Crafting with gloves and socks

My daughter was really keen to make sock puppets during the school holidays.   I’d  also found a book about sock toys at  the library and thought we could make some soft toys from socks and gloves too.

So it was off to the local opportunity shop for socks and gloves only to discover someone had been in earlier in the day and bought all the socks.  Perhaps they had the same school holiday activity in mind?  We did find two non-matching gloves, but  thought that would be OK.     Sock and Glove by Miyako Kanamori is a lovely story about Billy the glove dog and Marcus the sock monkey.  They need some friends, so put lots of gloves and socks on mum’s table and hope she will make them some.  She does, and they have lots of fun together.  Mum even makes them  some clothes.

glove bunnyThe patterns are included in the back of the book, and are very easy to follow. I really liked the diagrams of the socks and gloves with cut and stitch lines drawn over each.  The patterns range from very simple (like the fish) to quite complicated (like Marcus the monkey).  We choose something made with two gloves, and something made with socks.  We think our sock bunny is very soft and cute.
Most of the sock animals need the whole sock (or two), so using socks with holes won’t work.  We found some nice stripped socks for the bird, and a coat toggle in the button jar at home for her beak.      Sock Bird and Glove Bunny are the best of friends…just like Billy and Marcus.

Other sock and glove books

Stupid sock creatures: making quirky lovable  figures by John Murphybunny and bird

Sewing: 25 projects for a crafty afternoon edited by Kathreen Ricketson

Sock Monkey boogie-woogie: a friend is made by Cece Bell (children’s picture book)

Sock Monkey rides again by Cece Bell (children’s picture book)

Recycled sewing

I try as often as I can to reuse fabrics, buttons, zips and the like when I’m sewing.  I really enjoy coming across new ideas for upcycling or repurposing, and found lots of new ideas in Sewn by Hand by Susan Wasinger.  While the book encourages hand sewing, I used my machine as often as possible.

apronMy favourite idea from the book was the business shirt apron.  Using the front of two shirts, including the button holes and buttons, the shirts are cleverly cut and resewn to make a really neat apron. I used a white striped shirt for the apron bib and a brown shirt for the bottom.  The remainder of the shirts could easily be made into the cafe napkins with built-in napkin rings, also from the book.  My daughter’s jeans are looking very cool as well, thanks to Sewn by Hand.  I’ve patched the holes in the knees with pretty cotton prints and stitched around the patches with embroidery thread.  She can’t wait for more holes to emerge so I can add a few more patches!

My next project is the pilot’s hat.  I haven’t sewn it yet, but I have sourced a couple of ribbed jerseys from the local opportunity shop.  I’ve decided against adding the contrasting trim and fabric flowers, instead keeping it as simple and plain as possible.  I’m keen to get going on that project – it looks so warm!

I’m sewing with Christmas in mind, and have a family member who loves baking cupcakes who I’m sure could use an apron.  I’m also sure a friend who experienced a lot more snow then me last week could use a new hat.  With the remainder of the jersey I’m going to try the felted slippers for another friend with cold toes…just hope they don’t read this post!

Other titles that reuse and repurpose

Eco – Craft by Susan Wasinger

The reclaimers: a complete guide to salvage by Sally Bevan

1000 ideas for creative reuse: remake, restyle, renew by Garth Johnson

The repurposed library: 33 craft projects that give old books new life by Lisa Occhipinti

Alabama studio style: more projects, recipes and stories celebrating sustainable fashion and living by Natalie Chanin

Fairy tale craft

My daughter loves fairy tales.  While Cinderella is her all time favourite,  she can happily recite almost all of the well known fairy tales.  I recently came across a couple of patterns for fairy tale characters in More Softies that give funky, modern twists to classic characters.  I was especially taken by the Princess and the Pea and knew as soon as I saw it, I had to make it.

princess in bedI used a mix of cotton fabrics and recycled blankets for the mattress covers and filled them with foam so they would stack nicely.  I used polyester fill for the top mattress and pillow  to give the pile a snug look.  My pea is quite a bit bigger then the pattern for some unknown reason, but as a result we haven’t lost it!  I finished the set by making a matching draw-string bag to keep it all together.

princess and the peaGive yourself plenty of time to make the complete set.  The book gives very clear step by step instructions and making it is not difficult. It’s just that there are a lot of pieces to it…  but well worth the time.

And my daughter loves it!  The only disappointment is that the Princess doesn’t have arms!

Red Riding Hood is another neat pattern in the same book.  Have a look at the following titles for more modern, funky soft toys.

Softies only a mother could love edited by Jess Redman and Meg Leder.

