Category Archives: Accessories

E-Reader Cover Tutorial

I finally did it. After reading using the Kindle app on my iPhone for over a year, and my Droid before that, I broke down and bought a Kindle. Amazon was offering a great deal on refurbished Kindle Fires. So, not only did I buy a Kindle, I bought THE Kindle. Of course it needed a case!

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Here is my case containing the Kindle Fire.

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I started by measuring my Kindle and it was just under 5 inches wide and 7.5 inches long.

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I added an inch to the sides (but in the future I would add 2 inches) to make both the lining and outer fabric 6 inches wide (make it 7 for a less tight fit) and 20 inches long (7.5 +7.5 for the length + 5 for the flap). I also used home decor fabric for the outside and 100% cotton flannel for the lining to prevent scratching.

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I used a quarter inch seam allowance and sewed the lining and outer fabric right sides together leaving one of the short ends open.

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I clipped the two corners that had been sewn and turned the fabric right side out.

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Press the lining and outer fabric, turning the fabric in, and edge stitch.

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Next, with my lining fabric facing out I placed my Kindle inside and decided how high I wanted my pouch to reach. I know I will probably throw my Kindle in my purse a lot, so I don’t want it to get scratched. I chose to have my edge go all the way to the top of my Kindle. I placed my edge stitched end at the top of my Kindle.

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I edge stitched up both sides to the top of the pouch and reversed a couple of stitches at both ends. Turn it right sides out and try the fit!

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Here is my Kindle inside the pouch. You could also use a button or Velcro closure if you would prefer. I just left mind loose.

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Here is the back. It is a quick and cheap Kindle cover made out of a few scraps.

Thanks for reading, and see more of my work at my blog.

Dog Bed Makeover

I absolutely love my dog. She is my best buddy and super assistant, but I’ll be honest. She has hideous taste in sleepwear. I buy her cute dog beds with shaping or cool designs and she just is not interested. This has been her go to for years now:

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It is a big pillow covered with lumberjack chic fleece with a zipper along the side. It is the cheapest dog bed ever. I bought it for $10 at Walgreen’s and it is all she uses. She also has it in tiger print in the bedroom. She totally pulls that one off, but the plaid one is in the living room and no longer matches my new super cute curtains. Now it looks like this:

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Still lumpy, but that is what she likes. At least now it is a great print that is the same color as my curtains. Here is how I did it.

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I wanted to reuse the zipper because it is so long, so I ripped it out.

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Like my new band-aid? Patrick from Sponge Bob Square Pants would like to remind us all that seam rippers are sharp. 🙂

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I got one yard of each of these to match my other home decor fabric. I love the chevrons, but decided to use the polka dot for her bed because I think it would show less dirt.

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I used a chenille for the bottom and just cut it about one inch bigger than the inner pillow of the bed.

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I cute my top fabric the same size as my bottom fabric.

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Place the zipper right sides together along one short side of your fabric and sew down the edge using your  zipper foot.

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Then flip your fabric right side up and top stitch your fabric to your zipper tape.

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Now sew the other side of the zipper right sides together with your bottom fabric using the same process.

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I noticed a lot of fabric shedding while I was sewing my zipper, so instead of flipping and top stitching like I did before I used my serger to finish the edge of the zipper tape to the bottom fabric. You could just top stitch it like we did on the main fabric.

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Now open your zipper a bit so you don’t sew your cover shut and sew around the edges of the three remaining sides right sides of the fabric together.

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My zipper was plastic, so I just sewed right over it about three times to secure it. If your zipper is metal do not sew over it. Do what you need to to avoid the needle hitting the metal zipper teeth.

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I serged my edges when I was done to finish them, but you could just pinking shear them.

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Turn your case right sides out, and make sure your zipper works.

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Reinsert your pillow and zip up. You’re done!

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Well, almost. Make sure it feels right to your best buddy. Now her bed looks super cute in the living room. Thanks for reading, and as always I would love to see if you make one.

 You can see more of me (and my four legged assistant) at Stacie Thinks She Can.

World Autism Awareness Day: Weighted Bag tutorial

April 2, 2012 is World Autism Awareness Day.  Now I do not claim to be an expert, but I would like to share something I made for a student I have now with autism. He has been stemming (that could be rocking, biting, hair twisting, etc.) more recently. I spoke with his mom about a few students I have had in the past that responded to pressure or weight. An Occupational Therapist (OT, for you in the know) explained that some children with autism respond well to pressure. It calms them somehow. There are many types of chairs and clothing and wraps, etc. on the market. Many parents of children with autism will try anything to help their child. It gets expensive, and not every treatment works for every child. To help those parents out there paying for therapies, programs and various gadgets to help their children, I thought I would share a project that is cheap that I have had success with for some of my students over the years: a weighted bag.

