Sunday, December 27, 2015

Baby Doll Swaddle - Pattern and Tutorial - Easy DIY

You will need:

  • Approx 0.5 metres/ yards of a print fabric for the main fabric.
  • Approx 0.5 metres/ yards of a plain lining fabric for the inside of the swaddle. 
  • Approx 0.5 metres/ yards of a light wadding, such as Pellon fleece.
  • Velcro
  • Small scraps of felt for heart decorations.
  1. Start by printing the three pages of the pattern and cutting out the pattern pieces along the solid line. The pattern pieces for the main part of the swaddle will need to be joined together along the dotted line, by matching and then taping the two pieces together.
  2. Place pattern pieces with the marked straight edge along the folded edge of the fabric and cut out one piece in each of the two fabrics (main and lining), as well as the wadding.
  3. Depending on the wadding used (and following the directions for the wadding type), iron the main fabric over the wadding piece to secure.
  4. Begin by sewing the darts into the separate fabrics. Fold over the fabrics along the centre line of each dart and sew along the outer line to create shape in the foot pocket and top part of the swaddle.
  5. Then take the two pieces of lining fabric, right sides together, and sew together around the round bottom edge. Repeat for the outer fabric. Snip along the curved seams and turn one of the fabrics out the right way.
  6. Place this piece inside the other, so that right sides are together. Now join the two fabric cases together by starting in the middle of the top seam and sewing around all of the edges, leaving a space of about 4cm (1.5in.) as you return to where you started.
  7. Trim all corners and curved edges and turn the swaddle out the right way. Iron the seams flat, especially where the opening is at the top seam.
  8. Top stitch around all edges, closing up the opening at the top seam.

9. Pin a strip of velcro to the position indicated on the pattern for the foot pocket. Sew this down and sew the matching velcro to the flap that you prefer to fold down first (on the inside). Then sew two small pieces of velcro onto this same flap, but on the upper side and the matching velcro to the underside of the flap that will fold down last (see picture above for velcro placement).

10. Finally, attach your felt shape (be imaginative to match your fabric, or to suit your child's preferences here!) to the top flap.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Simple Rainbow Ribbon Skirt Tutorial

Miss 5 loves rainbows. Her first drawing that resembled anything was of a rainbow. Since then, we have had rainbow beetles, rainbow birds, people wearing rainbow clothes and more feature in her drawings.

I saw a skirt somewhere online that had bias binding strips along the bottom to create a rainbow effect, but as I am always on the lookout for the most simple and effective ideas, I thought I would replace the binding with grosgrain ribbons.

To start, I measured my daughter's waist and doubled the measurement. That gives you the width of fabric needed.

I then measured the length from her waist to where I wanted the skirt to end (in her case that was just on her knee). I added around 4 - 5cm and that gave me the length of the fabric needed.

Open out the rectangle and fold over the bottom edge by about a centimetre and iron down. Pin the ribbons along the skirt. The bottom one serves as the hemline and the spacing is dependent on personal preference really and how many colors you choose to use. Sew the ribbons down by sewing along both edges as close to the edge as possible. To finish off at the ends, fold the ends under and sew down.

Fold the rectangle with right sides together and sew down the open side. Then press the top over 2cm and then another 2cm. Sew along the bottom fold as close as you can to form the elastic casing. Leave an opening of about 2 - 3 cm and feed the elastic through. Sew the ends of the elastic together and sew the casing closed.

Oh so cute!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Party Bag Coloring Activity - Tutorial

My five year old daughter loves coloring in. She has had an obsession with it now for about 3 or 4 months, since just before her fifth birthday.

A while ago I bought a whole lot of this Tidny fabric from IKEA. Sadly they are not stocking it anymore in our local store. But it is seriously amazing and I'm hoping that they will replace it with something just as amazing (if not more so).

Anyway, I had this idea for her fifth birthday party - little party bags that each of the kids could color in themselves and then I would fill them with goodies as they leave to go home.

