Which “Design for Living” machine are you?

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Here at Toyota HQ we’re delighted to be offering our Designs for Living range at an even better price than before. These machines are perfect for a range of uses and the best thing is they come in a huge choice of gorgeous colours and designs. They’re sure to adorn any sewing table or studio and there’s a whole range of choices. So, which Design for Living is for you?

The Design for Living comes in three different levels of functionality. Classic is great for beginners or those who enjoy a little light sewing. Comfort offers some extra features ideal for a sewer  who wants a little more from their machine. Expert is a perfect all-rounder machine with all the features and functionality you’d expect from your Toyota machine.

But there are nine beautiful designs to choose from, yes nine!

In Bloom – This machine features a strikingly gorgeous bloom pattern in our favourite bright red. Great for a sewer who likes to stand out from the crowd.

Jardin – Featuring pretty pink flowers this machine is sure to bring you dreams of a lovely country garden as you sew.

Labyrinth – For those who fancy a deeper, darker design the Labyrinth machine is gorgeous with it’s classic black, swirling pattern.

Flora – Soft and sweet, the Flora machine is understated with it’s pale flower design on a taupe background.

Butterfly Pink – Think summery meadows as you sew with this pink Butterfly design

 

Indigo – This striking periwinkle blue is accented with majestic butterfly designs and is sure to stand out in any sewing space.

In Bloom Shade – Contemporary and minimalist, Bloom Shade is a subtle but classic design that would suit any sewer.

Butterfly  – Stand out from the crowd with this luxe golden Butterfly design.

So, which Design for Living are you?

Design for Living machines are available for purchase direct from us, starting at £89 for the Classic, £119 for the Comfort and £139 for the Expert. All machines are currently reduced. Shop here.

The Great British Sewing Bee: What we loved and how you can make it

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So, another season of the GBSB is over and this year was full of beautiful and sometimes eccentric pieces of sewing. We saw the invention of the ‘skanklet’ (don’t think it’ll catch on?) and of course the sewing world is now ablaze with the desire for sewing a walkaway dress in pretty much every colour we can think of.

Looking back at GBSB, we wanted to write about some of our favourite moments and how you can make these garments with your very own Toyota machine. GBSB projects are great for beginners too, so lets get started!

The Walkaway Dress

Needs no introduction, this dress is supposedly worked up in just a few hours, though it may take a few longer if you’re a beginner. The pattern is available from all good sewing shops (just go in and ask, they won’t be sick of it, I promise!) and some stylish cotton and you can sew yourself up a quick and beautiful 50s style dress. No zips or fiddly closures required, but the moveable needle of the Toyota ESG325  makes light work of sewing neat and tidy bias binding, as you can adjust the stitch position to get that top-stitching sewn right up close to the edge.


The Japanese Asymmetric Blouse

This funky blouse is cut from just once piece of fabric! It’s a bit of a puzzle but once you’ve got your head around it it’s quick to sew. Sewing it up in a floaty, delicate silk would be fantastic, but those edges will need hemming. Why not use the Toyota rolled-hem foot to make light work of sewing beautiful, neat hems on lightweight fabrics with ease.

Image Creative Commons attributed: sewbusylizzy.com

How To Sew: Gathered Easter Baskets

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A simple, circular, gathered easter basket

 

We’re all ready for some Easter treats at Toyota HQ, and what better way to store them than in our own adorable baskets? These cute little Easter goodies baskets are the perfect way to hand out your eggs and chocolates, and are superbly simple to make. There’s nothing tricky to this tutorial, and you can stitch these sweet little sews up in no time!

 

Getting Ready

supplies

  • Outer fabric
  • Lightweight sew-in interfacing
  • Lining fabric
  • Contrast fabric for binding edges and handle
  • Two buttons

 

Lining, interfacing and outer fabric circles

 

To prepare, cut a large circle out of your three basket fabrics, using a circular template or object to draw around. We used a circular template that was 9 inches across, roughly the size of a dinner plate! Measure all the way around one of the circles or calculate the circumference, and then halve that. Cut a rectangle of your contrast fabric to match the halved length and about 4 inches wide – our circumference was roughly 28 inches, so our rectangle is 4 inches by 14 inches of our contrasting fabric. Press the two edges in to meet at the middle (right sides facing out), and then press in half again, so you have a length of your own bias binding.

