How to sew a dinosaur

As we are now awaiting our firstborn, his mom decided to sew a dinosaur. During some serious research (pinteresting) I found some pictures and instructions for sewn dinosaur toys, but none of them was completely what I would have liked. One good instruction helped me a lot, but the dinosaur would have only two legs in the end and not four – unacceptable! 🙂 So I had to try it out my own.

Unfortunately I have not very good pictures, but I hope you understand what I mean.

It might be a good idea to wash the fabric pieces now. I though forgot that and washed the whole dinosaur then in the end, but certain types of fabric might shrink during the washing process, so it is always better to wash the fabric first.

Now you need to draw a dinosaur (remember to add a seam allowance of about 1 cm to all sides) and then cut it out on fabric twice (for both sides). In order to draw the bottom of the dinosaur, put them pieces on top of each other and  turn the feet of one side up as shown below. Now you can draw the outline of the legs and inside of the tail (which are here visible with the inside of the fabric pieces) to a tracing paper. Remember to add again a seeming allowance of 0,5-1 cm to all sides.

Then cut out the part you just drew onto the tracing paper and cut it out on fabric.

Then we sew the thorns on the back of the dinosaur. Cut out triangles of fabric, sew them together and turn them around.
Pin the triangles to the fabric as you can see from the picture below:

Sew the triangles to both sides of the fabric (right side out as shown above) with a straight line close to the edge. Here is how the seem should look like afterwards:

Then turn around the fabric, so that you have the inside out and sew around the edges (in the picture below from pin needle to pin needle, leaving out only the legs and part of the tail (the part you cut out separately). I sew very close to the edges, as I suddenly wanted to have a bigger dinosaur, but as you have added a seeming allowance of 1 cm, you can sew about 1 cm from the edge.

Cut small edges to the tail and, if you want to, to the round parts of the head. This will make the round parts more beautiful when you turn the fabric to the right sides again. Be careful not to cut into the seems!

Now flap again the legs over as you have to draw the foot part onto tracing paper. Add the foot part to the fabric as shown below.

Now sew once around the legs, but leaving out the end of the legs and the tail. This makes it easier to fill the dinosaur later. You can also leave out only the tail part, but then it might be hard to get the filling into the legs properly, especially, if you make a dinosaur with longer legs than I did.

The seems should then look like this (the seem of the tail ends with the end of the picture):

Now turn the dinosaur outside in by drawing the fabric through the tail, which you did not sew together. It starts to look already like a dinosaur, doesn’t it?

Now all you have to do, is to fill the toy with some stuffing (I used the stuffing of a pillow) and to sew the end of the legs and the tail. I sew those seems by hand.

And ready!

Baby pillows, second take

About a year ago I sew some baby pillows for my colleague when she was expecting her daughter (link to the article). Now that I am the one expecting, she urged me to sew some pillows for my baby as well, as she found them very, very useful. She laid them beside the baby girl to prevent her from turning and from bumping into the side of the crib, then later they were used under the stomach to get her used to lie on her belly and now at the age of one for playing, of course.

So I found myself in the weird situation to read my own blog about how those pillows had to be sewn. Luckily the instruction was quite understandable and even did not lack important pieces of information.

Now that I sew those pillows again I can though provide a cleaner, more understandable instruction:

First I cut out 3 squares of 25 cm each side and 6 circles of 10 cm diametre. To get a nice circle, I had printed out a 10 cm circle onto paper and cut it out, then pinned it to the fabric and cut it out of the fabric.I used cotton fabric, as I still had some beautiful cotton fabric in my sweing box and as it is easy to sew and easy to wash in the washing machine.

So this is what I got after cutting out the pieces (click on the pictures for a bigger picture):

Then I sew velcro stripes onto some of the pieces:

  • * two long stripes of the non-sticking part onto two of the three squares. Be careful how you sew on the stripes, if the fabric has a certain pattern (e.g. stripes) and you want all pillows to look the same (or if there is text or sth. else that you want in a certain direction on the pillow).
  • * two non-sticking stripes of velcro to two of the circles and
  • * two sticking stripes of velcro to two of the circles.

