Posted in Cool Sewing Projects, Me Stuff

Pocket Organizer – Sewing Tutorial

I’ve been getting a steady number of orders on my shop lately and I couldn’t be happier. Sewing gives me such satisfaction and pleasure, things I never thought I would get from it, at least a few years ago. It’s mostly book sleeves and zipper pouches but lately people have been requesting fresh stuff, new stuff and I just LOVE making new things.

I got an order for a sleep mask yesterday and laptop sleeve a week before, it was challenging but so much fun. The reference I used was from a written tutorial blog post and it helped out immensely. I’ve done written tutorials before (2 if you’re asking) but I feel as if I didn’t go into much detail or precision, especially when it came to the images.

I hope to change that with this blog post where I would be putting down “how to sew a pocket organizer” in ink, as it were. The design is completely my own, meaning I didn’t use anything as a reference or a guide for this. It doesn’t mean that no one else has made something like this before.

Things You’ll Need:

  • Your basic Sewing Essentials
  • Fusible Interfacing
  • Two fabric prints, one will serve as the main outer piece and the other as the, uh, not-main? outer piece. I suck at this, forgive me. Basically both pieces will be visible on the outside and you’ll also be able to use one of them as a lining for the pockets. The main one will be facing towards you and it’ll have pockets while the other one will be facing the wall without any pockets.

I chose this super-awesome and cool map/stamp/animal print which is African themed and a simple black fabric. These are both incredibly sturdy.

Instructions:

Step 1: MEASUREMENTS & CUTTING (Duh):

  • 3 pieces from each fabric print of your choice measuring 7.5″ x 9.5″. That’ll be 6 fabric pieces total of this size. These will make the 3 pocket holders.
  • 3 pieces of interfacing of the same size.
  • 3 pockets for 3 pocket holders. The first and the third pocket will be of the same size 5.5″ x 6.5″ along with their lining. That’d be a total of 4 pieces of this size.
  • I decided to do two pockets for the middle pocket holder. These will obviously be of shorter width. Again, you will also cut the lining so another 4 pieces measuring 5.5″ x 4.5″.
  • The connector pieces that would join the three pocket holders together into one mighty pocket organizer would be 4 in total measuring 4.5″ x 3″.
  • The hanging strip or the piece that would be used to hang your organizer on the wall would be 22.5″ x 1.5″.
  • Lastly, you would need bias tape to give the edges of the pocket holders a beautiful and finished edge. You will need 3 strips of fabric measuring 1.5″ x 35″. If you can’t cut pieces that long, just cut smaller ones and sew them together now.

Step 2: IRONING:

  • Do all the iron work right now starting with fusing the interfacing to the 3 of the 6 outer pieces. Wall-facing 3 or you-facing 3, doesn’t really matter.

  • Iron the edges of the 4 connector pieces as shown below. This will make sure that you don’t need to fold anything while sewing to hide the raw edge.
  • Iron the hanging strip in the same way, making sure to fold and iron over both shorter edges as before.
  • Iron the three strips of bias tape in exactly the same way.

Step 3: SEWING:

  • Start by sewing along both edges of the 3 connector pieces and the hanging strip as shown in the picture. You will not sew the edges of the bias tape yet.

  • Put each of the main 3 pieces with the 3 wall-facing pieces WRONG sides together and sew with a quarter inch seam allowance. The bias tape will cover the edges later.
  • Now sew the bias tape along the sides of each of the three pocket holder pieces. It’s hard to describe it but basically what you do is, you put the middle crease of the bias tape with the edge of the pocket holder piece, folding the creased side edges of the bias tape symmetrically over the top and bottom of the pocket holder. In that way, when you sew along the top, the stitches appear exactly below securing the bias tape perfectly. I will assume that you did not understand of word of what I just said. In that case:

Take care when you come to the curving point. Stop sewing about an inch away and make an L by folding the bias tape like so:

Don’t worry if you can’t do it the first time. I, myself, did it on the third try. Your pocket holders should now look like this:

As you can see, I wasn’t satisfied with a single stitch so I doubled it and stuff. I’m paranoid like that. Also, the bias tape is about 4″ larger than the perimeter of these pieces so it would overlap where you started. Just sew over the first edge, make sure the second edge is folded inside and the raw side is hidden.

