Hello lovely readers… I hope you’re still with me as the blog is not such a newby anymore! And I’m still here so I hope that you are too! You should by now know that I am a big fan of handmade gifts, especially homemade ones too! What do you get the man that doesn’t really need anything? Well you think outside the box. What does he (or she) have that you can build upon. Well mine, he has an iPad semi permanently on his person..but…no case! TaDa!
Leatherette is a great vegan alternative to leather, it has a awesome look and feel and there are so many types that you definitely are not limited by picking this option. I’m not even vegan and I still pick to use it so maybe that’ll persuade you to give it a try before you write it off completely.
The first and most important step is to decide your fundamental design and cut the fabric accurately. I did a lot of research on Pinterest looking both at tutorials and cases for sale to get some inspiration before sketching out my favourite features. I like the idea of the bottom being a fold and not a seam, raw edging showing and a statement fastening so that formed the basis of my design. I find it best to find a few statements and then allow one’s imagination to fill in the blanks otherwise you can find you move around in circles.
Lay out the leatherette, place the iPad down with a 1.5cm allowance on three sides then flip it once (this is important as to take into account the width of the tablet itself!). If you are basing your design on an envelope style like me, flip the case again add 1.5cm allowance to the top and cut your fabric out. Now here is your basic to work with. Next shape you envelope/flap by trimming the scissors (remember to add that width thickness all the sides otherwise your envelope might not be big enough! If you want to add something extra try sewing the persons name onto the front, my machine does letters – still a bit of skill is needed so make sure you practise!
I lined the inside of mine with black linen, using a spray adhesive. I then sew the top flat line to keep the fabric in place as well as wanting my stitching to show (a tight zigzag stitch). Sew up the sides, as I already said I put the inside side together as leatherette doesn’t fray and I love the look of exposed stitching! Pop on a statement button (this one really reminds me of a wax envelope seal!) and cut a slit in your envelope for it to go through. If I was clever enough I would have done a button hole stitch..but not too worried – remember that amazing no fray-ness 😀
I really love how it turned learnt a few things for next time. It does have a homemade feel about it but that’s half the charm! I didn’t get any complaints from the man either! I hope this encourages you to give something a try and make your own design/pattern. Happy experimenting!
On the third day of Christmas my true love sent to me….
THREE FELT DECORATIONS!
I love using felt, none of that oh so irritating fraying business. It is such an easy material to work with and so versatile. I am slowing building up quite a collection of colours as I always buy them in A4 sheets (don’t have anywhere local to buy on the roll).
At a first glance these may not all seem Christmasy but why not make things you like to put in the tree, who knows in 10 years maybe everybody will be putting whales and seahorses in their trees too! Variety is the spice of life after all!
I have not made a pattern because it is just so simple. If you want to make a bunch that are identical (as much as homemade things get) then you can make a rough template on card otherwise I would suggest just free handing it or go straight on the felt with some tailors chalk. Remember to leave a couple mm so you sew up the edges. Again the wonderful thing about felt is you hand sew the wrong sides together with no worry that the decorations is going to fray away into nothingness. Leave a little gap to stuff and add a hoop with ribbon and bobs your uncle! You can look at the pictures to see how I have done the detail with beads/embroidery/sequins.
On the second day of Christmas my true love sent to me….
… TWO MINITURE KNITTED STOCKINGS!
This is a bit of cheat – I made them last Christmas! I love them, and one day when I get better I am going to make a whole lot more than two! I made these as Christmas tree decorations but I am sure that you can imagine all sorts of things that they could be turned into. One of my favourite ideas is a wonderful advent calendar with chocolates hidden inside each one.
This is one of the first real patterns I have ever knitted, and I got persuaded to give it a try by the knitting society at University (it is them who gave me the original pattern). It was tricky for an armature like me, and don’t think any burly big handed men would have half a chance if they tried. I have never knitted on the round before and though I would like to give it a try it is nice to be able to use a blanket stitch to sew up a flat knit and you really cannot tell the difference.
I don’t have the original patter that I used however this one looks pretty similar if not the same. If you are good, or blindly ambitious you can try some of the patterns within the stocking (start off with the trees and work up to fairisle). I was neither but still more than satisfied with my colour swapping and the end result. The pictures doesn’t show the colours well, the one is red and green (very Christmasy!) and the other deep purple and white. I took some great step by step photos alas my laptop wiped its own hard drive (what a silly thing!) before I got a chance to back them up but the website I link to above has great steps.
UPDATE: I found the step by step photos that I lost – yipeee so happy!! See my progress below:
December is disappearing! And if you know me, I have been a lot of talk of about crafts and challenges and not that much doing! So enough is enough – time to announce my 12 days of Christmas Challenge. Remember that song, just about?
So we shall kick off with…
…On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me…
… A CHRISTMAS TREE DOORSTOP!
I had this great fabric (from who knows where) which I have been hanging onto. It is one of those rather old fashioned frilly curtain top thing-a-ma-jigs. So long and narrow, though when unpicking the seam a got a lot more width. It’s green and with great texture – perfect to make into Christmas decorations! P.s. this is a Christmas present so shhhh.
I decided to go for a triangular prism as then there would be less fabric meeting in the top corner. Plus I think it makes it look most tree-y. Math was never a strong suit and it took me a while to get the equilateral triangle just right. You can use whatever method you like (compass/protractor) but I’ll tell you the cack-handed way I did it:
I started with making a card template using an old cereal box. I drew a couple triangles and settled that 21cm would be ideal – you could stretch it to a little longer but not any less if you want it to be big enough to hold a door open. So I drew my bottom line (21cm) and marked half way (10.5cm for those who are even worse at math than me). Mark the half way line straight up for a fair bit. Now draw a line to connect your end points of the bottom line to meet the middle line at 21cm. If you check the angles with a protractor they should all be 90 degree or close by.
Because I had a long thin wad of fabric I cut all 4 of the triangles separately. Sewing it all up is the tricky part, and I just winged it! Simply pin the right sides together – all 3 side pieces to the base piece (depending on your fabric it might not matter) and sew – leaving the seam allowance unsewn at the corners. Then sew each side together starting at the base where the stitching ends at the point of the seam allowance. Only sew half way when on the last seam so you can turn fabric the right way around and stuff. Clip the seam allowance on the corners to help them get a nice shape when inverted.
I decided to stuff mine with rice (1kg), because it’s cheap and easy to get a hold of, I did about half full, then the rest with stuffing (an old teddy) so that it would keep its shape. I added a gold/yellow loop at the top (in my head it kind of works like a star) and a brown felt loop (trunk) to finish it off.