Category Archives: Tutorial

Cloth wipes!

I may have failed to mention recently that I have added cloth wipes to my Etsy store!

A few years ago, I used to make and sell them on eBay, but family commitments meant I no longer had the time. They were very popular, and I would even get emailed to make special orders. I still now, get friends asking me whether I can make them some cloth wipes.

Here are the ones I have up on my store at the moment; just click the picture to get taken through to the listing 🙂

5 x blue rose cloth wipes - Oak Tag Designs

5 x blue spots cloth wipes - Oak Tag Designs

A while ago, I made up  a tutorial on how to make cloth wipes. They are very simple to make, so if you find yourself handy with the overlocker…

Cloth Wipes Tutorial

Enjoy!

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Burp Cloth Tutorial

Burp Cloth Tutorial

Heres a little tutorial for you this week. I made some of these a few years ago for my.. husbands cousins wifes baby.. well, I guess the baby was my husbands cousins as well! She found them so good, she suggested I did a tutorial on how to make them, so here it is! They are very simple, but turn out cute and very handy.

What you need to make 2 burp cloths:

  • A small piece of flannelette, quilting fabric or towelling (approx. 50 cm x 40 cm)
  • A small piece of minky or microfleece the same size as above (I have used minky in the photos)
  • Sewing machine (only straight stitch needed)
  • Thread in matching colour, for sewing machine
  • Scissors

Burp cloth cutting out

First cut your 2 pieces into rectangles to make 2 matching pairs. This means the above amount should be cut down the middle, so that the rectangles equal 50 cm x 20cm. For the top pink burp cloth, it was approximately 54 cm x 20 cm, and for the bottom approximately 38 cm x 18 xcm. The exact size is not important, just wide and long enough to fit over your shoulder.

Burp cloth sewing guide

Next you need to place right sides together, and sew around the edge leaving a small gap (about 8 cm should suffice) as shown above. It is up to you how far in you sew for your seam. I would do about 1cm, but if you find that you are not very good at using the sewing machine, you can increase this.

Burp cloth clip corners

Next clip the corners as shown otherwise they will bunch when turned in the right way.

Burp cloth final stitching

After turning in the right way and pushing all the edges and corners out, you need to topstitch around the edge. The gap that was used for turning the burp cloth must be turned in the amount of the seam, so that it lines up with the rest of the edge. I topstitch in about 3mm, but again, it is up to you. If you find it hard to control the fabric when sewing I would suggest sewing the topstitching in further, just so you dont have any accidental stitching off the side.

Always remember to stitch backwards and forwards when starting and finishing your topstitching so you dont have any unraveling later.

Finished burp cloths

There you go! All done, ready for some baby’s milky spit-up!

Shower cap for Mums birthday!

PUL Shower Cap by OTD

I was talking to my Mum this week and she admitted that she would like me to make her a shower cap for her birthday. So today, I did just that! Picking through the numerous different colours and patterns I have of PUL, I just couldn’t go past the deer pattern that I used in an earlier tutorial on making wet bags. Pairing it with brown gingham, I finished it in less than half an hour.

Shower cap OTD

Im happy with how it turned out, so off to the Post Office we go!

Has anyone else tried out the shower cap tutorial yet?

Tutorial – How to make a wet bag

Wet bag tutorial

This wetbag doesnt require any fancy sewing, and nothing more than a regular sewing machine. They can be used to store cloth nappies, face washers, wipes or wet bathers. Once you have mastered one, they are very quick to sew up.

When I was pregnant with my second bub, and dare I say it, money was tight after I run up the back of someone in the car :/, I made wetbags and sold them online. I sold a few other cloth nappy products I sewed myself, but wetbags sold like hotcakes. Once the bub was born, I stopped doing them. From time to time, I would have friends ask to make them some, usually because they were finding it hard to purchase some! So when I made some recently, I thought, its high time that I did a tutorial to help others make their own, or as gifts.

