How To Sew: Gathered Easter Baskets

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A simple, circular, gathered easter basket

 

We’re all ready for some Easter treats at Toyota HQ, and what better way to store them than in our own adorable baskets? These cute little Easter goodies baskets are the perfect way to hand out your eggs and chocolates, and are superbly simple to make. There’s nothing tricky to this tutorial, and you can stitch these sweet little sews up in no time!

 

Getting Ready

supplies

  • Outer fabric
  • Lightweight sew-in interfacing
  • Lining fabric
  • Contrast fabric for binding edges and handle
  • Two buttons

 

Lining, interfacing and outer fabric circles

 

To prepare, cut a large circle out of your three basket fabrics, using a circular template or object to draw around. We used a circular template that was 9 inches across, roughly the size of a dinner plate! Measure all the way around one of the circles or calculate the circumference, and then halve that. Cut a rectangle of your contrast fabric to match the halved length and about 4 inches wide – our circumference was roughly 28 inches, so our rectangle is 4 inches by 14 inches of our contrasting fabric. Press the two edges in to meet at the middle (right sides facing out), and then press in half again, so you have a length of your own bias binding.

 

 

Sewing and Gathering

Once your pieces are ready, sandwich your interfacing between your lining and outer fabrics both with the wrong sides facing the interfacing, and pin the circles in place. Sew a line of gathering stitch (a long straight stitch) as close to the edge as you can. Sew a second line of gathering stitch about a quarter of an inch in from the first. Both of your gathering stitches should be within one inch from the edge, to allow you to hide them under your bias binding later. Remember your gathering stitch should stop before it meets the start of the line again.

Sewing two lines of gathering stitch

 

Once your gathering stitches are in place, grab the two end threads on either side, and gently tug them out of the fabric – as the gathers pull into place, push them firmly away from the end you’re pulling. Keep pulling and pushing until the gathered edge measures half of what it did before, then tie your ends off and space the gathers out evenly. You should have a bowl shaped basket with a lovely gathered top!

 

Gathering around the edges of the circles to form a basket

 

Binding the Basket

Once you’ve finished gathering, it’s time to cover up those unsightly raw edges. Take your bias binding, and open it up. Fold the two short edges inwards, so there will be no raw edges at the ends. With the inside of the bias binding facing you, pin it along the basket, with the top edge of the binding just underneath the bottom gathering stitch. Overlap the two ends where they meet. Sew right along the top edge of the bias binding with a straight stitch – take this sewing slowly, as you’ll have to keep turning the basket which is quite fiddly!

Attaching the first edge of the bias binding

Fold the bias binding over the top of the basket and down the inside, encasing the raw edges. Ensuring that the bottom edge of the bias binding is below the bottom line of the gathering stitch, pin into place and press. Top stitch as close to the bottom edge as you can, again going slowly to move the basket around! Once the bias binding is secure, press again for a clean edge.

 

Raw edges covered with bias binding

 

Your basket is almost ready! For easy transport in little hands though, we’ll be adding a handle in our contrast fabric. Cut a wide rectangle of your contrast fabric and your interfacing, about 4.5 inches wide and 7 inches long. Place the interfacing on the wrong side of the fabric, and then fold them in half with the right sides facing. Press flat, and then sew a straight stitch down the open long edge.

 

Contrast fabric and interfacing to make the handle

 

Using a pencil, knitting needle, or chopstick (or anything else long and thin!), push the handle inside out, so the right side is on the outside and the seam is hidden inside. Push the two open short ends in, and press them flat. Top stitch across both short ends as close to the edge as you can to finish the handle. Press the handle flat.

Sewn and pressed handle

 

Fold your basket in half, and mark the opposite points with two pins. Pin one end of the handle to each point, with the end of the handle extending down slightly below the bottom of the bias binding. Do a short length of straight stitch in the middle of each handle (not the whole way across), going backwards and forwards a few time to secure it.

