Monday, 31 December 2018

More About this Site

Soon there will be pictures of my favourite projects here to help you navigate to the best bits. In the meantime, use the tabs or the search box.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Free PDF Patterns for Children and Babies

I've thought for a long time about committing my research for free patterns to a post, but I've always been too busy using them to make clothes for the grandchildren to find time to write about them. I did manage one post a while back with my (then) favourite free patterns. Those were all ones I'd used over and over again for my grandchildren.

But I really want to make an attempt now to produce something that would be useful to others looking for free patterns for babies and children. It will take several posts. I have several hundred links on my spreadsheet, and there are several worksheets on it covering dresses and tops, pants and trousers etc. Then there are all the different sizes. Where to start?

To find which I think are some of the most useful web sites, and links to them, read on.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Free Pattern for Baby Dining Harness

Assuming you have come to this page from my other pages on dining harnesses, go ahead and click on THIS LINK to see the pattern, and download to your computer. If not, please go to THIS PAGE for the tutorial, and THIS PAGE for more information on Baby dining harnesses generally.

1. Print out the pattern pages, actual size - do not shrink to fit. These will fit perfectly on A4 paper but should work OK on other paper sizes for normal printers. As long as you've told the printer to print actual size, the pattern should be the right size, you might just have more or less border. Note that page 3 is just a layout plan so you don't absolutely have to print that out, but you will need to refer to it on screen if you don't. 

2. Cut out pieces 1-9. Start by cutting off all the margins around the graph paper grid. Then cut the black lines. Do not cut any of the dashed lines.

Note that the piece on page 4 does not go right to the margin.

If you are not using A4 paper: the printed grid should still print to the same size, the large squares are an inch. The whole grid on each sheet  is 11" by 7".  If you can't get it to print to the right size, see suggestion below.

3. You'll now have 9 pattern pieces. Attach these together with tape, referring to the layout plan shown above, and on page 3 of the pattern, lining up the grid squares and roughly matching a to a, b to b, etc. But it's more important that the edges of the pattern match. I suggest you lay the pieces out so that the bottom edges are against a straight edge, either a long rule or a table, to keep it all nice and square.

4. The bottom edge of the completed pattern is marked 'Place on fold of material'. When you come to cut out the material, this line needs to be placed on the fold of your doubled material. You do not need to fold the material on the vertical FOLD markings on the pattern. These are to indicate where you will fold the material to make a hem. It's up to you whether you cut the little notches, or mark the lines on the back of your material.

5. You are ready to start cutting!

6. You can also make pattern pieces for the straps, reinforcements etc using the measurements in the tutorial. Since these are all rectangles, I haven't done printed pattern pieces for these. The measurements are on the other post, here.

7. If your material has a right and wrong side, you will need to make a outer facing for the front part of the harness (otherwise, you'll have the wrong side showing at the front). See picture below. Draw a pattern for this using piece 1, 2 and 4. There is a line marked on piece 4 to show you where the finished edge of the facing should come - so you'll need to cut it about half an inch longer than that.You don't need to add anything extra at the top or sides as you'll put bias tape around it.  An alternative, if you are using thinner material than my sturdy denim, is to make the whole thing in two layers, i.e. cut out the main pattern piece twice. These you will place wrong sides together, as the edges with be bound with bias tape.

Suggestion: if your computer / printer won't let you print out the pattern the correct size: it acutally is not too difficult a job to draw your own pattern based on the one inch squares shown on my pattern. You'll need 1" squared paper (though 2" or half an inch would also work if you count carefully). I'm sure as a child you had to enlarge or reduce drawings by using grid squares. However, it would be worth perservering with your printer to try and make it co-operate!

Now see my tutorial for making your baby dining harness!

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Replacement Padded Covers for Baby Car Seat or Buggy Straps

When my daughter found to her delight that she was pregnant again for the second time, it was time to get Jane's old car seat out of storage. Oh dear! One of the covers that should wrap round the shoulder strap to protect the baby from the strap chafing had gone missing.
Image result for car seat
It wasn't actually this model car seat, but you can see the padded covers for the straps clearly on this picture as they should be. Two of them. 

So the next sewing request was for a new set of strap covers. (A set, because, of course, you want them to match.) To find out how I made these (easy as pie), read on.

Easy Sunglasses (or Glasses) Case

In the middle of packing a holiday case (yes, I'd left it that late) I realised that none of the cases I had were big enough in depth for either of my two favourite pairs on sunglasses. 

So I had to make a new case, pronto. It had to be able to protect my sunglasses in the suitcase, and when out and about, but I didn't want it to be too heavy.

I knocked up this case in about 7 minutes. You could do a much better job in 15, but I didn't have 15 minutes available!

Friday, 6 October 2017

The Fat Quarter Challenge

I have always tried to squeeze as much as possible into the material I have. Probably comes from my Mum, who lived through the hardships and shortages of the Second World War. Her favourite recycling mantra was 'make do and mend', and she never threw anything away. So I recently took it as a personal challenge to see what I could make from fat quarters. With a new grand-daughter expected any day now, I thought I would start there.

A fat quarter is a small piece of material which is effectively a quarter of a square yard of fabric (or metre, if you are lucky). So they are popular with quilters, who can cut several six to nine inch (15-20 cm) squares from each. In practice, few bolts of material these days are exactly a yard or metre wide:  41"-42" or 112cm are the standard for the types of cotton and poly cotton from which most fat quarters are cut. So a fat quarter is usually more like 18" by 21".  Hence the name 'fat' quarter, I suppose.

Here's what I made recently from a few fat quarters: a kimono wrap dress or nightdress for newborn; a sun hat, a diaper cover, a play suit for c 3 months, and a circular skirt age c 3 months. You can find out more about squeezing tiny garments from a minimal amount of material below. Of course, if you have just a tiny bit more fabric, it will be a little easier!

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

My Dining Chair Harness

Home-made baby sitting harness (for sitting at table)

In an earlier post, I wrote about some ideas for making home made harnesses. I also mentioned that none of them were 100% right for my needs, and that I had made my own based mainly on the Canadian Living example, but with some modifications. This is what I came up with.


Here's how I went about it, including the adaptations, and a link to my pattern.

Monday, 2 October 2017

Snappy Top

As I look through my photos, I see there are  projects I photographed but didn't blog about - too busy at the time! But I like to write up my experiences / efforts, especially when trying a new free pattern.

Here's one from May 2015.

This is made from the Snappy Toddler Top pattern from Prudent Baby.  Below, you can find out more about this pattern, and the dress I made from it.