Saturday, 22 August 2015

How to make a Small Project Bag with Minky Handles - Tutorial

Lately I've been carrying a small paper bag around with me in the car when I go to work, hoping to find a few minutes to do some hand sewing. Then I thought: why do I have to carry around this miserable paper bag when I can sew myself a bag that's the right size for little projects. So I got out two lovely The Makers Happy Crafty panels by Cori Dantini and made myself a Small Project Bag with minky handles. Why minky handles? Because they are so soft and comfy to use!

If you'd like to make one yourself, here's an easy tutorial for making a Small Project Bag with minky handles:

Here is what you will need:
  • Two The Makers Happy Crafty panels by Cori Dantini (or two pieces of pretty fabric, size 10.5" x 12" each);
  • Two pieces of fabric size 10.5" x 12" each for the lining;
  • Cotton Batting, two pieces size 10.5" x 12" each
  • Two strips of minky fabric size 2.5" x 18" each
  • Button
  • Coloured hair elastic
  • Embroidery thread and hoop (optional)

All seam allowances are 1/4" unless otherwise stated.

To start (this is optional) embroider details on the panel using embroidery thread and an embroidery hoop. Choose the details you would like to stand out and embroider directly over the lines. There are lots of examples of embroidery stitches on the Internet you can use. Try the tips here at Flamingo Toes, for example.

Make the handles by folding each strip in half, lengthwise, with right sides together. After pinning (or using clips), sew along the long edge. Turn the handle right side out using a turning tool (I use a Clover turning tool but you could use a chop stick because the minky fabric is quite easy to turn).

Now you're ready to make the bag. Lay down one piece of batting, then place the lining fabric on top, right face up. After finding the middle of the top edge of the lining fabric, center one minky handle, facing downwards, with about one inch of the handle overlapping on top (see photo). Make sure the minky handle is lying flat and hasn't turned. Place the fabric panel you are using for the front of the bag face down on top. Pin along the top edge and make sure the handle is pinned in place too. Sew along the top edge of the fabrics, making sure to pass several times backwards and forwards over the handle ends to secure them.

Repeat for the other side of the bag, this time using the panel you are going to use for the back of the bag and pinning the hair elastic (after cutting off the metal part) in the middle of the top edge. Open up the two sides of the bag you have sewn and place one on top of the other, right sides facing. Make sure to line up the lining fabrics and the panel fabrics. Take care pinning all around the bag, making sure the handles are out of the way of the seam allowance. Be sure to line up and pin carefully the edges you have already sewn.

Now sew right around the edge of the bag leaving an opening on the short edge of the lining fabrics for turning and sew backwards and forwards a few times at the beginning and the end, to reinforce the opening.

Trim the excess fabric on the four corners of the bag. Turn right side out through the opening and iron. Slip stitch the opening closed and then push the lining inside the bag, carefully pushing the corners out using a blunt tool (chop sticks are good for this!).
Top stitch around the edge of the bag, making sure the minky handles are out of the way while stitching.

Check the position of the button on the front panel of the bag and then sew  it on the centre top of the bag.

And here is your Small Project Bag with minky handles and some special embroidery, ready to fill up with your latest small project... or two! I used these lovely panels by Cori Dantini and I'm so happy I did because they are absolutely beautiful!


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Saturday, 8 August 2015

Laminated Fabric Charm Square Trays

We have been sewing some more Charm Square Fabric Trays as they are so fast and fun to make. This time we thought we'd use laminated fabric so you can use the little trays for food too and they are easy to wipe over. This fabric is Remix Slicker Laminated Cotton Polka Dots Pastel, designed by Ann Kelle for Robert Kaufman Fabrics.

A cup of tea, anyone? It's still super hot here in Italy. So if you prefer a cold drink, we know you're not going to say no to macaroons!

The free tutorial for these Charm Square Fabric Trays is on A Spoonful of Sugar here.

Can't resist a pretty polka dot... and tea with macaroons, of course! 

Yesterday we found these lovely jars with a pink lid, made in Italy by Bormioli Rocco. They are so pretty!

They are called Vaso Fido and come in other colours too. They are a great size for storing buttons and whatnots in our sewing room too!

We have a feeling we are going to be getting more of these...

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Sunday, 2 August 2015

Sunday Stash - Mara's Destash

My lovely friend Mara recently decided to have a destash on Instagram. She lives in Greece with her family and, as you know, the situation there is very difficult at the moment. Her #grexitdestash was a way of making some extra money in case of need.

