Sunday, 31 January 2010

Making a Needle Case

Surely I am not the only person who used to keep  needles in their original wrapper, which was fine to begin with. However, the needles begin to fall out and losing them was not a good idea, especially when I trod on one! So when I came across a tutorial from Sewing Republic about how to make a needle case I had to give it a go.

Materials Required

  • 26cm x 14cm Craft Cotton Fabric
  • 26cm x 14cm Poly-Cotton Fabric
  • 1 Square of Craft Felt
  • 26cmx14cm Interfacing (Iron-on)
  • 65cm Bias Tape
  • Eye & Hook Stick On (Velcro)
  • Pressing Cloth
  • Scissors/ Thread Cutters
  • Chalk
  • Tape Measure
  • Pins
  • Ruler
  • Sewing Machine

Time: 1 1/2hrs approx

Techniques: Interfacing, bias tape, top-stitching, straight-stitching

5 Steps to Making a Needle Case

Step 1 - Cutting

Measure the fabric and interfacing to the desired length and cut, remember to include seam allowance.  The felt strips measured 2cm x 14cm and I cut 4 strips. I used  a long piece  for the bias tape measuring 65cm.

Step 2 – Attaching the Interfacing

There are 2 varieties of interfacing, iron-on and sew-on. I decided to use the iron-on version for this project. Feel for the rough side of the interfacing (this side contains the glue) and lay this over the wrong side of the fabric which will be used for the outside of the needle case. 


When in position use a pressing cloth and press all over the fabric to seal the interfacing to the fabric. Do this for about 30 seconds or until it is attached. Leave the fabric on one side to cool.


Step 3 -Assembling the inside

Line up the felt pieces and Velcro strips onto the lining of the needle case and once happy with the position pin in place. 

Use a straight stitch on the sewing machine and sew all around the strips. Remember to go backwards at the beginning and end of sewing, this will lock the stitches in place and stop them coming apart later. If you have stick on Velcro unpeel the backing and stick in place. Remember to leave about 1” for seam allowance at the short side. If you have the sew on version, sew in place as you did for the felt strips. Lay the inside of the case on top of the cover. Now you should see your needle case taking form.

Step 4 – Attaching the Bias Tape

Open out one side of the bias tape and place it against the raw edge of one of the sides. Do this until all the sides are complete and pin as you go.

Sew along the crease with a straight stitch. Tip: If you need to go around a corner, lift up the pressure foot and turn the fabric, put the foot down again and continue sewing. 

Fold over the bias tape, this will also turn your raw edge with it.

Use the iron to press the bias tape  making a fold and continue until all the sides are complete.

Top stitch onto the bias tape on all of the sides, as before.  Fold the case in half and press a crease marking the centre of the needle case.

Step 5 – Finishing Touches

Put all your needles in the case and close.

Final Thoughts

I enjoyed making this needle case it was quite straight forward. I has some difficulty with attaching the bias tape as one long piece instead of using smaller strips like I did like which I used making the Sewing Machine Cover. While I was making this cover I was given some advice from The Sewing Forum on how to attach bias tape and put it into practise making this needle case.

Have you made a needle case, was it an easy beginners project? I would love to hear your views in the comments section.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Book Review - Make Your Own Clothes


Make Your Own Clothes

C&B Crafts
PatternMaker with Marie Clayton

The book contains 20 patterns and comes complete with software to customise these to your size. Before starting out on the projects, the book covers some basic knowledge like equipment, fabrics, using a sewing machine and also the techniques used in clothes-making. These sections are easy to understand with plenty of pictures for reference.

As you work through the book, it starts with the easier items, for example making a wrap-skirt or basic trousers. This assists you with gaining the knowledge you need to improve your confidence for the more challenging items later in the book. There are also some accessories and children’s clothes for projects. Each project is written out with clear step-by-step instructions.

