Starting Sewing (and a Phone Pouch)

Sewing is a really great skill to have.  You can take simple scraps of fabric and transform them into something new and usable.  Six years ago, looking at the creations of others on Pinterest, I felt inspired to expand my sewing skills beyond basic handstitching.  If I had a sewing machine I was sure that I could use it to easily whip up some of those amazing creations.  So I asked Cal for a sewing machine for Christmas, and that is exactly what he got me.  It felt so full of possibilities. I could envision plenty of future projects with it.  I remembered using the sewing machines in Family and Consumer Science classes in middle school, it didn’t seem like it would be too hard.  Then I tried to get it working and I was stumped.  I couldn’t even figure out how to thread the machine without it jamming. So I set the machine aside.  Grad school, parenting a high needs child and life in general took priority.

That machine has sat collecting dust for almost six years now.  Finally I have a little more time and feel a little more settled.  I can take on projects that I just couldn’t manage a few years ago.  Once again I felt inspired to try to create in the way that I see so many other people creating.  Now that I have more time on my hands, I could really sit down and figure out how to get my machine working properly.  So I cleaned off the mountain of dust the machine collected and set it up in the corner of my dining room (eventually I will figure out a better spot, but for now that works).  I have spent the past couple weeks familiarizing myself with the machine and doing some basic sewing projects.  I am starting to feel a lot more confident about my sewing abilities and once again envisioning potential sewing projects.  A lot of the more technical things I have been reading about sewing still fly over my head, but for now I seem to be doing okay figuring things out as I go along.

So far I have mostly been mending some of the many things Rusty ripped open when we first adopted him.  He is a little better about chewing now, but I still have a lot of things that he has ripped open waiting to be mended, and it is a lot faster and easier to do so with my machine than by hand.  I also sewed Ryan a rudimentary pillowcase that he requested and he is waiting for me to sew him a stuffed animal and some other more complicated projects that he seems to think I can somehow pull off.

The project that I feel best about so far (remember I have only been sewing for about 2 weeks now) is a phone pouch that I made.  When I go hiking with Saoirse and Ryan, I don’t usually have pockets, at least not deep ones.  There is a great pocket on my Lillebaby carriers, but now that Saoirse rides on my back instead of my front it is a lot more difficult to reach that pocket mid-hike.  I wanted a pouch that I could attach to the belt of the carrier so I could securely carry my phone, but more easily access it for quick photographs along the trail.  I am pretty sure that Lillebaby and other manufacturers sell something for exactly that purpose, but I also wanted to save some money. I ended up spending 75 cents on a fat quarter of fabric and made a pouch that I am very happy with.  It is not perfect, nor is it the work of an expert sewer, but it is very functional and I think it is pretty great for a first attempt at a sewing project.  I looked up some different tutorials for sewing a phone cozy or phone pouch online.  I found a few with beautiful looking finished products, but they each seemed to complicate the design a little more that I was ready to take on.  Instead I just thought through the steps to create my pouch logically.  The end result is simple, but it fits my needs.

The phone pouch with belt loop

The pouch was really simple to make.  I sewed two pieces of fabric back to back to make it a little sturdier (I also have batting now and want to try quilting one in the future.  Then I folded and sewed over a thinner piece of fabric to make a strap.  I measured out where the back of the pouch would be, using my phone to determine size, and then sewed the strap to the back.  I then folded the fabric so that the outside was facing inward and sewed up the two sides.  I left extra fabric on one side so that I could fold it over as a flap at the end.  Once I sewed up the two sides, I turned the pouch inside out, just like a mini pillowcase, then sewed over the edges for the top flap.  I have small fabric velcro dots, so I attached those to secure the flap and sewed over them to make sure they were well attached.

Normally, I would post step by step pictures of my progress.  However, since I was still figuring out what I was doing, I had plenty of missteps and was too focused on my work to take pictures.  Now that I have figured it out, I would happily take step by step pictures for anyone looking for them, but there are far more polished tutorials out there for similar projects.

I am excited about all of the possibilities to create now that I am using my sewing machine.  Do you sew or craft? What projects are you working on right now?

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