26 Oct. 2009

A pillow made for Irene

I've been visiting Irene as a volunteer community visitor. She's 97 year old next week. She knits a lot. Every time I go there she was either reading the newspaper or knitting. She's knitted lots of scarves. Last time I saw her, she was knitting a pink scarf for her daughter who's now 71 years old. She showed me a few scarves she finished and asked me if I liked any. I picked one and she said she gave it to me as Christmas gift. I happily accepted.

Then I thought I needed to give her something in return. So I made this pillow for her as her birthday gift. I'm gonna give it to her this weekend which will be my last visit before I fly to China on Sunday.

I got this idea from internet. I remember seeing someone selling pillows like this with children's names on them. I loved the idea but never really tried it. Now it's a perfect opportunity for me to try it out.

I printed Irene's name on plain A4 paper and traced the outline of the letters so later on it's easy to see the outline from the wrong side of the paper.

I then glued the right side onto the heat-n-seal (I think it's kind of fusible web)'s paper side. Then I put the other side of the heat-n-seal onto a piece of scrap polar fleece and ironed it on.

Then I cut out the letters (yeah three layers altogether) and took all the paper off.

Then I ironed the polar fleece letters onto the base fabric and hand stitched the letters using blanket stitches. I then sewed the pillow up leaving an opening, stuffed it and handsewed the opening close using ladder stitches.

Some stitches are not perfect on the letters. I've thought of how to improve it next time. It's also the first time I stuff a pillow so it's kind of lumpy which I don't know how to improve.

I'm sure Irene will be happy to have it.

My wardrobe refashion post: http://nikkishell.typepad.com/wardroberefashion/2009/10/pillow-.html

18 Oct. 2009

T shirt shopping totes

I got so inspired by the 10-year-old boy's new business that I couldn't wait to try his tutorial.

So I went through my to-refashion stash and got this:

2 minutes later I got this:

I got so amazed at how quick it was and how well it turned out that I turned another Tshirt:

into another tote:

I was going to make more but I'll see if I really need. At the moment I'm only willing to use those that I'm sure I cannot refashion into clothings.

My post on Wardrobe Refashion

T shirt shopping tote tutorial fron a 10-year-old


I was quite shocked at this 10-year-old boy setting up his own business using recycled Tshirts to make shopping totes in such an easy and successful way...

Peasant blouse decorated with Dino Ville

So my DH didn't like this green dots peasant blouse, because it's not good looking enough. I feared that he would chuck it away and never put it on DD (as he's normally the one who dresses DD). It's such nice fabric and I won't let this happen. So I decided to do something to make it 'pretty' or 'cheerful'. So I grabbed these very colourful scraps:

Cut some interesting figures out:

Laid a few out on the peasant blouse:

And decided which one to use and used my heat-n-seal and ironed them on:

I was planning to blanket stitch them on the train but decided to go the lazy way: zigzaged them using my sewing machine:

DH is quite happy now. I have to say I'd rather blanket stitch than machine zigzag...

15 Oct. 2009

Another two peasant blouses

I made two more peasant blouses. These were cut out quite a few days ago and when I ran out of my 'train sewing' work I grabbed then and hand sewed them on the train. This green dots fabric is my favourite coz it's 100% cotton and very soft and quite thick. But DH doesn't like it coz it's 'not bright enough'.

10 Oct. 2009

knee pads

I have lower back pain so I can't use the normal mops to mop our timber floor. Instead I use cloth wipes to do it. So I knee down on the floor. Over time my knees get sore. So I decided to make a pair of pads to cushion between my knees and the hard floor. They work quite well, except that the elastic was cut a bit too long so they keep going down and I have to pull them up from time to time.

I used quite a few layers of polar fleece scraps and padding scraps to make the cushion, sewed them onto the pink layer, then sewed the pink layer together with the green layer, with elastics. Now no more sore knees!

5 Oct. 2009

Revised yellow skirt

I took off the bottom part of the white fabric inside this skirt,

and cut off a strip to make a ruffle:

It doesn't look like it's changed much. I'll think about how to improve it or I'll just leave it.

This is the peasant blouse + shorts set, if I haven't posted a pic before.

last version of the purple set

I promise this is the last version.

