Friday, 12 August 2011

The fear of sewing - an easy project - the handbag tissue holder

I have had several mails asking me for a project for beginners that looks amazing and is practical but you know is  going to be really easy.  So we are looking at straight lines and running stitch initially... yes, you can all do that... I know you can and best of all it should take you less than an hour!
2 x complementary fabric scraps - 6.5" x 7"
Sewing machine
Iron and ironing board
Scissors or rotary cutter
Cutting mat
Now, I say this every time but your iron and ironing board are your bestest friend in the whole wide world when you are sewing, they will save you from grief and get you out of trouble.  So iron your pieces of fabric before you cut them out.
I am in love with my rotary cutter and mat, but again here come the caveats, always cut away from you and always click your wheel back to the safe/at rest position... I want all my readers to have fingers and guts when they work with me.  Remember to check twice and cut once when you cut out a square which is 6.5" x 7" in each of your fabrics.*
Place the right sides together and pin.  You are going to leave a 2" gap on one of the 7"  sides so that we can turn the square inside out.
Beginners tip with pins - when you are pinning your work together, make sure that the seam edge is to your right as you face it and that the pins point away from you.  This will make sure that if your machine needle hits the pin and it will, it will bounce off rather than hitting the bulky end which will break your machine needle.

Get out your tape measure and sit in front of the sewing machine, place the end of the tape under the point of the needle and measure 1/4"... I will bet good money that  this will take you to the right hand edge of your foot.  This means that when you are sewing your seam all you have to do is make sure the edge of your square runs just under the edge of your foot.

Place your square of fabric on your machine, on the 7" side, about 2" from the bottom edge and using a 1/4" seam allowance, you are now going to reverse stitch 1/2 "  in running stitches (check with your manual and you will find a lever that does reverse stitches).  

When you have sewn back half an inch, sew a 1/4" seam down towards your 6.5" side, **stop a 1/4" from the edge, with your needle still engaged in the fabric, raise your foot and turn the fabric by 90' and sew down the 6.5" - repeat from **  along the 7" and 6.5" side.
Now you are back to your first side, sew 2.5", depress your reverse lever and sew back 1/2".  Cut off your thread.

Cut across each corner, this will get rid of the bulk in each corner and allow your tissue case to lie flat.  Turn the square inside out through the slit that you have left unsewn.  Using your chopstick, carefully  poke out your corners, be careful not to poke all the way through... it will happen but with this item, we can get away with it.
Back to the ironing board, iron your item flat, roll your seams if you have to, to ensure that all of the fabric is out.  Along your longest side which will now measure 6.5", fold it in half and press it.
Now, you are going to be my thrifty mother with her sheets and press the sides to middle, so that the outer fabric is on the inside and the lining is on the outside - both sides should meet together.  Pin both the top and the bottom.
Again we are going to use a 1/4" seam, we are going for a belt and braces approach, sew straight across the top and when you get to the end, turn around and go back.  Repeat this at the bottom.
Now turn your tissue holder inside out, press once more and place your pack of tissues inside.
* OK, you have a fabulous machine but how many stitches do you use?  Making your tissue holder is a perfect excuse to have a practice on a small square of fabric, if you use a plain outer, you can have a go  with the embroidery stitches, you can even do a little bit of applique.  Let your imagination rip and enjoy yourself discovering what your machine can do!  These are some of my efforts.
Now, go and take a look at your scrap bag and make up some for you, your friends and family.  You know how easy and quick this was but they don't have to!


Caroline Lovis (Redneedle) said...

Great tutorial Ros, that's just as appealing for an experienced sewer as it is for a beginner. I have a certain scrap of fabric in mind that is just begging to be turned into one of these.

Anonymous said...

This is GREAT tutorial!! I love the way you word everything, can't wait for more! Have a great weekend!

Baby Gray said...

Thank you so much for that tutorial. I am a beginner sewer, well I will be when I finally get my machine up and running, and easy to read, basic tutorials like this are just what I need!

Annie and Lyn said...

There's no excuse for anyone not to be able to make one (or several) tissue holders.
Your tutorials are so clear!

jenny said...

Great tutorial, and fun project for handmade gifts.

Kim said...

Lots of great tips. I'm not a beginner but still found it useful. Thankyou!

Susie said...

Oh gosh, I'm saving this for later, because it looks like something I could try! Awesome!

Pickle Lily said...

A brilliant tutorial - I am going to show this to my daughter so she can make some as presents. Thank-you Ros.
Jo x

Unknown said...

Thanks Ros - great tutorial, as always, from you. Nancy

Handcrafted by Picto said...

A great tutorial Ros, I certainly need some sewing practice and this is just the thing to have a go at.
'Measure twice, cut once' was something my dad always said, it's a great piece of advice.

Jan :)