Back to school lunch kit
This washable and re-usable lunch sack is perfect for school or work or even picnics.
- 2 cotton tea towels or other sturdy washable cotton/linen fabric
- (For the large bag: 4 pieces 35x40cm; for the small bag: 4 pieces 25x35cm)
- Stiff iron-on interfacing (optional)
- Small length of elastic (elastic hair tie is perfect) + a cute button
- Sewing machine
- scissors, pencil
- Ruler and pins
- - Cut your fabric 2 pieces each for the outside + 2 for the lining (35 x 40 cm / 14 x 16 inches for the large bag or 25 x 35 cm / 10 x 14 inches for the small bag)
- - OPTIONAL: Cut out 2 pieces of interfacing the same size as your bag pieces (this is to stabilise and strengthen the fabric). Iron this onto the wrong side of 2 of your pieces of fabric. This will become the lining.
- - Sew, with rights sides together, your 2 pieces of fabric for the outside of the bag. Only sew the sides and bottom seams, leave the top open.
- - Then turn the bag so that the seam are aligned and the base makes a diamond shape. Mark 5cm in from the corner tips and draw a line across (see the photograph). Then sew across this line. And trim off the excess fabric.
- - Repeat these steps for the lining and turn it right sides out.
- - Place the lining and outer bags one inside the other, with right sides facing and seams aligned. Then sew around the top of the bag, leave a 5cm gap in which to turn the bag right side out. Pull out the lining through the gap and then push the lining back into the bag, so that you have right sides facing outwards. Sew a top seam around the top edge, which will also sew the gap shut.
- - Press the bag so that it resembles a gusseted paper bag. Sew on a button onto the front of the bag and an elastic tie onto the top, to close the bag. Alternatively you could attach velcro.
How to make a Chef’s Hat
Kids and adults and everyone in between will love wearing this chef’s hat in the kitchen, it can be made in all kinds of fabric combinations and sizes and it is practical for keeping your hair out of the food too.
- Strip of fun fabric for band – approx 20 x 60cm / 8 x 25 inches
- Square of white fabric for top – approx 60 x 60cm / 8 x 25 inches
- Sewing machine and thread
- Scissors, pins, pencil and measuring tape
Step 1: Making the band
- - Measure the chef’s head circumference (approx 54-56 cm / 21-22 inches for child, or 60-64 cm / 24-25 inches for adult).
- - Cut the band fabric to this length and 20 cm / 8 inches wide. Press it in half lengthways with wrong sides together.
- - Open it back up and place the short ends right sides together, pin and sew. Then press this seam open.
- - Fold it back along the pressing line to form a ring with the wrong sides together. Put this aside.
Step 2. Making the top
- - Cut your square of fabric into a circle, to help with this fold your square of fabric on the diagonal – first in half, then quarters then eighths. Mark the corners as shown with a pencil and cut off these corners to form your circle.
- - Sew a line of stitches around the perimeter of the circle with a large loose straight stitch, don’t backstitch at the beginning or end. Pull the threads gently to gather the stitches until the circle circumference is the same as the band.
Step 3. Putting the chef’s hat together
- - Pin the raw edges of the band and the top of the hat together – rights sides facing. Adjust the gathers if you need it to be bigger or smaller to fit the band properly.
- - Sew together with a straight stitch, then sew the edges with a zigzag stitch to tidy the raw edges. And hey presto you are done!
This super simple quilt pattern uses a pack of pre-cut layer cakes and is perfect for boys or girls and with a few short cut methods you can make it in a weekend.
- 42 squares of 25 x 25 cm fabric / 10 inch square (pre-washed if you are worried colours might run) (use a pack of pre-cut layer cakes if you have one)
- Cotton batting (1.5 x 1.7 metres / 60 x 67 inches)
- Backing fabric (Feel free to recycle something from your linen closet that you don’t use very often) (1.5 x 1.7 metres / 60 x 67 inches)
- Neutral coloured cotton thread for sewing and quilting
- Masking tape
- Rotary cutter, cutting mat and quilt ruler (or scissors)
- Basting spray
- - Use 1/4 inch seam allowances throughout
- - Ensure your backing is 10 cm / 4 inches larger than your quilt top all the way around – don’t cut it until after your quilt top is finished.
