Monday, 23 December 2013

DIY handmade Christmas gifts

Hello there, hope we all had a great Christmas celebration with our family and friends.  I was busy with a few last minute sewing for myself, and also family.  I thought I'd try make myself some grocery bag dispensers with some old bedsheets which I have.

Easy beginner's sewing projects - DIY handmade Christmas gifts (2013)

Infinity scarf
Refashion an existing scarf

Grocery bag dispenser

Materials used:
Singer 160, thread
Old bed sheets.  Medium weight cotton.
Cut 1 piece of rectangle of size 22" L x 18" W
Scrap piece of 1" width brown grosgrain ribbon and 1" white satin ribbon
Elastic - 2 pieces of 6mm width x 5-6" length (I used only one piece per grocery bag holder as I prefer to have a big open top to slip in plastic bags easily)

For a tutorial on how to make a grocery bag dispenser

Grocery tote bag

Fabric from old bed sheets
cut 2 x 18" length x 17" width.
Straps - cut 2 x  12" length x 2.5" width
seam allowances 1/2 "
finished size: 16" x 17".

Headbands for girls and women

Table runner

iPad bag or case

I started mine off as a trial and error sewing project, but thought I share what I found online that resembles most what I did.

Materials used:

All-purpose foot
Sewing machine - Singer 160 and matching colour thread
allow 1/2" seam allowances each side
Actual iPad with plastic case measures approximately 8.5" W x 10.5" L x 1.5" thickness
Outer fabric and inner fabric used - same style and print, 4 pieces of 12.5' x 8.5" or
2 pieces of 25" x 10.5" (Fabric used was Filligree Textiles Pty Ltd, Noah's Ark uncoated Decor fabric. 100% Cotton
Flap:  2 pieces of 10.5" x 5" or 1 piece of 10.5" x 10" (i cut the latter)
Elastic loop - 8cm
Button - 2-3cm diameter
Batting - cut to same size as the outer fabric and inner lining
I allowed 2" extra for seams and bit of room
Inner pocket:  1 piece of 10.5" x 5".  I found the 5" height too shallow to contain earphones or other accessories, so will try a depth of 8-10" next time.

I sewed the hems of the inner pockets first, then top stitch onto the right side of one of the exterior piece.

Also, I did not quilt the batting onto the fabric, only sewed it to the sides within the seam allowances.  Next time I will sew batting to outer fabric and then quilt a pattern by top-stitching straight lines, as it looks flatter and less bulk.

The elastic loop was sewed when I attached the flaps together.
handmade ipad bag
iPad bag with a flap, button and elastic loop.

sew an ipad bag
Ipad bag

I made this using some old mattress protector wadding and uncoated decor fabric

Cushion covers - envelope style, no zippers or buttons used

Friday, 13 December 2013

Sewing project - easy short sleeve peasant dress for toddler 2-3T

Here's one of my recent sewing project, made using some fabric stash given to me.  I think the fabric was a polycotton blend.  Ribbons used were 9mm width polyester, machine washable.  The short sleeves and dress were made from adjusting the sleeve pattern and original bodice pattern from Emma Hardy's book, Making Children's Clothes.

Materials used:
124x100cm fabric
Pink grosgrain ribbon, 9mm width x 12cm?
Ribbons - approximately 9mm width x 80cm length?
Elastic for neckline - 6mm x 16.5" length.
Sewing machine and brown polyester thread

For similar tutorials and patterns on how to make a short sleeve peasant dress, check this out:

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

My own version of the "ice cream social dress"

This is basically a patternless toddler dress.  Just cut your fabrics into rectangles to fit your child's height and chest.

To determine fabric width for the main bodice, use this as a guide: twice the chest width measurement.  Eg. 22" chest measurement, use 44" with for fabric.

Eg. If you want the dress length to be 20", then add 3" for seam allowances and for gathering the top part.

Materials used:

White with floral print cotton fabric 45" width x 16" length - main bodice
Pink floral polyester cotton fabric 45" width x 4" length - bottom border
Shoulder straps - 2 pieces of white fabric same as main bodice, 7" width x 16" length
White elastic 20mm width x 20" length for the chest section.  Can be made shorter for a tighter fit, like 19" length
Elastic for shoulder straps 2 pieces of 6mm (1/4") width x 7.5" length.  In hindsight, I could use shorter length, e.g. 7"?

