Tag Archives: Gift

Posh boxer shorts- ideal Christmas gift

Well hello!  It’s been a very heavy week for me on the work front and also on ‘life’ – but I shall tell you all about that next time (& it’s all mega exciting!) Today I feel it’s important to get some tips out for any of you who want to make Christmas pressies for your nearest & dearest.  Are you thinking about Christmas yet?  Have you ever made boxer shorts?  Well here are my tips for making boxer shorts out of just 1 metre of fabric which means you could even justify buying a metre of Liberty fabric to make some really special undies for someone deserving & with impeccable taste 😉

marvel boxers

Or Marvel super heroes?

So what’s the deal?  Is it important to minimise yardage required?  Absolutely!  Especially if it enables you to buy more expensive fabric- you see I bought some Liberty lawn from Sewbox with boxer shorts in mind.   Just a metre as it had been a while since I’d last made them (last Christmas perhaps) & I erroneously thought a metre would be adequate.   I use Simplicity 9958 here.

simplicity 9958

and let me show you the Liberty Lawn I bought

Liberty lawn boxers

I bought these beautiful lawns ….really enjoying choosing designs for the individuals.  from the left is Susanna and to be honest i want it for myself!  Amy Hurrell in the middle and then Lagos Laurel.

And you need to know this about me (if you don’t already) – my motivation for sewing has always been to make clothes for less than they would cost if I bought them from a shop- allowing me to have lots more clothes!  So buying a metre of Liberty Lawn was completely opposite to this stance – boxer shorts can easily be bought for under a tenner – but not Liberty Lawn boxers.  My men deserved the best.

So the fabric arrived, I swooned & whooped for joy.  But before cutting into the mega posh cloth thought it best to work up to it using some posh & fun fabric to make the first pairs (and cool enough to be destined as gifts as well)  – Marvel fabric from Plush Addict – cool or what?!  You’ll see more varieties of this through some of these pictures!

marvel boxers

So it was when I came to make the first pair of boxer shorts of the season that I realised my mistake.  Let me describe the issue.  Boxer shorts are made from a single pattern piece – cut twice.  This pattern piece has a curved edge so that it forms the shape in 3D it needs to become in order to fit around half a body & upper thigh (don’t imagine too hard, I am not branching into chick lit!)  The pattern piece is also cut with enough allowance on the upper edge to become folded over to form the tunnel for the elastic.

When I came to cut out my first pair of boxers I cut the fabric in half along its length & placed the two pieces right sides together with the directional print the same way up.  And when putting the pattern on top my heart sank – NOT ENOUGH!  I could not believe it.  I almost cried & my smug organised early buying evaporated into despair (maybe I was going to have to make myself three one metre tops with that Liberty Lawn ! horrors!)  With this metre of fabric cut in half  I could see that the & the total vertical length of the pattern required more than half a metre…

But necessity is the mother of invention, right?  I conspired to find some shop bought boxers to compare final leg length so that I could see how much I could get away with at the hem edge.

boxers

I then also worked up a different way to attach the elastic so that I could also reduce the depth at the top edge previously ear marked to make an elastic channel.

See the pattern shows where the foldline is – all i needed to allow was 1/4″ seam allowance at this foldline.  I then cut out pairs in size small, medium and large.

Boxers 1

It fits in a metre!

Here’s a larger pair I cut – a large out of one metre.  I folded over the pattern where I saved fabric – you can see there isn’t much- but enough to take into the next metre …

boxers

So far I have made one pair in a medium (the finished pair at the beginning of this post).  I’ll show you the outcome & how I handled the elastic.

So instead of making a channel for the elastic, I minimised the depth of fabric needed to attach the elastic more like you would for leggings:

  • Cut the elastic to the length needed & sew into a circle.  Mark half & quarter points.
Elastic sewn in a loop

Elastic sewn in a loop, upper edge pressed over to the inside

  • fold the top edge over to the wrong side by about 1/4″ & mark the quarter points using the back seam & centre front.
Matching the quarter points

Matching the quarter points

  • Pin the elastic at the quarter points & sew with a straight stitch to the upper edge- stretching the elastic in between the pins to fit the fabric underneath.  (It’s a good idea to keep the machine needle down each time you stop.  My machine has a setting that always puts the needle down when you stop).
Sewing the upper edge

Sewing the upper edge

  • Once you have sewn the top line of stitching, make sure the fabric is straight behind the elastic so that you can sew the second row at the lower edge of the elastic.

boxers

Now isn’t that more simple than sewing a channel & threading the elastic through?

