Category Archives: sewing

Sewing: Made a PS Vita case!

W- and I have been playing The Legend of Heroes: him on his PS Vita, and me on the PSP he lent me. He’s been using his PS Vita more now, so he was looking around for a case. He liked the design of Waterfield’s PS Vita CitySlicker, but didn’t need all the bells and whistles. He asked me to see if I could make a PS Vita clutch with snaps.

We had left-over Ultrasuede from the time we cat-proofed the sofa and extra fleece from J-‘s cosplaying. I wanted to see if I could figure out the assembly without referring to tutorials, so I prototyped something with a little hand-sewing. It was a good start, but it didn’t quite feel right. I kept thinking about the design during my bike rides to and from work.

On my next free day, I sat down with my laptop, read through a couple of clutch sewing tutorials, made a test one (it turned out to be slightly too small for my PSP), and then sewed this:

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Ultrasuede with a bright orange fleece lining. Bonus: it matches the couch. Whee!

It was actually pretty fun. It was less frustrating than trying to make clothes. Making small things means you can get feedback and payoff faster. I chalked all of my seams and allowances, and my measurements worked out. For the most part, things lined up nicely. (The snaps were the only iffy bit.)

W-‘s thinking of modifying it to have more interfacing so that it’s stiffer. The nice thing about making things yourself is that you can tweak things without worrying too much.

Yay! One small step towards developing more of those practical skills I want to have. Hmm… what else should I clutch-ify? Maybe I can look for more of these little organizer patterns and see if I can use them around the house.

Made a stuff sack for J-

imageW- asked me if I could make a stuff sack for J’s sleeping bag, as it turned out she was going camping this week. These bags are handy for compressing loose items such as sleeping bags, jackets, clothes, and so on. You simply stuff as much as you can into the bag, and the bag keeps the items compressed.

I had white ripstop nylon in my fabric stash, left over from the time we were thinking of making a fabric softbox. J- measured the compressed sleeping bag – 25” circumference, about 16” of height – and I started working on a simple tubular stuff sack.

The project came together quickly, even the tricky part of sewing the circular base to the tube. My seams were mostly straight and neat, although I had some bubbling near the bottom. For the drawstring, we reused the free shoelaces that came with J’s new shoes. (Waste not, want not.) The stuff sack ended up just the right size for the sleeping bag. Hooray!

I think I’m getting the hang of going from idea to actual thing, and it’s a lot of fun. All the cat hair that got sewn into the seams along the way probably means I shouldn’t go into commercial production yet, though! Winking smile

Made a kitty soap holder

I think I’m getting the hang of crafting. When J- said that she was thinking of sewing a stuffed-toy-like soap holder for one of her school projects, I prototyped something along those lines to see how easy it would be to make. I liked how mine turned out:

It can act like a washcloth, and it can hold all those little scraps of soap that otherwise fall down the sides. =)

Find your wall

The Sewing Hype Cycle
The Sewing Hype Cycle
(Apologies to Gartner ;) )

I like sewing because it frustrates me.

I start optimistically enough. I pick out a pattern. I choose fabric. I tweak the pattern. I cut out pieces. I start sewing them together.

Seams don’t quite line up. Threads break. Pins prick. I hit my lowest point: the facings are flapping about, the clothes don’t quite fit, and I’ve just sewed a seam that I have to rip out. I wonder why I put myself through this agony when I could buy better-made clothes for less than what I would spend on fabric.

I stop and put my work away. The next day, I take the unfinished pieces out and keep going. Somehow, it turns into something that looks okay.

I’ve never had a “flow” moment during sewing. It’s a struggle all the way to the end. That frustration is important. It’s why I do it.

It’s a good kind of frustration. It’s not a “life is unfair” kind of frustration. It’s not a “people suck” kind of frustration. It’s the frustration of knowing that there’s something I don’t know, or something I’ve skipped, or something I haven’t figured out.

It’s the frustration that accompanies learning things that don’t come easy to me, like a wall with hardly any handholds.

I learn, and I learn how to deal with that frustration. I learn when frustration and fatigue push me into making mistakes. I learn the value of sleeping on it. I learn how to keep thinking about how to do things better even when I’d rather do something easier or more fun. I learn how to experiment. I learn that I can find a way over, under, around, or through things that frustrate me.

I learn how great it feels to climb that wall.

I learn that there’s always going to be another wall, and another, and another – and that’s okay, because the walls help me learn.

I learn not to fear walls by trying them, just as I learned not to fear falling by intentionally doing so.

It’s tempting to spend your time on easy escapes. Find your walls. Deal with that frustration, and keep going.

Learning about my grandmother

When I told my mom about the hooded fleece bathrobe I’d made for W-, she laughed and told me a story about how her mother used to make her dresses. My mom would beg my grandmother to make some time to work on the dress, which was low priority compared to running a business and keeping everything sorted. Sometimes that meant finishing the dress the day of the party, I guess!

My mom also told me a story about how my grandmother bought my mom a new dress. When the top part was too worn to wear, my grandmother replaced the top, keeping the skirt. When the skirt part ended up being too worn, my grandmother replaced the bottom. My mom asked if that meant she had a new dress.

I’d never met my maternal grandmother, but it was great hearing stories about her, and seeing my mom smile as she told stories. =) Just as I like coming across things or stories that remind me of my parents, my mom probably enjoys hearing about my newly-discovered hobbies and thinking about her own parents. =)

I’ve gotten to the point where I enjoy sewing. I like making things I can wear, and W- and J- humor me occasionally by asking me to make things for them and enjoying things I’ve been experimented with. ;)

I wonder what other common hobbies I’ll discover along the way…

The luxury of making


My standard for decadence used to be the microfiber robe I once had the pleasure of trying in a hotel spa. It was unbelievably soft and comfortable. I added a luxury bathrobe to the list of things that might be worth buying someday. In the meantime, I contented myself with the terry bathrobe I picked up at a bargain from Winners.

I finished making a hooded fleece bathrobe. The pockets are a little too low, the edges are not quite finished, and lint and stray threads are everywhere. After some adjustments, the sleeves are now the right length. The hood does not pull up at the back. One of the pockets features a cat. It’s mine, it’s cozy, and it’s the best robe I’ve ever had. I think it’s even cooler than this Jedi bathrobe. ;)

I love the territorial pleasures of making things for myself.