Monday, June 24, 2013

Cross Stitch Tagalong Sewing Kit: A Tutorial for the Girl Scout in all of us

The Girl Scout motto is "Be Prepared." Of course that means different things to different people. As a sewist, to me that means having a mini-set of tools on hand for any emergency. You never know when you will be called upon to sew the top of your friend's dress closed before a wedding or fix one of your daughter's dance-friend's costumes. At any moment, a button could pop off and need to be reattached.

A few weeks ago, when I was making Daisy hair clips and personalized envelopes for my Daisy Scouts, I knew that I also wanted to make an end of the year gift for my awesome co-leader. A busy mom and doctor who is frequently on the go, she also appreciates the allure of the sewing machine and homesewn crafts. So I thought that a personalized, mini-sewing kit would be perfect for her. And now I'm going to show you how to make one of these cute and handy little gifts for yourself or someone you appreciate.

 First, gather your supplies:
1. An empty Altoid tin. A few years ago I made similar sewing kits for a few friends as holiday gifts and forced bowls of Altoids on my family. Now, I have discovered a fabulous little store just a few blocks away where I can buy things like already-emptied tins. Look around and see if someplace like The Upcycle Exchange exists in your area because they are wonderful businesses to support!
2. A cheap emergency sewing kit. You only want the innards so it doesn't matter what it looks like. I bought a bunch of these in bulk off Ebay.
3. A piece of cross stitch fabric the size of the top of your tin.
4. Two pieces of fabric, also the size of the top of your tin.
5. Another piece of fabric, large enough to fold over the edges of your tin lid.
6. Embroidery floss.
7. Ribbon.
8 & 9. A big (relatively) piece of fabric and a fistful of stuffing. Not very precise, I know.

Okay, time to get to work.

First, I took my two pieces of fabric (#4) and singed the edges of them with a lighter. I like to do this with ribbon to prevent fraying. It was not quite as successful with the fabric. I think it gives a cool look but if you want something neater, you can try another method- like actually hemming around the edges.

Glue one piece to the bottom of the tin and the other to the bottom of the inside of your tin.

Next step, a pincushion for the inside of the lid. I took my big piece of fabric (#8), folded the edges over, and hot glued it to three sides of the lid.

Fill it with stuffing and glue the fourth side closed.

Now, the inside of the sewing kit is complete!

I know I've said it before, but I love personalized gifts. And cross stitching is a great way to personalize! I pulled out my pad of graph paper (yes, there are uses for graph paper after high school math class!) and drew a simple pattern. Notice how I counted the number of squares going both across and down, and I marked the center of my pattern.

Then I placed my piece of cross stitch fabric on the back of my slightly larger piece of fabric (#5) and marked the center.

Beginning at the center of my fabric, I began sewing my cross stitch pattern with my embroidery thread.

Once I was finished, I hot glued it onto the lid of my sewing tin.

And I glued down the edges.

I attached ribbon around the edges to give it a more finished look.

Optional final step: After I was finished, I noticed that the lid kept popping off. So I affixed a small piece of elastic to the lid to hold it onto the bottom.

Much better!

All finished! A personalized, travel-size sewing kit. Your inner-Girl Scout thinks you need one too.

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