Friday, 12 October 2012

Simple Panda Tote Bag - DIY Tutorial

I've always had a love of pandas and penguins, so I knew that the next tote bag I made had to be panda or penguin related; panda seemed easier as there are only 2 colours, so that's what I opted for

Calico/white fabric:
2 x Main body parts. 50cm x 34cm
1 x Strap. 10cm x 115cm (which would be cut in half).
2 x Liner for top of bag. 34cm x 12cm (can be anything over 12m)
2 x U-shaped for ears (slightly smaller than black jersey version)

Black jersey
4 x U-shaped for ears.
2 x Eyes shape

White jersey
2 x inner eyes shape

Sewing machine
Pinking Shears (optional)
Iron/ironing board

Put 2 of the U-shaped black jersey cutouts together. Sew around the U-edge, about 0.5cm from the edge. Turn inside out, then you have one ear.

Repeat for 2nd ear

Take one of the main body parts. Measure 14cm to the right of top left corner, and 22cm down from the top left corner. Cut this triangle out. Do the same for the right side of the fabric (it'll be symmetrical)
From the top of the main body, measure 17cm down the hypotenuse (the line you just cut). This should be where the top of your ears sit.

Place your ears (right side by right side) in the position as described, and then sew all three bits together. (Main body, ears, and the triangle you just cut out).
Repeat for other side.

For this, I used a blanket stitch for the black jersey, and then I used the sewing machine to sew on the white eyes. You can use either method, but the blanket stitch will give the eyes a fuzzy look (and I thought the sewing machine would have less control, but if you go slow enough it should be fine).

For the mouth, i just drew it on with pencil and then ran over it with the sewing machine

Fold the strap piece in half (width wise). (ie it goes from 10cmx115cm to 5cmx115cm).
Open up, and fold into quarters. (Pressing with the iron after each fold would make it easier).
You'll now have no mucky edges, so you can do a straight stitch a few mm away from the side down both sides (length ways). Then you can cut it in half, and you'll have 2 straps. (2.5cx57.5cm)

This bit is optional, but I think it makes the inside of the bag less messy. You can skip this if you wish, and sew handles directly onto the main body of the bag.
Take the liners, and tidy the long edges by folding it down by 0.5cm and 1.5cm, and then straight stitch a few mm by the side.

Attach the straps 7cm from the edge, and sew the strap on with a square and a cross in the middle (extra strength to hold stuff in your bag properly). Remember to keep the mucky sides together, as the point of the liner is to make it more pretty.

Repeat for other liner.

Pin the liner to the main body (wrong side to wrong side). Straight stitch across the top, making sure the handles come out at the right place and is perpendicular to the bag
Repeat for other side.

Pin both main body pieces together, right to right side. I found at this point it was useful to pin the ears away from the edge of the main body piece, for piece of mind.
I used pinking shears when cutting the fabric, so I didn't finish the edge properly (as I don't have an overlocker). If you don't have pinking shears, you can use a zig zag stitch.
Then simply sew around the edge, and flip over.

This is my first tutorial, so please comment and let me know how I'm doing. I can verify any bits that didn't make sense.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

DIY Totebag for Beginners

I have been looking on pinterest a lot recently, and found so many great sewing/DIY projects. I was so inspired that I went out to Goldhawk Road and bought lots of awesome fabric (Cotton, stretch jersey and muslin).

This morning, I went to this page that I had bookmarked earlier. The instructions are so great, and the bag was made in under 3 hours (which I find to be quick, bearing in mind how I had not used the sewing machine in years). The bag is a bit on the small side, but you can easily make it bigger (mine ended up being about 32x31cm (not including the straps))

Cotton was average £4/m (for a 115cm wide piece) (All units are in cm)

After some calculations on excel, it comes out at £2.08 for the bag.

Some pictures of the finished product
1) The outside

2) The inside (I wanted the contrast)

3) What it looks like from above. Can see a few loose threads, but meh.
I think I will be making some of these to hand out at the baby shower :) Or possibly for Christmas presents instead of wrapping paper :)

Monday, 24 September 2012

Pregnant Knitting

It’s been bucketing down with rain for the past 24 hours, so I thought I’d do something constructive. Knit a scarf for Jellybean!! Unfortunately, I used too many stitches per row, so I think it’s far more of a toddler/child’s scarf. Maybe I could double it up? Or perhaps turn it into a shawl of some sort, with a tie around?

