Tag Archives: gift

Laptop cover: Sew Selfless September

7 Oct

This is the last of my SSS items! I didn’t actually finish it in September, but that is due to a combination of: making the beanbag cover from my last post when I should have been doing this, then being ill, then my sewing machine going haywire after I’d only sewn about a quarter of it. Anyway, my sewing machine perked up again on Sunday so I decided to finish it and hope that it could still count.

Sew Selfless September_bigger

Click to go through to Sometimes Sewist’s SSS intro

My boyfriend has decided to replace his 8-year old laptop (surprisingly) with a shiny new, fast, smaller one since he is starting his PhD. He got a MacBook Pro 13″ (normal, not air). Ages ago he chose this zig-zag fabric without us knowing what to do with it, and when he got the MacBook I hoped that the single fat quarter which we bought would be enough for – and it turns out that it definitely is!

I decided to opt for an envelope-style, as he wanted it to be waterproof and I felt that needed something which was covered on all six sides. So this needed a FQ of outside fabric, a FQ of batting (I used quilting cotton batting), and a FQ of waterproof fabric (mine was navy nylon).

Laptopcase_bottom

Here’s the stripes all lining up next to the flap:

Laptopcase_tom

And a close-up of the binding which I used to close the edge where the case opens to let the laptop in/out – it is not perfect by any means and I think the envelope style makes it a little harder to have neat edges – I wonder if somehow a zipped-up case might have actually made it easier to have all the raw edges enclosed and everything a bit neater? Anyway, I made my own bias binding for the first time! It was only about 25cm worth but still.

Laptopcase_binding1Laptopcase_binding2

I haven’t written out all of my instructions but I kept all of my measurements and doodles, so feel free to ask, though there’s so many out there already that unless you are as fussy as me I am sure you can find what you want.

He is really happy with it and it kept his laptop dry when he and the contents of his bag got quite wet during a cycle in the rain (yay British autumn) so it serves its purpose!

I didn’t have any sew-on Velcro and my metal snappers/fasteners risk scratching his laptop so it doesn’t fasten for now, but the flap is just long enough to get away with that until I can get to Hobbycraft / John Lewis.

If that is allowed to count in my Sew Selfless September, then I managed to complete my task successfully! Though if it doesn’t I don’t mind much, as I was able to make plenty of things for people and three people have benefitted well from it :)

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Beanbag cover (Sew Selfless September)

5 Oct

I did make this over a week ago, in September, but I have been far too busy to post it!

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My sister left for uni last Saturday!  She asked me to make her a new beanbag cover since the previous one was a bit childish…

We don’t have many fabric shops around here, and I didn’t have time to order from eBay before she left, so I got her to go to a local shop and buy a cheap duvet cover.  £8 for a double duvet set! So much fabric.

I used the old one to slightly work out what to do and saw that it had a circular base of 18″ diameter. I wanted the new cover to be slightly smaller  so I decided to make my circle base 18″ before seams so 16″ after.
I didn’t want to have to put in a zip or some type of fastening especially when the duvet has one,  so I drew a semi circle with the straight edge a cm away from the snap fasteners / poppers at the bottom of the duvet cover.

Beanbag_basemeasuring

Beanbag_base1

Then I cut a piece the rest of the length of the fabric (about 60″) and 26″wide. I left I the extra few inches of length on (you need the perimeter of the circle, so 3.14*diameter plus seam allowance plus a few extra inches to account for issues caused by attaching a straight line to a curve)

(I didn’t take any pictures of the next few steps – I hope they are clear if anyone is following them but I’m not trying to sell this as a tutorial…)

I then sewed the base to the rectangular piece I just cut, with the perimeter of the base being attached to the longer edge of the rectangle. I only pinned the start then kept adjusting the fabric as I went.  I sewed french seams for the base but not for the other seams as I realised it was incredibly pointless and was making the calculations a bit more tricky.

