Tuesday, January 19, 2010

File Folder Tutorial

I loved making up this fabric file folder to haul papers to and from campus.  So much more satisfying than my old plastic yucky green one!


Supplies and Cutting Directions:

  • Twenty-four 5" fabric squares for outer cover
  • 1/2 yard fabric for lining: Cut to 15 1/2" by 27 1/2"
  • Fast2Fuse interfacing: 15" by 27"
  • Decorative thread
  • 6 side buttons, 1 front button
  • 3 to 4 inch thin elastic cord

Sew Outer Patchwork

  1. Arrange fabric into 4 rows of 6 squares each and sew rows together.  (Tip: if you iron the seam allowances in opposing directions, you can “lock” the seams as you join the rows in Step 2.)
  2. Sew rows together. 

Prepare Fast2Fuse Interfacing

1.  You’re going to draw a number of lines on the interfacing to provide guidelines for cutting it to the right shape and indicating the fold lines.

  • Draw a line 1 1/4" in from each of the long sides.  (Later in the directions I will refer to this as the horizontal line).
  • The rest of the lines are drawn across the width of the interfacing.  (I will refer to these as perpendicular lines).
  • Draw the first perpendicular line 3/4" in from the left side.
  • Draw the next 9"  from the first line.
  • The next is 1 1/4" in from the previous line (continue to use the last drawn line as your marker).
  • The next is 9 3/4" in.
  • The next is 1 1/4" in.
  • The remaining should measure 5" (though it won’t matter if it is a little more or less than exact).

Here is a diagram of how the drawn lines on your interfacing should look. 

file folder lines drawn


2.  Using the drawn lines as a guide, cut out your interfacing so it looks like the drawing below.

file folder cutout

3.  Round the edges on the right side.  I usually just grab whatever round object is at hand (in this case, it was a spool of ribbon), draw a curved line and then use scissors to trim.

4.  On the left side, come in about 3/4"  from each of the long horizontal  lines and draw a short line to meet the 3/4" perpendicular line you drew earlier.  Use this line as a gage to gently round the corner and then cut out along the 3/4" perpendicular  line.  (Note: the cut begins 2 inches from the raw edge).

5.  Your interfacing should now look like this:

TIP:  Don’t worry if your interfacing isn’t lying flat.  Mine had come off the bolt and was curling – the only reason it lies flat in the picture above was because I taped it down.  Once the fabric is ironed on, the interfacing will behave and lie flat.

6.  Very lightly use your rotary cutter to score along the horizontal and perpendicular fold lines (which means that you don’t score what remains of the first perpendicular line that you drew in at 3/4" from the left side).  The goal is to create a natural fold line.  You do not want to cut all the way through the interfacing.  (However, if you do, don’t worry.  The fabric will still hold everything together.  As you can see in the photo below, I did press a little too hard along some of the line.)

Add the Fabric to the Interfacing

1.  Iron the lining fabric to the unscored side of the interfacing.  (Tip:  When I’m ironing, I use a teflon sheet – release paper would also work – under the fusible so I don’t accidentally fuse the interfacing to my ironing board).  Be sure that the fabric is ironed securely.

2.  Trim around the edges of the interfacing.  (Tip: I use a rotary cutter and ruler along the straight edges and use scissors for the cutouts and curved sections).

3.  Fuse the pieced section to the scored side of the interfacing.  Once again, trim the fabric to fit the interfacing. 

Finish the edges

1.  Center your piece of elastic on the right side (the front flap).  Gently open up the Fast2Fuse and insert the elastic. 


2.  Begin just shy of the elastic and satin stitch the edges of the folder holder, catching the elastic.  (A moment for full disclosure: the direction I just gave is what I intended to happen.  What actually happened is that the elastic shifted and got caught in the satin stitching on the bottom side.  Since the elastic was secure, I decided to call it good).

3.  Continue to satin stitch all the raw edges.

Final Assembly

1.  Fold along the scored lines (both horizontal and vertical) and press to set.  Fold towards the lining. 

2.  Fold up along the two perpendicular lines that create the folder bottom and fold in the two side flaps.  (I folded mine so that the overlap edge was towards the back).  Line up the flaps at the top on one side and pin in place. 