This is what the pieces look like with the velcro:

Then I ironed the sides of the squares around:

And here a picture of which pieces will be sewn together to three separate pillows:

Now comes the sewing part. First I pinned the sides of a square so I got a tube:

And then I carefully pinned my way around to add the end of the pillow (the circle). This was the most trickiest part of the whole process:

 

and this is after the sewing (with the machine):

It would have left the nicest edges, if I would just have handsewn them, but I am far to lazy for that. So I ended up with quite irregular “homemade” circle-like ends. I tried out different ways how to get a nicer circle. For example I draw a 7 cm circle onto the fabric with a pen that will be washed away in the washing machine; then I cut in the sides of the circles, ironed them down and tried pinning them to the tube, Here still a few pictures of that try, if you want to try it that way:

  

It all ended with the circles looking the same, which way ever I tried: edgy, homesewn-looking, uneven. Well, mommy at least made them just you you, my darling.

In the end anyways I was done with sewing on all circles and now it was a very short way to go anymore. I pinned the pillow together, leaving only a small hole for the filling process, stuffing the filling nicely every time to each side, so that the pillow would be nicely and evenly filled.I did not stuff them too full/stiff, because I thought they might dry better, if there is air in between the filling parts. For the filling I used the inside of an “old” pillow, as I knew this would be washable.

Then the last step: sewing the pillows closed over the filling. This time I closed this seam by hand. Made a much nicer seam than with the machine, what I made last time (because of the time pressure).

And here they are now. The pillows are done.

I added all my pictures from this project to Flickr, Set: Baby pillows (ape tube pillows).

Present idea: beauty and health spices

I always thought I had written about this, but obviously that was once again one of those I should do…

As for some people it is really hard to find some present they might like, especially when one absolutely wants to make something handmade. So this time I thought my sister might like the idea of getting a small tube with a lots of small jars, in which she would find spices which are said to be healthy and/or helping the natural beauty.  As I liked the idea, I also made one for one of my best friends. With the jar I also gave a nicely printed paper on which I gave information why this spice is so healthy or how it should be used to make her even more beautiful.

What I did not realize at this point, that my sis and my friend speak different languages and so in the end I had to translate everything still.

Well, it took me ages to find spices in the store to which I found information in the internet. Either it is not in the stores around here or I did not find any proper information in the internet although I thought it would be a spice sooo healthy. In addition I tried to also find some spices that are perhaps a little strange and thus interesting perhaps to learn about how to use such a spice.

Well, in the end I managed to deliver something useful, I hope. This was how it looked:

spice jar

You will find the document “Gewürze für die Schönheit” attached to this blog entry (please press HERE). Please note that there are different spices than on the (Finnish) jars in the picture.

Here a short summary in English:

Healthy spices:

Pepper: helps your digestion. The fresher the better.

Chili pepper: fights inflammation and reduces blood cholesterol and even helps you to lose weight.

About these you can find information about health benefits of spices e.g. on these internet pages: whfoods.com.

Blueberries (powder): blueberries have one of the highest antioxidiant capacities of all fruits, so they help against the free radicals that could damage your cells and it is said that they help your memory. Blueberry powder is very tasteful when mixed into unflavoured yoghurt or smoothies.

 

Beauty spices:

Sea salt: makes a good, natural peeling when mixed with etherical oil (is that the right word?) or olive oil. Look here for a good example: cellulite-battle.blogspot.fi, and this one is also a Good to Know Page: kerrycooks.com.

Nettles: it is said that nettles tea can help your hair grow and eases itching scalps, when poured over the head before a shower (not too hot of course). Of course fresh nettles would be better, but hard to deliver in a jar ;).

These were just a few examples. There are so many more healthy spices, but please evaluate carefully which information you use. It is not everything true in the big world of the internet. Although, luckily, mostly there are no consequences in using spices, when not using too much at one time.

 

A pearl necklace for my mom

As again my mom’s birthday came just too soon, I had just one idea for her present: a handmade pearl necklace.

To make her this time a pearl jewel with a loooooots of pearls, as I have seen many in the shops in these days, I tried a new approach to the matter:

I took a nice light chain and started to add pearls to it with a thin silver wire. And oh, it took hours… Sometimes it felt as if I hadn’t done anything because the necklace looked the same as when beginning my session. To each single ring of the chain I added about ten pearls, so it is a loooot of pearls.

With the time I felt that the chain was also getting heavier also I used light wax pearls, so I decided that I would add pearls only on the part, which is really seen and let some part of the beautiful silver chain free of pearls. This would also help that the pearls would not tear on my mom’s long hair.

In order to make the necklace more interesting I used pearls different in size and colour. Mostly I used pearls in different shades of white, but sometimes I added also a light blue or pink one.

In the end it looked like this:

My mom called me after her birthday and said that she really liked it but unfortunately the mail had obviously been shaken so badly that many pearls had come of.

If you make this kind of pearl necklace, please check the chain that the links are well closed and that the pearls are not too firm together to avoid them breaking off during transportation.

