Cassiefairy's thrifty lifestyle blog

Cassiefairy's thrifty little lifestyle blog – DIY crafts, sewing, food & fashion – what more does a girl need??


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Sewing Bee inspired baby onesie

It’s been a week of children’s clothing challenges on The Great British Sewing Bee – first the cute dungarees (that I am bursting to make for my nephew!) followed by the task to turn a pillowcase, children’s jumper and trousers into a fancy dress costume for the little ‘uns. As you probably know, fancy dress is my forte and I would have relished this challenge. In my mind, the first thought was to create a tiny pirate’s costume for my nephew just as Cerina did (and won the challenge with!) and my second option was an angel outfit and the white pillowcase would be perfect for this. Over the previous weeks there have been a few little outfits appearing and it has inspired me to share my little baby-grow project with you.

I didn’t actually make the baby-grow itself and I’m not sure that I’d trust my haphazard sewing against baby-soft skin, so I’ve simply upcycled a bought baby-grow with a t-shirt transfer. I used t-shirt transfer paper that you can print directly on to using a computer printer at home and I designed this tiny ‘He started it’ slogan using Publisher on my laptop. It is a baby-grow for my little niece and I decided that no matter whether it was her father or her uncle holding my her, one of them would definitely have started it because she’s too much of a little princess to get into trouble! I’ve used the same type of transfer paper to print a lucky cat image onto one of my old tops – check out the blog post here. The only thing to remember when using t-shirt transfer paper is that you must print the text in reverse so that it appears the right way round after it has been transferred onto the fabric.

personalised baby grow printing

If you want to print your own t-shirts or children’s clothes it’s best to follow the instructions on the pack of transfer paper that you’re using so I followed the directions to trim closely around the image or text and put into position on the fabric before pressing with an iron. The pack will guide you on how long to apply the heat to the transfer – too little time will result in the transfer peeling off and too long will discolour the print. The transfer paper usually recommends that the transfer is allowed to cool down completely before it is peeled off so I carefully lifted one corner after about 5 minutes cooling time and the backing paper peeled off easily. Sometimes the transfer needs additional treatment to seal it but it depends on the type of transfer paper you’ve used.

And there you have it – a custom-made slogan t-shirt or onesie for the children in your life, made in super-fast time!


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The Great British Sewing Bee – My shirt challenge

So do you think it’s the only thing worth watching on TV these days? Are you loving The Great British Sewing Bee like I am? I’m a big fan and it really makes me want to get back behind the sewing machine and start making again! I happily sat and absorbed the first show but didn’t really feel all that inspired to start stitching. HOWEVER, during the second week my imagination sparked into life during the shirt challenge and I knew I wanted to give it a go myself.

In the second episode challenge the contestants could choose two patterned shirts and make them into anything they wanted. There were a lot of skirts and baby dresses made but not much in the way of shirts. I know that the judges wanted to see something innovative but I couldn’t help thinking how simple and cool it would be to swap the arms and collar of one shirt for another. So the idea bubbled away in my mind and I found myself flicking through my husband’s wardrobe to see what items of clothing I could nab for my project.

Great British Sewing Bee episode 2 shirt challenge

Luckily (or sadly, whichever way you look at it) my husband has two shirts that are beyond repair – one has yellow paint splashed down the front and the other is worn away at the collar. Perfect for my project, I say! I’ve photographed the two shirts above before getting to work hacking off the sleeves, collar and pocket of each shirt to get the pieces I needed to create a mix-n-match shirt.

I stitched the grey arms into the white arm holes without checking if I’d put the arms in the correct side (this is why I wouldn’t do at all well on the Sewing Bee – too lazy!) but when I came to check the sleeves – phew – they were in the right place. I’m so jammy! I’d left a little extra of the white collar as a hem to attach the grey collar to but it looked messy after I’d stitched it on with one row of straight stitching so I added a second row which pulled it all together and looked much neater.

Great British Sewing Bee episode 2 shirt challenge finished

Finally, and extra lazily, I stitched the grey pocket on top of the white pocket so now the shirt has a double-layered pocket on the front – so it can hold lots more pens etc – very practical, I reckon! Of course I forced hubby into the shirt and although it looks a bit like Wee Willy Winkie’s nightshirt, it fitted well and I think it looks kinda funky! Anyway, I completed the shirt challenge yesterday – a whole week after the show – just in time for the next episode and the t-shirt challenge to be set. I just need to find a big jersey t-shirt and I’ll be getting started! Have you been making anything from the show? Has it inspired you to stitch your own goodies yet? Let me know :)


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Dream a little dream… my bedroom sewing projects

At the weekend I told you all that I’d finished sewing the cushions for my bedroom that I’d been putting off for ages. I finally powered through my sewing-block and used the leftover fabric from the bottom of my bedroom blinds to rustle up a pair of cushions for the bed. It is kind of lucky that the blinds were too long for my tiny windows: although it meant I had more work to do before I could hang them – spending time trimming them to size and stitching up the hems – it also meant that I had some leftover matching fabric to use for my cushions. I used two squares of the striped fabric for the cushion fronts and to make the simple envelope cushion-backs I used a different fabric – a beige checked fabric which had previously been a single duvet set that I wasn’t ever going to use again.

