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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Homemade Presents for Chill’un’s

Okay, I finished a buttload of presents for Christmas yesterday. And I’m quite pleased with some of them. So I had to share, just in case, you never know?! First up, the easiest one…It’s a bird, it’s a plane….


Yep, I made a Superman cape for a boy who loves to play dress-up. When he’s the hero, of course! I took some red fabric I had, and cut it about 31” long, 13 1/2” at the top, and 27” wide at the bottom. Why such random measurements? ‘Cuz that’s the amount of fabric I had….Next, do a rolled hem on the edges, everywhere but the top. (1/4” rolled hem)

Superman Cape (1)

For the top, I used some double fold bias tape I had laying around and sewed it on so it covered the unfinished hem. I sewed the 2 ties on the outside so they wouldn’t open as well. It was about a 36” long piece of tape.

Superman Cape (9)

I had a few sewing mess-ups at this point. I have printer paper that you can iron designs onto fabric. Well, it didn’t like the red fabric. At all. I tried a few different ideas, and then finally printed the iconic “S” black, and ironed it onto yellow fabric (that I used in the next project…) and pressed the seams under and sewed it on.

Superman Cape (3)

Voila! A Superman cape that comes together in about an hour!

Superman Cape (5)


Okay, the next one is a bit more involved, but stay with me. It turns out great, I promise!

First thing, buy (or use an old) belt from the thrift store. Something fabric but stiff. You know the kind I’m talking about, right? Mine was $1. Cut off the buckle, and the excess that you won’t need. I needed mine to fit 20” waist, with room to grow!

Batman Belt (1)

Cut your fabric so it’s twice as wide as the belt, plus an inch, with extra on both ends, about 2” worth.

Batman Belt

Sew the fabric in half with a slightly less than 1/2” seam. (I went with the half inch seam line on my machine, and just moved my needle so it was just a touch less than 1/2”). Press that seam open as best as you can.

Batman Belt (2)

Turn that inside out, and slide in your belt. If you have a pattern that will show through, put that on the back (with the seam). Mine was plain black on the other side, so it worked nicely. Then, press so the seam is in the middle of the back, and your belt is starting to look like a belt!

Batman Belt (3)

Now, press one end inside the belt (about 1/4” seam), and stitch close to the edge. Then, push the belt in as far as you can, and do the same on the other side, cutting off the extra fabric.

Batman Belt (2)

Here’s where it starts getting fun, and you can do whatever you want at this point. This is just what I did…Sew the end of the extra fabric you cut off the belt on one end.

Batman Belt (3)

I’ll go into more detail about making a pocket with depth on my next tutorial, but for now, I’ll just briefly explain. (the next will have pictures to clarify!) Basically, you push one side down to meet the bottom seam (where you just sewed), and sew a line across, making a little triangle. It will make more sense, and when I finish the next tute, I’ll link it to here. Sorry, just wait for Monday if you don’t understand Smile

Batman Belt (1)

Turn the pocket inside out, and sew it onto the belt, wherever you want to. Just sew around the sides and bottom. I added a flap on top to finish off the look of the pocket. You could also do this as a flat pocket and skip the above step. Do as many as you would like of those pockets.

Batman Belt (15)

For the rest of the belt gadgets, I chopped some dowels, cut down a piece of MDF, cut some cardboard, and found some unused items to repurpose….

Batman Belt (3)

The dowels I chopped so they weren’t any wider than the belt, but I wasn’t too worried about different sizes, because they can all be different bombs, or bullets, or what have you (I’m not a violent person, promise!) I put the dowels onto the belt to figure out where to pin my elastic down so they would stay in place. I sanded the top edges of the dowels to make them smooth and kid friendly. I also sanded my finger ‘cuz I’m just that awesome.

Batman Belt (10)

I cut out a bat shape that I had printed online from a piece of MDF with a bandsaw, and also cut a smaller one out of cardboard. For the cardboard one, I hot-glued around the edges to strengthen it a bit and give some stability.

Batman Belt (4)

Then, I painted everything.

Batman Belt (8)

While they were drying, I cut out my iconic shape to put on my buckle. Oops, I forgot to take pictures of that….Okay, so the extra piece of belt? Cut it into the shape you so desire. I had mine into an oval. I sewed it between 2 pieces of felt, also cut in an oval, though a little bigger. Then, it was stabilized. While I was cutting my oval, the black part on the back came off, so I decided to use that to cut out my batman shape. I sewed 2 pieces of Velcro (vertically on the buckle) onto the outside, where it would hook onto the belt. I sewed 2 pieces of Velcro horizontally on the belt end, a little spaced out, so the belt can grow with age, hopefully. I sewed the whole buckle onto the other end of the belt, only sewing it in the middle, so the buckle was almost loose, except where it’s connected in the middle. Hopefully the picture helps to clarify things….

