HandmadebyClaireBear

confessions of a fabric obsessive

Category Archives: spoonflower

Project Fabric tutorial

One of the things I like about Spoonflower.com  is being able to buy other people’s project fabric (fabric designs that others have put together that contain the pattern, and sometimes instructions too, for a toy, book, bag, bookmark…) and have a go at making a soft toy (or apron, ornament, skirt, etc) myself.

In retrospect I wish I’d got it in a heavier fabric, this is on quilting cotton and is a little bit thin, but what’s done is done, and it’s time I sewed it together.

First I needed to iron it;

then cut out the shapes OUTSIDE the thick lines;

(closely supervised by our cat, of course)

I carefully matched up the outlines on the fabric pieces right side to right side and machine stitched almost all the way around, leaving a gap to turn it the right way out and stuff it (as the fabric was quite thin fine, I also added an extra layer of cotton each side so that it wouldn’t rip or wear out as easily).  So now they all have a double layer of fabric, and are double stitched too (once from each side as I attached the extra layer of cotton).

The smoother (flatter, straighter) the curve on the stitching on the inside corners, the better the finished toy will be. This is what I mean:

I trimmed the fabric (with pinking shears, because I know what my trimming skills are like),  and clipped the inside curves and corners really closely so they would turn right side out properly. Then I stuffed them with child-friendly soft toy stuffing until they were nice and firm.

 You can see how the fabric on the rear wheel puckers a little, even before it gets stuffed. I stitched the curve too tight. The other curves next to the wheels turned out really well.

After I stuffed it, I looked at the light and thought:

“This is going to be played with an almost 2 year old and then by his tiny baby sister. That light on top is going to be the bit that gets ripped up/chewed off/bitten to shreds and then the stuffing will come out and that would be bad”

So I took all the stuffing out turned it back inside out, machine-stitched it, poked it back the right way out, stuffed it again, and stitched it up. If this had been a decorative item and not for little people to play with, I’d have left the light on top of the ambulance.

Voilà, a red ambulance (without a light, but he’s not even 2 years old yet so not a critic), a purple car and a little man.

Stuffed and ready to stitch closed. This car crash needs an ambulance. (I had to play with them just a little bit, just to check that it worked, honest.) New ironing board cover by the way, I managed to put several holes in my old one (with blue sky and white clouds).

My present for my sister’s little man as a distraction when his new baby sister needs attention.

Auntie ClaireBear

Find ClaireBear on Spoonflower here

WIPs on Wednesday

I thought you might like to know how I’ve been getting on with my bid to clear a lot of my WIPs. I got kinda tired of seeing the same things hanging around and I noticed that a few projects that I’ve blogged about were finished very quickly after blogging about them, so I now feature “WIPs on Wednesday” as a way of keeping up, keeping track, and getting them completed.

This means that I can choose a few of the worst offenders, blog them and I’ll probably have them completed by the following week.

It worked for this:

this:

and this:

So I’m hoping that this week and next I’ll be able to complete this (that I bought from Nadja Petremand on Spoonflower ages ago):

and turn it into these:

for my nephew whose baby sister is due any day now.

I want to turn this pile of fabric:

into a much larger version of the green cloak (above), but with a round “Scottish Widow” type hood instead of a pointed pixie hood.

I also want to finish this:

which is a personal upcycling project that I’ve had on the go for over a year (hangs head in shame).

This poncho was bought for me by my sister on a shopping trip meant for her. I was invited along on this shopping trip as she needed some more clothes for work and wanted a second opinion. While she was in the changing room, I kept being drawn to this poncho hanging on the rail nearby (I’m sure it was a selling tactic to hang beautiful one-size-fits-all things close to the changing rooms and sell them to patient friends). I couldn’t stay away from it, it was completely beyond my budget, but I had to keep going back to it, just to stroke it. It was gorgeous.

My sister spotted this obsession and urged me to try it on. It was still gorgeous, and it fit me!

She offered to buy it, and I took some convincing (I’m kinda independently minded when it comes to most things) but I agreed, and I took the object of beauty home with me. It’s definitely a spring/autumn thing, when I need an extra layer but a coat is too warm. I wore it as often as I could to start with, but it’s a bit itchy around the neck and as much as I love it, the itchiness won, so it’s been hanging in my room for a long time.

Last year when ponchos were “in” I decided to try it on (I’ve, ahem, grown a bit since I first had it, mostly sideways) and it was a bit short on me, so I decided to crochet a row or three onto the bottom so it would be longer, split the polo neck down the seam and add a knitted collar.

The hunt for the right yarn took a long time, the crocheting was over in a matter of a few weeks, but the knitted rectangle for the collar took months and months (I’m not a very good knitter and I lose patience with knitting in a way that doesn’t happen with sewing). It’s now been washed,blocked and pressed, and is ready to sew to the poncho to complete the upcycle and make it a favourite again. Yay! (photos of the entire thing when I’ve completed the upcycle, promise).

Other WIPs on Wednesday

new fabrics on spoonflower

I thought you might like a sneak peek of the new fabrics I will soon be selling on Spoonflower.


I’ve been working some of my own photographs
, manipulated into designs that would work on fabric. I think I have a bit of a big-small-smaller theme going on, can you see what I mean?

pale spring sunsetpale sunset abstractpale sunset stripe

this one (above) started as a sunset (so all of the fabric names include the phrase “pale sunset”)

sunshine through stormy clouds stormy clouds abstractstormy clouds stripe

this one stared as one of those sun-breaking-through-grey-cloud-moments that only seem to happen when I don’t have my camera, but ha! I did this time! (all of those fabric names include “stormy clouds”)

There are more designs up on Spoonflower (“garden” and “woodgrain”), and by the time you have read this, all of the samples should have  been delivered to me, I will have approved them and they will be available to be bought by other people and not just me!

PS, every time I order proofs from Spoonflower, I get this cute little bit of fabric for free (I guess it’s like me including my business card!)

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