Where I found the pattern and tutorial:

The finished measurement of this dress is 16.5" length, with 8" straps for shoulders.  This suits my toddler of 2.5 year old.  She wore it to a birthday party for the first time.

toddler dress
gathered dress with frilled elastic sleeves

gathered dress with frilled elastic sleeves - top part

Monday, 25 November 2013

A little lady's summer dress - gathered elastic dress with shoulder straps

Hello there, I am back again. Disappeared into the land of sewing for a while.  Been sewing some simple dresses for my toddler for this hot summer season.  So this is one of them.

summer dress
Summer dress for toddler girl

Summer dress with shoulder straps
Summer dress with shoulder straps

This is where I got my patternless little girl's dress and tutorial:

Fabric used: polycotton mix and match floral print 112cm width x 19" length (for main dress)
Straps - pink poplin fabric, 2 pieces of 10"length x 3" width

Seam allowance 1/2" or 13mm
Elastic band 20mm width x 51cm or 20" length.

This dress measures 17" length from chest to bottom of hem. The straps were sewn to the top of the dress bodice about 1" from edge.  Size is made for 2 to 3 year old.

Shoulder straps measure 1.5" width x 8" length when sewn.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Been out and about with my little model

Breakfast ideas for little toddler

I am very lucky and blessed to have a good little eater who is not fussy about what to eat and also not picky despite my poor culinary skills in the kitchen!  

Regardless of how my food turns out or is presented, my little girl will still chow down all the food, most of the time.  Though, lately, she has been making choices about when she wants to eat certain foods or fruits.  She eats strawberries on certain mornings but not every morning as part of her breakfasts!!

toddler breakfast
toddler breakfast: french toast with honey, orange slices, strawberries

home-made yogurt with bananas, apple, strawberries.  rice puffs and special K (adult cereal) with milk

hash brown, egg (it looks bit rubbery and dry), banana sliced, tomatoes (her favourite)

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Sewing a toddler dress - using old bed sheets

toddler dress (aka pillowcase dress)
Hi there, for this sewing project, I used some old unused bed sheets that have been lying around in my mums linen cupboard.  The pattern I used required 40 inch (100cm) square of fabric.  After cutting out the pattern and sewing the dress, I found it a bit too short for my 2 year old toddler so I decided to add some more fabric to it.  I decided to add some ruffles.  For the ruffled hem, I used 4" height x 50" length, and 1/2" seam allowance.

There is also two fabric cut outs for the front and back bodice, with a shorter length, just 2" below the armhole, used for lining the top or chest area.

After sewing the lining to the front and back bodice, I also did a top stitch around the armholes which is not indicated in the book. Some of the extra embellishments indicated in the book were omitted in this project, as I just wanted to test out the main pattern, which is the dress.  You could add a flower yo-yo to the front bodice and also coloured ribbons along the bottom of the dress.

1/2" seam allowance used throughout.
Straps made from 2 x 2" width x 28" length fabric. (50cm width x 80cm length)
White thread used
Safety pin
Singer 160 sewing machine
Pattern for 2T-3T

The pattern for the toddler dress was taken from this book by Emma Hardy, "making children's clothes".

Sunday, 17 November 2013

New sewing quick projects - toddler clothing 2T-3T

Bought this top pop poplin fabric at Spotlight for $2.99 per metre, I bought 2 metres in total to help me practice my sewing projects.  So I decided to try the night dress pattern again, this time, I used some "super seams" in this sewing projects.  All my seams are sewn so raw edges are hidden away, and I did not do any zig-zag stitches as before.  Hiding the seams are preferred way for me, as they look neater.

For ideas on super seams, I followed the tutorials found on this blog:

Items needed for this sewing project:  
Poplin fabric, 112cm x 125cm
6mm width x 16 inch length elastic (1/4" width)
(18" is too long for my 2-3 yr old)
Sewing machine
Scissors and pink general purpose thread
Pattern cut-outs
Tailors chalk
Night gown #2 with flower yoyo

For how to make a flower yo-yo, check this out:
Night dress using poplin fabric
The flower embellishment was made using scrap fabric and some buttons I have in my stash.

Pyjamas pant for summer
The pyjamas pant pattern was taken from Emma Hardy's "making children's clothes".  It is sized for 2T-3T.  Pattern #16 used.
Fabric used was pink top pop poplin 79"  x 40" (200cm x 100cm)
No edging or contrast fabric used.
Elastic 6mm (1/4") width x 20" length
Pink coloured thread
Instead of overlocking or doing zig-zag stitches to prevent fabric frays, I did super seams on the sides and also the crotch area for the pants. 

Gathered elasticated skirt with ruffle

There is no pattern used for this gathered elasticated skirt with ruffle.  Basically I just started off  with two separate pieces of fabric, mainly the top and middle part of the skirt, but found it a bit too short at 9" length, so I decided to add a blue slightly ruffled bottom to make skirt longer.

