Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Reversible Camera Strap Cover tutorial

This is my first attempt at writing a tutorial, so please let me know if things make sense.  I tend to go over the top when writing out directions, so bear with me if I get verbose.

This is a tutorial for a simple, reversible camera strap cover with a flat pocket to hold your memory cards or snack money or your kid's pacifier.  You know, whatever really important stuff you need to tote along with you and your camera.

Things you will need:

  1. A sewing machine and thread

  2. Two complimentary fabrics for the body of the strap cover

  3. A third complimentary fabric for the pocket (or you could use the same fabric if you like to be matchy-matchy)

  4. fusible fleece interfacing (optional)

  5. A rotary cuter, cutting mat and clear ruler--these aren't mandatory but they will make your life easier, I promise.

  6. A steam iron and ironing board

  7. The measurements of the strap you want to cover

Step 1: Cut your fabric.  Here is where the old adage measure twice, cut once comes in super handy.  You want to cut one strip from each of the main fabrics that is the length of your strap plus 1/2" and the width of your strap doubled plus 1/2".

Clear as mud?

For example, this strap was super long and skinny--27" x 2" so I cut my fabric strips to be 27 1/2" x 4 1/2"

Cut your fusible fleece to the exact measurement of the strap (27" x 2" in my example above).  If you want a super padded strap, you can cut two of these but I prefer to just use one so it's less bulky.

Cut your pocket to the width of your fabric strips (4 1/2" above) x 5".  Your final pocket will be half of the length you are cutting so if you want a deeper pocket cut it larger than 5".  You'll want to cut two of these so you can have a handy dandy pocket on both sides of your reversible strap.

Take a deep breath, you are now done cutting!

Step two: The pockets.  Iron your pocket pieces in half.  If you cut your piece to be 4 1/2" x 5" like I mentioned above, your resulting pocket should be 4 1/2" x 2 1/2"

I like to do a little top stitching here right on the top of the pocket (the side with the fold). No reason really, other than it looks nice.  So if you want to skip this you can. But if you want, go ahead and top stitch a line really close to the top edge.  This might be a fun place to use some of your fancy machine stitches if your fabric is plain (and if you have fancy machine stitches!).

Step three: Make a sandwich.  But only if you're hungry. Ha! I jest.

Here's where you want to go ahead and fuse on your fleece interfacing if you are using it.  Your fleece should be a tad smaller than your fabric. That's o.k. We did that on purpose!  You want to keep the bulk of the fleece out of the seam allowances. Center it on the wrong side of your fabric and press according to the directions that came with the interfacing.

Once your interfacing is fused to your fabric strips you need to place them on top of one another, right sides together.  Place your pockets in between the layers, one on each end.  Pin the layers together.

Step four:  Sew!  Stitch all the way around your fabric sandwich using a 1/4" seam allowance.  Make sure you leave an opening a couple of inches wide somewhere in the middle of the strap so that you can turn it right side out later.  Back stitch at the beginning and the end.

Step five: Turn, turn, turn. . .

But first, clip, clip, clip your corners! This will reduce the bulk and make for a crisper corner in the end.  But be careful not to clip your stitches!! Not that I speak from experience or anything. I've just heard that some people do that when they are rushing and not paying attention. So don't be like me. . . I mean, like those people. . . pay attention when using scissors! Didn't we learn that in like Kindergarden? Geesh, who WAS my teacher? They obviously failed me. (Just teasing MOM!!)

What was that I said about getting verbose? Just remember, you were warned.

O.k., once you've clipped go ahead and turn your strap right side out. Make sure you turn one pocket to each side.  Stick your finger, or a knitting needle or something up into those corners to get them pointy and flat. Step back and admire your handy work. We are on the home stretch!

Step six: Attach the "Hook and Loop" tape. Cut your tape to the same length as your finished strap (27" in my example).  I cut mine a little short. Totally did that on purpose, it wasn't because I was rushing and not paying attention while using my scissors. 

If you are crazy and have fingers of steel you could pin this on or baste it, but I like to live dangerously so I just hold it in place and sew slowly.  You want to sew one half of the tape to one side of the strap and the other half to the other side--does that make sense?  On mine, the soft "loop" part of the tape is on the blue side of my cover.  The rough plastic "hook" part is sew on the opposite side of the strap on the red fabric.  Hopefully the picture below makes it a little clearer.

Sew down both sides of the tape, very close to the edge.  You could use a zig zag stich here if you'd feel more comfortable but remember, your stitches will be visible on the other side so if you don't like the look of a zig zag just bite the bullet and straight stitch.  These stitches will also close up the hole you left for turning so make sure those raw edges are turned under (you can press them in advance if you need to).

And viola!
You are now the proud owner of a reversible camera strap cover. Go gussy up your SLR and take some photos!

