Turning Mens Shirts into Paint Smocks…

After Guy cleaned out his cupboard, I was left with a bunch of his work shirts that didn’t fit anymore. Work is in need of paint smocks for the children, so it made sense to grab them to use as paint smocks.

In the past I just rolled the sleeves up, put them on the children backwards and buttoned up the top button. But I thought they might be a little more child friendly with a few alterations.

I started with an average men’s shirt. These were all size XL

I cut off the collar

cut off the collar

I cut off the cuffs above the button detail.

Cut off the sleeves above the button detail

I removed all the buttons and put them aside. They might come in useful another day.

The shirt looks a bit like this. The sleeves are off and so is the collar. I removed the buttons because I might be able to use them in another project someday.

I bound the sleeves and collar with fold over elastic, pulling it slightly as I went.

I bound the sleeves with fold over elastic. Pulling it slightly as I went

At the neck area I left a very small gap where the fronts meet and continued around with the elastic.

For the collar, I started in a few inches from the edge
I used the elastic to join the two edges together. I left a gap between the edges. When sewing the elastic in the gap, make sure you are still pulling it, this will make sure the stitching doesn’t break when it is stretched in use.

And wala! A paint smock from a shirt!

The back of the shirt becomes the front of the paint smock
The front of the shirt becomes the back of the paint smock

Hopefully they do the job!

Have a creative week!
<3 Cate

Paper towel flowers

Hey there!

Whilst I was making my wedding invitations I used a lot of paper towels to blot up excess dye. They looked so pretty I couldn’t throw them out, instead turning them into paper flowers.

This would be a great activity to get the kids doing! Especially after absorption experiments such as walking rainbows, colour mixing and colour separating. Personally, I just had tonnes of fun splashing dye around!

You will need :

  • paper towels
  • Food colouring
  • pipe cleaners
  • scissors
  • paint brushes/pipettes/spray bottle
  • jars or paint tray

To start, rip your paper towel off in squares. Then have fun colouring them. Use droppers to drop spots around, use brushes to brush colour on, use a spray bottle full of water to encourage the colours to move. Experiment. Have fun. I watered the dye down slightly, use glass jars, yogurt containers, plastic packaging to dillute colours in. If you need to move them around, be very careful as they will be fragile whilst wet. Leave them to dry before doing the next steps.

Once your towels are dry, make stacks of four.

take four paper towels

and make a stack

You will then need to concertina fold them. Fold all layers in about an inch along one side. Flip it over and fold it back the other way, the same distance as the last fold. Continue folding like this until you run out of paper to fold.

To begin the concertina fold, fold along one edge of the stack about an inch

flip it over and fold it back in the opposite direction

continue folding until you can’t fold anymore!

Using a pipecleaner, secure your papers by wrapping it around the center. Twist ends together.

Using the pipe cleaner, secure the folds by wrapping it around the middle

paper towels all secured with pipe cleaner

Cut the ends into a curve.

cut the ends so they are curved

and you should end up with something that looks a bit like this…

Gently tease the papers out. The paper towel I used was two-ply, so I separated those layers out too. You need to be very gently with this step as it is easy to tear the paper.

start gently teasing the papers out

gently tease all the layers out

gently tease and fluff out the layers, being careful not to rip the paper. Fluff until your happy with the results.

Fluff out the layers, and wala! you have a paper towel flower!

Make a bunch!

Use them as decorations, or make a bunch to give to some one special!

 

Bright Stars

I’ve been making baby quilts for two arrivals expected any day now.

I’ve just finished my second one. Take a look at the first one here.

For this one, I wanted it to vaguely match one I made for their sibling a few years back. It was rows of hearts in brightly coloured fabrics.

Because I had a bunch of fabrics left over from this one (and a whole bunch more that would fit in perfectly) I decided to use the same/similar fabrics for it. But to make it different, I decided stars might be a nice addition to the hearts.

After a lot of umming and ahhhing I settled on a paper foundation pieced star. The pattern is a free one by Threadbare Creations and can be found here. I changed it a little. Because I didn’t want two tone stars, I did the star bits in one piece instead of two.

After making one star, my initial reaction was “hell no! I’m not making a whole quilt from those!” It was my first time trying paper foundation piecing. And it was a lot more fiddly than anything I’d tried before. But I love a challenge. And I’m a sucker for punishment. I took it as an opportunity to explore this technique further.

I made a lot of mistakes, there is a whole bunch of areas I have “fixed” by adding more fabric when the piece I was using didn’t quite fit.

I had my heart set on making nine stars. Then just keep adding borders until it was big enough. It wasn’t until my mum came and told me that I should make 12, that I relented and made more.

I machine quilted this one. Around the sashing and around the stars. And that green fabric I have used in the sashing and the binding, its one of my favourites. This is the third quilt I have used that fabric in!

And all completed! I put a lovely rainbow fish flannel on the back for the warmest snuggles!

 

I’m so excited to meet the recipients of these quilts for the first time!

Lego mat bag

This was one of those “oh this won’t take long” tasks that turned into a cussing match!

A week or so ago, a friend approached me to see if it was possible to make a Lego mat/bag for his children. Now, I have a pretty big soft spot for his kids, and will take any opportunity as an excuse to go fabric shopping, so off I went!

I ended up in the furnishing fabric section. The dimensions we were talking was 150cm diameter, so I needed wide fabric. I found a nice bright patterned fabric for the outside, then went questing for something plain for the inside. I stumbled across some velvet. I ummmed and ahhhhed for a bit. It was super soft and squishy and would be really nice to sit and play on. But I thought it might be a bit hard to work with. I got it anyways.

So with my two fabrics, the next steps should have been easy.

Making circles of fabric. To do this I fold one piece in half, then half again. Measuring for the folded corner, mark out the radius, then cut. For this bit I managed to measure too far, and went over the selvage. I had to go back and do this step again, taking another inch off the edge. Simple fix, but lesson learnt. Always check your measurements!

Once you have one giant circle of fabric, lay it on top of the other piece of fabric. Cut around it. Now you will have two giant circles of fabric.

Now for the casing. I thought this was going to be easy. I was even patting myself on the back when I remembered there was a way to work out the circumference of a circle, so I could work out how long my casing strips need to be! (radius times pi) But it took me two goes! The first casing I made was from the velvet and only 2.5inches wide. This was too bulky and not wide enough to comfortably take the cord, and resulted in a lot of unpicking and cussing. The second time around I cut the casing from homespun (much thinner than the velvet) and at 4.5inches wide. This allowed more room for the gathers to sit. If I made this again, I would actually consider pushing this out another inch, as the gathers are still bunching up a bit from the bulky mat section.

Even with my silly mistakes this was a fun make. I learnt a few things (especially how gathers need room to do their thing). This is going on my “list of things to make for kids birthdays”

Lego mat ready for play!

Lego mat, gathered into a bag, all tidied up!