I cut a rectangle out of the Tidny print and another of the same size from a plain cotton fabric for the back. Placing the front and back fabrics with right sides together, I sewed along the sides and the bottom.

To make the drawstring casing, I cut a rectangle from the plain fabric that was two centimetres more than twice the length of the top of the rectangle and around 4cm wide. I folded the ends over by 1cm and ironed down, then folded the strip in half lengthways and ironed it down. I pinned the long folded plain fabric along the top edge of the bag (right sides together) and sewed along. Folding the plain fabric up on the right side, I sewed a top stitch along near the top of the Tidny print fabric to finish off.

Thread a drawstring or ribbon through the casing and admire the cute little bag!

A huge hit with the five year olds!

Kids can color the bag with fabric markers and by applying heat with an iron to the colored in area (place baking paper or similar between the fabric and the iron), the colors will last longer.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Sewing tutorial: Kids dress up ideas - firefighter

This is all you will need to make your own firefighter dress up costume:

  • a long sleeved red shirt (I bought mine from a thrift store)
  • felt - bright yellow and grey/silver
  • thread, pins etc.
The first step is to cut strips of felt. The strips of yellow felt should be approx 8cm/3in and the grey will need to be about 2.5cm/1in.

Pin the grey felt to the centre of the yellow felt and sew along both edges of grey felt, in a few millimetres.

Then pin your strips in place on the shirt - the top strips will be placed level with the arm pit of the shirt and then the next strips down about halfway. Sew along both edges a few millimetres into the yellow felt.

Simple, but very effective!

Monday, September 14, 2015

All about me!

In the Riches and Roses sewing room it is rarely about me. It is usually all about sewing for my children and making kids' items for my etsy store. But a month or so ago I went through my fabric stash and found some fabrics that I wanted to put to use for myself.

Peppermint is an excellent magazine that I love to read when I can find or make the time. Their website has some really great free sewing patterns available with comprehensive instructions. This top that I made is called the Harvest Top ( and it was easy to make. Just be aware that the size estimate is quite generous and the shoulders can end up quite loose. Mine has needed some adjustment.

This little A-line skirt is still in need of a hook and eye at the waist, but it's as good as done. I based it on one of the many free tutorials that are available online. I love a pattern that is based on measurements and a formula, rather than cutting out a million paper pieces to stick together, so this was perfect. I chose to use bias binding for the waist, but you could use facing instead. I had a new little bias binding tool to try out :)

This little top was super simple and just based on a picture I saw on Pinterest. I'm still a bit nervous about cutting into stretch fabric without a pattern, so I used an old T-shirt as a model and cut a paper pattern off it. It turned out a great fit.

I made a great top (or 2) from a free pattern I found online ages ago at I decided to play around a bit with the pattern to make a dress out of some red linen fabric I had in my stash and trim it with a Japanese style cotton. I love the result. It was a bit lumpy in the front, so I also made a belt to go with it.

The picture doesn't look like much with the top laying flat, but this top is very sweet and so comfy. I followed the tutorial at and was really happy with the result. The drape is really flattering.

After all of that selfish sewing, it's time to get ready for the upcoming warm weather and make some shorts and skirts for my kids.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Sewing tutorial - Heat/Cold Packs for Kids

Unless there is a lot of blood, we cannot use band aids or sticking plaster at our house. The noise and pain that is experienced with their removal is never worth the pain that they alleviate at the time of injury. The next best option is the ice pack.

And even better than the ice pack, is the rice pack. We keep one in the freezer and another on the bench, ready to microwave if a warm pack is better suited to the situation.

I made them out of flannel, after first drawing the outlines and cutting a front and back piece for each.

I cut wings, beak, eye and arm pieces out of felt and attached them. With right sides of the flannel together, I sewed around the edges, leaving a space to turn them out the right way. Embroider by hand any other features such as eyes, mouth etc.

Fill with rice and sew close the seams. I sewed in a small length of vecro to each opening to make it easier to replace the rice in the future.