 

 

Sewing and Gathering

Once your pieces are ready, sandwich your interfacing between your lining and outer fabrics both with the wrong sides facing the interfacing, and pin the circles in place. Sew a line of gathering stitch (a long straight stitch) as close to the edge as you can. Sew a second line of gathering stitch about a quarter of an inch in from the first. Both of your gathering stitches should be within one inch from the edge, to allow you to hide them under your bias binding later. Remember your gathering stitch should stop before it meets the start of the line again.

Sewing two lines of gathering stitch

 

Once your gathering stitches are in place, grab the two end threads on either side, and gently tug them out of the fabric – as the gathers pull into place, push them firmly away from the end you’re pulling. Keep pulling and pushing until the gathered edge measures half of what it did before, then tie your ends off and space the gathers out evenly. You should have a bowl shaped basket with a lovely gathered top!

 

Gathering around the edges of the circles to form a basket

 

Binding the Basket

Once you’ve finished gathering, it’s time to cover up those unsightly raw edges. Take your bias binding, and open it up. Fold the two short edges inwards, so there will be no raw edges at the ends. With the inside of the bias binding facing you, pin it along the basket, with the top edge of the binding just underneath the bottom gathering stitch. Overlap the two ends where they meet. Sew right along the top edge of the bias binding with a straight stitch – take this sewing slowly, as you’ll have to keep turning the basket which is quite fiddly!

Attaching the first edge of the bias binding

Fold the bias binding over the top of the basket and down the inside, encasing the raw edges. Ensuring that the bottom edge of the bias binding is below the bottom line of the gathering stitch, pin into place and press. Top stitch as close to the bottom edge as you can, again going slowly to move the basket around! Once the bias binding is secure, press again for a clean edge.

 

Raw edges covered with bias binding

 

Your basket is almost ready! For easy transport in little hands though, we’ll be adding a handle in our contrast fabric. Cut a wide rectangle of your contrast fabric and your interfacing, about 4.5 inches wide and 7 inches long. Place the interfacing on the wrong side of the fabric, and then fold them in half with the right sides facing. Press flat, and then sew a straight stitch down the open long edge.

 

Contrast fabric and interfacing to make the handle

 

Using a pencil, knitting needle, or chopstick (or anything else long and thin!), push the handle inside out, so the right side is on the outside and the seam is hidden inside. Push the two open short ends in, and press them flat. Top stitch across both short ends as close to the edge as you can to finish the handle. Press the handle flat.

Sewn and pressed handle

 

Fold your basket in half, and mark the opposite points with two pins. Pin one end of the handle to each point, with the end of the handle extending down slightly below the bottom of the bias binding. Do a short length of straight stitch in the middle of each handle (not the whole way across), going backwards and forwards a few time to secure it.

 

Attach the handle with a short straight stitch right in the middle

 

Take your buttons, and hand sew them onto each end of the handle, hiding the machine sewing you used to secure the handle in place! This method means that the handle should stay put, no matter how enthusiastically your little baskets get swung around! If you’d prefer to have a removable handle, simply stitch the button straight onto the basket, and sew a buttonhole onto each end of the handle rather than sewing it in place.

 

Add a button to the handle to hide the machine stitching

Now all that’s left is to fill them with goodies and hand them over! Don’t worry about wasting them either – after Easter these are great to use to store cosmetics or toiletries, keys, change, or anything else that causes some clutter. We’d love to see your finished projects (and what you’re using it for) over on our Facebook page or Twitter account too, so pop over and share your beautiful baskets when they’re finished. Happy Easter!

How To Sew: Valentine’s Breakfast Coaster & Egg Cosy

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Searching for a last minute flourish to your Valentine plans? Whether you’re treating a loved one or going all out on the self care, we have the perfect finishing touch for you! What could be a better start than a warming breakfast in bed, with our cute heart-coaster and egg cosy set.

 

Getting ready

 

Supplies

  • Fabrics – a fat quarter of a patterned cotton and one of plan for the egg cosy lining
  • Coaster and egg cosy template
  • Thin wadding
  • Matching or contrast threads
  • Hand sewing needle

 

 

First, print off your template from the link above, and cut out the heart and egg cosy shapes from your fabrics and wadding. Use the templates to cut the required pieces for each item.

