Friday, 29 April 2016

Worry eater tutorial (upcycled)

I mentioned worry eater in my first post so I think it is time for this blog's first how to. Worry eater is a plush toy with big mouth to eat all the worries kids (and maybe older ones) have. The idea comes from Germany where it goes under name ' Sorgenfresser'. Here is a tutorial to sew one and also tips to draw a pattern for your liking.

This is what I used:

Sweatshirt-dress, t-shirt and zipper from old pants. You can use almost any fabric for worry eater but I think it is best to use fabric that is soft and somewhat elastic to make it nice and cuddly. The sweatshirt-dress has a stubborn stain that won't come off, t-shirt's picture is too faded to be used so they are best used for upcycling. I used also the bowtie and the buttons so overall very good project.

I started by cutting the dress in parts and ironing them, I also removed the buttons and the bowtie and sew a 'lock' on the other end of the zip so it won't open in the wrong end. The t-shirt was used for the eye, mouth and the ears.

Then I placed the zip, bowtie and buttons on a sheet of paper (a4) and draw the body of the worry eater based on those measurements. I decided what kind of ears I would make and also the paws. Here is what I came up with:

Only one pattern for the paws as I used the same one to make all four paws.

After having the outlines for the worry eater I decided the place for the mouth (blue arrow in the picture) and the size of its mouth.

I then copied the mouth to transparent paper and cut two pieces for it:

The upper part is 1cm higher than the lower part as the zip will be needing its own space. Now the patterns are ready.

For the back part you can use the pattern you drew first and you can use the same for the front as well, just cut it half along the line where you intend the zip to come. So the front patterns should look like this (add the seam allowances):

Cut 8 pieces for the paws and two for the ears from sweatshirt and also two for the ears from t-shirt. Cut the eyes from the t-shirt as well and you are ready to start sewing. First attach the eyes and in this case, the bow tie. Whatever decorations you might use, attach them now as it is easiest. Then start with the mouth. Attach the top parts together right ways facing (head and mouth) with zip between the two:

After sewing it should look like this:

Then do the same for the lower parts. Attach lower part of the body and lower part of the mouth together, again, zip in between and remove the upper parts out of the way.

Now the backside should look like this:

Then close the mouth but only partly leaving a gap on the bottom big enough to be able to turn the worry eater around once it is ready. Start sewing from the bottom and do it in two parts remembering to leave the gap. So start from the left on the bottom and sew as far as you can get, then do the same on the right side. You can't sew all the way up because of the zip, like this:

That's fine, you can leave small gap there, you will be closing it later.

Take your paw parts and ears and sew them together, right ways facing, make cuts to seam allowances and narrow down the seam allowances to something like 3-5mm.

On the left you can see what was left after narrowing down the seam allowances, pictured because I used it as part of the filling. No need to throw it away if you can use it right away. Turn the parts, pay special attention to corners and bents to give the right form for the parts. Fill them with whatever you have in hand, I used cotton wool added with those small pieces of fabric. If you are like me and don't throw anything away here is a good place to use all those too tiny scraps of fabric. Attach the ears and paws

It looks a bit grumpy like this but let it stay that way and attach the back side, right ways facing of course and leave the zip open for couple centimeters, you will be needing that later when you turn the whole thing around. Use pins even if you don't usually. You have to stretch the back part a bit as it needs to cover all those lumpy parts too and it is very easy to misplace it. Better use them than having to rip it later because it moved while sewing.

Sew around and now you will be closing those two gaps around the zip as well with that one seam, like this:

Now it is actually almost ready! Just put your hand through that gap you left on its mouth, through the zip and start pulling it to the right side.

If you left big enough gap on its mouth you will have it done pretty easily. Now, fill the worry eater with cotton wool through its mouth:

Close the mouth completely.

And push the mouth inside your new worry eater.

You are done!