The weighted bag is long and flexible. Some children like it on their laps or shoulders, some like it on their feet. Some don’t like it at all, but it is worth a try. I filled mine with dry rice, but beans would work as well. I chose to use a zipper, so the family I am sharing it with can add or subtract weight as desired. I also know this particular student won’t dig the rice out and play with it. Otherwise I would close it permanently.

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So to begin. I used two 12 inch by 36 inch pieces of fabric.

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I started with inserting a zipper. I placed the zipper face down on the short side of the fabric with the fabric facing right side up.

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I used my zipper foot to sew it down.

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Then I turned the zipper up and top stitched the right side of the fabric to the zipper tape.

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Next you will do the same with the other piece of fabric. The fabrics will be facing right sides together and the zipper will be face down.

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I used the zipper foot to sew the fabric to the zipper, and again I opened the fabric pieces up and top stitched the right side of the fabric to the zipper tape.

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Go ahead and check that your zipper looks correct.

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I sewed around the bag from the end of the zipper with the stopper, down the side, across the bottom, then half way up the other side. WAIT! Open that zipper up, I did about half way, other wise you will sew your bag shut. Now continue and sew up the rest of the last side. Go ahead and finish your edges. Remember when it comes to finishing the edges on this project, they will be bearing some weight.

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I used my serger on my edges. At this point you can turn the bag right sides out and check your zipper again.

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I filled mine with some rice. I hope this project helps my student, and maybe a few more people with autism out there.

Note 2 our Readers:  Find even more adventures from Stacie at her personal Sewing Blog

Car Trash Can Tutorial

This week I am very excited because I got a new car. I’ve never had a new car, and I was very sad to see my 14 year old Volkswagen go. I finally admit to everyone though: it was time. Having a brand spanking new car, I am trying to think of ways to keep that new feeling around. One of my first ideas was something to put trash in, like all those little receipts or wrappers that happen in the car.

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Here is the car trash can I came up with, and I thought I would share the steps with you in case you would like the same.

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I used a 16 inch by 16 inch piece of fabric. Mine was a block from a quilt I turned out not liking, but you could use any piece of fabric.

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I also used a cup from a Houston Rockets game. We have a lot of these stadium size cups around because I am a huge Rockets fan. I used one of my more beat up ones because it won’t be visible as a trash can anyway.

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I measured around the largest part of my cup and folded my fabric right sides together to match the cup size with enough ease to get the cup in it. I sewed down the seam I measured using a straight stitch.

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After I sewed the seam I checked to make sure the cup would fit…success!

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I then cut off the excess material from the side to make a strap.

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I sewed a straight seam across the bottom of the bag with the fabric still right sides together and hemmed the top of the tube folding in a half inch twice.

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I then took the bottom seam and pulled the corners out like in the picture above. I measured in an inch on both corners and sewed a line across.

ImageI checked for fit again at this point to make sure my cup fit in and it did. The bottom of your tube should look like the one in the picture above.

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With the cup inserted in the tube, this is what the bottom should look like.

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 Next we are going to make the strap. Fold your fabric strap in half lengthwise with wrong sides together and press.

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Now open the strip up and press both of the outside edges toward the center press mark you made.

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Now fold the strap lengthwise in half again and press.

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Now straight stitch along the side of the strap that is folded together.

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I like to repeat the process on the other side of the strap just because I think it looks nice.

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You should now have the strap complete. Go ahead and insert the cup into the tube and fold the excess to the inside. It should look like the picture above.

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Make a mark where you would like your strap to hit. I chose about a half inch down from the top of the cup.

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Now pull that all out of the cup and pin the strap in place with the strap on the outside with the handle piece facing the top. Sew the strap in place being sure not to catch the other side of the tube in the stitch. I used a straight stitch and sewed over it back and forth about three times to reinforce it.

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Here it is all completed in my sewing room.

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And here it is in my car. The strap is place around my shift stick Now I have a non leaking and completely washable car trashcan. And it is cute!

Note 2 our Readers:  Find even more adventures from Stacie at her personal Sewing Blog

Hello, and a tote bag tutorial

Note from Jenny:

Hey everybody!  I have got some wonderful news to share!  My good friend and Seamster Extraordinaire, Stacie Davis, has just joined our SewVac Outlet team of Blog Contributors!  Oh yes, she is amazing!  And for her first post as an “official contributor” she is sharing this fun Tote Bag Tutorial.  Fully lined, fully reversible, and fully AWESOME!

Check it out!  Thanks for reading, Jenny Gabriel – alter ego:  StitchinJenny

Introducing:  Stacie Davis of StacieThinksSheCan.com

Hello! I’m Stacie and I’m excited to be a new contributor here on the blog. Some of you may be familiar with me from the French Seams the Stacie Way post or from Stacie Thinks She Can. I’ve been sewing and quilting for a couple of years now, and learned most of what I know from Jenny. My mind is racing right now with great sewing posts, and I’m really leaning toward an A-line skirt with zipper sew-along. All this warm Spring weather in Houston has me suffering from Spring Fever!

To start with though, I thought I would share a fun project I often give as a gift and use everywhere I go: a lined tote bag.