  • 2 patterned fabric hearts
  • 1 wadding heart
  • 2 patterned egg cosy sides
  • 2 lining egg cosy sides
  • 2 wadding egg cosy sides.

Crafting your cosies

 

Once your pieces are cut, we’ll put the coaster together first. Place your outer pieces together right sides facing, then place the wadding on top and pin the three pieces together. Use a short straight stitch around the edges, leaving the smallest seam allowance you can. Leave two inches of the heart piece open, for turning the coaster inside out. Sew slowly to make sure you get nice smooth curves!  When you’ve finished sewing, push the fabric inside out through the whole you left, so that the wadding disappears inside the coaster and the outer patterned fabric emerges. Use a pencil end or chopstick to smooth out the curves by pushing them into place from the inside. Fold the edges of the open hole inside and press the coaster smooth.

 

Place your egg cosy outer pieces together right sides facing, and pin, doing the same with the two lining pieces. Before pinning the two wadding pieces together, trim 1/4″ off the straight bottom edge. Use the same short straight stitch to attach each set of pieces together, leaving the straight edge along the bottom open for every set. Once all the sewing is finished, turn the bottom of the inner and outer fabric sections up by 1/4″ with the folded section on the outside, and press. Slide the lining section into the wadding section (ensuring the wadding is tucked under the folded edge). Turn the outer section right sides out, and then slide the paired lining and wadding into the outer section.

 

 

To finish your coaster and egg cosy off, hand sew the open sections closed neatly, using a slip stitch. Make sure to keep your open edges taunt to avoid wrinkles in your hand sewing, and extend your hand sewing slightly into the machine sewn sections for extra stability. Try not to catch the wadding with your needle, or you might pull stray fibres through your cotton fabric. Once your hand sewing is done, gently press the finished items for a final time. Now all that’s left is to pop the kettle on and break out the egg cups!

 

 

Now you’ve got a cute and cosy accompaniment for a lovely valentine breakfast! Why not match with a tea cosy for the full set (because what’s breakfast without a pot of tea after all?), or make a whole bundle for a big group brunch! We’d love to see your finished projects on our Facebook page or Twitter account, with your beautiful breakfast and best bed nest of course. Happy sewing everyone!

 

A 2014 Round-Up: Top Trends This Year

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Another year of crafts and creations is drawing to a close, and it’s time to look back again over the trends we’ve sewn with. We’ve sifted through piles of tutorials, pinterest boards, blogs, lists and more to find out what really got us going in 2014. Join us as we review our year of fabrics, fashions and fun – and a quick look at Toyota in the New Year.

 

Be a dear, Deer!

Last year we were full of foxy feelings, and before the fox came the owl… but the new king of the woodland this year is definitely the deer! From fabric stags heads to fawn print cottons, these four-legged friends have lent charm to our clothes, homes and accessories. With homey, rustic charm the deer and stag have been a cosy addition to the year.

 

 

Not Over Yet, Knitwear!

A knitted jumper never used lurks in every wardrobe across the country – but this year we finally set them free and fabulous. Recycled, re-purposed and restyled, we’ve loved our old jumpers more than ever before. We’ve seen them in blankets and quilts, tunics and dresses, tea cosies and cosy slippers, and we love each and every one. Head to toe in cable knit feels like a fantastic way to end the year.

 

 

Promising Polka Dots

There’s a lot more than we think to the humble polka dot, and while it’s always a staple of home and wardrobe it’s really been pulling its weight this year! From big bright and bold to subtle and small, the polka dot has something to offer for everyone – but our bigger winner for 2014 is the classic bright colour white polka dot combination. This enduring favourite has a charming vintage chic, and works especially well with candy colours.

 

 

Fun With Free Motion Embroidery

We’ve had a big year for embroidery at Toyota HQ, with our Oekaki Renaissance launch looking to get everyone having a go at some creative crafting. So of course, we’ve been pleased to see how popular it’s been this year! Free motion embroidery is a great, expressive way to add extra life to clothes, home wares or accessories – and a big hit in the world of textile art as well! Whether you’re adding a small embellishment to your gifts tags or you’re whipping up a wall-hanging wonder, free motion embroidery has something to add.

 

 

A Look Forward

We certainly won’t be letting these trends go without a second thought, but we’re excited to what new fun we can have in 2015. While we look over our hopes for the new year (tartans? birds? dip-dye? The choices are endless!) why not tell us about what you’d like to see more of. If there’s a technique you’re wary of or something you’d love to learn, let us know! Head over to our facebook or twitter to tell us what you’d like to see in 2015. Don’t be shy!

