Mar 192015

I’m definitely not a mass production-loving person, but in the past couple of months, I’ve made three wide open zipper cases for presents because they’re awesome! They’re pretty quick to sew, look great, and I feel confident that people like receiving them because anyone can find a use for a pouch. Sometimes I talk myself out of making people bags because we can have really definite bag preferences, but pouches are universally useful. 🙂

Back at Christmas, I made the first wide open zipper pouch for my cousin who’s a teacher. Teachers need to keep things places!
fishies zipper pouch closed

I love how wide these open up! This first one was a little bit of a pain to sew when I was going around the U-turn, but it got easier with the next ones. I completely forgot to include the ribbons at the ends that give you something to grip when you’re opening or closing the zipper. Fortunately since the pouch is brown, I think it won’t be too noticeable if it gets the ends get a little grungy from being grabbed, instead. ;D
fishies zipper pouch

Next, I made one for my dad, who’s addicted to buying little pouches for his USBs and cords and things. I think he was happy…! (I can never tell with my parents.)
pac man zipper pouch closed

I remembered the ribbon end thingies, but forgot to include my label on his, which I felt bad about since he once specifically mentioned to me how much he likes them. >_< pac man zipper pouch

The last one was for my awesome co-worker’s birthday. I finally realized that the ribbon ends were a perfect place to put my labels!
whales zipper pouch closed

Usually, I dither for a long time when I’m trying to put together fabrics, but this time I felt like the orangey triangles really went with the whales. Was I right… or delusional?
whales zipper pouch

For all of these, I was a big cheapie and used not-fat-enough yarn inside the piping, which is why they all look a little suspect. But I recently bought a cone of fat packing twine to use for piping, so hopefully things will improve! 😀

Oct 302014

Still catching up on things from before our trip! First up, flying squirrels made for kiddie presents. These are hilaaaaaarious! Plus, they’re super easy and relatively fast to make, and the pattern is free!
flying squirrels

I felt an intense need to make travel pillows for everyone (except my kids) — these are for my father-in-law, sister-in-law, niece, husband, and me. My in-laws already had their own comfier and more useful U-shaped travel pillows, but they very politely carried the ones I made them on the plane. 😀 Just in case you can’t tell, two of these have gadget pockets, which I don’t think ended up getting used. On the bright side, my kids liked hugging the grey stars and dadcat pillows during our vacation!
travel pillows

Waaaay before our trip, I got to be a pattern tester for Sew Sweetness’s Crimson and Clover Train Cases. I made the smallest size and stingily did not make proper bias tape, which Sara very kindly didn’t mention. >_< Can't see the bad piping in this pic, though... muhahahaha! small Crimson and Clover train case

Jun 152013

I guess it was a little bit my bad — I forgot that Father’s Day was coming up, so this week I was all, oops, what do you want for a present, Dad? He told me he wanted a new thing to hold his USB sticks, since his old one was a little too big (and later on I noticed that the zipper tab had fallen off). I pressed him for a few more details, which amounted to him handing over his old pouch and saying he wanted something smaller than that. Time passes… et voila!
usb pouch

Geddit? It’s a floppy drive on his USB pouch! Hurk hurk. 😀

The embroidery pattern is from my last year’s subscription to Wild Olive‘s pattern of the month club (and now it’s in her shop). The pouch ended up being about 3.75″ wide by 3.25″ high, and I kind of wonked up the corners by the zipper, but it’s wide enough for plenty of USB sticks and (hopefully) dad-sized fingers (I didn’t make fabric zipper ends because I worried that it would make the pouch opening too small).

