ShabbyShe

I like upcycling, repurposing and crafting with my kids

Archive for the tag “diy teacher gift”

A bit of embroidery…

I adore my sewing machine and couldn’t live without it now, but I do love to go back to basics sometimes – slow down, hand-stitch and enjoy the change of pace and focus. Hand embroidery is such a lovely activity in the evenings when you want to relax but still somehow keep the hands busy! I must admit, though, I increasingly need good strong daylight for hand sewing, so I can see what I’m doing 😉

specs case made from felt and upcycled fabric

I made these glasses cases for my Etsy shop using soft felt and upcycled knit fabric – repurposed from girls’ clothing.

The teal/turquoise case was so popular I’ve recreated variations on it since for other customers. I used simple white embroidery silk thread on the teal felt to create a swirly flower pattern to mirror the curves and swirls of the interior fabric. I love the simplicity of this one and it remains one of my all-time favourite makes.

teal or turquoise glasses or phone pouch

The black glasses pouch below is again lined with recycled material and here I experimented with French knots using a beautiful variegated embroidery floss in pale pink through to almost red. I made two heart shapes purely from French knot stitches and I think the overall effect with the ombre-style thread is lovely!

heart embroidery in french knot stitch

I’m back busily using my machine currently as my Capri Sun lunchbags are all the rage – maybe people are getting organised for the return to school (in September here in England)!

What are you up? Do comment below & tell me about your makes/upcycles x

 

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Blogiversary!

Oh my goodness, I can’t believe I have neglected my beloved blog since August! I had the urge to write today, logged on and find that it is 3 years to the day that I started this little project. I love coincidences like that 🙂

My only excuses are the usual: 1) work and family life taking over (happy with family doing that, but as for work…!) and 2) I’ve been busy with craft fairs and my Etsy shop.

Let me show you my latest upcycled makes, on a Christmas theme …

burlap hoop with rustic heart design

This embroidery hoop art is made using hessian (burlap) and scrap fabric, which I’ve upcycled from curtain fabric samples. I used free machine embroidery to applique the hearts to the hessian and make the strings. I love the cute rustic look of this piece, ideal for lovers of shabby chic decor.

embroidery hoop art using upcycled fabric

This green spotty fabric is the perfect backdrop for my cute birdcage hoop. Again, I sketched the birdcage design using the sewing machine without a presser foot. It’s quite hair-raising when you first try it, but I’m addicted to this technique now! The flower is a piece of scrap ribbon and a little bead, and a bead also makes the upcycled fabric bird’s eye!

Here are my most Christmassy designs, which I’m hoping will attract someone’s eye at my forthcoming craft fair next weekend (details here) or on my Etsy shop.

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To make these Christmas themed hoops, I used both free machine and hand embroidery and some felt. I love using felt as it’s such a versatile fabric and of course non-fraying.

So that’s what I’ve been up to, how about you? Promise I will be back soon, I’ve missed this! x

 

Back to School Craft: Pencil cases and more!

Some more fun makes using one of my favourite materials – juice pouches!

Juice pouch upcycles by ShabbyShe

Clockwise from top left: Apple flavour mobile phone sleeve; small pencil case; shoulder bag with red straps; Tropical & Orange pencil case; Autumn fruits pencil case with red zip; Safari Animals juice pouch pencil case; Orange Fruit Splash mobile case; Sun Shots & Capri Sun pencil pouch with yellow zip.

I love using these foil juice drink packs for several reasons:-

  1. It’s saving them from going into landfill – sadly, Capri Sun pouches are not currently recyclable and as they contain both foil and plastic will take a long time to degrade
  2. They are brightly coloured and fun, appealing to adults and kids alike. I find it’s always a talking point when I use my juice pouch lunch bag!
  3. They are great fun to work with as a material as they are already cut to a standard size (at least most brands are, more on that in a moment) but also they can easily be cut and manipulated to use for other purposes.

The only down side to using them is firstly sourcing them (as I don’t allow my children to drink these kinds of drinks every day) and secondly the cleaning and preparation before use. They are easy enough to slit open and clean but take an age to dry. That’s the only tedious part of the process! As for sourcing them, I have a great supply at the school where I work with a couple of dedicated dinner ladies who get the children to collect up used packs during the lunch break 🙂

These pencil cases are a fun Back to School item, I really enjoy making these and they’re a popular item in my shop

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I even made one which is four juice pouches wide (so 8 in total) for a friend’s son, who wanted to fit his 30cm ruler inside. I will definitely be making more of those!

These Fruit Splash mobile phone sleeves are a new adventure in juice pouch upcycling! At first I was a bit miffed that they are bigger than the standard sized Capri Sun et al packs and therefore I couldn’t use them with other brands. However, I realised they are virtually the same exact size as my felt mobile phone sleeves. So I lined them with soft felt, added some velcro and hey presto, mobile phone cases made from juice pouches 😀

bag made from upcycled foil juice packs

Finally, I got around to completing a shoulder bag – a bit of a longer task, but very satisfying when I see it all come together. My other tote bags sold a while ago and I kept meaning to make more but life got in the way! I’ve also stitched the front and back for another tote bag, this one featuring Orange and Tropical juices with a yellow strap.

