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DIY Iron Board

Hello!

When I was mindlessly going through Pinterest, this pin popped up. I thought to myself that my iron board could use a new cover. But then, I had stacked it somewhere high up which was not readily accessible and I found the iron board with its collapsible stand too bulky to use (the real reason is my laziness).

But, this pin by Ashley was totally awesome!! A table-top iron board removes the bulk, makes it easier to store in the wardrobe and can be brought to the table as and when I needed. Wow!

I had salvaged a piece of plywood a few months back which could serve as the base. A lot of scrap fabrics in the box could easily be the batting. The missing ingredients were hot glue gun and a big stapler. That will not stop me, after all there are always workarounds and alternatives. I took the basic idea from Ashley’s tutorial and improvised to suit what I had.

Things used:

  • Thin plywood board
  • Quick-dry sheet (size: small) [to provide a little cushion]
  • Scrap fabrics
  • Cotton twine
  • Needle
  • Glue

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How I did it:

Step 1: Lay the fabrics flat one on top of the other, leaving out the outermost layer. My faded kameez was my outermost layer, so I kept it aside. The cotton dupatta was at the bottom, followed by the black fabric, then the pink fabric and the quick-dry sheet on top.

Step 2: Place the board on top of the sandwich and cut the fabrics with a seam allowance of about 1 inch on each side.

Step 3: Place the board on the outermost layer and cut it with a larger seam allowance. As it was a kameez, I did not get an even seam allowance on all sides.

Step 4: Stack the layers up with the outermost layer at the bottom.

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Step 5: Cut the corners (triangles) so that they are not very bulky while folding.

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Step 6: Apply glue to the layer which will be facing the board. I applied glue on the quick-dry sheet which will be sitting on the board.

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Step 7: Place the board on top of the sheet aligning with the corners and let it dry. I used my laptop and a few books (they belong to my husband; old books bought long back before eReaders were available in India) and waited for about 20 minutes.

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Step 8: Fold the fabric over and sew the corners together. Once all four corners are done, sew the ends together.

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Looks gross, isn’t it? Thought so.

Step 9: Using a piece of fabric, cover these stitches on the board and hem it with the outermost layer.

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Not so much of an eyesore, right?

Turn it over and you have a new, portable iron board – handmade by you!! Need we say more?

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I used the iron board to fold the seams of the red fabric at the back for hemming. Cool, right?

Thanks for reading my post! I would be very happy to know your comments!

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Refashion adults’ top [kameez] into a little girl’s dress

Hi!

Of course, this is yet another post on how to refashion or upcycle old clothes. Since I made two skirts for my younger daughter Anjana, the elder one, Santoshi, was getting a teeny weeny bit jealous and felt left out. So, I had to do something for her too.

A couple of weeks back, I drove on a puddle of wet paint and skidded off from my two-wheeler, injuring nothing but my pride. There were mild and not-so-mild scratches on the vehicle, but happy to report that the road was unharmed!!

Luckily, we (Santoshi and I) came out of it with only bruises and to my surprise, the salwar kameez that I was wearing remained intact, but the white paint never came off. It was one of favourite set of clothes but the white smear made it unwearable.

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My initial thought was to make it into a nice tote bag, but I knew I will never use it (because I hate oversized, structure-less, open totes). Since Santoshi brought the topic of the skirts made for her younger sister up at every possible juncture, I checked if the kameez could become a knee-length frock for her.

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Looked like it may be possible!!

Things used:

  • The kameez
  • Small pieces of fabric for motifs from the salwar
  • A small piece of fabric for lining the bodice and waist band
  • Zip
  • Scissors
  • Co-ordinating threads
  • Sewing machine

Step 1: Considering seam allowance, mark and cut off the skirt portion.

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Step 2: I used lining for the bodice (since I don’t know how to do bias binding on neck and armhole). Align two pieces of the kameez (front and back) and two pieces of the lining fabric. Fold into half – now there will be eight layers. Fold the frock into half and trace the outline of the bodice on the fabric.