I used the scraps of the purple fabric to make the ruffle and four bows. I sewed on the bows at random heights so it'll be interesting to see each time it's on DD.

My wardrobe refashion post

Embroidered skirt

I made this skirt a few days ago as part of a set. I felt the white part was quite plain so I embroidered close to the edge using embroidery thread this morning. Just simple running stitches. I think it looks better.

The set:

Qipao and jumper/dress finished

I think I'm very brave to give Qipao a go. I never thought I would be able to sew a Qipao. It's the kind of tranditional Chinese garment that's still being worn in China. If you google it you'll know how beautiful it is and how much more beautiful it can be modified into. I know it has its English names but Qipao is the authentic Chinese name of it.

DD had this gorgeous Qipao that I bought from Chinatown in January for her to wear at her kindy's Chinese New Year's celebration. And because of it's tightfitting, it was torn after a whole day's jumping, running and who knows whatever in kindy. So it's been sitting in my refashion stash waiting for some other projects.

The other day I decided to take it out and try to make a pattern out of it and see if I can figure out how to make one. So below is what I came up with last night:

It was a difficult project I have to say. I knew it would be difficult that's why I so hesitated to try. After cutting out the fabrics I thought maybe it wouldn't be so difficult. And while I was doing it I realized how many things I needed to plan ahead instead of just go and do it. I'll need to write a very detailed step by step instruction before my next attempt.

I was too lazy to make the fabric buttons so I just used snaps for the closures. I have the vague memory of my grandma teaching me how to make the fabric buttons before my school age. I've also done some research on how to make them but I haven't really started doing it. I'll do it soon I know.

This is also the first time I've made a collar.

Below is the reversible jumper/dress I made DD a few days ago and I just added the snaps on the shoulder last night to finish it.

3 Oct. 2009


I collected some lavender from our back yard and hung them dry for about 2 weeks. Today DH said he wants to clean up so I had to take them off the walls and work on them. I collected all the leaves and flowers and put them in jars. I got 3 jars of lavender! I didn't even want to chuck the stems out so I kept them in the newspaper and will think of what to do with them when I have time.

Peasant blouse and shorts set

I finished another set this morning. The peasant blouse was hand sewn last night, leaving the neck to be machine sewn this morning using homemade bias tape. The shorts were machine sewn this morning.

Handsewing details:

embroidered seams for my top

I used embroidery thread to sew the neck, sleeve and bottom seam of this top I made a few days ago. I think it's slightly better now.

2 Oct. 2009

pink peasant blouse

I've got addicted to making peasant blouses. It's more because DH likes them very much. He always put a peasant blouse on top of a long sleeve tshirt on DD and it always look very pretty and cute.

So I made another one tonight. I also cut out another two and will need to find some other time to make them.

1 Oct. 2009

life's a beach

I made this wall hanging/fabric art/whatever piece for my manager who's retiring next week. I hope my manager, who lives close to beach and loves art, enjoys her life after she retires.

It took me a while to come up with this idea. Of course I got inspirations from the internet. I printed out a few images off google images and cut them out to make templates.

I used a canvas with frame that I bought from discount shop as a base.

The shell and seastar were stenciled. I only have red acrylic paint so they're both red. Then I decided to embroider a little bit. I added a few stitches on the shell to make it more like a shell. And I added quite a few french knots on the seastar to make it more vivid.

I blanket stitched the flip-flop and the surfboard which were cut off my scrap fabrics.

The words were stitched using back stitches.

And I made sure I signed and dated. I've started doing this, which I think is a right thing to do for every gift I'm gonna give out.

little shorts

I made this pair of shorts from DD last night.

Nothing special. It was a quick and easy job just to get something to match this top, which is my DH's favourite.

I used this pattern without ruffles.


I made this top yesterday.

Both fabrics were bought from the remnant shop at Sydenham. The black fabric was from the small piece bin. I think I could make a top out of it but I wanted to sqeeze the usage to two garments so I used part of it to make the top part of the top (cut along the waistline) and used some scraps from this dress to make the bottom part.

The black fabric is very stretchy in every way which I really like but it's also very very hard to sew. So I had a hard time sewing it last night.

I used this pattern.

The top turned out not as good as I thought it would be. My DH didn't like it either. I guess I'll do some small amendments and see whether it'll be better. ... when I have time....