  • Once you’ve sewn bias tape all around the three pieces, it is time to attach the hanging strip. Pick one pocket holder piece and place it right side down. Now place both ends of the strip about a half an inch from the top edge and 2.5″ from the sides in such a way that all the strip is downwards. Pin the ends and fold them over, now sew over the strip in a rectangle securing it to what is going to be the top pocket holder piece. The strip should now be facing upwards.

(I should probably mention the fact that if you had ironed and sewn the strip as I had instructed, you would not need to fold the strip like I’m showing you now. I did it because I forgot to tuck in and sew the shorter edge so mine were raw. I folded them to hide the raw edges. So yeah, do that if your edges are raw, if not, just place the strip and sew.)

  • Place all the pocket pieces and their linings right sides together sewing with a quarter inch seam allowance. Leave about a 2 to 3 inch opening for turning the pieces inside out. Iron them and top stitch.

  • Now place the pockets on the pocket holder pieces positioning them in the middle. Pin them in place and sew the pockets. You will sew the sides and the bottom, not the top. That’d be silly.

  • Take two connector pieces and position them at the bottom of the back of one pocket holder piece, on both sides of the pocket but a little lower, close to the bias tape. Pin them if you want and sew them in place. Now take the other ends of the connector pieces and position them on the second pocket holder piece but at the top instead of the bottom. Repeat with the remaining pieces essentially joining all the pocket holders together into one glorious organizer. Voila!
This is my pocket holder’s backside. It’s backside. HA! That’s hilarious.
This is full frontal. LOL.

There you go! One pocket organizer locked and loaded. This was my first ever so I will be trying variations.

Also, this wasn’t as neat as I wanted it to be. My machine is from the Dark Ages and it broke about 453636 times while I was doing this project. Stupid old rust bucket.

I realize now that the words I was looking for in the beginning were “front” and “back”, not “wall-facing” and “you-facing”. They completely evaded my mind. Human brain does that sometimes. So this was the back and here is the front.

Really looks like a chalk board, doesn’t it? Weeeell, I tried. You cannot fault me for that. Let me know if you try it and show some pictures!

Cheers,
Sara

Posted in Cool Sewing Projects, Me Stuff

Phone Case/Wallet/Purse Sewing Tutorial

It’s been a while since I did my first written sewing tutorial post. The first one was about book sleeves in case you didn’t know which you probably did not. I have been busy with making things for my shop plus getting some custom orders plus running two Instagram pages. It’s a welcome busy-ness. Get it? That was one of my better ones.

Anyhoo, there’s this piece of fabric that I bought two months ago and it straight up refuses to finish. I’ve cut and cut and cut so many things and even now there still are 6,7 scraps left. This particular project was made out of desperation (IMMA USE ALL OF YOU, YOU STUPID PIECE OF CLOTH) and also a sudden burst of inspiration. The design is by no means a 100% original or unheard of but I did come up with it all on my own so I guess that’s what matters.

My inspiration for this project comes from Professor Pincushion, the Crafty Gemini and the Style Novice, whose videos I watch on Youtube.

Measurements:

  • Two large pieces of fabric that will be the main pieces. It really depends on the size of your phone. Measure the length and width of your device, double the width and add two inches to each dimension. For instance, if the phone is 6″ x 4″, double the width, making it 8″ and then add 2″ to each measurement: the final dimensions for the two main pieces would be:

8″ x 10″

  • Cut a piece of interfacing with the same measurements.
  • You’ll also need to put a tab inside the two pieces, that would make carrying the phone case easier. Cut a rectangular piece 6.5″ x 3″.
  • To secure the case while it’s closed, you’ll need some hook and loop tape that’d be sewn onto a flap. The flap needs to be about 4″ x 3″.
  • Aside from the main phone pocket, I made three additional pockets on the right side for money/cards/coins etc. It’s your choice really, the number and size of pockets you may need.
  • For the phone pocket, cut a piece measuring 7″ x 4.5″ and for the three smaller pockets 3″ x 4.5″.

