Monday, 26 November 2012

upcycled : baby trousers

Once upon a time these trousers used to be a shirt, and that shirt used to live in a charity shop in South London...
charity shop shirt

And it just so happens that men's shirts are great for making baby and toddler clothes.

The sleeves, if big enough, are perfect for trousers. And there's always enough left over for something else: bibs, lining for other projects, or even another pair of trousers.

All told, this is a nice and lazy sewing project which is ideal when there are two small boys at home vying for your attention (and sewing time!).

Here are a couple of photos of the trousers, unoccupied, so to speak:

trousers unworn

As you can see, each trouser leg is made from one sleeve and because the seams are left in place, half the work is done by the time you have cut them out!

trousers, hem detail

I simply cut off the cuffs and cut out the top and crotch shaping from the sleeve using my favourite baby/toddler trouser pattern.

Next I sewed the legs together, hemmed the bottoms (where the cuffs once lived) and made hem big enough for some elastic at the top, with a small gap to thread the elastic through.

Finally I inserted the elastic, sew up the gap and voila...

wearing trousers and standing

The slit from the shirt cuff makes a nice detail. On these it quite plain, sometimes they have buttons. Either way it ensures a nice lot of room for little legs to move around.

sitting down wearing trousers with bottle

Friday, 23 November 2012

sewing : therapeutic bag making

teal bag, white elephants hanging from peg

Whenever I find a new or stressful event approaching I my default coping mechanism seems to be sewing bags.

Bags to sort things... bags to put things in... and above all, bags to organise.

If only I can get my 'stuff' arranged neat and tidy in some shiny new bags, then surely everything else will just fall into place.

teal bag detail : lining and cord-casing

And so there have been: shoe bags (for a conference in the US); box bags for new baby stuff for the birth of #1 son; small bags for toys for the children's hospital...

...and now there is a cute blue elephant drawstring bag for #1 son's first day at nursery.

teal bag, white elephants hanging from buffalo peg

From cutting to the final ironing on of the name tag and tidying up after myself it took 1 1/2 hours, mainly thanks to the help off my new machine who sings a high-pitched little song whist seeing away.

This was so simple to make and although I was sewing at gone 10pm, which is the only uninterrupted sewing time I have, everything went right first time. I even managed to get all the fabric the right way round when attaching the lining without having to resort to notes or seam ripping.

teal bag, white elephant detai : cord loop

 I used an adorable teal coloured elephant print fabric from The Eternal Maker and lined it with some shirting fabric from a shop in Brixton which cost £2/meter and 2 meters of cheap anorak cord.

The dimensions of the fabric cut were 36 x 43 cm, two for the lining and two for the elephant fabric. This allowed for a1cm seam allowances at the sides, and 2 cm at the top for the casing. The small loops for attaching the bottom of the cord where made from leftover fabric.

teal bag, white elephant detail : bottom corner with cord and loop

To finish it off I attached a small iron-on name label to the inside. All told it's a perfect size for a change of clothes and Bun-Bun's that all-important rabbit. And it makes me happy to see the smiling elephants hanging from #1 son's nursery peg.