Manly travel power cord roll-up

February 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

One of the things I love about surfing through crafting sites is the many ideas you get from what people do and the many techniques you get to add to your arsenal. Take this simple roll-up, for example. I love the design of it and I think with the right choice of fabric and embellishments you could take this from manly functionality to a girly-girl clutch. Something I definitely want to explore. Thanks to Whipstitch for the How-to. And yes, you can finally use that pair of trousers the man in your life refuses to wear.

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Toby’s new pad

February 3, 2012 § 2 Comments

My friend gives names to inanimate objects. Just putting it out there. Toby is Meagan’s iPad. Originally I had just planned an update on the gadget organizer I made earlier but I came upon a beautiful piece of lace and an idea for a bag handle that I just couldn’t pass up. Besides, my last project was very butch, even for me, so it’s time for something pretty. Here’s what I used.

Check out the A Gift for Vida post for specs and how-to for the organizer. I just made a slight revision, after all we learn from our mistakes.

As I found out, felt doesn’t unravel. I didn’t need to hem in the seams (sheesh, noob). Also, pins can only pin so so much material together. Luckily I found these cutesy mini clothespins and they do the job pretty well. On to the carry-all.

Cut two pieces of fabric, 30 inches X 15 inches. I used cotton canvas for the outer fabric and a very lightweight cotton for the inner fabric. Since my main piece for the outer layer of the bag was this beautiful scrap of lace, I decided to leave that as it was and chose a grey, black, and white distressed rose print fabric for the inner one. You’ll have to cut a hole for the handles on top. I made mine 6 inches wide and 6 inches high. Sew in the seams of this “hole”. I kept my seams about a quarter inch wide. When that’s done, put the wrong sides of both fabrics together and sew the edges.

This was almost a disaster for me because I remembered to keep those seams I sewed earlier open at the last minute for the handles to go through.

Now for the pretty part. Let me introduce you to my new best friend.

Oh Satwa, is there nothing that can’t be found in you? I found out about fabric glue just a couple of days earlier and it was right there on the first shop I visited. It’s great for stuff you’d otherwise have a difficult time sewing on to your projects. I used it to cover up the rough edges of the lace with satin ribbon. You should leave it to dry for sometime so I took this as my cue to go to bed. And then I woke up to this:

Yay! Now only the handle/ribbon is left. Meagan has a tendency to hang her bags over her arm so I wanted the handle to be short enough to do that but still be adjustable in case she needed a longer handle for some reason. I cut a strip of medium weight cotton about 45 inches long and 1.5 inches wide and made a strap/ribbon type thing (yes, very technical indeed!). I originally thought of using a light cotton jersey but then I realized this thing had to be strong enough to handle (no pun intended) an iPad, wallet, mobile and various odds and ends that could most probably weight about a kilo or more.

Put this carefully through the holes you’ve made, tie the ends in a ribbon, and ta-dah!

Vewy pwetty and functional to boot! You know you’re on to something good when you can’t help but grin like an idiot as you work and really like what you are able to make. Have a happy weekend peeps! Me and my hem gauge are going to be quite busy churning out OriginaLees.

A gift for Vida

January 17, 2012 § 5 Comments

Technically, this is not a tutorial. More like a step-by-step cautionary tale about how things don’t always go as planned no matter how beautifully orchestrated your pre-project prep was. This is my most well-thought-out project to date. I started out all the planning in my head and set down the process on paper. Note: I am, and always will be, a writer. Where people look at the pictures on the instruction manual, I read the book from cover to cover. So my notes cover more space than my drawings.

I start my projects hyper-organized and get to hyper-chaos in a matter of minutes. This project was supposed to be a gadget organizer for Vida, who’s a bit of a gadget freak. And since we share a desk at work, this can get quite hectic. So I sized this to fit her iPad, mobile, notebook, possibly some wires and some A5 sized papers she might have lying around. Basically, folded size of the project would be 10 inches x 7.5 inches. Since I am chaotic, I decided to do all the prep work beforehand, that included cutting my materials (canvas and felt) to size for two major pockets and a mobile pouch. I allowed for a half inch seam on every side of the fabric to make allowances for my mistakes and ironed them so I’ll have a straight line to follow when sewing (genius, huh? except I learned all that from here).

Since one of the pockets had to hold an iPad, I made sure it had some padding, or in sewing parlance: batting.

My crafting table is a bit small so my dining table doubles as a cutting and measuring table 😀 Now for the fun part, putting the elements of the cover together. Since Vida is an artist, I chose to do the cover in canvas so she can draw or paint on it if she wanted to add her own touch to the thingamabob. Little did I know that my combination of felt and canvas would make problems for me later, as we will all soon find out. I also wanted to use a felt flower idea I found here.

Now for the smaller pockets. The original plan was to have a pouch for Vida’s mobile and an ingenius way of keeping wires and small gadgets together beside it.

So now, obviously, all this had to go on material that would stay firm despite the weight of all the gadgets it would soon hold. I decided to interface two pieces of felt together. Now remember, the cover is canvas fabric lined with black felt, which I also interfaced . . . you’re starting to see where the disaster is going to strike, right? But Lee, the genius craftster, wasn’t thinking of any of that at the moment, busy as she was with putting together this elastic weave she learned to do from here so Vida could easily carry her wires around without messing them up.

And then, I thought, it was time to finally rev up the old machine and get things going.

Two hours, three broken needles, half a dozen times of ripping off loose bottom stitches and trying to sew them again later, I had to admit defeat. The layers of material kept slipping from each other, the felt got caught on the teeth of the sewing machine and all my prep work was going down the drain. It was time to call my trusted friends:

There’s nothing in the world a slice of chocolate fudge cake and vanilla ice cream cannot solve. So, suitably fortified, I found my solution. Instead of all these doodads, I was just going to add a band she could put a notebook through and a mobile pouch. But first I had to learn the not-so-graceful art of snapping on snaps:

Everything looked okay so I slowly, very slowly, put everything together again. This time top stitching the felt side instead of the canvas. Now for a test drive.

Trust me, I don’t have a picture of it but I did a little happy jig after this and realized it was finally over. Vida’s gift was ready.

I was actually a bit sad once I put the ribbon on the gift. I learned a lot from this project.

1. Be flexible. Things don’t always have to go as you thought it should.

2. Never buy materials just for a specific project. Collect stuff as you go along and see where they fit in. Case in point: snaps.

3. Every project is a learning experience. This project was a mash-up of techniques I learned from everywhere and things I had to learn for myself.

All in all, I say this was one top-notch job 😉

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