So are you going to make posh boxers for gifts?  It really doesn’t take long.  I think I have quite a few in my gift-sewing pipeline….

Gift idea? Kindle cover tutorial with extras!

Here’s another gift idea – a kindle or e-book reader cover – or as I like to call it, a Kindle Sleeping bag because it is padded & feels snug. I should really call it a “device” though, so therefore I will going forwards. This tutorial is of my own devising & I had a few ideas to incorporate into my design.

Kindle cover tutorial

This “device” sleeping bag has an optional glasses pocket for reading glasses. I have reading glasses all over my house & this pair lives by the side of my bed, in my device cover. It came about because I always tended to slot my reading glasses into the top of my previous kindle cover & was cautious I didn’t scratch its surface. Wouldn’t it be practical to have a pocket to keep glasses with device, I thought & so here it is. If you don’t want the glasses pocket, just leave out those steps. I’ve put my glasses pocket on the other side to the button & tab, but you may want to swap this around & have the pocket & button on the same side.

E book cover tab

I made a version without a glasses pocket as well. Both versions are padded with cotton batting or wadding & have a tab and button to secure the device inside.

E book cover

I’ve used ric rac to embellish the tops of my pocket and the cover itself (of course!)

You will need:

  • Some fabric – this is a great scrap buster;
  • Some wadding or batting
  • Ric Rac – I used very small ric rac, but I would recommend slightly larger ric rac as it would be easier to work with.
  • A button
  • Thread to match.
  • All your usual sewing tools: scissors, pins etc

Supplies

I am using a selection of fabrics that had been put into a lovely Fat Quarter bundles- clever things, those- someone’s already done all the hard work of putting fabrics together that coordinate. I loved the colours & combinations in this bundle. It’s Michael Miller, Deer Floral Navy using this fabric, a bit of this and then lined with this Kiss dot magenta, and the folk at Elephant in My Handbag gave me the FQs to have a play around with, & this tutorial is the result!

Have a think about what fabric combos you are aiming for – how you will mix up your fabrics. One of my cases has a back the same fabric as the lining (polka dots). The other uses three coordinating fabrics, with polka dots lining both the glasses pocket & the cover itself.

So let’s start

Cutting out

Trace around your device & add a good 1.5cm to account for a little ease to get your device inside, including a 1cm seam allowance.

step 1

Depending on how you combine your fabric you will need to end up with:

  • Two pieces to make up the outer front & back
  • Two pieces for the lining
  • A piece 7.5cm x 12cm for the tab
  • Two pieces of Batting or wadding the same size as the front/ back.

Optional glasses pocket:

One piece of fabric plus lining plus wadding – all the same size. The size of the fabric I used for my glasses case was about 12cm wide by 17cm long, but I would recommend layering fabric with wadding to wrap around your glasses to get an approximate size – remember to add 1cm for seam allowances around all four sides.  You fine tune the size you need later on as you sew it.

glasses pocket

Once you have cut your fabric and wadding, it’s time to get sewing.

Sewing

Optional glasses pocket:

To add ric rac to the top seam as scalloped piping, first of all mark the seam line by sewing a long straight machine stitch 1cm from the edge of the pocket (this is so quick & easy by machine, but you could mark it anyway you want to- chalk, with a ruler, as you go).

step 2

Then hand baste the ric rac to this line, on the right side, so that the centre of the ric rac covers this machine basted line.

step 3 Place the batting to the wrong side of the pocket lining & hand baste in place.

