Friday, 12 October 2012

Donktober Denim and much, much more!


I'm so pleased to be part of Donktober! A fantastic blog hop from the creative (slightly bonkers) mind of Erin at Missy Mac Creations. Thanks for including me Erin :)

I'm going to share a couple of embroidery patterns, a tutorial and a short book review today, as well as a little giveaway... sheesh, it's going to be a long and picture heavy post.



I've created a tutorial for this book bag, which was made from a pair of my husband's VERY torn jeans! I wanted to make it from something hard wearing and with no money to indulge in some oilcloth I scoured the house to see what I could find! I love denim and realised it would work perfectly and allow me to do some stitching too.


I did a bit of sketching (you can see I changed my mind about the direction of the donkey's tail!) and then outlined them to create embroidery patterns.



I have no clever computer software so I took pictures and uploaded them to my computer. For the books I added some text on picmonkey, saved the images and have created a google document so I can share the patterns with you. If you aren't donkey mad the book pattern could be used for so many different things... just don't copy the lettering!




Bag Tutorial and Embroidery Details

If you'd like to make the bag please read the instructions all the way through first! You may want to make some adjustments according to your preferences.

1- Start by cutting off the legs of the jeans - I did this on the thigh, just at the point where they begin to be straight legs:


2- Cut out one of the back pockets - so I had two leg pieces and a pocket (keep the rest, we'll be using some more of the jeans later!):


3- Cut up the side of the leg pieces along the narrower seam (I wanted the thicker seam as a feature running down the centre panel of the bag):




4- Even up the panels and remove the bottom hems - my panel then measured approx 14" x 16". You can use whatever size suits your needs, larger or smaller will work just as well.

5- Transfer the embroidery designs and stitch the panel - I decided to use the reverse side of the denim so the embroidery would stand out more, it also gives a nice background texture. I used Anchor pearl cotton:






In the order they appear above, I used the following stitches for each text: outline split stitch and filled with satin stitch; French knots; backstitch; couching; split stitch; rope stitch.
The books and pages were all backstitched.


The body of the Donkey was all split stitch, the eye and nostril were satin stitch, the hooves were chain stitch, the mane was rope stitch and the tail was Vandyke stitch.

notice the Donkey is reading our blogs :)

I experimented with some of these stitches and I followed instructions from the brilliant book by Kate Hexell, 'The Stitch Bible'.

6- Once the stitching is finished, cut two pieces of lining fabric the same size as your denim panels:


7- Take the plain piece of denim and add the pocket to the middle. Cut carefully around the pocket, not too close to the seams. That way I kept the Levi's tag (for fun) and also meant I could just stitch around the pocket. This will fray over time but I really like that look! If you want to be neater you could use blanket/zigzag stitch to avoid fraying.


8- Next go back to the remaining cut up jeans and take a section off the top of the leg - it's doesn't matter that it's not straight, once it's cut you can even it up:


This time I trimmed off the thicker seam so I had a long strip - this measured approximately 3 1/2" x 18" but again just work with what you have or cut to a length you prefer:


9- Press the edges of the long side over a bit, then press the whole strip in half (feel free to press the short edges over too if you want a neater look):


10- Once folded in half, stitch along the whole length where the edges meet and then echo the straight lines along the strap:



Repeat steps 8-10 so you have two handles!

** I like the 'handmade' look of the handles sewn on the outside and the idea that they will fray nicely with time - If you want a more polished look you need to insert the handles in between the outside and lining fabric when you topstitch along the edge in the next step, so they are neatly tucked inside. **

11- Take one outside denim panel and one interior fabric piece and stitch them right sides together using a 1/4" seam:


so you end up with this:


12- Put them wrong sides together and press the top edge before top stitching:


Repeat steps 11 and 12 for the other denim panel and interior fabric.

13- Decide where you want to place the handles, pin and stitch in place on each denim panel:


Now you have a front and a back to the bag - complete with handles! So it's time to put them together...

14- Put the bag together, interior pieces facing - so it literally looks like the finished bag should - then pin around the side and bottom edges:



15- Sew a 1/4" seam around the three edges then clip the corners:


16- This bag has a French seam so turn the bag inside out, press or wiggle with your fingers so the edges are straight and then sew around the same three edges, this time with a 1/2" seam.


