Friday, April 27, 2012

iPhone Pocket Tutorial

    This is a tutorial for the iPhone pocket I originally posted here. I've never written a tutorial before now, so if I leave out something of importance don't hesitate to leave me a comment. 

Materials I Used
2 fat quarters of corresponding fabric
matching thread

Tools Needed
scissors and ruler or rotary cutter and mat
iron and ironing board
sewing machine

*Please note that I switch between a 1/2" seam allowance and a 1/4" seam allowance for different steps*
*Also note that you can view a larger version of each picture by simply clicking on it*

1. Cut out the fabric. You will need two(2) pieces the outer fabric and two(2) pieces of the lining fabric 6" by 4 1/4". One(1) piece of the outer fabric 7 1/2" by 4 1/4", and one(1) piece of the lining fabric 6 1/2" by 4 1/4". That's six(6) pieces in total you need to cut out.

2. Make the first card slot. Using the piece of lining measuring 6 1/2" by 4 1/4", fold it in half with right sides together and sew a seam with a 1/2" seam allowance. Turn it right-side out and iron it flat. The finished measurements should be 3 1/4" by 4 1/4".

3. Sew the first card slot to the front. Choose one of your 6" by 4 1/4" pieces of outer fabric(we will call this the front panel) and lay it down with the good side facing up then place the piece from step 2 on it with the seam at the bottom. The distance from the bottom of the outer piece to the bottom of the card slot should be 1 1/2". Sew along the bottom of the card slot leaving a seam allowance of 1/4".

4. Make the second card slot. Take the piece of outer fabric measuring 7 1/2" by 4 1/4" and fold it in half  with the right sides facing out and iron it flat. No sewing is needed for this step. It should measure 3 3/4" by 4 1/4".

The arrows show the ironed fold

5. Sew the second card slot to the front. Pin the piece from step 4 onto the front panel making sure to line up the two bottom corners. Sew along where the dotted line is shown below and leave a 1/4" seam allowance.

Below is what your four(4) pieces should look like at this stage.

6. Sew the lining to the front and back panel. Put one piece of lining together with each of the panels with the right sides facing in. Pin and then sew both sides and the top with a 1/2" seam allowance. Leave the bottom open on both!

7. Trim the corners and turn inside out. Trim the top two corners on both panels to prevent bunching(be careful not to cut too close to the stiches). Turn both pieces inside out and iron them. You make need to push something gently up into the corners to get them to sit properly, my tool of choice for this is the end of a paint brush or a knitting needle.

8. Sew the panels together. Pin the front and back panel together with the exteriors facing in. Sew along the bottom with a 1/2" seam allowance.

9. Sew the sides. Flip it so that the right sides are facing out and iron it flat. For this step I switch to hand sewing because the sewing machine I have can't handle this many layers, but if you have a better sewing machine you can use it for this step instead. Make sure the opening at the top is lined up on both sides and sew around both sides and the bottom, leaving the top open. 

And you're done!

    Hope that was clear and understandable. Please let me know if there are any confusing parts. Thanks for looking :)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Spring Birdies

    Spring means birds chirping, flowers blooming, and bright colors. This clutch has all of it! I made this yesterday using Noodlehead's gathered clutch tutorial. It was super easy and quick and would probably be a great pattern for beginners.

    I got the fabric in a bundle of five fat quarters from Joann Fabrics. These two prints went together the best and it turns out I really like the color combo blue/purple. Who knew they looked so cute together? And I barely needed any of the bird print fabric for this so I'll still be able to use it for another project :D 

    I opted to leave out all the card slots on the inside because the function I had in mind while making this was a make up case. Although I like this one the way it is, I'm thinking I might make another will all the 'optional' things from the tutorial included before I write up a review for it.

    My zippers always used to look less than stellar. They would get bunched up and stuff at the ends where the side seam was. I recently found out a secret though, I'll try to explain it with pictures.

*This assumes you know how to make a simple zipper pouch the traditional way that I was taught*

1. Sew a little square of fabric on each end of the zipper. Cut 2 squares 2" x 2" and fold two sides into the middle, then fold it in half again so it's 1/2" x 2". Then sew then end of the zipper in it and trim the extra off of the sides. Do it again for the other side.

