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Patchwork Laptop Cosy Project – Phase Two

So, if you followed Phase One of this tutorial you should have a piece of patch work that is around 48cm x 83cm in size. If you didn’t follow Phase One, go back and do so now 😉

Phase Two is about with actually adding the quilting (to provide the cushioning for your precious tech) and turning the whole thing into a patchwork laptop cosy.

First of all. Here’s a Reminder of the Equipment and Materials that you will need:

Patchwork Laptop Cosy - all the equipment needed for this project

Patchwork Laptop Cosy - all the materials necessary for this project

  • 1 Cot Panel or other Patchwork cotton fabric to cover approx. 50cm x 80cm (for a 17″ Laptop) – I used the Petit Fleur.
  • Coordinating fabrics to make patches for spots where the colours do not quite match up.
  • Quilt Batting (I used this Polyester Wadding but decided to use it double thickness)
  • General purpose sewing thread
  • Backing Fabric of your choice – I used a coordinating fabric from the same range. 50cm x 80cm.
  • Coordinating Bias Binding – 3metres
  • Iron On Vinyl ( I used Thermoweb Gloss Heat ‘n’ Bond).
  • 2 x 5cm squares of interfacing in three weights – I used iron on standard medium vilene, peltex 71f fusible one side heavyweight interfacing and a fusible cotton interfacing. Basically any scraps I had left over!

Step Fourteen:

Layout your patchwork on top of your backing fabric.

The patchwork for the laptop cosy laid out on backing fabric ready for marking out

Beginners do best to avoid using stripes or checks as backing fabrics as they look wonky VERY easily. Click To Tweet

Use an air erasable fabric marker and your quilting ruler to mark out the backing fabric.

Step Fifteen:

Using the quilting ruler and rotary cutter cut out your backing fabric. It’s possible that you may have to join pieces of backing fabric together to make a large enough piece.  As you  can see from my photos, I did!

Remember to press the seam if before carrying on if you do join pieces.

Yet another reason why stripes and checks are not a good idea when you are starting out – hard to match up well!

Step Sixteen:

Place your backing fabric onto your wadding and pin into position.

Start pinning in the middle of the fabric and work outwards toward the edges to avoid either getting wrinkled. Click To Tweet

Use fabric scissors to cut around the wadding and backing sandwich.

Patchwork Laptop Cosy - Cutting the wadding to size ready for quilting

Step Seventeen:

Put together a sandwich of the layers. The laminated patchwork goes on the top, the wadding in the middle and the backing fabric on the bottom with the wrong side facing the wadding.

Use clips (I used small bulldog clips) to hold the three pieces together. You don’t want to use pins as they will put holes in the laminated patchwork.

I started at the middle and worked towards each end to avoid wrinkles and I positioned the clips on the seams as  these are the spots most likely to shift during quilting.

Patchwork Laptop Cosy - Three layers clipped together for quilting

Step Eighteen:

Sew across rows “in the ditch”. It’s important to start with the middle row of the piece and work out towards each end. If you don’t know what “in the ditch” means there is a great illustration here.

Patchwork Laptop Cosy - Stitching in the ditch to quilt the laptop cosy

Some quilters use a special walking foot on their machine to do this but this project is small enough and thin enough that you shouldn’t need to worry about that.

Step Nineteen:

Add your magnetic popper fastening.

I followed this fantastic tutorial from Anna at Noodlehead.  I could not put it any better than she does, so I won’t try!
Patchwork Laptop Cosy - Adding a magnetic popper means this laptop cosy stays securely shut

I think a magnetic fastener is the best form of fastening for this cosy as it closes securely with minimum of fuss, always handy if you’re on the move.

Patchwork Laptop Cosy - Magnetic Popper for fastening with no fuss

 Step Twenty:

Next I cut 50mm wide strips of fabric from a co-ordinating fabric and sewed them together into one long strip.  As this cosy wont be put in a washing machine (it would wreck the laminate) I cut the fabric straight and not on the bias.  This is more efficient for not wasting fabric but it would not stretch and give with the item if it was washed.

I pressed the joins in the fabric flat and then used a bias tape maker to turn the strip into binding for the edges of the cosy.

Homemade binding in a co-ordinating fabric adds a special touch to the quilted laptop cosy

I trimmed the edges so they were straight and not too bulky.  Then used pins to pin one edge of the binding along the top edge of the cosy (the one that would be folded inside the cosy when complete), as you can see in the picture below. As you can see the pins are put into the seams between the patches so as not to create holes in the laminate.

Adding binding to the top edge of the cosy so that the inside edge is finished attractively

Step Twenty-One:

Sew along the flattened out fold of the binding on the outside (laminated side) of the cosy following the crease of the fold. This should give a seam around 5mm in from the edge of the cosy. You don’t need to worry about making the ends neat as they will be covered.

