This weekend I spent a couple of hours making up a couple of trick-or-treat bags for my two youngest daughters. These festive little bags are sized smaller than the average grocery tote bag and should make it easier for younger kids to carry their Halloween candy home–easier for sure than those bulky plastic pumpkins, or a bigger tote that they may be tempted to drag after awhile. After Halloween is over, they can be used for library books, carrying snacks and a water bottle to the park, or whatever else a young, busy person might need a small tote bag for. Read on for the fast and easy project instructions below!
These puppets would be fun Halloween party favors! There's a craft stick inside the skirt to make puppeteering easy for little hands. Older kids might enjoy adding the extra hand controls shown in the video below. Best of all, either version makes up in about an hour.
I designed my puppet faces using a paint program on my computer and printed them on Spoonflower linen-cotton canvas. You're welcome to download my file, or if you have artistically-inclined little ones, they can draw their own puppet faces to print on fabric! My sample puppets have 1 5/8" diameter faces. You could certainly make them bigger if you like.
- 1 test swatch of linen-cotton canvas for puppet faces
- 2 fat quarters of Kona® Cotton for puppet dresses
- (I'm using Fiesta de los Muertos by Ljonte and Spidery Web in zombie green by Voodoorabbit. You can get about three puppet dresses from a fat quarter.)
- Ric Rac, about 1 yard (optional)
- Stiffened felt scrap for head (I'm using Friendly Felt)
- Jumbo craft stick, 1 per puppet
- Hot glue gun or white craft glue
- Eyelash yarn, about 3 yards
- Sewing machine
- Hand-sewing needle and upholstery thread
- Scrap of acrylic or wool felt for hands
- 2 thin bamboo skewers (per puppet, optional)
- Black wide-tip magic marker (optional)
- Downloadable pattern for puppet faces (optional)
- All seam allowances in this project are ¼".
A note on glues: I like a low-temp hot glue gun for all of the steps in this project – it bonds quickly and speeds up the process. But, if you're making this project with kids, of you aren't familiar with using hot glue, you might want to use craft glue instead. You'll need to allow some dry time here and there, but it'll save those little fingers from being burned!
Make the Puppet Dress:
1. Print the downloadable dress pattern and cut out four pieces of fabric: the puppet dress back, its center front, and two side front pieces.
3. Now, put the front and back together with right sides facing, and sew the shoulder seams.
Leave this seam unsewn between the two seams on the dress front, as shown below. This opening will be the neck opening of the puppet dress.
Take a small running stitch around the entire neckline, ending up back at the center back. Leave tails of thread hanging at the both ends of this seam. We'll use this thread when we assemble the puppet.
This video will walk you through making the puppet head and hands, and dressing it up. You'll also learn to add stick controls to your puppet's hands if you want to do some more complex puppeteering.
About Our Guest Blogger
Diane Gilleland blogs, podcasts, publishes, teaches, and makes videos about all things crafty over at CraftyPod.com. When she's not doing those things, she's doing whatever her cat tells her to do. And what's wrong with that?
This week guest author Emma Jeffery from the blog Hello Beautiful visits to show us how she used cloud photos to create a one of a kind shirt for her outdoorsy, science-loving husband.
I enjoy making things for my loved ones, but I often feel underwhelmed by the sewing potential for making things for my husband. To be frank, he’s one of those people who doesn’t even need much; give him a bike, some tunes he likes and a decent pair of flip flops, and he’s pretty satisfied with life.
But that doesn’t mean he should be able to sneak, undetected, beneath my sewing radar. It just means I have to think more creatively when it comes to ideas for making things I know he’ll love.
He’s an outdoors type of man who likes stargazing, weather reports and well….science. Whilst it may be a little lost on me, I was happy to spend a sunny afternoon during a recent vacation, taking photos of passing clouds, to make into a one-of-a-kind fabric design that I sewed up into a shirt for him.
Our friend Anda Corrie shares a tutorial for making a fabric play crown: a favorite dress-up accessory and an instant Halloween costume!
After making my 4-year-old her first paper play crown, she began entreating me to make them for her nearly constantly. Suffice it to say they are one of her favorite go-to dress up accessories.
This week guest author Emma Jeffery from the blog Hello Beautiful visits to show us how she used old love letters to create a personalized fabric lampshade.
My husband and I got together in the days when people still wrote letters to each other, and because we’ve both lived in various different countries (and not necessarily together, at the same time) we both accumulated a healthy stack of correspondence.
