Necessity is the mother of invention. This novice runner can't quite figure out how to carry her phone without flailing arms also ripping her earphones out. Some days that music is the only thing keeping my feet moving forward. My husband uses an arm band to carry his phone while running, but I'm just not a fan. Zippered bags are more my thing. The phone running pouch was born.
I'm sharing a sewing tutorial below so that you can make one of your very own too. For free!
Gather supplies. Here I have a buckle, 7" zipper and two pieces of home décor weight fabric cut to 8" wide x 6" tall. Not pictured are basic sewing supplies like machine, thread, etc.
Measure your phone with or without a case (however you plan to use it) and add two inches to each side. My phone is 4"x6", so I cut the fabric for the pouch at 6"x8".
With zipper facing down and fabric facing up, align the zipper with the top long edge of that piece of fabric. Stitch in place using a zipper foot with a 1/4" seam allowance.
Flip the zipper up and topstitch along the length of the zipper with a seam allowance between 1/8-1/4".
With second piece of fabric right side down, place it on top of the zipper, aligning the edge with the edge of the zipper. Zipper will be facing up, fabric pieces right sides together. Sew with a 1/4" seam allowance.
Open up the two pieces of fabric, the zipper should now be sandwiched between them. Topstitch the second piece of fabric in place along the zipper's edge with a 1/8-1/4" seam allowance. Your bag should look something like the above picture.
In order for the headphone/ear bud cords to snake through the bag without having to keep the zipper open, we are going to add a buttonhole. Mark the center of a buttonhole 1" down from the zipper on the front piece of fabric. Make a buttonhole that is 3/4"-1" in diameter according to your machine's specifications.
The button is for size reference and to mark where the buttonhole will start and finish in order to be centered. Or make it off-centered if you like--go crazy!
Open up your buttonhole carefully with a seam ripper, thread snips, or sharp points of a pair of scissors. Be careful!
In my experience, Fray Check is never a bad idea on button holes. It's a sewing glue that's an added layer of unraveling prevention.
Open the zipper a bit. You'll regret it later if you skip this step. You'll want to make some straps. Measure your waist and divide by two--this will give you an approximate length for your two straps. You can use nylon webbing or fold a length of fabric and stitch along the edges as I've done, as long as the final width of the strap fits through your buckle.
With right sides of the fabric facing, align all your edges, then tuck the straps inside the bag. Align the raw edges of the straps about a 1/2" below the zipper on either side.
Sew a 1/2" seam allowance along the three sides of fabric (do not sew the zipper side).
Turn it right side out through the opening you made earlier in the zipper, then attach your buckle according to the manufacturer's directions. Time to road test it!
Questions? Email me or leave them in the comments. I would love to hear if you make one!
Have you ever had one of those days that started strong but quickly fizzled? Started a project you were confident would turn out great, but turned to crap without notice? That was yesterday.
I've been trying to develop veggie applique designs for the produce bags. The early versions (now sold) worked out well, but I wanted to move away from felt and use all cotton fabric.
Yesterday I was cruising right along. Beets! Tomatoes! Carrots! Sweet Peas! What variety I would soon be able to offer in my shop.
Only one of those ideas worked, everything else did not look anything like the picture in my head. Let me show you what I mean...
When you set out to be productive and have confidence you will meet success, this type of fail can zap an entire day's worth of motivation. I didn't even want to do non-work tasks after this.
Today is another day. At least I have a carrot design that works! Back to the sketchbook for the other veggies. One produce bag-related success I did see yesterday was the idea to bundle bags into sets. I have a special packaging idea planned that I hope to have ready in time for next weekend's Harvest Fair.
Have you had any creative setbacks lately?
Each September feels like a new year to me. Something about the beginning of a new school year means so many other new beginnings.
This fall I am introducing new designs I've been working on for the past few months. Sustainability has been lacking in my business operation. Green, Eco-friendly sustainability is the core of Dancing Threads RI, but I mean something different. How consistently can I provide a product to my customers?
For a few years now I have wanted to separate myself from the fleeting availability of fabric lines. This has led me in a meandering way to design my own bags with appliqué. Let me show you some examples.
I'm still building the complete product lines with all the possible appliqué designs, but soon you will have choices of appliqué at checkout through Etsy.
Designs I have thus far:
You can see they focus on nautical, knitting and produce--the three most popular types of fabrics my customers like. I'm working on building a library of designs that I will have available in person for taking orders. I also am happy to entertain custom designs (an additional fee will apply). Some of these products are available now, but most have to be photographed and listed, or are still under construction (there are only so many hours in the day when raising even school-aged little ones!). If there's something you would like to see, please let me know! Send me an email, Facebook message, or leave a comment on this post.
Check out the new bags in person at the Norman Bird Sanctuary Harvest Fair Oct. 3-4!
So many ideas, so little time. Here is a peek at some of the things I'm working on today.
What are you working on this week?
