Tag Archives: fabric

Upcycled Accordion Folder


This whole “business owner” thing has a lot of learning curves. Taxes…blech! Legal stuff..blech! Unforeseen storage issues…creative opportunity!

After a couple of months of getting the Sewhooked Shop off the ground, I had a whole tote bag full of receipts, paperwork and odds ‘n ends that I need to keep track of.  There isn’t a spare foot anywhere in my workspace for a filing cabinet and, as they say, have laptop will travel. I need to be portable.

After contemplating what to do with the mess of papers and such, I headed to our family storage location for paper, folders and general office/school supplies. A giant figurative light bulb danced gleefully over my head at what I’d found.

An accordion folder. Really? How did I not know we had that? The answer is, I did, but I forgot. It was tucked away with the kids’ school supplies. It’s something I used when both of them were very early in their school careers, before I realized that no mere accordion folder could ever cope with the massive amount of tree carnage that is elementary school.

I think this folder was probably around when I was at least in high school. In another lifetime, my dad was a school supply buyer. The bonus of that when I was a kid was all kinds of nifty and creative supplies! I’m pretty sure that this was a remnant from that time that my mom passed on to us when our own kids were little.

Supplies:

  • Accordion folder with with a cardboard shell
  • Fabric Remnant
  • Batting Remnant
  • Spray adhesive
  • Glue Gun
  • Ribbon
  • Mailing Labels
  • Pliers, if needed

Accordion Folder Upcycle Project

So, I find this. Cutesy and functional. I like the functional, but not so much the cutesy!

First thing’s first, tear away the cardboard exterior, doing as little damage as possible.



There’s an elastic band that is used to close the folder. Yank that out from behind and put it aside. We’re going to do something totally different for our closure!




On the opposite side is the button that the elastic goes around. We’ll bend it and wiggle it until we can pull it out of the hole with minimal destruction.

Now, that glue needs cleaning up. We’ll peel all that away.

Much better!

Now, the fabric. How about a remnant from another project? This fabric made the centers of the blocks on my Friendship Star quilt.

Oh no, it’s too short! Ideally, it needs to be a few inches bigger on each side. And, it definitely needs to be ironed!

Not to worry, just add a bit of another fabric to one end. That’ll create a lovely front!

For a touch of magic, spray basting. Because this is a permanent application, regular spray adhesive will work, too.

I think a little padding will be nice, and I just happen to have this bit of leftover lightweight batting from another project.

Now, we’ll spray baste the fabric to the batting. Spray the batting and not the fabric and, of course, we follow manufacturer’s instructions!


Add spray baste to the outside of the decorative cardboard. It doesn’t matter at this point which end of the folder is front or back, as long as we get it even!

Hmm, now about some pretty ribbon? This was saved from a gift The Big Guy gave me for Christmas a couple of years ago.

There are lots of adhesive options at this point, but after seeing how the folder was originally constructed, I think we’ll break out the trusty old glue gun!

We’ll make it extra pretty by gluing each corner down first.

Glue and repeat!


Nice, all four are in place now!

Now, we’ll fold the four sides and glue those in places. This bit might be tricky because we want it taut, but not too tight.

Lots of glue is necessary to make sure all the layers stay in place.

With all the seams glued, it looks so pretty!

It’s all ready for ribbon now!

The ribbon cut in half and glued in the center of each side is just the ticket! Gluing it directly to the cardboard gives it some extra durability.

Both sides are in place, so now it’s time for the final steps!

Let’s put the accordion back in the folder! We’ll sit it right in the center.

Let’s get it all straight so that we don’t have a weird end sticking out or anything! Start at the bottom and swipe the glue back and forth just like it was originally. Be fast, the glue dries quick!*

*Do not, repeat, do not glue the bottom of the file to the outside cover! It needs to be able to expand and contract, or, ehem, accordion. 😉


For extra security, we’ll add more glue up the sides and around the top.


Squish the side hard!