On a recent trip back to my parent’s house where I grew up, I rediscovered the large box of letters I’d amassed that he sent me over a 5-year time frame, chronicling my various university addresses, a summer stint as a nanny in France, a year I spent on a remote island in the Indian Ocean….The envelopes had postmarks and stamps from his various travels too — a windsurfing trip to Spain with his friends or snowboarding in the Alps. And because he tended to doodle on the front of the envelopes or use folded magazine ads as an envelope, there was an interesting mix of color and design in my collection.
I photographed various parts of many of the envelopes, concentrating on the addresses, stamps, postmarks and my husband’s handwriting and doodling. I zoomed in on various points of interest and panned out on others, for a more overall impression.
Once I had taken approximately 50 – 60 photos, I edited them in Picasa by cropping the photos to highlight the most striking parts.
I then created a collage of the images. Setting the purple background color helped to make the images stand out from each other. Picasa allows you to easily move and turn each element of the collage to create an image you love. Although my usual design comfort zone is subtle and orderly, I very deliberately decided to go bold, random and large-scale with this collage. It felt good to let my design inhibitions go for this project.
In Microsoft's Paint program I resized the image to fit 1 yard of Spoonflower’s linen-cotton canvas. I wanted to use my fabric print for an oversized lampshade for my side of the bed in our room. I purchased the largest lamp base I could find at the thrift store – which cost me less than $3 plus the cost of a can of spray paint to change the ugly black and red design to white.
I selected a large lamp shade to recover and traced a pattern on large piece of paper. I started by rolling the shade over the paper and marking a line with a pen as I rolled it from one side to the other, marking the top edge and then the bottom edge.
I then joined up the two lines at the sides with a ruler.
I cut my pattern out of the paper and checked it was the right size by placing it over the shade temporarily.
Assured my pattern was the correct size, I was ready to cut my fabric. I added a ¾” seam allowance all the way around the outside of the paper pattern so that I had extra fabric as an overhang.
To adhere the fabric to the lampshade, I began by spraying the shade with a spray adhesive. It’s best to do this outside or in a well ventilated area.
Finally, I secured the lampshade to my new and freshly painted base and placed it in our room.
About Our Guest Blogger
I'm an obsessive sewer, often leaping into projects with more enthusiasm than talent, more bravado than skill and more good luck than anything else. This technique has worked well for me so far and more often than not, I make things I love, even if they're not absolutely perfect. And though I'm no expert, I have a passion for fabric, color and design. I know what I like and what I like makes me smile.
Here’s a pretty transitional piece for crisp autumn weather. I combined gauzy voile with flannel to make a scarf that’s light as a feather, yet nice and warm. As a little bonus detail, it’s hand-quilted with variegated thread, which creates a lovely stitch pattern on the flannel side. (If you think hand-quilting is hard, I promise my video will change your mind!)
This week guest author Emma Jeffery from the blog Hello Beautiful is back to share a tutorial for creating personalized placemats.
We had an old set of placemats that were tatty, faded, peeling and well used but I couldn’t bear to part with them since they were a wedding gift almost 10 years ago. Happily, our marriage has fared much better over the last decade than the mats, but still, I knew there was a way to bring the old placemats back to life, restore their former beauty and weave them back into the memory of our very special wedding day.
When our middle daughter was getting ready to start kindergarten two years ago, we received a note from the school about the supplies she would need. Among them was a beach towel for her daily nap time. “A beach towel?!” I thought. Lying on a towel on a classroom floor certainly didn’t sound very nap-inducing to me, so I immediately decided to make my daughter her own portable nap mat and tiny pillow to keep in her cubby at school for her daily naps. She loved her handmade nap set then and at age 7 now, she still loves it and often includes it in the pillow forts she loves to build.
Her younger sister isn’t due to go to kindergarten until next year but since it’s back to school time for lots of others, I thought that a nap mat tutorial might be useful to all you parents with kiddos starting school. Read on for the details of this cozy project!
This finished nap mat is 50 X 34 inches and the little pillow finishes at 13 X 8 inches.
Materials for mat and pillow:
–2 yards of cotton fabric; I used 2 yards of Spoonflower cotton poplin printed with my daughter’s choice of Heidi Kenney’s Bunny Bunch design. (Bunnies have been much on our daughters’ minds lately as we’ve just adopted two of our own!)
–1 yard of snuggly backing material that coordinates with your cotton fabric; I used 1 yard of 62-inch wide pink Minky fabric bought from my local fabric shop but you could also choose flannel.
–quilt batting; I used 100% wool batting because it’s fluffier than other types, rendering it more comfy for napping. The crib size is large enough for this project.
–extra-wide ribbon or webbing, about 30-inches long; I used a length of 1-3/4 inch-wide ribbon trim I scored at the thrift store. It doesn’t exactly match the print, but I think it goes.