 

How To Sew: Rustic Christmas Star Hanging Decoration

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We may be creeping ever closer to Christmas, but it’s never too late to add a little more festive cheer to your home. As much as we love our trees, lights and tinsel though, sometimes you want to sew something you can appreciate all year round. So we’ve put ourselves a cute, simple, neutral home decoration together that looks great no matter when you hang it up. These rustic scrap-busting stars are a great addition to your decorating, and are very versatile to boot! While we love the homey naturals in this tutorial, you can make yours as fabulous and festive as you like.

Getting ready

Supplies

  • Fabrics – we’re using a plain and a patterned, and a fat quarter of each is enough for our star. Up the quantity if you want bigger and switch out neutrals for colour if you want brighter
  • Diamond card template
  • String, twine or ribbon for hanging
  • Stuffing – poly stuffing or wool stuffing work perfectly
  • Medium stiffness iron-on interfacing
  • Any additional decorations
Firstly, you’ll want to make yourself a diamond template. If you’re a quilter you might already have a star-hexie template ready to go. If you don’t, you need to make sure that the top and bottom points of your diamond are at a 60 degree angle, otherwise your pieces won’t all meet along the edges – and you won’t be able to sew your star together!  As long as the angle is correct, you can make the diamond as large or small as you like. We’re using diamonds that are four inches from the top point to bottom point.
Once you have your template ready to go, you need to cut all your pieces – if you’re working to our two fabric colour scheme, you will want six diamonds from each fabric, (remembering to include your 1/4″ seam allowance when cutting around your template) and 12 from your interfacing. Iron your interfacing diamonds onto the wrong sides of your fabric pieces.

 

Once your fabrics have had the interfacing added, you can begin piecing your star together. It’s easiest to do this by creating half of a star at a time, and then sewing them together through the middle. Group your diamond pieces into threes to create each half – one half of each side will go patternplainpattern, and the other will go plainpatternplain.

Place one of the outer diamonds on top of the middle diamond, right sides facing. Sew with a short straight stitch from corner to corner of one of the edges. Fold the top diamond out, place the second outer diamond in the same way, and sew in the same manner along the other lower edge. Fold out the second out diamond, and you should have one long flat edge at the bottom edge and three star points along the top.

Repeat this process until you have all four half-star pieces sewn together. Open up the seams on the back of the half-star, and press them flat. Trim the excess fabric in the middle, where the three diamond points meet, so that it doesn’t extend over the long bottom edge. Tie off your stitch ends and trim the threads.

Sewing up the Star

Once you have your half-stars prepared, match them up together: one plainpatternplain half with one patternplainpattern half. Place the two halves together right sides facing, and pin along the long straight edge at the bottom. Sew along this edge with a short straight stitch, then unfold your completed star to open and press the seam.

Finish your second star in the same way, then place your two complete stars together, right sides facing. Make sure your patterned and plain sections are correctly aligned before you start sewing! Once you’re certain the plains and patterns are in the right place, pin around the edges. Starting from the tip of one of the points, sew all the way around the outside for 11 edges – leave the final edge open so you can turn your piece right sides out and stuff it.

Pull the star inside out through the opening you’ve left – you may need a blunt implement like a chopstick or pencil to help get the fabric through the opening, and poke out the points of the star. Once your right sides are on the outside and your points have been poked out, you may want to press the star flat for a neater decoration. We’ve left the creases and crumples in here, for a slightly homier look.

Stuffing and finishing

Once the shell of your star is complete, take your stuffing of choice and begin to fill it up. Add your stuffing a small section at a time, pushing it through the hole you left in the seam and then poking it into place with your chopstick or pencil. Make sure to squash your stuffing in tightly for a nice plump star – massage the stuffing around from the outside to even it out in lumpy areas. Once your star is full to the brim of stuffing, hand sew the hole you left in the edge with a basic slip stitch. Once the opening is sewn shut, you can add decorations to your taste – we added a crocheted lace trim around the middle of the star, with a wooden button in the center and a scrap-fabric trim.