Keep smoothing it until it feels like it’s set. We want the bonds to be nice and firm! With all the glue in place, we’re done! Wow, that was quick.

We’ll change the categories up with some leftover mailing peel and stick labels. A couple of the originals still apply!

Isn’t that nice?

This is a file folder I can travel with. I might even bring some crayons.

Happy Crafting!

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Hot Dog, A Pillowcase!

Isn’t it a beauty?

Printable PDF Tutorial!

Now available as a free video tutorial!

Honey Bee is participating in American Patchwork & Quilting’s 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge. The first batch of gorgeous handmade pillowcases that Honey Bee has collected is going to the Texas Baptist Children’s Home, located in Round Rock, Texas.

I knew as soon as I heard about it that I wanted to participate.

Early on in the pillowcase drive, Honey Bee had a demo for the “Hot Dog” pillowcase method, which rumor has it is super-duper easy.

Only, I missed the demo.  Oops.  You see, it was on a Friday at lunch time.  Every Friday, I have a date lunch with my awesome hubby, so obviously going to a free pillowcase how-to demo was not going to win out over date lunch!

Well, I’ve made pillowcases before, so I wasn’t too fussed about it.  Then, a couple of weeks later, my sewing friends and I had a sewing day at our friend Linda’s house.  Osie, who happens to be one of the Goddesses of Honey Bee, was working on pillowcases for the drive and took a few minutes to show us how the mystical “Hot Dog” works.

Hot dog!  Seriously, hot dog!  This is the easiest, fastest and cleanest-looking pillowcase method I’ve seen.  Including the pillowcase used in this tutorial, I’ve now made 11 of these bad boys.  So easy, so fun…and excellent for stash busting!



Pillowcase 1 – 10, on their way to Honey Bee, all made from fabrics I had in my stash.

This was not my invention and there are a couple of tutorials floating around out there, but this is too good not to post again.  This is my take on the instructions.  I hope you enjoy, make lots of pillowcases and donate them to charity!  (Oh, okay, you can keep one or two for yourself!)

Pillowcases donated through Honey Bee!  The last I heard there were over 200!

Read more on the Honey Bee Blog.

They’ve even made it easy by offering pre-cut kits with

free how-to sheets for the Hot Dog method!

You’ll need:

Three lengths of fabric in three coordinating colors.  Makes one standard size pillowcase.

  • BUN (cuff) – 12″ x WOF (width of fabric ~ 44″)
  • MUSTARD (flange) – 2″ – 3″ x WOF (you can also use leftover quilt binding for this)
  • HOT DOG (body) 24″ – 26″ x WOF

You can vary the bun/hot dog size up or down, just make sure that the total yardage between those two is 36″ – 38″. 9 – 12″ for the bun is ideal.

If you use two yards of coordinating fabric, plus 6″ of a third, you can make two coordinating pillowcases with opposite colors!



My colors for this tutorial – a pre-cut kit from Honey Bee.  Isn’t the fabric just delicious?



Hot Dog, Bun & Mustard!   Once your fabric is cut and pressed and you’re ready to go!



Roll out your BUN, right side up.



Press the MUSTARD in half



Place MUSTARD with raw edges matching along one side of the BUN.



Place HOT DOG on top of MUSTARD, face down.  Align raw seams.  Add a few pins to hold in place.



Roll the HOT DOG (hey, now it looks like a hot dog!) to within a few inches of the pinned edge.



Fold the BUN over the HOT DOG and pin along the raw edge, making sure to catch all layers of fabric.



Stitch along raw edge using a 3/8″ seam allowance.



Remove any pins and birth your HOT DOG!  Roll BUN back, gently tugging the HOT DOG out of the center.



Continue tugging and rolling until the HOT DOG is all the way out.



Your pillowcase should now look something like this.



Smooth out the fabric, then press the BUN and MUSTARD, tugging gently so it’ll lie flat.  I like to press on both sides.



Square up your pillowcase by removing the selvage.