Simple softies: for the whole family by Julie Renouf.

Bobby Dazzlers make your own misfits by Julie Kamijo and Rosie Short.

One of my favourite craft books

There are so many great sewing and craft books in the library.  Occasionally   I come across one that really inspires me.  Handmade Home by Amanda Blake Soule is one such book.  Everytime I pick it up I find something else in it I want to make!

I’ve  already made several of Amanda’s projects, and found them to be straight forward and reasonably simple.

bookmarksOne of my favourite ideas from the book is the handmade bookmark.  Like the book suggests, I used drawings my daughter did as a pre-schooler.  I found it easier to photocopy the drawing and then turn the copy into an iron on transfer using a transfer pencil.  Much easier than drawing directly onto fabric.  That way I got to keep the drawing too.

bathmatI’ve also made the bathmat (I recycled a candlewick bedspread) and the fiber garland.  I’m keen to update our mouse pad, and think I’ll be stepping out in a sweater hat this winter.  So many great ideas!

pincushionIf you’re looking for quick, easy sewing projects as well as ideas for living, this is well worth a look.

Garden craft

I’ve spent a lot of time in the garden this summer, and I’ve had a bumper crop of cherry tomatoes.  This month I’ve been thinking about how I can take my love of craft outdoors.  I started with bunting flags, inspired by Danielle Proud’s, House Proud.

bunting flagsHanging in the porch, they have livened up the entrance to our house and were very quick and easy to make.  I used bias binding rather then string and spaced my flags to fit the space where I wanted to hang them.

I’ve come across a number of other titles that have great craft ideas for the garden.  Have a look at the wire birds and butterfly I made from Jennifer Swift’s Creative Bloom: projects and inspiration with fabric and wire.

wire birds and butterflyI used soft wire and a pair of pliers to shape the birds and butterfly to the template provided .  They are now at home sitting in the tree in my front garden.


Other titles with craft ideas for the garden:

The craft & art of bamboo: 30 eco-friendly projects to make for home & garden by Carol Stangler.

Garden craft for kids: 50 great reasons to get your hands dirty by Diane Rhoades.

Sewing books to check out!

Some great new sewing books have arrived recently and I thought I’d share my picks with you.  Now these are for women’s clothing, just to let you know, but I’ll do a post on children’s clothes later!

First up there’s a couple of books by Built By Wendy designer Wendy Mullins.  Built by Wendy is a New York based clothing line designed by Mullins.  She’s turned her hand to writing how-to books for sewers and we hold three in this series.
Syndetics book coverBuilt by Wendy dresses : the Sew U guide to making a girl’s best frock / Wendy Mullin, with Eviana Hartman ; illustrations by Beci Orpin ; additional illustrations by Dana Vaccarelli.
I think this book is fantastic!  I can sew, but not well, and I found it easy to follow and understand.  All patterns are provided and the instructions and variations are clearly explained.  Its written in a chatty, informal way which helps too.  Mullins also makes sure that any problems you may encounter are covered, which is extremely useful.
Syndetics book coverSew U : the Built by Wendy guide to making your own wardrobe / Wendy Mullin with Eviana Hartman ; illustrations by Beci Orpin ; additional illustrations by Agnieszka Gasparka.
This is an earlier book in the series and it covers skirts, shirts and pants.  It has basic patterns for each, simple instructions and how to alter each for different sizes and other variations.  Similarly, its full of helpful tips and tricks.  The third book Built By Wendy: Coats and Jackets is on order at the moment – reserve it now!
Syndetics book coverLittle green dresses : 50 original patterns for repurposed dresses, tops, skirts, and more / Tina Sparkles ; photography by Erica Beckman.
This book is good for fans of secondhand shopping and those who want to be more eco-conscious with their fashion choices.  It covers mainly patterndrafting and how to alter secondhand purchases.  It also looks at finding good uses for vintage fabrics, buttons and other bits and pieces you may accumulate along the way.  Definitely worth a look!
In a similar vein is ReSew (also a new order – reserve here) which looks at repurposing secondhand finds.
Syndetics book coverTwinkle sews : 25 handmade fashions from the runway to your wardrobe / Wenlan Chia.
Any knitting fan will know about Wenlan Chia and her innovative designs.  Chia is also a designer, overseeing an entire Twinkle range.  What I like about this book are the great designs – these are not basics, these are clothes I’d actually like to wear!  This book’s not for beginners though, you’ll have to know what you’re doing.  But the instructions are clearly written and easy to understand.  Unfortunately, assembling the patterns can be problematic, but it’s worth persevering.