3.  Hand sew a button onto the bottom section of the overlap.  (Time out for another moment of full disclosure: sewing on the buttons was the most difficult part of this since you are working inside the folder.  If I was making another one, I’d consider bright happy fabrics that wouldn’t object to a visible running stitch of pretty embroidery thread holding the flaps together – though, I have to say, those buttons do make me happy).

4.  Remove the pin holding together the flap and line up the two flaps on the other side of the holder.  Pin in place.  Sew the bottom button on.  Continue to move between sides as you sew on the remaining buttons.  I chose three buttons to a side.  (Tip: I found it better to move up from the bottom rather than sew all of one side and then the other since this way allowed me to have a greater opening to work with).

5.  Place your front button and sew in place.

Enjoy!  You’re done!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

School Supplies Revisted

I still haven’t gotten to that pencil case, but I did make a pretty new file folder case.  I always have so many papers I’m hauling to and from campus.  The folder I’ve been using  has been, granted, quite practical but also – just plain ugly.  This is going to make me much happier!  I’ll post a tutorial for the pattern within the next couple weeks.  It was a very easy project – the worst part was attaching the buttons to the sides.   Here’s the front:

Here it is open (with pretty file folders):

And here it is from the back and side (I had fun raiding the button box for the mismatched buttons holding the sides together):

I love, love, love this fabric line!  So incredibly pretty.  The semester is about to begin (so adieu my lovely break),  but I’m teaching two classes I really enjoy, one teaching students to write about their discipline to people outside academia, the other an intro to poetry class.  Very nice. 

And, just to keep things rolling, I’m teaching a class in EQ6 next weekend.  A busy week coming up but, hey, how can I not face it with good cheer when I have such a pretty thing to take with me?

Oops!  Nearly forgot to mention – Terry won the patch set for the Amish miniature quilt.  Congratulations, Terry!

Monday, January 11, 2010

January Project and Patch Set Giveaway

I saw this basic pattern in a historical full size Amish quilt years ago.  I love Amish quilts and I have always loved the simplicity of this pattern.  This quilt uses the 13 Square foundation from Miniatures in Minutes.  The pieced square section finishes at 6 1/2". 

I’ll have the project posted on the projects page of my website either tonight or tomorrow.  First I need to remember how to add a new page to the website and link it up and all that fun stuff (2009 projects took up all the space on my projects page so I need to start another).  That could take a bit.  Fun stuff.

Meanwhile, I cut two sets of patches for this project (since, really, it’s just as easy to cut double).  If anyone is interested in the spare set, just let me know and I’ll mail it out.  I don’t mind shipping international.

Next up?  That pencil case . . .

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Catch UP, Terrie!

Wow, the end of the semester did me in.  I have been totally word avoidant.  Reading romance novels like they are going out of style and not generating a single sentence of writing myself.  A mental lumpen am I!  However, I’m back, even if belatedly.  If nothing else, I had to show off this beautiful quilt that Ruth sent me:

This little beauty came my way via the 6" to 12" mini quilt swap.  Ruth and I are exchanging Valentine samplers.  I’ve started some of my blocks but no photos till the quilt is sent and received (though I can say some of the block patterns are exactly the same as these).  Isn’t this just perfect?  The colors in the photo aren’t as nice as I would like.  This is absolutely charming – with those ever so darling prairie points and hand quilting to boot.  Pressure is on!

Here’s some snowman blocks for the Bee Pieceful block swap.  I was sent the printed fabrics and was allowed to add some solid(ish) red and greens (which I only did in the last block).  Very fun, very cute fabric.

I have made two little doggie treat bags so far but haven’t been happy with either yet, so I’m holding off showing pictures of those.  What I want is a doo-hickey that I could sew onto the back of the treat bag that could then clip onto a coat or pant pocket but I haven’t found anything like that at Joann’s so I am improvising.  Let’s just say trying to use suspender hooks was creative but not terribly successful.  Back to the drawing board!

I’m finally getting to the January web project.  It is in process in my sewing room.  Photos soon.

And, one last promise of things to come, the semester is about to begin and as part of my long standing tradition of always starting the semester with something new, I think a pencil case may be in order.  Though I’m also wondering if I couldn’t do a pretty fabric file folder.  Perhaps.  That may be a little over the top.  But since I have nothing against littering my sewing room with unsuccessful attempts at this, that, or the other, I’ll probably give it a go.

Cheers to all.  Hoping everyone is off to a great start on the new year.