Her fabrics are beautiful and she was so nice as to make a special bundle for me, as the one I liked was sold in a flash.

She was also very kind to fussy cut two Melody Miller Ruby Star Shining Typewriters I've had my eye on for a long time AND the wonderful Cotton + Steel Black and White Pencils. They are both even better than I expected.

You can find Mara here on Instagram. If you have a moment I would really appreciate it if you could send her some IG love! You can also find her blog here.

Linking up with Sunday Stash over at the one and only Molli Sparkles'.

Molli Sparkles

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Saturday, 1 August 2015

DIY Origami Crane Mobile Party Favour Tutorial

When I was about four years old, I became very good friends with a girl at school, Rie. Her family came from Japan. Her Mummy organised a birthday party for her and it was the first real birthday party I went to as a child. It was great fun and when it was time to leave Rie's Mum gave each of us a present: an origami crane mobile. Would you believe I still have that mobile after nearly 40 years (time passes, no calculations please!) and it is in really good condition, even though it is made out of paper.
When Rie moved back to Japan with her family we wrote to each other for a while and then suddenly my cards returned with an "unknown address" stamp on them. I lost contact with her completely but that little party favour has kept the special memory of one of my first friends bright.

The Origami Crane is a symbol of good luck and so we thought we could spread some good luck to friends for our DIY Origami Party too. 

Here is what you will need to make the Origami Crane Mobile Party Favour:
  • 3 origami paper cranes (search for "origami crane" to find lots of clear instructions for folding an origami crane)
  • 3 small beads
  • a piece of wire about 5 inches long (12cm)
  • nylon thread
  • a needle
  • a pair of pliers
  • a metal ring (like the ones on keyrings)

Take the piece of straight wire and turn both ends of the wire (which must be a little stiff so it doesn't bend under the weight of the cranes) around the point of your pliers. Then thread your needle with the nylon thread and thread it through the centre top of the body of your crane and then come through the hole underneath the crane. Thread a small bead on this end of the nylon thread and tie a double knot around the bead so it stays in place under the crane. If the bead passes through the hole underneath the crane then use a larger bead.

Once you've threaded the crane, tie the other end of the nylon thread to the closed ring you've made on one end of the wire. Repeat with a second origami crane, fixing it to the other end of the wire. Now pass another nylon thread through the third crane, tie the bead underneath the crane leaving a length of thread you'll tie in the middle of the wire. Tie the ring to the other end of the nylon thread and use the ring to hang up your mobile. Here is your Origami Crane Mobile Party Favour!

We made pretty boxes to gift our Origami Crane Mobile Party Favours using Chinese Take-Away Boxes from Self Packaging. Among many colours, we chose pink and white and love how they turned out. The boxes were really fun to assemble. We decorated the handles (included with the noodle boxes) with wooden beads.

Gift some good luck with these Origami Crane Party Favours!


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Monday, 27 July 2015

DIY Origami Party - Handmade Summer Nights - The Creative Factory

The Creative Factory is back with Handmade Summer Nights and we thought it would be fun to organise a handmade Origami Party. In this first post you'll find three DIY ideas and tutorials for using paper and fabric origami style!

The Creative Factory è tornata con Handmade Summer Nights ed abbiamo pensato che sarebbe stato divertente organizzare una Origami Party fai da te. In questo primo post troverai tre idee e tutorial per usare la carta e la stoffa in stile origami!

Fabric Origami Crane Welcome Banner
Chinese Noodle Box Party Favours
Origami Cocktail Sticks

Bandiera di Benvenuto con Gru Origami in Stoffa
Scatola Spaghetti Cinesi per regalo
Bastoncini da Cocktail Origami

Fabric Origami Crane Welcome Banner Tutorial
Bandiera di Benvenuto con Gru Origami in Stoffa

Easy to make and a very pretty decoration this Origami Welcome Banner is made folding a piece of white fabric to make an origami crane. We used a 12" piece of white fabric and folded it following the origami instructions for making a crane (just Google origami crane and you will find easy to follow instructions), using an iron to press every fold. You can use starch too to help keep the folds. 

Facile da fare ed è una decorazione veramente carina la Bandiera di Benvenuto creata piegando un pezzo di stoffa per realizzare una gru origami. Abbiamo usato un pezzo di stoffa bianca di circa 30.5 cm e l'abbiamo piegato usando le istruzioni per fare una gru (si trovano delle istruzioni molto facili su Google facendo la ricerca per "origami crane"), usando un ferro da stiro per ogni piega. Si può usare anche l'amido per tenere meglio le pieghe.

