Monday, 21 March 2011

My sewing machine is no longer naked!

My sewing machine lives on my desk next to my laptop and it is quite happy there. However I am fed up that every time I start sewing I have to dust it off, it just seems to attract dust. 
Dusty sewing machine :(

 This could be a hint that I need to clean more, however I decided I would make a cover for it instead. I found this lovely linen on and decided to give it a go.
Firstly I made a practise cover from calico which I drew on and could unpick and move the seams without worrying about waste. This worked out well as I only had my sewing machine as a guide for the size. Essentually I started with two large rectangles and two thinner ones and adjusted the seams until it was a good fit.
calico with pins.

Then I cut the pattern fabric based on the calico cover with a seam allowance.

I had some issues with the cutting as I didn't quite have enough fabric, I had not ordered enough. Therefore one of the panels (typical that it is the front one!) is 3 sections stiched together. The square pattern on the fabric was useful for this and made the joins hander to see.
Front panel with sections

Next  I sewed up the four side seams, ironed and sewed the hem at the bottom.
Top section before sewing

Now for the top. Originally I was going to sew on a fifth panel as the top piece, however once I had cut the fabric I had cut it tall enough so that I could fold over the two sides and sew in the middle to complete it. This does mean that my sewing is rather visible, but I kept it as even as possible so it should look ok.

Finished cover
Cut away area for plug

My happy and tidy looking desk hurrah

I'm pleased with this and my desk looks alont neater now. Hopefully my sewing machine is pleased it will no longer get covered with dust!

New skills and materials used

  • Cutting fabric for a pattern. Need to take my time doing this and not rush it. The first attempt was the wrong way round. 
  • It is important to think hard before ordering fabric and double check measurements.

Shopping list
  • Linen
  • Thread Gutermann green and orange

Friday, 4 March 2011

Kindle Cases

I got a kindle for Christmas and it is one of my favourite presents for a long time! For those who don’t know about it, it is basically an mp3 player for books. So it has a mini screen and you can download, store and read books on it. It is great because the screen on it is black and and white and designed for text, so is nothing like a computer screen. I love being able to carry it on the train and not get weighed down by all my books! So my beautiful kindle required a beautiful case to keep it nice and shiny. I wasn’t going to pay £50 for the official one, plus it makes it really heavy, so I made my own.

Case 1
I realised that all I wanted from a case, was something small and slim to protect it from dust and scratches whilst it is in my bag. I wanted to keep the weight and size down, and have it easy to open and close.
So I decided that I would quilt the cover, for padding. I wanted something to make it slightly rigid as well, therefore I inserted two pieces of cardboard inside. I had a top open with a button clasp so I can get it out and put it away quickly. I chose this dark fabric so it wouldn’t get as dirty.
Layers: lining cardboard, wadding, outer fabric.

Case and kindle

I like my case and it does exactly what I need it to. Because of the way I made it with the quilting and the cardboard it was all hand sewn.

Part 2

Then my sister got a kindle for her birthday, and I offered to make her a case for hers as well. Now you may remember the owl bag? That was for the same sister, so she is a pretty funky girl. The fun bit was choosing the fabric and I found this design and knew it was perfect. It is ‘A wonderful reproduction print from an original 1950's design by Jacqueline Groag held by the V&A collection.’ (fabricrehab, 2011)
Blue felt for the lining as it is soft and will protect the screen, and a matching blue zip.

Mid Century Books Fabric

As she would be travelling to college every day I knew she would use it a lot. So I altered my case slightly and came up with this.
Due to my recent zip experience, I wanted to put a zip in her case, and this would be more protective.
Her case is quilted with square quilting to mimic the pattern of the fabric. This was sewn by hand. Next I went to sew the lining and zip onto it, and my sewing machine went a bit mad, as I realised it does not like wadding!

Therefore a small redesign was in order. I cut a piece of fabric and ironed on interfacing then tacked this to the quilted section. The interfacing also helped to give structure to the case. Therefore it was now ok to use the sewing machine and I sewed on the zip and the felt lining.

Once that was done I sewed up the case and pulled it right side out, neatened up the seams and was finished.
My zip endings were similar to the make up case, and not perfect, but the zip functions fine and the kindle fits in and out nicely.

Completed case

Kindle with cases

Kindle with case 2
I really love this fabric, it is colourful, modern and perfect as the kindle is for reading books.
The zip ensures the case is completely closed and protective, and the quilting gives it soft padding.
My sister was also pleased judging by the text message I received once she got the parcel 'I LOVE IT!!! YOU'RE SO AMAZING!! XXXXXX'

New skills and materials used
• Quilting
Shopping list
• Outer fabric, case 1: Small star design. Boyds, Lincoln
• Outer fabric, case 2: Mid Century Books Multi,
• Lining and zip: Boyds, Lincoln

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Mini make up case

This make is significant for me as it is my first attempt at a zip (please see post in a few days time about this)

My housemate was moving back to Germany last week and I wanted to give her a little gift. I saw that her make up bag was looking a bit worn out and then I came across this stunning tutorial on flossie teacakes website and I just had to make it! The final product looked lovely and her photographs were excellent with clear descriptions at all points. Please see her blog post, for more information.

Pattern fabric. Lining. Sew on interfacing. Zip.

So this is the fabric all prepped, pinned and ready to sew on the zip. This was the first time I had used sew on interfacing and I liked it. I found it was soft and easy to work with, and gave a bit more support than the fabric alone.

Zip sewn on, hurrah!
Next I sewed up the lining and outer to create the case shape, pulled the bag right side out and ironed flat.
Finished case!

Detail of top of case

Inside case with small label

The finished case is 8 x 6 inches. Now it does not look completely like how it should, especially the zip. The ends are more rounded and not very neat as the ends of the zip just disappear inside the bag. One reason for this is that when I was sewing the zip ends they stuck out outside the edges of the fabric therefore of course they ended up getting tucked inside.

I think the reason for this may be due to the length of my zip. The tutorial said the zip should be 8 inches, and I took this to be the section of zip that closes, maybe it refers to the whole zip piece of fabric. Also when I was attaching the zip ends I made sure that they did not cover the closeable part of the zip and had them on the ends only, perhaps they are meant to cover the zip more. I will have to look into this.

However I am still very pleased. I managed to sew my first zip, it was not as complicated as I thought it would be, and my housemate loved it. I really like this fabric and the bag is a useful size, I think I will make myself one too!

New skills and materials used

· Sewing a zip

· Sew in interfacing

Shopping list

· Outer fabric: Joannfabric, USA.

· Lining: Boyds, Lincoln.

· Label: Callyco, Lincoln.