Friday, May 23, 2008

Key Fob Tutorial


Key Fobs are definitely the rage. They're not only really cute, but soooo functional as well. Slip them around your wrist, and you are hands-free to carry your bags, kiddos, etc.!

I make, and sell, quite a few in my shop and give many away as gifts. Here's a tutorial to show you how you can make your own.

Items you'll need:

  • 2 strips of coordinating fabric 12"x 2.25"

  • 1 strip of Pellon PelTex #70 12" x 1.25" (I actually cut mine 1 3/16th", or just a hair narrower than 1.25". You'll understand why later)

  • 1 set of key fob hardware (I purchase mine here.)
Here are the interfacing strips:

Step 1) Fuse the interfacing strips to your fabric strips, by placing the Pellon 809 down the center of the fabric strip. There will be 1/2" of fabric on each side. The edges of the Pellon will be your guide for stitching throughout the process of making your key fob.

Place fabric pieces right sides together and pin in place. Stitch down one edge of the Pellon. Iron the seam open.

Step 2) With the fabric wrong side up, iron each long side of the fabric strip inward at the edge of the Pellon. Fold in half lengthwise, wrong sides together and press.

Slip the Peltex into the middle of your fabric "sandwich". Wrap the outside fabric's seam allowances (the fabric that will be the main outer fabric of the key fob) around the Peltex. Pin the fabric"sandwich together. If you cut your PelTex as I do, it will be much easier to pin this since the seam allowances take up a bit of space inside the sandwich. Trust me; do as I say.

Step 3) Stitch the pinned edge together by topstitching. Be sure to catch the underside fabric! And go slowly, you'll be stitching over the Peltex, and it's a thick layer...but oh so worth it in the end.

Topstitch down the opposite side as well.

Step 4) At this point, you are just cleaning up the piece before attaching the hardware. Trim the edges (the short ends) even, and apply Fray Check generously to the raw edges. Really, don't skip this part. It will give your key fob a cleaner looking end result and will give it more longevity.

Step 5) Attach the hardware with some pliers. Fold the fabric strip to meet at raw ends. Slip the hardware piece over both layers. It will be thick, so make sure that you have all of the layers neatly tucked in there. Use pliers to clamp the hardware shut in this order: middle, right side, left side. Otherwise you might clamp it shut unevenly. Clamp gently at first to be sure it stays positioned correctly. Then go back and finish it off with a nice, tight clamp!

I wrap a scrap piece of fabric around the hardware so that it doesn't get scratched by the pliers.

Attach the O-ring and you are done!


And don't forget to comment below and let me know how the tutorial works for you! And I'd love to see what you make, too!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Urban Messenger Bags

Lately, my custom work has centered on these North-South Urban Messenger bag styles. My clients selected fabrics and I worked them into the bags. These bags are difficult to make and require much time, so they truly become "labors of love". And they did turn out lovely.

This hard-to-find Owl fabric is a favorite of my client's, so we ordered it directly from Japan.  Such a fun print!

I've been calling this the Butterscotch Bag.  It's just yummy!  The colors are amazing in this Geisha Fan print!  Can Amy Butler fabrics get any better?!!!   (I'm sure they will, as she never ceases to come out with more and more fabulous things!)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Market bag madness

It's madness.  I fully admit it.  I'm embracing my own sewing nerdiness.  I woke up this morning with the urge to see if I could re-create the style of the plastic grocery bags we all have overflowing in our homes.    I saw a fabric one over at HyenaCart that was super-cute and I haven't been able to get it out of my mind.

So, today after church I tore a plastic JoAnn's bag apart, used it as my template, and made a muslin fabric one.  Just for cuteness, I added a little birdie applique.

Pretty cute, if I say so myself.   And it's remarkably strong, yet very lightweight!

Here's a closer shot of the birdie applique.  I hand drew it, adhered it to Heat-n-Bond Lite, cut it out and ironed it on.  Then I simply zig-zagged around the edges.  I'm wondering if I should add a little button for the eye.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Amy Butler Smart Bag

My friend, Sue, of Pink Lemonade Boutique does lots of my jewelry pieces. She's one of those people who can miraculously figure out exactly what you want with little guidance given and the piece turns out fabulous AND really is exactly what you want! I just love her!

So, she put a little bug in my ear that she liked the Amy Butler Smart Bag, so I whipped one up for her recently. It's quickly becoming one of my favorites, too. The bag was simple to make and turned out fantastic. I did tweak a few things like making the interior pocket a more useful size, the handles (made them of two fabrics and stabilized them) and lightly stabilized the lining of the bag to give it more body.

I love to surf the PatternReview website, and I entered a review of this bag here, if you are interested.   This site is really sure to check it out before your try your next pattern!
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