Posts tagged ‘Tutorial’

June 19, 2013

How to Sew an Upcycled Trouser Leg Bag – Super easy!

I’ve been doing that kind of internet browsing where you are looking for one thing that you think you like then you get distracted and end up looking at other things. This particular search started with a crossover apron that I thought might work as a dress but after a quick muslin don’t think will work. It ended up with this bag which is no longer on their website but remains on the blog

Miss Amoo saw it and wanted one. We have a pair of wild floral trousers hanging around after a friend passed them on to me because the pockets were ripped and she thought I might like the fabric for upcycling.

So here is Miss Amoo’s self-stitched version of the bag – cost £0 Free trousers and a flat kind of cord taken from a trouser waist

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Cut 16″ of trouser leg. With right sides together, sew the raw edge closed to form the base then with right sides still together fold up 1″ or more if you want and use my easy peasy gusset method to create a gusset.

Stitch straps on the ‘back’ side of the bag close to the side seam 5″ down from the trouser hem that is the top of the bag.


She took it out shopping yesterday and managed to squeeze her charity shop finds into it easily!

February 5, 2012


It feels like Saturday but the clock tells me it’s Sunday now so it is already J’s birthday. How 15 years have flown with the one who was a boy of few words and is now nearly a man and still of few words. It was cold like it is now when he was born too and I carried him in a rebozo under a huge overcoat of my grandad’s to keep his skinny limbs from freezing.

Later on he will have his favourite dinner followed by a mayonnaise chocolate cake with whipped cream on the side. The girls will make a huge fuss and he will be underwhelmed but happy.

The freezing temperatures have enabled the girls to try out something I saw on Pinterest somewhere:

They only needed all this stuff to make the ice bowls

They set it all up at about 5pm on Friday and by 11pm that night the water was already well frozen and Mr G got in the car to see how cold it was… -7! Living in a river valley keeps us a bit warmer but not that much.

This morning they pushed the ice out of the containers and watched them all day as they melted a little bit but not completely then became filled with snow. Miss Froo couldn’t find her mittens so I made another pair – my only FO this week. If you missed my how to sew mittens tutorial my biggest tips are to use a zipper foot and sew the seams then cut the fleece afterwards. The thumb and other curves are tricky to sew without going off the edge and pinning the two layers together makes this easier to handle. Get your zipper foot out and start sewing!

The snow was dry and easy to play with until it got dark but now it is melting and everything is dripping. We’ll wait and see if it freezes tomorrow but in case it does I’ve moved the car up the road onto a flat road so that we can get out if we need to. Last year when the weather was bad I ended up leaving the car here at the bottom of the hill for nearly two weeks as I didn’t want to risk driving up one icy hill and down another to the main road which was well salted and clear.

Keep warm and sleep tight.

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April 5, 2011

How to sew an easy headband

Big Mama Frog was asking for sewing inspiration so here’s a quick and easy thing to sew. This really can be done in 5 minutes including cutting and sewing so switch your machine on!

I can’t claim any credit for this one as it is something I found in the downloads section of Sewing Mamas but for those of you who don’t frequent such corners of the net I’m sharing it here. My apologies for the terrible lighting, creased fabric and terrible finger nails. It is hard to find a good hand model round these parts y’know.

You need two pieces of fabric and one piece of elastic

The big piece is 6″ x 13″
The small piece is 3″ x 11″
The elastic is 1″ wide and 7″ long

Fold both pieces in half longwise and using a 1/4 inch seam allowance sew along their long sides

When you get to the end of the first piece stop, lift your needle, lift the foot and pull the piece away from the needle without cutting the threads. Stick the other piece under the needle, drop the foot and carry on sewing.

When they are both sewn, just snip the thread that joins them.

Next, sew across the short end of the narrowest piece to help you turn it right side out.

Now get a pen or a stick or a toothbrush or something and push it into the closed end.

Keep pushing it until you can see the right side appearing on the end of the pen and you’ll be able to turn the strip fully right side out. Unpick the stitches across the end or just cut that bit off if you can’t be bothered.

Turn the wider bit right side out as well then wriggle them both about so that the seam is in the middle of each strip, not at the edge.

Thread the elastic through the narrow strip til you can see it at one end ….you’ll have to imagine that action bit….. but it will all look like this once it’s done

Now put the big piece right side up and lay the elastic bit right side down on it, right in the middle like this with the elastic only just inside the tube.

Fold fold the bottom of the big bit up over the elastic bit, and the top of the big bit down over the elastic bit, then stitch through all the layers. Don’t worry about sewing this neatly as all the threads and raw edges will be hidden.

Wriggle the elastic through to the other end and do the same folding and stitching so that you end up with something like this

Hold the elasticated part and pull the wider part round and you will have one of these. Ta Da!

See? It was easy. These make quick party gifts and you can sew a load of them all at once if you do the foot lifting thing. The measurements fit both Miss Froo who is four and Miss Amoo who is eight. If you think you need to make them longer, add an inch or so to the length of the large piece.

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March 21, 2011

How to sew a gusset in pants, undies or knickers

The last time I sewed undies I tried enclosing both of the gusset seams and ended up with a confusing Möbius strip kind of thing that I wasn’t sure would work. I didn’t tack anything either and didn’t sew through all three layers all the way across which made me think there must be a more reliable way to do it.

The enclosing of both seams, or indeed the sewing of undies in general, probably doesn’t matter to many people but sometimes I get a bee in my bonnet and want to work something out so I think about it hard until I fix it. It has to be said that many of life’s problems cannot be fixed like this so it is good to find one that can!

This is what I did this yesterday and it is easier to sew as there is no twisting of gusset and front and back pieces to accommodate but I would advise a little bit of tacking here rather than relying on pins to hold everything together.

I cut my pieces from one size 16 long sleeved shirt which was 95% cotton and 5% lycra.

Two of the pairs are cut with the stretch going across the pieces and one pair was cut on a wonky bias because I wanted to get as many pairs out of the shirt as possible! I used a self-drafted pattern which is a good copy of a comfy pair of pants I own which are now falling to pieces.

Here is the front piece with one of the gusset pieces on top and the other gusset piece hidden underneath. The outside gusset piece will have its right side facing the right side of the front piece.

Line up the edges and tack through all three layers: gusset-front-gusset. That is what I’m going to call the gusset sandwich.

Next, take the gusset that is lying on top of the front and fold it towards you then take the waist edge of the front piece and roll it towards gusset sandwich so that you end up with something like this

Now lay your back piece on the table and flip your rolled up front piece with attached gussets over onto it, lining up the edge of the outside gusset with the matching edge on the back piece with right sides together like this

This looks odd but stay with me here! Hold the inside gusset and tuck it underneath both the rolled up front and the laid out back, to match its edge with the edges of the back and the outside gusset. The back piece will get a bit bunched up and it will all look like this once you have tacked the second gusset sandwich

Carry this little bundle of joy to your sewing machine and stitch along the seams you have tacked. I find stitching very close to unstable edges like this easier with a narrow zipper foot as it drags less and I can see what I’m doing.

Once the seams are sewn and you pull the rolled up bits out from between the gusset pieces you will see that you have
the makings of a pair of pants with totally enclosed gusset seams!

Now bind the legs and waist however you like and put your pants on!

I had enough FOE with a gold stripe to bind the legs of two pairs and the other pair had lingerie elastic sewn straight on without doing any stitching and turning. I don’t bother binding the waist edges of fabric this stretchy which makes a forgiving waistband that never digs in at all.

Happy sewing!