Sewing ideas: Fabric trash bag and a floor mat for your car

I used to have plastic bags in my car for trash, but as I am reducing the use of plastic I made a re-usable, fabric trash bag. My large selection of fabric remnants was, once again, very useful. I combined grey cotton-polyester fabric and pieces of coated and waterproof fabric which is commonly used in kitchen table cloths.


The bag is easy to empty and to wipe clean after use. It is sturdy enough to stand upright, yet soft and flexible. Since the seams of the coated fabric are not sealed, the bag will not hold larger quantities of liquids.


The bag is easy to place in a car. The grey fabric is in harmony with the interior of the car and the orange color of the waxed fabric gives a refreshing contrast.


With a D-ring and a strap, the bag can be secured in place for example around an arm rest like in this car.


The bottom of the bag is a rectangle with round corners.


A crocheted floor mat makes it easier to relax on a longer journey when I can take off my shoes. Chunky jersey yarn is easy to use, a car size rug is fast to crochet and it feels good under your feet.


I used a thick crochet hook and worked single crochet stitches in rows and edging.


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Sewing tips: Presser foot rest

It is advised to set the presser foot of your sewing machine down when not sewing and put a piece of fabric under the foot. Unfortunately such a piece of fabric has a tendency to disappear, and you always need to find a new one.

I wanted to be nice to my machine and pamper it with a special, decorated presser foot rest! A piece of leather, rat tail satin cord and wooden beads became a presser foot mat that does not disappear as easily as a random piece of fabric.


This piece is in fact quite minimalistic. Should I one day misplace this tiny mat, the next one will be more extravagant!



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Sewing tips: Fabric trash can

When sewing, you make a lot of small trash like all those numerous small pieces of sewing thread. I used to make a pile next to my sewing machine, but it really is annoying to pick them up afterwards, not to mention the mess when they land on the floor.

I took fabric remnants and made a small trash can to be placed next to my sewing machine.


Double fabric and a fold make this cotton can sturdy enough to stand on its own. It is big enough to be practical and small enough to be folded flat and stored inside my sewing box.



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Sewing a newsboy cap for women using a second-hand leather shirt

I found a leather shirt at a flea market. Leather is not the most practical material for a garment which you may want to wash regularly, so it was not a surprise the previous owner had donated the shirt. However, the material was clean, thin, very soft lamb hide in very good condition, thus suitable for re-using.


I cut open all the necessary seams and when I had an overview of the amount of leather there was, I chose to make a newsboy cap for women. I cut the hat pattern pieces and glued them to a piece of thin cardboard (for example a cereal box). I added seam allowances before cutting the cardboard. When pattern pieces are made of cardboard it is easy to press them firmly onto the leather and draw the pattern pieces without using pins which make permanent holes.


This lamb hide was so thin, soft and delicate, that I found it necessary to sew the hat crown pieces toghether with thin fabric to avoid stretching or tearing of the seams, and to make the hat crown a bit more sturdy.


A teflon presser foot makes it easy to make nice, narrow top-stitch.


The hat crown is finished. The seam in the middle is thick with several layers of leather and fabric. I often use a hammer to make such spots flat and easy to sew, but in this case it actually was not necessary.


I made a lining using orange thai silk fabric.


I made the peak using iron-on stiffing fabric and the hat band out of linen blend fabric in matching color. I added a decorative flat band which runs inside the sweatband in the back of the hat and outside in front. The size of the hat can be adjusted by tightening the band. The finished hat is available for purchase in my Etsy shop here. A buyer can lace the decor band as they wish and cut the excess length.


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DIY Idea: How to make a fur capelet

Does your winter outfit lack something? Why not sew a fur capelet which reminds of fantasy style? Like in TV-series Game of Thrones and the Vikings.


I bought a sheep hide from an interior shop (in was intended as a seat cover) and made a paper pattern.


A dressmaker doll makes it easier to see where darts should be placed. I marked the darts with a pencil and cut them open in the middle. I needed six darts in total.


I used a leather needle, a teflon presser foot and fastened the darts with clips. My sewing machine complained as this was about as much as it could take. It may help to cut the fur shorter inside the darts but you should be careful not to cut anything that becomes visible when the work is finished.


Pieces of black leather hold two large D-rings. The cape is tied with hand-felted wool rope.


The capelet keeps my back nice and warm in wind and snow.


I sell wool rope scarves and necklaces in my Etsy shop.

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How to make a pink kitty ear hat in no time?

It is easy to knit or crochet a pink kitty ear hat, but it takes a couple of hours, and sometimes you just do not have those hours. I had an old, pink kids’ size wool jumper. Arms were already recycled into arm warmers, but the rest was left when I saw that there were protests being organized.

I simply cut two rectangular hat size pieces, finished the edges with flexible stitch and a special presser foot designed for sewing thick fabrics. I fastened the pieces using narrow zig zag and relatively long stitch. Note that seam allowances shift because of the fold.

dsc_8667 dsc_8668

Ready to march!


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How to make small holes into leather

When you need to make some extra holes to belts, shoe straps, backpacks, and purses, using a leather hole punch is the easiest way. But if you do not have leather hole pliers with the right size of punches, you can use a drill.