Let's take a look back. This was where it all started:

And this is what those unusable clothes became:

- Elina

Tuesday, 26 April 2016


You have found my blog, great, welcome! Right now there is only this post but there will be more shortly. So what is this blog about? There is short description about that under "about me" but here a bit more thorough explanation:

  • Why did I start a blog?
    • I enjoy writing and I enjoy handcrafts. I'm also a goal-minded person and just doing something isn't usually enough. Doing and showing it, preferably with a purpose is what I'm looking for. Handcrafts combined with writing (which I also like very much) means quite naturally a blog.
  • Why upcycling?
    • It is ecological. I quite dislike the idea that you throw away something and then buy new things that are similar to those what you just threw it away. For example bag accessories are just one thing, people (like I used to) often throw away their broken bags and don't think that at the same time they are throwing away some very usable pieces that can be used to make new bags. They end up on the growing pile of trashes while someone else somewhere orders those brand new things from a factory that causes more pollution. So why not try to make what you can, save the pieces that can be used and something else of them? Pieces that are also quite expensive to buy. So:

    •  It saves money. Of course it does. No explanation needed.

    • And it offers a challenge that new piece of fabric simply can't. When you have an old cardigan in your hands with a huge spot on the biggest part of it and you are determined not to throw it away but instead make something nice that you can actually use, you have to be really creative! First you have to think what the fabric would suit the best for, then you have to do some calculation (is there enough for what you have in your mind) and if not, how you make it enough? Are there details already on place that you can use as they are? How you go around with that spot of dirt, cut around it, maybe cover it with something? Ah, covering a spot brings you to a completely new task - search for a nice decoration. Then you find a nice tutorial how to make a flower with scrap fabrics, you start going through your fabrics and end up making a very nice flower to spice up the bag itself. There are buttons decorating one side of the bag, beautiful flower in the middle, your shoulders are aching, your back is aching, your working space is a total mess but damn you have a beautiful bag! It definately isn't something you would have done with a new fabric and the bag has a story, a reason why it is like that. And most of all, it is unique. 

    Then of course it might make things easier when you already have something ready. For example I made these tiny pants for a doll real fast by using old jeggins from my daughter, only side seams and waist to sew, hem of the legs were already in place. Now they look like real jeans with the right colour stitching.

    Of course sometimes you just can't throw away something and you want to keep that thing even though you have no idea what you can use it for. Or indeed, it just isn't usable for as it is. I had my son's favourite body with two spots in front so I couldn't give or sell it anyone and I didn't want to just throw it away because I liked the print the fabric had. So part of it turned out to be a worry eater. 
  • Why bags, house decoration, gifts?
    • I sew also a lot of clothes but as they are usually made of new fabric, they won't make appearance here. Also quite often I use ready patterns for them from magazines so I don't think there is much point dedicating a blog for them as all that is my creation is choosing the fabrics. There are alreadymany great blogs about using the latest fabrics and patterns and those bloggers do great job inspiring people to sew their own clothes but this isn't one of those blogs. Of course if I upcycle something to clothes, I will show them here.  
    •  I have a funny attitude for the bags, I like to make them but I'm not one of those who have many bags so that they have bags to go with certain shoes, certain jacket/coats, for certain occasions etc. And the reason why I only have couple bags is that I rarely find the ones that I like (also same goes with the shoes, I would make them if I had the tools and skill...). So, it is best to make them. Also bags, purses and pouches are great for upcycling since you can use almost anything to make them, if you have a leftover piece of fabric, small ribbons, buttons etc., you can use them for those if to nothing else.
    • House with two kids always needs more places to store things away and organize them so whenever I find a new idea, I will try to make something out of it. And who doesn't like to make their home cozier or prettier? Of course, the main focus on this blog are things made out of fabric, upcycled naturally.
    • There is always need for small or big gifts and if you think how much new things are bought just in december, in worse scenario for things that are never used and are just thrown away. So why not save money and nature and make them yourself?
Overall you could say that here you can find pretty much anything that is upcycled fabric but the main focus isn't in the clothes but in everything else. If I have recycled, upcycled or repaired something, I will share it with you. I would like this blog to be a place where you can find all kinds of tips how to use your old clothes, sheets, bags, curtains etc. instead of throwing them away. So there will be tutorials, ideas that I have come up with and ideas I have found somewhere else and think is worth sharing.

On my Pinterest boards you will find tutorials and tips for sewing bags and gifts and also ideas for house decoration.So if you are interested about the same things as I'm, you are very much welcome to follow me in Pinterest too!

- Elina