Finally, finally, I took the plunge...after pleading from my kids that my old computer, which whirrs and squeaks at every touch of the keyboard, had reached the limits of 'uncoolness'.... and bought a bright new shiny Macbook. I have to say, it's lovely. I haven't quite got to grips with it all yet, but I was sure that it needed a little 'Ruby' touch to make it truly mine... and only mine!!! So I decided to make a protective carrying case for it and as I was sort of making it up as I went along..... here's how it went.
First thing....(and my favourite thing).... decide upon some fabrics from the stash. It wasn't difficult. I simply love this Anna Maria Horner print and it was simple to team it up with something for the lining.
I used two fat quarters of each fabric and joined them together. I didn't worry too much about matching the big print - it's so dramatic, I didn't think it would matter. The lining fabric matched up naturally. I need this case to be reasonably strong so I decided to iron on a layer of light weight iron-on interfacing on both pieces to firm them up, before I started to put it together.
I loved the bold print for the outside of the cover and decided that a little embellishment would be nice, so I set to work with my needle and my candy bowl of threads. The interfacing also acts as a stabiliser for the embroidery and makes the fabric firmer to work on.
This idea of hand embroidering over a large print was something I had been meaning to try for a while and I have to say it was soooo much fun. A few stitches here and there and can add some texture and extra interest to the print.
While I was doing this, I was already formulating my quilting plans and knew that I wanted to use the actual fabric design as my guide and different coloured threads to highlight the wonderful print of this little 'hand drawn garden'. However, I thought this would look strange on the striped 'stack of books' print I had chosen for the lining, so I decided to make this first quilt sandwich using just a plain backing that would be later hidden inbetween the outer layers. I went ahead and quilted the afternoon away....
Once this was done, I turned my attention to the lining. I wanted to stiffen it alittle and found in my store cupboard some sort of canvas with an iron-on coating on the back. I have absolutely no idea where it came from or what I had intended it for - but it was the perfect thing for this. I cut a strip of it and ironed it onto the lining. I did a little bit of free motion quilting along a couple of the stripey books to be sure it would hold in place.
Then I attached the two layers of the cover together around the edges, having pressed it carefully first. At this point I trimmed the whole thing down to size by laying the Mac book inside it. It needed around an inch off each side and I used a curved ruler to make rounded edges on the outside flap.
The last stage is to do the binding and here my first attempt was a mistake and I had to unpick it. I used ordinary quilt binding - and it didn't give me enough edging to join the sides together. The quilt sandwich is quite stiff now and I needed a wide soft edge that would allow me to make the envelope and be able to stitch the sides together. I'll show you what I mean ... as once I made a 4" binding, it made more sense.
I stitched the binding down by hand on the inside of the cover and then machined it too, to make sure it was absolutely flat and then made my envelope, carefully ensuring that my macbook would fit inside snuggly. I machine stitched the sides, twice. I know this has to be durable and will be bumped about and pulled in and out of a totebag, so having put in so much effort to make something original - I wanted to be sure it would work on a functional level.
Finally the fastening - this was problematic. The whole thing was starting to remind me of a modern take on a Victorian 'botanical'notebook case and I rather liked the idea of closing it with a tie, like those old fashioned journals. I rummaged around in my buttonbox and found this sort of toggle, which seemed like a good idea, except it was completely flat on the bottom and if I had just sewed it on, it would have lain too flat to wind a cord around. I thought maybe elastic was a good idea. I never buy elastic......mmmmm - out of the corner of my eye, I spotted my mum's little sewing drawers which sit in my sewing room - inside, of course, were all sorts of useful bits and bobs, including 6 different sizes of elastic (what is it about that generation - "always be prepared") Yay! It worked a treat. I threaded it through the toggle and stitched it onto the front of the cover. I made some matching cord, by using a strip of fabric 2" wide, folded in on each side to the middle, folded again and then folded again and machine topstitched to hold it in place.
A little vintage label added a quirky, steamer trunk sort of feel to the whole thing. I absolutely LOVE this - it is useful and pretty and unique. So perfect to take my Macbook on a journey.....did I tell you I was going on a journey....next month - more to come on that one. Ta ra for now, Ruby x