Archive for the 'Tutorial' Category

Easy Lined Drawstring Bag

Cut 4 rectangles the same size- two from the lining and two from the outer fabric. Mine were 11″

Place the lining and fabric right sides together. Mark 3.5″ (I know this shows 4″ but it was a bit much) down on each side. Sew from the top down to the 3.5″ mark and backtack.
Repeat with the other pieces.

With the patterned fabric on the bottom press the lining back to reveal the right sides. A crease will be formed 3.5″ down from the top. Repeat.

Align the two pressed pieces with right sides together so the creases match. Sew around the patterned peices, starting and ending at the the stiching at the crease.

Press, then press the flappy bits over onto the patterned pieces, so the lining is exposed. Sew around as above. Press.

Trim corners and turn right side out, pushing the lining into the inside. Press.

Press 1/4″ under, then fold down to the join. Sew then press. Repeat on the other side.

Thread with a drawstring. Enjoy!


::Clear as mud? Let me know and I’ll do my best to clear things up!::


:: Dyeing wool using food colouring:: A loose tutorial :: Part 2: A note on colour ::

These 4 hanks of wool are all the same colour, but differ in intensity. Each hank is 1oz of fibre, which was dyed before spinning, then spun into singles which were navajo plied into 3 ply.

Using different quantities of the same colour of dye gives 4 hanks of wool perfectly suited to be used together. A quick and fun exercise to try!


From Left: 30mL/oz, 20mL/oz, 10mL/oz, 5mL/oz 


:: Dyeing wool using food colouring :: A loose tutorial :: Part 1 ::

I’ve been saying for a while that I will do I tutorial on the method I use for dyeing using food colouring. There is a whole host of information out there on the www about this technique, much more now than I could find when I started doing this. It all stemmed from a packet of raro, an NZ equivilant, or so I thought, of Kool Aid. However I have come to believe that Kool Aid, does not contain sugar, a real down side to the packet of raro which does. Also, using jelly is not a great idea, especially if you leave it to cool down overnight in your colder inside than out, colder on the bench than in the fridge flat in the middle of winter. No, I clearly did not think that one through. Maybe the cold addled my brain.

Anywho, I got some passable results using raro, and it still smells like raspberries, but using non-diluted colouring appealed to me. For a while I used the colouring from the supermarket, but have a found a much mosre cost effective source at the local playcentre shop. (I suspect that most early childhood education supply shops will stock this insome form.)

This tutorial is for dyeing solid colours.

Get your wool together. Weight is not super important, but helps to determine the final outcome, especially if you are trying to duplicate a colour. I use anywhere from 5 mL per oz to 30+ mL per oz. (Post on this coming soon.)

Soak wool in a mix of water and white vinegar (acetic acid). Make sure the wool is covered and squeeze extra air out.

I use about 1/4 c of vinegar per oz, just to be sure. A purist will tell you to soak for 24 hours. For instant gratification soak for the length of time it takes you to prepare your colour. (A longer soak will in theory evenly distribute the vinegar through the wool. The vinegar (+heat) is what causes the reaction of the wool and colour molecule to be permanent. A more even covering of vinegar gives a more even colouring of the wool, but it all gets evened out in the spinning anyway.)

Perpare the colour you want. It might be 10mL of yellow, or 12 mL of yellow mixed with 5 mL of blue. Experiment and have fun! (You don’t need a squeezy bottle like this, you can just do it straight into your pot.)

Put you colour and wool into a pot and cover with water and splash more vinegar. You could use the water you soaked the wool in. Place the pot on the stovetop and heat up the water until it almost comes to a simmer. Simmer very gently until all the colour has disappeared from the water.

This is an actual photo of actual water the dye has actually gone from. You probably won’t believe me till you do it. It’s quite magical.

Drain the wool, let it cool, rinse out in cool water, and dry. Voila!

**No doubt there will be questions about felting. I actually bring my wool to simmer, simmer until the colour has gone, dump into a colander and rinse with cool water immediately, and I have never experienced any felting. However results may differ for you, and I suggest that if you’re concerned about felting try a wee sample first. Anyone who has ever made felt with purpose will attest to how much damn hard work it really is!**

Edited to add: I now use citric acid to set my dyes, as it doesn’t leave an odour. Instead of your house smelly like a a wet, vinergary sheep, it will just smell like wet sheep. Good eh? I use 1/4 teaspoon per 100g, or 1 Tablespoon per 500g. Happy dyeing!

A Simple Gift Bag

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year. May it bring you much time for crafting.

Here is the wee tutorial I was planning before Christmas- however I’m sure you will have plenty of gifts to wrap in the coming months.

Select your fabric. Size and width not important- make sure it will fit your gift when finished. It pays not to go too long and skinny. This one is about 6×6 inches. You also need a piece of ribbon about twice as long as the width of the fabric.


Iron the fabric well and fold lengthways with the right sides together. Iron the piece of ribbon in half and put in the side seam on the bag about 3cm down from the top. (You can just see it peeking out.)


Starting at the top of the bag sitch down the open side and across the bottom. Clip corners and turn inside out. Hem the top of the bag.


Put your wee gifty inside and tie up the ribbon. It should scrunch up all nice like this with no extra effort required on your part.


Obviously you could use two pieces of fabric, fold your fabric lengthways, hem the top first- the possibilities are endless, and they take less than 5 minutes to make!

June 2018
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