A home made fabric baby rattle

If you own a sewing machine but rarely ever use it like me, this little sewing project may well be for you. I am going to apologise in advance for not using the correct sewing jargon, but as I said in my previous post here the extent of my sewing education is year 9 & 10 textiles and design at high school. I finished year 12 in 1996 so that gives you an idea of how long ago my sewing education took place. I had a very talented teacher her name was Mrs Forsyth she was fantastic! I on the other hand take lots of pride in the way I thread a needle and feed a bobin, the rest is a bit hit and miss. I love trying to attempt little sewing projects when I have the time.
This little sewing project ‘The baby horse Rattle’ is something I have now made 4 of (don’t go overboard there Zamama!!), it’s all about pacing yourself and I’m sure you know what I mean. The first rattle I made was for our 3rd little one, Alani and since then I have made 3 as gifts which have been received with much appreciation (there’s something extra special about giving a gift you have made yourself).

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The little rattle above I made just last week to include in a baby shower gift for my lovely friend Sally expecting her first little girl. I made the rattle up in an evening, taking me about 2 hours in total. For an experienced seamstress it would probably only take 1/2 an hour!!! (hehehe) it’s all about having a go.

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You will need:
2 x pieces of cotton fabric 30cm in length and 15cm in width (to be safe)
7 x 11cm lengths of ribbon
2 little craft bells (approx 1.8cm diameter)
pillow filling (I just used a very basic filling I found loose in my sewing bag)
Of course your sewing machine, some pins, baking paper, needle, thread, scissors, a pen and some patience will also come in handy!

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As you can see I traced a very basic outline of a horse onto a piece of baking paper 21cm length x 8.5cm at the widest point. You can pretty much use any shape and size you like and just follow the general instructions as a guide.

Once you have your rattle shape traced and cut now becoming your pattern, pin it to your 2 pieces of fabric right sides touching each other as pictured.
Before you cut your fabric remember to leave an extra 1.5cm for your seam allowance (meaning cut the fabric 1.5cm wider then the pattern as pictured above.

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Separate the 2 pieces of cut fabric and place them right side up, you should end up looking at a mirror image of the shape.
Select one piece of cut fabric (it doesn’t matter which one) and pin your 7 ribbons folded over in thickness, aiming 6 of the ribbons inward down towards the centre of the horse’s head and 1 ribbon inward and down towards his front foot as pictured, also making sure the open ends are facing the outside of the cut shape, (sorry if this sounds confusing ,hopefully the picture above brings it together).

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NOTE: I only used a basic straight stitch for the entire project.

You now need to sew the ribbons in place. You need to sew close to the edge about 3mm in as it is just to hold the ribbons in place for when you sew your 2 pieces together (saves the complications of them moving all around and getting caught up).

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This is what you should end up looking at up the head end.

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Again lay your 2 pieces of fabric right side up as shown.

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Now pin the right sides together again. Trace a rough sewing seam line to guide you where to stitch, I marked mine about 1cm in with a pen lightly.

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Stitch the seam starting on the inside of one leg and finishing on the inside of the other leg, remembering you need to leave an opening big enough for turning the fabric through the right way and also being able to fill the rattle with the pillow filling and bells.

There are quite a few curves with this shape. I found using the needle as a pivot useful for manoeuvring (a little bit of stopping and starting but worth it).

Once the machine stitching is complete you need to trim all your edges, so they are not too bulky when you turn them through.

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Your next challenge is to turn your little horse in the right way. You just have to work with delicate hands. This part does take a little patience and shuffling, you will get there, I found the blunt end of a pencil helped to push the limbs and head right out.

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Carefully press your horse out with an iron (only use a cool setting as you don’t want to scold the ribbons like I did with my first attempts).

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Fill the horse with the pillow stuffing incorporating a bell centrally into the head and 1 centrally into the main body, but make sure the stuffing surrounds them well.

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Again the pencil comes in handy for packing in the filling snugly.

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Once you have a well filled out horse, you need to stitch/bind up the opening with a needle and thread. Just leave a pinch of loose fabric in the crutch area (remove a little filling if need be) so you have a good enough edge to stitch through. This bit is a little tricky, you need to turn the raw edges in on themselves so from the outside they look closed. I doubled back over my first lot of stitching just to be sure the closure is secure and durable.