The first things you need to think about are your materials. I am going to say it now, and probably just repeat it again.. everything NEEDS to be polyester. Think a cotton PUL/zip/applique/handle/thread is cute/in a nice colour/on sale? NO. Dont do it. It is very likely to wick around, and become wet. Please trust me on this one, and dont waste your energy and materials. So with that in mind, let the cute (polyester, hehe) fabrics catch your eye!

  • A large rectangle of polyester PUL (ideally 5ocm in length, and whatever width desired)
  • Polyester thread
  • Zip slightly shorter in length than width of PUL
  • Small offcut of FOE approx. 20cm (optional if handle required)

Wet bag fabric

For ease of making multiples, I use a 50 cm length and then line the zips up across the top and cut downward, as shown in the photo above.

Wet bag cut out

Here are the two cut out with the zips and FOE I planned to use as the straps.

Sewing strap

First take to the sewing machine with the FOE. Zig zag the FOE down the length of it.

Wet bag zip insertion

Next, line the zip up right side down (onto the right side of the fabric) as shown and use a nice skinny foot on the machine and sew a straight stitch down. I have made a habit of sewing another line down closer to the raw edge.  The reason evades me now, so Im going to go with being meticulous!

Wet bag zip insertion 2

Next fold the wet bag in half to make the right sides in and repeat for the other edge of the zip.

Wet bag strap insertionWet bag zip insertion 2Wet bag zip insertion 3

Next to put the strap in while sewing the side seams…

  1. Keeping the wetbag inside out, place the FOE in it as shown in the 1st photo above. Then fold the top of the wetbag down onto the FOE, so that the zip is around 5cm down from the top.
  2. Make sure you flip the zip back up, so the PUL is folded back on itself (see how the zip is sitting in the 2nd photo). Next bring the bottom half of the zip up to meet the top half (as you can see in the 2nd photo). Next pin down the side edge (close to the edge so you dont create holes in the bag) all the way to the bottom. This is important as sometimes when using PUL, the top layer may stretch while the bottom doesnt (just the way the machine feeds it through), creating a puckered look. By pinning, it keeps it even to ensure this doesnt happen. Next sew firmly down the side seam close to the end of the zip. Be sure to sew back and forth at the corners, so you dont have the seams unravelling later.
  3. When you have sewn the inside seam, fold the seam back, like in the 3rd photo. Cut the strap excess off, and continue to sew another seam further out towards the edge. This creates a double seam for strength, and to help prevent any leakings! (Also, I like the way in encases the strap.!)
  4. Repeat the double seam down the other side of the wetbag. And for my red hot tip: leave the zip a bit open so you can turn it in the right way when you are done. Lesson learnt here, haha!

And then you are all done!!

Wet bag tutorial

Cloth Wipes Tutorial

Cloth Wipes Tutorial

Who loves using cloth nappies, only to have to have a separate bin for the delicious disposable wipes, flapping around in there? Mmm, yum! (Not me, btw..) Which is why I started using flannel face washers, and then started experimenting with sewing my own. I perfected one I loved and then, started selling them. They did well, but.. another bub came along, and changed my time constraints. Having made many since, for friends and friends of friends, I thought I would share a quick tutorial on how to make them.

The wipes can also be used in the kitchen or bathroom, as face or body washers. The kids love them because they can have a cute pattern or favourite character, as well as being soft on their skin.

Firstly you need to suss out the following materials:

  • Some very cool flannelette fabric.
  • Some very soft and lovely matching microfleece.

The flannelette is great at holding the water and washing off the urine, while the microfleece doesnt hold so much water but has the length to grab up any poos. The microfleece is also supersoft if your bub has had a rash. Using just water on them means there is nothing to cause irritation on the bubs bottom, like many disposable wipes can.

The wipes, using these fabrics, can be washed in with your normal cloth nappies. I have hotwashed them many many times and they stand up to the test.

Next you need to decide how many wipes you would like. I have given packs of 20 to many people, as that seems to be just enough if you are washing every day or second day. I made 50 and found the last 10 never made it out of the cupboard, so between 20 and 40 would be the magic number. If you have never used cloth wipes, it may not seem many, but rest assured you use less than disposable wipes.