Instructions:

  • Apply the interfacing on one of the large pieces.
  • Prepare the tab and the flap in the same way: fold them in half length-wise and press. Open the crease and place both corners on the middle crease, press again. Now fold the two corners on top of one another and sew along both sides.
  • Take the large pocket piece and fold the top about half an inch in and sew on the edge. Then, do the same thing to the right edge of the pocket.
  • Do the same thing with the three smaller pockets but fold their left edges instead of right.
  • Now pin the pockets on the large piece with the interfacing like shown above. Remember, for the wallet pockets, place a pocket on top first, then the middle and lastly on the bottom.
  • Align the pockets so that they are about one inch below the top edge of the main piece.
  • Now sew all the pocket pieces with a basting stitch. The sides you folded are the ones which will show on the inside of the case. The unfolded ones will just be sewed in the seam allowance and you won’t even see them.
  • Fold the main piece in half to create a crease in the middle.
  • Once you have stitched all the pockets on the inside of the case, take the tab and put both sides about half an inch away from the middle crease. One end of the tab should be on the left and one on the right. Make sure that the tab is facing inwards not outwards. Pin in place.
  • Place the hook and loop tape on the inner corner of the flap and like the tab, align it in the middle, but on the right edge of the main inner piece. Like the tab, it should be going inside not outside. Pin in place.
  • Place the other outer main piece right side facing down with the right side of the inner main piece facing up. Before you stuff the flap inside and pin, figure out to what point the flap will reach once you have sewn all the sides. Mark that point and sew the other piece of hook and loop tape on top.
  • Now with both pieces right sides together, tab and flap inside pinned, leaving about a three inch gap, sew all the sides with a half inch seam allowance. Back stitch at the beginning and at the end.
  • Turn it inside out, press and top stitch along all four sides, stitching the open gap closed.

I hope you enjoyed this! If you have any questions please ask in the comments below!

Cheers!

Posted in Cool Sewing Projects, Me Stuff

“Wish Upon A Stitch” – My New Shop!

Aah! That might be the dumbest and most uninteresting title anyone has ever come up with but bear with me, I can’t think of anything descriptive that is simultaneously creative and not misleading. Whatever with the title. I JUST OPENED AN ONLINE SHOP! IT IS LIVE AND RUNNING!!!!!!

I shipped my first order two days ago and it reached the customer yesterday. If I knew how to dance and it wasn’t Ramazan and I actually liked dancing, I would have busted out some serious moves. Because HOLY JOLLY ROGER, I can make money now!

I’d like to know if there is a better deal than getting paid for doing what you love. THERE IS NONE. Zilch.
It wasn’t simple as I originally thought it would be and it certainly wasn’t easy but slowly things came together and now here we are. Alhamdulillah for that!

You’re probably wondering at this point about the nature of the shop, like what am I even selling?! I’ll tell you, cupcakes, hold on to your horses. Wish Upon A Stitch (a name that I cam up with after thinking for a day and a half) is a crafts shop, hand made items of all kind in the future but right now just hand-sewn fabric accessories like zipper pouches, wallets, bags and book sleeves. It’s basically a new born baby right now but once I get my shit together, I plan on adding knitted and crocheted items (courtesy of my mother as I don’t knit) and hand-painted bookmarks.

The shop is on Kaymu.pk (you’ll find the link in the menu above) and I’ve also started an Instagram account to promote it (which you can see down below in the widget to the bottom right of the page). Check both out for deets.