–coordinating perle cotton or embroidery floss for tying the mat
–polyfill stuffing for the pillow
Making the Nap Mat
Cut one piece for the top of the mat from the printed poplin measuring 51 X 35 inches. Cut one piece from the backing fabric measuring 51 X 35 inches. Cut a piece of wool batting measuring 51 X 35 inches.
Step 1: Layer the poplin, backing, and batting together in one “sandwich” in this order: Batting on the bottom, then backing with right side facing up, then poplin with right side facing down. Pin all these layers together around the perimeter, leaving an 8-inch opening at one short side of the sandwich.
Step 2: Next, you’ll be marking a point for the strap on the other short side–that is, the short side that is opposite the side you left the opening in previously. Mark a point about about one-quarter of the way in from the edge with a washable marker in a light color. (I love this use for washable markers!) I was apparently a bit math-challenged when I marked a quarter of the way in as 11 inches below! One-quarter of 35 inches is 8-3/4 inches. (Ahem.) Pin the short edge of the ribbon or webbing you’re using for the strap, lining up the raw edges of the strap and the mat sandwich. Take care to keep the ribbon well out of the way of the seams you’ll be stitching next.
Step 3: Stitch around the perimeter of the mat. Begin your stitching at one edge of the opening you left using a 1/2-inch seam allowance. I used a universal 80/12 needle, 2.5 stitch length, and a tension setting of 4 on my machine without problems, but you may wish to experiment with your machine’s settings before stitching to be sure this works for you, especially if you haven’t sewn with Minky before.
Remember that strap pinned into the sandwich, and be sure you’re not sewing it into the seam!
Once you’ve sewn around the mat perimeter, clip the corners to minimize bulk.
Step 4: Carefully turn the mat inside out and poke out the corners with a chopstick, knitting needle, or point turner. Press the edges with an iron, pressing the seam allowances of the opening you left to the inside.
Step 5: Now you’re going to edgestitch along the perimeter of the mat. If your machine has a walking foot, you may want to use it so that the layers feed evenly and you don’t get a lot of wrinkles and tucks. Stitch about 1/8 of an inch away from the edge of the mat all the way around.
Edgestitching here will strengthen the seam a bit more, enclose the opening you left, and will also create a bit of a poofy edge that to me looks pleasingly like piping. Once again, be careful that you don’t stitch the loose strap into your seam.
Step 6: Now we’re going to tie the mat to stabilize the mat layers so they don’t shift as your child uses it. If you’ve never used this method of quilting, it’s super-easy and fast. The first step is to mark the dots using the washable marker so you know where your ties are going to be. Four-inch intervals will do the trick, so I’m marking a 4-inch grid all over the poplin side of the mat. Note that since neither 50 nor 34 is evenly divided by 4, there will actually be a 5-inch gap between all edges of the mat and the first row of dots. Make the first dot five inches up and five inches over from the bottom corner. The dot next to that will be 4 inches away, then the next dot will be 4 inches away and so on, ending the row with a dot that is 5 inches away from the other edge of the mat.
Continue marking dots. After marking the first row of dots, I used an acrylic quilting ruler to mark the next row, lining up the dots I marked previously with the 4-inch mark on the ruler. Do this until the entire mat is marked with a grid of dots.
Step 7: Thread an embroidery needle with the perle cotton or embroidery floss. Take the first stitch on the first dot of a row, beginning and ending the stitch on the poplin side of the mat.
Continue along the row, taking a stitch through each of the dots on the same row. There’s no need to cut the tail of the thread or to cut between each dot yet. You can stitch an entire row first, then trim the tail to a couple of inches once you’ve made a whole row of stitches.
Step 8: Tie the little threads over each of these dots, being careful not to tie so tightly that the fabric is bunched up in the center. Tie a whole row before you proceed to the next row. You can either trim the tails at the end of each row so they’re not so long and dangly, trim them all at once at the end, or even leave them long if you like how it looks.
Making the pillow
We’re not quite done with the mat yet since we have to finish the strap that will help to bundle everything together. I’ve opted to configure the strap closure so that my child can wrap her little pillow up with the mat, so this means I have to make the pillow first.
For the pillow, cut two pieces of poplin measuring 13-1/2 X 8-1/2 inches.
Step 1: Pin the two pieces of poplin right sides together and pin, leaving a 4-inch opening for turning. Stitch around the perimeter, using a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Trim the corners to minimize bulk.
Step 2: Turn the pillow inside out and poke out the corners. Press the edges. Stuff the pillow with polyfill so that it feels like a comfy bed pillow when you’re done stuffing and not hard and bouncy. Try to poke the stuffing into the corners, too.
Step 3: After stuffing the pillow, hand-stitch the opening closed using an invisible or ladder stitch.