At 20cm x 20cm for each wipe, I will help you out with the math.

  • Microfleece usually comes in 150cm width, so at 7 wipes wide, a 1m length will give you 35 wipes.
  • To match the 35 wipes in flannelette fabric, you will need a 140cm length of 110cm wide fabric, or a 180cm length of 90cm wide fabric.

Once you have your fabric, I suggest you prewash, then iron the flannelette (overlock the raw edges first). This is because flannelette has a higher rate of shrinking. This is not completely necessary because it is not a garment you are going to wear. (Garments can shrink below your size). Even though I always preshrink the flannelette, it is admittedly easier to cut straight off the roll.

Next you need to cut your fabric out into 20cm x20cm squares. There are different methods, but two in particular I found easier. The first way is using a big square ruler, marking 20cm squares with tailors chalk (the rotating wheel tailors chalk is fabulous), then cutting with scissors. The second way is by using a quilters mat, ruler, and quilting rotary cutter. It is easier to cut your flannelette squares out first, then place them all on your microfleece and cut them out there. It means if you go a bit wonky with the flanny ones, your microfleece is the perfect matching wonky!

Next you just need to overlock the edges. Place your two pieces, wrong sides together, and overlock the whole way around. To keep the corners nice, hold it firmly (no twisting) and turn it slowly starting about an inch from the edge to make a curved overlocked edge.

Trim your ends, wash and dry and use!

Here is some other ones that I have made. Playing around with the colours of the fabric and thread can be quite fun 🙂

Bug cloth wipes Dora cloth wipes 1 Dora cloth wipes 2

Easy Summer Dress Tutorial

Summer Dress Tutorial

So.. I know Oak Tag Designs is about kids patterns, but sometimes Mum needs something too. And here it is!

The Easy Breezy Summer Dress is a very simple -no pattern needed- dress that shouldnt take very long to make. Variations can be made depending on your style, and embellishments can be added too. Its fit means that you can wear it even if you find your weight fluctuating. And best of all, its flattering!

Can be dressed up and down, and really is perfect for all those end of year events.

What you will need:

  • Lightweight cotton (or blend) weave. Your size and length requirements changes your fabric amount. For the length of fabric, measure from your shoulder down to the length you want, double, and add approx. 30 cm. For knee-length, allow approx 2.3 m. For full length maxi, approx 3.3m. If you are a size 12 (Australian sizing) or smaller, a 110cm width will be fine. If you are above a Size 12, then use a wider fabric. For a maxi dress, a wider fabric (around 150 cm) is recommended, to allow the width at the bottom.
  • Approx 2m of 16mm bias binding (if it is a slightly different width, that will be fine)
  • matching thread
  • any embellishments (or fabric for a contrasting band).
  • A loose top (most preferably in a weave) that fits you well.

To begin, fold you fabric so it becomes half the length.

Next fold in one side (two layers of selvage) so that they are about 16cm from the other selvage side. The 16cm is the fabric for the ties. If you are making a larger size and need all the fabric, you may decide to use a contrasting fabric for the ties.

Fold your top in half and place it down on the fabric so that the fold is on the most recent fold, and the shoulders are on the top original fold. I have opened it back up in the photo to make it easier to see.

Fabric layout

Use your scissors to cut from the bottom of the fabric (on the right, where the 4 layers start) right up to the top as shown. This photo is showing a knee length dress. If you want a maxi, it will probably start out wider. Once you are close to the top, cut next to it, but out a couple of cms to allow for the seam. Continue to the armhole, cut around it, and up to the shoulder.  Be sure not to cut along the shoulder.

Cut out side seamsCutting the armhole

Correct the bottom so that it is 90 degrees to the side fold of the dress. Then cut a curve back towards the fold. The wider your dress, the higher the curve should be. For a knee-length dress, like the one shown, about an inch up should suffice. If you feel less than confident about doing this, leave it straight to be cut once your dress is more complete and can be tried on.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Next cut the neck. Cut through all 4 layers copying just the back of the neck.