With WRONG SIDES together (yes, I said wrong sides!), align the MUSTARD and corners of the pillowcase.



Pin in several places.



Stitch around raw edges using a 1/4″ seam allowance (yes, yes,  really, right sides out, wrong sides together!).



Turn the corner and sew across the bottom.

Trim corners (raw edges only, please!).



Turn the pillowcase wrong-side out.  Look how nice the BUN looks next to the HOT DOG!



Press the side and bottom seams flat.



Stitch using a 1/2″ seam allowance.


Look at that, you made French Seams…no raw edges!



Turn right side out and press.



See how nicely the MUSTARD lines up?   Did you notice that your condiment made a lovely little flap, too?



It looks good outside and in!

hot dog pillowcase tutorial
And hey, action shot!

Now, let me know if you’re as addicted to these as I am!  This beauty is number 11 and I know I’ll make more.  In addition to donating to the 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge, they also make great gift bags for quilts!

Need a hardcopy? Printable PDF Tutorial!

Add your Sewhooked-related photos to my flickr group and you might be featured in a future post.

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Back To School Craft: Book Cover from a Fabric Remnant

My eighth-grader brought her Algebra book home for the first time yesterday because it needed a cover. It’s huge, really huge, weighing in at a whopping six pounds (what, I was curious!).

The paper book covers of yesteryear are truly a thing of the past, something I learned a couple of years back when I suggested recycling a brown paper bag, just like I had when I was in school. Ah, the brown paper cover! All that real estate for doodling and scribbling down phone numbers or bits of song lyrics. The look of shock and horror on my daughter’s face was enough to tell me that, sadly, grocery bags are O-U-T, and stretchy fabric covers are IN.

The one-size-fits-all stretchy fabric cover we picked up with school supplies did not, despite the packaging promise, fit the mammoth math book.

We came up with a quick and easy solution in a project we’ve used a few times before; a fabric book cover, custom made from a remnant.

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Book Cover from a Fabric Remnant
© Jennifer Ofenstein
http://www.sewhooked.org

  • fabric remnant
  • coordinating thread
  • scissors or (opt) rotary cutter
  • chalk or pencil
  • ruler
  • sewing machine (because of the wear and tear school books receive, I don’t recommend hand sewing for this project)
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Measure out the remnant for your book, making sure that it is at least 2″ wider on top and bottom (4″ total) and several inches longer on each side than the book when it is opened. Trim the top, bottom and sides so they are straight and will be easy to sew. Rotary cutters work perfect for this if you’ve got them!

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Hem both of the short ends. Turn under 1″ and then again 1/4″ or 1/2″ to make a sturdy seam. Stitch with a straight stitch.

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As evenly as possible, align the fabric on the book inside out, with the hemmed edges inside the book cover.

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Pin the fabric, leaving enough fabric for seam allowance and hemming later. The pinned corners should be approximately 1/16″ of an inch away from the outside of the book. It’s very important to not pin too far away from the book’s edge or the cover will be too loose.

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Using a straight edge, mark along the pins in chalk.

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Stitch on chalk or pencil line for all four corners. Reinforce the stitching line several times. These will have a lot of pressure on them from the book being opened and closed.

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Trim corners and the short piece of fabric where you have just stitched. Repeat for all corners. Turn, using a chopstick or crochet hook to push out the corners.

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The seam allowance along the edges are at this point still unstitched. Press these, using the already-turned corners for your measurement. Turn the hem under (opt) and pin in place if needed.

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Start under the flap then straight stitch along the hem, finishing after the next flap. You do not need to stitch all the way to the end, but it’s a good idea to reinforce the hem past the flap so the fabric will lay nice and flat.

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Trim your threads and slip your new fabric book cover on!

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As long as your book cover is nice and tight, it’ll stay on with no problem.

Now you just have to tell all your friends that you won’t be making one for them and save those stretchy covers for a favorite hardback novel!

also posted on cut out + keep