The paint smeared part was right where the top of the bodice was.  So, I used the wrong side of the kameez for the back portion of the bodice. I could not find any difference in colour between the right and wrong sides.

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Step 3: Make another outline for seam allowance and cut. You will end up like 2 sets like this.

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Step 4: Align the fabric and the lining and sew on the marking (not visible on this one, sorry).

Step 5: Cut small triangles out in the seam so that it lies flat when you turn it right side out.

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See the paint smear? So obvious and in the face, right? Gross!

Step 6: Turn the sets right side out.

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Paint smear is not so noticeable, yay!!

Step 7: Repeat for the other side and join the zip on the back portion.

Step 8: Pleat the top of the skirt portion and attach to the bodice.

Step 9: Attach a tube of the fabric as waist band.

Step 10: Align front and back sides and join them.

Step 11: I cut motifs from the salwar and added them to the frock because it was looking weird without them.

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Yup, that’s my baby, not so happy to pose, but I think she likes the frock!!

Thanks for reading my post!

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DIY cloth towels from fabric scraps

Hi!

Another pair of jeans successfully went through an amputation (that is, became a pair of shorts) and I was the proud surgeon, again. (Read this post to see how I did it.)


The left over part of the legs became something else altogether, unlike last time when they were transformed into a document holder.
As I was celebrating Anjana’s clearing the school admission interview process (she will start with kindergarten in June 2017), I started to make a list of items that she and my elder daughter Santoshi (moving to Grade I come June). One important item that needs to be packed for school everyday is a cloth towel (or lunch napkin as Santoshi calls it). While Santoshi needs two everyday (one each for snack and lunch) and Anjana will need only one (no lunch).

The school is quite particular about the size of these towels in order to avoid territorial wars on the snack table (“Hey, don’t you keep your water bottle on my towel!” or “Ma’am, I don’t have a place to keep my snack box, his towel is sooooo big…”). Bottomline, the towels have to be square in shape and measure around 10 to 12 inches each side. 

Luckily, the leftover denim legs were roughly about the same size. And, if (that’s a big IF) I cut them properly, there will be eight towels.
I looked into many pins on Pinterest about DIY cloth towels, applique, perfect corners, etc. I was thinking – there are people out there who sew things perfectly and put tutorial pins up. And, here I am, far far away from perfection, but that’s ok. After trying to do corners with a strip of fabric, I gave up and used serging for the corners. I checked with my daughter and she approved the serged ends, yay!

Now, let’s move to how I did it:

Things needed:

  • Leftover denim fabric from the pair of jeans
  • Fabric scraps for applique
  • Colour-coordinated threads (I didn’t use this)
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Sewing Machine
  • Stencil/ template (I used freehand drawing for my shapes)

Step 1: Draw the design / shape on the fabric. If it is a symmetrical design (such as a heart or a butterfly), fold the fabric into half, draw one half of the design on the fabric and cut both sheets of fabric together. I can never draw both sides to be of the same shape or size.

This is the outline of a bird:

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This is one of the wings:

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Step 2: Cut to shape.

Step 3: Arrange on the base (cloth towel in my case).

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Step 4: Sew the fabric pieces one by one to the base. The body first, then the wing on the body, then the tail wing, followed by a small brown triangle for the beak. I used zig-zag stitch in my machine.

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Step 5: Sew the other parts, if required – I did the eye and the legs using the regular stitch.

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Step 6: Serge the ends or use fabric tapes to go all around the edges. I just used zig-zag stitch the one side which might fray.

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And, that’s it, you are done!! Simple, isn’t it?

I did make towels with the other pieces too. I am posting pics of all but one (which is bad, trust me, you don’t want to see it).

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Thanks for reading the post and hope my sewing did not scare you. Please leave a comment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Upcycle clothes in to toddler skirts

Helloooo!!

This is a post on how I made suspender skirts for my younger daughter Anjana (2.5 years). One of the skirts came from my top and the other from my husband’s shirt.