And the first thing my dad said when he saw it? “Kinda small, huh?” O_o

Feb 282013

I’ve been continuing my short-attention-span project kick, so very quickly, here they are! I made a sewing kit for my sister’s birthday present using Michelle’s zip pocket pouch pattern.
Stacy's sewing kit

I added felt to hold needles and two twill loops in the open pocket to attach a pair of snip scissors and a bobbin of thread. I also put a thimble and extra colors of thread in the zippered pocket. The smallest size of this pouch is a nice size for carrying around some sewing essentials without taking up a lot of room in your bag!
Stacy's sewing kit, inside

Since I bought the ditty bag pattern recently during a $5 Friday, I made a couple of them to help justify the purchase. :> These are both the largest size; the blue one is for holding my after-having-given-birth toiletries, and the red one is for my parents (my dad declined to offer input on the fabric, so I chose what I thought my mom would like).
pair of ditty bags

Finally, I made a couple more kleenex pouches for another friend who uses them. I still haven’t made one for me, though!
more kleenex pouches

Feb 212013

I made a couple more things for the kids’ second Valentine’s Day on Saturday; first was a new bag each for Cosmo and Sunshine. They both have the same reverse applique heart and birdie embroidery (although I forgot to include the wing on Cosmo’s). Since Cosmo can work zippers, I made him Noodlehead’s wide open pouch. It was also kind of a test because I was thinking of making these for end-of-year teacher presents, and I wanted to see if I liked it.
Cosmo's and Sunshine's Valentine bags

Sunshine’s bag has closed, finished handles because of Ikat Bag’s fantastic Make a Bag series. I love these! I’ll never make an exposed open-ended bag strap again!
Sunshine's Valentine bag handle

I put in yummy (I want to buy more for meee!) almond cookies and candied squash. It looks kind of empty in the kids’ bags, but that’s all I could fit in my niece’s goodie bag.
Valentine bags, goodies

For my sister-in-law and niece, I made heart-shaped ditty bags. I like them! In person, though, they remind me of 80’s Madonna pointy bras. 😀
heart ditty bags

Feb 152013

Mr. Yazoo and I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day (we’ve got Christmas, then a bunch of January birthdays, then a whole bunch of February birthdays, so it’s too much present pressure), so this year I was surprised that I was all excited to do Valentine’s things for the kids and other people. It’s a non-romantic holiday for me, apparently!

Since we’re finally done having kids, I made my mom a complete set of mini Yazoo hand/footprint pot holders. Pot holders are totally my Achilles heel of sewing — mine always come out looking so home made! I get away with it only by sticking baby prints on them.
mini Yazoo pot holders and Valentine envelopes

I also made Valentine envelopes for the kiddos. Can you believe that these took me an entire night? I have unparalleled powers in making super simple projects take ages to complete. I kept sewing and ripping out the embroidery because it looked bad, so that added time. I also stamped the kids’ names on the front. A little while ago, Cosmo brought a silly little cheapie card to school, and he and another kid got into a fight over it because the other kid thought it was his. Mr. Yazoo let the other kid take the card home, and the next day, my mom sent Cosmo to school with another card that had his name on it. Heh!
Valentines envelope, back

The instructions indicate that buttons can be used to close the envelopes, and I thoughtlessly made a big buttonhole on Cosmo’s before I remembered that he wouldn’t be able to work the button. Then I replaced it with velcro and sewed on a felt heart to cover the hole and velcro stitching.
Valentines envelopes, inside

I also made glow stick favors for his classmates and kleenex pouches for his teachers. The tag says, “I’m sending all my love achoo!” Hee!
teacher kleenex pouches

Feb 102013

I had actually seen A Quilter’s Table’s triple zip-along a while ago, but didn’t think I needed such a pouch until Svetlana pointed out that it makes a great epp project holder. Ah hah, sold!

I (what’s the slow-pokey version of “whipped one up?”) last night to hold my hexies for my future rainbow quilt. I like Debbie’s way of doing zipper ends because it forces me to pay attention to where I place the fabric and how much of it will show once the seam is sewn. Also, it requires one fewer pressing step than the previous way I was doing it!
triple zip pouch

Unless I missed a step (which I totally could have, since I tend to skim instructions), the back of the top zipper can’t really be top-stitched, but it’s okay since the fabric got pulled down away from the zipper by the stabilizer. (I used sew-in stabilizer instead of fusible fleece.) Also, I couldn’t really figure out what I was supposed to do in the final set of picture-less instructions, but it was easy to sew the side seams by just having the whole thing inside-out with the main lining flipped up and away from the exterior and other pockets, and then just sewing along the open edges.
triple zip pouch, back

The biggest pocket is the perfect size for my unsewn 1.5″ hexies, the middle pocket holds the sewn ones nicely, and I think I’ll put different color threads in the smallest pocket. Hey, do you have an opinion about how you like stitching together epp pieces? I know people generally whipstitch them together, but I like the no-thread-showing-ness of ladder stitches. However, I was worried about how strong each of these methods would be, since I like my quilts to be tough and machine-washable. With that in mind, do you think whipstitching or ladder stitching would be better?
triple zip pouch, inside

Jan 242013

I had fun sewing a bunch of little things over the holiday weekend, but my brain was totally broken!

