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::Make It With Mikes :: Vintage Napkin Gadget Stow-Away…

October 7, 2009
I was given a bunch of cute stuff by my friend Biffy. Boxes of vintage napkins and doyleys and other good things. They have been waiting for the perfect project. And today was the perfect day for it, apparently!

I figured I needed somewhere cute to stow my Blackberry and my brand new Flip Video Camera (plus a spot for a compact regular camera too). And these vintage linens were just begging to be admired daily and freed from their boxes…

So this morning when it was rainy and gruesome outside, I whipped up some of these Cosy Stow Aways! They take only ten minutes to make and are a perfect gift, I think! I think you should make one too, I do! You could stow your iPod or iPhone and even a wee notebook in these! Have fun! Yay! Thanks Biffy and Biffy’s Mum!


all images may be enlarged if you click on them!

Equipment : You need a sewing machine with a zipper foot (so you can see where you are sewing and get around the lumpy napkin edges easily), iron, thread, scissors and pins.

  1. Find a nice vintage napkin for the stowaway body! Ours measured 11″ by 11″ (or 28cm by 28cm) – this is a really good size!* The good thing about using a napkin is that it’s all hemmed and finished nicely so it makes the job much quicker – and it looks extra unique. Find a piece of lace for the tie-up bit : it should be 40″ (1 metre) long and any width will be fine. You can also use ribbon if you like! Cut it into two 20″ (50cm) lengths. Press the napkin nicely. Vintage napkins often have little faults in them… but don’t worry about that, it adds to the character of your finished piece, right?! Well. Unless it’s a gravy stain.
  2. So, with the wrong side of the napkin facing you, fold the top of the napkin down 1″ (or 2.5cm) Press it firmly into place with a hot iron to make a nice crease. Fold the bottom of the napkin up as well : make the two edges of the napkin meet, edge to edge. The right side will be facing you now, as you folded it down (and up!) Pin the napkin into place so that the napkin edges stay neatly together and are touching each other. (This forms the opening where you pop your phone, or ipod or camera in later.)
  3. Next take your two lengths of lace or ribbon and tuck the ends into the left side of the napkin as shown. Tuck a good inch and a half of each piece in there. The ends should now be concealed (sandwiched between the folded napkin sides) and the rest of the ribbon flowing freely out to the left. If using ribbon, make sure you have the right sides of the ribbon facing each other when tucked in. Pop a pin in to keep it in place.
  4. Now head over to the sewing machine. Sew from the top right corner (it’s the one without the flowery cross-stitch in our photos), down to the bottom right corner. Keep your needle down (poking through the fabric) but lift the presser foot : swivel your napkin around so you can sew along the bottom edge. Presser foot back down, please. Continue sewing along the bottom, turn the corner again as before and then sew back up the left side (the one with ribbon tucked into it!) all the way back up to the top left corner. You should sew about 1/4″ (or a wee bit over 1cm) in from the edge. You don’t need to sew along the top edge. Be sure to keep the free ends of the ribbon away from where you are sewing.
  5. Next fold your sewn up napkin into thirds, to resemble the finished piece. Our ‘thirds’ were approximately 3 1/2 inches (9cm) each (give or take a centimetre). You don’t need to be too accurate here. Press into place with a hot iron while it’s folded up. Now put a few pins along the ironed in creases to act as a guide when you are sewing. If you are picky you can measure and mark equal thirds, but I didn’t bother to do that. I’m like that.
  6. Now please sew along the two creases you just made from top to bottom, being careful to keep your napkin edges meeting nicely, and removing the pins as you sew.
  7. Trim any loose threads and tie knots in the ends of your ribbon/lace to keep from fraying. (You could also use fray stop solution on your ribbon, if you like.) That’s it!
  8. Pop your techy things in and fold it up! Tie it closed to keep it all safely stowed! You can have your openings on the outside for easy access… or you can fold it up with them inside for extra security!
  9. Marvel at your cleverness and show off a bit!

* A wee bit bigger is fine too : but not too big – if you go smaller, you might want to make sure that your phone etc will actually fit once it’s divided into thirds : if not you could just make a ‘folded in half version’.

If you would like to contribute a couple of dollars to the Mike’s Tutorial Fund then you can click the button below and Pay As You Feel.  Whatever you think is a fair thing. No amount is too small. If you don’t want to, that is okay too!  The fund will help me to justify setting aside some more time to write and publish lots more tutorials in the future.  If that’s the kinda thing you guys are into.  Of course there will ALWAYS be free tutorials here.  No matter what.  Donations or not.  AND you should only throw us a few dollars if you can afford it. If you can’t we totally understand and we invite you to use the tutorial anyway.  Because you are ace. (I hope the button is installed properly!)





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  • Reply :: 307 Handmade Christmas Gift Tutorials! | meetmeatmikes October 1, 2012 at 6:55 PM

    […] How To Make a Gadget Cosy from a Vintage Napkin […]

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