 

Attach the handle with a short straight stitch right in the middle

 

Take your buttons, and hand sew them onto each end of the handle, hiding the machine sewing you used to secure the handle in place! This method means that the handle should stay put, no matter how enthusiastically your little baskets get swung around! If you’d prefer to have a removable handle, simply stitch the button straight onto the basket, and sew a buttonhole onto each end of the handle rather than sewing it in place.

 

Add a button to the handle to hide the machine stitching

Now all that’s left is to fill them with goodies and hand them over! Don’t worry about wasting them either – after Easter these are great to use to store cosmetics or toiletries, keys, change, or anything else that causes some clutter. We’d love to see your finished projects (and what you’re using it for) over on our Facebook page or Twitter account too, so pop over and share your beautiful baskets when they’re finished. Happy Easter!

How To Sew: Valentine’s Breakfast Coaster & Egg Cosy

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Searching for a last minute flourish to your Valentine plans? Whether you’re treating a loved one or going all out on the self care, we have the perfect finishing touch for you! What could be a better start than a warming breakfast in bed, with our cute heart-coaster and egg cosy set.

 

Getting ready

 

Supplies

  • Fabrics – a fat quarter of a patterned cotton and one of plan for the egg cosy lining
  • Coaster and egg cosy template
  • Thin wadding
  • Matching or contrast threads
  • Hand sewing needle

 

 

First, print off your template from the link above, and cut out the heart and egg cosy shapes from your fabrics and wadding. Use the templates to cut the required pieces for each item.

  • 2 patterned fabric hearts
  • 1 wadding heart
  • 2 patterned egg cosy sides
  • 2 lining egg cosy sides
  • 2 wadding egg cosy sides.

Crafting your cosies

 

Once your pieces are cut, we’ll put the coaster together first. Place your outer pieces together right sides facing, then place the wadding on top and pin the three pieces together. Use a short straight stitch around the edges, leaving the smallest seam allowance you can. Leave two inches of the heart piece open, for turning the coaster inside out. Sew slowly to make sure you get nice smooth curves!  When you’ve finished sewing, push the fabric inside out through the whole you left, so that the wadding disappears inside the coaster and the outer patterned fabric emerges. Use a pencil end or chopstick to smooth out the curves by pushing them into place from the inside. Fold the edges of the open hole inside and press the coaster smooth.

 

Place your egg cosy outer pieces together right sides facing, and pin, doing the same with the two lining pieces. Before pinning the two wadding pieces together, trim 1/4″ off the straight bottom edge. Use the same short straight stitch to attach each set of pieces together, leaving the straight edge along the bottom open for every set. Once all the sewing is finished, turn the bottom of the inner and outer fabric sections up by 1/4″ with the folded section on the outside, and press. Slide the lining section into the wadding section (ensuring the wadding is tucked under the folded edge). Turn the outer section right sides out, and then slide the paired lining and wadding into the outer section.

 

 

To finish your coaster and egg cosy off, hand sew the open sections closed neatly, using a slip stitch. Make sure to keep your open edges taunt to avoid wrinkles in your hand sewing, and extend your hand sewing slightly into the machine sewn sections for extra stability. Try not to catch the wadding with your needle, or you might pull stray fibres through your cotton fabric. Once your hand sewing is done, gently press the finished items for a final time. Now all that’s left is to pop the kettle on and break out the egg cups!

 

 

Now you’ve got a cute and cosy accompaniment for a lovely valentine breakfast! Why not match with a tea cosy for the full set (because what’s breakfast without a pot of tea after all?), or make a whole bundle for a big group brunch! We’d love to see your finished projects on our Facebook page or Twitter account, with your beautiful breakfast and best bed nest of course. Happy sewing everyone!

 

How To Sew: Advent Calendar Bunting

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The winter air is filling with the smell of gingerbread and pine, and the fairy lights are creeping over every surface. Even the most stubborn of us will be accepting that there are only four precious weeks left until Christmas! The buzz word for a crafty Christmas this year is bunting, and we love it – but why not take it further! A lovely row of bunting is stunning, but you can make it practical fun too. Turn your bunting into a beautiful homemade advent calendar, ready to be stuffed with goodies. Say goodbye to chalky advent calendar chocolate, and hello to your new Christmas tradition!

