Simple Brown Handbag

I’ve quickly made up another chocolate-coloured handbag in case my sister doesn’t like the other brown bag I made for her. This is my post for Transformation Thursday at The Shabby Chic Cottage. The materials transformed for this was about 50g of yarn and three buttons. Using a 3.5mm crochet hook it didn’t take long at all, maybe one afternoon.

I was speaking to Jen last week and she mentioned she needed a little handbag just big enough to hold a couple of things so I’ve made another bag a little bigger than the last with a longer handle. This bag has a handle long enough that when on the shoulder the bag will hang down by the waist. I used a simple stitch, instead of the shell stitch I used in the first brown bag which made it a little wonky, so this was quicker to make.

By the way, I found out at the craft group I went to last week that the stitch I’ve been calling ‘double crochet’ is American for the UK stitch called ‘treble crochet’, which is the stitch I used mostly here. I’m thinking I will need to learn both crochet languages so I know the two names for each stitch. There are so many free patterns on the internet that are in American crochet, but my mother and the local craft group use British crochet, so it’s best I know both!

Here’s to hoping my sister likes at least one of these bags!

So MANY Fantastic Ideas at this weeks party, some day I’d really like to try these ones…

Cute, Small Brown Handbag

I’m really quite proud of how this turned out in the end, if I do say so myself!

At first I was worried how wonky it was, marrying up the edges evenly was a challenge. But because it was off-centre I was able to place the button enough to the side to appear intentional, and  I think the result is rather cute. I had several cute buttons to choose from as usual, all would match nicely, but I settled on the pearly tan coloured one.

When I told my sister Jenny that I could crochet simple handbags, she said she’d like one in ‘earthy brown colours’, hence why I chose this wool and button. I really hope she likes it because I made it with love and care, although I know it’s highly likely the first thing she’ll say will be to point out an imperfection. But you know sisters can be like that, hey? I used the shell stitch described in my Shell Crochet Pouch post, I just made it larger and added a handle, which was rather easy and fun!

Shell Crochet Pouch

I just made this modest crochet pouch because I thought the shell stitch was very pretty, and liked the multi-colours in this wool which shows off the stitch better than a mono-colour.  I have also started making a brown pouch for my sister because she asked me to make her one, and thought to make the stitch a little interesting so had a go at this shell stitch. Its kind of like this one here, but I did it off the top of my head at the time so it’s different.

One row of this shell pattern takes two rows to complete. It goes something like this …
start with a chain with length equal to pouch width
row 1 – (ch 2, 2 dc in 1st ch sp, sk 2 ch sp, sl st) to end, turn
row 2 – ch 2, 2 dc in 1st ch sp (sl st in top of shell in row 1, 3 dc in sl st in row 1) to end

I wonder if my mum would like this as a gift? She has so many lovely things, its very hard to find nice gifts for her. But mum was my very first crochet teacher. Thanks to her early lessons, I was I able to pick up a few pointers from youtube videos when I started hooking again in recent years. Hopefully she likes my simple gift as a thankyou for all the handicrafts that she taught me. I had several pretty buttons to choose from, and settled on the burnt orange one with a lovely shell-like shine to it.

I hope I get a chance to see mum soon so I can give it to her to say thanks!

Dress for a Special Teddy

This pair of teddy bears are very special to me, I’ve had them for nearly two years now.

I knew I wanted to get my grandma something soft and pink, hopefully something that could bring her at least a little bit of comfort. David found one and I loved it straight away, knowing it was what I needed to give her. I put a big, bright pink ribbon around it’s neck. It was a hard time for my family, David took me back to the newsagent and bought me another one. When my nanna passed away, I was given the option to look after her teddy so chose to keep the pair together.

I recently made a dress for one, it was very easy. I might make another one in a different colour for the other teddy.  I simply made a circle chain with a circumference as wide as the chest, rows of single crochet make up the bodice. Then I used a shell stitch for the skirt. Last to do was 2 shoulder straps leaving holes for the buttons, and sewing on the prettiest buttons I could find that would suit. I chose ones with a nice shell texture.

It might be fun to make a frilly pair of underpants to go under the dress, if I ever get around to it.

Pretty Covered Coathangers

Every wardrobe is not complete without a few of these covered coathangers! I don’t know why I haven’t made these before, they are so easy.

Many years ago I replaced all the old coathangers in my cupboard with plastic ones. But you know how these things multiply, right? Somehow, I now have three old wooden hangers in my cupboards and I’m not sure how they got there! They really needed covering, the wood catches on delicate clothes, and the corners leave imprints in the shoulders. Covering them fixes that!

I searched around on the net for ideas on how to do it, but they all  seemed a bit too fussy. For mine, I just cut up some recycled foam packaging and secured it with elastic bands. Then I simply hand stitched the pretty material straight over the top, folding in the edges, using blanket stitch. I folded in the ends and stitched that down, too. The lavender ones have pretty white buttons to secure the ends. I then finished off with a very simple little bow to cover the tiny gap for the hook. These are a cinch and don’t take long to make at all.

Hexagon Jackets

I saw this baby’s hexagon jacket at Crochet Soiree and thought it was so cute and might be fun to try, even though there isn’t anyone in particular for me to be making it for!

I didn’t follow a pattern, just made a couple of hexagons and joined them together. The orange and blue one was my first try, which wasn’t quite right but I thought it might do as a toy’s jacket. I covered an old button with the blue wool. Then I did the white one, which fits on my big teddy. I think it looks rather pretty with the pink buttons which I haven’t decided to attach yet or not.  I’ve been feeling a bit blue the last couple of days to be honest, but I don’t feel like I’m allowed to express my opinion, even on my very own blog that no one actually reads! Go figure.

