hey! remember how excited i was about buying Rashida Coleman-Hale's book Zakka Style at the Sewing Show? cause Lindsey at LRStitched and Amy at Sukie: Don't you know who i am? were coordinating a sew-along?
yeah, i haven't been keeping up with that, what with the bee blocks i've been catching up on.
until this week!
this is week 5 of the sew-along, and Kerry of Very Kerry Berry made up a super cute version of the 5th project in the book, the patchwork pencil case.
i sewed up one pencil case on monday, the day that Kerry posted hers, and i even took pictures right away!
i used recycled blue linen for my case, from a pant suit set i thrifted a few months ago. when i bought it, the lady was all impressed about the deal i was getting for the brand that it was... i don't think she was that happy when i told her i was going to cut it up and make a quilt out of it!
for the patchwork accents, i used two polka dot prints that i picked up in abbotsford the day of the FVMQG sew-in.
and i lined it with grey kona. do you like my background? ha! that's the leopard print towel i use to pad my ironing board. adding a towel makes a HUGE difference in how smooth my fabric ends up. it's like magic!
and did you notice the pens in my pencil case? the Pilot FriXion pens? have you tried them? what do you think?
but back to the pencil case itself!
so i made one, i took pictures of it right away, but then i didn't post it... because i COULDN'T STOP MAKING THEM!
is this not slightly excessive?
i started out making one for a dear friend, using leftover shirting fabrics.
(do you like my photoshop attempt to show the inside and the outside in the same photo? i haven't quite mastered the magic wand, as you can slightly see on the side of the upright case, but it still looks pretty good to me!)
after i made that one, i thought i'd make for his partner, who's also become a dear friend. i always think of pink when i think of her, and i had this fabulous fuchsia linen. i paired it up with purple polka dots, and decided that i might as well make two, if i was making one!
but then i started thinking about how their home is decorated in more natural colours, if still vibrant, and even though *I* always think of bright pink, that might be more about her personality than her style. and i also had this lovely rusty orange linen...
so i made two of these, with a bit of a sunrise colour combo.
i didn't sew a strap for these ones, i used a strap off of the shirt that i was recycling for the linen. i redid the topstitching to match, and then used several yummy sketchy prints for the patchwork and the lining.
that would be enough pencil cases for anyone, but then i thought of the My Precious QAL, and what's more precious in my world than Melody Miller fabric? so i made a set of Ruby Star Spring pencil cases too!
i made these ones a bit longer, because i saw that some folks were using them to hold their rotary cutters. when i tried that with the cases i'd already made, i didn't think they were quite tall enough. i couldn't quite make up my mind how long i wanted the flap to be, so these two are just an eensy bit different from each other.
i lined them in a great lime green linen that i bought as yardage. i kinda want to do a full quilt with it! i made my closure band using the selvedge, which made me start thinking about all the fun pencil cases that i could make using selvedges... but no! i must stop the obsession!
however! i did discover a few tricks, in case you wanted to make your own!
tip #1 - the instructions tell you to trim your patchwork band before you topstitch it, but i'd topstitch before you trim. that way, if your machine is cranky for the first few stitches (which many machines will be, since it's 4 layers of fabric), you'll trim off the wonky stitches.
tip #2 - you might not want to trim the band at all, if you dislike the slight gathering on the flaps on my pencil cases. or, i think it would be super cute if you widened the end of the flap, creating even more gathering through the band!
tip #3 - if you're using recycled linen, or really, any fabric with a looser weave, i'd suggest stay stitching the section where you leave the opening for turning. that is, sew a line in the seam allowance of the opening to prevent it from stretching as you turn the case right side out.
tip #4 - even with staystitching, i still think moving the opening from the base of the flap to the side of it makes it easier to get a smooth line. you can make it larger, if you want, which will lessen the stress on the opening as you're turning it.
tip #5 - if you move the opening to the side of the flap, you'll need to either handstitch it closed or else topstitch more than just the bottom of the flap. i chose to topstitch my entire flap, even on the first few cases when i was still turning it through the bottom, just because i think it looks better. plus, if you start and stop on the back, your backstitching isn't as obvious. bonus!
of course, you could just follow the instructions in the book, cause they're pretty darn good too!
oooorrrrrr.... if you perhaps didn't want to make your own, and you'd rather have one of mine.... leave me a comment! which ones are your favourites? i'll draw a name at 11:59PST next Sunday, May 13th, and i'll send you your choice of case. (except the shirting one, it's already reserved, but you knew that)
think of it as a bonus for reading all the way to the bottom!
what should i do with the rest of them? i'm thinking that a few of these might end up as guild doorprizes - they'd be fun, wouldn't they? i'll save your favourite for you, don't worry!