Let’s look at the one from my top first. I had ripped the side slit of my top while getting off my scooter and there was no way I could make it alright. Initially, I thought of making it into a trivet, but then I realised that it would make a pretty skirt for the little one.

Before image – my top:

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After image – suspender skirt:

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This was an experimental box pleat skirt, so I do not have any pics of how it became this way from my top, sorry.

But, for the next one, I started taking pics for most of the steps. Also, I decided that box pleat was not my cup of tea and that ruffled (using the pleat-as-you-go method) skirt may be better. Another reason for not choosing the box pleat was that the shirt’s bottom ends were curvy and not flat.

So, this is how it went:

Before image – Men’s shirt:

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Step 1: I wanted the skirt to measure 12 inches from waist down. So, I took the shortest point in the bottom seam and measure 13 inches (12 inches plus 1 inch seam – I am a novice, so I always work with wider seams) and snipped the top part.

Step 2: I cut three more strips – one measuring 22 inches (20 inches waist plus 2 inches for seams) long and about 4 inches wide; two more – each measuring 20 inches in length (17 inches for the suspender straps plus 3 inches for seams) and 3 inches in width.

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Step 3: Start pleating the top end of the skirt to ensure that you are left with the same length as the waist band.

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Step 4: Add the waist band to the top end – align right sides facing each other and sew on the wrong side.

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Step 5: Fold the waist band over to the wrong side and sew together to create a loop for the elastic.

PS: The ends of the waistband connect at the centre – where the buttons are.

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Step 6: With the help of a safety pin, slide the elastic through the waistband and sew the ends together. Then, push the left end of the waistband in to the right and sew.

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Step 7: Sew the front ends together (the one with the buttons and the other with the buttonholes so that my daughter will not be to open the skirt out in the front – accidentally).

Step 8: Make 2 tubes out of the other two strips and turn them out. Attach one end of each tube to the back and attach the other end of each tube to the front while crossing them over at the back (making an X shape).

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That’s it!! (I admit, it is a little high-waisted than I expected it to be).

This is my little darling in the skirt paired up with a light blue Old Navy t-shirt.

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Clearly, she did not like it! But, that’s a different problem 🙂

Hope you liked this post! Please give your comments about what you think of this. Thank you!

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DIY Document Holder

Hi!

After trimming my husband’s favourite pair of jeans into a pair of shorts, the left-over fabric pieces and I were looking at each other. But for the frayed ends, the fabric was good and I did not want to throw them away.

I had always wanted a command centre (based on this post by Trish), I wanted something to store all important documents (my husband’s boarding passes for his weekly travel, my elder daughter Santoshi’s library folder which is due every wednesday morning, other circulars to be returned to her school after my signature, cheque for payment to younger daughter Anjana’s day care, Santoshi’s extra classes, the list is endless). I thought it would be nice to have multiple pockets.

This is how I did it:

Things used:

  • A piece of cardboard
  • A piece of fabric for the base (that was another leftover fabric from a project which did not make it to this blog)
  • Leftover denim fabric
  • Fabric Glue
  • Scissors
  • Packing tape
  • PVC pipe for backing

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Step 1: Cut the fabric into four pieces of equal size. The width of each piece was larger than that of a sheet of A4 paper. The height was about three-fourths of that of a sheet of A4 paper.

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Step 2: Arrange the denim fabric pieces on the piece of cardboard to ensure that there is enough space to fit all four of them.

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Step 3: Pin the pieces in place and sew three sides of each of the four pieces to the base fabric (leaving the top side open). I also used zigzag stitch to sew the edges to the base fabric to avoid fraying.

Step 4: Using fabric glue and tape, attach the base fabric to the cardboard and let it dry.

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Step 5: Attach PVC pipes on the back and secure them with glue and tape. The pipes will give enough support to the holder so that the cardboard does not fold. Doesn’t look good, but no one will see this side, so it’s ok 🙂

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Step 6: Add a binder clip or two to the top of the document holder and hang it using a nail. [I have not done this yet, because I need to have a nail on the wall first, waiting on dear husband to do it for me]. Mine is just resting on the wall atop the shoe rack.

