Category Archives: Craft Projects

I converted my daughter’s room into a sewing room when she got married. Now it’s my refuge for sewing, crafting, quilting and all things creative.

Friday Fun: The Sock Monkey Project

Who doesn’t love a sock monkey? They’re cute, they’re cuddly, and they’re colorful. When Mom & one of my four sisters were here last week, Big Sis threw down a crafting challenge. She brought a pattern for sock monkeys. She should really know better than to throw down a crafting challenge for several reasons:

1. I love a challenge.
2. I love all things crafty.
3. I love my grandchildren.
4. I love making things for my grandchildren.
5. We all inherited the ‘Artsy Fartsy’ gene from our mother.

We had grand plans to tackle this together – the three of us. But food, antiquing and Cocktail Week got in our way. You see, my big sister was just here for a long weekend. Mom came for 9 days. That meant Mom and I had more down time. So in the same way we tackled Cocktail Week research, we jumped on that sock monkey pattern – like it was our mission in life.

Quick fact about the females in my family – we’re addicted to Target. While there, we found a rack of cute socks in coordinating stripes, patterns and colors. Of course, we looked at each other and squealed “Sock Monkeys!”

Making these for Lilly & Jonah was, well… more fun than a barrel of monkeys.

The only thing cuter than sock monkeys? Sock monkeys in stylish outfits. Lilly Bug’s monkey has a lacy skirt with antique button detail; Jonah’s monkey has grey flannel shorts with a star button pocket. It’s what all the fashionable sock monkeys are wearing these days.

Feeling crafty yet? Here’s the link for the sock monkey pattern. It’s from CraftPassion.com. If you enjoying being creative, you’re going to love this website. Thanks for the pattern, Big Sis! And thanks to my Mom for helping sew them up. We had the best time bringing these little cuties to life.

The twins really want you to make sock monkeys. Like right now.

I can already tell I’m going to spend WAY too much time browsing CraftPassion’s fun projects this summer. Care to join me? Bring your socks!

12 Comments

Filed under Craft Projects, Family Stuff

Patching Knees – the NanaBread way

This is my grandson, Jonah Bear. At 5 1/2, he’s smart and funny and wonderful.

{Hi there, Jonah Bear. I love you, buddy. You light up my life.}

He’s really hard on the knees of his jeans. Oddly, just the left knee. It’s his knee of choice, evidently. Jonah Bear L-O-V-E-S his blue jeans. What he doesn’t love is holes in his knees, so My Baby brought a few with her at Easter and asked it I could take a crack at patching them. Here’s what I came up with:

{One, two, three. Three - ah, ah, ah.}

A funny kid deserves funny knee patches. Don’t you think? Something like this. Something that says, “Oh, please don’t go! We’ll eat you up; we love you so!” Can you name that book?

{Don't let the sharp teeth fool you. This guy's a pussycat.}

Or this. Peek-a-Boo! I see you! I’m a little concerned about how these buttons will feel if he slides on that knee. We’ll have to see how this one plays out.

{I'm calling this guy Bashful Buttons.}

And this last one? He’s a cheeky little monkey. All attitude, this guy.

{Double & Triple Stitched - because you know someone's going to pull on it.}

To make these, you’ll need some colorful felt, a few buttons, and a sewing machine. There’s no pattern. I just free-handed it. But I will tell you that it’s MUCH easier to stitch the pieces on to the background color before sewing them into the jeans. If they won’t fit over the base of your sewing machine, you can stitch them by hand. It will take a little longer, but it will work.

Now I just need to box them up and send them to Jonah Bear. I wish I could see his face when he opens them. I have a feeling he’s going to crack up laughing. Man, I love that kid!

44 Comments

Filed under Craft Projects, Family Stuff

DIY Craft: Zippered Cosmetic Bags

Tired of losing stuff? Need a new bag for your purse or for travel? Want to make a quick homemade gift for family or friends? Well, I have the perfect tutorial for you! Our annual “Ladies Only” family weekend is rapidly approaching so I made these for the ladies. If I can do it, so can you! Same bag; two fun patterns.

Colorful stripes or stylish black & white - both are fun!

Are you familiar with oilcloth? It’s that fabulous retro fabric used mainly to make tablecloths. It has a plastic-coated outer layer and a soft fleecy flannel lining, which makes it perfect for these little cosmetic bags. It’s durable and washable. And if you have a great fabric store in your area, you can potentially find fabulous prints, solids or stripes to work with. You will, of course, need a sewing machine with a zipper foot to create these at home but if you’ve got that, you’re half way there.