What I used:

23" length x 4" Noah's Ark uncoated decor cotton fabric height for the top of skirt (where the elastic casing is)
35" length x 13" height for the middle section of skirt (Noah's Ark uncoated decor cotton fabric)
45" length x 5" height for the bottom blue ruffle (top pop poplin costs $2.99 per metre)
Elastic for waist - 6mm width (1/4") x 20" length (toddler waist is 19")

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Sewing project: reversible bucket hat for toddler

Sewing project:  reversible bucket hat for toddler

The weather in Perth is now getting warmed up and we are really heading into some serious hot weather coming week.  I've been thinking about making a hat for my little girl, and have procrastinated as weather seems cool and at times still cloudy during the day.  So far we have been staying indoors and in shade, but not for long as the weather gets better.  Toddler wants out, so have to make sure she has suitable hat.  The ones she's been wearing is getting too small for comfort.

I finally found something on a blog that I can use and follow, with pattern and step-by-step instructions.  So this is where I found my sewing pattern and tutorial:

I went through my fabric stash and decided to use this two fabrics for the hat, mostly scraps as you don't really need much.

Using scrap pieces of fabric:

Noah's Ark print by Filligree Textiles Pty Ltd - all cotton.
Cherry print (made in Japan) - all cotton.

I decided not to bother with using any interfacing to stiffen the hat, even though I did buy some.  I will save it for my next hat project.  Overall, this effort took me about four hours to complete.  Very painfully slow....

It is not perfectly sewn, but I think that will do for now.  Will try again and hopefully it will be an improvement in the quality of sewing.  Haha!!  As soon as I took some pictures I will share it online.

Reversible bucket hat
Reversible bucket hat for toddler 2T-3T

Reversible bucket hat for toddler 2T-3T
Reversible bucket hat for toddler 2T-3T

Reversible bucket hat for toddler 2T-3T
Noah's Ark print

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Sewing project: toddler night dress

toddler night gown
Toddler night dress
Hello there, I am back on my blog after disappearing in blogging land.  I've been getting myself into some beginner's sewing projects.  Just starting experimenting with sewing skirts, panama pants and also any easy sewing patterns that I think I can tackle.

Thought I share about my recent attempt on making a toddler night dress, using this pattern I found in this book written by Emma Hardy, Making Children's Clothes.  This book has 25 step-by-step sewing projects for 0-5 years, including full-size paper patterns.  The pattern I used is for 2T -3T (2-3 years old toddler).

Materials I used

Pattern pieces 3 and 17 from the book
124 x 100 cm of cherry print cotton fabric
Approximately 16 inch of 6mm (1/4") width elastic
30" length of 12mm width pink ribbon suitable for garments
Seam allowances of 1/2" included in pattern pieces


Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Sewing project: Gathered elasticated skirts again

Hello there, I found a simple sewing pattern on this blog that shows you how to do an elasticated gathered skirt.  I recently tried it out, it was real easy and so I got addicted to making more, seeing that my toddler girl only wants to wear skirts this spring.

So this was what I used to start them off:

100% plain orange Satin (polyester)
114cm width x 50cm/20 inch for skirt and sash (skirt is 16" length)
114cm width x 16 inch for skirt (polycotton floral print)
2 x 6mm elastic x 50cm/20" length
A safety pin to thread the elastic through.
Measuring tape and straight ruler
Fabric chalk for marking

These materials are so economical that if I did make a mistake with my sewing, it would not matter.  The satin orange fabric I has it in my stash for a long long time, so I thought I used it for this trial.  It is meant to be a costume material, but she can wear it for party or special occasions.  Will need to find some nice top to team it with.

These skirts suits a 2-3 year old girl with waistline 19-20 inches or 54cm waistline.

Satin orange skirt with sash
Orange satin skirt with a skinny sash

floral toddler skirt
Polycotton floral print skirt

The method and where I found it on this blog:

The sash I made was only about 1" width, but I started with 3" width material, used 2 x 114cm length x 75cm width for skinny sash.  Join two fabrics of 114cm together to  make sash, then I trimmed off excess length once I tried it on my toddler, doing a bow tie with the half-finished sash.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Feeding my little toddler her meals

Family and toddler meal ideas

Ever since my toddler can eat a family meal and have what we are having for meals, we have been eating together as a family, rather than just feeding her dinner first.  For lunch, both of us will eat together wherever it is possible.  That is when she can sit and feed herself, and does not demand a story time session.  I used to read her books as a baby whenever she sits at the high chair.  It is her favourite time of the day, as she gets my undivided attention and devotion!  Nowadays, she is quite independent and can self feed, but she sometimes will demand her favourite book borrowed from the library.  At other times, she will read a magazine or food catalogue from the supermarkets....  Good way to enhance her dining experience.

