Tag Archives: tutorial

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 😉


tutorial: sewing a fabric scarf – the cheater / fabric saving way

Ok, so I promised a tutorial for my plaid scarf in this post:

Normally, when you want to make a fabric scarf, the process is pretty straightforward: you cut off a piece of fabric that is between 2 and 3 yards long in the width you like, hem all raw edges and be done. This would leave you with lots of excess fabric.
But what do you do when you don’t have two or three yards of the fabric you want to use, or the fabric is expensive and you can’t afford much? I really wanted a plaid scarf, but I couldn’t find one I liked and this plaid flannel was pretty dear. I just didn’t want to buy 3 yards of it, so I only bought 1 yard and made my scarf this way:
Your piece of fabric is 55″ (or 44″ depending on the fabric) by 36″ (1 yard). You want the longest sides to stay, so you divide your fabric in two halfs of 55″ by 18″ (the 18″ will be plenty width).
I drew the rest of the process up for you (click on the image to inlarge):

I promise you will not see the seam on the right side of the fabric at all, if you take care to match your pieces and if you use a thread in the color of your fabric. Obviously I forgot to match my plaids, but still, the seam is only visible when the scarf is laid out flat:

Your scarf will be pretty long and you have lots of options to wear it. Here’s how I do it:

I fold it in half, wrap the open end around my neck once, pull it through the looped other end and tuck the end under the loop. I really really love my long, comfy scarf in that soft soft flannel and I wear it all the time. It’s perfect for spring too, because the flannel is light yet warm enough for chilly mornings.

Done! Have fun sewing light fabric scarves for summer!

horsehair bracelet: tutorial

As my regular readers know I love horseriding and have been riding the funniest little pony for three years. I love the little guy so much and for my last birthday my friend gave me a bracelet made out of his tail hair which she had had made by a woman in Holland.
Sadly it fell apart after having worn it constantly for three months and I really wanted another bracelet. My boyfriend and I did some research (neither of us had ever made jewelery before) and we came up with this easy way to make a horsehair bracelet:

  • horse hair from either mane or tail, preferably same length
  • a silver clasp like the one shown in the pictures below
  • pliers
  • superglue
  • safety pin
  • a pair of scissors

Disclaimer: I know nothing about making jewelery and this is probably (definitely) not the neatest way but it works and is nice and quick and easy.
We start off with a suitable amount of horsehair (depending on how wide you want the bracelet to be and how thick the horses hair is). I like my bracelets small and my pony’s tail hair is very thick so I only really need a couple of hairs.
Make a knot and put a safety pin through. This amount of hair is enough for two braids and 4-6 bracelets by the way:

Now we can fasten the safety pin on a pillow or somewhere comfortable and can start braiding:

Braid until you have more than enough of braid to go around your arm (I always do the full length of the hairs and I can get 2-3 bracelets out of one strand of hairs).

Now we need to secure the ends so we can cut the bracelet to the right length. To do this, put a couple of drops of superglue on the braid where you want the bracelet to start and end. You’ll have to wrap it around your wrist to see how long it needs to be. Let the glue dry and repeat.
When the two coats of glue are dry you can cut the two ends of the braid and the braid won’t come undone.

We need a clasp where we can lay the end parts of the braid into the end part of the clasp and then squeeze that part shut with the pliers into a tube.

When you don’t have pliers (like us) look for a pair of household scissors that may do the job as well.

After squeezing the ends of the clasp shut with the braid in them all that remains is to secure that the braid can’t be pulled out again by daily wear. Give a couple of drops of superglue on the top of the tubes and the glue will be sucked into the tube.

Let the glue dry completely and put on and admire your bracelet!

I personally can never be bothered to take it off and having to put it on again, so I just wear it constantly. So far it has survived several months of constant wear and daily showering and seems to be very durable. Besides being very unobtrusive jewelery I just love having a part of my pony with me always!

how to sew on a vintage treadle – part 3: top thread

Part 3 of this series of tutorials on how to use a vintage treadle. This time we’ll be threading the top thread.
For part 1 have a look here and part 2 can be found here.

We’ll start off by placing the spool in place on top of the machine.

Now comes the tricky part: There will be lots of different hooks to guide the thread through. As a rule: if it’s there it’s meant to be used, so just try to find your way through there as best you can. If you have trouble sewing later, go back and try a different way.

On my machine it goes like this: top tension

Top tension 2: be sure to come down in a straight line at the right here and then guide the thread through the discs and then through the hook on the left.

Use every hook you see:

I have marked all the places the thread needs to be guided through on my machine with red dots. Your machine may be a little different, but the general direction of the thread shouldn’t differ all too much.

Down by the needle we will need to use another hook and then thread the needle from left to right (not from front to back as with modern machines!).

When you’ve threaded the needle, hold on to the thread tightly and turn the crank slowly by hand. The bobbin thread should plop up.

