Hatshesup costume  from last year.

It is my habit to only make one costume a year for book week and for all the rest to come from our dress-up box…. or someone else’s.

This keeps the cost and stress down, and helps the kids get creative about which character they want to be.

Last year it was the  11 year old (now 12) who got a special costume made.

I though, just in time for this year I would share a tutorial of how I made the bib.

If you want to create one and don’t sew, you can follow the along, but just use cardboard as the base and instead of stitching the finishes on, use glue. If you do it this way there is no need for lining or binding and would be much less time consuming.

So with no further chatter……..

The Pharaoh Bib Tutorial

What you will need

  • Cardboard or paper to make pattern
  • base fabric ( I used blue velvet) a rich colour is best
  • lining fabric (I used gold satin)
  • bias binding (again gold)
  • Iron-on stiff interfacing
  • Large gold sequins
  • Gold wool
  • Gold thread
  • Gold fabric paint tube
  • Contrasting fabric to reverse applique (I used a gold silk)
  • pencil, scissors, sewing machine and thread.

How to do it.

The pattern 

1. Start with a rectangle approx 42cm x 18cm

2. Using the measurements given create this shape (It is half of the bib…. doing it this way means you get a symmetrical result) Click on the image to enlarge.

3. Folding your base fabric in half and placing the fold on the edge marked “place on the fold” cut the basic shape.

4. Cut another of these pattern pieces in the same way for both your lining and interfacing. You should now have 3 different coloured fabrics (base, lining and interfacing) all the same shape.

5. Back on your pattern piece sketch out an idea of how you will lay on your ‘design’. Egyptian patterns are very repetitive and tend to follow the shape of the item. Start about 1.5cm in from the edge (this is where your bias will be sewn) and create a design that works towards the centre. Make sure you leave some of your background fabric to show through.

6. Put your lining to one side and just work with your base cloth (blue) and your interfacing now.

Iron the interfacing to your base cloth (wrong side of base fabric to shiny side of interfacing) using a dry iron.


7. Transfer your design onto the interfacing.

8. Sew your sequins and stitching on in the design you have chosen. (glue if you like it will be much quicker)

9. Place your other gold fabric behind the area you want to reverse applique ( have it show through) Sew, with a machine, the shape you have designed from the right side of your bib. Do this to both sides of your bib to keep it symmetrical.

10. On the decorated side of your bib lift the base fabric away from the gold fabric you have just sewn on. Carefully cut away the base fabric very close to your machine stitching.

It should look like this…..
Now do the other side.

11. Paint your reverse appliqued sections and allow to dry.

12. With right sides together lay your lining onto your bib. Stitch the straight edge with 1cm seam allowance.

13. Turn bib so that the wrong sides are together. Give it a really good press with the iron. Be careful of the sequins as they can melt! Best to iron from the lining side.

Pin lining and base bib together at neck edge and outside edge.

14. Machine your bias binding around the outside edge. Do the same with the neck edge leaving 15-20cm at the beginning and end of the neck edge. This will be your tie to secure it around the neck. Fold over to encase the cut edges (trim if you need to)  and pin.

15. Using slip stitch, hand sew the bias binding down on the lining side. Tie a knot in the neck edge bias strings to secure.

16. Now, if my directions are clear, you will have your own unique version of this.

To complete the costume use the fabric and decorations you have left over to make a headband and armbands. Strips which velcro together. Wear over a long thin white dress (or a white sheet worn in a cylinder shape) with a straight black wig and go nuts with the eye make-up.

Time to “Walk like an Egyptian”

Let me know how you go. I’d love to see your creations.



Book Week Parade

August 29, 2011

8, 5 and 11 year old dressed for the school book parade last Friday.

I know I am a bit of a freak when it comes to this sort of thing….. but I love book week parade. To make it a little less stressful … and thriftier …only one child gets a costume made each year. The others scrounge from what we have or call friends and borrow bits and pieces.