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Step 7: If you have smaller items to place here, use binder clips on the top edge on the denim fabric to hold them.

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Well, what do you think? I would like to hear you comments. Thanks for reading my post!

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Denim shorts from a pair of jeans

Hi!

This was something that my husband had asked me to do a looooong time back and as usual, I was putting it off for another day. And, that ‘another day’ finally arrived because I did not have to go to work (I had quit), my elder daughter decided to be with my mother-in-law for a few hours and the younger daughter was at day care!

This was a pair of loose-fitting, comfortable jeans (Levis 559 I guess) which had frayed at the end. My husband is so fond of this pair of jeans (because it is not available in India) that he wanted the jeans to be made in to a pair of shorts with a elastic waistband. I had bought the elastic band more than two months back (procrastination is a way of life for me).

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This is how I did it:

Step 1: Using another pair of denim shorts, I cut the pair of jeans leaving about one to two inches for seam allowance.

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Step 2: Fold once and sew (I sewed by hand using needle and thread).

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Step 3: Fold once more and sew (I used the machine).

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Step 4: The waistband was made of two pieces running all the way from one end to the other. Which meant that I could run the elastic band through the waistband (instead of adding a layer on the inside to hold it together). Cut a hole (only on the inner fabric of the waistband) on either end. Make sure that the hole is bigger than the width of the elastic band.

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Step 5: Cut the elastic with the ratio of 92% of the waist circumference plus 2 inches for seam.

Step 6: Attach a safety pin to each end of the elastic band. With the help of a safety pin on one end of the elastic band, insert the elastic band through one hole and bring it out to the other. Before you straighten the elastic inside waistband, ensure the other end of the elastic band is pinned to the hole so that it does not disappear in to the waistband and you will need to do it all over again. The Levis patch on the back of the waistband had to be ripped so that the elastic band could go through the waistband.

Note: The denim fabric was so soft that sliding the elastic band was very easy and quick. I tried it on a pair of old navy jeans and gave up. The safety pin opened up at least thrice while inside and it took about 30 minutes for me to slide the elastic through the waist band. So, if the fabric is hard and tough, the better way may be to sew a layer of soft fabric on the inside of the waistband and slide the elastic band through that instead of through the denim fabric.

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Step 7: Sew both ends of the elastic band together. Now, you are left with a cool pair of denim shorts plus 2 pieces of good denim fabric (except for frayed ends) for doing something else.

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My husband was very happy to get this pair of shorts (though he would have preferred if I has used a different thread; erm, sorry). The next post is about what I did with the left over pieces of the denim fabric!

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Anjana’s Speech Development

Hello!

My younger daughter Anjana is two years and three months old. Compared to my elder daughter Santoshi, who will soon turn six, Anjana is way behind in talking.
I have been reading many websites and books on whether Anjana was on track with her speech development or lagging behind. Her vocabulary was limited, pronunciation needed more clarity and she was not able to make short, two-word sentences like “give ball”, “want food”, etc. The only sentence she could make was “mom, come”. Ironically, the fear of knowing that she may have some difficulties that are hindering her development made me put off the appointment with her paediatrician, instead of scheduling the appointment at the earliest.

Somehow, I mustered courage to face whatever it may be that the doctor might say about her, I really wanted to know the doctor’s opinion. The fact that she seemed puny was another concern which I wanted to discuss with the doctor.

We live just about three kilometres (approximately two miles) from the hospital and decided to take public transportation (read walk for 300 metres, use public transport for 2 kilometres and walk the remaining 700 metres to the hospital). And, this was a trip to remember because it was just me and Anjana and we decided to ditch the diaper for this trip. Too risky, but then, I was feeling adventurous.

An uneventful trip to the hospital where we were greeted with long queues at the cash counter (thanks to demonetisation). Anjana was running around while I waited for my turn to pay the doctor’s fee. It took two hours at the hospital, during which time, Anjana used the hospital toilet (well-maintained, thankfully) three times.