Can you tell it’s the Summer Holidays and I’m not at work..? 😉

 

Teacher Gifts – Upcycled Shirt Cuff Pouches

It’s come around quickly again this year – end of Summer term, which means the end of the school year here in the UK. I like to give my children’s teachers a little token to say Thank You for all their hard work & care over the school year. My children are always bereft to be leaving their favourite teacher!

Red shirt tissue pouch with cat buttons upcycled shirt cuff made into tissue pouch

I made these little tissue pouches from preloved shirt cuffs! My son’s teacher likes purple and my daughter’s teacher is a fan of red – perfect! They were quite quick and easy to put together as I had already made some purple and mauve scrap binding by following this excellent post by Heather at The Sewing Loft and some red bias binding – again, there’s a brilliant tutorial by Deb at Sew So Easy on bias binding.

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The red pouch is the largest of the two: the red checked shirt I used had large cuffs for cufflinks. I made a feature of the button holes by leaving them in place and simply stitching the cuff into a purse shape using the red bias binding tape. I then added the cute little cat buttons which add a feminine (or feline??) touch to the finished pouch. I’m really happy with how this one turned out – it is the perfect size to hold a pack of pocket tissues but can also be used as a little purse or make up pouch.

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The mauve pouch is more of a mini pocket pouch as it was a standard size shirt cuff. I kept the orginal buttons for this pouch as I like the mauve stitching. I think the scrap binding goes perfectly with it! Scrap binding is so fun to make and is a great way to use up little pieces of fabric which are too small for other projects. The fabric in this binding was all pre-cut into quite small squares before they were given to me: I presume they were originally going to be part of a quilt. Anyway they look great as binding and give more colour and texture to a simple project like this teacher gift. As this pouch is smaller I could only include a few tissues and I folded them to fit!

The children made cards and wrote their own special messages in them, then we wrapped the pouches with a little bar of soap (one teacher had already begged the class not to give her chocolate, as she’s on a diet!)

Do you give or make your own teacher gifts? I would love to see a link or photos! x

Flash Sale – Grab a bargain!

juice pouch pencil case

Special offer – 20% discount for my social media followers now until Sunday 28th June! Lots of fun gifts for Dads, teachers & kids 🙂

Click here or on the picture to visit my Etsy shop 🙂

Upcycled Lovelies – Tissue pouches and Sunglasses cases

How about a basket of springy cheer in the form of these tissue pouches and sunglasses cases? Both of these makes are fantastic scrap buster projects and also nice beginner sewing projects to use just a small amount of fabric and test your skills (and your sewing machine!)

Tissue pouches and sunglass cases made from scrap fabric

The tissue pouches are made from fabric remnants from previous projects; this supersoft knit fabric pouch is mostly upcycled clothing – made from one of my daughter’s outgrown tops…

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I love the print on this fabric and the little sequins!

These spotty and flowery fabric ones incorporate one of her cotton tops which was so pretty but only worn a handful of times, as it was sleeveless and rather a chilly summer that year!

Flower print pretty tissue pouch from recycled clothes Tissue pouches using upcycled fabric in pretty coordinating fabrics Tissue pouch - spotty green fabric with upcycled clothing Tissue pouch reverse - pretty cotton top upcycle

This is a rather addictive craft as it’s quick and easy and great practice for sewing straight lines on your machine, something I’ve had to work at myself! There are some great tutorials and patterns online but my favourite is this one from Notes from the Patch

The sunglasses cases are made using flex-frames – I spent ages googling to find out the name of these pinch-open pouch closures!!

flex frames - used to make pinch-open pouches

Flex frames – picture courtesy of artfire.com

Again there are stacks of great tutorials online – I used this one from Fabric Yard (where you can also buy sewing supplies) as it’s got great step-by-step pictures and instructions. By the way, this tutorial says to spray baste the wadding to the fabric – I used a light smattering of fabric glue which seemed to do the trick. Always use what you have to hand, I say!

The glasses cases are also good practice for quilting – a technique that’s quite new to me. It was a fun way to try out different styles of quilting on a small area of fabric before trying a bigger project.

Most of the glasses cases pictured here were made with repurposed fabric from clothing – there are pieces from two men’s shirts, a little girl’s dress and a couple of tops in use here, plus some gorgeous stripy turquoise fabric from a sample book.

What are your favourite scrap-buster sewing projects? I’d love to see your ideas too 🙂

Tissue pouches made from scrap fabric

Capri Sun Shopper – Juice pouch upcycle

Meet the latest addition to the Capri Sun Upcycle family…

Juice pouches repurposed into large bag

… the large shopper tote!

This beauty uses 27 recycled juice pouches in its construction and I designed it to carry the heavy shopping in the War on Plastic Bags!