Hello there, just thought I share some toddler meals I prepare for my own kid.  This blog is a way of recording what transpires in my daily life as a stay at home parent, so it will also include what I feed her hungry little tummy.

Sometimes it is a challenge getting my toddler to sit at her high chair, so I have to try and give her something nice to have her meals in, like cute cutlery and plate, with some interesting food in it, hopefully it will appeal to her taste buds.

Lunch:  Egg, cucumber and avocado multigrain sandwich, with tomatoes,
orange and strawberries.

Dinner: Fettucine with broccoli, grape tomatoes, tuna and mushrooms

Dinner:  Avocado and grapes, Asian stir fry veggies, bok choy and scrambled eggs with rice.

dinner: miso soup and stir fried noodles with red cabbage and chicken mince

What's been happening lately... No crocheting but dabbling in sewing and enjoying some great food by my dad

Hello people!  Hope you are keeping well, for those who check in on my little blog.  Been away from crocheting lately, but I have not been idle.  I've gotten myself into learning how to sew using a recently acquired Singer 160 sewing machine, which I purchased in May, for myself, as a Mother's Day present.

Well, I thought  I could use it to sew toddler clothing for my little girl as well as for my own family.  Perhaps, occasionally sew up gifts for other family members and friends, once I mastered how to use this sewing machine.

To start off, I began using old clothing as my learning pieces.  If the clothing can be recycled or upcycled into something useful, I will refashion it.  Otherwise, will just use the fabric as practice for sewing stitches on the new Singer 160.

Last Sunday evening was a great break away from cooking in my own kitchen and dining at my parents!  It is always a treat and delight whenever my dad gets his hands on cooking for the family. It is good that my mum gets a break from cooking dinner for the family whenever we gather and visit.

So these are just what my dad cooked up, a storm, for a normal Sunday get together dinner.

A Singaporean oyster fried egg dish.  "hao jian"

Asian mixed vegetables stir fry

This is bought from food outlet. Roast pork and duck. 
Sticky rice dish

chicken drumsticks
Yummy marinated baked chicken drumsticks

Deep fried prawns - hubby's favourite

Friday, 25 October 2013

Sewing a gathered elasticated skirt for toddler

Hello there, I found a simple sewing pattern on this blog that shows you how to do an elasticated gathered skirt.  Once I tried it out, it was real easy. It suits a beginner at sewing, that's me.  Just got a Singer sewing machine few months ago, and now I can really try it out and see how I go at this new hobby.

So this was what I used to start it off:

100% cotton, made in Japan, Cherry prints
114cm width x 50cm length
6mm elastic x 50cm/20" length
A safety pin to thread the elastic through.
Measuring tape and straight ruler
Fabric chalk for marking

This skirt suits a 2-3 year old girl with waistline 19-20 inches or 54cm waistline.

gathered skirt for toddler

The method and where I found it on this blog:

The only thing I left out was the sash.  Will do it next time.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Crochet pattern for baby girl tricolour beanie, 3-6 months

Hello there, here's another baby beanie I crocheted recently.  Just a pattern I came up with after unwinding the yarn and restarting quite a number of times.  The beanie is finished with a picot edging and a 6 petal flower embellishment.  Thought I try adding a flower to jazz it up a bit, as normally my beanies are plain and without any embellishments.

Will write down the patterns once I can sit down and concentrate...

tricolour baby girl beanie 3-6 months

crochet beanie girl
beanie with a buttoned 6 petal flower

size of finished beanie:  6" height (crown to base) x 7.5" with (base) or 16cm height x 19cm width
circumference of beanie:  38cm approximately

Yarn used for this beanie:

Patons Big Baby white yarn 8 ply or DK
Patons Big Baby  yarn 8 ply or DK
Bella Baby baby wonder sky (blue) yarn (col 80251145 Lot 2210 4 ply

(60% Acrylic and 40% Nylon) for all yarns used.

Crochet hook size 4mm
Burgundy coloured button - 1cm size approximately
sewing needle and white thread to sew button

Make a daisy flower using pattern found in this book Visual Quick Tips Crochet by Cecily Keim and Kim P. Werker,  Wiley Publishing, Inc.

