Thursday, 29 August 2013

Three free tutorials (and a happy three year old!)

After the success of my sorbetto top, I've been trying out some of the other free sewing patterns the online world has to offer.  Although I enjoy buying fabric and patterns, it's made me realise that not spending money on these can be equally enjoyable!

It was also refreshing to take a break from making clothes.  As interesting as that is, it does guzzle up time, fabric, and sometimes my patience.  Where as for some quick gratification these three small projects were just the thing. 

So without further ado, here are my latest three stash-busting makes...

'Owl You Need' Sewing Buddy

First up is this free pattern and tutorial by Shanni Loves.  It's a voodoo owl pin cushion with space for stashing tools away.  

I don't exactly need another pin cushion/sewing caddy as I only made one a few months ago.  But after my recent penguin-making spree I'm well stocked up on stuffing, and I couldn't resist the cuteness.  So rather than retiring my old, perfectly good pin cushion I thought I'd make the owl in matching fabric so they can sit side-by-side. 

It was a fun and simple little project, and I was thinking it could also make a funky desk tidy for pens.  Though not sure if it's just me, but I do find there's something slightly spooky about owls...

His n' Hers Passport Holder

Next up is a free tutorial I first attempted in February as a token Valentines Day present.  We don't usually bother much with Valentines gifts, but a joint passport holder seemed topical as we happened to be flying to Lake Louise, Alberta on the 14th Feb.  The first version was a complete flop.  I discovered that unless you use really thin tablecloth plastic, anything thicker creases and scratches horrendously when you flip it right-side out.   

After sitting on it a few months the second attempt went a bit better. I made both versions using this free tutorial from A Spoonful of Sugar's blog.   I didn't find it the easiest of projects as the plastic was difficult to work with, and so I resorted to hand-basting it as it kept on getting stuck to the machine foot.  I also found the dimensions were slightly short and I'd add an extra inch to the height next time.  A clasp/popper would also be a good addition to fasten it shut. 

So this wasn't my favourite tutorial, and sewing with plastic wasn't much fun.  But I would consider revisiting it in the future, as with some refinements it could make an attractive and useful gift (and I have lots more tablecloth plastic I've know idea what I'll otherwise do with). 

Little Louis' Car Caddy

Last but not least.  In fact definitely not least, as out of all my sewing projects I've ever made this one got the best reception!  Introducing Louis' roll-up car caddy, or 'race mat' as he took to calling it:

Too cute!
I was wise enough to spot that this free tutorial on Sew Can She's blog would be a winner with my friend Anna's three and a half year old.  Yet foolish enough to not realise that his little sister Ariana would also want one too.  Doh.

It has space for up to six cars, and our local dollar store had a good selection of perfectly sized ones.  The photo above makes me laugh, as Mr Fabric Maverick says it shows that 2 years after moving from England to Canada I've finally gone native, as I instinctively placed the car on the right-hand side of the road!

My friend Anna lives in Australia and had travelled to Canada with her family to attend a wedding.  I was so thrilled to meet-up with her in Ontario as I never dreamt I'd see her and her kids on this continent.  So I liked how nifty this gift is as it rolls up neatly, so seemed a good travelling toy.  It also gave me a chance to try out piping for the first time, which adds a nice finishing touch.

I really love this project, and especially Louis and Ariana's reaction to it.  Definitely a winner with little kids, simple to make too.  Now I've a taste for free tutorials, I've started a pinterest board devoted to them.  So if anyone else has any recommendations for good ones they've seen please share as I would be very interested to hear :)   


  1. Your owl turned out so cute! Goes perfectly with your pincushion. Glad you enjoyed the tutorial and pattern. Thanks so much for sharing!!! :)

    1. Pleasure! Thanks for taking the time to do the step-by-step photos on your blog. Made it all very quick and effortless to make :)

    2. Would you mind if I posted your owl on my blog? I'm thinking of doing an Owl Parade one the blog once I get enough.

    3. My owl would love to be paraded, please feel free!

  2. The owl is so cute! I don't sew, but I still want one :-)

    1. But you have a friend that sews, so who knows what she may bring round for Christmas! X