Now that I had the base attached to the main body of the bean bag, I sewed up the side seam (where the two ends of the rectangle meet. Next I laid it flat on the floor and measured the width of the beanbag – it was 28″ folded over so 56″ overall. I sewed four darts 7″ inch deep and 6″ wide, to taper the sides out into leaving just a few inches at the top for me to insert a handle into.

For the handle I sewed a 9″ wide strip of fabric together inside out, turned it right side out, and inserted it into that gap left at the top of the beanbag.

Here it is in situ:

Beanbag in sister's room

This did come under my Sew Selfless September pledge but I still had to make something for my boyfriend since my pledge specifically stated that I would. I had a few problems with the sewing machine, and with maths and visualising it, however it is done and I will post it soon :)

Sew Selfless September: A sewing kit

14 Sep

My sister leaves in two weeks for university, and doesn’t have anything resembling a sewing kit. Not even some black/white thread and a needle. She can definitely hand sew to mend her clothes as she sometimes borrows my stuff to do so. It is also her birthday today, which is a perfect coincidence. I decided to make her a hand-picked sewing kit. I used Truly Myrtle’s Box Bag Tutorial, which I should say upfront was really excellent. It is quite a tricky process (for me as a beginner) and you have to look at the pictures carefully to make sure that you understand as you go along, but it works really well and I was so pleased with the result. I’ll definitely be making another sometime, maybe for my cross-stitch stuff. I was originally going to make the one which I mentioned in this post, however I feel that the box bag offers more opportunity for expansion, and I am hoping that this will be the main kit she uses – the one in that link would be better suited to a travel version. 20140914 Sewing kit_equipment I wanted my bag to be the same dimension as that in the tutorial, so I used:

  • Two pieces of fabric 13.5″x17″ (from fat quarters)
  • Two pieces of interfacing 13″x16.5″ (one heavy, one light)
  • One 14″ white YK zip
  • Scissors, pins, zipper foot, ruler, rotary cutter, cutting mat, white thread, and my SEAM RIPPER

20140914 Sewing kit_closed bag 3 It is not symmetrical as you can see there, however I take comfort in that the line is at least straight so it is ok for it to be off-centre. 20140914 Sewing kit_bag contents 2 I hand-sewed on this ribbon that I got from eBay (only half of those red stitches are mine) You’ll notice that I left off the handle. By that point of the tutorial I had found it so hard (I am a little ill and it was 2am, my fault not that of the tutorial!) that I was convinced that it would be a royal mess when I turned it out, so chose not to add the handle. I regret not adding the handle, as it was one of two really good things about this tutorial (the other being that it is lined and seamless) and I think it would have looked nicer than I thought in my tired state. 20140914 Sewing kit_bag contens full It contains:

  • 6 spools of thread (black, white, red, beige, blue, brass)
  • two needle threaders
  • a thimble
  • safety pins in 4 sizes (36)
  • sew-on snappers (helpful for gaping tops/dresses!)
  • a dressmakers’ measuring tape
  • hemming web
  • a seam ripper
  • 24 needles in a felted needle book which matches the box bag!
  • some nice sewing scissors which my mum has bought her separately

I made the needle book quite quickly out of some scrap fabric – I had been planning to make this really awesome one from Diary of a Crafty Lady, but again was a bit tired and couldn’t face it, but I wouldn’t have had enough matching fabric for it anyway. Maybe I’ll buy a pretty fabric and make her one for Christmas and she can use this one for her pins? 20140914 Sewing kit_needle book closed 20140914 Sewing kit_needle book p1 20140914 Sewing kit_needle book p2 The needle book took about 10 minutes to make and just uses two bits of felt and two bits of fabric. I bought the ‘hook and loop’ (John Lewis brand instead of Velcro) and didn’t realise it was adhesive until I went to use it. I also didn’t realise that you can’t sew through adhesive hook and loop (unless it is the special ‘stick and sew’ kind) until my needle got stuck and subsequently broke. Oops. It was a really simple process. Sew two rectangles of fabric together right sides together, with a small seam allowance all around, leaving an inch un-sewn to turn it right side out. Turn it right side out, iron it, and top stitch around the edges. Sew the two pieces of felt onto the book with a line completely down the centre of the fabric and felt, and iron it folded so that it holds that shape easier. Attach two pieces of hook and loop, and it’s done!