Sewing tutorial - Colour your own art supply bag

Ikea. I love the stuff that they sell, but I'm not a fan of the shopping experience. Finding a parking spot, finding what you want in the store and then getting out before two young children lose it. This time we went in with a plan. Fabrics only. Straight there and straight back out. I didn't believe it could be done, but that is how it went. And they even had a little play area at the fabric section! Wow!

So I bought a few metres of the Tidny fabric and we love it. The kids spent part of a lazy Sunday afternoon colouring in and then I made it up into art supply bags. The bags now travel with us when we eat out, filled with some Frozen colouring in pages, coloured paper, markers and stickers. A success!

I washed the fabric and cut a wide strip out (allowing for handles and pockets too) and then the kids used fabric markers to colour in the designs on the fabric. Later I placed baking paper over the fabric and ironed over, applying heat to fix the colours.

I cut a lining for the bag, pockets and handles, and a second fabric for some of the inner pockets.

For the handles, place right sides together and sew along one short end and the long side. Turn it out the right way. Top stitch along the two long ends.

For the top pocket, place right sides together and sew along the two long edges. Turn out the right way and press. Top stitch along the top long edge.

For the two bottom pockets, place right sides together and sew along the top long edge. Open out, press and top stitch along that long edge.

Take the top pocket and pin it in place on the lining fabric. Sew a few mm above the lower seam to fasten the piece to the lining. Sew vertically to form smaller pockets.

Sew velcro strips to the lining and the lower upper pocket. Use a tacking stitch close to the edge to put the lower pockets and handles in place. Now sew the bag outer and lining together by place right sides together and sewing around the outside with all pockets and handles in place between. Be sure to leave an opening to turn it out the right way.

Turn the bag out the right way and press. Sew a top stitch around all outer edges to finish off. Fill with goodies and enjoy!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Sewing Tutorial: Reversible Chalk Cloth Bunting

We recently had a friends wedding that we weren't able to attend. I still really wanted to send a gift and so we bought them a cute chalkboard that we could personalise with a message, and then they could erase it and use it in their house. Practical, original and fun.

And then I bought this chalk cloth fabric. I've made some portable chalkboard mats for the kids and then I thought that this was a fun idea. Bunting looks so effective and lining it with chalk cloth means that we can reuse it for lots of different occasions.

I started by cutting out triangles of chalk cloth and fabric of the same size, a little larger than how I wanted them to be in the finished product. I also decided to make my own bias binding to string them together, so I had to cut out several long strips of fabric along the bias and feed it through my bias binding maker.

Place cotton and chalk cloth together with wrong sides together. Sew around the perimeter, about 5mm in from the edges. Use pinking shears to cut along the side edges and trim the top edge with normal scissors.

Pin and string together using the bias binding, closing the ends.

Sewing Tutorial: Jungle animal dress up tails and ears for kids

A while ago, I bought some of this soft furry fabric on sale, with the plan to make some dress up items for my kids. A lion, zebra, elephant and tiger would be just right for these prints.

I bought some simple headbands for the ears and cut out the following for each animal:

- one long strip for a tail
- four ear shapes to make two ears
- and for the elephant, an extra strip for a trunk

To make the tails
With right sides together, sew along one end and then along the length. Turn the tail out the right way and fill with polyfill. I attached clips used for name tags to each tail, to make it easy for the kids to attach their own tails and avoid pins and elastic or velcro waists. Sew along the opened edge to enclose the filling.

To make the ears
With right sides together, sew along the sides and tops, leaving the bottoms open. Put in place on the headband and handsew along the bottom to attach to the headband. For the elephant ears I used the glue gun to ensure that the ears wouldn't move.

For the lion I added a felt mane, but first sewing close to the edges by machine (leaving spaces to feed through the headband), then sewing on the ears.

Kids Sewing Kit - Make your own doll - Sewing Tutorial

Two years ago I put together a sewing kit for my daughter who was then 2.5 years old. You can read the blog post here: It has been a really popular blog post and attracts a lot of traffic on Pinterest. 

