Monday, December 21, 2009

Babushka/Matryoshka Hot Water Bottle Cover

While surfing some of my favourite blogs and craft websites I stumbled upon quite a few different ideas for making hot water bottle covers.

While some were extremely cute, none of them were really what I was looking for. I decided that I would make a hot water bottle cover but I had no idea what type of cover I would make. Well, I came up with the most amazing (in my humble opinion) idea ever!
A Matryoshka/Babushka water bottle cover! Golden!

So here we have my old sad red water bottle. I don't know who designs these things but they sure don't have a whole lot of style on their own.

I set out to draw a rough stacking doll shape that would fit the bottle with a seam allowance.

Once the pattern was drawn and cut I made sure it was symmetrical.

Next I drew my stacking doll and all of the details that I wanted to include on the cover. Since she is obviously a very stylish Babushka I made sure to draw on eyelashes.

I made individual pattern pieces for all of the parts adding seam allowances as needed. The back could have been a solid fabric but I decided that I wanted to keep the cover as much like a doll as possible. Thus her outfit had to continue onto the back - no cheaping out! The smaller pieces/face and hair are all out of felt as the edges can be left raw, just topstitched and they won't fray.

All of the main body pieces were sewn together first. I topstiched down all of the seams to keep the cover looking flat once it is in use. The face and hair I topstitched into place. As you can see I had to do two layers at the bottom. Turns out the burgundy fabric which matched so perfectly was chiffon. Boohoo. So I used a white cotton underneath which ended up making the colour appear more vibrant. Yippee!

Using fusible glue I secured the face pieces in place before topstitching them down. I think this is the best way to do this type of small work as a pin can shift, especially when it is removed to stay out of the needles way. I used it for the ties on her shawl as well.

The eyelashes, nose and corners of her mouth I drew on with thread. Very cute looking so far!

This is officially my least favourite part of this whole project. Originally I was going to use snaps to close the bottom but after some consideration I decided I would rather put in a zipper. Too bad the bottom of the doll is curved and not straight. As you can see from the picture I used quite a few pins to ensure that the zipper did not go out of place. The whole zipper thing was a pain, but in the end the lining matches great, the colour of the zipper matches great and I think it was a better choice than the snaps would have been.

The finished product! I am VERY happy with how this turned out. She looks a little lumpy as I already put a water bottle inside her - I just couldn't wait! Very cute and cuddly, much better than a plain old red water bottle for sure.

And here you can see the zippered bottom which opens to allow the water bottle in/out. The lining is a dark blue colour. I was going to use white but then thought a darker colour would be better as it would add more interest, and it certainly does! I am pretty excited to be able to use this in the upcoming chilly months of January and February.
Anyways, it is getting REALLY close to Christmas and I will be heading to my parents for the holidays.  I may or may not be posting for a while, although as soon as everyone opens their Christmas presents I plan on posting those for everyone else to see what I was up to this last while.

The Boys

My husband and his brother have taken over the living room with electronics. Yikes!

Barbie Doll Dress from Ladies Capris

Unfortunately I took apart these pants a LONG time ago and so do not have a before picture. Suffice to say that they were a pair of crazy ladies capris that I purchased at the $1 Thrift Store in Edmonton last year. They came with a matching shirt. Ugghhh.

So for whatever reason I decided that I wanted to make Barbie clothes out of that fabric. This is a vintage pattern that I got at The Reuse Centre in Edmonton and amazingly enough it has ALL of the pattern pieces.
Dress #4 is the one I decided to try my hand at.

 Tada! It looks pretty good if I do say so myself. Sewing for dolls is quite tricky though especially as I hadn't done it since I was probably about 10 years old. I will probably get around to making some of the other doll outfits later in the year. Alas I didn't have any Barbie dolls in my house and I actually had to go to Sally Ann and rescue one. I think her previous owner gave her the haircut. Good thing bangs are en vogue.

Recycling Wrapping for Presents

I catch a lot of flak at Christmas time (well and on Birthdays) from family members because I like to unwrap my presents VERY slowly. Not to prolong the suspense or anything, but because I want to save the wrapping paper to reuse later on. Since I have been doing this pretty much since I can remember, people are pretty used to it. In fact as they are opening their presents my family will often throw the wrappings at me rather than on the floor to save me the hassle of picking it up. Lol.
I digress. I have heard different views on the idea of reusing wrapping paper and most often people think that it is cheap or that it makes the presents look cheap. Well folks, as the following pictures will show reused wrappings need not look cheap OR shabby.
Now sometimes the wrapping is really wrinkled from being folded up and stored for a year. Usually you can smooth it out but sometimes I iron it. Make sure to turn te steam off if you do this.

I reuse old tags as well by cutting off the part that was written on and attaching a new string. If I can, I save the tags that I use one year for the next year and eliminate all of the work. Of course it is easy to make your own tags too from old greeting cards or small pieces of leftover wrapping paper.

Here is the tag with a new string.

This is my stash of wired fabric ribbon which I have been collecting for the past 10 years or so. I have bought some of them (on sale) and the rest I received on presents. I also picked up some of it at the Reuse Centre in Edmonton. Wired ribbon is super long lasting and can be used year after year. It also looks really nice on your presents and keeps them from looking shabby.

And here we have our lovely present with recycled wrapping paper and ribbon.

As you can see these presents look just as good as any others. Because the ribbons are tied on and not taped and the tags have strings attaching them to the ribbons you don't get the unsightly tears/pieces of tape showing on the top of the present. It also makes it a lot easier to reuse the wrapping paper in the future.
And in case you were wondering all of the tissue paper is reused as well.
Merry Christmas!

Winter Fun

Dress from thrift store (I shortened it), Belt from thrift store, Tights I have had for about ten years, Legwarmers from thrift store and Boots ECCO.