Using a sewing machine to attach the binding to the edge of the cosy.

Step Twenty-Two:

I then used the clips again to fold the tape over the top edge and hold it taut (see below).

Using binder clips to fold the binding over the top edge of the cosy.

Step Twenty-Three:

When you sew the binding into place you sew on the front of the cosy (the laminated side) again. You sew “in the ditch” between the front edge of the binding and the laminated area.  When you folded the binding over there should be sufficient to overlap the area you will be sewing, securing it.

Using the sewing machine to sew along the edge of the folded over binding, securing it.

Step Twenty-Four:

I folded the piece of quilted fabric into the cosy shape and used the clips to attach the binding to the front of the folded cosy and hold the edges together while I sewed. This time I folded the ends under so that they would give a neat finish.

Use binder clips to hold the edges of the folded cosy together with the binding ready fo sewing.

Continue this process around the point of the flap and down the other side of the folded piece. and stitch into place.

Clipping the binding into position around the edge of the cosy

Step Twenty-Five:

Then use the clips again to fold the binding across to the back and hold into place.

Clipping the binding into position around the edge of the cosy

Sew again with the back and outside of the flap  facing upwards on the machine and sewing “in the ditch” as you did before. Trim all ends of thread and you should have your completed cosy!

The finished Patchwork Laptop Cosy in use!

I hope that you find these tutorials easy to follow but if you have any questions just get in touch with me via email or social media and I am happy to help in anyway I can and I would REALLY love to see any of your projects if you feel like sharing.

How To Use PDF Sewing Patterns – A Beginners Guide

 

I LOVE the internet for crafting, specifically I love the fact that it has given us access to a much wider range of sewing patterns from all over the globe. Pattern designers upload their patterns as PDF files.  I have downloaded any number of PDF sewing patterns over the last few years. Some I paid for and some were free of charge.  I have learnt a few things along the way that might just be useful to you in starting out with PDF sewing patterns.

Note: Please take all your usual precautions when downloading pattern files in checking that they are from a reputable source and that you are ONLY downloading the file not a virus!

What to expect when you open a file and printing:
Pattern Source: Tilly and the Buttons (http://www.tillyandthebuttons.com/p/make-it-yourself.html)

Pattern Source: Tilly and the Buttons (http://www.tillyandthebuttons.com/p/make-it-yourself.html)

Each page of the sewing pattern is there in front of you, you simply need to connect up your printer and print it.  However when you are printing there are a couple of things you need to watch out for:

How to Print

Pattern Source: Tilly and the Buttons (http://www.tillyandthebuttons.com/p/make-it-yourself.html)

It is crucial that you select “actual size” or “print 100%” or the printer will try to be helpful and fit all the pieces onto less paper and you will end up with pattern pieces that might fit your dog or cat once made up (if you are lucky) and it wont make sense when you try to put all the pages together!

If the pattern is from an experienced or professional designer they will have a checking mechanism built into the pattern design so that you can check it has printed to size.  The square below appeared on the first page of the wonderful pattern I bought from Tilly and the Buttons. So I could check the size as soon as it printed and not waste paper printing the rest of the pattern if it was the wrong size!

Test Square

Pattern Source: Tilly and the Buttons (http://www.tillyandthebuttons.com/p/make-it-yourself.html)

If the pattern is less modern or sometimes if it is free of charge you may have to make an educated guess.  I recently downloaded a free apron pattern and it had no way to check if the print size was accurate.As this was a simple pattern with very little in the way of tailoring I resorted to holding it up against myself to check and adjust the fit.

Checking Pattern Sizing-1

What you get once the file has printed:

The program usually splits the pattern into A4 pages that start with the number 1 in the top left corner of the pattern and, page 2 is the next in the top two rows assembled. (to see exactly what I mean look at the red text I have added to the assembled pattern picture below).

Assembly - Final Assembled Piece-2

Most patterns have “markers” to help you line up the pieces.  You can see some examples of these in the image below.

Different Methods For Aligning Pattern Pieces

Assembling the pattern for me involves a glue stick, paper scissors and a large cup of tea! I trim the borders off of each page, one at a time and glue them into position as I go.  That way I do not muddle the pages up and have loose ones floating around!

Pattern Assembly Collage

I won’t lie, lining up can be a little tricky and I work on the “more is best” principle.  That means, if the main outline lines on the pieces line up pretty well I can sort out darts and notches in the pattern once it is assembled!

I’ve Glued It Together – Now What?

You have the same two basic options that you do with a store bought pattern.

  1. Use tracing paper/dressmaker’s carbon paper to trace it from the main sheet(s) – this preserves the pattern for other uses in other sizes.
  2. Cut it out with paper scissors and use it on your fabric.

