Super Easy Waterproof Swim Bags Tutorial

Super Easy Waterproof Swim Bags – Tutorial

It’s that time of year again, school swimming. Which is great for them, the weather has been hitting 30°C regularly and they could use the cool off.  But the wet togs and towels crammed into their school bags soaking everything else…not so much.  I am not a plastic bag fan, I prefer to use re-usable when possible.  So here we have a super easy tutorial for waterproof swim bags! It is very simple you only need to know how to sew straight lines on a regular machine, which I have a tutorial on if you need it.

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Soft Stuffed Fabric Balls Scrap Busting Pattern + Tutorial

These Soft Stuffed Fabric Balls are an excellent scrap busting project!  Not only can you use the littlest pieces of scrap fabric you can stuff them with scraps too.  And also a great little gift to sew for boys or girls and I think a baby would love one too!  You could even add a few folded pieces of ribbon as in my Baby Taggie Blanket/Comforter Tutorial for that texture little ones love exploring.

Soft Stuffed Fabric Balls Scrap Busting Pattern + Tutorial Nina Makes (2)

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Make your own Hot or Cold Pack

I have seen so many hot/cold packs being used but never did get around to getting one.  Now I have a bit of a sore back from lifting a rather heavy 1 year old, I though it might be time I got on with it!  But of course I wasn’t going to go buy one…

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Everything I look at in a shop I check out how it is made and think to myself ‘I could make that’, then decide I can’t buy it because I should be making it!  When I see someone wearing a dress or interesting clothing of any sort I have to restrain myself from asking if I can check out how it was made!

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Back to the hot/cold packs, these are very simple and easy to make.  You can make any shape you like.  You could make all kinds of cool shapes but this one is going to be a plain old rectangle for me.  Boring I know but seems the most practical shape for a lower back!

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Ok so once I started I couldn’t help but make some fun shapes for the kids!  This would make a great beginners or children’s project, super simple and easy but so useful.  If you are a beginner start with a simple shape first!

What you’ll need

  • Fabric – 100% Cotton ( I haven’t tried synthetics in the microwave but I’m predicting that there will be some melting involved!)  Perfect for scraps or remnants.
  • Fabric – Cotton Flannel for the lining layer
  • Rice – Plain white rice
  • Thread


Step 1 – Cut Your Fabric

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Decide what size and shape you would like to make, and cut out two pieces of outer fabric and two pieces of lining fabric.  There is no set size just remember that the finished pack will end up about 1cm (3/8”) smaller on all sides.


Step 2 – Sew Outside Seam

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Lay your fabric in the right order first (lining, outer, outer, lining).  Have your outer fabric with the right sided facing each other and sandwich it in between the flannel layers.  If like mine your flannel is patterned you might like to lay the plain side against the outer fabric so that the pictures don’t shine through once it is turned around.

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Pin all the sides making sure to catch all four layers.  Leave a 5cm (2”) gap at one end.  I mark this with double pins (see photo above).

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Starting from one set of double pins (don’t sew in between the double pins) leaving a 1cm (3/8”) seam allowance, sew right around the whole pack in one go.  Then stop again at the other set of double pins.  You need to sew and reverse a few stitches at the beginning and end, or lock stitch if your machine has this function.

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To get around sharp corners, sew up to the corner then stop, leave the needle in the fabric lift the presser foot turn (pivot) the fabric into the right position lower the presser foot and carry on!  If you would like more information on this step check out the Celebration Bunting Tutorial.

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Now you need to trim the corners so this it will sit nicely once turned around the right way.  For right angle corners you can just cut the excess off like above.  Do not cut the stitching!!

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For rounded corners you will need to cut into the seam allowance like shown on the heart above.   You will also need to cut in for the internal corners (the upper V shape of the heart).

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Now it is time to turn it round the right way.  Feed the fabric through the gap you left, making sure you are feeding two layers on each side.  Like I am holding it open in the photo above.


Step 3 – Topstitch, Fill with Rice and Close Seam

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Here it is all turned around the right way.  There are some tips to get this sitting nicely in the Celebration Bunting Tutorial.

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Topstitch (sew through all layers close to the edge of the seam) right around the edge, but remember to leave the gap open!  I used a 1/8” seam allowance but as long as you are close to the edge it doesn’t matter too much the exact width.