Two and a half years ago, I couldn’t even sew. It was something I never thought I would do, let alone fall in love with. I took a three month course at a nearby institute and failed the test at the end of it. Naturally, I was discouraged. For months and months I didn’t even look at the sewing machine. Picked it up a few times in between but gave up quickly. Then, about 8 months ago in October, I decided to make a zipper pouch as a wedding gift for a friend. It was the first time I tried it and it looked good!

Then of course I went on a rampage, watching Youtube tutorials and obsessively sewing the life out of that machine. There was no where for that stuff to go because even though I absolutely LOVED making those things, I had no use for them. So I started giving them away to friends, family, neighbors, you get my drift. However, there’s a limit to generosity and mine in particular, being the hot-headed, close to bursting volcano that I  am. I started to get this itch at the back of my mind. I thought to myself, “Dude, people are greedy. Charge them!” I patted myself on the back for this rational line of thinking, woman-ed up and uploaded a product for listing on Kaymu. That was early March.

A boxed zipper pouch I made. My sister wanted it so I relented.

The first few items I uploaded were rejected. Then, out of nowhere, I get this phone call and email in mid-May informing me that my listings had been approved and that my shop was now open. From then till a few days ago I had been hard at work trying to set everything up. I’m proud to say that even though I had help, I did not just sit back and let others do it.

I do not entirely feel useless now. Feels like I’ve accomplished something. It’s productive, it keeps me busy and excited and it will, given time, allow me to afford all those books, book merch and stationary stuff I’m always craving for. I’ve never had huge dreams like say, becoming a doctor or an engineer or a degree holder but I did dream of opening my own craft store someday and alhamdulillah, I did!

So the bottom line is, dear children, once you’ve figured out what you want in life, go at it with pickaxes screaming bloody murder.

Cheers!

Posted in Bookish Balderdash, Cool Sewing Projects

The Formidable Art of Book Sleeve-making: Demystified!

Alternatively, this post could also have been called How To Make A Book Sleeve: A Step-by-Step Guide as this is a written tutorial but that would have been SO boring. I don’t do boring.

If you’re a fellow bookstagrammer you would know the appeal of a thing such as this. Book sleeves are all the rage these days and have the book community at large going nuts, even though I personally find them unnecessary. Never make this case in front of a book nerd, though. They’ll only think you have gone mad. About 80% of the book merch subscription boxes or any other shop offers IS unnecessary. But the thing is, we DON’T care!
However, if you are an avid reader who does not use Instagram and has absolutely no idea WTF I’m even talking about, lemme help you out.

What, in the name of papyrus, is a Book Sleeve?

A book sleeve is just a rectangular pouch you put your book in to “protect” it.

At least, I think that was the initial idea behind its creation. Now, it’s just another cool thing a bookworm can brag about.
The funny thing is, if you search Google Images you will not find the book sleeve I’m talking about. There are a couple of other terms like Book Jacket and Book Buff for it but save for Instagram, no where on the Internet does it show you the right one. Instead you’ll get fabric covers much like a book’s cover jacket, the one you can take off.

Why, from a practical reader’s perspective, book sleeves are pointless:

I came across it on Instagram myself and while I thought it was a rad idea, I found it to be, you guessed it, unnecessary. Why do I think so? It’s simple really. Just like virtually anything can be used as a bookmark, so can anything be used to cover your book while you’re not reading it. The end. Wasn’t so difficult now, was it? (Also, since we’re on the subject, bookish candles. Like, what? We’re past the dark ages, ladies and gents. We have electricity now, well, some of us do more than the others. They only serve to be props for bookish posts which then allow the bookstagrammer to get more candles and post more photos… It’s a funny business, bookstagramming.)

Another thing is, if you’re traveling and you do that a lot, you might want to take a book or two with you. You can use a book sleeve to cover one book inside your travel bag to make it feasible, might make it easier to spot it and fish it out if you have a lot of luggage. But if you carry more books than one, then what? Would you put all 5 books in 5 book sleeves? If it was me traveling (which I don’t) and I had taken books to read with me (which I wouldn’t) I’d just stuff ’em all up in a tote bag or something. Problemo Solvedo.

