Little Peoples Belts

IMG_7793 So the weekend away was most eventful! I really surprised myself with how much I actually achieved! I went with great intentions but having three children (now 5 and under) I didn’t really believe that I would get much done; if anything to be really honest.

My husband decided that he was going to take the two big kids into town to get some ingredients to cook up a lovely casserole for dinner so I stayed at home and got going on the sewing whilst our baby boy slept. I powered through heaps of belts; the ones using twill tape took no time at all; about ten minutes each, the ones I made with ribbon took a little longer only because I ironed some interfacing in-between two strips of ribbon just to give it a bit more rigidity. I think they have come up really nicely so I’m now working on a tutorial to add to my site for anyone that’s interested in making a few. You certainly don’t have to have any experience in sewing to be able to make them, and you could even just hand stitch them if you don’t own a sewing machine. (Obviously it might take you a bit longer though).

The belt my son is wearing in these photos is the ribbon version. I have to say it was a lot more difficult to get him to pose than my daughter; it comes pretty naturally to her, this one didn’t enjoy it as much so when I asked him to then model the twill tape belt it all went horribly pear shaped so I just gave up – I figured it wasn’t a fight worth having. I like to pick my battles wisely!

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Twill and ribbon belts

Belt

Weekend Away

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This weekend my husband and I are off to the Southern Highlands for a few nights R-&-R (my husband especially needs it after his efforts on the town last night…. but hay what’s new!).

It is suppose to be tops of six degrees whilst we are there so I can’t imagine we will be getting out of the house all the much – I think we will spend the few days inside by the fire reading books and doing some craft or cooking with the kids. So to save me from going completely gaga I have decided to take down my machine and whip up a few belts for the kids. Don’t you love the use of the word ‘whip’ – I make it sound like I’m a professional on the sewing machine but the reality of it is that a twenty minute task will probably take me about an hour…and that’s per belt!

If there is one thing I always find difficult to buy, it’s small sized belts. Yes there is the odd shop that sells children’s belts but they are still miles too big for my kids. This is especially true for my middle child whose  waist is five centimetres (two inches) smaller than our third child who is 22 months younger! (Poor kid – he’s super skinny).

So the other day I laid my eyes on this really bright coloured twill tape and thought, “If I just buy a couple of D-rings I could whip up a few belts in no time”. So this weekend that’s the plan – I’ll see if I can make some belts for all the kids in these great rainbow colours…. and if it turns out to be a success I’ll add it as a tutorial. I’ll keep you posted.

The Wedding Tasks

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My sister gets married this Saturday and I have been given the daunting task of sewing 40 meters of bunting and the garter! I was quite surprised my sister even wanted a garter but she seems pretty hell bent on having one; she picked up a few bits and pieces at Lindcraft for me to put together so here’s hoping I can achieve what she is after! Should be a bit of fun!

Unlike my previous attempt at making bunting this time I am just doing it with a single piece of fabric and using pinking shears instead of sewing the edges and turning each flag inside out. Pinking shears are great to help prevent fabric from fraying and when you are making bunting on mass this is a lot easier and quicker than doing it the other way.

My mum was taught how to sew as a child at school, in those days I think it was compulsory for all young girls to learn to sew (amongst other sexist things like cooking) so she has a pair of pinking shears from when she was about six years of age…. she very kindly handed them to me the other day when she found out about my latest wedding task – they are even in their original box with the original name tag on them. I gave them a bit of a test run but they are actually quite short (5.5 cm) so it means a lot of cutting per flag so I ended up picking up a pair from IKEA for ten dollars and they are 3cm longer which makes the world of difference – the quality is no where near as nice but they both do the same job.

1. What you will need

– Twill tape; I am using 40 meters of tape

– Fabric for the flags; heavier weighted fabric works better – it makes the flags sturdier. I’m using linen from IKEA for this project.

– Stanley knife & quilt cutter

– A thick piece of cardboard

– Ruler & cutting board

– Tape measure

– Cutting board

– Marking pencil

– Pins

– Pinking shears

2. Instructions

1. The first step is to work out what size and shape flag you want. My sister is after a standard flag shape, 14cm wide (but you might want to do a scallop shape, a square, a heart etc).

Start with a square piece of cardboard, cut it to the correct height; in my case 16 cm. Now cut it to the correct wide; 14 cm. You should now see a perfect rectangle. On the bottom of the rectangle mark out the half way point; 7cm. Using a ruler and a stanley knife cut from the top corners down to the center point and then you will have a perfect triangle/flag template

2. You now need to work out how many flags you need. My sister wants each flag to be placed 6cm apart and she wants 40m (4000 cm) of bunting. Each flag is 14cm wide so every repeat is 20cm (6 cm + 14 cm = 20 cm). You then divide the total length into the repeat figure; 4000 cm ÷ 20 cm = 200.(God have I just totally confused you?!?!). So I need to prepare 200 flags! My god I wasn’t expecting it to be quite that many! What the hell have I signed up to do hear?!?!