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I used a funnel to fill with it with rice.  You don’t want to over fill it as the rice needs to have room to move.  This allows you to mould it into the perfect shape for your use.  This is a personal preference but I would fill it between half and two thirds full.

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Pin the gap closed and topstitch from the end of one seam to the other, to stitch it securely shut.  You will want to do a lockstitch (sew and reverse a few stitches) at the beginning and end.  I don’t imagine it will be much fun to clean up if it comes undone!


Step 5 – Heating or Cooling your Rice Pack

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As a hot pack you can heat it in the microwave.  As there are so many variables (quantity of rice, size of bag, thickness of the fabric, microwave wattage) I can’t tell you how long to microwave it for!  You will need to test it out for yourself in your own microwave.  For mine I tried 1 minute and this produced a nice warm pack but not a hot one, next time I will try a little longer.  Remember to wait for it too cool if you are trying to work out the perfect time!

As a cold pack, you just store it in the freezer.  You will need to store your rice pack inside a plastic bag (ziplock, freezer bag etc), you don’t want it getting damp!

Enjoy your rice hot cold pack!

Brindille & Twig Free Hoodie Pattern

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I have shown you this gorgeous hoodie once already, in my Upcycled Hoodie post.  But it really is turning into one of my favourites!  This time my Niece needed a larger warm jersey, as she had outgrown all her others.

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This hoodie has an excellent fit and nice and easy to make.  The detail between the body and sleeves is a little fiddly but also totally optional.  But I love the look of it!  Without the pocket or sleeve details you could whip up a hoodie in no time at all!

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I love that you can mix and match the colours how ever you like.  You can have different colour sleeve and body, or hood and pocket, patterns and plain or…well the options are endless!

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Another great feature is that the pattern is FREE!  All you need to do is sign up to Brindille & Twig’s newsletter and it will arrive in your inbox.  Once you start with their awesome patterns it is hard to stop!  I’ve got my eye on a few for this summer already ♥

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If only our Christmas was in winter, I’d love to make these as gifts for all my Nieces and Nephews (I can’t believe I have seven now, with the latest edition!).   Although…you still need a warm jersey while camping at the beach!  I’ll think about it!

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I also really like the colour block look.  A few more posts on that coming soon!

Triangle Folding Pouch

I used to have this cute little triangle red leather coin purse as a child.  I have no idea where it has ended up, but with more than 30 house moves in my first 20 years of life it probably got lost somewhere along the way!  Making my kids a coin purse out of the pockets I use for the Diabetic Insulin Pump Bands reminded me of the little triangle one.

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Why not fabric instead of leather?

Well I couldn’t think of a reason and if I’d had any leather I probably would’ve used it.  But there are just so many more patterns and colours available in fabric!

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It opens the same pocket from both sides so you don’t need to work out which way is up.  I was quite intrigued as a child to try and work out how it worked!

As long as your fabric is not too thin (or thick for that matter!) it should work fine.  There is nothing to stop you using interfacing or layer up a few layers either.

What you’ll need,


Step 1 – Print Pattern

This pattern is in A4 size but should print on any size paper as long as you use the ‘print in actual size’ option, or uncheck the ‘scale to fit’ option.  Measure the 2.54cm (1”) square to be sure.  The finished size is 13cm (5”) on each edge.

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Using a craft knife or scissors, cut around the pattern.

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Step 2 – Cut Fabric

There are two ways to do this, with a fold on one long side or two separate pieces of fabric.  For this tutorial I will show you the folded option, but I’ll add a few photos and explain the separate pieces option too.

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Fold your fabric right sides facing (I know mine is right side facing out but my daughter liked the wrong side better!) and lay one long edge on the fold, then trim around the pattern leaving a 1cm (3/8”) edge around the outside.  This doesn’t need to be accurate so just eyeball it!

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For the separate pieces you need to leave the 1cm (3/8”) edge all round the pattern.


Step 3 – Mark the edge of the pattern

Using fabric markers (I use dressmakers pencils) draw your pattern onto your fabric.

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I used a ruler and drew just around the edges of my pattern piece.

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You can see the blue lines on the folded version above.