Place the pocket lining right sides facing the right side of the pocket and pin together through all layers (& ric rac).

step 4Looking at the pocket, with the wrong side of the outer fabric facing up, sew the left hand vertical seam and the top of the pocket through all layers with a 1cm seam allowance.  (This left hand seam is actually the right hand edge of the pocket that you see in the middle of the cover)

Clip corners, turn, then press (get your ric rac snappy & crisp away from the top). Remove basting stitches.

You might want to baste the as yet unsewn edges together – the left hand edge and the bottom edge, to keep all of the layers together in the right place.

Moving onto the cover.

These instructions are for the version with the pocket & button on different sides of the cover. Swap it around if you want to make it differently.

Button tab:

step 6

Fold the fabric in half right sides together, decide how wide you want your tab to be, then sew along the long edge & stitch along the long raw edge & then across the bottom edge – you could sew horizontally, or at a jaunty angle !

step 7

Turn it the right way out & press. Make a buttonhole on it that is the right size for your button.

Front cover:

To add ric rac to the top seam as scalloped piping, follow the same process as for the glasses pocket top – first of all mark the seam line by sewing a long straight machine stitch 1cm from the edge. Then hand baste the ric rac to this line, on the right side, so that the centre of the ric rac covers this machine basted line.

step 8

Place the batting to the wrong side of the lining & baste in place.  (I actually basted my batting to the cover fabric which is why the ric rac shows, but you have better sight of the ric rac basting lines as a guide for your top “piped” seam if you attach the batting to the lining.)

Place the front lining right sides facing the right side of the cover and pin together. Sew the top edge of the cover through all of the layers. Turn, then press, removing basting stitches.

Back cover:

Add ric rac in the same way as above, but once you have handbasted the ric rac to the back, mark the centre. Put the tab in place, using the marked centre to show where to locate it. The buttonhole should be at the bottom, the tab’s raw edge, at the top. Secure this with a couple of basting stitches or pin perpendicular to the edge.

step 9

Add the lining, right sides facing the right side of the back cover, pinning in place. Stitch along the seamline through all layers, catching the tab & the ric rac all in one go.

step 10

Turn to the right side and press, removing basting stitches.

Optional glasses pocket:

Work on the cover keeping the lining well out of the way, for all of this section. Place wrong side of pocket (ie lining) touching the right side of the cover, place the left hand corner & edge of the pocket onto the left hand & lower edge of the back cover & pin the left hand edge.

step 11

If you want, you can machine baste the left edge through all layers with a long stitch within the seam allowance, or keep the pins in like lazy me. Then get your glasses & place them inside the pocket to work out where the right hand edge of the pocket needs to be stitched. Create the right size pocket for your glasses to keep them snug. Pin this edge, take out your glasses & straighten it up to make sure it is at right angles to the bottom hem. Stitch the right hand pocket edge through all layers, keeping the lining out of the way – you don’t want to stitch through the cover’s lining.

You should now have a glasses “tube” attached to the cover, with two open ends.

step 12

Make a couple of pleats in this bottom edge to pin out the excess pocket width at this edge to the cover below. Baste this in place through the layers.

Device cover:

Give the pieces a bit of a press, pressing the seam allowances down towards the outer cover (ie away from the lining) but make sure the ric rac is facing away from the seam allowance, towards the lining (so that it sticks out like scallops when it’s all complete)

step 13

Right sides facing, place the linings together and cover front & back together, matching at the central seam.

step 14

This is an important seam to match, as it will be at the top of your device cover. You need to make sure that the seam allowance is pressed down towards the cover, not the lining and that the ric rac is positioned upwards towards the lining.

Leaving a 4 or 5” gap at the bottom of the lining to turn your cover through later, sew all around the edges of the device cover.

step 15

Clip corners and turn through the gap in the lining. Using a point turner get your corners as pointy as you can – there is a lot of padding in the cover, so you won’t get such sharp results as usual.

step 16

Remember to get your lining corners pointy too. Press the cover & lining, including the seam allowances for the gap in the lining.

step 17

Edge stitch the gap closed, then push the lining back inside the cover.

E book cover

Put your device inside then decide where you want your button sewn on. Mark it then sew it on.

Kindle cover

All done, your device now has a lovely new home.  OR you could make one for keeping someone else’s device safe & cosy!