DIY sew your own quilted bed runner throw

It’s been great cutting up this duvet set rather than going out to buy fabric as it has given me enough quantity to make these cushions, some cushions for my living room, the lining of a Christmas stocking for my nephew, and now it has become the back and binding tape for a bed throw. When I had a narrow strip of my striped fabric leftover, I wasn’t sure what to do with it. I knew I didn’t want to make more cushions and the base of the bed was a little bare with it’s plain white sheets. Even so, I knew there wouldn’t be enough fabric to make a proper quilt and I didn’t really want to introduce any other fabrics to expand the size of the quilt. So I decided that a bed ‘runner’ would be adequate to add a little interest at the foot of the bed – and something for the cats to sleep on, it turns out! I used three layers – the top layer of striped fabric, a thin quilting wadding from Abakhan, and the checked single duvet fabric. I pinned and stitched along the longest side of the layers to hold them in place, then I machined down the stripes to make a quilted effect without actually having to cut and stitch the quilt. It was a little fiddly to get it through the machine – especially at the centre of the runner, so I rolled it up from the edge (which you can see in the photo above) so that I didn’t have to struggle with excess fabric while sewing. After the whole runner was ‘quilted’ I used a narrow piece of the duvet fabric to make a binding and stitched this around all the edges to finish it off.

Stripe cushion and bed throw DIY sewing project on Cassiefairy blog

And here are the finished cushions and throw in the bedroom. As you can see, my cat Cookie took to it immediately and managed to curl up and go to sleep on the runner before I’d even managed to take a photo of it, and I didn’t have the heart to move her as she snored happily. Also Mrs. Rabbit likes the cushions and called for Mr. Rabbit to join her as she snuggled in but he was busy reading a book at the time so only Mrs. Rabbit made it into the photo of the cushions. Did you ever watch or read the Velveteen Rabbit as a child? I loved that story and I think that’s probably why I asked for Mr. Rabbit as a birthday present only 3 years ago and still have a pair of plush rabbits living in my bedroom!

Using books in the bedroom - DIY sewing and decorating project on Cassiefairy blog

I feel like my bedroom makeover looks more ‘complete’ now that I have cushions on the bed – I don’t know why, but it seems to finish off the bed as a focal point in the room. If you want to see how I wallpapered a feature wall using  old books please check out my blog post here. I know I’ve got plenty more that I need to sort out in the bedroom, such as storage and curtains, but I feel more like it’s getting there and at least I’ve stopped procrastinating and have broken through the sewing ‘block’. What will I make today I wonder??

More articles in my bedroom makeover series:


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My new year plan ~ a little jar of happy

Apparently, Friday was the day that most people abandon their new years resolutions and give in to their old habits or cravings. As you know, I already struggled to keep on top of my resolution to write a blog post every day and failed after only 2 – but that was down to me being off on holiday and once I got back to my ‘normal’ work schedule I’ve stuck with it every day and have actually blogged twice a couple of times – so maybe over the course of the month I’ll have caught up with myself! Anyway, one of my other new years resolutions was simply to keep an eye on all the good things in my life and make a note of them. I’ve therefore made a ‘gratitude’ jar to house all of the happy times to come.

diy craft project little jar of happy gratitude happiness

I used a large pickled gherkin jar – thoroughly washed out to get rid of the vinegar smell – and I spray painted the lid with a little metallic paint to make it look prettier. I simply added a luggage tag and rustic ribbon bow around the top of the jar and now it’s pride of place on my bookshelf. I’ve put a little bundle of notelets, post-its and pens next to the jar so that it’s super-easy to add a note and I can do it straight away while the happy event is still in my mind.

craft project make your own little jar of happy DIY happiness and gratitude pot

I’ve already added about 15 notes to the jar and I have recruited hubby into the project so that he will also add his happy times into the jar, then we can enjoy reading them all at the end of 2014 and remembering all the lovely things that have happened to us over the year. The quote that I’ve written on the back of my luggage tag is “Enjoy the little things in life… for one day you’ll look back and realise they were the big things”.