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On one short side mark 2.54cm (1”) in from the ends.  This is the opening to turn it right side out.  The pencils are pointing to the marks, they are a little hard to see!


Step 4 – Sew Outside Edge

Time to sew along your drawn line.

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Remember to leave the gap between your marks open, so you will need to sew the small piece separately.  For the separate piece option you can just sew from one side of the opening right round to the other side.


Step 5 – Turn Around

We just need to trim the corners to get a nice fold in the corners.

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Time to turn it right side out!

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I like to use my dressmakers pencil (with the lid on!!!) to push out the corners from the inside.

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All that’s left is to press it flat with your iron.  Fold the opening in to match the rest of the side.

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Step 6 – Topstitch

You all need to topstitch the right round the edge, this will also close the hole used to turn it around.  Fairly close to the edge is best.

The diagonal seams are optional.  You only really need to do these if your fabric is thin.  This helps stiffen the fold and stops it sagging allowing you coins to fall out!  If you have fairly thick or stiff fabric then you can skip this step.

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Mark the points or the triangles on the long sides (one on each side).  Then draw the lines on using a ruler.

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A little hard to see!  But the blue lines are there, now you just need to stitch over them.  I do this in one go starting from the top left (in the photo) and follow the zigzag to the bottom right.

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Step 7 – Folding it up

It is really very simple to fold up.  With the inside facing up fold on the line the pencil is laying on.  I pressed mine first to make it easier to show you!

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Now head to your iron and press in the creases.


Step 8 – The Domes

The last step is to attach the domes.  I have detailed instructions for these in my Baby Doll Nappy (Diaper) Tutorial if you’d like more info.

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My dome set came with a pointed tool to make the holes for the domes.  I use this to make the first hole in the centre near the end of the point.

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Then I mark the place the point lands on the layer underneath.

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Place the first dome on the outside.

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Then the matching internal one.  You will need to fold open your pouch to do this one.

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Repeat on the other side and folded out it will look like this.

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Enjoy your new pouch!  I hope you like them as much I do!

Quick & Easy – Simple Head Bands


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I hate wasting those little off cuts of cute fabric that aren’t big enough for anything…or are they?


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After a morning walk at the beach checking out the new boardwalk, I wanted to get a decent photo of the two mischief monkeys.  A little hefty breeze and Hannah has a face full of hair in all of them…grrr!  I thought to myself she needs a headband.  Then the light bulb moment, use up some of those off cuts and make head bands!  My daughter Hannah (6) loves them!


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What you will need

  • Off cut Fabric – I used printed cotton – (If you used stretch you could leave out the elastic all together.  I will add an update with a tutorial for that later)
  • 25mm (1”) Elastic – I used black to match the fabric

I decided on a 2.5cm (1”) width, I doubled this for both sides and added half an inch for a very small seam allowance. I measured around Hannah’s head where the headband would go, I left 8cm (3”) gap at the back for the elastic.  So my fabric piece was 44cm (17 1/4”).

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Once you have cut out you fabric you need to fold it in half length wise and iron (right sides facing).  Ironing really is the key here, it will ensure nice straight edges and no twisting or gathers.

head bands cNow sew along the open edge, quite close to the edge.  I just sewed with a straight stitch and did not zigzag or overlock the edge.  Here come the hardest part of the whole headband, turning it right way around!  I used a safety pin and slowly worked it through, if you struggle with that I have used a knitting needle to help push it through in the past (not the pointy end ☺).  Once you have managed that it’s back to the old trusty iron to make it nice and flat.

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Turn in the ends as shown above and…iron again!  Then cut your piece of elastic.  I like to zigzag the ends of the elastic to prevent them fraying and pulling out of the head band.

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After zigzagging the elastic, I zigzag the edge forwards and reverse a few times to be sure I’ve caught it all.  Now tuck the elastic in to the end.

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Sew along the edge to secure the elastic.  Sew one way then leaving the needle in the fabric, lift the presser foot and spin you head band around and sew back again. Do a little reverse/forward to secure the end.

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You can leave it as is or sew around the outside edge if you like.  Sewing round the outside edge will stop it twisting in the wash, and I like the look too.  Can always use a contrasting colour for added detail.

All the best with your head band making!