This is an example of one I made for a Secret Santa gift. I am happy to report she loved it and uses it nearly everyday. What I love about this bag is it is very easy to make it your own by making  the bag bigger or smaller and playing around with top stitching, embroidery or embellishments.

For the size I made you will need:
1/2 yard of lining material
1/2 yard of outer material
8 inches of strap fabric cut into 4 inch by width of fabric strips.

Cut your half yards of fabric along the fold so you have two pieces of each fabric the same size.

Sew the outer fabric together right sides together on three sides leaving what you would like to be the top open. Repeat with the lining fabric. I used a 5/8 inch seam, but it doesn’t matter from what I can tell.

Take your outer fabric and on the bottom corners you will line up the bottom and side seam while pulling out the fabric along the new fold to form a V coming from the corner where the bottom and the side meet.

I measured 2 inches from the stitched corner and made a mark.

Draw (or eyeball) a straight line and follow it with a straight stitch. I reverse at the start and end of this stitch to reinforce it.

Cut off the excess material and your new bag bottom will look like the one above. Repeat on the bottom corners of the lining material as well.

Now for the straps. Iron your 4 inch strip in half with right sides facing out.

Unfold your strap.

Now, fold and press both sides in to meet that seem you just made down the middle.

Now fold that piece in half and press. (See, you made giant bias tape.)

Sew a straight stitch down the open side of the strap. I sew one up the other side as well because I like the way it looks. I usually follow the edge of my presser foot for this step.

See, this is what you wind up with. Repeat it with the other strip, so you have two straps. You may want to trim some off each end to adjust the strap to the length you like.

Now, place the lining and out fabric right sides together with the straps sandwiched between the two. Make sure they line up on both sides. Sew along the top and leave about a four-inch opening.

Pull the fabrics and handles out that opening you left in the top. (It doesn’t have to be left in the top, but it was easiest for me.)

This is what you should be seeing. The right sides of your fabrics and the handles.

Push your lining down into the bag, so the handles are at the top, making it resemble an almost completed bag.

I like to press the top seam here to make it look crisp as well as insure I catch the opening I left when I top stitch.

I used a decorative top stitch all around the top of the bag. This closes the opening, helps reinforce the handles as well as adds a fun element.

Your bag is done, washable and reversible!

Nice work.

The bottom is so fancy and the bag hold more because of the stitches you made along the bottom corners. Please share a picture if you make one of your own!

Fringed Fleece Scarf Tutorial

We’ve had a very chilly Tuesday, so I thought, “Hmmm, maybe it’s not too late to post the scarf tutorial I created….”

Considering how often Texas weather changes and considering that maybe you are a reader living in a colder region than Texas, I figured that it’s ok to post this scarf project sooner than later.  Right?  Right!

This project is perfect for the beginner who is just learning to sew AND/OR it’s a great gift to give to loved ones who’s birthdays are during the cooler months.

Here’s the PDF link to instructions for the Fringed Fleece Scarf

And, if you’d like to see a neat trick to help make cutting all that fringe an “easy as pie” job, then take a few minutes to watch Nancy Zieman’s video tutorial for making some fringed fleece blankets.  Yes, this blog post is just full of surprises and bonus projects!

Nancy shows you step-by-step how to make quick low-sew and no-sew fleece blankets.

Thanks for reading!

Let’s Get Sewing!

Jenny Gabriel – alter ego:  StitchinJenny

In the Hoop Wallet & Nifty Gift Wrap Idea

Janome 350E Stitching Out In-the-Hoop Wallet

As I mentioned in an earlier post, in my family, December is a time for back-to-back birthdays.  I have an uncle who’s birthday I just missed, so I stitched out this quick project for his belated gift.  This is the in-the-hoop wallet design collection that we just held a prize drawing for a few days ago.  You can get your own copy of this collection at Humble Sewing Center.

In the Hoop Wallet Close-Up

The wallet collection comes with a blank wallet and also wallets with the alphabet featuring the Curlz font from A-Z.  As you may have noticed, the G I’m using is not the Curlz font.  Since this wallet is for a man, I decided to use the blank wallet and imported a font from my Digitizer Jr software.  Note:  This project requires a 5×7 hoop.

Once, I had his wallet all stitched out, I removed it from the hoop, trimmed and rinsed away the remaining wash-away stabilizer.

Then, I decided to package it up for his gift….

I used a can opener to open the bottom end of a pop-top can of soup. After I ate the soup (LUNCH!), I washed the can and lid. I peeled off the original paper and re-wrapped the can with gift wrap.

I inserted the wallet into the can....

What a nice fit!

I put the bottom of the can back. (You can use a hot glue gun for this.)

All done! It's fun to see the person's reaction when they open the pop-top and your special creation is inside. "How did you get it in the can?" That's for me to know & you to find out!

Thanks for reading!

Let’s get sewing!

Jenny Gabriel – alter ego: StitchinJenny