Thursday, 17 January 2013

Favourite makes (Part 4 - William's bed tidy)

I may have mentioned that we're having a baby (just once or twice!). It's our third which means that in some ways I'm much less stressed about it - after all, we have most of the 'stuff' and we pretty much know what to do with a baby by now!  However, having a third baby does require some logistical changes - for example, we've had to buy a bigger car!  We also needed to change bedrooms around.  Emily will be sharing with the baby, and so needed to move from the box room into the larger spare room.  This move required a very specific 'make' (my favourite ever make!) which I will blog about in due course.

I think because I knew that this move was coming up, and would involve some 'making it special' touches for Emily, I started to look at William's bedroom to with a view to giving him some special attention too.  Being a clergy family we don't own the house we live in, and we know that we'll only be here for a couple of years, so we won't be painting the walls or making any alterations.  William's room is small and the previous occupant was clearly a teenage boy.  The colour on the walls made the space feel dark, and there was just no room to play.  It just didn't feel like a little boy's room.

The solution: we bought a pine loft bed from ebay!  It has made all the difference.  He now has a larger floor space to play in, and he loves sleeping up high (not to mention climbing and swinging from it like a monkey!).  Of course, the thing I realised when we actually came to put him to bed the first night was that there was nowhere within reach to put a drink - even the windowsill was too much of a stretch - and as the week went on the bed steadily filled with books (which William would happily sleep on!).  So I promised him a bed shelf - until I saw the price of them!!  Even ebay prices were extortionate for what was essentially a plank of wood with fixings.

So, onto the make!  Being as I am not known for my carpentry skills, I decided to sew a bed tidy for him instead.  In fact, I was really glad of the idea as I usually find it easier to think of girly things to make for Emily and had been wondering for a while how to even it up a bit.

I had a look around on the web for ideas and tutorials, but I already had an idea of what I wanted and couldn't find anything that quite fit the bill, so I took the plunge and made it up as I went along.  Some of my techniques may be a little unorthodox, and I'm sure it could be improved upon, but I will try and show my progress step by step.

First things first, I laid out my base fabric (another trusty IKEA curtain ofcut!), decided how big I wanted it (both by measuring the area I wanted to hang it in on the bed and by laying out some books to give me an idea of the scale of the pockets I wanted) and cut out a back piece and four pieces for hanging straps, including a small hem allowance.  To be honest I was guessing when it came to the straps, but thankfully it turned out ok.

I then wrapped my books and formed some extra pockets out of my pocket fabric (chosen by the boy himself from IKEA, the haberdashery dept this time).  I cut these out, again leaving a hem allowance on all sides (leave a larger allowance on the pockets - you don't want to find that the books won't fit once you've finished!).

It's hard to see here but I factored in a sort of concertina effect on the larger of the two small pockets as wanted it to open wider to hold a drink.  There are more pics further down the post that attempt to show how I did this.

I ironed all the edges of the base material under twice and hemmed all the pieces, then pinned on the straps at regular intervals across the top edge.  I also positioned all my velcro pieces by taking the whole thing up to the bed and trying it over the rail to work out where I needed to put the bottom tabs.  I used a box stitch to fix the straps to the main piece, and to sew on the top and bottom velcro tabs.  I reinforced this a couple of time around to make it really strong, knowing that it was likely to get overloaded with books if not swung on from time to time!

My velcro tabs look a bit wobbly from the back as it's tricky to keep the velcro still whilst stitching from the other side, but the boxes look fairly neat from the front.

The next job was to pin the pockets on where I wanted them.  I hemmed the top edge of each, sewing a double line like a tramline as I had decided to fix the pockets on to the main piece with a double line for extra strength.  I don't have a twin needle attachment for my machine so I just did this by sewing round twice (again, just make sure you have left enough hem allowance so that the books will still fit once you've sewn your double lines!).

Sewing the concertina pocket on was a little tricky.  I started by folding and ironing the pocket in the shape I wanted. I sewed down the middle crease (right sides together) to help hold the shape.  Folding the whole of the bottom edge over to form a hem I attached the bottom of the pocket to the main piece first with my two lines of stitching.  Then I carefully stitched the back fold of the pocket to the main piece on each side, staying as close to the edge as I could manage.  It's probably not the best technique, but it seems to work.

And TA DAAHHH....... you're done!

Here it is, installed on the side of my son's bed.  He loves it, and it definitely helps keep his bed and room tidier.  I went with a large book pocket, a slightly smaller book pocket, a drink holder, and a 'secrets pocket', but hey, anything goes!

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