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The finished product front side and back.
If any of you find or know an easier way to do any of this little craft project please let us all know, I appreciate any constructive critism.

On that note it’s off to shower Zakidlets and get dinner organised.
I am looking forward to sharing a fantastic easy Cheese Ball recipe with you all on Sunday, it’s delicious!!

Until then,
Zamamabakes.

Kaileen’s Advent Calendar

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The Zamamabakes family have been very fortunate to have been gifted a fantastic handmade Advent Calendar. Zagorgeous Kaileen From Style 2484 made this for Zakidlets. Kaileen has been making these treasures since her own boys were young. Vatina, Kaileen’s friend made the first one and now every year it has become a Christmas tradition for Kaileen to make them.
Alani has been eyeing it off ever since I arrived home with it. Today she can finally start the opening process along with her Brother and Sister. Yay, so exciting!!!!!
As you can see Kaileen has tied 24 little surprise bundles with foil Christmas wrap and ribbon to a pretty star with bells.
The beauty of making your own Advent Calendar is that you can tailor it to suit your children’s likes and also make sure you have the correct number of sweets/objects in each bundle so everyone is included.

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It makes for a pretty, eye-catching contribution to the decorations for Christmas.

I love Christmas.

Thankyou Kaileen. You are a very generous, caring, kind-hearted lady. Lovely to have a friend who enjoys sharing the love and the spirit of Christmas.

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My recent gift wrapping efforts

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I had a baby shower to go to recently and I wanted to get a bit pretty with some gift wrapping. I checked out a few images on-line for some inspiration and this is what I ended up creating.
To convert this to a Christmas theme just change the colour scheme.

You will need:
Brown wrapping paper
4 lengths of fine ribbon
Tissue paper
Twine
Scissors, Stapler, Craft glue.

Start by wrapping your gift. Work out how large you would like to make your flower. I used a drinking glass as my tracing edge, with a diameter I thought would work well in relation to the size of my wrapped gift.
Make sure you have at least 10 layers of tissue paper. Trace your circle onto the tissue layers as shown.

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Cut your layers of tissue and double staple in the centre of your circle.

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Individually separate all the layers of tissue paper to create a full flower.

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Tie a double knot in a piece of twine and trim so you are left with just the round little knotted ball. Create 3 of these.

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Glue in the centre of your paper flower.

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Grab your 4 strands of ribbon and tie them so they fit flush but not too tight around your gift. Take an extra little piece of ribbon and loop around the 4 pieces of ribbon, tying it off to gather your 4 strands of ribbon to a point as shown.

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Place a small bud of craft glue on the back of your paper flower and stick it down onto the join of ribbons.

Voila!!! You have yourself a pretty little gift wrapped with lots of love.

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Decorating Thongs with Mod Podge

I have recently discovered Mod Podge and I am loving what it can do. The first project I made with it was a set of tile coasters check them out here.
My second project is this one decorated thongs. Zakidlets and I got to work one day during the school holidays and we had lots of fun. We all decorated ourselves a pair of thongs except for Alani, she decorated a plate as I was unable to find her a pair of thongs suitable in her size.

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We started by cutting 1cm width strips of fabric.
Next we coated the back side of fabric with mod Podge and then you just start wrapping being careful to just overlap the fabric as you wrap it around the strap of the thong.
We started in the middle of the thong strap and worked our way out which meant at least 2 strips depending on size of thongs and length of fabric you have to work with.

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If you need to, put a little Mod Podge on the top of thong strap to help fabric adhere a little better but don’t over do it.
Once you have covered entire strap with fabric let dry for about 20 minutes then apply another light coat of Mod Podge just on the top side of decorated thong strap.
Again let completely dry.
Once dry, use a plastic bag to cover the base of thong as shown in picture below and spray fabric coating with a single coat of clear gloss spray this will help to preserve and waterproof the fabric.

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Let the thongs completely dry, this may take a few hours or over night.
Before you know it your thongs will be ready to parade around for everyone to see.
As you can see we had a great time doing this activity.
Mod Podge is non-toxic and it dries clear so is very user-friendly.
I purchased the Mod Podge from my local craft shop Jabiru.
Have fun.

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