all layers.

Next step was to make the pocket.
Take the shorter piece of the fabric for the inner layer, fold down and hem just a bit bigger than what your elastic is to make a casing for it.

Thread one end of the elastic through the casing hole using a safety pin. Pin one end and sew it in place. Now with the end still attached to the roll of elastic, stretch it out so that your pocket is now the same width as the other piece of inner fabric and stitch in place.

Fold both sides of your pocket under and sew to your other layer of fabric.

Now sew a line through all of the single layers of fabric before you sew them together and finish off squaring your corners (with the exception of the layer of the pocket, which you will have already sewn together. For the pocket layer, sew the line through both layers.

Also, if you are wanting two pockets on the inside instead of just one massive one, sew a line down the middle of your pocket (through both layers).

Pin all three inner layers together so that the pocket is facing the inside.

Sew sides and bottom.

Do the same for the outer layers.

I didn't have photos for the part where you square the corners because my camera had died so I have borrowed ones from La Maison Reid's blog.

Take the corners and open them up.

Match the side and bottom seams together and then stitch across.

This will form the bottom of your tote. I popped a bit of cardboard in between the lining and the outer fabric for a bit more sturdiness in the bottom. Turn right sides out.

Now onto the straps. My finished straps were about 145cm long and 5cm wide to fit a man (going over the head and shoulder rather than just hanging off one shoulder). In most other cases you wouldn't need to make them this long. So it's completely up to you.

I simply take two pieces of material the same size - at least 4 or 5cm wider than the finished width. I stitch one side together and press it open. then I press the other sides under with right sides facing out and simply top stitch down either side. Probably not the proper way but works for me. Or you can always just stitch them together with the right sides together and turn inside out. Then topstitch for durability.

Pin your straps (here is a tutorial for proper ones) between the lining and the outer fabric. My straps attached to both ends of the tote. Pin the hem of the lining and outer fabric. If you can, (it's quite tricky) stitch through the lining and the outside fabric from top to bottom in each corner then sew the top hem.

You're done!

Hopefully I can put up the rest of the pictures once my camera is up and running again.

Burp Cloth Tutorial

The pattern I made up looks a little bit like this. It is similar to Homemade by Jill's pattern but the curve goes in quite a bit more to follow the curve of the neckline and is closer to the top to give more length at the bottom.

First off choose your material. I used three layers for this tutorial. It really doesn't matter too much what you use as long as there is an absorbent layer in the middle (such as hemp or microfibre) and you may want to use flannel for the bottom as it tends to stick to your clothes which will help it not to fall off your shoulder during use! You could even just find an old trifold/prefold cloth nappy, which as you can see in the picture below has 3 parts and the middle part is extra absorbent.

I used an old stretchy skirt for the top layer, but you may want to use a nice soft material so baby is more comfortable.

I also used some ribbon to decorate my burp cloth but obviously this is optional. If you are in a hurry, just leave it off.

If you are putting the ribbon on, do it first as it will make it easier to sew.

I just sewed the top of the ribbon very close to the edge so that it almost had a ruffled effect on the bottom part.

Next put your three layers in this order and pin together:
top layer-fabric with ribbon (right side up)
bottom layer (right side down)
middle layer-absorbent fabric

Sew all three layers together remembering to leave a gap to turn right side out.
Trim the middle absorbent layer back so it's as close to the stitching as you can get it. This will eliminate some of the bulk.
Turn right side out.

Top stitch all around the edges. I used a fancy stitch in a contrasting colour, but a standard straight stitch will do the job just as well.

If you wanted to skip some steps, and you have an overlocker/serger, you can always just put the fabric together as it should be and sew the edges. This would save a lot of time.

And it's finished! Easy as that.

Baby Change Pad 'Clutch' Tutorial

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ok so to make the "clutch" Changing pad for baby, you will need:

* Fabric for outer layer *
(eg, silks, satins, cotton, polyester, etc)

* Fabric for inner layer *
(eg, waterproof pul, cotton, winceyette, flannelette, bamboo fleece, sherpa, velour, etc)

* wadding/padding *

* Embellishments *
(optional-eg, ribbon, mini belt buckles, buttons)

* Snaps, magnetic closure or velcro strip *

First I printed out my pattern, then cut out my material accordingly. You will need 1 piece cut out of wadding/padding from the pattern below. If you are wanting a copy, just email me and I can get it to you.

Then if you print the pattern again along with the 2nd part, cut it out and tape it all together you can cut out the rest of your material (the pocket part is optional).

You will need one piece of the outer layer and 1 piece of the inner (then an extra bit of just the pocket part cut from the inner layer).

The inner layer can be either a soft plush fabric (such as bamboo fleece, sherpa, velour, winceyette, flannelette, etc) or else a bit more practical and waterproof. There is also the option (if you can find it) of getting a pretty cotton fabric for the inside and then a see-through waterproof fabric for the outside. Spotlight in NZ and Australia sells it I think. It would be a little bit more work obviously but worth the extra effort I'm sure.

The outer layer can be whatever fabric you think would be suitable for a clutch/purse. Ie. Silk, satins, polyester, cotton, bearing in mind that the more heavy, thin or stretchy fabrics will be a lot more difficult to sew.

If you are wanting any ribbon or embellishments on the the part that will fold down and become the outside/front of your clutch, then sew this on now. I sewed a fancy piece of ricrac on and added a shell. A simple piece of ribbon or velvet would look just as nice.

If you are wanting a strap on your clutch/change pad, then I would do this part next as it makes the finished product just that whole lot neater. My finished strap measured about 30cm long and 2cm wide but you can change the dimensions depending on how big your hand is, personal preference, etc.

You will want to put your hemmed strap with the right side against the wrong side of the outer layer and sew it on. Once everything else has been sewn together and it is turned right side out it will hopefully look like this:

I didn't have any better pictures than this sorry but hopefully you will be able to visualise it.

The next step is to sew the wadding to only the outer layer using a plain straight stitch.

Now you want to sew everything together. If you want to, then now would be the time to put the pocket in. The first time I did this, I sewed a casing for the elastic and this is what it looked like:

It made it really hard to sew and became quite scrunched, so next time I would probably just hem the top of it (folding over twice or three times for a bit of thickness) making it look similar to the picture below. You could add a snap or velcro to keep it shut if you wanted.

Pin everything together in this order:
outer layer on bottom (right side up)
inner layer next (right side down)

Start stitching from a third of the way near the top of one of the pockets remembering to leave a space of about 8 cm so you can turn everything right way out when done.
Turn right way out.

Now you can either just handstitch the opening closed, or what I did is to use a decorative stitch and go around the outsides again for durability (and prettiness).

Fold up and either add a strip of velcro to hold the flap closed or else I simply use snaps. If you want to get fancy, you could put in a magnetic closure.

If you do use snaps and don't really like the look of them, you could always disguise them with lace like this:

And you're done! Hopefully that was explained ok.

Here's another one I did...



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