Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sewing Tutorial: Quiet Book page - Old McDonald had a barn and some finger puppets

The barn page is page three of my Quiet Book. I adapted the idea from the template on Homemade By Jill (

You will need red, white and brown felt. Draw each shape on the transfer paper - red barn, brown window, white stripes and two brown rectangles the size of the barn doors. Iron the paper onto the felt and cut out the shapes. Cut between the doors and fold them back. Iron on the brown rectangles to the back of the doors. Peel off the rest of the paper, leaving the adhesive on the back of the shapes. Iron shapes onto the page fabric, starting with the red barn, then the brown window and finally the white stripes.

Cut out the finger puppet shapes. Fasten on the noses and cow spots. Embroider some eyes on all and nostrils on the pigs. I usually fasten down each piece by sewing a top stitch so that it doesn't fall off. Sew the ears, horns etc onto the back piece of each finger puppet and then sew the fronts and backs together.

Sew top stitch around each piece of the barn and white edging to be sure it does not come off. Cut another piece of brown felt to fit inside the doors and hold the finger puppets in place.Sew it down on the sides and bottom.


Put it aside and get ready to prepare the next pages!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sewing Tutorial: Kids dress up ideas - construction vest

This pattern fits a 2-4 year old.

You will need:

Orange polycotton (I may have used slightly more than half a meter).
Grey felt

Print out the paper pattern (Piece 1 and Piece 2). It will print as two A4 pieces and need to be joined with tape to make one A3 sized piece. Then cut out the pattern shape.

The outside line (centre back) should placed on the fold and one piece cut to make the back. Then follow the inner line and cut two pieces to form the front. You will also need to cut the grey felt in strips 2-3cm wide.

Sew the grey felt strips onto the orange vest pieces in the position indicated on the pattern. Then sew together at the shoulders and down the sides.


Cut out strips of orange 4cm wide on the diagonal and make bias binding. That is, fold over in half lengthwise and iron flat and then fold the edges in to the centre and iron flat again. Sew this binding along all raw edges. 

And done!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Sewing Tutorial: Quiet Book Page - Tent and Sleeping Bag (zippers)

The idea for this page came from Still:Living, but has been modified over time by me.

I usually use a cotton drill or poly cotton for the blue sky backing and felt for the remainder of the page.


You will need to draw on your transfer paper:
  • a rectangle for the background (leaving about three cm around all sides for stitching and borders), to be ironed onto blue cotton fabric. 
  • a crescent moon to be ironed onto white felt. 
  • outline for the doll, to be ironed onto a skin coloured felt. 
  • outline for dolls clothing - shorts, shirt to be ironed onto chosen felt colours. 
  • outline for dolls hair to be ironed onto chosen felt colour. 
Iron these pieces onto the corresponding fabrics and and cut out.


Peel off the paper layers. Iron on the background piece to the page fabric. Then iron on the moon shape in the top left corner. 

Iron the body felt piece onto a neutral background piece of felt and then iron on the shirt, shorts and hair.


As you will not be ironing them on, but only sewing, you will also need a triangle for the tent, cut through the centre and a rectangle for the sleeping bag, also cut through the centre.

Sew these either side of a zipper, making sure that the bottom edge is against the bottom edge (where the zipper closes) of the zipper.

Trim the zipper along the edge of the felt and sew several times over near the top, cut off end of the zipper. 


Check that the sleeping bag fits under the tent and if not, trim sleeping bag down.

Sew the sleeping bag onto the background. Then sew the tent over the top. Sew a zigzag stitch around the edges of the background.


Cut out the doll and sew around the edges to fasten the felt layers together. Sew on eyes and a mouth.

FINISHED! Put your doll to bed in her/ his tent :-)




Friday, March 6, 2015

Sewing Tutorial: The easiest 10-minute stretch pants for kids

It is March here in Brisbane and the weather should soon be cooling down again after a long and very hot summer. Being such a temperate climate though, it never really gets "cold" here, especially during the day, so some light long pants are perfect for little kids who are always on the move.

Last year I made two pairs of these simple and cute little pantsfor my son and he has worn them more than any other item of clothing he owns! Perfect for active play at the park or at childcare and so comfy for daytime nap time. Best thing is that they are so easy to make.


If you have used any of my other sewing tutorials, you will know that I like to keep them as simple as possible. For pants, that means they are made out of two pieces of fabric - one for each leg. So take a pair of existing pants/shorts, and your stretch fabric folded in half. Place the side of the pants along the folded edge and cut out one leg, remembering to add in seam allowances for the inner leg, centre and waistband - 1.5cm should be plenty, although for the waistband you will want to leave about 2cm depending on the width of your waist elastic.

You can see pictures on my other pants tutorials that show how this one leg is cut out. There is also a printable pattern on that page for the dinosaur pants, which will work for you if you do not have any good fitting pants to use as a guide.


Take one of the legs and fold the fabric so that the right sides are together. Sew up along the inner leg to the groin and stop. Then do the same for the other leg.


Keep your two legs right sides together and join the centres together - front centre and back centre - from the waist down to the groin.


The beauty of knit fabric is that it doesn't fray. This means that you're already almost finished! Unless you want a more finished look, you will not need to hem the ankle edges, and the waist band will only need to be folded over once.

So fold the waist band over about 2cm and pin along the seam edge. Sew, leaving a gap of about 2cm. 


Measure your child's waist with the elastic you plan to use, pulling it as tight as you would like it to be with the pants on. Cut it off, allowing an extra 2cm for seams and thread it through the waistband. Attach a safety pin to one end and use that to thread it through the band. Sew the two ends of the elastic together until secure, then close off the waistband by sewing the gap closed.

You are now finished! You could vary these by adding pockets or using a tie waist if you like. See my tutorial for adding pockets here.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Sewing Tutorial: Quiet Book Page - Monkeys and Balloons

The idea for this page came from Serving Pink Lemonade, although I've simplified it to include just the monkey and the balloons, and generally only make it with buttons and buttonholes nowadays.


My previous post explains how to prepare your pages and other materials and also mentions the applique paper that I prefer to use to make the process easier.

The first step is to draw your shapes onto the applique paper.

For the monkey page, you will need:
  • monkey
  • monkey's belly and face
  • eight balloon shapes - choose four colours and make two iron on balloons of each colour. This will make four balloon backgrounds to attach to the page, and four button-on balloons.
Cut roughly around your outlines on the paper and iron on to the felt. Follow the ironing instructions for the particular applique adhesive that you choose to use.

Then cut your felt shapes out and peel off the paper layer, leaving an adhesive backing on the back of the felt shapes.


Put your shapes into position on your page fabric and iron on.

For figures that have two layers (or more), such as the monkey below, do only one layer at a time. Start with the bottom layer (in this case, the dark brown monkey outline) and then iron on the next layer (belly and face in light brown). 


Make the balloons. Iron the remaining four balloons onto their matching coloured felt and cut them out.


Sew around everything. You can choose to skip this step, but the applique adhesive will eventually lose its effectiveness and the felt shapes will come off, especially after repeated buttoning and play. It's much safer, and looks much neater if you sew around everything.

Start with the shapes attached to the page. Sew close to the edes with a machine stitch. For the monkey, you could choose to just sew around the belly and face as this will also secure the body to the page.
Also sew strings to connect the monkey's hands to the balloons. 
Sew button holes into your balloons.
Do all hand sewing. For the monkey page, this will mean sewing buttons to the balloons on the page, and embroidering the monkey face.
When you have finished, put your page aside until you have all pages finished.
Well done!