We made the banner using some batting and two pieces of fabric placed right sides together (the point is made using the 45° angle on the cutting mat). We stitched all the way round leaving an opening for turning the right way out. We then top stitched around the banner closing the opening. Using a bamboo stick, we folded the top of the banner over the stick and hand stitched it on the back to hold in place. Centering the fabric origami crane, we hand stitched it onto the banner using white thread to keep it in place.  We then decorated the banner with beads, a tassel and a hand stamped tag. 

Abbiamo creato la bandiera usando dell'imbottitura e due pezzi di stoffa, dritto contro dritto (la punta viene creata utilizzando l'angolo a 45° del mat). Abbiamo cucito tutto intorno lasciando uno spazio per rigirare la bandiera. Abbiamo poi cucito tutto intorno vicino al bordo, chiudendo l'apertura. Usando un bastoncino di bamboo, abbiamo piegato la cima della bandiera sopra il bastoncino e cucito a mano dietro per fissarlo. Centrando la stoffa della gru origami, l'abbiamo fissata con alcuni punti cuciti a mano. Abbiamo infine decorato la bandiera con perline, una nappina ed una etichetta stampata a mano.

We love how the origami crane has kept it's 3D quality even using fabric and that's it's carrying the party tag in it's beak!

Ci piace molto come la gru origami ha mantenuto la sua forma 3D anche usando la stoffa e ci piace l'etichetta portata nel becco!

Chinese Noodle Box Party Favours
Scatola Spaghetti Cinesi per regalo

Have you seen these Chinese Take-Away Boxes at Self Packaging? They come in lots of pretty colours and are very easy to assemble. The box includes a cord to use as handles. 

Avete visto queste Scatole per Spaghetti Cinesi a Self Packaging? Ci sono in bellissimi colori e sono molto facili da montare. La scatola ha come accessorio una corda da usare per creare il manico.

We love them! We thought they would be a great gift box for an Origami Party Favour (or even to use as an invitation box to the party!). We quickly put together the box, inserting three wooden beads on the cord to make an extra decoration for the handle.

Ci piacciono così tanto! Abbiamo pensato che sarebbero state perfette come scatola regalo per l'Origami Party (oppure da usare come scatola-invito per la festa!). Abbiamo messo insieme velocemente la scatola, inserendo delle perle di legno sulla corda per creare una decorazione in più per il manico.

We decorated the front of the box with fabric tape (you can use washi tape too) and a closed paper crane.

Abbiamo decorato il davanti della scatola con nastro di stoffa (si può usare anche il washi tape) ed una gru origami chiusa.

These Chinese Take-Away Gift boxes are perfect for party favours. We made origami mobiles to put in our lovely boxes. The boxes are nice and strong, just right for protecting our gifts.

Queste Scatole per Spaghetti Cinesi sono perfette per regali. Abbiamo creato dei mobiles origami da mettere dentro queste bellissime scatole. Le scatole sono belle e forti, ideali per proteggere i nostri regali.

You can find more useful boxes and craft products here:

Puoi trovare altre scatole e prodotti per il fai da te qui:


Origami Cocktail Sticks
Bastoncini da Cocktail Origami

We love origami cranes so much, we decided to make some pretty cocktail sticks too. We folded our origami crane and slipped it onto a wooden skewer (you can add a dab of glue too). Fast and fun!

Ci piacciono così tanto le gru origami che abbiamo deciso di creare anche dei bastoncini per cocktail. Abbiamo piegato la nostra gru origami e l'abbiamo inserita su uno spiedino di legno (puoi anche aggiungere una punta di colla). Veloce e divertente!

Don't miss all The Creative Factory's Handmade Summer Nights here:
Non perderti tutte le creazioni de The Creative Factory per Handmade Summer Nights qui:

You can find The Creative Factory on Instagram using the tags:
Puoi trovare The Creative Factory su Instagram usando questi tag:

and also on Pinterest here.

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Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Where are we?

In case you are wondering where we are, you can find us on Instagram @ellaandnesta. We have been enjoying ourselves looking at everyone's creations and all the ideas whizzing around on IG. At the moment we're super summer busy, so Instagram fits in very well with making the most of time shortage!

You have probably seen quite a few of these Charm Square Fabric Trays and they really are fun and fast to make. The free tutorial is on A Spoonful of Sugar here.

We made two with some favourite apple fabric and used a bright red polka dot fabric on the back of one and linen on the other. The polka dot is definitely our favourite! 

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