- - Cut your batting to the same size as your quilt top – again after you have finished sewing it.
- - Only use basting spray in a well ventilated space and read the manufacturer instructions before using.
- - When machine quilting on your sewing machine – remember to take regular breaks and stretch your back.
- - If using all cotton you can wash this quilt in the washing machine.
Step 1. Sewing
- - Lay out your fabric squares and arrange into 6 rows of 7 squares, then sew the rows together. Press seams in one direction.
- - Pin your rows together, matching up your seams and sew your rows together. Press the entire quilt top.
- - Now measure it – and cut your batting 5 cm / 2 inches larger on all sides, then cut your quilt backing 10 cm / 4 inches larger on all sides.
Step 2. Basting the quilt
- - Lay your quilt backing right side down onto your surface in a well ventilated space, and tape down the corners with masking tape – ensuring it is evenly taught all around.
- - Lay your batting centred on top and lay your quilt top right side up centred on the top, tape down the backing and quilt top at one end.
- - Have your basting spray ready and roll or fold back your quilt top carefully from the non-taped end to the taped end. Spray your batting evenly all over, then carefully roll your quilt top back, a little bit at a time, smoothing as you go. Repeat for the batting+quilt top so that all three layers are stuck together with the basting spray.
- - Remove the masking tape and turn your quilt over and starting from the middle smooth the wrinkles out of the back. You are now ready to quilt.
Step 3. Quilting the quilt
- - Get comfortable, this is going to take about 2-3 hours to stipple quilt, ensure you have good lighting, music, a comfortable chair, plenty of filled bobbins and a new needle in your machine. Choose a big stipple design and practice with pencil and paper first.
- - Lower the feed dogs on your sewing machine and an use an embroidery foot.
- - Start stipple quilting in a random design from one corner of the quilt, gradually making your way over the entire surface, bunching or folding or rolling (whatever works for you) the quilt under your machine as you go. 2-3 hours later you have finished quilting your quilt. Take a break and have a cup of tea (or a slug of the stipple of your choice – you deserve it).
Step 4. Binding the quilt
- - Lay out your quilt and check the quilt top and backing are even – you may need to measure and trim so that your quilt backing overhang is an even 4-5 cm / about 2 inches all around. You will use this to self bind the quilt.
- - Fold the edge of the backing over to the quilt top edge and then fold the backing over again so it cover the quilt top and folds over to the front of the quilt. Pin around the entire quilt edge. When it comes to the corners you can make a neat mitred corner or square it off. Take this to your sewing machine and machine sew this down using a straight stitch or zigzag stitch. Now you are done – congratulations! Wash and use.
How to make a sleep mask
- 2 x small scraps of fabric 27 x 12 cm / 11 x 5 inches
- 1 x piece of cotton batting 27 x 12 cm / 11 x 5 inches
- Piece of thin elastic 25 cm / 10 inches long
- Sewing machine
- Needle and thread
Step 1: Make a template from paper in an oval shape with one straight edge – like the one pictured top left, 13cm long x 10cm wide. Fold your two pieces of fabric in half length-ways and place the straight edge of your template against the folded edge of your fabric, trace around it and cut out. Do the same for your batting.
Step 2: Once you have cut out your fabric and batting you can embellish the front piece. Sew on fake eyes with scraps of felt, attach a ribbon, or stamp or embroider a message like ‘do not disturb’. Then sew each end of the elastic onto the right side of each end of your front fabric piece.
Step 3: Layer your 3 pieces, place the piece with the elastic attached face up on your bench, the back piece facing down over this and the batting on the top, pin these pieces together. As the elastic is slightly shorter than the length of your fabric, this may scrunch up, just do your best to pin it evenly around. Then sew all around the outside perimeter, leaving a 5cm gap un-stitched. Trim your seams to 1cm wide.
Step 4: Turn your sleep mask right side out through the gap you left and press it flat, be careful not to iron over the elastic. Use your needle and thread to hand sew the gap closed. You are done. Now go and make a few more, they make terrific last minute gifts.