I have found the pattern software to be quite confusing as there was no manual included with the book, so I searched the Internet for some advice on how to use it and came across Leena's Pattern-Maker site - the tutorials on this site helped to explain how to use the software. All of the patterns for the projects covered in this book are on the CD. To use the software simply fill in your own measurements and the patterns are automatically re-sized for printing on a standard A4 printer. These A4 sheets and will be number-referenced to help you stick them in the correct order.

If you want to purchase more patterns you can visit PatternMaker Software. There are also copies of the user manual on this site.

Overall I feel this book is good for understanding how to make clothes, but being a beginner I found a lot of the projects overwhelming to start with. I have yet to try any of these projects, but when I do you'll hear all about it on here.

Have you had any experience using 'Make Your Own Clothes'? What skill level were you when trying out the clothes in this book? Did you find the software easy to use? If you have any thoughts, please post in the comments.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Sewing Machine Cover

When we buy a new sewing machine, everyone gets the standard white plastic slip-on cover to use to protect it from everyday dust.  How many of you can honestly own up and say you like it or you actually use it? Well, I did use it but it was so boring to look at. My sewing machine faded into the background, which didn’t inspire me to sew. Enough already, I thought, lets make this my next sewing project, thanks to Love to Sew who shared a very easy tutorial on how to make one.
These sizes are for a standard sewing machine, I found them a little baggy for my sewing machine which is the Brother ES2020. Click on the link for information about the sewing machine I have and where it was purchased.

Materials Required:
2x 17” x 11” Cotton Fabric (this is for the front and back of the cover)
8” x 36” Cotton Fabric (This will make the sides and top )
Tape Measure
Bias Tape (Optional)
Time Taken: 2 hours
Skills Learnt: Using bias tape & top stitching, improving straight stitching technique.
7 Steps to Making a Sewing Machine Cover
1. Cut the fabric according the sizes stated above or to your own sewing machine measurements. Tip: If you are using plain fabric stick a pin on the wrong side of the fabric so you know which side to use later.
2. Press the fabric to iron out the creases. Do not iron the fabric as this tends to stretch it, lightly add pressure in the creased areas to remove the lines.
3. Cut the fabric in a curve shape at the top corners to round off.
4. Pin the long strip on one of the rectangles with the right sides together. The cover will begin to take shape and you will notice you are sewing your cover inside out in order to hide the stitching.
Use a straight stitch on the sewing machine to sew a seam using the edge of the sewing machine foot as a guide. Be careful around the corners, I found these to be the most tricky parts in the whole project.
5. Repeat step 4 of this process for attaching the other rectangle.
6. Turn the sewing machine cover right side out.
Finish off the cover with either a standard hem or Bias Tape.
Bias Tape Option
I used bias tape for hemming the bottom of the cover to give it a more polished look. I found this  You Tube video by akarol123 excellent for describing the process. 
Hemming Option
If you do not want to use bias tape feel free to hem the rough edges of the cover. Turn up the fabric by 1/4” and press. Repeat this once more, press and sew a straight stitch along the seam. Continue to follow this step until all the sides have been hemmed.
7. Put your new cover on your sewing machine and admire. Your sewing machine will thank you for protecting it from dust.
Feel free to drop me a comment or email me about your thoughts on this project, I would love to hear your views.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Bag Holder

I am all for trying to re-use and recycle instead of buying new things, like keeping carrier bags to use again and again when out shopping. I have a bin bag full of carrier bags under the stairs and this is not the best place for them, it would be nicer to have them more at hand. You can imagine my delight when searching for an idea to keep these bags in when I came across a ‘Bag Boy’ from Sewing Republic on You Tube.

Materials Required:
18” x 21.5” Cotton Fabric (outside)
18” x 21.5” Satin Fabric (Lining)
2x 20” Trim (Rik Rac was used)
2x 12” long pieces of Elastic ( I used 4mm thick)

4” Ribbon for loop
2x Safety pins
Tape Measure
Sewing Machine
Time: 3 hours approx

Skills learnt: sewing straight, using elastic and trim

1. Cut the fabric to the required measurements. Mark the right side of the lining at 1/2”, 21/2” & 3” on the widths (18” sides). The first marking will be where the trim will go. The other markings will be for the casing for the elastic elastic to go through.



