Category Archives: own pattern

Modern urbanisation: turning parking space into living space

Don’t worry this has not suddenly turned into a blog about architecture and area planning. Although this might be interesting, too. As long as it is an expert talking about it, not me. This one is still about knitting and sewing. Not that I would be an expert in these fields either. But aaanyway.

It is probably not wise to start with the highlight of today’s topic rather than building up tension but I do know for a fact that some of my readers get quickly bored and never make it to the end of my in-depth analysis of things. So let’s jump right in.

This parking site has recently been transformed:IMG_5744

into this beautiful home  (still without a roof in this picture) surrounded by a moat:

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to be completed with either a golden roof for a beautiful castle…

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or a dark roof full of spider webs, cracks and bats (yes, these are bats, no weird letter “M”s) for a witch house, dangerous castle or whatever you want to imagine.

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The attentive readers amongst you (for all the others: no need to look away in embarrassment, I am ignoring you anyway), this is not really a transformation as clearly it is a totally brand new development which happens to have the same shape as the afore-mentioned parking space.

It is finally time to reveal the long-awaited portable magic play mat:

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Rather by accident, I must admit, the pocket looks very castle-y but unfortunately it is not as deep as the pocket of the original car play carpet.

But lets unfold the secret inner life of boring spotty bag (trying to rebuilt tension here):

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So there is a deep looking cercle in the centre, made of bricks, could be a tower or a well in the middle of the wood, depending on the story you are developing.

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and a deep dark cave, possibly home of a dragon, a gnome or a captured prince (trying to break up stereotypes)

But enough teasing. Lets have a look at the carpet in its full glory:

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So, we have different areas, a dark wood at the top, a dragon forest in the right top corner (I know, they are dinosaurs! Could you please make a little effort and switch on your imagination?!), a wolf wood, a park with magical looking birds in cages, a pink unicorn forest (I know, they are not unicorns. You are starting to bore me with your negativity), a pond (the BLUE bit of course. I mean seriously!), a bed of lollipop flowers (on request. I’ll leave it to you to guess which ones are the lollipops, but I’d try those round lollipop shaped flowers if I were you), a few other lawns with magic looking flowers and plants and a big meadow with cute little magic people, possibly fairies and elves living in there. There is also a silver / breadcrumbs trail leading from the house to one of the lawns/forests or vice versa. Who knows. Up to you.

I meant to have more dangerous, dark looking areas but strangely (and I really can’t explain this at all), I do not seem to own many dark or dangerous looking fabrics. Apart from an endless variety of dinosaur fabrics. Nevertheless, I am more than pleased with the result, I have to say.

As you can see, similar to the car play carpet, there are poppers everywhere to stick on magic items.

We have…

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… a magic key,

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… a magic ring,

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…. a magic wand (clearly! But you can also pretend it is a log or whatever else),

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… a treasure chest

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… with real silk lining – would you expect anything less?

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….um… a bottle of magic potion (not my finest work, I have to admit. And I did get told off for this one)

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… a magic book. Clearly my favourite. If not the only one out of the set I really like.

I guess my main problem with these “props” is their inconsistency. The treasure chest is really 3D, the book is beautifully “drawn”, similar to all the decoration on the house, the bottle is just nonsense, all the others are much more simple. I guess they should all look a bit like the book. With embroidery as a main feature. Even if then the treasure chest would lose its main feature. What do you think? Which one is your favourite?

Also, would you prefer playing on the car carpet or on the magic one?

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In any case, after a very slow start I really enjoyed the project, especially the free hand machine embroidery. Remember when I did that 3 hours course at Tilly and the buttons back in London? I really want to explore this technique even more and finally invest in a proper embroidery foot for my machine. Plus, I have realised that I have to take the “using up my fabric scraps” project a little bit more seriously.

But it is almost May, time to focus on Me Made May, so the scraps will have to wait.

 

 

 

 

Scrap Sunday: The upcycling bag

For this one we need to start way back, a couple of years ago ….

Once upon a time…. don’t worry, it won’t get that bad.

Anyway, years ago, I have made a small shoulder bag for my daughter’s best friend. As I quite liked it I made a few more for other friends.