Turn the bag the right way round and you're all done (trust me it's taken me WAY longer to type this tutorial than it did to sew the bag together!!).



So what to put in it?? Well ours obviously has Donkey books in it!!

Erin was so kind as to send me and the kids some fabulous Donkey themed books. Huge thank you from me and the kiddies!

Here's a quick review:



First up is 'That's Not My Donkey' by Fiona Watts and Rachel Wells. I think most modern parents are familiar with the Usborne touchy-feely books and the 'That's Not My...' series. They are fabulous for little ones, great fun for toddlers and have good repetition for school aged little readers. This one is just as brilliant as the rest of them and my two loved seeing the different settings for the Donkey and shouting out about the various textures in the book.

Next is 'The Hungry Donkey' by Heather Amery and Stephen Cartwright. This is a fun story. They laughed a lot when... well I won't ruin it! This is a great one for anytime of day and it has lovely illustrations with plenty to look at.

Finally 'The Wonky Donkey' by Craig Smith. This was the clear 'winner' with the kids. They laughed and laughed! It has amazing and fun illustrations. We read this over and over and they show no sign of getting tired of it, thankfully I really enjoy it too.

So that's my contribution for Donktober! I had a lot of fun constructing the bag, designing the embroidery patterns and reading funny stories. I'm still new to writing tutorials so if you need any clarification or have any questions please let me know! I would love to know if you make one or use the embroidery for any of your projects.

If you managed to read this all the way through, thank you and well done!

As a bonus I'm having a little giveaway of 1/2 yard of this fab donkey print from the Jack and Jenny Collection by Laurie Wisburn for Robert Kaufman, which I bought at Fluffy Sheep Quilting. I couldn't resist sharing it with you and those wellies are very appropriate for the Manchester weather!


**GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED**

To win just leave a comment on this post - if you're stuck for what to say maybe you could tell me what your favourite embroidery stitch is if you have one!

My lovely followers get another chance, just leave a second comment below telling me you follow :)

International entries are welcome and Mr random.org will help chose a winner next Friday 19th October.

Good Luck and Happy Donktober!!

Donktober


Don't forget to visit the other bloggers taking part and there will be a linky party for all the Donkey creations so look out for that :)


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108 comments:

  1. I've never embroidered so I'm gonna say running stitch? I am loving Donktober!

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  2. That is such a great bag! Your drawings are awesome and look great at embroideries.

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  3. Absolutely adorable! Jeans make killer bags. I have a stack I've been meaning to convert so I thank you for the reminder!!

    I think the embroidery stitch I use the most is the satin stitch so I think it's fair to say it's my favourite. Thanks for the chance!

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  4. What a great tutorial. Well done!

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  5. i love upcycling and that bag is super cute!! love the design and your embroidery stitches are perfect as usual!!!

    great tutorial, Lucy and thanks for sharing!

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  6. wow! what a lovely donkey you made :)

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  7. I'm a follower :) thanksfor the giveaway!

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  8. What a cute bag! My favourite stitch would be cross stitch. My last project is thankfully finished after 4 years. It was a UFO for a lot of that time, but still pretty detailed!

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  9. I follow your site, and I just love Laurie Wisbrun fabric (hint)!

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  10. What a cute bag, Lucy! The embroidery is so cool. :) I love that Jack and Jenny fabric!

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  11. (faithful follower here) :)

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  12. I've never tried embroidery but yours is gorgeous! Thanks for the chance to win such fun fabric! :)

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  13. How sweet! Love the bag, and donkeys. My favorite stitch is the chain stitch.

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  14. that is totally cute! I am loving the donkey!

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  15. Dude denim is sooo in right now. Where did that come from anyway? Lucy you are such an embroidery expert, I can't get over it. I love your reading donkey - I could kiss him! My girls love all things Donkey now...Erin would be proud. Miss L goes around the house with the stuffed donkey saying "hee haw hee haw" Ha, two year olds are so hilarious!

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  16. What a clever mind you have -- love the book bag, Lucy! As for the giveaway, "Pick me, pick me" I hope you get that reference or I just look like a knob. :)

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  17. Lucy,thanks for the fantastic tutorial! Love using old jeans to make new things :) Not an embroiderer,so do not have a favorite stitch.

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  18. WHose the clever girl then! Too cute!