2. Sew the trim on the first marking (1/2”) on both of the 18” sides. Press the fabric after sewing.

3. Attaching the lining to the Fabric.
Put the fabric right sides together, pin and sew along the line just made to attach the trim.

4. Sew along the long sides with a 1/2” seam allowance and leave open the entrances for the casing. Also leave a 3” hole in one of the sides to be able to turn it right side out later on. There should be 5 holes in total. Trim the corners.

5. Turn the bag right side out and press. Sew along the lines to create the casings.

6. Fold the bag in half with the lining showing on the outside. Pin and sew along the long side using a 1/2” seam allowance. Remember to leave the casings open on each side.

7. Put a piece of ribbon in the top to create a loop for hanging it up.

8. Inserting the Elastic.
Insert the elastic, one piece in each of the casings using a safety pin to pull it through to the other end. Pull the elastic to tighten the hole and sew the ends in place using a zig zag stitch on the sewing machine.

9. Turn right way around. Fill it up with carrier bags and hang it on a door handle. It’s ready to use.

Have you made a Bag Holder, can you share any thoughts on this?

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Scissor Wrap

I have a small toolbox which I use to keep all my sewing supplies in, well I say all but it only really holds my scissor collection. You can imagine my joy when I stumbled across a great little tutorial from 'Make Space for Crafting' on how to make a scissor holder. This was exactly what I needed to tidy up my scissors and free up my space to keep my pins and other important sewing items.

Materials needed:

35" X 26" Heavy Cotton Fabric
18" long of Ribbon or fabric (not shown)
Scissor collection ( mine is 7 pairs)
Time: 2 hours
Skills Learnt: Straight stitching

Step 1. Iron out the fabric to get rid of any creases.

2. Fold the fabric lengthways in half.

3. Line up the scissors. I followed the same way as the way as 'Make Space for Crating' did by lining up the scissors using the screws.

4. Use a strip (4" length x 1" wide) of the same fabric and place it over the centre of the scissors.

5. In between each of the scissors use the pins to hold it in place. Mae sure to leave a little bit of room between each pair of scissors. This will make it easier for wrapping it up.

6. Take out all the scissors and start sewing the 2 fabrics together using a straight stitch on the sewing machine.Go all around the sides.

Tip: Lift the foot up with the needle still in the fabric to go around the corners.

7. Sew the middle strip down in place, using the same settings on the sewing machine as before. Use 3 lines on each side of where the pins are.

8. Cut the ribbon or fabric to make the ties for the sewing wrap. The longest piece approx 12" and the shorter piece 6" long. Put the short piece of ribbon on the back next to the seam edge and sew in place. Roll up the wrap to find the area where the short piece reaches and mark or pin this spot. Put the longer strip of ribbon on this seam and sew in place.

9. Place all the scissors back in the wrap and roll up.

I am fairly pleased with the result, though I feel that the fabric I used was not study enough and should of found some more heavy duty material.

Can you recommend another type of fabric when I try this again? Also I wasn't happy with leaving the raw edges on show, how would you make improvements to this design?

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Graphics Board Cover

For a while now I have been covering my graphic board with the original polythene packaging that came with it. Recently it has started to rip and it was suppose to be a temporary fix. Anyway I decided it was time to create a cover for it.

Items Needed:

Sewing Machine, Scissors etc

Time Taken: 1 hour max

Making a Cover

1. I measured the graphic board and allowed extra for seam allowance.
2. Folded the fabric in half and cut off the excess.
3. Measured a 5/8" seam allowance for 3 of the sides.
4. Pinned and sewed using a straight stitch.
5. Turned over the opening and pinned and ironed that flat in preparation for sewing.
6. Ironed the completed cover.

After a short amount time a finished graphic tablet cover.