2. When you cut your lining and outer fabric make sure they are an inch longer than your zipper with the fabric ends. This means you are including a half inch seam allowance on your fabric but not on your zipper. When you sew around the outside(red dashed line), with the two lining fabrics together and the two exterior fabrics together, you do not sew the fabrics ends on the zipper into the seam. (I forgot to show where you would leave a gap in the stitching so you'd be able to turn the whole thing right side out)

3. This is what the ends will look like close up when you turn everything right side out. The gap that shows in the picture is unrealistic(it's a tight fold, nothing is going to fall out through it) but I was just trying to illustrate the idea better.

    If I explained something in a questionable manner let me know. Also if you're completely confused then you might not make your zipper pouches the way I used to, in which case disregard this or I can try to draw pictures for the whole process.

Thanks for looking, feel free to let me know what you think!

Comments/Criticisms welcome :)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Accordion Wallet/Clutch Pattern Review

    This is the first sewing pattern I've ever bought off of Etsy, and it was a great experience. The pattern cost $9(USD) and was emailed to me promptly in PDF file format. This pattern was designed and written by Napkitten and can be purchased from her NapkittenPattern Etsy shop. She also has a second Etsy shop for her handmade goods which you can check out here, and a crafty blog here.  
    If you are looking to make a wallet and size matters to you, then this pattern would be great for you. It's hard to tell the size of it from the pictures in the Etsy listing because there are no reference points for comparison in the images and it's actually a bit larger than I imagined it to be(which is never a bad thing when it comes to wallets). The finished size of mine is roughly 7.5" wide, 4.5" tall and 1.5" thick(when closed), it opens up really wide thanks to the accordion style sides. It has 5 divided sections, 6 card slots, and a zippered section for change or other small objects.

Materials I Used
pink thread
black thread
an 8" pink zipper
1 set of magnetic snaps
medium weight fusible interfacing
heavy weight interfacing
2 fat quarters of the black print fabric(for the exterior, accordion sides, and card slots)
2 fat quarters of the pink lily print fabric(for the inside sections and the inside of the flap)
1 fat quarter of the pink fabric with the smaller design(for the bias tape)
*the pattern gives instructions for adding a D ring and long swivel clip to make the wallet convertible into a wristlet but I didn't include that on the one I made

Tools Needed
sewing machine(with a regular foot and a zipper foot)
ruler(the pattern doesn't give you printable pattern pieces, just the dimensions of the pieces you friendly!)
marking utensil
scissors(optional rotary cutter and cutting mat)
needle(for the hand sewing)
pliers(for installing the magnetic snaps)
bias take maker if you have one(I don't)

    When I first opened the pattern files I'll admit I was a little intimidated. There are 32 pages in the document but that didn't seem excessive once I saw how much detail was put into each step. Napkitten made sure to include all the information needed to be able to follow the instructions without having me second guessing what I was trying to accomplish. There are also a ton of images, at least 5 pictures for each step and sometimes as many as 20, and they helped me a lot by showing me exactly what my project should look like at that stage.
    Since this was my first time using this pattern, as well as my first time making anything similar to this style, I made sure to double triple check that what I was doing was correct before doing it. This clearly made the whole process take a lot longer than it could have but luckily I didn't make too many errors as a result. I spent about 1.5 hours cutting the fabrics and interfacing(I marked the fabric and then cut pieces out with scissors, if I had used a rotary cutter this would have taken much less time). The actual construction took me an entire afternoon and evening, and then I was probably hand sewing the bias tape on for somewhere between 1 and 2 hours. I plan on using this pattern again soon and I will be sure to update how long it takes me the second time through.