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  19. Love the bag and the embroidery. As you know I am a fan of turning jeans into bags for the girls so I love what you've done here.

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  20. wow, you just made the cutest little bag! love it! (but no favorite embroidery stitch).

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  21. Absolutely fantastic! Your donkey embroidery is so great - I love the detail! The "Don Quixote" gave me a giggle!

    I don't do much embroidery so no favourite I'm afraid!

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  22. Oh that is fabulous!!!
    All embroidery stitches are wonderful right now!

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  23. I have a pair of my non-sewing NEIGHbour's jeans on my sewing table at the moment that need repairing. Maybe I could just cut them up instead and give her a bag? Ahem, perhaps not...

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  24. Great tutorial and fun books. Embroidery is not my thing, I like to hand sew neat hems but otherwise I like to use my machine. I love those donkeys in Wellies. This would be perfect for my new granddaughter who also lives in the Manchester area.

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  25. I am already a follower. Thanks for the giveaway.

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  26. Love the bag! I used to be a big cross stitcher but stopped after my kids arrived. But I did some doodle stitching for my Brit Quilt swap this summer and really enjoyed it. Simple backstitch is probably my favourite.

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  27. I'm still pretty new to embroidery, so haven't made it to having a favourite just yet! Thx for the book reviews, my 3 yr old loves books, i'll keep an eye out for them! Ange x

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  28. Technically i wasn't a follower until today, but I have you on my favourite blog list and it tells me when you update, so I always come over and have a look. Enjoy that Manchester weather, I don't miss it since we moved to the midlands 2 years ago!! Ange x

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  29. Love the bag, especially the fun lining!

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  30. Terrific up-cycling to make the most adorabel donkey book bag!! So clever :)

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  31. Yay I am a follower too! Thanks for the embroidery pattern for the donkey. I'm just starting to get into it and love the chain stitch :)

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  32. Great bag Lucy! and I love the embroidery! I'm still a real novice at embroidery but I plan to improve!

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  33. Great tutorial. The donkey is fun. Who wouldn't want a bit of donkey fun on their bag eh?

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  34. What a brilliant tutorial - really clever way to use a pair of jeans.
    Really love the bag.

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  35. I love your wee bag, the embroidery is just perfect. Happy Donktober to you!

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  36. What a lovely bag! I love that donkey in wellies fabric. Favourite embroidery stitch? Maybe the french knot

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  37. Very cool and funny at the same time if that is possible and pinned! Thanks for the tute - my hubby has a thousand pair of jeans which I may just take my scissors to! Thanks for the giveway - I miss the rain :-(

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  38. My favourite stitch is the Leviathan stitch

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  39. I love the fact that your donkey can read. But can he play donkey kong?!

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  40. I'm a follower who's still laughing at(with?) your donkey. Great work :)

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  41. The tote is so cute. I love your donkey embroidery and that cute jeans pocket on the outside!

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  42. Love the tote. And the embroidery is darling. I love books too, so this is right up my alley.
    Thanks for sharing.

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  43. OMG how cute is that?! I just had to share it on my FB page - and your drawing skills are amazing!!!

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  44. I was just wondering how you were! I love love the bag, especially the book titles. Don Quixote is hilarious, and I love the Last Battle, nice reference!
    Loving the wellies too, I do *almost* miss the Mancunian weather.
    As for my fav stitch, split stitch is the only decorative one that I'm any good at.

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  45. And of course I am a follower!

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  46. Donkeys in wellies! I've seen that fabric before and thought it ridiculously adorable :D

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  47. I love the pile of donkey titles in your embroidery and the book reviews. Thanks Lucy.

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  48. Chain stitch is great but twisted chain takes it to another level!

    Great drawing and embroidery Lucy!

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  49. I follow this charming Lucy! Of course I do even when she is on a travelator at the NEC!

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  50. I will give your recycled bag a go! I LOVE French Knots! I will soon be "Granny" for the first time! Would be thrilled to have some children's books in my library. Love the fabric!

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  51. I have cross stitched for many years. So I suppose that's my fav!

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  52. I love your donkey bag. I've made a few things out of old jeans, but never thought to turn them inside out. Genius!

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  53. I've been a follower for a little while and read your blog in my reader. I usually catch up with you at the weekend before the children wake up!

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  54. Fantastic! You are such an artist!