To hang, make a loop of twine, ribbon or string and hand stitch a section of it to the the top point of your star. Now you just have to find somewhere to hang it! We’d love to see your finished projects on our Facebook page or Twitter account. Try hanging a whole variety of sizes for a stunning statement display, or make a host of tiny versions for the tree.

How To Sew: Advent Calendar Bunting

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The winter air is filling with the smell of gingerbread and pine, and the fairy lights are creeping over every surface. Even the most stubborn of us will be accepting that there are only four precious weeks left until Christmas! The buzz word for a crafty Christmas this year is bunting, and we love it – but why not take it further! A lovely row of bunting is stunning, but you can make it practical fun too. Turn your bunting into a beautiful homemade advent calendar, ready to be stuffed with goodies. Say goodbye to chalky advent calendar chocolate, and hello to your new Christmas tradition!

Getting ready

Supplies

  • Fabrics – A bright outer felt, and a white or cream lining (felt or cotton). Buying your felt in squares means you can guarantee you have enough for every pocket
  • Metallic thread for top-stitch decoration
  • Triangular card template
  • Bias binding to match or contrast your outer fabric (How much? 25 x the width of your template, plus 24 x 2 inches, plus 2 X 6 inches)
  • Tailors chalk, ruler, matching threads

To create your template first, consider the length of the wall you can hang it on, and what you want to put inside. Make sure your template includes your 1/4″ seam allowance to ensure all your triangles will be exactly the same size, and you won’t be surprised by pockets that are too small. Once you have a template a good size for you, you’ll need to cut all your fabric.

First off, trace 50 of your template on to your outer fabric, and cut them all. Once they’re cut, separate out 50 pieces for the front of the pocket, and fold over roughly the top quarter. Pin the fold, iron for a sharp line across the top, and then trim the excess fabric off the sides to leave you with a triangle shape again.

 

Piecing together the pockets

Once you have all your outer fabric pieces prepared, it’s time to cut your linings as well. Cut 50 pieces using the template as it is, these are the back pieces of the lining. For the front piece of the lining, you’ll want to adjust your template. Place one of your outer front pieces on top of your template, and cut your template down to 1/2″ above the front outer piece.

Cut 50 front lining pieces with this new template, and fold the 1/2″ at the top down. Pin, iron and trim in the same way as the front outer pieces. Once you’re finished you should have 100 large pieces (50 outer, 50 lining) and 100 short pieces (50 outer pieces with a large front fold, and 50 lining pieces with a short fold)

 

Before piecing the pockets together, you’ll want to top-stitch your front outer pieces. Using a contrast thread (we used metallic gold and silver), secure the fold along the top and bottom with a decorative top-stitch. We’re using the wave shaped stitch on our machine, but any decorative stitch of your choice will work fine!

Once your front pieces are top stitched, pin your front outer to your back outer with the top-stitching facing inwards. Sew along the two bottom sides, starting from one corner of the short front piece round to the other side.Remember to backstitch at the start and end to secure the pockets firmly. Once the pockets are sewn together, trim right along the edges and clip off the bottom of the triangle. This will help the pockets lie flat. Turn the pockets inside out, use a pencil end or similar to poke the point out fully, then press flat.

Sew your lining pockets together with the flap facing outwards rather than inwards, then trim them the same way. Don’t turn your lining pockets inside out, but do press them!

To attach the lining to the outer pocket, start with your lining facing short side upwards. Place your outer pocket on top of the lining, also short side facing upwards. Line the edges up to match corner to corner, and pin the two pockets together. Once the two pockets are flush together, sew them together – you’ll be sewing the three edge you haven’t sewn over yet, the top sections with only two layers of fabric rather than four.

With the top section sewn together, trim the edges and top two corners. Then, fold the sewn section inside out, bringing the lining pocket to the front. Tuck the lining pocket inside the outer pocket. Press the pocket, then slip stitch the front of the pocket to join the tops of the short lining and outer pieces together.

Completing the bunting

Once all 25 of your pockets are completed (hooray!), it’s time to attach them together as bunting. Leave 6 inches at the start of your bias binding for hanging, then pin your first pocket halfway up your bias binding. Leave two inches between each pocket, and another 6 inches at the end. Once all 25 pockets are pinned, run a straight stitch over the length of the bias binding, 1/4 of the way up. Once the pockets are attached, fold the bias binding in half over the tops of the pockets, and iron flat. Run another straight stitch as close to the bottom edge of the bias binding as you can.