    On a side note, this was my first time using bias tape and I made it myself using this continuous bias tape tutorial. The tutorial is great and has got to be one of the most efficient way to get bias tape from a square piece of fabric. My only issue was that the tutorial gives you instructions to make 1" wide bias tape, and Napkitten's pattern calls for bias tape that is 2" wide. Luckily I realized before I got to the ironing step(ironing bias tape without a bias tape maker is finicky), but I had started cutting so I ended up wasting some fabric. Once I altered the measurements to be a bit wider the tutorial worked perfectly.
    Ok so, I've never written a review for a sewing pattern before. I tried to include everything I think would be useful/interesting to someone who is thinking about trying out this pattern, but if I left out something noteworthy or there are any questions please leave a comment. If you'd like to read more about the wallet I made be sure to check out my blog post here :)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Pink Hair/Pink Wallet

    A long time ago Nikki gave me one of those books full of interior design fabric samples that had been given to her by her mother, that had been given to her mother by some lady? I promised Nikki in exchange I would make a wallet for her out of some of the samples. I promptly made a wallet(it was ugly, so no pictures) and tried to sell it on Etsy(unsuccessfully). After that I made a wallet for myself, and then two more for my Etsy shop(which also didn't sell). But still no wallet for Nikki :( This was probably at least a year ago, and although I never forgot that I owed Nikki, I also didn't do anything about it... Until now! 

    Behold! Nikki's super late awesome pink and black accordion wallet! I'm not sure if her favorite color is hot pink... but her hair is hot pink, so when I think of Nikki I think of hot pink... or when I think of hot pink I think of Nikki, I'm not 100% sure. But either way I thought black and pink would be a good color combo for her. 

    I made this using Napkitten's Accordion wallet/clutch sewing pattern and it's great. There is so much room inside with 5 divided  sections, 6 card slots, and a zippered section. When closed this wallet measures roughly 7 1/2" by 4 1/2" and is about 1 1/2" wide(even when full). I tried to see how much it could hold but I ran out of things to put in it >.< It fit all the cards from my regular wallet, receipts and random papers, paper bills, a bunch of change in the zippered pocket, 2 iPods(I would have shown my phone instead of the 2nd iPod but I needed it to take the picture with), and a pad of paper(I didn't have a checkbook on hand, but it could fit 2 or 3 in one section easily).

    I am in love with this pattern, check out my review of it here. Let me know what you think!

Comments/Criticisms welcome :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

One of The Best Presents Ever

    Kindles are great! For the longest time I thought they were frivolous toys and I had no real interest in them. I love books, I love the smell of books, I love the feeling of turning the pages of a book. Yep, I was a book girl. Screw e-readers, who needs them? Or so I thought, until I was given one as a gift. Amazing, seriously amazing. Books are way cheaper on it, I can buy the next book on my reading list without even getting off the couch, I can bring countless books with me at a time, I can change the print size when I'm tired, the list goes on and on... And so, to give such a great device the respect and safety it deserves, I have made it a case. <3

    In case you were wondering, I have the Kindle Keyboard(wifi version). If you are looking for an e-reader(and not an e-reader/tablet hybrid fancy-pants thing) this is the one I would recommend. Although e-ink is only black and white, it's so easy on the eyes and is honestly the closest looking thing to a physical book page in my experience.

    The case is a simple 8" x 5 1/4' zippered pouch. I added a pocket on the front to make it a little more interesting, though I'm not entirely sure what I'm going to keep in it(the charger fits well enough, but considering how rarely I need to use it I'm sure there's a more practical use for the pocket).

    I absolutely love the print on this fabric, it makes me think of flower petals, butterfly wings, and cloudy sky all at the same time. The interior and front pocket are fully lined in a cream color that matches the zipper. Both the outside fabric and the lining came from fat quarters from Joann Fabrics. This project used less fabric than I anticipated it would, I think I'd be able to make a second one completely out of the leftovers. In an effort to add a little bit more protection to the case I used some extra thick interfacing. I had some issues using this interfacing before, when I was turning the camera case I made right side out, because of all the bulk the interfacing added. So this time, to save myself the trouble, I simply slipped two rectangles of interfacing in between the lining and the exterior after everything was sewed up(save a hole at the bottom of the lining). I'm going to have to remember this method in the future because it was much easier.

    I'm pretty happy I can keep my Kindle in my bag without having to worry about bumps and scratches anymore. I'm also fairly pleased that I found a project for this fabric that I will get some use out of  :) I tend to use my prettiest fabrics for projects for others so they get given away or end up just sitting around unused. Anyways, let me know what you think!

Comments/Criticisms welcome :)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Happy Easter!