My sister-in-law made an unusual request of me this summer. She asked, "Do you have any chicken fabric? I need you to make me a gift for a friend." Well, that part wasn't that strange--people ask me different versions of that question all the time.
I said no, thinking her friend must be part of the current backyard chicken raising craze. When I didn't have chickens, she then asked, "What about barbed wire?" Ummmmmm. "No." I asked her to give me a little more information, thinking I might be able to create an image with embroidery.
Since I'm the last person around to have never seen Orange is the New Black, I had no idea where she was going with this. Then she sent me an image, and everything clicked. I knew I could design something to mimic the image. Here's what I came up with, then turned it into a canvas tote.
OITNB-watchers--what do you think? I never in a million years ever pictured myself embroidering barbed wire, but there you have it. Life is full of surprises!
We all want to make the most of our sewing time, especially if that time is limited. Maybe you have an hour or two in the evening when you work, or an afternoon naptime, or maybe you even have a solid 5 hour block of time to enjoy. It's frustrating spending that time hunting down something you were sure you put in the second drawer from the left, instead of making progress on your project. Even I don't get to sew without looking at a clock, and there are some tricks I've developed that help me make the most of that precious time with a sewing machine. A little advanced planning goes a long way.
1. Set up an organized workspace. This could be in a separate sewing room or the dining room table. In the summertime, my second floor workspace is often too hot to use, so I bring my machine to the kitchen table where it's cooler. I hate when I forget something and have to run upstairs to fetch it, so I try to have everything ready to go at the table when my sewing time starts.
2. Have a portable sewing kit with everything you need. To avoid extra trips upstairs, I have a basket with the essentials that can easily go from room to room. What's in this magic basket? Thread snips, thread and bobbin to match the project, seam ripper, 6" ruler, pins, fabric shears, Fray Check (for installing magnetic snaps), and an invisible marking pen.
3. Plan what you need for your project in advance. If you're making a skirt, have the elastic, correct zipper size, matching thread color, interfacing, proper machine needle, etc. ready to go so you aren't using your sewing time running to the store.
4. Group like thread colors together. When I batch sew, which is something many of us do when making holiday gifts, you can waste a LOT of time by changing the thread color on your machine too frequently. If I am going to sew 10 snack bags, I will group them by color and sew all the navy blue at once, then change the thread and move on to all the yellow pieces. This can help, whatever your project(s) may be, if it calls for different thread colors. Try to lay out your projects so that you thread a color only once through your machine to save time.
5. Do non-machine work elsewhere. If your sewing time comes but once a week, use other pockets of time to sketch out the quilt pattern, or sew buttons and rip out a hem that you need to change. The best use of sewing machine time is to actually sew on your machine. Planning, finish work and other sewing-related tasks can be done while sipping a glass of iced tea in the backyard.
6. Let everyone in the house know that you would not like to be interrupted for X amount of time. If you can close a door, even better! This works really well with older children, not so much for toddlers. If you say, "I'm working on a project for the next hour," the world will not end. Your children/spouse may just surprise you and leave you alone for an hour and a half!
7. Most important--Turn off cell phone alerts. Your precious sewing time can get sucked away in the blink of an eye by Facebook or Instagram alerts. It can wait! You will be so much happier with an hour or two of peaceful sewing than seeing whose kid got a Cheerio stuck up his nose. The Cheerio will still be there on Facebook when you've finished your lovely new table runner.
Earlier this summer, I wanted to make a birthday gift for my 6 year old niece. She is very much still into playing dolls, so I wanted something she could play with, but that was a little different. With pillows on the brain after writing up a new sewing class for making button-closure pillows, I had the idea of making a pillow that functions as a dollhouse. Here are some details of my dollhouse pillow.
I used raw edge applique to sew all the details, though if doing it again, I would definitely choose a zigzag satin stich instead. I'm very happy with how the free-form "thread sketching" turned out with the window panes.
Note: this was sewn start-to-finish on my "old" sewing machine while my workhorse was being tuned up at the spa. You don't need a fancy machine to sew fancy things!
The curtains sway in the breeze, and the pillows are lightly stuffed.
My favorite has to be the kitchen and the fussy-cut accessories. Though the buttons for stove knobs are a close second.
That button makes the perfect door knob. The house opens with ribbon ties on the side.
The whole "house" can be removed from the pillow form to be washed, if the need should arise. My husband wisely pointed out to my niece and her brother that though it is a pillow, it shouldn't be used in a pillow fight. Those buttons could do serious damage!
I hope she likes her squishy new dollhouse!
Solid colored snack bags--aren't they fun? They come in 5 colors, three sizes, as singles or sets. You can mix and match too--just ask, or in Etsy language, send me a "convo."
Send your children to school with a greener lunch. Save 500+ plastic baggies from the landfill this year, the average number a single child uses in one school year. They also make lunch much more fun.
As co-owner of Stitchery in Portsmouth, RI, I teach sewing classes to children and adults. Welcome to my blog Dancing Threads RI.