Other alternatives and guides to how to crochet a flower:

Stash-buster challenge - crochet work in progress -granny stripes toddler top/tunic dress

Granny stripes tunic
Finished granny stripes tunic
Shell edging
granny stripes pattern

Needle and yarn

5.0 mm (H)

141.3 meters, 50 grams 0.5 skeins = 154.5 yards (141.3m)


84.8 meters, 30 grams 0.3 skeins = 92.7 yards (84.8m)


30 meters, 10 grams 0.1 skeins = 32.8 yards (30.0m)

variegated yarn


red dot

The crochet pattern is from

A stash buster project, good to use up various coloured yarns you may have.
Acrylic yarn, 8 ply or DK used.
Finished item size suits a 2 year old girl.
15.4”height x 17.3” width Chest: 12.6”
39cm height x 44cm width (bottom of tunic) Chest: 32cm
I did only an edging for the bottom of the tunic.
pattern for tunic :
ch 1, 1 dc over ch 2 sp, tr x 3 into 2nd tr st of previous 3 tr group, ch 3, tr x 3 into same st again, repeat to ** till the end of the round, then ss to ch 1, fasten off.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Stash-buster challenge project #11 - granny square newborn blue beanie

granny square beanie
beanies newborn 0-3 months, 3-6 months, 6-12 months.

beanie newborn size
beanie newborn size

granny beanie
crochet granny square beanie

Crochet pattern for granny square newborn beanie blue

Size made: newborn, 0-3 months
Finished measurements: 6” width x 5.5” height (15.3cm width x 14cm height)
Suits head circumference: 12” to 13”

UK crochet terms and symbology used.

3mm size crochet hook
Bella Baby – Baby Wonder 4 ply yarn (60% acrylic, 40% nylon)

Care and washing instructions for beanie:
Cool handwash, 30 degrees celcius
Do not bleach
Do not iron
Dry cleanable

Stitches abbreviations:
ch - Chain
tr - Treble crochet
ss - Slip stitch
dc - Double crochet
st – stitch
sp - space

Beg at crown, ch 4; join with sl st to first ch to form a ring.

Special note: Rounds 1 to 4 should look like a granny square motif. Only starts curling up once you start doing round 5.

Round 1: ch 3 (counts as 1st tr), 2 tr into ring, ch 1, *3 tr into ring, ch 1,** . Repeat * to ** two times, join with dc into third ch of ch 3 starting chain to finish round. You should have 4 groups of [3 tr, ch 1] and looks like a square.

Round 2: ch 3 (counts as 1st tr), 2tr, ch1 into sp created by dc join of this round. *3 tr, Ch 1, 3 tr into ch 1 sp ** x 3 times, ch 1, 3 tr, ch1, join with dc into third chain of ch 3 starting chain to finish round 2. You should have 4 groups of [3 tr, Ch 1, 3 tr] at 4 corners.

Round 3: ch 3 (counts as 1st tr), 2tr, ch1 into sp created by dc join of this round. 3 tr into next ch 1 sp, *3 tr, Ch 1, 3 tr into ch 1 sp, ch 1, 3 tr into next ch 1 sp **, repeat * to ** 3 times, ch 1, 3 tr, ch1, join with dc into third chain of ch 3 starting chain to finish round 3. You should have 4 groups of [3 tr, Ch 1, 3 tr] at corners, with 4 x 3tr in between.

Round 4: ch 3 (counts as 1st tr), 2tr into sp created by dc join of this round, ch1. {3 tr into next ch 1 sp, ch 1} twice, *[3 tr, Ch 1, 3 tr into ch 1 sp, ch 1, {3 tr into next ch 1 sp, ch1 } x 2 ] **x 3 times, 3 tr, ch1, join with dc into third chain of ch 3 starting chain to finish round 4. You should have 4 groups of [3 tr, Ch 1, 3 tr] at corners, with 8 x 3tr in each ch1 sp in between.

Rounds 5 – 15: ch 3 (counts as 1st tr), 2tr into sp created by dc stitch of this round, ch1, then repeat *3 tr into ch 1 sp, ch1 ** till the end of each round, then dc into third chain of ch 3 starting chain to finish each round.

Round 16: ch1, dc in each tr st, dc in next ch 1 sp**, repeat * to ** till last ch 1 sp, then ss to ch 1 to finish this round. Fasten off.

Rounds 1 to 4 are increasing rounds and resemble a square. Once you stop doing the corner groups of [3 tr, Ch 1, 3 tr], your beanie will start to resemble a dome shape (when flat) or beanie shape. To make bigger baby sizes, you can continue to do increasing rounds after round 4 till you have the size you need, then continue with pattern from round 5 to shape it into a beanie.