    *Click here to see the tutorial for this project*

    One of my besties, Nicole(Nikki), recently got a new iPod touch, and by recently I mean... November? Not that recently I guess, but she for real recently(March) told me she was in need of a case for her iPod. She keeps it in her bag when she goes out and a girl's bag can be a very dangerous place, especially for things prone to scratches. I should also mention that, in addition to finding joy in making stuff for my friends, I owe Nikki big time. As a going away present she gave me the most gorgeous thing that was ever made from glass. It was one of her projects at school and she put sooo many hours of work into it. I love it and now Nikki has the right to ask me to make her pretty much anything.

    Some time in the past year or so I had made a case for my own iPod touch. I never ended up using it, but I had got my iPod second hand and there was no room left on the screen for any more scratches so it wasn't it a huge deal. It was a little brown faux suede pouch with flannel ducky fabric on the inside and used a velcro closure. This could be perfect for Nicole, the only issue is it's location... a box somewhere at my mom's house I'm guessing, but I really can't be sure. In any case(hah) hunting it down was not a reasonable option, so back to the old sketchpad I went. 

    In my very professional research searches on Etsy(Bags and Purses>scroll>next page>scroll >next>page>scroll> and so on until my eyes get tired) I have come across these awesome little phone cases with one or 2 card pockets on the front. They are so perfectly simple and not at all bulky. I always picture them tucked in a back pocket on a pair of jeans, they seem like a perfect grab and go type item. But leather isn't really my style so I thought I would try my hand at making one out of some regular cotton fabric from Joann Fabrics(the beige print was from a fat quarter and the minty green was found in the remnants bin).

    Unfortunately, shortly after I picked out the fabrics and started cutting, I realized they didn't really suit Nicole(in my mind at least, she says they're fine :p). I figured I would finish what I had started regardless because I was really in a sewing mood and not using the pieces I had already cut out would be a waste. Next time I go to the fabric store I will have to shop with her in mind. 

    Now, I'm not going to say hand sewing is the worst part of the projects I get myself into, because pinning and cutting out pattern pieces can sometimes makes me want to stab myself with a blunt cross stitching needle, but it's one of the more time consuming tasks and it's always disappointing for the perfectionist in me. On almost every project I make with the sewing machine there is a little bit of hand sewing involved to sew up the little hole left behind when I turn the piece right side out after machine sewing it inside out. But that's usually just a straight seam, about 2-4 inches long, and I use an 'invisible' stitch. The top stitching on this case was much different because it would be in plain sight and fairly noticeable. I also had to get the needle through up to 16 layers of fabric when I was going around the bottom two corners because that's where all the seam allowances piled up. Mind you the cotton fabric I used was very thin, but believe me it adds up! Overall, my opinion of my hand stitching skill is... could be worse but could be better. At least I have Nicole's case to make in the future which will force a little more practice out of me.

*Click here to see the tutorial for this project*

Let me know what you think!

Comments/Criticisms welcome :)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Demi Shell Completed!

    I've finished my first handmade shell for my Miche bag! I have the Demi Shell and for $35-40 for an authentic shell I figured it was worth trying to make my own. I learned a bunch of things along the way and there are a couple things I'm going to change next time. But this was my first attempt and I think it might just be usable :)

    I was on the fence for the past few days about whether or not to simply line it, or make it reversible. I even went as far as to cut out pockets for the blue side, but then I changed my mind back. So this bag isn't reversible... but who would want to hide its pretty flowers anyways?

    It's lined in a matching blue cotton from Joann Fabrics. If I do decide to make straps to go with this shell I'm going to use this fabric instead of the flower print because I love how bright it is (I also may have used up all the printed fabric making the shell). The other thing I'm thinking about adding is a grommet on each side so I have the option of using a cross-body shoulder strap. 

    The flaps, which have the magnets in them, show my favorite part of the print on the exterior fabric(I generally love most things with leaves and vines). But I wasn't able to piece the pattern properly on the fabric to use the leaf design on the outside, this was the best I could do :( I also didn't intend to use the daisy design twice but, since I was using a upcycled item, there were a lot of seams and things I needed to work around. Oh well, next time I will use new fabric. Next time I will also add pockets, lots and lots of pockets... >:)

Comments/Criticisms welcome :)