Not really sure how safe it is for baby. Any ideas?

Oh, and to make it more “pregnant knitting” than ever, I’m doing it on an exercise ball to work on my core. Oh yeaaahhh!!

Friday, 21 September 2012

Priority Seating

The scenario is oh so familiar. I step into the carriage, and there aren’t many people standing but the seats are all full. I position myself by the priority seat (slightly in the corridor, with my bump out. I normally get offered a seat within 2 stops (although that is often because a fair amount of the carriage empties at Camden station)). But more often than not, I will just be ignored. Some people have looked up and seen my “Baby on Board” sign, and quickly looked down again.

Others just seem to pretend to be asleep (how else do they know when it’s their stop?). Many more are absorbed in their own little world, reading/listening to music. I must admit, I was in the last category, although if I sat in the priority seat I always always looked up at every stop.

So here’s my question. What exactly is the Priority Seat?

Is the onus on the person seated on the priority seat to look up and offer? Or is the person that requires the priority seat meant to ask? Is there a way of asking without sounding rude?

Perhaps it’s the years of living in London, which has rendered my ability to speak to strangers to zero. I am at a loss. One particularly bad time was when I was coming back from the Paralympics on a Friday evening. I normally plan my travel around non-rush hour times, and go to the area most likely to have seats (2nd last carriage if getting on at Belsize Park). This time, I was caught in rush hour traffic with many business people. I got on at Bank, and did not get a seat until Kings Cross. It may sound bad, but when I don’t get a seat after 5 stops or so, my ill feeling towards Londoners get worse and worse. I was on the verge of tears when I was offered a seat, and was barely able to thank the man properly (although my partner thanked him profusely)

But here’s why pregnant people want/need to sit down. During the first 3 months or so, we’re more prone to morning sickness. If you sit down, it’s a lot (lot!) better; however, you don’t look pregnant, and it seems anti-intuitive to those that haven’t been pregnant to give it to a small-bumped pregnant person. During the 3-4 months, I’ve generally been ok. I’m fine with standing, but the extra weight put on does impact your feet. & I imagine, when you’re huuuugely pregnant, you’ll need to sit down (for the standard reasons... you’re huge and penguin like)

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Pelvic Floor Exercises atop Primrose Hill

Ladies are supposed to be good at multitasking, right? Right. So, today the estate agent come over with a couple to view our flat, so I left the flat in a hurry for my (supposed) daily walk. I struggled up Primrose Hill, having bought myself a copy of The Times and a bottle of water from Tesco.

I sit quite contentedly at the peak on a bench. The dog next to me tries to hump another dog (but the owner squeals: “you’ve got it all wrong, he’s a boy too Baxter!”). I flick through The Times, but the wind does more flicking than I do. I wonder what else I can do on top of Primrose Hill, and how I can burn an entire 30 minutes (having left my iPhone at home as I left in a hurry).

Then I knew what I should be doing...

Inhale... SQUEEEEZE... Exhale... Release... *repeat*

The pelvic floor exercises are meant to be a part of the daily routine for a pregnant lady, if there’s any chance of a sex life after Jellybean emerges from the world. I’m not sure if midwives mean the man will be too put off by the constant wee seepage or if they’ll be turned off by the hotdog down a hallway sensation. Neither is entirely attractive, so I try to push it up to the next level.

Inhale... Squeeze... Squeeze a bit more... & SQUEEEEZE like you’re trying to squash out a cocktail sausage... Exhale... Release bit by bit... *repeat*

When I finish, I realise that I was probably making some weird faces (not to mention the weird breathing I’d been doing over the past few minutes). I look up to see the two American ladies looking at me. Maybe they know what I was doing. Maybe they just happened to be looking in my direction whilst I looked at them.

Either way, I got up off the bench, rubbed my belly as though it was causing me discomfort, and started waddling down the hill.