I don’t get on very well with tracing and to be honest I don’t have the patience when I can print it again if I want a different size (the beauty of PDF patterns, create a folder on your computer labelled patterns and keep them all in there!). I use them directly onto the fabric.

Pinned Pattern-1

Some people do find that printer paper is too think and immobile for them though.  Tracing paper is certainly lighter.

A word of warning though; if they arrive saved with an obscure name save them as something you recognise or you will never remember which pattern is which!

In picture 1. You will see my pattern file layout (a folder for “Patterns”, and one each for Sewing, Knitting and Embroidery) in picture 2. you will see the original pattern name, in picture 3 I have changed it to something I will recognise

Renaming Patterns Collage

Well, those are my top tips and I would love to hear from anyone who has something else to make PDF patterns less daunting – I am a true magpie, always on the look out for bright ideas!

Pattern Review: Japanese Style Cross Backed Apron

Aprons should cover, they should protect but not restrict your movement, that is my opinion.  I find that many you can buy today are too small to cover much (on me at least!) and they are a pain to put on with ties that have to tie behind you and basically I wouldn’t want to answer my front door wearing one!

I found this free cross backed apron pattern via Pinterest and thought that all my prayers had been answered. No ties, covers almost everything, loose enough to have free movement without getting in the way and could be made in a fabric that I liked. This is my pattern review so that you can hopefully avoid some of the pitfalls that I encountered!

During a trip to the “Eternal Maker”, (an amazing fabric shop just on the outskirts of Chichester that I could move into tomorrow, given half a chance!) i fell in love with this “Garden” Linen blend (in the Green colourway) by Ellen Luckett Baker for Kokka. I wanted a linen or linen blend because I love the way that it just looks more “lived in” after washing and I think this garment is going to be washed a lot!

I printed out the PDF pattern on my printer in adult size – there were a few issues with it.  Some pattern lines didn’t line up between pieces of A4 paper and I had to free hand a line to connect them in a more sensible way.

Close up image showing pattern lines drawn in

 

Also, whoever drew out the pattern on the drafting software had not noticed that some of the construction lines printed on the pattern.  This meant it was tricky to figure out which line to cut on. This pattern was a very simple one and as long as I kept in mind the shape I was going for it wasn’t hard to figure it out. You can see in the picture where I have scribbled though the construction line – and hey, the pattern WAS free!

Close up image showing scribbled through construction lines on pattern

 

When I pinned the front pattern piece to me to check sizing it was a bit small (It did not reach half way across my chest!) so I added on eight centimetres to the centre line of the front to make it a bit wider.

Image of pattern piece pinned to author to check size

 

Cutting out was pretty straight forward, I used the kitchen table, fabric scissors, pins and the pattern pieces, nothing fancy required.  As I sewed the side pieces to the front piece I discovered that the pattern sizing was slightly out.

 

This was easily corrected with scissors though.

Before anyone says it.  I know I should have pattern matched properly like the do on the “Great British Sewing Bee” but it seemed to waste so much fabric that I was put off!

Image showing pattern pieces sewn together in a misaligned way

Adding the bias binding around the edge was the bit I was dreading, sewing around internal and external curves accurately?!?!  I found two tutorials from The Haby Goddess that were easy to follow and got me through both adding the bias binding properly and sewing the curves! It took over five metres of Bias to get all the way around the outside but it didn’t leave me wanting to throw in the towel (a feeling I quite often get when attempting fiddly things).

The binding isn’t perfect but I was quite pleased with the job!

Close up image of bias binding on edge of crossed back

I had some fabric left over and approximately 30cm of binding so I “stole” a pocket pattern from an apron pattern in “Sewing Machine Basics” by Jane Bolsover (a fab book that does exactly what it says in the title) and added a pocket for my inevitable tissues and other bits of junk!

Close up image of pocket added to front of apron

 

The hardest bit was gathering the curve on the corners of the pocket but the instructions in the book were very clear.  I was just a bit awkward in the execution! There is a really good tutorial on how to do something similar on Guthrie and Ghani’s Blog.

When I tried it on it did gape around the bosom/armpit area a bit (probably where I altered the pattern with not enough knowledge!) so I sewed one dart at the bust each side.  I forgot to take a “before” photo but the “after” was that the apron fit much more snugly.

Close up image of bust dart added into pattern

 

Really pleased with the resulting apron.  It is easy to get in and out of, fun to wear and (I think) it looks stylish. I can’t wait to get dirty!

If you have never downloaded a PDF sewing pattern and find the idea intimidating, watch out for this Sunday’s post where I try to make it more friendly for you with some of the things I have learnt.

Two views of apron being worn, front and back

Idea for a Filofax Pen Holder

I have been trying to work out a tutorial for a filofax pen holder to fit on the front of the personal sized Filofax that is my planner for this year.

