Monday, January 16, 2012

Ruffled Case for MacBook Pro Tutorial

I have been wanting to make a case for my laptop ever since I got it for Christmas.  I needed something to cart it back and forth to the workshops Apple offers when you purchase one of their products.  Anything for an excuse to sew something!

I went shopping for some fabric the other day, and ended up buying laminated fabric.  I have used fusible vinyl before as a substitute, but the laminated fabric is so much nicer.  It is much softer and doesn't seem to crease or get scuffed as easily as the fusible vinyl.  It is a little pricey, so I was a little scared to cut into it.  I finally got up enough nerve, and I am happy to say it turned out much better than I had anticipated.  Lookie...

Here is how I made my case.

My measurements are for the MacBook Pro 17" computer.  If you have a different size laptop, you will need to adjust the measurements.

Here is what you will need:

2/3 yard outer fabric
2/3 yard lining fabric
fusible fleece
22" purse zipper (or one about 4" longer than the width of your computer)
rotary cutter, cutting mat, quilting ruler or scissors
sewing machine, thread, pins
gathering foot (optional)
zipper foot

Cut two 13"x18" panels each of your main fabric and lining fabric.
Cut 4 strips of main fabric 2"x40" for the ruffles.
Cut 2 strips of main fabric 3"x13" for the handles.
Cut two 12"x17" panels of fusible fleece, and fuse to wrong side of lining fabric following manufacturers instructions, making sure to leave 1/2" border on all edges.  This is to keep the seams from being too bulky.

Using your gathering foot, gather the 4 strips down the center to make the ruffles.  If you don't have a gathering foot, baste down the center of each strip using the longest straight stitch on your machine.  Don't back tack at the ends.  Gently pull the bobbin thread to gather fabric, working from both ends.

Mark the main fabric panel at even intervals where you want the ruffles to be.  Mine are about 2 1/2'' apart.

Sew the ruffles in place and trim excess from the edges.

Center zipper on top edge of main fabric, right sides together, and pin in place.

You will need to clip the edge of the zipper tape so it will round the corner of the fabric and extend down the side a little.

Using a zipper foot, baste the zipper to the fabric using a scant 1/4" seam.  Start and stop at both ends of the zipper tape.  You will sew the side seems later.  (No photo)

Close zipper and pin to other main fabric panel making sure to line up the corners of both panels.  Clip the other edge of the zipper tape for both corners.  Baste in the same manner as before.

Now you are going to pin the right side of the lining fabric to the wrong side of the zipper.

Sew in place just inside your basting stitch, which should now be a true 1/4'' seam.

This is what one side of the lining sewed in place will look like.  Repeat with the other side of the lining fabric.  Trim and clip corners.

At this point, you will have the zipper sewed in to the main fabric and the lining.  Hang in there, you are almost done!

OPEN the zipper.

Next, using a 1/2" seam, you are going to sew the main panels right sides together from one end of the zipper, down one side to the bottom, across the bottom, and up the other side to the end of the zipper.   ***Make sure you OPEN the zipper BEFORE you sew all the way around.***  Don't ask me how I know!  :)  Check to make sure the ends of the zipper tapes made it into the seams.

Repeat this step with the lining, but make sure to leave an opening (about 4") on one of the sides or the bottom to turn the bag right side out. (no photo)

Trim and clip all the corners, turn the bag right side out through the hole in the lining, and top stitch the opening closed.

Sew each handle right sides together using a 1/4" seam.  Turn right side out.  I stuffed a piece of cotton batting (1 1/4"x13") into each handle 'tube' to add a little softness and structure to them, then top stitched along each edge.

Pin handles a couple inches down from the zipper, and sew in place.

And that is it!  You have just made a one of a kind case for your laptop!

The back side.

Ruffles galore!

I have to say I think this is my greatest sewing achievement to date without a pattern.  I hope you were able to follow my directions, and let me know if you have any questions.


Linking up at Craftomaniac Monday Link Party,  Making the World Cuter Monday, and Do Something Crafty Friday

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Cards, Cards, and More Cards

I did something today that I haven't done in a looooong time.  I played with my stamps!

I have been so obsessed with sewing lately that I have completely neglected my stamps.  I needed to make a thank you card that is way overdue, and I ended up playing for most of the afternoon.  And it was fun!

You will have to excuse the poor quality of my photos.  The editing in iPhoto is nothing compared to the Photoshop I am used to using.  Looks like a purchase is in my future.

I wanted to play around a little more with my Modern Basics set from PTI.  I have never been able to do much with it, and sadly, that hasn't changed.  The following cards are hardly blog-worthy, but they're all I've got!

This was the first card I made, and although I like the tulip I made with it, this is a great example of knowing when to stop.  I don't like the leaves.   They look so out of place.  Maybe it's because they aren't tulip leaves.  Who knows, but I should have stopped before I added them.

Next up, another card fail...

Boring.  Not much else to say about this one!

This is the best of the Modern Basics cards I made, and I actually like this one.  The photo doesn't do it justice, so just pretend it is really pretty!

This is the thank you card I set out to make today.  It is for some friends of my parents who were kind enough to give me some antique cups and saucers they had when they found out I collected them.  I scoured my stamp collection for a tea cup, and this was the closest I could find.  I like the repetition of the small image on this one.

And finally...

I bought the candle stamp on clearance the other day, and it worked out perfect with the large sentiment on this card.  I used a Spica pen on the flame, but I'm sure it doesn't show up in the photo.