I never actually saw the little girl using her bag. It was always her mother carrying it with this very insisting and slightly scary glare in her eyes… until I made her her own. And one for my equally glaring daughter.

My friend seemed happy. But not only did she continue carrying her daughter’s bag around, she also kept telling me “casually”  that her other daughter really liked those bags and that the poor child was interested in placing an order and paying real money for it.

Around the same time she gave me her daughters old rain coat with the words that maybe I could use it for one of my sewing projects. After years and years of heavy hint dropping I finally gave in and made my first proper upcycling project. A bag made out of an old rain coat. Apologies for not taking a picture of the original rain coat but here is the bag:

I chose a London themed lining as it was supposed to be a bag for a young lady so it needed to be cool rather than the usual childish stuff. I am extremely pleased with the result, think it really looks cool. I am not sure what the girl thinks. Probably she never got it, instead there will be a blond woman running through London carrying three bags and glaring at other people who dare carrying nice bags. If you ever see her, don’t look her straight in the eyes, slowly move backwards and keep your bag tightly.

Oh, and just for the record, I also made another one for my niece who asked for  one for her birthday a few weeks ago.

I suppose my niece liked it… Thinking of it, I haven’t handed it over myself, maybe she never got it and there is a glaring lady with 4 bags running through London…

 

Bye Bye 2016 – the year of the most magnificent make

If you don’t fancy reading an epic and boring post please scroll to the truly amazing pictures at the end. They are worth it. Really.

As we have established in the last post, 2016 is officially a not so good year. And I guess since then there have been a few incidents that did not quite help.

Personally, I would also say, it has not been the best year of my life but certainly the one with the most challenges. And there is actually a good thing about challenges, too. They make you grow. And I am determined not to let the bad things win. Instead of moaning, being scared and living in split societies, lets pull ourselves together and think what we can do to reunite and work as a team. (I am talking to you, my friends in the land of brexit and in Trumpistan, well and in all European countries I guess) Look around you and do something to unite people instead of separating them. Founding a knitting group is definitely a good thing. I guess for the male readers of the blog I would recommend playing football or starting to talk to strangers in the pub. But I suppose you are doing that already.

I also want to use this post to show you the greatest thing I have ever made. In my whole life. I love it and I want to wrap myself into it. I am really proud of it. Since about three months I want to write an appropriate post about it. But as it deserves a hair cut, a professional fotographer and probably a studio with proper lighting (yes it does deserve all of that), I had to delay it. I still haven’t found a photographer (mainly because I wasn’t looking) but I really want to share it with you to show you that 2016 wasn’t actually just bad. So, those few pictures taken on an early September morning will do. I trust my skilled followers to imagine the thing in its whole glory.

But let me start from the beginning. Ever since I have children, I wanted one of these and moving back to Austria, into a bigger flat, I thought it would be finally time to get it: a play carpet with roads on it. A trip to a Swedish furniture shop made me realise that the ones you can purchase don’t feel nice materialwise and are certainly not as cool as the one we had as children. Which was basically a huge piece of blue fabric, possibly a thin denim, with simple stitched lines to mark the roads. In all those years I hadn’t realised that my mum had made it. So I decided to make one myself. I had seen street fabrics so I was initially thinking of buying one of these, finish the edges and voila.  Certainly I did not intend to invest hours of work to mark the roads by hand stitching them.

And that might be the moment when I got carried away a little bit. I thought I had finally found my perfect niche product where I could earn my living. Not too much material involved and certainly quick to sew. I had the vision of a take away play mat, maybe with a little holder with handles, similar to a picknick blanket. Or how about attaching the handles directly to the mat? In which case I would need a second layer of fabric to have a nice back. And as my husband pointed out, one or even two layers of fabric would not be a nice texture. So I would need to add some padding. So material costs were already on the rise, work load still under control. I guess you would still find some people who would buy it for a reasonable price (from my point of view)

Sure those fabrics with street prints on them are not the cheapest and to be honest, I liked the simplicity of our own blanket as it leaves so much room for your own imagination. I was torn. And did some research. And found some wonderful and crazy examples, like the one Schnabelina made. For very obvious reasons she calls it play mat “deluxe”. Or this one by ollewetter. I really liked the idea of adding a pocket on the outside. Obviously if you have a take away play mat then you’ll need to take a few cars with you. So fabric costs were going up again but still under control as left overs could be finished off. Time involved was on the rise as well. Still an affordable result though I thought. At this point I was already mentally designing a website for my play mat shop. Only mentally, I don’t know how to design a website.