5 year old got in on the act (unnecessarily dressed up) as Felicity Wishes… from the Friendship and Fairyschool by Emma Thomson. I made this costume for 11 year old for her kindergarten book parade six years ago. The crown was always a little odd!

8 year olds went as EJ12 from ‘EJ12 Girl Hero Pyramid Puzzle’ by Susannah McFarlane. She has just got to the ‘Colour Fairy books are not cool’ stage….YAY!!!… EJ12 is like a female Zac Powers. She pulled this costume together with things from her sisters (and her) wardrobe and phoning an adventuring adult she knew for the bits she was missing. Thanks Heidi for the binoculars, shoes and rope.

 11 year old was the one to have  her costume made this year. She is Hatshetsup from the Ramose series of books by Carole Wilkinson. The white dress was in our dress-up box and the other bits I made. We were enlightened about egyptian makeup here. She was delighted to be unrecognisable by some of her school mates. A lot of people thought she was Cleopatra….but she was prepared for this! Hatshesup was the first female Pharaoh of Egypt. She stole the throne from her nephew. Male Pharaohs didn’t like the idea of female ones so spent the years after her reign trying to remove any historical trace of her….. just a quick history lesson for the uninitiated (me included before I started making the costume). I even went fabric and bits buying with a totally different Pharaoh as my inspiration. Oh, the shame of it!!

As it turned out, 12 year old had a multicultural day at school on Friday as well! She went as an English punk. Sorry about the dreadful photo…. but I couldn’t leave her out.

Well book parade over for another year. Sniff. Still time to add your comments to the book week giveaway. I will announce the winner soon. Don’t miss out!

Starting with the basic or collared cape.... we then....

1. Draw the outline of the shape wanted you want to applique. If it is a symmetrical motif, fold in half and cut it out making it even on both sides.

We were after a 'Mickey Mouse-esque' devil face outline.

2. place it on your fabric and cut out. Remember to leave about 1 to 1 1/2 cm seam allowance.

You should end up with something that looks like this.

2. Decide where you want your reverse applique to be. I choose the centre back because the original bathrobe was monogrammed and I wanted to get rid of it. (I could have done a normal applique, but because this cape was made for the stage, and the monogramming was white, I was concerned that under the stage lights it would still be visible.)

4.With the right side of the applique piece against the wrong side of the cape...(read carefully) pin in place.

5. With a straight stitch, sew around the shape at 1-11 /2 cm from the edge. Go around the shape 2-3 times. Do not worry if your stitching line isn't exactly on top of each other. It does not matter!


It should look like this from the inside of the cape.

5. Turn the cape to the right side. Make a small nick in the cape fabric within the outline that you have sewn. Be very careful to only cut the cape fabric (red) and not your motif fabric (black).

6. Make a cut out toward the edge of the outline.

7. Cut as close as you can, without cutting the stitching, around the shape until the whole piece can be removed.

.... and whoa-la a devil cape complete with collar and devil motif. Total cost $3 for the bathrobe.

*Please note: This cape/cloak is made for the stage and for older children. If you are making this as a dress-up for toddlers the tie at the neck may result in choking when playing around the house and on play equipment. I guess that’s why in ‘The Incredibles’ the designer says “NO CAPES”

Boxy case. Photo by three bears

Boxy case. Photo by three bears

1: The boxy case

If you are after a pencil case with some dimension, a great tutorial is available here at three bears. Its pretty simple, and the proportions could be changed to make a travel shoe bag, a make-up bag, make a few in baby fabric for the nappy bag or line it with plastic for a lunch bag.

Shoe bags

Shoe bags

2: The shoe bag

Betz White gives a tutorial on the shoe bag.

If you are out of practise sewing or you want a quick present for anyone these are great.

Make tartan ones for grandads, pink ballet slipper ones for preschool girls and use funky prints for teens. Ikea have some really reasonable, great graphic fabrics available here. The ones above are made from op shop sheets.

Those out there with a high IQ will recognise their similarity to library bags and generally useful bags to hold a change of clothes, sports extras,  food for a day out or make them in a polyester mesh for a swimming bag.