Cutting the neck 1

Unfold all the layers and then fold just down the middle of the dress. Now cut one end of the neck to be the front of the neck. You can cut it as a V-neck, round neck, or boat neck as you desire.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Very important at this stage to put it over your head and check that it fits! Nothing quite like trying to jam a too small neckhole over your head!

From the remaining part of fabric, cut two long straps. They should each be approx 16cm wide and around 110 cm long (longer for a bigger dress size). Fold them right sides in (so they stay the same length but become skinnier, to approx 8cm wide) and cut a diagonal on one end of each of them.

Cutting the straps

Next, take to the sewing machine and bias bind the neck and armhole edges. Im not going to go into detail about how to apply bias binding. If you’re not sure, google a tutorial on this. One tip I will say is ALWAYS manipulate the bias and try to keep the fabric perfectly how it was cut (ie. dont stretch it!). If you dont do this, it will end up warped and uneven and possibly wavy!

Adding biasBias added

Next, turn you garment inside out and sew down the 2 side seams. Then overlock. If you don’t have an overlocker, use zigzag close to the edge, or if possible, use a french seam. I may just be pedantic but once you have sewn the seams, it is advisable to sew them down under the arm, just for around 1 cm. Makes it more comfortable and secures the seam, so it won’t start to unravel.

Next sew your straps. Sew from the diagonal across and down to the other end, leaving the straight end open. Turn in the right way. Then topstitch all the way around where you had just sewn. Topstitching is your choice, but it is very helpful in keeping the straps flatter after washing. Also helps with ironing if its needed.

Sewing belt 1

Sewing belt 2

Next try on your dress. It should look a bit potato-sack like. If so, good! Next you need to mark (preferably using pins) where your waist is at the sides. Take the dress off, and mark in towards the centre back around 10 cm from the marks you made. This is where the top of the straps will go. Fold about an inch of the raw end of your straps down and pin onto the garment. They should be pinned so that the tail of each strap goes towards the centre back of the dress. Stitch on in a large rectangle. To secure them more, you may sew inside the rectangle.

Retry your dress on passing the strap around the back and then to the front where they can be tied up. Check the bottom of your dress. Is it the right length? Does it look even around? Try to get someone to help you if it isnt, by pinning it while you are wearing it. A good hem is the same length off the ground all the way around when you are standing.

Back to the sewing machine, and sew up the hem. I like to fold it twice up for a nice clean hem. If you are not used to sewing hems, it is a good idea to pin it (and even iron) before you do. If you dont, you can end up slowly pushing the fabric across each other as you sew, making you end up with extra fabric in the last bit. To pin it, start at the seams, then pin it in quarters, eighths etc, and that will keep it even.

Sewing the hem

And there you go, all done!!

Now you can flounce around the house looking pretty.

I do recommend washing and drying and ironing before you wear it out. Gets rid of any starch (particularly in the binding), or fold marks.

I would love to see some dresses made 🙂 I know I will be making more than one….

Summer Dress Tutorial

Reversible Shower Cap Tutorial

When I was in late high school, I used to stay at my Nan’s once a week. Many great things there (no woman can make soup like that woman!), but one was the HUGE shower head. You simply couldn’t have a shower without getting your head wet. But of course, Nana had the shower cap to match. Big, frilly, floral, and 3 layers thick. Ahhh, go Nana.

Try as I might, I’ve never found a shower cap quite like it. I’ve gone from the cheapies to the more expensive, to the ones from the hotel and around again. The most recent hotel edition to our bathroom had become a precarious hat rather than a cap, and so it was time..

Oh goodness.

Enter the reversible fabric shower cap.

Sizes listed are approximate (because all heads are different!) but they are shown as toddler (child, adult). If you have a large head, or a lot of hair, use a larger amount of fabric.