Step 1: First, finish the raw edge of the strap. Since I used ribbon for my strap, I was able to fold in the raw edge about a quarter-inch, then fold it down another quarter-inch again to encase the raw edge, then stitch it down. Webbing may be too thick to do this, though. You may wish instead to zigzag stitch the edge to keep it from fraying, or use a product like Fray-Check. I’ve heard you can also melt the edges of webbing, but that sounds scary! I haven’t tried that.
Step 2: With the edge of the strap finished, it’s time to roll up the mat so that you can determine where to place the Velcro. Fold the mat in half lengthwise so that the strap is sticking out one of the very short sides. Begin rolling it up at the end opposite the strap like you would a sleeping bag, leaving the strap loose. Stack the pillow on top of the mat, then wrap the strap around this bundle. Wrap it tight enough to be neat but not so tightly that your little one can’t manage to get it all bundled up again.
Step 3: Decide where you want the Velcro to be placed on the straps where they overlap. Cut two pieces of Velcro–one each of the hook and loop sides–about 1-1/2 inches long. Place pins on the two sides of the strap at the top and bottom edges of where these two 1-1/2 inch Velcro pieces will be sewn.
Step 4: Fit the first piece of Velcro inside the first set of two pins and stitch around the edges. Be sure to backstitch at the beginning and end to be sure that the Velcro won’t come loose as the mat is used. Repeat with the second piece of Velcro.
Need more DIY projects? Check out our Back to School DIYs roundup for 41 awesome projects to get your creativity flowing!
I love English paper piecing and fabrics with great big prints, but these two things don’t always play so nicely together. So I decided to experiment with super-sizing some traditional paper pieced hexagons. I love the way they showcase these three beautiful designs from Spoonflower designer Holli Zollinger: Coral Lined Mosaic, Fish Scales Slate Full, and Diamond Circles Aqua, and the chevron lines of quilting make a nice frame.
Make cute and simple fabric from your drawings!
Get some ordinary printer paper and your favorite brand of black marker or art pen. For this project, a thicker-lined pen is best. Decide what you'd like to draw–here, I'm drawing a bunch of smiling little kids–and draw
your subject all over the paper, repeatedly.
Don't worry if some of the drawings look a little off, just keep drawing—you'll get better as you repeat the image. Try a few variations as you go. Once you have a ton of little images all over the page, take a pencil and circle the ones you like best.
Take a second sheet of paper and lay it on top of the first paper. If you can't see the lines you drew through it, you may have to hold both sheets up and tape to a window. Grab your crayons and "color in" the drawings you like on the second paper. Color loosely, a bit lightly, and use blocky color. Let your coloring go a bit out beyond the lines if you like.
Scan both images at 300dpi and open in Photoshop.
First, make sure the background of the crayon image is pure white. We'll use Replace Color for this.
Click Image > Adjustments > Replace Color, make sure Preview is checked, and set Fuzziness to 25.
Click on the background of the image in the Preview window—this is the hue that appears next to the word "Color".
Now drag the Lightness slider all the way to the right—the "Result" box will turn white. You should see your image background turn bright white as well. (If you start to lose image detail in the crayoned parts, adjust Fuzziness to 15 or 10.) Click OK.
Now's a good time to crop your crayon image. I like to leave around 1-2cm at the top and left sides, and crop closely on the bottom and right. This will usually make the repeat flow nicely once it's uploaded to Spoonflower.
You can also open Image > Adjustments > Hue & Saturation if you want to quickly tweak your colorway.
Zoom (+) way, way into the drawings you've decide to work with. Using the Magic Wand tool, hold down Shift and click all the black parts of the image until it's completely selected, then copy what you've selected to your clipboard. Just work with one little drawing at a time here.
Head back over to your crayon image and Paste the drawing as a new layer. Move it so it's positioned on top of its colored-in background, and use Edit > Transform > Rotate if you need to line them up better.
Repeat with the remaining drawings you've colored. Flatten all the Layers of your image and if you like, open Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast—bumping both up will give you a more vibrant fabric, lowering them a touch will give a more muted image, which can be nice for a vintage look.
Open Image > Image Size and set the print size for your design. I like to set my image dpi to Spoonflower's default of 150dpi here, too.
Save and upload to Spoonflower! You can preview your pattern in different repeats—here I've decided half-brick is best. You're all done!
About Our Guest Blogger
Anda Corrie is an American illustrator, Etsy designer, and émigré living in Berlin, Germany with her small family. In her spare time she obsesses over vintage children’s books, makes homemade schnapps, sews tiny dresses that her 4-year-old stubbornly refuses to wear, and draws. Visit her Spoonflower shop for some lovely hand drawn fabric designs and her Etsy shop, Boosterseat.