Inspired by Pinterest (as usual!) I am trying to colour code things and that means carrying several colours of pens, plus a pencil and a Sharpie (so I can write on top of washi tape).

Close image of the inside of my filofax showing book marker and diary page

 

As you can see I have produced something that works and I am trying it out for a while to see that it is robust enough to survive my handbag (aka the “black hole”) and also trying to iron out a couple of the not so pretty aspects that I am not happy with.

View from the top of my fabric filofax pen organiser

 

Hopefully it is something that will interest you guys and you will check back in to see the full tutorial?

View inside the front cover of the filofax showing how the filofax pen holder is held on

 

Review: Heat ‘N’ Bond Iron On Vinyl

I had the fabric I wanted to use to make a cushion for our kitchen pew but I really wanted to make it durable and easy to clean so I chose to buy some of Heat ‘N’ Bond’s Iron On Transparent Vinyl (I bought it in gloss. It is available in matte as well but I couldn’t find it in a local stockist at the time).

Heat 'N' Bond Iron On Vinyl Review - 6

As it was my first time using it I thought you might like to hear my thoughts.  I would like to point out that I paid for all the materials in this post and it is not sponsored in any way.

The product is supposed to provide an alternative to store bought Oil Cloths and PVC Coated Fabrics so that you can have the convenience of a permanent wipe clean and waterproof finish on your choice of fabric.  The packaging says that it is sewable with either a non-stick foot or a normal one on your sewing machine.

At £10.00 – £13.00 for 1.8m (2 yards) it isn’t cheap.  I bought mine from my local Hobbycraft but I notice that you can get it through Amazon now.  I would also by it in Matte if I was to buy it again (personal preference) but that wasn’t available to me at the time.

I was a bit ambitious for my first project using it as my cushion was 1.6m long and I had a LOT of scope for disaster.  However I was pleasantly surprised.

The instructions are very simple and clear.  There is also a downloadable PDF on Thermoweb’s internet site if you feel the need to double check it.I followed the instructions to the letter apart from one thing.

Because I was using such a long piece I didn’t have any on the backing paper to place in between the iron and the vinyl at first so I tried to use a clean dry tea towel.  It didn’t work brilliantly so at the first opportunity I cut some of the backing paper free and used that – MUCH better!

I would really like it if they put a spare piece of backing paper into the package so that you could use it for ironing if you were using the whole roll.

Definitely don’t skip the ironing both sides of the piece stage to secure the adhesive as adhesion can be patchy up until this point.

I thought I would have a nightmare getting the backing sheet off of the vinyl without creases and bubble (any body else spent forever getting “sticky backed plastic” on without these problems?!) but I spread the fabric width ways over my ironing board and started by rolling back the backing paper about 3 inches all the way across. I positioned it and then continued slowly and steadily from there.

Not a crease or a bubble!  I was amazingly easy.  It could have been beginners luck but I was impressed.

Heat 'N'Bond Iron On Vinyl Review-4

When it came to pinning up and getting ready for sewing the fabric was slightly stiffer than ordinary Oil Cloth but it didn’t make it awkward to manipulate for what I was doing.  I was pretty much only sewing straight lines but the box corners were no harder than normal because of the vinyl.

I only put vinyl on the one side because I wanted to have a “posh” side for when we have company so there is the possibility that having both sides coated would have made it trickier as well.

I used a normal (and not even new) machine needle to sew it (and my normal sewing machine foot) and it went through just as if it was normal fabric.  Even when putting the zip in it did not make it any more awkward and my normal zipper foot worked perfectly.

I used normal dressmaking sewing thread (a polyester one) which seems to hold up just fine.

At the end of the making process the vinyl was still securely adhered to it’s surface and it had gained no nasty scratches or creases.  It has stood up similarly well to it’s first few days of wear and tear but only time will tell.

Heat 'N'Bond Iron On Vinyl Review-2

All in all I am definitely planning to use this product again and would definitely recommend it.  The pro’s outweigh the con’s by a long way and as long as it wears well I cannot see the down side.

Autumn Felt Garland

We have a Hazel branch in our living room that I decorate depending on the season.  With the start of September tomorrow I was feeling the need for something Autumnal but quick and easy.  This is what I came up with…

 

I sewed the leaves in a higgledy piggledy order to give the illusion of them falling from the trees, deliberately  using autumnal colours and templates found from the internet.

Autumn Garland-2

Autumn Garland-4

I am chuffed with the effect but when I came to tidy up I discovered that the I had missed the oak leaves out entirely!

Autumn Garland-3

Oh well, better luck next time!

Linking up this week to Hand-Made Monday, It’s Overflowing’s Grateful Heart Link Up and The Turquoise Home’s “Work it Wednesday”.

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