So using your cutting board and quilting cutter, cut the fabric into strips the same measurement as the height of the flags; 16 cm. Then use your template to mark out the triangle shapes, pick up your pinking shears and start cutting!

4. Now start cutting! I have to cut 200 flags so this takes some time!!!

5. Fold the twill tape in half and press it with an iron.

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6. Place the flags in between the twill tape and pin in place.

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7. Sew along the twill tape from one end to the other – this will then secure the flags in place.

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And there you have it – 40 meters of bunting for my sisters wedding day. I’ll make sure I post a photo once it’s in situ! As for the garter – I’ll get onto this in the morning and come back to you about it.

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P.S. Can you see the little tag with my logo on it? They were delivered earlier this week – I love them! Couldn’t resist adding my little touch to the bunting – hopefully the bride won’t mind!

Bunting – A Success (phew….)

I sourced fabric this week and learnt a bit about how one buys fabric in the process. When I went to the shop the shop assistant asked me if I wanted to buy the fabric by the meter or fat quarter. Fat quarter?!?!? What the hell does that mean ?!?! I had no idea what she was talking about so I just said by the meter but then when she found out the plan was to make bunting she said that I should definitely buy it by the fat quarter….. now there was no escaping the fact I had no idea what she was referring to and had to ask her what ‘fat quarter’ meant. She explained that in most shops you buy material by the meter but in some shops (usually ones that specialise in quilting) you can buy it in a smaller size called a fat quarter. This is basically a meter of fabric cut in quarters and you just buy one quarter.

So now here I am back in my study sitting in front of the machine and looking at all this lovely fabric – let’s give this a go!

1. What you will need

– Twill tape; I am using 3 meters of tape

– Fabric for the flags; heavier weighted fabric works better – it makes the flags sturdier

– Something to push out the corners (a chopstick will do) but I used a point turner. Personally I think a chopstick or the end of the scissors does just as good a job if not better

– Pair of scissors or stanley knife

– A thick piece of cardboard

– Ruler

2. Instructions

– Firstly you need to make the flag template. Use a ruler to draw a triangle on the cardboard and then cut it out. Keep in mind that the template needs to be about 2cm bigger than you want the final flag to be as we are going to use a 1cm seam allowance. (Some people prefer to do scolloped bunting – ie a half circle – as oppose to a flag shape; you can do what ever shape you choose).

Bunting template

– Work out how many flags you want on the tape. I am allowing for 30cm of tape at either end of my bunting and then spacing the flags every 12 cm. You can do whatever you wish; you might want them placed a lot closer than this or you may want them further apart.

– Now you need to use the cardboard template to cut out the flags. For every flag you have you need two triangles; a front and a back. I am using different material on the front and back but you can do the same if you wish; choosing different material just gives it a bit more variety. I suggest that once you have cut out all the flags that you place them down right side up so you can see if the combinations you have chosen look ok. I am doing a boy version on one side and a girl version on the back.

Bunting just cut

– Once you have decided on your combination of flags you need to place the right sides of the fabric together so that they are facing each other. (The right side of the fabric is the side that the fabric has been printed on). Now pin them together.

Pinned bunting

– Sew down each side of the flag leaving the top part as you will need to turn the flag inside out shortly. Once you get to the tip of the flag leave the needle in the fabric, lift the foot and pivot the fabric. Once you have the fabric lined up put the foot down and continue sewing.

Sewing the sides of bunting – Now cut off half the excess material down each side of the flag that you have just sewn. At the point of the flag you need to cut across the point, just make sure you don’t cut the thread otherwise it will all come undone! The reason you cut off the point is so that when you turn it inside out you will end up with a better shaped point.

Cutting tip off bunting– Turn the fabric inside out so that the right sides are now showing. To push the point of the flag out I used a point turner but a chopstick or the end of the scissors works just as well.

Turn bunting inside out

– Iron the flag so that it sits flat.

– Iron the twill tape in half.

Fold twill tape for bunting

– Measure in 30cm from the beginning of the twill tape and now pin a flag inbetween the twill tape. Measure 12cm and then pin another flag, continue this process until you have used all your flags.

Pin bunting flags to twill tape
– Now sew from one end of the tape to the other, trying to keep it as straight as possible.

Sewing the bunting

– Now you should be done! I can’t believe I pulled this off with no mistakes!!! What a huge achievement and it’s such instant gratification, give it a go! I’d love you to post some pics of your bunting once you’ve completed it.

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In the morning when the kids wake up I’ll try hanging the bunting in their room and post a photo. Good luck, happy sewing! I hope you get as much satisfaction out of it as I did!