To make it, you need:

  • a square of PUL fabric (or another suitable waterproof fabric) approx.  36 (39, 42)cm
  • a square of lightweight fabric of your choice,  36 (39, 42)cm
  • sewing machine
  • overlocker (only necessary for woven fabric, if you dont have one, use a knit fabric, explained below)
  • taylors chalk (helpful but not necessary)
  • matching thread
  • approx 43 (46, 54)cm length of 6mm swimwear elastic (please refer to description below)
  • any embellishment that takes your fancy!.. lace, buttons, appliques

If you are going to use a knit fabric that you dont plan to finish with an overlocker, take the time to check it. It should be able to be pulled (in the stretch direction) and not run ladders in it, or start to unravel.

There are 3 different elastics that could be used.

Choices for elastic

Personally I find that the see-through plastic swimwear elastic, sometimes known as lastin (left), is a slippery sucker and although it has high elasticity, it can be hard to apply.  It does fatigue more readily, but don’t be put off, its still an option! The rubber swimwear elastic (middle) may last longer, but oh, it can be a pain to apply, and when pulling tightly and sewing through it, it can break. No fun. My personal preference is the woven swimmers elastic (right). It doesn’t break, doesn’t fatigue (be sure it is the swimmers elastic and not just a generic woven), and is easy to apply!

While I have put approximate lengths of elastic in the materials list, if you can measure the persons head, then work the elastic length off that. Use their head circumference, and take approx 4 cm off this. When the elastic is sewn in, it will lose some elasticity, extending the elastics length back to the head circumference.

To begin you need to cut a 36 (39, 42)cm circle from both your waterproof fabric and other fabric. There are a few different methods to get the circle. You may have some appropriate quilting equipment to use.  You could use the right size bowl to draw around (yep, its a BIG bowl!). Another method is to use a piece of string tied to some taylors chalk and anchor the string in the middle with a pin, pulling the string around to draw the circle. The fabric can be folded in 4 and cut from open edge corner to open edge corner in a quarter circle shape, then open up. You can also just hand-draw a circle. The last 2 methods may result in very wonky circle, be warned! Experience led me to this conclusion..

If you are planning to embellish, now is the time. It is advisable not to embellish the waterproof fabric, as extra holes in it will make it less waterproof. Choosing a patterned PUL or waterproof fabric can make that side look decorated enough 🙂 Also make sure that the embellishments or fabric is not too heavy. It won’t sit on the head well, and will become heavier if it absorbs some water.

Here is my embellishment for my stretch knit (cotton elastane). Using strips of the same fabric, I sewed it in from the edge by around 5 cm, tucking one colour in. I repeated this around again, and then gathered some more fabric for the last bit in the middle.

fold, sew, fold, sew, fold, sew, fold, sew....

Done!

After it has been embellished, sew the two circles together, right sides facing out, 4 cm in. It is best to use a straight stitch in a moderate to long length stitch.

Next, mark quarters on the flat cap with pins. Fold your elastic in quarters and put pins to mark. Hold the elastic BETWEEN the two layers of fabric up against where the stitches are. Using a moderate size zigzag run a few stitches back and forth to hold the elastic in place. Now stretch the elastic and pull around against the existing stitches while continuing to zigzag around. Aligning the pins at each quarter should help to keep your elastic gather even. Continue all the way around and then finish by running some stitches back and forth again.

Applying elastic using pins to mark quarters

If your shower cap’s fabric is a woven fabric and you have an overlocker, you can now finish the edge with the overlocker, holding it all together. Done!

The finished edge on the overlocked shower cap

If your caps fabric is a knit fabric, use a long stitch and holding the 2 layers together stitch just outside the elastic all the way around. Try not to catch the elastic in this round as it will cause the elastic to lose some of its elasticity.

The finished edge on the raw knit shower cap

Done again!

You can make many shower caps in different sizes and fabric patterns, even making them much wider for a frilly peak. The pattern could be used to make into a costume wig for a small child (add yarn piggytails). It can be made for boys using some boy character fabric. So many options. So simple and easy. Great for your home, or even as a pressie with some soap, or bath mitt. Would love to see some designs that have been come up with 🙂