Batman Belt (18) copy

Okay, so I pinned that black piece that came off the belt, which was some pleather stuff, to the buckle after I cut the shape….

Batman Belt (5)

Once my shapes were dry, I glued the cardboard bat to a retracting lanyard that we had extra, since my hubby doesn’t need it for work. This one had a clip so I just clipped it onto the belt. Nice! No sewing!

Batman Belt (11)

Okay, now it’s sewing time again. I sewed the bat shape onto the buckle, one half at a time, so it could still be moveable and loose. Meaning I sewed one half (from the ears down to the tail) on one side, and then flipped the belt underneath and sewed the other half of the bat down. The whole time I’m writing the word bat, I hear Cillian Murphy’s voice in my head from Batman Begins. “The Bat Man.” Yep, I am crazy. Voices in my head. Oh well…

Batman Belt (17)

I sewed the elastic for the dowels down (not with the dowels in them, silly! You’ll break your needle!), and I sewed 2 pieces of elastic on to hold the other bat wood shape on the belt.

Batman Belt (18)

Finally, I sewed an elastic on to hold an empty Mento’s gum container. (don’t lie, you were thinking “The Freshmaker!) Here’s the picture to show everything I sewed on. Hopefully it clears things up…

Batman Belt (28) copy

And there’s your batman gadget belt!

Batman Belt (14)

I had thought once I finished, that you could do a Buzz Lightyear belt too! That would be fun!

Batman Belt (28)

Of course Thing 1 had to model it for you.

Batman Belt (20)

Batman Belt (21)

And then Thing 2 was jealous and wanted her turn.

Batman Belt (23)

As an added bonus, I found this cardboard mask that was on the back of a General Mill’s cereal. Sorry, I can’t remember which one, but it also had a free comic book inside. Stocking stuffer, anyone?!

Batman Belt (26)

Still with me? The next project isn’t so much a tutorial, as a “this is what I did…” thing. So enjoy. I’m happy to answer any questions you have though!

I made a quiet book for an almost 1 year old, and most likely her almost 5 year old brother. These are all my pages but 2 that weren’t quite finished.

Quiet Book Pages (2)

Kind of weird angles, I know….

Quiet Book Pages (4)

I sewed them together, leaving the spine part open, and then put in cereal boxes to stabilize the pages.

Cardboard quiet pages

I also put in a piece of white paper so the design didn’t show through the page. Then I sewed that edge shut and did 2 buttonholes on the edge to put a ring through. I made a cover for it by putting 2 buttonholes in it on the inside, and then the outside is solid. I just used Velcro and ribbon for a closure.

Quiet Book copy

Here’s the pages in the order I did them in the book.

Quiet Book (2)

This one has the paint colors come off so they can match them on (with Velcro), and a paint brush to pretend to paint.

Quiet Book (6)

A moving rocket on yarn, with buttons for craters on the moon, and then a bead counting page, with lots of colors, shapes, textures, etc.

Quiet Book (4)

A moving clock hands (with a brad), and then a crayon & pencil holder page, with a spot for a notebook.

Quiet Book (7)

A learning-how-to-tie page with a ballet slipper (she is a girl!), and then a tic-tac-toe page, with squares that have Velcro on them.

Quiet Book (8)

Possibly my favorite page. A road, with a house that hold a cute little wooden car (my FIL makes wood toys!), and then the road signs are on Velcro and movable too.

Quiet Book (3)

This page was my husband’s idea, since he likes Tangrams puzzles. I cut out shapes from felt, and then sewed yarn (with a zig-zag stitch) to the page to make outlines that the child is supposed to try and make. I did a few extra shape outline pages that are all held in a pocket behind the shapes.

Quiet Book (1)

K, this is a close 2nd favorite as well. A barn that opens up to little finger puppets (complete with googly eyes), stored in a little pocket.

A few notes: This takes a LONG time. I cut out shapes while watching TV or movies, and then would sew them during naptime. Every page is made with felt. Some additions, like eyes, Velcro, or yarn, but that’s it. I got a lot of ideas from pages from Pinterest. I’m not going to take credit for any of them as original, except the tic-tac-toe and the Tangrams one, as well as putting the cereal cardboard in between pages for substance. The kiddos of mine loved it, as did my hubby, and I kinda didn’t want to ship it off to them-for-whom-it’s-intended. But I did. I sent all of these off, and now I can get crackin on the presents for those I don’t have to ship to! Whew! Now it’s your turn! Make something amazing! And please show us what you do! Especially if you try a Buzz Lightyear belt! I want one, but have no boys…yet….(no I'm not announcing anything. Good heavens!)

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  1. That Batman belt is genius, Ash! I love it! I'm going to try that one out for my guys! :)


  2. My son would've loved that Batman belt when he was younger! He was so into all of the super hero stuff!


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