First, I made my cousin his zippered kleenex cases. I was all proud of myself for thinking of stamping his initials on the twill tab… but his initials are KF, not KW! Doh!!!
KF's zippered kleenex cases

Then I made a munster for my little cousin. That went fine — I made her the purple one, and the green one is actually Sunshine’s Christmas present that I hadn’t taken a picture of before. (Sunshine’s does have a big mistake, though: the tutorial tells you to put the zipper pocket fabric the wrong way up initially [it should be right side down], and I hadn’t sewn in months, so I didn’t remember that it was wrong til too late.)

After that, I made a bunch of mini pleated pouches.
mini pleated pouches

I bought the pattern and a bunch of pearl snaps on Michelle’s $5 Fridays and thought it would be cute to use the snaps on some of the pouches. But I wasted at least four snaps because I kept installing them wrong! Quite a while ago, I treated myself to a prong snap installation kit:
snap installation kit
… and somehow got it into my head that I was supposed to use the long metal bit to pound in the socket part of the snap. Well, that widened and ruined the snaps I tried to put into my pleated pouches. (What am I supposed to use that metal bit for, anyway?) After some dithering about whether to buy snap pliers, I finally remembered my original snap installation tool: the unbeatable empty thread spool. That worked perfectly! So, note to myself: these are the best snap tools evar:
best snap tools

Finally, I made my mom a mouse pincushion. I had mentioned that I’d finally found crushed walnut shells at the pet store, and my mom said she’d like a pin-sharpening pincushion. Amazingly, I didn’t make any mistakes on this one! 😀
mouse pincushion

And that was my very fun, broken brain, holiday weekend sewing!

Jan 222013

At our family’s New Year’s dinner, my cousin noticed my snapped kleenex holder (oh! which I just realized I never took a picture of, but made using the last set of instructions in this tutorial and sticking a snap on the fabric tab). He is also one of the awesome people in the world who carries around his own kleenex (hehe), and he said that if I ever make a zippered kleenex holder, he’d like one since they’re kind of hard to find nowadays. (Neither of us go to craft fairs, though — maybe that’s where they all are. 😀 )

Soon after, A Spoonful of Sugar put up a great zippered pencil case tutorial, which I thought would be perfect to crib from. She said it could hold a small pack of tissues, but also a bunch of pens or a small notebook, so I figured it must be a little larger than what I needed. I tried out a couple of dimensions and found the size I like!
zippered kleenex case, experiments

The three sizes I experimented with were:

  • 5″ w by 5″ h: too skinny and kind of short
  • 5.75″ w x by 5.25″ h: still a little skinny, but a good height
  • 6.25″ w x 5.25″ h: my favorite!

This last size (6.25″ wide by 5.25″ high) is the right size for a Cheapie McCheaperson like me, who folds up kleenexes from the box (first in half, then in fourths) to put in my tissue case because I think it’s a waste of money to buy packaged pocket kleenex pouches. It can also hold the tissues from the pocket packs as long as you take them out of the plastic pouch. If you want to keep your pocket kleenex packs in the plastic wrapper and then also put it into a zippered pouch, you’d have to use slightly taller and wider pieces of fabric to start with.

So! In case you want to make these (plain Zane) zippered kleenex cases, here are some notes to supplement A Spoonful of Sugar’s tutorial:

  1. Cut 1 each exterior and interior fabric 6.25″ wide by 5.25″ high
  2. Use a 6″ (or larger, of course) zipper
  3. Don’t bother quilting the exterior 😀
  4. Topstitch down each side of the zipper

I’m so happy that I can make as many of these zippered kleenex cases as I want, now! And it didn’t cost me $10 for the pattern, either! (hehehe… that’s what I found when I tried to google a pattern.)