Anjana’s doctor asked me about Santoshi and examined Anjana. She did not find anything abnormal, so she referred us to their in-house speech therapist. The speech therapist asked me to follow a two-pronged approach:

  • To teach her more words by using flash cards of everyday objects (fruits, vegetables, animals, birds, etc.) and read each word out loud and asking her to repeat each of those words.
  • To improve her pronunciation of certain sounds like k, g, s,l, etc.

After trying this for a month, we need to meet the speech therapist again to reevaluate if she needs to undergo speech therapy at the hospital or not.

Anjana fell asleep on the way home and I was not willing to buy flash cards when I gladly make with whatever I have. I already had about 70 to 75 business cards of mine which became useless when I got promoted more than two years back. The cards were a little smaller than the flash cards available outside, but they will do.

I downloaded stock images of common animals, birds, fruits, vegetables, vehicles, food items, colours, shapes and a few other pictures which would enable her to make short sentences – sleeping (individual images of a sleeping boy, a sleeping girl, a sleeping baby, a sleeping dog, a sleeping cat) and similarly for eating, drinking, bathing.

My business card measured 2 inches by 3.3 inches. So, all these images were resized to these dimensions. Most of them fit the rectangular shape but obviously some circular or square things didn’t – like a ball or broccoli or a slice of bread. Never mind, because they were big enough for her to see and figure out. After gluing the pics to the business cards, we started playing with them.

Here is a picture of a few cards. Please note that I have used stock images for the limited purpose of teaching words to Anjana. I do not own the images on the cards.

I would show the card, speak the word aloud. Then, Santoshi would repeat after me. I would speak it aloud again for Anjana which she would repeat. When it comes to cards which have the action words (eating, sleeping, etc.), I would show the card to Anjana and wait for her to say something. Most times, she would make two-word sentences “Dog bubbles” or “Boy pizza” instead of “Dog bath” and “boy eat pizza”. She does miss the action word bath and eat but I think she needs more time.

We started this by the start of December 2016. It has been seven days and I should say there is considerable progress despite the fact that she pronounces ‘rabbit’ as “Babbi” and ‘balloon’ as Bamoo”. She remembers most of the words and recognises many more objects/ birds/ animals than before.

This is the list of images that I have been using. Criteria for picking these words – relevance (for pre-school aged kids), easy to recognise and easy to pronounce.

  • Apple
  • Banana
  • Cherry
  • Kiwi
  • Orange
  • Pear
  • Watermelon
  • Brinjal (eggplant)
  • Carrot
  • Cauliflower
  • Chili
  • Corn
  • Grapes
  • Okra
  • Peas
  • Potato
  • Pumpkin
  • Turnip
  • Biscuit
  • Bread
  • Butter
  • Cake
  • Chips
  • Chocolate
  • Ice cream
  • Jam
  • Juice
  • Lollipop
  • Milk
  • Pizza
  • Balloon (Hot air balloon)
  • Bus
  • Car
  • Cycle (Bicycle)
  • Plane (Aeroplane)
  • Scooter
  • Tractor
  • Train
  • Truck
  • Butterfly
  • Bear
  • Bee
  • Camel
  • Cat
  • Deer
  • Dog
  • Dolphin
  • Duck
  • Elephant
  • Fish
  • Giraffe
  • Horse
  • Kangaroo
  • Ladybug
  • Lion
  • Monkey
  • Mouse
  • Parrot
  • Peacock
  • Rabbit
  • Snail
  • Snake
  • Squirrel
  • Tiger
  • Tortoise
  • Zebra
  • Ball
  • Bell
  • Bow
  • Heart
  • Star
  • Boy
  • Dora
  • Girl
  • Hello Kitty
  • Eating
  • Sleeping
  • Drinking
  • Bathing

    Will make another post in about a month from now if I see any progress with Anjana’s speech development.

    Thanks for reading my post!