For each bag, you will need:

1 rectangle piece of oilcloth (8 1/2″ x 11″)
1 heavy-duty 7″ metal zipper in a coordinating color
thread in a coordinating color
1 6″ piece of ribbon in a coordinating color

To start, cut your oil cloth into a rectangle. I used a standard piece of printer paper as my template, since it measures 8 1/2″ x 11″.

Next, cut the rectangle in half to make two equal pieces that are 8 1/2″ x 5 1/2″. You’ll also need to cut two tabs (1.5″ x 1.5″ square) for the zipper.

Using those small squares, you’ll need to stitch them on each end of the zipper. First fold one side under 1/4″ to create a finished end. Place that end up against the end of the zipper and pin into place. You’ll want to do this on both ends of the zipper, then double stitch into place.

Next, grab a side and fold one long edge under 1/4″. With the zipper closed, center the folded edge along one side of the zipper and pin it into place.

Using the zipper foot, stitch along the folded edge making sure you sew off of both ends. Also note that once you get close to the zipper, you’ll need to remove a few of the pins you just sewed over, raise the zipper foot, and unzip the zipper so that you can get past the zipper head without messing up your stitching. Don’t worry. It’s not as scary as it sounds. The pins you’ll remove to unzip the zipper will be in the area you just stitched, so it’s all good. Once you’ve stitched all the way across one side, remove the pins and do the same on the second side.

Using the same method, sew the second side of the bag along the zipper. Once both sides are stitched on, it should look like this.

Now that your two sides are stitched onto your zipper, you’re almost ready to fold it up and sew it shut. One important tip – before you do, be sure to unzip the bag half way. Otherwise, you’ll stitch your bag shut and the zipper pull will be on the inside. Unzipping that bag is going to be really difficult if the zipper pull is on the inside and the bag is sewn shut. (Live & learn, kids. Live & learn.)

So, once you’ve unzipped the zipper half way, fold the bag in half so that the “good” sides are facing each other and pin it to keep it from slipping as you sew.

Here are close-ups of the zipper ends and how they’re pinned.

See that white peeking out of the ends of the zipper? That’s what those tabs we sewed onto the ends were for. They cover that gap in the zipper so you have a nice finished edge when we’re done. I’ll show you another close-up of that in a moment. For now, start at one end of the zipper and using a 1/4″ seam allowance, sew around the three open sides of the bag. If you want, you can stitch around it twice. I just use the “back up” button on my machine and go over those top edges and the bottom corners a couple of times to reinforce them.

Here’s a close-up of those reinforced corners. Snip that corner off before you turn the bag right-side-out to get a good, crisp finished corner.

Turn the bag inside out and using a chopstick or other bluntly pointed object, gently poke the corners (top & bottom) to pop them into place. This is where you’ll be really glad you unzipped that bag halfway. Here’s a closer look at how those corners at each end of the zipper should look. It’s also a good look at how those tabs we sewed on in the beginning come into play. They really do help give a cleaner edge to the finished bag.

One last finishing touch – a ribbon as a zipper pull. It’s not necessary, but it adds a decorative touch and it does come in handy. You’ll need one piece of ribbon in a coordinating color, about 5 or 6 inches long. Fold the ribbon in half to make a 3″ length, then roll the cut ends together and poke them through the little hole in the end of the zipper pull.

Here’s another great tip – use Fray Check to seal the ends of that ribbon and keep it from unraveling. You can find it at fabric stores, and it’s worth keeping around. It really does work. If you wash the bag, retouch with Fray Check.

That’s it! Here’s a look at the finished bag.

If you’re going to use a striped oilcloth, be sure to match stripes when you sew these together. It makes a big difference in how they look once finished.

Same goes for those little tabs you sew on each end of the zipper. If you take a moment to lay all this out before you start pinning, you can even line up the stripes on those end tabs so they match as well. It takes a few more minutes of planning, but it’s worth it in the end. Sometimes, it’s the little things.

One last helpful tip. If you’re going to be making multiple bags, it goes faster if you cut each bag and lay the parts for each bag together. I also stitched all of the tabs onto the zippers before I started sewing bags together. It saved time by allowing me to just grab a zipper and go when I was ready for the next bag.

