Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Gift Only A Mother Could Love

Once again, I have a story of irreconcilable differences between my craft planning and execution.

For my mother’s birthday, I wanted to give her something useful. At the same time, I was thinking about small embroidery patterns since I’d just received a lovely book of art nouveau transfers.

My mom wears dark glasses most of the time, but the cases they come in are utilitarian black vinyl. I thought an embroidered glasses case would be nice. The planning began.

The standard case measures 7” by 3 ½”, but I made a pattern just in case. I made it slightly larger, ending up with a 7 ¾” square.

For the embroidery I used this iron-on transfer, which is about 6” by 6”.

The finished embroidery, plus a sheet of felt for the lining:

I cut the embroidery and the lining using the pattern. The felt was self-adhesive, so all I had to do was peel off the backing and stick it to the back of the embroidery canvas.

I did not have any bias tape in a color that I liked, so I took one of my old Spoonflower swatches and created my own ½” binding. This project only requires about 20” of binding.
inset photo: the back (lining)

I bound the top edge first, wrapping around the corners and bringing the binding down approximately 2” down each side. I used a #16 needle and small stitch length to sew the binding to the thick canvas and sticky felt.
The entire piece was then folded in half and the sides and bottom bound together. The ends of the binding are folded under, and the upper end overlaps the first length of binding by about ½”. It looks pretty good:
Here’s the original and the new:

 Here’s where I realized I did something wrong:
The glasses don’t fit. Argh!

Even with the added width of the pattern, the inner pocket is somehow too narrow to fit the glasses all the way in. The main difference is that I used ½” binding instead of the ¼” used on the original. Possibly the added thickness of the felt reduced the size of the opening. And, while the black vinyl is flexible and slightly stretchy, the canvas is thick and rigid, with no give at all.

The lovely new case will fit any kind of glasses that are smaller than about 2 ½”, or that fold completely flat, so I will hope that my mom has some like that among her many pairs. Or she can put pencils in it! Or a very long, skinny cell phone!  Mini flashlight? Candy bar? I don’t know.
I’ve put my little craft project in the mail to my mom, long after her birthday, but she should at least get it in time for Mother’s Day!

Here are the things I would do differently next time:
1. Make the pouch wider!
2. Add more embroidery. There is too much bare canvas on this one.
3. Use regular felt for the lining. It’s kind of yucky to pin and sew through adhesive.

On to the next challenge!



  1. I think that it's lovely! I hope that she has glasses that will fit in it. I wouldn't worry though; every mother loves anything her child makes for her!

  2. The case looks so pretty, what a shame. We've all done this so know the frustration!
    After her recent punk dress my daughter said she was "never ever in her life going to use bias binding again" I find it tricky to get a neat corner myself, especially on a small scale project like your case.
    I'm sure your mum will find some glasses to fit her lovely embroidered case. Beautiful detailing.

  3. I agree it is a shame but this tale is also somewhat heart warming as I realise I am not the only one who makes mistakes! Your embroidery looks so beautiful and the case is so gorgeous that I am sure it will make a delightful present!