Tablet computer pouch redux

I think I may have stumbled onto something with the tablet pouch design. Yesterday I got a phone call from my Dad telling me that he has bought my Mum a laptop for her birthday and asking if I could make her a case for it. A quick chat with my Mum then revealed that she would like a pouch like the two I blogged about recently, but also, could she have a unique and special laptop bag to hold more than just the laptop. Hmm, somehow my Amy Butler Weekender Bag doesn’t feel like the biggest bag making challenge I’m going to have this year. I’ve been away from home this weekend, so no sewing :(. Instead I have been busying myself by designing my Mum’s laptop bag. Now, she knows about my blog so I’m not going to be able to say too much about the design here (at least until after her birthday). However, I just wanted to show you my design notebook. IMG_0152 Isn’t it pretty?! It has fabric and embroidered embellishments, but it also has a teapot design (ok I clearly have a problem with teapots – see here, here and here). I use the book as a doodle space, but also to help plan out the construction process for various projects. It’s not neat but it keeps everything in one place and gives me a resource to refer back to when I repeat a design (like I did for the tablet pouch)   IMG_0154

Tablet Computer Pouch

For Christmas I made my husband a tablet computer pouch. I followed this tutorial (but used velcro instead of a buckle to fasten the flap down). I also changed the size so that it just fitted the tablet for security.

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I used a heavy weight cotton for the outer, then a layer of batting, and then a layer of fleece for the lining. I was pleased with how it turned out. This weekend I looked at it again to take some photos for this post. Once I scraped off the worst of the mud and dirt I could see it still looked pretty good. Also, it is quite clearly being used to protect his tablet so it clearly works – Yay!! Don’t you just love it when people really use the things you make for them.

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Once I had made one for my husband’s tablet, I then wanted one for myself. I didn’t have a fleece left but I did have three coordinating paisley prints that would work. I used two layers of batting in my version to try and match the effect of batting + fleece that had worked for my husband.

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It does still work but my case looks much puffier and less crisp than his. I also only had a tiny square of velcro to hold the flap down so the edges curl up a little. Never mind, it does the job and a couple of people at work have commented on it favourably at meetings so I’m happy. I even have space to slip in a notebook and pen next to my tablet so I’m all set for whatever a meeting may need.

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Travel Pouch

I do have a small finish to share with you all this week. It’s the travel pouch I mentioned in my previous post. It was based on this fantastic tutorial and made use of the new postal style fabric that caught my eye when shopping and a nice lot of scraps from my stash.

Making the two sides of the pouch was really fun. The fabric behaved and I was so relieved when I successfully followed the instructions to make my first ever zipped pockets. I’m so pleased with those pockets that I’m already planning to add some more zips into my Amy Butler Weekender Bag that is currently a WIP.

The only snag came when I tried to assemble it all together. It just wasn’t sitting comfy or being stiff enough for documents. in the end I added an extra 2″ in the width to make it easier to fit paper documents inside, the extra seam lines, ribbon trim and top stitching helped to add some rigidity so in the end I didn’t have to add in some stiff interfacing.

Now all I need to do it try it out on my next trip abroad with work.

The eagle eyed amongst you may have noticed that my passport has clipped edges. That’s because it is an old (expired passport). When I wanted to photograph the pouch to show it to you all I searched around for appropriate ‘props’ to demonstrate the travel-nature of the pouch. In so doing I made the rather unfortunate discovery that I cannot currently locate my active passport, only my expired ones. We moved house a few months ago and I am really really hoping it is just in one of the boxes waiting to be unpacked. Eeep!! Still, I suppose this does rather raise the priority level for finishing the unpacking – I really hope I find it 🙂

My current WIPs

Hi all,
I’ve not got any finishes to share with you but in the spirit of regular blogging I thought i’s share an update on my sewing activities over the past couple of weeks.

Fire drill quilt:
I called into a new-to-me quilting shop a couple of weekends ago to choose the final fabrics to complete the set for my grey and turquoise fire drill quilt. It was the first (and probably last) time I’ll go to that quilting shop but you have to try these things out. They had a fantastic selection of bold prints but not much in the way of corresponding gentle prints or solids.

I’m hoping that this will be a well used and abused quilt so I decided to pre-wash all my fabrics to try and guard against colours running if the finished article has to be washed. (I dont’ normally pre-wash despite previous disasters).

I’ve started cutting out the various pieces according to the instructions. I had a few issues remembering to cut prints to best accentuate the pattern. It’s a long slow process but I’m making progress.

Weekender Bag:
This is also coming along nicely. I feel nervous saying it because of the horror stories circulating in blogland but so far, so good. Well, apart from the handles. Ok the handles were a disaster and had to be repeated. I’m still not happy with the handles but I just went with my second attempt out of impatience. I’ll blog about this bag when it’s finished so that’s all for now.