Over those two years it has evolved and she has now outgrown most of the original items that I put in the kit. She has started showing interest in actually sewing something and having a finished product at the end, so I had the idea of making an easy doll kit that is aimed at her age. 

This is what I came up with, and I have to say I am pretty happy with the finished product. Miss 4.5 is very keen to get started on making her own doll and I can't wait to see how it turns out!

I started out by cutting out all of the pieces. I wanted to keep it as simple as possible, and ended up with this design. I machine sewed the pieces together, leaving just two basic pieces for her to sew together - a front and a back.

I invested in a leather hole punch and punched around the edges of the doll pieces. Be sure to pin the front and back pieces together for this step so that the holes line up. I placed a piece of card under the felt while punching to make it a bit stiffer too. I made some small bows for her hair, cut out some felt pieces for the face, chose some sequin beads and added a blunt wool needle and some embroidery thread.

Stay tuned for the finished doll!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Sewing Project - Advent Calendar

Last Christmas I attempted an ambitious family project. My children had just turned 2 and 4 and I wanted to start some Christmas traditions with them.

We live on a day to day diet relatively free of refined sugars, so I knew from the start that I wanted a chocolate and sweet free advent calendar. I spent a lot of time on Pinterest and saw some ideas for daily activities for the month of December so I decided to incorporate those into our calendar. 

While on Pinterest I came across a design similar to this. I wanted to make the tree as big as possible, so I varied the original idea by putting the numbered squares around the outside perimeter rather than in rows along the bottom under the tree. 

I kept it simple by making everything out of felt. Felt does not fray and does not need hemming. For the numbers I used heat and bond lite - it is an iron on applique paper that you can draw on to (remember to make it a mirror image), iron on to the wrong side of the fabric, peel off and then iron onto the backing fabric. It is great for doing difficult shapes.

The first step was to cut out all the shapes and place them in position on the background piece. I then sewed them down. For the Christmas tree, I started sewing from the back most layer, finishing up on the front most layer. For the pockets, I sewed the numbers down first and then sewed each pocket on, sewing around the sides and bottom.

I then sewed on buttons, scattered over the tree, to hang decorations onto. And then began the long task of making each decoration. They were also made from felt, although some were trimmed with ric rac, buttons, embroidery thread or other notions. Each decoration had a backing piece to make them stronger, and ribbon with ends placed in between before sewing up to use for hanging on the tree.

Decorations were placed into the pockets and I made up a card for each activity by printing them all up and sticking each one on a card backing.

These are the activities we did over the 24 days:

  • Learn a Christmas song.
  • Make gingerbread.
  • Make a Christmas craft.
  • See Christmas lights.
  • Decorate the house for Christmas.
  • Make Christmas cards and send them.
  • Go to carols by candlelight.
  • Read a Christmas story.
  • Wrap Christmas presents.
  • Make salt dough Christmas ornaments for the Christmas tree.
  • Watch a Christmas movie.
  • Write a letter to Santa.
  • Colour in Christmas pictures.
  • Write your own Christmas story.
  • Donate toys to charity.
  • Visit Santa Claus.
  • Take a family Christmas photo.
  • Call a family member.
  • Look at old Christmas pictures together.
  • Borrow Christmas books from the library.
  • Make green and red play dough.
  • Play a Christmas game.
  • Give a surprise gift to someone.
  • Do Christmas shopping.

Before we started, I planned out the activities with some strategy. We had visitors from Germany for most of December, so I knew we would be busy. I also knew that on my work days we would be short of time. For busy days, I kept the simple activities. Of course we went away a few times too, so we had to play catch up when we got home. I also thought ahead for activities like carols by candlelight and found out when our local ones would be held.

It ended up being the most fun I had ever had at Christmas. It made us do just a little bit everyday to keep the Christmas spirit going and the usual big pressure that December 25th holds wasn't there for us as we had been celebrating the whole month. It was lovely, and so very sad on the 26th when it was all over.

Our activities list will evolve as the kids get bigger to include more community type activities and we will get input from them on the kinds of activities they would like to do.