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This year I resolve to…

So today I’m sharing my new year’s resolutions with you. I’m hoping that in doing so it will keep me on track and I’ll be able to check back on my progress during the year. So here goes:

  1. Write a blog post every day – I did pretty well with this in 2013 so I’m going to stick with it
  2. Eat more fruit and try to like it
  3. Make a note of all good things that happen and add them to a gratitude jar
  4. Keep a daily diary – I got a diary for Christmas so I’ve already started this one yesterday!
  5. Get outdoors more often, walking, cycling, in the garden etc
  6.  Explore the local area & go to events
  7. Make a quilt – I’ve wanted to do this for 2 years now, so 2014 will be the year!

happy new year 2014 resolutions

Image via Pinterest

What are your new year’s resolutions for 2014? What else should I resolve to do? Let me know your plans for 2014 – maybe I can get some ideas for more resolutions from you! Leave me a comment below :)

Also, in case you’ve not already heard me shouting about it from the rooftops, I have been entered into the National Blog awards! It would make my year if you would vote for Cassiefairy.com in the lifestyle and fashion categories if you get the chance – and as an extra treat, you’ll receive a FREE Blogging Ebook just for casting your vote Please use this link to vote http://www.blogawardsuk.co.uk/vote/ Thanks so much, and happy new year!


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Thrifty fashion ~ DIY festive snood sewing project

That retro-knitwear staple, the snood, is very fashionable again this year, with all kinds of patterns and colours available in high street shops. But you don’t need to splash out on a new accessory to keep you warm this winter. You can simply upcycle an old festive jumper or cardigan that’s past its best and turn it into a trendy snood. Keep an eye out for vintage patterns and festive coloured knitwear in charity shops, and you can even choose jumpers with holes or rips that would otherwise go into landfill, because you’ll be cutting pieces out of the jumper and can work around any flaws. I’ve used this wool fabric from Wholeport but if you’re thinking of chucking out a jumper anyway, give this easy tutorial for a winter snood a go – it would work equally well with a chunky cardi or cable-knit jumper – be creative!

christmas sewing project DIY snood scarf

You will need: Old jumper with festive pattern, scissors, needle, matching thread, sewing machine (optional)

Step by step:

  1. Cut the jumper into squares or rectangles of equal width
  2. With right sides facing, pin and stitch the shorter edges (across width) together, matching the pattern if possible to make one long length of fabric.
  3. Fold the fabric in half along the length with right sides facing and stitch along the whole length.
  4. Turn right-side out and hand-stitch the raw ends together to create a loop.
  5. Wrap the snood around your neck once for a loose scarf, or twice for a snuggly neck-warmer.

finished festive christmas sewing project DIY snood scarf

I’m a volunteer Oxfam DIY blogger and this tutorial has been featured on the Oxfam Fashion Blog so please check it out, along with all of the other thrifty festive articles that the blogging team have been producing this month!


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DIY sewing project ~ Christmas gift sacks

When Lauren from the Offset Warehouse asked me to be a guest blogger for their special Christmas Showcase, I jumped at the chance. Not only is it one of my favourite online haberdashers, but it also has a great range of recycled festive fabrics ripe for the making, and my head immediately filled with ideas for festive sewing projects. My plan was to create Christmas gift sacks – like Santa’s sack but a little smaller, to wrap gifts with.

crafting christmas gifts sack pattern

The ethical fabric company Offset Warehouse stocks a huge range of beautiful fabrics. All of their fabrics are either environmentally or socially beneficial, including FairTrade, Organic and reclaimed. For my project I needed a few offcuts of different fabrics for the main bag and for the contrasting top of the sack. I chose some soft red wool tartan and a couple of other tartans and checked fabrics that has been saved from landfill. Who would throw away perfectly usable and sizeable pieces of brand new fabric, I ask you?! Well I have them in my possession now, and I got to work on creating fabric gift sacks, using the pattern from the Crafting Christmas Gifts book by J.W Capplens Forlag above.

offset warehouse christmas showcase gift bag instructions

  • Cut two pieces of 30cm x 28cm and a border strip of 56cm x 16cm. Place the sack pieces right sides together and sew around three edges, leaving the top open.
  • Fold the fabric border in half so that it is the same width as the sack and sew together, leaving 2cm open at the top.
  • Turn the top part of the border down, making it double, with the right side and the seam opening out.
  • Make a seam for the ribbon casing around the border piece about 3 cm up from the bottom edge.
  • Place the border inside the sack, matching raw edges and stitch together.

offset warehouse christmas showcase gift bag sewing project

  • Match the side and bottom seams together and sew across each bottom corner, about 4cm from the tip
  • Turn the bag right side out and thread a ribbon drawstring  through the opening in the casing and pull to close the bag.
  • Stuff with lots of goodies and gifts – this bag can be used as gift wrapping for one present, or could be used as a ‘santa’s sack’ stocking for Christmas morning!

offset warehouse christmas showcase DIY gift bag sewing project

This Christmas showcase project is a great way to highlight that the Offset Warehouse fabrics are as good quality as mainstream fabrics and I would definitely shop with them again for more bargain fabrics for my future projects.
 

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