Lovey Dovey Buttons

I’ve been wondering if I could use recycled plastic milk bottles to make buttons, and thought to try it today with some of the left over love heart print.

This post about how to make a fabric button made me wonder if I could make the pieces from recycled plastic, instead of buying the kits from the craft store. Buying new something so simple just to make a button seems wasteful to me. I had three goes at making the pieces from the plastic, going smaller and refining it as I went. My result is, I don’t think this makes a very strong button! You could use it as a decorative button only, not a functioning one on clothing. I also cut and covered a small piece of plastic to form the missing piece for an old fabric button, which worked ok.

So then I went back to the net. This post about how to make a fabric button without a kit prompted me to go through my large button collection for any faded buttons that were candidates for a fabric covering. The large once-were-purple buttons worked the best, the smaller faded blue ones were more fiddly. By trial and error I found the smaller ones really need a round of cloth that was neither too small or too large. I also watched this video on making fabric buttons with a kit, it looks very simple and I wonder if I could make my own. I really like the picture frame on the wall behind her, it’s holding 4 rows of cotton threads, looks cool! (wonder if I could make one from recycled materials … )

So that was a productive day today – I learnt how to cover buttons with fabric! I’m sure to need that skill at some point ….

edit: I’m thinking of trying to make fabric covered thumbtacs when I’ve collected enough tiny plastic bottle tops (eg. toothpast etc).

Lovey Dovey Boxer Shorts

I found making this pair of boxer shorts challenging, but I carefully worked through the steps I knew I needed to pull this off. I took no shortcuts like I normally do with my sewing, so I’m proud of the results.

David likes the love heart motif, but would like to have some choice when buying clothes. Love heart options for women’s clothing are abundant, but for men it’s pretty much limited to g-strings with hearts on it. And that’s just not our style! I saw this love heart printed material and decided to grab a metre with the thought to try and make him some boxer shorts. I would copy a comfortable pair he already has, but making pants in the past has usually resulted in failure. So before doing this, I made a couple of pairs of pants for toys, going so far as to use a paper pattern for the fashion doll pants. Big teddy needed some jeans, so I threw them together from the bottom part of already cut up jeans, to check if I understood the pant pattern shape. Teddy’s pants wouldn’t be complete without a big cheery red button!

Today I was ready to try and make David a new pair of boxer shorts. I started by making a paper pattern by copying David’s black boxers, leaving space for seams, and cut out the shape. Pinning the material, I cut it carefully in half so I had two pieces of material. I folded a piece in half and pinned the paper pattern to the fold, then cut it out, removed it and did that to the other piece. Then I pinned the whole thing together first, before starting the sewing, something which I normally do not bother to do. First I sewed the tummy seam, then the back seam, then the crutch. The boxers looked huge! But when I checked the size by placing the black shorts on top, I saw they weren’t too much larger. I made a pocket for the elastic along the waist, and threaded it through. All that was left to do was hem the bottom of the legs and wait for David to come home so I could check the elastic and sew it up.

Bouyed by my success, I decided to make the scraps into an itsy-bitsy pair of boxer shorts for me! To my surprise they actually worked and are wearable, David even says they are cute! Needless to say, I won’t be modelling them and posting a foto!!

Teddy Bear Mary Janes

These orange mary jane slippers are meant to look silly on my purple angel beanie bear! I’m pleasantly surprised these worked out as well as they did. I did not follow a pattern at all, I made these slippers up freestyle. I did this activity to see if I was able to make up something to shape without a pattern. Maybe if I can do this, one day I’ll be able to make my own freestyle socks.

First, I started by making a flat round that was as big as the sole on the teddy’s foot. For this teddy, it took 4 rounds, with the 1st round being 8 sc. These are slightly large and because crochet has some stretch, when I make these again I’ll make them the same size as (not larger than) the foot.

When the sole is done, finish off with a slip stitch then start the next round moving vertical up from the sole and no longer increasing stitches. For these, it took 2 rounds before it was time to do the toe. For the toe I turn, slip stitch and sc across the front, then turn and go back, adding a slip stich in the side as required. It’s a freestyle so I just worked in a stitch as was required to form the platform on top of the toes. For this teddy, they took about 4 or 5 rows of sc. I then did another round along the rest of the shoe and did a couple of extra rows of about 3 sc each at the heel. Then it was time for the ankle strap which was simply a matter of chaining the required length then turning back with sc along the chain. Then I did the other side of the  ankle strap, ending with about 5 chains in a little circle for the button hole. I put the shoes on the teddy to measure where the button should go and then used my tiniest hook to pull some yarn through the button to fasten it.

See? Angel just needed some high fashion shoes before hitting the town with her friend!

Recycled Jeans Bag

This is my first attempt at recycling an old pair of jeans into a bag. I remember a couple of friends from school used to make bags or skirts by cutting off the legs of old jeans. But when I was a teenager I never had the luxury of having an old pair of jeans to cut up, so have been wanting to try this now I can!

For skirts they would sew a large square of material to the bottom after the legs were removed, and kept using the top of the jeans, leaving the buttons as they are. I can’t remember if they would line their bags, but I gave it a go here. I haven’t lined anything before and I could have done it better, that’s for sure! I didn’t match the width of the lining with the width of the jean waist so had to gather some lining to make it fit. The hardest part was sewing the lining to the jeans and then threading the cord through the lip I made in the lining. If I was going to do this again, I’d make the lining fit before sewing it, and I’d make the lip for the cord wider.

Perhaps this bag would be better if I made a handle out of the legs and sewed it up the sides …

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