I hope you’ll jump in and try these. They’re fun to make, and don’t really take a lot of effort or time. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an e-mail. If you make them and post pictures, let me know where I can see them. I’d love to see how yours turn out.

And to my mother, sisters, nieces, daughter, granddaughter and all the ladies who’ll be coming to visit next week – surprise! You’ll be getting one of these. Feel free to call dibs on your favorite – stripes or print. They’ll be filled with swag, and they’re going to go fast.

PS – Do I need to apologize for that nail polish color? It is kind of a spastic, groady green. Sorry you had to see that. I was experimenting for St Patty’s Day. Don’t worry… it’s coming off. It’s true what they say. It’s not easy being green.

27 Comments

Filed under Craft Projects, Hoegarden Weekends

It’s a Gingerbread-Off

My daughter is fabulous. She’s funny, smart and creative. She’s also hyper-competitive, evidently. I believe this all started years ago, around the age of 3, when The Complete Package taught her to cheat at CandyLand, but that’s a story for another day.

This weekend, My Baby and I decided to make gingerbread houses. Our intention was to make them with the grandkids, but Lilly Bug fell asleep and Jonah Bear got lost in a pirate movie and their mother and I ended up in a friendly gingerbread competition. Royal frosting waits for no man.

I {of course} thought mine was the cutest. She {naturally} thought hers was the best. So here’s where we’re at. We’ve agreed to post photos of our gingerbread houses and let you be the judge. Literally. Take a look and leave a comment below. We’ll leave the voting open until Monday at midnight central US time, and we’ll let the vanilla coating chips fall where they may. The winner buys the loser a latte at Starbucks.

THE HANSEL & GRETEL HOUSE:

THE CHRISTMAS CABIN:

That’s it, folks. Leave a comment and make your vote count. May the best gingerbread house win. And I promise not to gloat when it’s mine. Maybe.

**UPDATE: And the winner is… **
It was close, but my Hansel & Gretel House (the one smothered in royal frosting) won by 2 reader votes. If you missed the fine print, our deal was that the WINNER would buy the loser a latte at Starbucks, not the other way around. So just after Christmas, I took My Baby and Lilly Bug out for a girls only breakfast at Starbucks. We had pastries and coffee (or vanilla milk) and a fabulous time. So really, there were no losers; just winners. Girly, coffee-loving winners. Thanks for voting! See you again in 2012. -NanaBread

22 Comments

Filed under Craft Projects, Family Stuff, Food & Recipes

DIY Light Box for Photography

That TCP… I’m telling you. We don’t call him The Complete Package for nothing. This weekend, he built me a light box so my food photographs would look better. I had mentioned to him that photos taken in our kitchen tend to have a yellow tint. This happens for two reasons:

1. We have yellow-tinted glass shades on our kitchen pendants, and
2. We have only one kitchen window, for a few hours worth of morning sun.

So TCP took it upon himself to research photography light boxes on the internet. Those available for purchase were in the $200 range. But since TCP has a love of PVC pipe and tools that come in plastic carrying cases, he found a DIY version on the web and took it upon himself to build one.

Here’s what he used:
3/4″ diameter PVC pipe in 24″ lengths (10 pieces)
end caps, elbows and connector joints for PVC
clamps for holding backdrop fabrics in place
clip-on lamps with ‘daylight’ compact fluorescents
a power strip for the lamps

In addition, I bought:
4 yards of muslin for the light box cover
various fabrics to use as backdrops

The light box comes apart so you can break it down and store it in a tote bag. For that reason, I made a slip cover with rod pockets for the front two posts, and ribbon ties to hold it into place on the other two corners. I haven’t stitched together the top panel yet, but I was able to drape some fabric over the top so I could snap these photos. Sorry. I just couldn’t wait to show it to you. But first, I’d like to thank Gumby for his part in this show and tell segment.

Excuse my drooping top panel; I didn't clamp it down taut.

Wow. I really should have folded the leftover fabric in the back right corner.

Ladies & Gentlemen... the star of our show, Gumby!

As you can tell, I haven’t hemmed the edges of this background fabric to fit the width of the box yet. I didn’t iron it yet, either. Sorry. I’ll get there. Eventually. When choosing backdrops, I went for textures and colors – basically the types of things I enjoy seeing in other food blogger’s photos.

Okay, Mr. DeMille.... Gumby is ready for his close-up.