Photo from ready-made

Photo from ReadyMade

3: The Upcycled shirt bag

A super thrifty idea, especially for the men. The link seems to have gone missing during the year… but I think you can work it out. You could even tuck a new pair of socks in the pocket, or fill it with shoe cleaning stuff……does anyone do that anymore?

Combining reverse applique and pencil case techniques. Photo from Sublime Stitching

Combining reverse applique, embroidery and pencil case techniques. Photo from Sublime Stitching

4: The Sublime Stitching Pencil Case

So beautiful, but not for the beginner. I think I’d want to use it for a wallet or small make-up purse for my handbag. It’s too gorgeous for pencils and pens. Check out Sublime Stitching for the tutorial. It’s also a good resource for basic embroidery stitches.

One I made for a gift earlier this week.

One I made for a gift earlier this week.

5: the All Zipped Purse

A zippered pencil case is a bit of fun, and great for a fiddler.

I based this one loosely on this tutorial (thanks Steph)  but instead of putting the right side of the zippers together and forming a seam on the inside, I just lay the zips on top of one another and sewed through both.

I also alternated the zipper ‘heads’ and attached a monogramed zipper pull.

I found the zips at the op shop which was cool, because it becomes quite expensive at around $1 per zip in normal shops. Maybe you’ll get lucky too!

Please let me know how you are progressing with your projects. Mine is going a little slow. Maybe I should stop blogging about it and get on with it.

Why am I posting t-shirts again? Target, Kmart and Aldi all  have good quality t-shirts available now.

Go get some and try these ideas.

Photo from that darn kat

Photo from 'that darn kat'

From Craft Passion.... no machine required

From Craft Passion.... no machine required. Image from there.

A video tutorial from Martha Stewart

A video tutorial from Martha Stewart. Photo from Martha Stewart.

Craft passion (words) handsewing reverse applique

Another version (the frog), using a sewing machine can be found here at that darn kat

One for the boys, that they will love…..even if their mother doesn’t.

T-shirt Gallery

June 2, 2010

I have added a new book to my gallery.


The book is a collection of commissions, one-offs and re-orderable shirts.

Some are already  made and are available now.

Check out the captions below to see which is which.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: T-shirt Gallery
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Pretty girlie things!

February 24, 2010

School term begins and so do the birthday parties.

They seem to go almost as hand in hand as bunting and vintage fabrics … or textiles and upcycling.

Here is my upcycled version.

I attached a card explaining the 'past lives' of the fabrics.

Name bunting. Perfect for a 6 year old (who's name isn't too long). Must try this with ties! Please excuse the dirty ironing board. I am waiting on a location shot.

The Emily by harrysdesk.

The Emily by harrysdesk.

The rosette is removable for washing…. and putting on other things. I used the button broach tutorial I shared earier from here combined with grosgrain , ribbon and tags from ties.

The Abix swirl. Quickly becoming my most popular T-shirt

The Abix swirl. Quickly becoming my most popular T-shirt

Yes, you’ve seen this one before. This time with white buttons rather than the grey I used here.

Another Abix swirl

Another Abix swirl

Pink on white is so fresh….makes me feel like summer is coming.

Train T-shirt. A small boys essential item, I'm told.

Train T-shirt. A small boys essential item, I'm told.

I call this commission the Train Rain T-shirt.

The Kelly Circle T-shirt

The Kelly Circle T-shirt

Does anyone recognise this design? I think it was the first T-shirt I ever posted online.

100_4139And….. because this order was made before the end of October…… an owl, Zevadyah.

I know their are many out there watching and reading, but not doing.

Why not use some ‘blog time’ to make something for someone you love……. or just someone who needs a present in the near future.

Some Appliqued T-shirts

Some Appliqued T-shirts by harrysdesk

Click to go straight there.

T-shirts with Applique

Handmade notebooks


Reverse applique on t-shirts


Little Bags/Purses/Pencil cases

Zipper pencil cases

Zipper pencil cases