The beauty of this necklace comes also from the fact that it changes slightly all the time. The pearls fall to a different place nearly every time as they are not too firm together. When they are able to move,the necklace also is not too stiff. I also recommend to end the pearl line on every side with having less and less pearls per link, so that it is not a too harsh ending where the chain itself comes into sight.

Home decorating

Finally at least one corner at home looks pretty! Yesterday our pillows with our own photographs arrived- ordered at smartphoto.fi. I don’t know why you have to order the whole pillow when the pillowcase alone would have been fine, but anyways they look great!

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The New York photo is my favourite (my own snapshot!)

It is amazing how a picture not that great in colour looks much better in b/w.

Mobile phone bag and farewell card to colleague

Hello, back again with a short update. I have been spending my rare free time with just too much Farmville and some handicrafts. I have sewn several mobile phone bags, for example this one for me for the iPhone I use at work. Without having the mobile phone in a bag attached to the belt or waistband of my trousers or skirts, I will just forget about it and at those days I am always searching for the phone….

Another small project was to make a card for an intern who became a well loved colleague. But now that her internship ended, there was no way to give her an ordinary farewell card from the store. And this is what I came up with:

The letters were printed out from word and then cut out carefully so that only the down parts of the letters stayed attached. Then I pulled them out carefully to have a 3 D effect.

I hope this picture explains better what I mean:

More pictures at Flickr.

Gold foil necklace with mod podge

One of my favorite new projects is mod podging thin golden foil to wooden pearls. It is one big messy fight but I love how the foil forms little continents of the wood pearls.

First time I tried it out with simple white wooden beads.

With a thin brush I brushed the beads with a little mod podge and then with a pair of tweezers I laid the foil onto the lacquered surface. When I brushed the foil, sometimes it broke and formed smaller “continents” so it felt as if the foil decided itself how it would look like. It gave the project a nice random look and no pearl looks like the other.

The project took pretty much time, as I had to make a break always when I started to spoil the spots, already covered with foil. My fingers were nearly always covered with mod podge, as I was so concentrated on mod podging the pearls that I did not notice touching the wet surface all the time.

In the end I was pretty happy with the product so that I started to make one other as a present for my friend, this time on violet pearls. Picture will be published soon…

Ring with changeable background washer

In January I tried out different things, especially when making jewellery. Some things I still have to try to make better. One of my better notions was a ring with washers that I covered mith decoupage lacquer (mod podge) so that you can change them whenever you want. It was a late Christmas present for one of my best friends.

The project is quickly explained and done:

I tried out different papers:

1 tissue paper

2 Christmas present paper

3 scrapbooking paper

4 printed photograph on normal paper

5 thin paper

First I covered one side of the washers with mod podge and glued the paper onto them. One paper for each washer. When the papers were dried, I cut the paper to the size of the washer with a crafts knife. And that’s how they looked then:

The tissue paper ( nro 1) was surprisingly difficult, as it broke several times. Obviously the washer is just too smooth for the thin paper to attach to it. Still, I think it worked best, because it does not make sharp edges. Cutting the paper properly to the washer’s size is not too easy (for me). On a few washers I added some rhinestones with an applicator and one I covered with lace.

In the next step I knotted a ribon to a ring base, so that the knot is on the top.

To add a washer you just need to pull the ribbon’s ends though the washer’s hole and make a bow.

So that the present would look nice, I mod podged the top of a box and filled it with celluphane.

Put your own picture onto glass

I have spent a big part of my free time in Pinterest lately. Repinning and getting one great craft idea after the other. Just, sometimes one should sit down and DO THEM.

So having my father’s birthday coming up just too soon, I decided to try out one idea which promised an easy transfer of an own photograph onto a glass. Yeah, sure. As my father loooooves presents which involve a family portrait I had to try it, though. The idea originally comes from the lovely blog “inspired ideas” (link: click here). Be careful, you might spend hours reading interesting articles in that blog!

And let me promise you this: it is easy and it is just gorgeous!

And here is how it is done:

1) Print a picture. I have a laser printer, but a photocopy works as well. Ink jet: sorry, does not work! I tried it out with a coloured picture, works also well, but the best is a picture with high contrast, so try out the black/white settings or take a copy of an old black & white photograph.

2) Now tape a piece of contact paper over the picture. It should be about the size of the picture, but it does not matter, if it is bigger, as the white colour of the paper will not stick to the contact paper, logically.

3) Rub the contact paper onto the photograph (or vice versa). I tried it with my fingernail and a coin.