20140914 Sewing kit_maythethoughts

I am giving it to her alongside my favourite book, a collection from a London artist from http://www.maythethoughtsbewithyou.com (a personalised signed copy!)

With this post I am two-thirds of my way through my Sew Selfless September pledge. Jess of the Sometimes Sewist  set up Sew Selfless September to encourage us all to sew for others this month. I pledged to make items for three people: my sister-in-law (posted here), my sister (this post), and my boyfriend (which won’t be easy, but I have some ideas – watch this space).

Sew Selfless September: a pillowcase and an eye mask

6 Sep

Sew Selfless September_bigger

This is my first Sew Selfless September post (see my pledge here), and I’ve made two items! It has been a bit hectic this week so I am posting them together :)

It was my sister-in-law’s birthday this week. She had asked me to make a baby pillowcase, and I had some fabric leftover from the baby quilt which I’d been (secretly) making. The pieces of fabric that I had were perhaps an inch or so too small, so it didn’t fit perfectly, but I am happy with it (the closest I have ever got a line of stitching to the zip – unfortunately no close-ups)

Baby_pillowcase_front

baby_pillowcase_back

The back – excuse the poor lighting/angle/background

And it matches the quilt, so I gave them to her together:

SAM_2303

I was so happy about the zip that I couldn’t face ripping it out when I realised that I’d sewn it in upside down. I wanted the zip pull to be at the TOP of the pillow when closed so it’d be away from the baby’s face. I have several potential solutions: cover it in ribbon/soft stuff; use the pillow upside down; or cut off the zipper pull and attach ribbon or some other soft thing. Hmmm.

Another snag about the zip: I didn’t really think about merging it in. I normally insert zips like in this coin purse, so didn’t really think about the zip being in a corner. I’d appreciate any tutorial recommendations / tips!

 

My SECOND make this week, and one that took about half an hour without a pattern, is an eye mask also for my sister-in-law.

20140903_EyeMask_front_1

20140903_EyeMask_back

I used some of the fabric which I used for her Christmas presents, and bought some purple lingerie elastic as I didn’t know how big her head is and it has plenty of give, is pretty, and comfy! I decided to use two straps, as that is what I have on the shop-bought eye mask which I have, and it is MUCH better than having just one strap – highly recommended.

I used a fleecy material for the back, which is so comfy. I wonder if I should have used interfacing – though as I had half an hour to make and wrap this I didn’t have time to find and cut some once I realised!

Even though I made two items, I am still only really a third of the way through my pledge, as I pledged to make items for three separate people – I’m hoping to get some time today to make my sister’s birthday present….

 

WIP: My first quilt – one step to go!

26 Jul

I’m one step away from finishing my first quilt! Just the binding left to go.

Only the binding left to do!

Only the binding left to do!

I am not sure if you can see properly but as well as the horizontal lines in the off-white strips I’ve done a sort of square zig-zag through the patterned rows.

I promise to post a whole host of close-ups and better pictures once I have completely finished it!

The pattern is from ohfrannson, but it doesn’t contain any instructions on how to quilt, quite reasonably since there are loads of tutorials and tips on the internet! Nonetheless this left me a bit too scared to quilt, but having my first completely free weekend for a while which is likely to be my last for another long while, I decided to just get on with it!

I bought a walking foot from eBay, and used the instructions from justquilty to attach it to my machine – the instructions are SO simple I would definitely recommend it to anyone else struggling to install their walking foot. Also, mine was a reasonably cheap (~£10) one rather than the £30 Singer one, and it seems to work just fine! I absolutely adore the walking foot, and can see myself using it for other projects now too :)

Next up – the binding. Eep! I am slightly terrified by this, as anyone who saw the mess I made of my Sorbetto will understand. I think this time I will buy the real stuff, from John Lewis or a reliable eBay/etsy store, rather than what I have now discovered was a cheap and uneven version (which I bought from an Indian fabric store in Ilford, East London).