I love this strap design for so many reasons.  First, you don't have to commit to a single fabric choice.  I love both of these fabrics from the 1974 Urban Chicks collection.  Personally, I tend to favor blues but sometimes I can see myself wanting the pop of color the red side would bring on occasion.  And second, every other strap cover I've seen requires you to thread your strap through the cover. Tedious, in my opinion.  The hook and loop tape on this makes it easy to switch up or take off (say, if your husband thinks it makes your camera look too "girly"). 

I've been known to embellish these a little with a gathered, elastisized pocket rather than the flat one.  The "poofy" gathered pocket is better for holding bigger things like your lens cap or a wallet.  You could also do some quilting or other embellishing if you're into that sort of thing.  The sky (and your imagination) is the limit!

Please feel free to use this tutorial for your own personal use.  If you want to sell items you've made using this tute I think that's great! I'd just appreciate the credit.  My hubby and I worked hard on coming up with this idea and would appreciate credit where it's due.



Monday, January 25, 2010

The last Christmas gift post, I promise

Please welcome, The Super Cousins! Da dadada!

The Super hero capes were made from this tutorial, with a few adaptations.  Once I made the Bug's cape I knew they would need to be longer for her older cousins. Also, the neck seemed a little small so I made it a bit bigger too.  I used Velcro to fasten it around the neck so that they could easily come off and on and provide less of a choking hazard.  Each one is reversible and I made a matching reversible super hero face mask to go with it.

In hindsight, the Velcro is a bit itchy for delicate super hero neck skin so I'd probably rethink that.  And please, don't ever, ever ask me to work with satin again.  These capes wouldn't have the coolness factor with another fabric but it would have helped keep my temper much cooler.  Not a single thing I tried did much to help the slipping of the fabrics and beleive me I exhausted my Google search looking for something, anything, to make it easier. 

The Bug hated it when she opened it Christmas morning. But she sang another tune a week later when her cousins opened theirs.  They ran around the house playing heros and villans for nearly an hour and started referring to each other by their super hero names. Amazing. Adorable. Totally worth it.

The icing on the cake though, was my Brother-in-law's request for a cape of his own.  Supposedly, he wants to play super heros with his boys.  But he's also promised to wear it while drumming on the church worship team and with his band.  That promise alone will drive to work with the blasted satin one more time. 


Monday, January 18, 2010

Planner Cozy

Sometimes I get these gut feelings that I should do something nice for someone. I hate to say that more often than not, I don't act on those impulses.  I ignore them. Sit on my hands. Pretend I didn't hear.  Because I have this silly notion that somehow I'm not good enough.  Or that somebody else could do it better.

And truth be told,  I'm not good enough. Somebody else probably could do it better.

But that's no excuse for inaction.  No excuse at all.  Because I know deep down, that for most people, it truly is the thought that counts.  And there is far too little of that whole generous giving spirit going on in this world today.  I need to do better.

Enter this silly little project:

I consider myself extremely blessed to work with some of the best co-workers a girl could ever ask for.  Jessica, in particular, has become sort of my partner in crime around here because the poor girl shares (or at least tolerates) my sense of humor and sarcasm.  But beyond that, she's an amazing artist whose work has inpired me to dust off my sewing machine and start sewing again. 

And so, when she ordered a boring black planner and joked about how maybe she'd make a "cozy" to dress it up I knew what I needed to do.  I guessed, that like myself, Jess would never take the time to make something for herself.  So, when the planner came in I squirreled it away in my desk and snuck it home to fit it with this cute little cover.

I can't tell you how giddy I was to bring it back into work on Monday.  I was so giddy that I totally forgot to photograph it.  Thank goodness she did (photo credits to Jessica Flores).  And her reaction was priceless.  It warms my heart and makes me tear up to think such a simple gesture ment so much.  As if her joyful hug and sweet thank you note weren't enough, she blogged about it here.  So go visit her blog and be inspired (and check out her impossibly adorable little girl) and visit her Etsy shop and buy, buy, buy!

But don't buy so much that she thinks for one second that she could afford to quit her day job because this place just wouldn't be the same without her.


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Recipe Card Holders

You have not yet seen the last of the Christmas presents!

This year we decided not to exchange gifts between the adults in my husbands family. Instead, we all made some of our favorite dishes and brought the recipes to share.

But because I cannot leave well enough alone. And because I had all these Figgy Pudding prints begging to be used. . .

I whipped up six of these festive recipe card holders. I only needed five. Have I mention my math skills are lacking? Good thing they went together simply and quickly.

Inside there were two pockets, one for 4 x 6 cards and one for 3 x 5 cards.

Each recipe card holder was different inside and out since I used the scraps that I had available. It was fun to mix and match each one. I think this berry print is one of my favorites.

It was a fun, quick little project that I hope will become a place to store family recipes for years to come!