Notice the absence of obvious shadows or glare? Nice, huh? For this photo, I used one lamp on each side of the photo box and the overhead light that was behind me. For future photos, I have an additional third lamp that can be mounted to illuminate the back or the top of the box, depending on the situation and how much light is needed. Cool, right? And, as I said, it all breaks down into a medium-size tote bag so I can store it when it’s not in use. Booyah!

Cost of the box itself (including the frame, lights, clamps & power strip) was $60. The muslin to enclose the box was $15. The ribbons to tie the corners in place came from a pile I already had in my sewing room. If you want to make one even cheaper, I’ve seen tutorials for light boxes made from cardboard boxes. But not mine. It was made with love by The Complete Package, and homeboy doesn’t slack when it comes to DIY projects. Which is why we call him The Complete Package in the first place. The end. Cue the closing credits & kill the lights!

21 Comments

Filed under Craft Projects, Technical Stuff

TCP Cooks: Ciabatta Sunday

TCP's ciabatta breakfast sandwich - it's good any time of the day

The Complete Package was on a roll yesterday. A ciabatta roll. First, he made these glorious bacon and egg breakfast sandwiches. Be still my heart. They were really good. It’s a buttered and toasted ciabatta roll with scrambled egg, crispy bacon and a little cheese topped with lettuce and tomato. One thing we agreed to tweak next time around: adding a schmear of chipotle mayonnaise to perk it up a little. Grade: a solid B, but there’s a good chance they would jump straight to an A+ with that chipotle mayo.

For dinner, TCP made one of his signature dishes – flank steak sandwiches with ginger/soy mayonnaise. Great googlie mooglie – this one is awesome.


The medium-rare to rare flank steak paired with a toasted ciabatta roll, arugula and that ginger/soy mayo… well, it’s a world-class combo. He won’t brag, but I will. Everyone who tries this sandwich raves about it. The special mayo just pushes this thing right over the edge. It’s amazing. Once you try it, you will make it a fixture in your menu rotation, whether you put it on flank steak or sirloin or Steak-Ums (hi, Katie!). Just try it and see if you don’t fall in love. If it helps convince you, this is an America’s Test Kitchen recipe and you KNOW their recipes are tried & true. PS – This also makes a great salad.

Just serve it up with a ciabatta roll, so you can still call it Ciabatta Sunday.

9 Comments

Filed under Craft Projects, Food & Recipes

Crafty Recycling: A DIY Toddler Dress

Our beautiful firecracker of a granddaughter turns two next month. Can you believe it? I can’t. She’s changed so much over the past few months. Her language skills have improved. Her dancing skills have improved. Her patience at meal time has not improved, but nobody’s perfect. She’s just the sweetest, funniest, spunkiest little cutie-patootie ever. Yes, I am biased.

One of my favorite hobbies is making stuff for the grandkids. I usually have one project or another going for them, which brings me great joy. This week, I was cleaning out some old clothes when I found an old men’s underwear tank. You know the kind… your grandfather probably wore them under his dress shirts. I threw it into the trash can, even though it was barely used, then pulled it right back out and thought “What a waste. There’s got to be a way to recycle that.” It was so soft, it just begged to be turned into something useful. I chose to covert it into a lightweight summer dress for little Lilly Bug. All it needed was some “taking in” and some embellishment to girly it up a little.

Here’s what I did:
1. I cut the shirt in half, horizontally, about 6″ below the front neckline.
2. I folded the back side of the top over and stitched it down (see below).
3. I pinned the shoulders and cut off 1 1/2″ to shorten, then re-stitched them.
4. I folded the top of the “skirt” down 3/4″ and stitched it to finish the edge.
5. I pinned the top back onto the bottom, with the “skirt” overlapping the top.
6. I stitched the two pieces back together with a zigzag stitch so it would stretch.
7. I pleated the sides to take them in & stitched them along the top of the skirt.
8. I ironed a cute print onto 2-sided fusing and cut out 3 flowers (freehand).
9. I did the same thing with a green print and cut out stems and leaves.
10. I peeled off the fusing paper and ironed the flowers & stems into place.
11. I used a zigzag stitch to stitch/embellish the flowers, stems & leaves.
12. I stitched a red bow to the back, just to jazz it up a little.

The details - front, back and hem. All it takes is a cute print, fusing & buttons. Click anywhere on the photo to enlarge, then hit your back arrow to return.