Travel pouch:
While buying fabric for my fire drill quilt I spotted some funky postal style fabric. It resonated with me because a few days earlier I had seen this tutorial for a travel documents pouch. I’ve got quite a few trips to make for work this year and I thought this might be a fun little project just for me. It also has the advantage of giving me some more practice with zips.

That’s it for now. How are your projects coming along?

Fire drill quilt

I’ve started collecting together fabrics for a new quilt. I love this phase; it’s so full of promise and possibilities. I’m actually going to follow my first pattern rather than making it up as I go along. I’ll be making my version of Elizabeth Hartman’s Fire Drill Quilt.

I’m not going to be using the same colour scheme though. One of the variations Elizabeth suggests is a cooler alternative made up of grey prints with some really vibrant shots of teal/turquoise solids. So now I’m on the hunt for my fabrics.

I’ve already started deviating from the instructions. It would appear I am very bad at actually following a pattern. Rather than going for 8 prints and 1 solid, I’m trying to find 13 prints in a mix of grey, navy and turquoise. I think I will also look for 3 or 4 solids in a mix of grey, navy, teal and turquoise. I’m going for a slightly scrappier look overall but still keeping it mainly grey with striking shots of bright colour.

Here’s my collection of fabrics so far. I’ve found the prints a lot easier to source than the solids so I think I’ll take a special trip to a larger quilting shop this weekend to fill in the gaps. So much fun!! I can’t wait to start cutting into them.

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Do you tend to follow a pattern or make it up as you go?

A grown up quilt for a grown up home

In April 2013 I entered a couple of my quilts at a local quilt show. While there I naturally took the opportunity to have a look around the fantastic array of stalls selling fabric. What caught my eye was a jelly roll and charm pack of Moda Morris Apprentice fabrics. I love William Morris prints and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

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With the 5″ squares and the Jelly roll strips I thought it might be a good idea to have a go at some curved piecing. With this my drunkard’s path quilt was born.

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I split the fabric into light and darks and started assembling squares. Initially I pinned the curves in place (as in photo above) but once I got the hang of things I found it easier to just eyeball it. I found it resulted in a smoother curve. When I had enough squares I began to think about arranging them.

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This was the design I eventually chose. I kept making more until I had used up all of the light and dark charm squares. Then I split it up into rectangles for piecing the squares together.

Drunkard's Path

Once that was done I began thinking about a setting for the quilt. This is what I came up with. I found that adding the two quarter circles in the centre of each white side really helped the light/dark pattern come through.

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I was really pleased with this and I thought at this point I would bind the quilt and have a smallish lap quilt or a wall hanging. However, a quick trip to my local quilting shop for batting led me to be discover they had a layer cake of the Morris Apprentice fabrics. Too good to pass up. My quilt entered a new phase and the drunkard’s path became a medallion in the centre. Having tried curved piecing I figured I might as well throw another new-to-me technique into the mix: Seminole.

I used the Jelly roll strips to make the seminole and just started putting them together. I was following an online tutorial but I can’t now find the link to share it – sorry!. This is where the quilting gods smiled on me as they have never done before. I assumed I’d have to do some serious fudging at the corners to make it fit the drunkard’s path medallion. However, on my first attempt. It fitted, perfectly. I couldn’t have done that if I had tried. I added some curved squares at the corners to soften the edges a little. Once again I added some white in at the edge to help add some contrast.

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Then I got stuck. I knew I now wanted to make it big enough to hang off the edges of a double bed. I really wasn’t sure what to do for the next border. I put it to one side for a few weeks.

Eventually I decided to bring back the drunkard’s path but use it to make rows of circles inside squares. Once the four rows were made I still wasn’t sure what to do for the corners. So the quilt got set aside again for a while. In the end I decided to throw in some octagons made out of alternating light and dark triangles. I’m still not fully convinced it was the best call but it’s ok. What it does do is create a nice open feel with the white sections around the octagon. That’s what gave me the idea for my final border. Small 2.5″ squares surrounded by whites. Nice and simple. Not detracting from the middle too much at all.

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Then came the challenge of constructing the quilt sandwich, basting and quilting this monster. It is the biggest thing I ever made and their just wasn’t space at home to baste it there. My local quilting shop came to the rescue and Jane kindly let me use her upstairs lesson space to spread it all out.

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It took 3 hours of frantic basting but I got there (and still made it to work in time for my meeting – just). Then it was time to attempt quilting on my faithful sewing machine. This was a bit of mission but I was only doing light, straight line quilting so it was manageable, if a bit cramped.

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Just a week before we moved into our new home, I finished!

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imageA proper grown up quilt for our grown up home.