Monday, May 23, 2011

Car Roll Tutorial

This nifty little storage solution for toys cars has been a hit in our house.  It's perfect for all those matchbox cars your little one has lying around.  It's also great for taking places when you need them to be occupied for a little while.  Ours comes in very handy for those long waits at the doctors or when we go out for tea.

I had been looking around at a few different ones of these on the net but didn't find anything that really suited what I wanted, so I decided to create my own.  This one's able to store 6 cars (very handy if there are other little ones around) and has a road for them to drive on as well as a ribbon to keep it all tied up. 

I love this car roll so much, (so does Mr. J) that I decided to share it with you all.  This is my first tutorial so please excuse any errors etc but I would love some feedback from all those out there in blog land.  Please note that this tutorial is for personal use only, it isn't to be copied in any way and items made from this are not to be sold.

If you stumble across my blog and you're not a sewer but would love one of these for someone special, send an email to and I can make one to order.

Car Roll Tutorial.

14” X 19” fabric for the outside (what will be seen when rolled up).
14” X 19” fabric for the inside (this is the piece with the road on it).
9” X 19” fabric for the car pockets
27” length of ribbon
Black fabric for the road (optional)
Double sided fusible webbing for the road, available at most craft stores (optional)
Other sewing supplies including scissors, machine etc.

Let's Make It
Iron all fabric and cut it to the sizes shown above.

Take the pocket piece (9” X 19”) and fold in half lengthways.  Press.

Place this folded piece on top of the inside piece lining up the long edges.  (Make sure the raw edges of the pocket piece are on the bottom.)  Pin the pocket at the top and bottom onto the inside fabric at the halfway mark (9 ½”) as shown.

Now pin the pocket piece every 3 inches from the centre pin (pin both top and bottom to keep it straight).  No need to pin the last 3 inch mark near each edge as this will be caught in the seam when everything is sewn together.  (You will end up with 5 rows of pins.)

Stitch up each of these marks, stopping at the top of the pocket piece and reinforcing by going backwards and forwards on your machine.  You will end up with 5 rows of stitching.

Trace a road shape onto your fusible webbing and cut it out just outside your line.  It doesn't have to be a figure 8, an oval works just as well.
If you look closely you will see my pencil line!

Iron this onto your black fabric according to manufacturers instructions.

Now cut along your hand drawn line.  I find cutting along the line after you have ironed it on ensures the fusible webbing meets the edge of the fabric and sticks better overall.

Peel backing off fusible webbing and place onto inside fabric piece.  Iron on well.  If you have strong fusible webbing, you can skip the next step of sewing.

Stitch around the edge of the road both inside and out to hold in place.  I like to use a zig zag stitch with a width of 2 and length of 1.

Lay your road and pocket piece on a flat surface.  Take your ribbon and fold it in half lengthways.  Place the ribbon onto the pocket piece with the folded edge hanging over the right edge of the fabric.  It’s also a good idea to place the ribbon just higher than halfway between the bottom and top of the pocket piece.

Place the outside fabric face down onto the road and pocket piece and pin around, making sure the ribbon is caught in between the layers.

Stitch all the way around the whole lot using a 1/2” seam.  Make sure you leave an opening of about 4” at the top for turning through.

Clip the corners off, being careful not to cut the stitching and turn through.  I find a chop stick is great for making sure the corners are poked through properly.

Iron everything flat and top stitch around the outside edge, closing the top opening as you go.

Voila, you now have one finished car roll.

Fill with cars and roll up.

Give it to that special little person in your life and watch them enjoy the fun.

Ottobre Henri.

Mr. J is badly in need of warmer clothes with the cooler weather setting in.  What better jacket to make than the 'Henri' jacket from Ottobre 1/2011.  This was my very first Ottobre mag and there are so many things in it on my 'to make' list.

I originally wanted to make it up in a camel colour but couldn't find the right colour anywhere.  (Probably a good thing when it's being worn by a boy.) I had some black in my stash so decided to make it in that to see how it came out.  I like it so much, I think I the blue in my stash will end up as one too!

The pockets ended up a little uneven but I know where I went wrong there so can fix that next time.  You don't really notice when it's on thank goodness.

Teamed with a pair of 'Sprout' dress pants, Mr. J looks rather stylish.