Cost: Zero dollars
The shirt was recycled, and the fabrics, ribbon and buttons came from my scrap piles. And now Lilly Bug as a super soft, lightweight little dress. Or a nightgown. I’ll let Lilly Bug decide if this is day or evening wear. It’s a girl thing.

28 Comments

Filed under Craft Projects

LillyFair & Jonahpalooza: The End

The Complete Package and I just wrapped up two glorious weeks with our grandkids. For the first time, we decided to give them each their own special week at our house. Together, they are a whirlwind of constant motion and commotion. But separately, we are able to focus all of our attention entirely on each of them and give them one-on-one time they don’t normally get.

We started on Sunday, July 17th with our first annual LillyFair. After spending a long weekend in Austin visiting family, I brought Lilly home for a week of Yo Gabba Gabba, dress-up, baths in the kitchen sink and lots of snuggles. After 8 days, we feel like we’ve gotten to know our little Lilly Bug much better. She’s a pistol. She’s funny and lively. She loves music as much as she loves food (and girlfriend LOVES to eat). She has a small collection of favorite words. Her two favorites are Papi and snack, and sometimes she uses them in the same sentence. She’s a sweet little elf.

At 22 months, she plays hard to the very brink of exhaustion and loves to sing, especially in the car. She can’t get enough Yo Gabba Gabba, which she calls Baba, and she has a crush on DJ Lance Rock. When he walks onto the TV screen in that orange jumpsuit carrying his boom box, she giggles and lights up like a firefly. Her favorite part of the show is the silly faces segment.

Every time the kids visit, I make them something. It might be a costume for their dress-up box or sword holders for pirate swords or spy glasses made from paper towel rolls. It’s something I love to do, and the kids love it, too. For Lilly Bug, I recycled some of Jonah Bear’s old t-shirts to create Yo Gabba Gabba character shirts. First, I created Muno’s trademark lumpy orange body using felt and French knots. I love Muno. He’s cool. Lilly loved the color and the textures.

Next, I reworked Plex the robot on a red t-shirt using felt & embroidery thread.

If I’d had another week, I might have crafted a Lilly-sized DJ Lance Rock, but time ran out, so we’ll never know if I could have pulled it off. I’m thinking Papi should rent the costume and surprise her some time. She would lose her mind. As if her Papi isn’t already her hero. Papi would rock as DJ Lance Rock!

Last Sunday, we met My Baby and Bama Boy for lunch to trade Lilly Bug for Jonah Bear. Jonah loves coming to visit, and has since he was a little tyke. Now that he’s 4 1/2, he’s an old pro at coming to visit. He had his little suitcase packed and was ready for adventure.

We kicked off Jonahpalooza with a movie night. We made popcorn, broke out a bag of gummy worms and watched his new favorite movie, Rango. He spent the week playing dress up, watching his favorite cartoons and taking private swim lessons. We had picnics and rode bikes and visited the science museum to see the dinosaurs. Jonah is all boy, and is the total polar opposite of his little sister. While Lilly’s switch is always set to “high-energy”, Jonah is active but also sweet & tender and has his quiet moments. He’s thoughtful and polite and big-hearted. He loves to read and tell stories, and his imagination is astounding. He’s exceptionally smart and very creative. This week, Jonah asked for a new Bolt costume. It’s one of his favorite movies. And of course, I never say “no.” This time, Jonah was big enough to help cut the fabric and sew on the machine. Here’s the result, complete with a carrot dog toy.

Here’s our sweet boy learning to float like an ice cube. Hi, Kaki!

And here’s Jonah at the science museum with the T-Rex. Run, Jonah!

In all, we spent 16 days with our grandbabies. Our house is a mess, our refrigerator is empty, and our energy is completely sapped. But you know what? It was a fabulous 16 days. I know everyone thinks their grandkids are the cutest, the smartest and the greatest. But in our case, it’s true. {wink}

And we already miss them.

12 Comments

Filed under Craft Projects, Family Stuff

A crafting site you’re destined to love: Lori Holt’s “A Bee in My Bonnet” Blog

My favorite crafting blog - A Bee in My Bonnet by Lori Holt

Are you a crafter? Do you sew, quilt or create? Are you totally smitten by creative people? Well, I am. I consider myself moderately crafty and creative, but there are some out there who set the bar much higher for the rest of us. One such person is Lori Holt of A Bee in My Bonnet Blog. If crafting were a sport, Lori would be an Olympic athlete. A gold medalist of creativity. My big sister sent me a link to her blog last year, and I’ve been a rabid fan ever since. In fact, I would go so far as to say that when (or if) I grow up, I’d be one happy camper if I had even half the creative talent of Lori. Her blog header alone is enough to make me smile. Is there no end to her creativity? I really hope not!