Does anyone have any tips for the binding? I don’t know what thickness of binding I should use, or whether I should try rounded or mitred corners? I would be very grateful for any advice – hopefully I’ll get some time in the next couple of weeks to pop to JL and maybe even to actually tackle the binding :)

I feel like I have learned so much already working on this quilt. I have more of an appreciation for consistent seam allowances, and the usefulness of a walking foot, and that it is sometimes necessary to manually walk the machine through a few stitches, and that you should definitely check the bobbin occasionally to avoid horrendous moments when you run out of thread at the start of a metre-long line and don’t realise until the end. I think this won’t be my last ever quilt :)

WIP: My first patchwork quilt front :)

22 Jul

My first patchwork quilt front! Or patchwork anything! Sorry for the blurriness – need a new camera

I made my first patchwork! It has taken me far too long to get this far, but the quilt front is now ready to be quilted with the batting and fleece backing I bought ages ago.

Now to work out

(1) how to use my walking foot (not to mention how to install it)

(2) how to do the lines for the quilting

It is coming together :) The baby is due in eight weeks so there is time :)

Mini sewing kit, a lingerie bag, and more fabric!

18 May
2014.05.18 EllisSewingKit_upright

See below for link to tutorial (and the inside!)

I’ve had a busy week! Yesterday I popped down to Ilford lane (a little bus ride from where I live)

I managed to get the below, plus 3 yards of black 0.5″ bias binding and some thread, for £10! 1.5 yards of each fabric, with the big floral pattern being 60″ wide and the others 45″ :)

Image

I think I might make a blouse out of the fabric on the right, and bag of the one on the left. The white is for a quilt but it is more sheer than I thought in the shop (maybe she picked up the wrong roll!) but I’ve found some cream fabric at home which might work anyway.

Well, now my main stash looks like this, but I have just as much again waiting in plastic bags…

2014.05.14 Fabric stash

At gone midnight last night/this morning, I decided to do something about it. I bought those mesh bags to keep my tights in in the wash, however the pack of three have now all broken. I salvaged a zip from one, and  hit my stash to find a fabric I didn’t mind if only I ever see, and in about 30 minutes made the following (including french seams). I rushed as nobody will ever see it apart from this blog, and it is already half full!  The lines are inches, for scale :)

2014.05.17 Lingerie bag

But that used only a little bit of fabric… so today I tried a new project; a mini sewing kit! My boyfriend often asks me to lend him supplies to fix his clothes, so I thought I could give him his own set. There’s a great little tutorial at ‘roseycornercreations‘, which was really easy to follow. I didn’t have any felt so I just used that pink velvety fabric, which does work well but is hard to handle in a machine, resulting in a slightly wonky finish, but not too much I think :)

2014.05.18 EllisSewingKit_closed

All I needed was 13″x7″ of one fabric (the tutorial recommends 9″ of one and 4″ of another, but I didn’t have manly coordinating fabrics), 4″x7″ of felt/velvet, a button, and an elastic hairband.

2014.05.18 EllisSewingKit_materials

I’ve sewn buttons before, but I’ve never actually followed any method. So today I decided to use the instructions from ‘theartofmanliness‘ which was really easy to follow and has made it really strong with less thread than I usually use, and a lot neater!

Then I loaded up some cardboard pieces with the colours most dominant in his wardrobe (plus a few empty spares), added some pins, needles, and buttons, and it looks nice and full (the lines are cm, for scale):

2014.05.18 EllisSewingKit_open

From find the fabric to taking the finished photos took about 1h20mins – I really hope he likes it! I will see him next week to give it to him :) I am clearly loving my new rotary cutter and mat :D

Next up: I am working away on my quilt, hope to make a blouse, I’ll be making some luggage tags, and I am about to finish off my father’s day cross stitch :)