Large tote made from recycled Capri Sun pouches

I made the straps from red webbing strap of a thicker, more durable variety than the smaller lunchbag totes and stitched two lengths together before attaching to the inside and outside of the bag for extra strength.  The “leather effect” finish on the ends of the straps are actually brown electrical tape, squirrelled from the Shabby garage 😉

Double strength handles - recycled juice pouch shopper

I’m really pleased with the result. This one is not going in my Etsy shop (at least for now!) as I am doing my first “proper” craft fair at the end of this month.  If you’re in the Camberley area, do pop along to Market Mall in High Cross Church on 28th March and say hello!

Back to making now – next up will be a smaller Capri Sun shoulder bag!  See you soon x

Jeans Upcycle – Cute girl’s apron

I’m feeling very pleased to have finished another recycled denim jeans project this week – I’m on a roll now!

As I mentioned in my last post, my friend gave me two pairs of jeans she no longer had use for, knowing my obsession with repurposing clothes! At the same time, my niece (a budding seamstress herself) sent me this video link to a great re-use for jeans – cutting the backside and waistband off to make a garden apron.

The video tutorial shows you how in seconds you can create a little garden apron from your jeans. I immediately took the shears to my friend’s old jeans and reproduced the apron, but decided to “girlify” it a bit by adding a little ruffle.

Apron made from old jeans with added ruffle

Rather cuter now I felt – but probably more of an “indoors” apron that a gardening one. In which case, it needed a bit more work. You’ll notice the cut at the side seams left a rather frayed raw edge that needed some attention.

Cut edge of denim jeans for making an apron

Hmm, that edge won’t do at all…

So I added some binding with a pretty fabric to contrast the ruffle fabric. Then I had a dilemma – should I top-stitch from the front of the binding, to neaten it up, or should I go for a cleaner look?

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I’ve no doubt everyone has their own view; I put it to both my sewing circle and Twitter friends (I take part in the excellent #makedoandmendhour on Twitter on Thursdays 8-9pm UK time). Needless to say opinion was fairly evenly divided. In the end, my horror of unpicking stitching led me to conclude it was better with! 😀

A bit more ruffling (who doesn’t love a good ruffle??)

Denim apron with double ruffle

and one of my favourite fabric flowers later…

Fabric flower with button centre

and I’m pretty happy with the result!

Jeans apron with ruffles and flower

 

 

Now you can all tell me off for stitching over my binding – I can take it 😉 x

Doing the Etsy thing…

The Lunchbags go live – now available for purchase

Hello lovely readers! Long time no post, I know: I’ve been busy making these little numbers ready for a Christmas Fair and now Etsy – do pop over and have a look at my shop. Your feedback is welcome! I’m hoping these eco-friendly lunch bags will inspire kids and parents alike in the quest for interesting packed lunches! They are great fun to make and I have an unfailing supply thanks to the fantastic recycling efforts of the dinner ladies where I work!!

My shop is here – I’m hoping to continue stocking over the coming weeks with more recycled, repurposed and upcycled loveliness. Watch this space! x

Teacher Totes – a Thank You gift

It’s that time of year again when the summer holidays are beckoning and children and teachers are worn out and longing for the break! (I can say this with confidence as I was a teacher!)

I usually put some cash in the class whip-round but the children’s teachers have been so lovely in every way this year I wanted to make them a little gift to show our appreciation. If you remember, at Christmas I made the teachers some personalised knitted mug cosies.Hopefully these have kept other people’s mitts off their cuppas in the staffroom as well as keeping their tea warm! 😉

Now Summer is here with a vengeance in South East England I wanted to make something both useful and summery. These tote bags are based on instructions from the excellent Molly’s Sketchbook Twenty Minute Totes.

Teacher appreciation totes

Handmade teacher gifts – tote bags

I hasten to add that 20 minutes is I’m sure achievable for a more experienced and less faffy seamstress than me, but they took me over an hour! Still, they were easy to assemble with fab instructions and visuals from the Purlbee and I think are super cute! I can’t wait to give them to the teachers!

Gift for teacher - pretty tote bag

Little tote bag with fabric flower

I bought some fat quarters from Hobbycraft in coordinating colours and used thread from my stash. They’re mostly *new* (rather than upcycled) apart from the fabric flower on the teal striped bag which is made from a repurposed dress and top of my daughter’s. A warning word about the fat quarters: I thought they were a standard size, but apparently can vary depending on the width of the original fabric. The tutorial above uses fat quarters that are larger than mine, so I had to adjust my measurements down from 14″ x 16″ to 11″ x 11″ – quite a difference, but the resulting bags are maybe sweeter for it as they’re little!

The flower on the red striped bag is a ribbon which I used the sewing machine’s different tension settings to snag or gather, then I simply coiled and stitched it to the bag. I used a patch of upcycled denim jeans inside to cover the messy stitching with my Sewing Cheat (fabric glue!!)

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I’d love to say the children helped with more than just selecting colours but they’re that little bit too young to do serious sewing yet (i.e. in a straight line!) It won’t be long though, they’re both filled with enthusiasm for my sewing machine 😀

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