August 26, 2010

Katie’s Gifts for Little Girls

Posted in Katie's Gallery, Videos and Step-by-Step Tutorials tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 9:54 am by kdthreads

This one is my favorite

As a new blogger, I am learning the hard way how much time it actually takes to have and maintain a good blog.  Even though this is something I enjoy immensely, you all know that my last post was on August 4!  This is unacceptable, and for all of you who faithfully visit and have seen nothing but bias tape, I apologize.  The reason?  A grand invasion of all siblings, nieces and nephews on the Dickinson side!  That is 10 kids and 6 adults plus grandparents and our own family of 5.  In the future, I am going to need to plan ahead (what a concept) and write my posts ahead of time and set them up to auto-publish.

Now for the good news.  Between birthdays and “just because,” I did a lot of sewing.  While I was sewing, I took pictures and noted of all of my steps so I can pass them along to you!  But first things first: the inspiration behind the projects.

Lucy 8, Eleanor 7 and Mary 6 are my husband’s brother’s girls.  They live in Plano, Texas and this is the first we’ve seen them in two years.  They have a wonderful mom, Jenny, who is an architect (although now, full-time mama.)  Jenny has trained the girls write thankyou notes for everything they receive, and like all little girls, they love writing little notes and keeping their pens and notecards in their places.  When I decided to sew something for the girls to give them during their visit, I started out planning to sew pretty crayon or marker “roll-ups” and filling them with new supplies.  Then I went to the craft store to pick up said supplies, and saw the price tag.  My boys have received all recent crayon and marker boxes as gifts, so it has been a while since I purchased these.  Perhaps some of you know what I am talking about when I say that one box of Crayola Crayons times 3 is ridiculous (and I have never found generic crayons that aren’t junk.)

Plan B: tablet covers.  Tablets are cheap.  They should be $1 each or less.  Suddenly a vision of a little notebook cover with pen slots, velcro closure and quilted exterior jumped into my brain.  This would take a lot more time, but would cost less, and I think be more exciting than a glorified pencil-case. Thus, the “notefolio” was born.

The exterior of these organizers is quilted in a “diamond” pattern.  This is created by stitching lines running at 45 degree angles and spaced evenly.  The stitching lines run “corner-to-corner” and cross over each other.  Did all of that go over your head?  Never fear, the steps and videos are coming to save you. I used a layer of batting to give the quilting body, and Peltex interfacing is what makes the cover sturdy, but still washable.  (More on Peltex later.)

I only purchased 2 coordinating fabrics for each cover, and made my own bias binding for the edges.  I purchased clearance ribbon for the trim/closure, and all other embellishments, accent fabrics and the velcro came from my “stash.”  I would normally love to buy a yard, or at least a half-yard of fabric to have substantial leftovers to keep, but I had a budget, and just bought 1/3 yard of each print.  I went with Quilters’ Calico for this project.  Why?  It was on sale.  Otherwise I may have gone with home dec, bottomweight, twill, corduroy or whatever.  I would have used fabric I already owned, but I was having a bad day, and treated myself to a trip to the fabric store.  I didn’t need to put names or buttons or ric-rac on these, but I got carried away. 

I went to the Dollar Tree after I bought the fabric, and was shocked to find sets of pens that matched each color scheme perfectly.  I happened to have coordinating paper clips, glue sticks and homemade notecards to match, and these turned into sweet little correspondence kits the girls loved receiving, and I am looking forward to receiving all their little notes.

Lucy and Eleanor opening gifts from Aunt Katie

All told, each notefolio cost totaled: $4 plus odds and ends from my desk.  How long did they take?  The first one took over 4 hours as I was planning as I went along.  The last two took less than 2 hours sewing both using assembly line organization for the steps (quilt both, pockets on both, etc.)  These could be done in less time, but I really wanted to over-do the details (you can on kids’ projects,) and these girls take excellent care of all their things, so putting time into the quality is not in vain.

Want the steps for this project?  I am going to publish them for free, but there is a catch!  I will only post them after I have 10 comments on this post.  (No cheating please.  One comment per reader.)



  1. Sandy said,

    These are beautiful! I’ll bet the girls were thrilled! You really are very clever.

  2. Kristi said,

    how funny — we haven’t met and I know of you through TSM — but I didn’t know you were Garrin’s sil — and I’m friends w/ Jenny 🙂 I can see why you go to so much effort for their sweet girls.

    This is another project I’ll have to get someone do for us. Or maybe actually learn to sew (the results are tempting). Thanks!

  3. Mary said,

    These are darling, Katie! I love the coordinating but not matching fabrics and ribbons. I think I could customize them to make them more boy-ish for my brood. But they would love them and be awesome for in the car or for organizing some of their homeschool supplies. Super cute and very creative!

  4. Wendy said,

    These are great Katie! I now have another item on the list of gifts that I can make now. I scored an amazing amount of wonderful cotton fabric and am always trying to make every gift these days. It’s nice not to have to pay for the gift other than time. Thanks for sharing your pics of these.

  5. Lauren said,

    Oh wow! These are so cute! Exactly what i was looking for! Please publish the steps soon! x

  6. Kim said,

    My daughter would love one of these. She loves notebooks.

  7. alexandra said,

    i found your blog by navigating on the internet…and i couldn’t leave without leaving a comment. These are absolutely beautiful…i wish i had one of these..

  8. Jackie said,

    Great idea! My daughters will love this!

  9. april said,

    such a great idea. I found this while I was looking for alternative closures on a crayon roll up. I would love to know how you attached the velro. did you sew the velcro to the ribbon and then the ribbon to the body?

    • kdthreads said,

      You are quite observant, that is exactly what I did. In case you are not already aware, if you use a gluestick on the back of the velcro it bastes/holds it in place while you sew. Be sure to concentrate the adhesive in the center of the velcro so that it does not “gum” up the needle.

      • Natalie said,

        I want the steps for this projects but I’ve searched all over the site and can’t find them!!

  10. Kim said,

    Ha I dont have any kiddos that would appreciate this yet, but I would love to make one for ME!!! Tee HEE! I have a notebook/pen fetish!!!

  11. wonderful said,

    I would love to get the free tutorial! It should be 10 comments now.

    • kdthreads said,

      I sincerely apologize that I disappeared after this last post. When it took months to generate ten comments, I took that as a sign that people were not interested in my blog. Shortly after that, our house tragically burned down….sewing machines and all. Two years later, we are almost done rebuilding, but I am a place where there is room for blogging in my brain once again. Let me know if you are still out there!

  12. Alexandra said,

    Yes, I would still love to see the tutorial. I’m sorry for what happened to your house 😦

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