Garden Chair Pin Cushions - by Lori Holt, A Bee in My Bonnet Blog

One of my favorite crafts from Lori’s blog are the garden chair pin cushions made from little lawn chair candle holders she found at a craft store. The cute factor is high, but the creative factor is off the charts. Where most of us would look at these little lawn chairs and think “I don’t really need more candle holders”, Lori saw them and thought “I should turn these into adorable pin cushions for my upcoming retreat.” How did she get from Point A to Point B? Well, she’s a creative genius, that’s how. To see her step-by-step tutorial, which includes fabulous full-color photos, click HERE.

Once you get into her blog, you’d better have a beverage in your hand and a few hours to burn. Lori’s gorgeous website is like crafting crack. You can get gloriously lost in her collection of quilts, crafts, and links. There is so much to explore, you will find yourself wanting to get lost here. Check out her file drawers along the right hand margin to see the collection of topics to choose from. Or click on her links in frames or her clever links set into vintage television sets. There is literally something for everyone.

My favorite quilt (this week) is Lori’s Cake Walk pattern. It’s beyond adorable.

Cake Walk Quilt by Lori Holt, A Bee in My Bonnet Blog

If I had a cupcake shop or bakery, you can bet this would be hanging on the wall.

Love aprons? Well, she has patterns for aprons you can wear, aprons you can wrap around drink bottles, and a wonderfully whimsical apron quilt.

Aprons of Every Kind - by Lori Holt, A Bee in My Bonnet Blog

But enough jibber-jabber. Click on any of the links or photos to be transported to A Bee in My Bonnet Blog. The only thing you’ll regret is not having enough hours in the day to discover it all. Special thanks to Lori Holt for allowing me to highlight her fabulous blog and use her lovely photographs. Words can’t express how much I admire her creative mind and her beautiful website. And a shout out to my Big Sis, who turned me on to Lori’s blog. I can’t thank you enough, Sis! Now… which project should I start next?

12 Comments

Filed under Craft Projects

Craft Tutorial: DIY Camera Strap Cover


A few days ago, I posted this photo of a camera strap cover I made for my DSLR camera. Several of you expressed an interest in learning how to make one. So, as promised, here is my attempt to post a step-by-step tutorial on how to make your own basic camera strap cover. I’ll warn you: I have very little experience explaining this type of thing, so bear with me. I really hope this makes sense.

Supplies you will need:
Fabric, cut into two 5″ x 28″ strips
One piece of 2-sided fusible iron-on web measuring 4 1/2″ x 22″
A spool of thread in a color that matches your fabric
A handful of straight pins
An iron & ironing board, sewing machine and scissors

On an ironing board, lay out both strips of fabric and press them to remove all wrinkles. I chose this cute foodie fabric because I dream of becoming a better food photographer some day. Hey, you can’t stop a girl from dreaming.

Place one strip of fabric face down (good side down) and center the fusible web on top. Center the fusible web horizontally and vertically (it will not be as long as the fabric, which is fine). If you are using a 2-sided fusible web that has paper on one side, place it paper side up! You don’t want to melt this stuff onto your iron.

Press the fusible web to fuse it to the first strip of fabric. Once it has cooled, remove the paper backing.

You should have approximately 1/4″ of fabric showing at the top and bottom of your fabric strip. Fold that 1/4″ strip down over the fusible web, and press it so it lays flat. Be very careful not to touch your iron to the fusible web, or it may melt onto your iron. Do this on both the top and bottom edges.

Take your second (non-fused) strip of fabric and lay it out on your ironing board with the good side facing the board. Place your first strip of fabric (with the fusible web) on top of the second fabric strip, with the good side facing up. Center it vertically so that there is approximately 1/4″ or so sticking out on both the top and bottom edges, as shown in this next photo.

Using your iron to press the hem into place, fold the unfinished edge of the bottom piece under – aligning it with the hem of the top piece. Working horizontally from side to side, press the bottom 2″ of the fabric strips to fuse the two pieces of fabric together.