Even though these aren't the greatest cards, my New Stamp Basket now contains fewer stamps, and I am happy about that.  And I can finally send the thank you card that is long over due.

Have a great day!


Friday, January 13, 2012

Recycled Juice Pouch Tote Bag (and mini tutorial)

Have you seen all the things you can make with recycled juice pouches?  I have always wanted to make something with them, but since I don't buy juice pouches for my kids (which wins me the Meanest Mom Award), I have never had any to use.

Fast forward to a Daisy Girl Scout event where I saw a table full of kids and their juice pouches.   Jackpot!!!  I seized the opportunity and collected all the empty pouches.  I had just enough to make a little tote bag.

I love it!

There are many tutorials out there, so I didn't take pictures as I made mine, but I will share some of the tips I discovered to make assembly easier.

Unless you want your bag to smell like eau de tooty fruity, you will want to wash out the pouches.  The easiest way to do this is to cut a slit in the bottom of each pouch gusset, making sure not to cut through the front or back.  The slit will end up in the middle, and no one will see it.  Drain out any juice, wash with hot soapy water, and dry thoroughly.

I used a zig zag stitch for assembly, tacking well at each end for added security.  You will overlap the pouches when sewing them together, making a flat seam.

First, assemble your front and back panels, two side panels, and the bottom.

I made my bag 3 pouches wide and 2 pouches tall.  The beauty of this is you can make it any size you want.

Two pouches fit perfectly for the bottom of the bag.  Depending on the size you make, you may have to trim a little of the bottom to fit.

After you have all your panels assembled, you will attach all the sides together, saving the bottom for last.

Here is a little tip I thought of while constructing the bag.  When you sew your sides to the front and back, stop stitching about 1/4" from the bottom edge.  This will allow you to sew the bottom of the bag all the way around.  Be patient while sewing the bottom on.  The bags are very inflexible which makes this a challenging step.

Here is a bottom corner where the front and side edges are flared out to lay flat against the bottom.

I turned down the top edge and finished with the same zig zag stitch I used for constructing the bag.

One yard of webbing was the perfect length for the handles, each 18" long.  This is the only place I used a straight stitch, and boxed the webbing to the bag.

Ta-da!  That's it!

You can make lunch bags, beach totes, gym bags, zippered coin pouches...the possibilities are endless!  And the best part is, they're virtually free!  This bag cost only the price of the webbing, which was about $1.  Can't beat that!

Now, don't you want to run out and collect some juice pouches?


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Fabric Covered Calendar

So I got motivated after my last post, and figured out the iPhoto thing.


With over 18,000 photos to organize, it is going to take me quite a while.  I worked for 4 solid hours yesterday and barely made a dent in what I want to do to organize them.  I now realize it will be an ongoing project I can whittle away a little at a time.  It will be soooo worth it, though.

Now, on to my project!

With the new year comes a new calendar.  I am still old school and like to have things written down (on paper), thus a paper planning calendar.  In years past, I have made my own covers with scrapbook paper or a cute folder decorated with ribbon on the spirals, but I wanted to do something different this year.

I recently found out about Vera Bradley's cloth napkins while browsing through her store one day.  I am not much of a VB style person (no offense, Mom!), but I do think she has some pretty fabric that I can use to make my own things.  Check out my etsy store to see what else I have made!   (Click on the tab at top of my blog)

Here is how I covered my calendar.

To make it more durable, I used fusible vinyl on the fabric.  I cut a piece of vinyl big enough to have about a 1" border around each side of the opened calendar.  Fuse to fabric following manufacturer's directions.

Coat front side of calendar with Mod Podge, adhere fabric, and smooth to get a good contact.

Turn over and coat back side in the same manner.  No need to coat over the coils, this area will remain unattached.  I stacked my yearbooks on top of the calendar and let it dry overnight.

After the covers have dried, adhere red tape just to each corner as shown.

Fold down and burnish to make sure it sticks.

Notch a little piece of fabric at the coil on the top and bottom of calendar.  Place red tape close to fabric edge around all sides.

To make mitered corners, place red tape on the diagonal of the already taped down corners.  They don't have to look perfect (unless you are a perfectionist like me!) because you are going to cover them up at the end.

Adhere all edges, making sure to get a good adhesion.  See the notch at the coil?

Cut two pieces of coordinating cardstock a little smaller than the size of the cover.  Adhere to inside front and back covers with red tape on all sides.

The paper finishes the inside edges to make it look pro-i-fessional!

Ta da!  A durable, fabric covered calendar!  (Please ignore the vein-y wrinkled alien hand!)

My next project will have you standing by the trash can in your kid's school lunchroom.  Can't wait to show you what I made!


Monday, January 9, 2012

I'm still here!

It's hard to believe almost another month has gone by between posts!  I kinda have an excuse though.  On top of fighting sickness over the holidays that just turned into the worst case of pinkeye anyone has ever seen, Santa brought me a new computer (A MacBook Pro!!!!) for Christmas, and I haven't figured out how to manage my pictures yet.  Once I get that figured out, I have some fun projects to show you.

I never in my life thought I would say I love a computer, but I love my Mac!  I am not afraid of it like I was my other computer.  Oh, by the way, did you know that PC stands for Piece of Cr*p?  That is what I came up with for my old computer.  I would have a ceremonious 'throwing it out the window' party, but we may save it for the kids to use.  I would love to see it in a million pieces though - I hated that thing!

Enough of my rant, I have some figuring out to do with all my pictures.