I made the size 98 instead of the 92 and it's a little bit big but will see him through all this winter without any trouble.
The pattern called for coverstitch on the sleeves and hem band but alas, I don't have one.  This is where my new machine (blog post on that soon) came in very handy.  I was able to use one of the fancy stitches to finish off the seams nicely.

Mr. J is pretty happy with his jacket and loves the pockets.  They were filled with his little actions heroes today, another of his latest obsessions.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Home Made Jack in the Box

What to do with an empty hot chocolate tin?  Make a Jack in the Box of course.  Here's how we made ours.

Take one empty tin with a pull off lid.  This makes it easy for little hands to get it open.

Make 2 long strips of paper approx 3cm wide and 150cm long.

Stick the strips together at one end so they form a right angle and start folding them one over the other like this.  Once you get to the end, stick them together to hold in place.

It should look like this when it's finished.
Meanwhile, have your little one draw Jack's face onto a circle.  Note the moustache on this Jack, no idea where that idea came from, daddy doesn't have one!
Now stick the face onto one end of your folded paper.
Push the Jack (folded paper with face attached) into the tin and put on the lid.
Watch your little one have a great time opening the tin and watching Jack pop out.
This afternoons job is to decorate the outside of the tin.

Monday, May 9, 2011

30th Birthday Outfit.

It's my 30th birthday party on the weekend and I decided to make an outfit for it.  Unfortunately, this one's not for me, it's for Mr. J.  The shirt I made a little while ago and blogged about here but Mr. J didn't have any pants to match.  I didn't have the exact pattern I wanted to use either so went with Burda 9793 and just adjusted the bottom so there was no join in the leg.

I have used this pattern previously for these shorts but as you can see, even the smallest size I had (size 2) was still far too big around.  Obvioulsy I wanted to keep the pockets so to take them in a little, I couldn't just run the sides in.  I decided to take them in, down the front and back.

I cut these out in navy cord and put them together.  They fitted perfectly around Mr. J but the crotch was too long so I went back to my pattern and took them up a bit in the crotch area.  (I hope you can see my pinning.)

I didn't try this pattern on scrap fabric first, I just held my breath and hoped.  Luckily when I made them up and tried them on Mr. J, they were perfect.  I now have a pattern drafted off that will definately be used again for this winter.  They are a great relaxed pair of pants and have pockets at the back aswell.

When I shortened the crotch, I was worried the fake fly would look silly but as you can see in these pictures, it's fine and definately long enough.

I used a little of the shirt fabric to line the pockets as I wanted to make a matching set but didn't want the pants to clash with other things in his wardrobe.  Putting the green in the pockets was the best way to go.  You can't see it from the outside, but if he sits down and the pockets pop open, it can be seen.

Who knows what I am going to wear on Saturday night.  I'll probably scrounge something up from my cupboard.  It's funny that I haven't even thought about my outfit but have had Mr. J's planned for a couple of months:-)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Lazy Day Tracksuit.

Who doesn't love a comfy tracksuit to lounge around the house in?  I love my trackies and decided Miss E was in need of some more now that she is on the move.  Using Kwik Sew's Sewing for Baby book, I whipped up this tracksuit for her that is both practical and quite warm.

I had this fleecy in my stash and wasn't going to use it for anything else, so a tracksuit for around the house it became.  It's not really my colour but it's definitely going to keep her warm and be practical for crawling.  Obviously I didn't finish it off with twin needles etc as I decided that it wasn't going to be seen anywhere so it didn't need to be fancy.  I do like this pattern and it's easy to sew.  I think she'll end up with a few more tracksuits before this winter is over.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Painting Lessons.

Over the past 5 weeks, I have been doing some painting lessons once a week for a couple of hours.  When I started, I never expected to end up with anything much but was looking forward to 2hrs each week to myself and my own thoughts. 

Fast forward 5 weeks and last night I came home with this......

OK, so I didn't draw the tiger, it was traced from one the teacher had in her collection but I did do all the painting myself.  I know it's not perfect but I'm pretty happy with it.  Considering I haven't done much art since high school, I think it turned out pretty good.  Unfortunately I won't be going back for more lessons for a little while as the time clashes with a few other things.  Hopefully further down the track I can go back and learn some more.