 

Once your advent calendar bunting is complete, congratulate yourself! This project is simple but time consuming, and finishing is quite an achievement. Once you’ve hung your bunting, why not take some photos and post them to our Facebook page or tweet them at our Twitter account. We’d love to see your finished advent bunting, full of treats and ready to go! Hopefully you’ll be using it for years to come.

How To Sew: Halloween Treat Pouches

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The air is turning cold, the nights are getting longer, and the leaves are piling up along the streets. It’s definitely getting close to Halloween! We’ve got a great spooky sewing sweet treat for you perfect for the big Halloween night itself, we promise there’re no tricks! With the Trick-or-treaters and Halloween parties just around the corner, these little grab bag pouches are quick to sew and perfect for stuffing full of goodies. Ours are perfect for tiny hands and small portions, but you can scale them up to whatever size you like. Try making a barrel full of bats, a plethora of pumpkins, or any other ghost and ghoul you can think of!

Getting ready

Supplies

  • Fabrics – we’re using a thin black jersey for the bat and a slightly thin fleece for the pumpkin
  • Fabric paint or other decoration for the faces
  • Black craft foam, cut into bat wings
  • Ribbon, string or other equivalent for the drawstring

To make your template, draw around a circular object, and then cut off the top of the curve so you have a flat section for the open end. Use your template to cut four pieces of your fabric (two outer pieces and two inner). You want to cut two of the pieces slightly larger than the template, so the lining will fit snugly  inside the outer. Decorate one of the larger pieces with your spooky face before you begin assembling the pouches, as it’s much easier to paint on them now. If you’re using any bulky decorations such as beads or our bat wings however, save those until the end!

 

Piecing together the pouches

Take the smaller two of your cut blank pieces, and with the right sides together sew them together using a straight stitch. This is your inner lining. Do the same with your larger blank piece and the face piece, but stop sewing about an inch and a half before you reach the top at the other side from where you started sewing. This will leave a gap for you to turn the finished piece the right way around, and to thread the drawstring through once you’re finished sewing.

 

Take your lining and your outer sections – have your outer section with the face on the outside, and the lining with the blank sides on the inside. Push your outer section into the lining section, so the face of the outer section is touching the blank side of the lining. Sew right along the top with a straight stitch, so the two sections are secured together. On the inside, locate the gap in the side you left open, and slowly pull the fabric through the hole until the entire thing has turned inside you. You will have the two sections connected at the top, with the stitching hidden inside. Tuck the lining down into the outer section.

With your bag ready and the lining tucked in place, we now want to make a secure place for the drawstring. Top-stitch all the way around the top of the bag, an inch and a half from the top (so you start your sewing at the bottom on the opening you left, which will now be on the outside of your bag). This top-stitching will help make sure your lining stays in place, and that your drawstring stays flush with the top of the pouch.

With the bag ready for the drawstring, all that’s left is to threat one through! Cut a piece twice the width of your bag and then a little extra, pop a safety pin through one end (this will help you feel where the end is) and slowly push the drawstring through the tunnel you’ve made for it. Once it emerges from the other end, knot the two ends together . Now you’re ready to fill them up and hand them out!

 

If you put a pouch together, we’d love to hear about it (or all of them, these are a great bulk project!). Why not take some photos and post them to our Facebook page or tweet them at our Twitter account. We’d love to see what spooks and scares you can come up with to decorate them – a black cat, an eyeball, a whole host of monsters? The possibilities are limitless!

How To Sew: Autumn Leaf Tablet Sleeve

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Autumn is breezing its way into our lives, but as I’ve been told this is no excuse to start hibernating, I’ve barely had a moment to stop and admire the colours of the season! The brief glances I’ve snatched between returning my attention to my new limb (read, permanently attached mobile device) have sparked some simple inspiration though – and with an adorable new tablet cover I can take the falling leaves along with me everywhere I go.

This falling leaves device sleeve is super-duper easy as well as both cute and practical! It’s a quick project to slip in during your downtime and use up scraps, and once it’s finished you can admire it everywhere you go.

Getting ready

Supplies

Felts (your base colour, and then two or three extras for your leaves)

Thick iron-on interfacing

Buttons

Ribbon

Leaf templates (optional, you can freehand draw your leaves, or use a template you’ve bought/printed out/made from actual leaves… whatever works for you!)