Now turn the unfinished edge under on the opposite side of the strip, working horizontally from side to side, and press it into place so that the edges on the other side are aligned. You’ll want to press this 1/4″ edge under all the way out to each end of the strip, even though the fusible web does not go out to each end. At this point, you’ll have one 5″ by 28″ band of fabric with pressed edges along the top and bottom, and unfinished edges at the ends. Once your fabric is pressed and fused, you’re ready to work on finishing those ends.

At this point, check both sides of your fabric strip. Does one side look better than the other? If it does, use that as your “finished” side and place that side face down on your ironing board. This is where I take a quick measurement for length. Place your actual camera strap next your fabric strip, centering it to determine how much extra length you have on each end. What you want is about 2″ of fabric past the end of your camera strap (you should be measuring from the edge of the woven strap, not the leather end). If you have more than 2″ of fabric past this point, just cut it so that the overage measures 2″.

To finish both ends, fold the unfinished edge in approximately 3/4″ and press, then turn it under again another 3/4″, and pin it in place.

Left photo: the first 3/4" fold; Right photo: the second 3/4" fold

On your sewing machine, set your stitch to a straight stitch (standard default setting on most machines). Using a 1/8″ seam allowance, stitch a rectangle to secure both folded ends of your fabric strip. That folded edge will be inside the camera strap cover so that only the stitching shows on the outside.

Moving back to your ironing board, fold your fabric strip in half length-wise so that your “good side” is now facing out on both sides of your 2 1/4″ strap cover, matching the edges as perfectly as possible. (Remember: your folded ends should be facing the inside of the strap cover now.) At this point, I like to actually lay my camera strap inside the folded cover to make sure I have enough room for my seam allowance. It should fit, but I like to have visual confirmation before I stitch it down. Once you’ve checked to make sure it fits, remove your camera strap, then press and pin the entire length of your camera strap cover.

Moving back to your sewing machine, stitch the entire length of your pinned seam using a 1/8″ seam allowance.

I like to sew the first 1/2″, then use my “reverse” stitching feature to back up over that first 1/2″, then move forward again – just to really secure the edge of the opening and make sure the seam doesn’t accidentally rip out when taking it off and on your camera strap. Better safe than sorry, I think. Once you’ve sewn the entire length of your pinned seam and you’ve secured both ends to keep them from ripping out, remove the pins and sew once more, right over the top of the same stitching you just did. Double-stitching the length of your strap cover will prevent it from ripping out or coming unsewn after multiple sessions of pulling it on and off your camera strap. Once it’s finished, it should look like this:

Congratulations! Your camera strap cover is now finished. If you’d like, throw it on the ironing board and give it one final press, then you’re ready to put it on your camera strap. The easiest way I’ve found to pull your camera strap through your new cover is to use a ruler with a hole in one end. Using a piece of twine or embroidery thread, tie your camera strap to the hole at the end of the ruler.

Feed the opposite end of the ruler into the camera strap cover, until it pops out the other end. Pulling gently on the ruler, thread the strap through the cover.

You may have to help it start through when the widest part of the strap starts to go into the cover. Sometimes the edges can get caught on the stitching. Pull the camera strap through the cover until each end is sticking out evenly.

If you want to make a 2-sided (reversible) camera strap cover using two coordinating fabrics, cut each fabric into a 3″ by 28″ strip and stitch the “right sides” together lengthwise. Press to flatten the center seam and use that new 5 1/2″ strip as the “outside” side of your camera strap cover. For the “inside” of the strap cover, use either of the two fabrics you chose, cut to the original 5″ by 28″ length. If you like to match fabric patterns, making a reversible cover can be a lot of fun. Here’s a sample of the covers I’ve made so far. Today’s tutorial version uses one fabric, but the other two are reversible. Now I can change my camera strap covers to suit my mood or my outfit. {Note: I’m totally joking here. I am neither high maintenance nor high fashion. Not even close!}

A quick note about 2-sided fusible web: if you’re unsure which type to buy, I’m including this photo of the package I purchased. It is 2-sided fusible web with a paper backing on one side, which makes it much easier to iron on. This package came in 9″ x 11″ sheets, which I cut in half. I used two 4 1/2″ x 11″ strips. Fabric and craft stores sell iron-on fusible web in many different forms and sizes. All you really need is one strip that is 4 1/2″ wide by 22″ long.

If you have any questions or need any steps clarified, please post a comment and I’ll respond as quickly as possible. Now hit the fabric store and start crafting. And send me a link to any photos you post of your new camera strap covers!

13 Comments

Filed under Craft Projects