Add it to the fact that I live in Pakistan where things like these are expensive, my personal opinion as someone who can only buy things she needs is that you can do perfectly well without buying a book sleeve.

Now, I advise you to put all of that aside as gibberish and read on because… IMMA SHOW YOU HOW TO MAKE A BOOK SLEEVE! YAY!

I told you, we book nerds don’t care. Our rational sides surface once in a while unfortunately but we recover real fast because TEMPTATION. Also, I said you could do without “buying” a book sleeve. I never said anything about making them yourself. Pay attention. If you happen to be a fellow bookstagramming bookworm who also happens to be a fellow sewist, you will get me a hundred percent.

I make tons of projects that I don’t need at all but just because they’re fun to make and offer a challenge, I take them up. Not helpful are the insanely gorgeous and awesome fabric prints which just beg to be used. The book sleeve in the picture above is the first ever I made, it wasn’t the last.

You won’t find any Youtube tutorials on this. Trust me, I checked. Just as well because this isn’t rocket science. It’s probably the easiest thing you can make. The only thing that I wanted to watch the tutorial for was the measurements. I made the first one on guesswork and the size turned out to be correct. I’ll stop rambling now and give you the measurements I found later while rummaging through book sleeve posts. Someone running a book sleeve account very helpfully posted a picture describing them (dear Lord, I talk too much):

Large (Hardbound)   9″ x 11.5″
Medium  7.5″ X 11″
Small (Paperback)  7″ X 8″

  • Keep in mind that these are not the finished sizes. You have to cut pieces according to any of these measurements.

Book Sleeve in simple steps:

This is perhaps the most straight-forward and easiest way to do it.

  1. Choose a pattern size then cut two pieces of the outer main fabric (cotton is recommended) and two pieces of the inner lining fabric (this can be cotton, silk, georgette, whatever you want, just bear in mind that it will show up on the inside).
  2. Lay both main pieces right side facing up and then adjust the lining pieces on top of them right side facing down. So the right sides of both sets should be together and the wrong sides should be facing upward.
  3. Pin the upper edges together so that their sides match exactly.
  4. Using a half-inch seam allowance, stitch the top edge of the rectangle. Do the same with the other set.
  5. Turn the seam ‘inside-out’ and press.
  6. Now you should have two pieces instead of four. Each with an outer fabric and a lining fabric and both of these fabrics should be right side out after pressing them flat.
  7. Put the pieces on top of each other, again, right sides together so that the lining fabrics are showing up and the outer fabrics are inside facing each other.
  8. Pin the sides in place.
  9. Again using a half-inch seam allowance, stitch the two long sides and the bottom. Clip the corners.
  10. Without turning the sleeve inside out, fold the upper edge of the sleeve about a half inch inside the lining and sew along the edge of the fold.
  11. Turn it inside out. It’s ready!

Image-1

  • Just FYI, there are legit hundreds of ways you can tinker with and tweak your book sleeves. The way I do it the inside seams are completely hidden but that is a teensy bit more complicated. You can add pockets, you can reinforce it with fusible interfacing, you can embroider it or add other flourishes, zippers, straps, the point is; once you know how it’s done, it’s all up to you.

So, even if I don’t think they are a big deal as a reader, the sewist in me holds them in high regard. And for good reason! When I posted this picture on my Instagram account in April, within minutes I was contacted by a local book subscription box business and was given an order to make 10 book sleeves for them. It was THE most squeal-worthy thing that ever happened to me. I may be wrong, most of the times I am, but I think I’m the first person here who’s ever made a book sleeve for a bookish box  and I am PRRRRRRR-AAAA-OOOOOUUUUD! Even useless things have uses. That’s the lesson in this, children.

I hope you enjoyed my take on book sleeves; their usefulness, uselessness and making.

P.S: I would like you to know that I am open to custom orders. If you want one made just drop a message on my Instagram account @burqabelle and let me know. We’ll sort out the details there. Until then, cheerio!