Sewing your sleeve

Your first step is to measure your device – if it’s a bit of an awkward size round UP to the nearest half inch, rather than down. My device measured roughly 5.5”x8.5” but yours might be slightly different. Cut two pieces of interfacing the size of your device. For your first felt rectangle, add an extra ½” to the width and length (allowing for ¼” seams). For your second felt rectangle add an extra 1/2” to the width, and an extra 4” to the length (to allow you to make the flap at the top). Iron your interfacing onto each of the felt squares – placed ¼” up from the bottom and ¼” in from each side.

Now it’s time for the sewing machine! First take your longer felt square to make the closing flap. I’ve added a hidden branch to the underside of my flap, so you see it when you open the sleeve up to get your device. If you’re adding a hidden branch like I have, cut a branch shape just slightly narrower than the width of the sleeve, and under 2 inches high. Once it’s cut, sew it into place right at the top on your rectangle, upside down, on the side with no interfacing.

Once your hidden branch is in place fold the top section over on itself. You want to fold away from the interfaced side and onto the plain side, so the branch is hidden away. Sew down the two short edges to secure your flap and leave the long edge open – this is because we’ll be turning the flap inside out later to hide the stitching and reveal the branch.

Take your shorter rectangle, and pop a pin about 2″ from the top so you know how far down the flap will come. Cut out enough leaf shapes to fill the space below the pin to your satisfaction (I used 6). Fold each of your leaves in half, and gently press them with an iron. This will give them a subtle 3d effect once they’re sewn in place. Arrange them in your blank space, pin in place, and sew each one with two or three lines of straight stitch straight down the middle.

Now take your front and back felt pieces, and pin them together with the interfacing facing outwards. Sew with a straight stitch around the two long edges and the bottom edge, 1/4″ in. Your straight stitch should just miss the interfacing, ensuring your seams aren’t too stiff for you to turn the sleeve out! Remember to strengthen the start and ends of your sewing by reverse sewing back a couple of stitches.

Now you can turn your sleeve inside out, and turn the flap inside out as well. Lightly press the sleeve into shape around the edges. To close the open side of the top flap, I ironed a little piece of iron-on hemming tape between the layers, but you could just as easily use a pretty decorative top stitch.

Finishing up

To finish your tablet sleeve, choose two largish buttons and a piece of ribbon. Sew one button in the middle of the flap, and one just below it on the main body of the sleeve. Tie a short length of ribbon around the base of the lower button, and pop a hand-stitch on it to secure. Finally, pinch your leaves back up a little if the sewing has flattened them out, and you’re finished! To close the sleeve, wind the ribbon a few times around the buttons in a figure of eight, then tuck the rest away underneath. Congratulations, you’re ready to grab your coffee, throw on your scarf and head out the door!

If you make a falling leaves sleeve yourself, we’d love to hear about it. Why not take some photos and post them to our Facebook page or tweet them at our Twitter account. We’d love to see what colours you choose, and how you get creative with your shapes!

Knowing your extension table – quick guide

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If you own an  original model Oekaki or RS series Toyota sewing machine and have never have used an extension table before, ours can be a little confusing. To make sure you can get it up and running with no fuss, we’ve written you this handy guide!

The first thing most people notice is that the table only has one ‘rubber stopper’ on it. Don’t panic! You aren’t missing three feet, what you actually have is one adjustable screw. The screw in this leg of the table is used to adjust the height of the table to fit your machine (yes, you only need the one!). You may have noticed that table looked too low to fit onto your machine, which is where this adjustable screw comes in.

Caution: We recommend always having the power off when you attach and remove the extension table and accessory box to your machine.

To set your table up on your machine, please follow the steps below:

The extension table has four fold away legs. Before you attach your extension table to your machine you will need to lift up each leg over 90-degrees to the outside until they’re in position. Locate the leg with the adjustable screw.

Turn the screw to adjust the height of the table to reach your desired position. This will level out the up side of the table so it will fit snugly around the free arm of the sewing machine.

Make sure that the measuring line is facing the front of the extension table.

Remove the accessory holder out of your sewing machine, allowing access to the free arm.

Slide the extension table into position around the free arm of the sewing machine until it has clicked into position. You’re now ready to use your extension table!

When you are finished, remove the extension table by sliding it off gently and then reattach your accessory holder.

Enjoy your new-found space for sewing!