Are you looking to get creative and do you need some inspiration for your next crafts or textiles project? Are you looking for fun activities to keep you or your children busy at home? Do you have a sewing machine that you could make use of? Kitenge is here to provide you with some inspiration for your next sewing project!
There is an endless list of things that you can easily make at home. Here are some of the best ideas! You may need a few items to get you started such as a sewing kit, a pair of fabric scissors and some extra items such as zips or buttons.
If you have some birthdays coming up then why not make a unique and personalised gift that your friend or relative can treasure forever. Homemade gifts mean so much more than shop-bought items as they are more personal. Making gifts at home could save you money too.
If you are learning how to sew then a simple coin purse is a great accessory to begin with. All you need is some fabric and a small zip. More experienced sewers can make the design as complex as they like by including a separate compartment for coins, cards and notes.
Why not try making a clutch bag with a small inside zip pocket, which is great for evening wear and formal occasions.
Makeup pouches come in different styles, shapes and sizes. You could make a simple bag with a zip and a wipe-clean lining inside like the example below or you could make a make-up brush holder that you can roll and tie with some ribbon. Both options are great for travel and storage at home.
Laptop bags and cases are really simple to make. You can add a zip fastener or a flap that is sealed by velcro, a magnetic popper or a button. Tablet cases can be fiddly to make but look fabulous. We made this patchwork iPad cover as a birthday present for a relative for her 90th birthday and she loved it!
Yoga bags are brilliant for keeping your mat clean and are easy to store inside your home. They also make it easier to carry your mat to class as they have a handy strap. We included a drawstring tie at the top of the bag to stop the mat from falling out.
Bum bags are really useful for carrying around small items including your phone, keys, change and mobile phone. They are more challenging to make compared to more simple tote bags but well worth the end result.
Do you have any friends or relatives who are soon to be parents? If you have more time on your hands then why not make them a playmat as a gift especially if they are having a baby shower coming up. You can be as imaginative and creative as you like with the design and use of sensory materials.
Do you fancy sprucing up your bedroom but don’t want to re-paint or remove wallpaper? A great way to change the look of a bedroom is by changing the colours and patterns of your pillows, sheets and duvet covers! Make sure you leave enough seam allowance so that the cushions and quilt can fit easily inside.
Square or rectangular cushion covers are great fun and easy to make and can easily transform your sofa and living room. You can be as creative as you like with the design but simple usually looks best. If you are a more experienced sewer then you can add piping to the outside of the cushion cover(s). Fasten with zips or buttons.
Blankets are easy to make and keep on the sofa (or your bed) when you are feeling cold and want to snuggle to keep warm. If the fabric you are using is relatively thin then you could add a fleece lining on one side of the cloth.
Why not use a variety of different fabrics and make a unique quilt that you or a loved one can treasure forever!
A handmade oven glove or mitt can be made by adding some wadding (filling) inside and can help make cooking more fun and interesting if you use fabric with a fun and creative design such as pineapples for example. If you are running out of ideas of what item to make next then try this idea for your next project.
If you wear aprons a lot in the kitchen, or when cleaning the house, why not treat yourself by making a brand new one. They are very easy and simple to make. You could make the tie yourself by using the same material or purchase some taping in a colour to match the colours in the main fabric.
If you are feeling adventurous, why not make yourself some brand new curtains! Do you have a window in the house that still needs a curtain or have you wanted to replace a particular curtain in the house for some time?
Depending on what type of curtain or blind you are making it is best to add a lining to make them last longer and to prevent sunlight from coming into the room if desired.
There are so many types of hair accessories that you can make with fabric. If you have lots of random leftover offcuts then why not make a new hair scrunchie, hair band or hair clip for you or a loved one.
You could also make your own unique headwrap for bad hair days. Watch the video demonstration below to get some ideas of how to tie your headwrap easily at home. There are so many different ways to wear a headwrap and you just require one piece of fabric cut to the right dimensions.
If you only want to use a small piece of fabric or don’t have a lot of spare time on your hands then you could make yourself an eye mask to improve the quality and longevity of your sleep. If you have one at home then you can copy the construction and even reuse the elastic.
By recycling old materials and up-cycling them into new products you are helping to protect the environment.
You may need to purchase a ‘how to kit’ to make a lampshade, which is readily available online. We used such a kit to make this lampshade and it was very easy to follow the instructions and quick to make. We were really happy with the end result and it helped to brighten up our bedroom.
Get inspired by these African print lampshades handmade by Tropikala using our authentic fabrics.
Colourful fabrics and those with unusual patterns are great for covering your favourite notebook or folder. This is a really simple exercise that shouldn’t involve any sewing if you use glue. You could make a reusable cover by sewing one together instead.
If you have lots of random leftover scrap fabrics at home you could make some bunting to decorate your home, garden or even your camper van? After making enough triangles or rectangles sew them onto a long piece of tape. Make sure you leave enough space on either end so you can easily tie them when hanging them up. They make great party decorations too.
Napkins are very easy to make and can be a talking point at a dinner party or even a wedding. A friend of ours made individual napkins using different materials in the colour theme for her wedding. They were also keepsake gifts for her guests, which was a lovely personal touch.
Like napkins, why not also make a matching table runner to complete the look on your dining room table. It is best to choose a fabric with colours that match the decor in your dining room. You could use the same fabric print design as the napkins but a different colourway so that the table runner is the main focal point.
What’s great about wall hangings is that you can be as creative as you like! The wall hanging could be inspired by: a particular country or place that you love to visit, a life event, nature, animals or landscapes. The possibilities are endless and we are sure you will have lots of fun making and designing it.
If you are not sure how to make any of the above products then there are some great ‘how to guides’ that you can watch on YouTube. One of our tailors, Betty, taught herself how to sew by watching videos on YouTube and by using her Mum’s old sewing machine that is more than 30 years old in Tanzania!
We have a wonderful collection of bold and vibrant, one of a kind, African print fabric in our online shop. Why not have a browse while you are here and see if they are any colours or patterns that you like the look of for your next crafts, textiles or dressmaking projects.
For children, you could make some glove puppets, jewellery, hair accessories, buttons or even use the ankara fabric as inspiration for drawing, colouring-in or creating your own prints with paint like these primary school children in the UK.
Our fabrics are available in 1 to 6 yards pieces so that you can order the exact amount that you need. We may also have some fat quarters available if you only need a small amount for a quilting project for example.
All our fabrics are printed in Nigeria, West Africa, using locally grown cotton and sourced from a family-run small business in Tanzania, East Africa.
We ship our fabrics promptly from Tanzania to many different countries worldwide. For further information please visit our delivery and wash care pages. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.
Click here for important information related to shipping and COVID-19.
Enjoy getting creative!
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