I seem to have a little ‘issue’ with sewing cases – I make quite a lot of them…
The main attraction is probably that I can make something quite quickly, use small amounts of fabric, and produce something useful – all at the same time!
The fabric is always the starting point for my sewing cases. Sometimes I get some new fabric and want to see how it looks ‘made up’ into something and, other times, I fancy doing some patchwork and handquilting, but don’t want to start a big project.
This was the case (case: geddit?) when I started my last sewing case; I fancied trying out a different joining method when English Paper Piecing, so made this small piece of hexagon fabric from some very lightweight cotton I’d bought from an Etsy seller.
I bought this cotton to make lavender bags but I loved working with the pretty colours and patterns, so wanted to do something more with it too. I’ve now made 3 sewing case fronts from it – gulp.
Ordinarily, when English paper piecing, I’d join pieces by using whipstitch. I do very small stitches and am careful to only catch a few threads at a time, but you can still see tiny stitches at the front when you look closely. I’d previously read on Natalie of Sewing Room Secrets‘ blog that she used ladder stitch to join her pieces and I’d heard this elsewhere before – I’d even tried it, but didn’t like the look of it. I use ladder stitch quite a lot when making other things (particularly decorative figures) so I’m quite comfortable with it, I just couldn’t see why it didn’t work. Anyway, I decided to give it another try when joining these hexies and lo and behold, it worked brilliantly – I must just not have had my head on straight when I tried it before – often the way!
So this is the case I made with this piece of fabric:
The line of blue floral hexies stood out the most in the piece of patchwork I’d made, so I made sure that was on the front of the finished case. I hand quilted the front piece with some soft cotton batting and followed the diagonal sides of the lines of hexies with my stitches – I’m always looking for a new arrangement of piecing and quilting when working with hexies. For the inside pieces of the case I used Robert Kaufmann Essex Linen in flax and I lined the main piece with medium weight interfacing, to give the finished case more structure. In retrospect, I think I might have done the same with the outer quilted part, especially as the finished dimensions of the case were a bit larger than usual. I will do that next time – because of course, there will be a next time!
I added a lined scissor keeper to the inside cover of the case and stitched on a piece of bright pink ribbon to tie the scissors securely. I matched the colour of the ribbon with the thread I used to stitch on the front cover button too – I’m nothing if not obsessed with details…
To compliment the delicate outer fabric colours, I added a cream coloured pure wool felt needle book to the centre and decorated the first page with a few crochet shells made from the same dark gold lurex thread I made the tie closure with. Pure wool felt does feel very luxurious and soft. I hand stitched the book in place using the same size hand quitling stitches to create a little binding on the inner and outer, which you can see on the inside here. I always add some buttons and threaded needles inside the needle book too, to make the case more like a starter sewing kit.
I also like to add some colourful safety pins on another page:
There are also 3 pockets inside the back cover, which I hand stitched with some bias binding made from the outer fabric to enclose the raw edges.
As usual, I learned a little more from making this case that I’ll take onto my next sewing case: ladder stitch is perfect for joining EPP pieces, line the outer part of the case as well as the inner, use pure wool felt for the needle book for its luxury feel and, finally, I like making sewing cases! 🙂