Getting ready

Supplies

  • Fabrics – A bright outer felt, and a white or cream lining (felt or cotton). Buying your felt in squares means you can guarantee you have enough for every pocket
  • Metallic thread for top-stitch decoration
  • Triangular card template
  • Bias binding to match or contrast your outer fabric (How much? 25 x the width of your template, plus 24 x 2 inches, plus 2 X 6 inches)
  • Tailors chalk, ruler, matching threads

To create your template first, consider the length of the wall you can hang it on, and what you want to put inside. Make sure your template includes your 1/4″ seam allowance to ensure all your triangles will be exactly the same size, and you won’t be surprised by pockets that are too small. Once you have a template a good size for you, you’ll need to cut all your fabric.

First off, trace 50 of your template on to your outer fabric, and cut them all. Once they’re cut, separate out 50 pieces for the front of the pocket, and fold over roughly the top quarter. Pin the fold, iron for a sharp line across the top, and then trim the excess fabric off the sides to leave you with a triangle shape again.

 

Piecing together the pockets

Once you have all your outer fabric pieces prepared, it’s time to cut your linings as well. Cut 50 pieces using the template as it is, these are the back pieces of the lining. For the front piece of the lining, you’ll want to adjust your template. Place one of your outer front pieces on top of your template, and cut your template down to 1/2″ above the front outer piece.

Cut 50 front lining pieces with this new template, and fold the 1/2″ at the top down. Pin, iron and trim in the same way as the front outer pieces. Once you’re finished you should have 100 large pieces (50 outer, 50 lining) and 100 short pieces (50 outer pieces with a large front fold, and 50 lining pieces with a short fold)

 

Before piecing the pockets together, you’ll want to top-stitch your front outer pieces. Using a contrast thread (we used metallic gold and silver), secure the fold along the top and bottom with a decorative top-stitch. We’re using the wave shaped stitch on our machine, but any decorative stitch of your choice will work fine!

Once your front pieces are top stitched, pin your front outer to your back outer with the top-stitching facing inwards. Sew along the two bottom sides, starting from one corner of the short front piece round to the other side.Remember to backstitch at the start and end to secure the pockets firmly. Once the pockets are sewn together, trim right along the edges and clip off the bottom of the triangle. This will help the pockets lie flat. Turn the pockets inside out, use a pencil end or similar to poke the point out fully, then press flat.

Sew your lining pockets together with the flap facing outwards rather than inwards, then trim them the same way. Don’t turn your lining pockets inside out, but do press them!

To attach the lining to the outer pocket, start with your lining facing short side upwards. Place your outer pocket on top of the lining, also short side facing upwards. Line the edges up to match corner to corner, and pin the two pockets together. Once the two pockets are flush together, sew them together – you’ll be sewing the three edge you haven’t sewn over yet, the top sections with only two layers of fabric rather than four.

With the top section sewn together, trim the edges and top two corners. Then, fold the sewn section inside out, bringing the lining pocket to the front. Tuck the lining pocket inside the outer pocket. Press the pocket, then slip stitch the front of the pocket to join the tops of the short lining and outer pieces together.

Completing the bunting

Once all 25 of your pockets are completed (hooray!), it’s time to attach them together as bunting. Leave 6 inches at the start of your bias binding for hanging, then pin your first pocket halfway up your bias binding. Leave two inches between each pocket, and another 6 inches at the end. Once all 25 pockets are pinned, run a straight stitch over the length of the bias binding, 1/4 of the way up. Once the pockets are attached, fold the bias binding in half over the tops of the pockets, and iron flat. Run another straight stitch as close to the bottom edge of the bias binding as you can.

 

Once your advent calendar bunting is complete, congratulate yourself! This project is simple but time consuming, and finishing is quite an achievement. Once you’ve hung your bunting, why not take some photos and post them to our Facebook page or tweet them at our Twitter account. We’d love to see your finished advent bunting, full of treats and ready to go! Hopefully you’ll be using it for years to come.