Grab both threads and guide them to the back.

Close the slider for the bobbin case and you’re ready to sew!

Part 4 will deal with changing the needle and adjusting tension and stitch length.

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!

ruffle pillow – tutorial

As promised, an easy peasy way to make this elegant little pillow:

Because I am lazy and don’t like hemming and finishing edges I used jersey for this (jersey doesn’t fray and you can get away with not finishing edges!).
You start off with 4 parts: the front (in my case ca. 13.5×13.5in to fit a 14x14in pillow), a long strip of fabric to make the ruffle and 2 back pieces (we are going to make an envelope back). I’m not one for measuring too much, just make sure there is one bigger back piece (lets say about 13.5x10in) and one smaller one (let’s make it about 13.5x6in). We’ll want these 2 pieces to considerably overlap.

Next, we’re going to ruffle the long strip of fabric, by sewing a straight line on either long side of it, using the longest stitch on your machine (you can also do this by hand very quickly by making a rough basting stitch). Don’t backstitch the beginning and end because you will now need to pull the bobbin thread gently on both ends, making the ruffle. Be careful not to pull too hard or the thread will break and you’ll have to start over again. There’s a good tutorial on ruffling on this page (though she uses two rows of gathering stitches and I only do one!)
That’s what we have now:

Next we’ll pin down the ruffle on the top piece where we want it and carefully sew it on the top piece with a straight line of normally sized stitches (if you follow your line of gathering stitches for the ruffle it’ll look like only one row of stitches).

Do this on both sides of the ruffle.

All that remains now is to lay the two back pieces (right sides facing down) on the front piece, making sure they overlap, and pin them in place.

Sew around all four sides of the pillow, clip corners if necessary and turn inside out.

two new pillows

I can’t seem to move on from the sunny circles…I guess frayed-edged circles and me aren’t done yet! This time on my favourite purple Ikea fabric (don’t go looking for it in the fabric section…it’s a bedsheet that I cut apart).

And this one isn’t technically new, since I made it for a friend and she received it some time ago but I haven’t shown it on here yet. The fabric is a bright red jersey, so no finishing edges, yay!
It’s pretty quick and easy to whip up, I might do a tutorial if anyone’s interested?

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!

loving film

I never got around to posting them, but I got my first test roll of film from my Olympus OM-2N scanned a couple of days ago. They’re only a couple of test shots I did when I was hanging out at the barn, but I am so in love with these lovely retro colors. Also I had forgotten how soft film is. We’re so used to tack sharp digital photos that these seem sort of dreamy in comparison.
Sweet baby at the barn:

Don’t even know what I love about this picture but somehow this draws me again and again!

Taking full advantage of the Zuiko 50mm 1.4 lens. Very interesting bokeh I think, definitely different than with my Canon (though my lens there is also 50mm 1.4).

And of course my cats, what would a post on this blog be without them?

I will be going on holiday next week (yay!) so don’t be surprised if things are a bit quiet around here. I hope to be coming home with lots and lots of new pictures for y’all, both film and digital (keeping fingers crossed for good weather!!) 🙂
Also I have been thinking of starting a series of tutorials on how to use a vintage treadle (or how I use my treadle to be specific), very basic things like threading, oiling, changing needles, adjusting tension and stitch length etc. Might be handy if someone buys a treadle without a manual and wonders how to use it. Would anybody actually be interested in that? Let me know!

lino love (and tutorial)

Here comes the overdue lino post! I’ve been experimenting with lino cutting and printing or stamping on fabric for the last two or three weeks, and though there have been disappointments, cut fingers and printing frustrations I am loving it and think I am slowly getting the hang of it!
This little zipper pouch is handsewn with printed fabric and interfaced with cotton batting:

So here’s how I do it: I draw an image on paper and photograph it. With photoshop I mirror the image and then print it in the size I want it to be on paper (so you can print it any size you want it to be). I use graphite paper for transfering the image onto linoleum.
When carving I start with the most difficult parts first.

Here’s the cutting nearly finished:

For printing on fabric I use fabric paint, which I apply with a little sponge (the ones you use for make-up). This works like an inkpad. There are fabric inkpads out there, just not where I live, so this is a great substitute!

For smaller images you can also mount the lino on a piece of wood for easier printing.

Then you can go ahead and print on fabric. Be sure to choose fabric paint that can be made waterproof by ironing it after it has dried! Then you can wash the stamped fabric afterwards without ruining the stamped images.

Or print it on paper (for this I use special lino paint which I apply with a brayer)

Now you can go ahead and sew something with the fabric, like the pouch above or this little key charm

or make collages with your printed paper (for this one I printed on vintage tissue paper with fabric paint and sewed it on scrapbookpaper, adding a bit of white tulle)

Thanks for reading this long, long post to the very end!!