4) Now it time for a little bath. You can cute the paper to the right size to have it easier later. Let the package soak in warm water for about 10 minutes.

5) Carefully tear away the paper from the contact paper, better leaving pieces onto it than pulling it away to hard. You don’t want to miss a nose or a foot later on.

6) Nearly done. Now rub the rest of the paper veeeeeery carefully away from the picture. It works best under running water. Then just allow the picture to dry so that the contact paper will get sticky again. When dry, you might see some small remains from the paper that you missed, but a little more water and rubbing gets them away.

It was such a cool moment to put the picture onto a glass. Okay, you cannot put it in the dish washer, but it is definately a very personal present!

Sewing baby pillows

** Better instructions coming!**

My dearest colleague will have her baby soon and in addition to sewing handbags and so on for Christmas, I decided to sew something for her (read: the baby) also. As time is precious and much too short I thought to sew three small round pillows that can be attached to each other with velcro strips.

*Update: my colleague told me the pillows were really useful especially to prevent that the baby turns around. So nothing useless at all 🙂 Hopefully the baby likes to play with them when it grows bigger.*

I was very surprised how easy it worked out to be. I am not a good sewer, so the better for me.

There are surely better ways to make these pillows, but I did not want to search endlessly for instructions and in the end it worked out anyways.

Here are my very detailed how-to instructions. Don’t panic, it is very easy though loooong:

First I cut out three squares of the same size (I did not measure properly so the last one happened to be smaller) and six circles out of my cotton fabric. I am absolutely not into patterns so it just had to fit. I draw a circle on a papercard and cut it out to get at least somehow proper circles out of my fabric. Of course, I could have calculated how big the circles need to be, but it happened to work out well anyways. I had a kind of idea how big the circles need to be when I rolled one fabric square into a tube and draw a line onto the papercard where the outer lines would be. Trusting on my luck that I always would find an idea how to correct…

Due to lack of velcro I decided to sew two long stripes onto two of the three squares (the part of the velcro which does not stick to the hair!) and two small pieces of the not-ripping-hair-side of the velcro also onto two circles and only two stripes onto circles from the velcro that is so mean to stick to everything. The “mean hair-ripping” velcro part would be on one of the three pillows only because I wanted that two pillows can be used as normal roll pillows, as nothing sticks to hair or blanket. You can (hopefully) see from the picture how I did it. If I had more velcro also the two now blank circles would have get a stripe of soft velcro. Feel free to ask, if something is unclear!

Next step: Unlike on this following picture iron only three sides of the squares around so that you get soft edges. One side does not have to be ironed as I noticed when sewing them together…..

…. as you can see on the next picture. I did this mostly, because I did not want the sewing machine to have to sew too many layers of fabric together, as we will now still add the circles to this edge so it will be a lot of layers to sew and my old machine might not make it. There is one flaw on the picture below! Unlike shown below there were actually not the edges sewn together, as I wanted the big stripe of velcro to be in line with the length of the pillow, so take care to roll the fabric in the right way!

After figuring out how I need to roll and pin two edges together, I went on to pin one circle with soft velcro to one end of the pillow in the way shown below, so that not unfinished ends of the fabric can be seen. This might be quite tricky, but if I make it you’ll do it in no time.

Now comes the even trickier part. Sewing that you just pinned:

After having sewn on both ends of the pillow comes the easy part: stuffing. That was fun! I had earlier washed an “old” pillow very hot and dried it properly. Now I just opened one side of the pillow and took enough stuffing out to fill the pillows. Why buy some filling, when you have enough spare pillows at home. That is at least some filling that you know can be washed, and baby pillows should be able to be washed, right?

Ok, I know, let’s go on. When the pillow starts to fill, push the filling into the ends and start pinning the fabric together over the filling, so that in the end you can stuff the last places from one quite small hole in the middle. Fill the pillow well but not too tight, because some fillings may increase their volume when being washed and the pillows should not be too hard. Might depend on the stuffing and on the later use of the pillows.

In the end I managed to sew this last part in the sewing machine, but it would make much more beautiful seams when you sew this last seam by hand. I was in a lack of time so luckily the pillows where so small that they just and just fit to be sewn.

In the end I was proud! Me who has sewn just a few bags and shortened some trousers had sewn three cute pillows! Now my colleague can use them for playing with the baby, giving some support to the head or train some letters with them:

give me a U:

Well, we will still work on that U. Give me an N:

Nearly. But a large i works already pretty well:

Okay, and now I should stop playing with other people’s toys…