Monday, 19 September 2011

Pirates and Planes

My sewing machine has been going non-stop this week. It started when my son's nursery had a pirate theme for the week. The children were encouraged to bring in pirate things, and as he didn't really have any, I decided to make him a quick eye patch. I took a piece of black felt, and some pirate print that I had in my stash. Cut out a skull and crossbones from the pattern (I'd been thinking about cutting out my own applique but frankly, 3 1/2 year olds don't appreciate the fine art of applique) and stuck it onto the felt with bondaweb (I didn't even finish the edges. Bad mummy!). Then, I made a little tube with black cotton fabric, threaded a piece of elastic through, and attached both ends to the felt patch. Ta da!

I was feeling quite pleased with myself (and I would show you a photo, except that son has hidden the eye patch somewhere in the flat and for the life of me I can't find it). But then, the rest of the nursery children upped the game and the next day he came home wanting a pirate hat, like his best friend from across the street had. 

Pirate hat, kindly modelled by Wol.
After some probing questions, I learned that this was a bandana/skull cap affair, and I turned to the internet for help. There were a huge number of tutorials for folding a bandana gangsta-style, but finding a good pirate one took a while. I wanted something that was sewn rather than tied, because I knew otherwise I would be tying the thing onto his head every 3 minutes. It took some careful googling, but finally I got this tutorial. I adjusted the measurements slightly, basically taking an inch off so that my semi-circles were 4 inches high and 8 inches long and my central strip was 4 inches by 15 inches.
Pirate pieces, ready to be sewn

Then, for the band that goes around the front and acts as a tie, rather than making a tube and turning it inside out (I HATE doing that), I simply pressed my long piece in half and pinned it along the cap with the rough ends lining up. I then sewed along, and pressed it down flat. When I came to the ties, I pressed the edges in a bit and then sewed over top, tucking the ends in. In the end, I got this. It fit perfectly, and my son was thrilled. Alas, pirate theme is over now and goodness knows what I'll have to make next...

Cap shape sewn, before the band is added to the bottom


But more fun than pirate hats: I've been making travel bags for the kids. These will be stuffed with stickers, crayons and so on to keep them occupied on an upcoming long trip. I found this tutorial ages ago, but only just decided to make it - and it really is as easy as she says it is! The longest part was ironing on the interfacing. Once that was done, it only took minutes to put together. I added a snap instead of velcro, but otherwise followed the pattern exactly.

I LOVE these, and want to make them for everyone I know. A few things I'll do differently next time, though: I would add a loop on the top for hanging them on a hook, and possibly a side pocket.

The ladybirds are for my daughter (1 1/2), and I made it exactly the size of the pattern. The turtles are my son's, and I enlarged the pattern by about an inch on all sides so that I could fit all his many bits and pieces into it. They are super easy and super lovely - give them a try!

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