Tag Archives: how to

tablet sleeve tutorial

I had been thinking about getting a tablet for some time. Seeing as I still don’t have a smartphone I though it would be a nice on-the-go addition to my heavy laptop. So when Lauren got one and made a lovely case for hers and gave me a ton of great advice I just had to get one too! And the first thing I did was make a sleeve cover for it of course 🙂
felt tablet sleeve tutorial
I got some inspiration online and wanted to make something easy but functional.
Here’s what you need:
– felt in two colors
– needle and thread
– a big button
– some elastic
– fabric paint (optional)
felt tablet sleeve tutorial
First, measure your tablet and determine the size of your sleeve (I recommend adding 1/4″ seam allowance at each side as well as 1/4″ at the bottom). Cut all felt pieces to the correct size and lay on top of each other in the color combination you like and sew on three sides.
I initially wanted to sew it together by machine but the felt shifts a lot and in the end it was easier to just stitch it together by hand.
felt tablet sleeve tutorial
If you sew by hand make sure you double your thread for more stability. Make sure the layers stay precisely on top of each other and do not shift.
Sew a button on the front and determine the length of your elastic (it will be sewn to the back side on the inside of the sleeve). If you want the elastic to be a coordinating color you can paint it with fabric paint.
felt tablet sleeve tutorial
Sew on the elastic and admire your pretty new tablet sleeve!
felt tablet sleeve tutorial
felt tablet sleeve tutorial
Now for the tablet: I love it! I got the Google Nexus 7 (like Lauren, but I really did read some tests and comparisons online and it was the best by far). It has email, facebook, pinterest and google reader and I just love coming home late in the evening and not having to get out the big laptop but instead going straight to bed and just doing some blog reading and looking at pretty pictures on the tablet.
I also got an app for taking notes and using MS Office, so I can work with it as well. I have small hands so the 7″ size is perfect for me.
I guess I just got cool again 😉


how to sew on a vintage treadle – part 2: the bobbin thread

So here’s the next installment of the series on how to use a vintage treadle. For part 1 have a look here. The bobbin thread spool can be found by removing the lid by the needle

Carefully take the spool out

We now need to take the bobbin out and place it on this part at the back of the machine

and click it into place:

The bobbin should be empty but I only have 3 and there was enough blue thread on this one that I wanted to save, so that’s why there’s already some thread on it.

We now need to put the spool of thread in place at the top and find out how to guide it down to the bobbin. General rule: any hooks that are there are probably meant to be used.

Wrap some thread onto the bobbin.Now we need to undo the screw on the crank, so the needle won’t turn when we wind the bobbin.

Now we can wind the thread onto the bobbin using the treadle pedal. Do this in one swing, don’t stop in between. Especially if you’re new to treadling you may get it to turn the wrong way when you stop and start again and then you’ll have to start all over because the thread on the bobbin gets tangled. When the bobbin is full, we can cut the thread and click it back in place. Remember to also retighten the screw!

The loaded bobbin goes back into the bobbin case and just like with modern machines, the thread needs to be guided so it hooks into the bobbin case correctly.

Done! We can now carefully put the bobbin case back (carefully because with my machine the bobbin falls out of the case easily and it can be a pain to go rummaging for it in the container in the table).

Stay tuned for part 3, where we will learn how to thread the top thread!

how to sew on a vintage treadle – part 1: oiling

Find Part 2 *here*.
Find Part 3 *here*.

Ok I promised a series of tutorials on sewing with a vintage treadle a while ago and here we go!
So you’ve acquired a vintage treadle and have no manual? Or the machine has been in the family for generations and hasn’t been used for decades (“Oh, that old thing surely doesn’t work anymore”)? Let me start by saying it is next to impossible to actually break a sturdy old treadle machine, so it will very probably still work and with a little care just as well as it did 80 or 90 or 100 years ago.
Now I am definitely no expert or anything of the sort on vintage treadles but I was given a treadle by my grandma a few months ago (click here to read more) and it came without a manual. I figured out how to work it and I am hoping by writing this little series of tutorials I can help others figuring out their machines too.
My machine is a german Phoenix 50 from ca. the 1930’s:

As you can see it was in an extremely good condition and came with a leather belt. The first thing we’ll want to do is try and turn the wheel/crank (gah, this is tough in english for me!) by hand and see what happens. Does it moves smoothly, does the needle go up and down? If the wheel doesn’t move at all we’re off for a rocky start, because there is a chance that there is actually something broken or out of place. If it does move it may be a little rusty and not the smooth buttery feel it’s supposed to have.
In any case, we’ll start off by oiling the machine well (chances are, it hasn’t seen oil in quite a while). We’ll need special sewing machine oil or at least oil that is resin and acid free. If you have any oil in the house (for example for oiling doors and such) have a look if it says resin and acid free – very important! Do not use oil that is not resin and acid free because it will leave residue in your machine and clog it up.
On my machine the holes for oiling are actually marked in red and hard to miss:

You can click on these pictures to see them a little bigger. One drop of oil in each hole should be enough but don’t be scared to overdue it.

These metal babies need a lot more oil than modern machines to run smoothly. I actually had to get my machine fixed because of tension issues and when I got it back it was positively dripping with oil…that’s how much it needs!
Have a look at the underpart as well (you’ll need to remove the leather belt for that). All the bolts down there should move freely when you turn the crank. If they don’t, don’t be afraid to oil those well too. Basically everything that moves should be oiled, period.

If used frequently, oil your machine every couple of time you use it. Before starting to sew on good fabric, do a couple of stitches on scraps to get rid of excess oil.
Ok, that’s it for part one, I hope it’s easier to understand than it was for me to try and explain 😉 Upcoming parts will include changing needles, threading the bobbin, threading the top thread, adjusting stitch length and tension and whatever else I can think of.
And most importantly: Enjoy your treadle, those babes are true treasures and you’ll have lots of fun using them!