I needed an extra hole to a shoe strap, but my punch pliers did not have a punch which was small enough. I used a 2 mm drill bit to make a new hole, the same size as the original holes.


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Whimsical table tags

When serving brunch, dinner, or any kind of meal in different occasions, you sometimes need tags to show seating, mark ingredients, and so on. If the occasion allows some whimsical elements, I use plastic animals from the collection of my kids.


DSC_8409 A unicorn helps Robert to find his seat.

DSC_8401 Oops, I misspelled marmalade! But if the marmalade in question is made of cloudberries, the both animals carry tags of food from their own environment.



You can also decorate the tags in various ways.



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Wrought iron embroidery hangers. A Scandinavian tradition.

In the Vintage and supplies section of my Etsy shop I sell embroidery hangers I find at flea markets. I especially look for hand made, wrought iron hangers in the Scandinavian klokkestreng / bell pull tradition. These kind of hangers are charming, they match different types of wall decor textiles from finely detailed embroidery to minimalistic, modern fabrics, and there is a large variety in forms, details and sizes of the hangers.


This narrow, about 17 cm pair is finished to look old and the color is grey and black. It is made for long and narrow bell pull embroidery. The pair below is made for much larger wall rugs while the style is the same, rustic bell pull hardware. This pair is probably from the 1970’s. The heart shape is a common detail in Scandinavian embroidery hangers.


Below is a wall decoration made by myself. I combined a traditional style embroidery hanger with modern, cotton print fabric. Since there was only one hanger availble, I added fringe band in the bottom.


The two pairs of narrow hangers below are possibly made by non professional crafters. I assume that in the 1960’s and 70’s, when klokkestreng was popular in Norway, it was a common school craft class project to make hangers, for example as gift to mothers. There were lots of DIY klokkestreng kits available in shops, with a large variation of patterns. Some patterns were more popular than others, and there are a couple of examples which I have seen numerous times at flea markets.


DSC_6224.JPG If those two above are non proffesional work, the pair below, however, looks professionally made.


Most klokkestreng hangers are hand made of wrought iron, but there are also mass produced items, like the ones below, which are most likely cut in shape. This particular type is common, I have seen a number of similar pairs. This pair is worn in a nice way and actually looks more interesting now than in its original condition.

DSC_6615 The pair below is about 30 cm wide and probably from the 1990’s, typical heart shape in the middle.


This pair is narrow and charmingly rustic, probably one of the oldest examples I have found. I cannot tell if it is painted at all.


This pair is from Finland and represents a slightly different, contemporary style. The hangers are over 60 cm wide, made of metal wire and suitable for large and heavy knotted wall rugs which are common in Finland.


Here is an interesting and unusual bell pull hanger pair.


The hanger below is special and rare. It is flat, over 40 cm wide, and the textile is attached by sewing through the holes. The bar itself is probably cut in shape and the ornament in the middle is wrought iron.


While black hangers are the most often used, there are also copper color hangers. It is hard for me to say whether the pair below is painted iron of actually copper.


The hardware pair below presents a heraldry lily to the upper piece.


Please visit the Vintage section of my Etsy shop to see which kinds of vintage and second hand embroidery hangers I have for sale at the moment. I find them at flea markets and they usually sell quickly. Feel free to contact me if your are looking for a certain style or size. I may have one in stock or I may be able to find one for you.

My earlier blog post describes the klokkestreng tradition in Scandinavia.

The hardware below reflects the upper class bell pull tradition. The pair is possibly made of brass and the style refers to baroque or rococco.


The pair below is absolutely gorgeous and very special with its royal embellishments, a crown to the upper piece and the Norwegian coat of arms heraldic lion to the bottom piece, together with the state name ‘Norge’. The floral motif is stylish indeed. All in all, this embroidery hardware is just fabulous with its careful finish reflecting high quality craftmanship. Perfect for crafters who value their Norwegian heritage. This pair is available in my Etsy shop.



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How to fix a hole in the knee of your (favourite) pants

You love your old pants, but they are worn and now there is a hole in the knee. Fix it, and you will have some more time to wear your favourite pants. I will show you how how I fix these pants. Here is the hole:


The pants are tight and made of elastic fabric. The hole should be fixed in a way which maintains the elasticity and preferably, looks as okay as possible, or even add something extra to the pants.

First, remove stitches on one of the leg seams about 20 cm above and 20 cm below the hole. Choose the seam which is easier to work on.


These pants are made of stretch cotton, but I do not have any stretch cotton fabric remnants in matching colors. Therefore I cut a piece out of black linen fabric, but since it is not stretchy, I cut the piece for a patch in diagonal. Cut this way, the patch will stretch to some extent.


Place the patch on the reverse side under the hole, nail or batch in place and sew back and forth making a starlike pattern. Use straight stretch stitch or narrow zigzag. Sew the side seam.

DSC_7956 The starlike pattern makes the fix stretchy and the tight pants are as comfortable to use as they were before. This fixing is especially suitable in kids’ pants. You can use thread in matching or contrasting colour.

DSC_7957 Not bad at all!


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