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  55. Fab bag and lovely embroidery design. And Don Quixote lol!

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  56. I love this denim bag! Thanks so much for sharing!! I have a few denim items that could be repurposed to make some bags like this!

    Thanks so much for sharing!

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  57. What an adorable bag! And incredible stitching - I need to learn embroidery. I need a good handstitching project and hexies drive me bonkers! Also, my kids' first "That's Not My..." book was the donkey one!

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  58. I love how your embroidery really looks like the pages of a half opened book, very clever! I must say, I love to incorporate French knots for fun things like flower stamen and lizard toes :)

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  59. I follow your blog in google reader :)

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  60. My daughter loves Eeyore so a bag like this would be a winner, I am not very skilled at embroidery but I have to try this.

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  61. My goodness -- may I ask what method you use for transferring your embroidery patterns? It's so crystal clear! Lovely -- thanks for the chance...

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  62. HI! SUCH A CUTE GIVEAWAY!
    I LOVE ALL EMBROIDERY,BUT ESPECIALLY REDWORK-JUST FINISHED SOME SNOWMEN IN RED>SO FUN!

    msstitcher1948@yahoo.com

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  63. What a fabulous bag!!!
    I love chain stitch and colonial knots...

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  64. Love the bag - and the tutorial! May use it when I have finally accepted I will not wear my pre-preggers jeans :)

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  65. So cute! Great embroidery! Thanks for the giveaway!

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  66. I am a follower! Thanks for the chance to win!

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  67. What a cute idea for a worn out pair of jeans, and such a handsome donkey indeed!
    Thank you for the chance :)

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  68. Great tutorial. I love embroidery.
    I like CQ, and all the "fancy" stitches. I like to try them.
    Thanks for the chance to win!

    wigglypup2@yahoo.com

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  69. I am a happy follower. Thanks for
    the chance to win!

    wigglypup2(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  70. Such cute fabric, thanks for the giveaway. My favourite stitch is blanket stitch, I like to edge lots of motifs in it.
    ks(dot)eyles(at)yahoo(dot)co(dot)uk

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  71. I am a follower too. I also rather like the french knot which took me years to master.
    ks(dot)eyles(at)yahoo(dot)co(dot)uk

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  72. Thank you for a great tutorial and embroidery pattern! I love doing the lazy daisy stitch and satin stitch. I adore those donkeys ! thanks again. Hello from USA Michigan.

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  73. I am a new follower in google reader too.

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  74. I have only done hand embroidery once and I had no idea what the names are of the stitches or any stitches other than the simple back stitch so this is pretty cool to see!!! great giveaway!

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  75. Cute fabric. I could use this in the I Spy quilts I make. My favorite stitch is the Blanket Stitch. I use it a lot when I work with wool. Thanks for the chance.
    Kathy Davis
    kdavis1@centurytel.net

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  76. I like herringbone and blanket stitches. Love the donkey fabric so hope I win the Giveaway Linda on travjonuk@yahoo.com,

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  77. Great tutorial!
    I'm not a fan of donkeys but I love wellies, so donkeys in wellies -----------> come to me!!
    I can't pick out a favorite embroidery stitch but all that goes into crewel are nice:-)

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  78. I'm a stalke.. follower:-)

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  79. My favourite stitch is the feather stitch. Thanks for the chance to win.

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  80. How cute are the little boots on the donkeys! Haven't embroidered since I was a child, maybe time to take it back up again....

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  81. my favorite book as a child was Donkey, Donkey. It was an amazing story about how everyone is beautiful in their own way and I can remember as a very small child, 2-3 years old, having my mom read that book to me over and over.

    When my son was born, I dug that same book from my childhood out. He's 12 and it still sits on his bookshelf, though n ow gathering dust. It's my understanding that it's not available anymore except through collectors. Here's a link tho on amazon.

    http://www.amazon.com/Donkey-Donkey-Roger-Duvoisin/dp/0375940650

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  82. I linked over here the other day from Donktober headquarters and was so inspired buy this bag. I just wanted one. 2 days later my husband gives me three pairs of jeans to take up... :-D I have excess denim. I am a very happy camper right now. Still in e playing stages, but I will have this bag! Lol

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  83. I know the giveaway is closed, but I still had to tell you how BRILLIANT your embroidery is!

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