Those two examples have impressed me a lot. Schnabelinas tunnel and also ollewetters petrol station are so cool. Again, I had to rewrite my business plan. Using up left overs would make it possibly less expensive fabricwise but time was exploding. Hmm. I guess this was the moment when my project left the “not exactly fortune generating but still reasonable business ” area and became a “slightly over the top birthday present for someone who will not actually play that much with it”.

Anyway, here it is.

From the very first draft to a full scale pattern (as a modern designer you will obviously need a computer and a cup of coffee. And a very long ruler. You guys won’t have any of these, it is just for professionals, you see)

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Checking if scale works for real life play

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I kept the original pattern and cut out shapes on transparent paper to be able to check fabric later.

Slowly things are taking shape:

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For the back I used a dotted cotton. I think it is a nice and colourful look and it also hides the cleverly placed poppers which keep the folded mat in bag size.

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The whole thing is padded with a thick layer of… well…. padding. It has a really nice and soft texture now.

For the front I used a grey cotton as background and then different fabrics, mainly greens cut out and appliqued. Depending on the used fabric, you could imagine a zoo in one corner and a, rather dangerous, seaside on the bottom edge with a little bit of sandy beach in the corner. The roundabout features a flower bed. Or a flower shop if you want. But definitely something with flowers.

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I made a variety of buildings, some have a more obvious use than others who are supposed to give the player more room for imagination.  Apparently the intended fire station at the top in the previous picture can also be used as church (by every annoying and not seeing the truth person I asked)

I just needed my own petrol station:

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img_5401-2The very attentive readers amongst you (not too many I know) may have noticed that the helicopter landing spot in the dark green has been replaced by the hospital in the second picture. How is this possible? Another, similar play mat? No. This is my favourite, incredibly clever feature: all those buildings are actually removeable. There are one type of popper sides all over the play mat and the builings have the other type. So you can clip them on wherever you want (obviously not really wherever you want, only on the poppers, silly)

And just a few more pictures, because I am so impressed and pleased with myself 🙂

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Here, you can also admire the zig zagging around all edges and for the street markings and zebra crossing. Well and some dinosaurs who invaded the mat.

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As I was not the only extremely pleased person, my daughter requested a car play mat as well. I thought it is silly to have two of them in the house and convinced her that a enchanted forest, fairytale scenery would be much better. Now I have to make one of these. Except that I don’t know how. But hey, another challenge which will make me grow (see how I cleverly came back to the start of this post?)

Have a good end of the year and I wish you all a happy and healthy 2017 with lots of new friends.

 

 

 

 

 

Scrap Sunday: Sleeping Bag

Just a quick one for this Sunday, but a cute one.

Mr. No Thank You agreed on my suggestion on a mummy made sleeping bag for his dolly as I thought a plastic bag is not the appropriate choice. So he chose the fabric, I took the measurements and my little assistant (the girl, Mr. No Thank you was totally exhausted from the decision making) helped me draw the design and then the pattern.

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I decided to line the sleeping bag as facings on such a tiny scale would be a nightmare and even if it is only a sleeping bag for a doll, I still want it to look nice. Even as a child I always found the doll dresses cheaply made. I guess I already had an eye for top quality.

After the slight inside out problem last week, I decided to make a tiny sample first, just to see that I leave the right seams open this time. And I managed. Hard to believe, I know, but I did.

IMG_4624The sleeping bag went down well with the new owner – not only had the doll to sleep for three days non stop but he also requested a few new clothes 🙂

And I am rather happy too. It is actually cuter than the one for the life sized baby.

And I am seriously considering to create an e-book – except that I do not know how to do this or where to even start. But never mind. I am the proud owner of a brand new computer, surely there is a button for E-book creation. I’ll just put it on my to do list 🙂