At the end of last month it was Mother’s Day in the UK and I’ve been casting about for something cute I could give my mum to show my appreciation of her. That challenge combined with my year’s resolution of learning to sew meant I knew the best thing to do would be to try and make something for her.
Mum is very much a tea drinker, but has given up on the plain old Tetleys tea and now only drinks various herbal teas. This has become a bit of a problem when she travels for work or goes for weekends away as meeting rooms and hotels often don’t have a vast range of hot drinks on offer. I noticed this first hand the other weekend when I met up with her in Liverpool. Most places provide hot water though, so hows about I make her a little wallet to keep her teabags in?
First things first, I needed to find the perfect fabric. Mum loves dragonflies and when I found this Japanese style quilting weight cotton I knew it would be absolutely perfect for her.
The dragonflies are small and delicate and I like the light brown accents on some of their bodies. I paired this with a plain navy cotton fabric for the inner pockets and navy cotton thread. This does not take up much fabric at all. I cut two 7.5″ by 5″ rectangles out of both the plain and patterned fat quarters and realised just how much fabric I had left. Luckily that just means I can make more of these in future!
Claire’s instructions were incredibly easy to follow and I had the basics sorted out in no time at all. The only bits that gave me pause for thought were the closing mechanism and the finishing. Claire suggests using a thin piece of elastic or a hair bobble for the tie and, after some frenzied searching of my bathroom, I discovered a pack of unused small brown hair ties. This went perfectly with the rich blue of the fabric and the brown accents. I trimmed the hair tie to size and then had the challenge of keeping the tie in place while I sewed over the ends. In the end I found the easiest way of doing this was to use a pin to keep the elastic firmly pressed against the fabric and then to go over and over the ends with my sewing machine until I was certain it was no longer in danger of detaching.
Then the fun bit; sewing the two pieces of fabric together and turning them inside out carefully, paying special attention to the corners. I’m going to need to get better at that because that took forever. It’s so hard to get all of the corners popped right out to a nice crisp angle. Then I sewed a border around the edge of the entire piece to make it look neat, ironed my fabric a final time and sewed on a lovely dark brown wood button. The moment of truth – I grabbed a couple of individual teabag packets and popped them in the pockets of the wallet. They fit perfectly. The wallet was wrapped in pink tissue paper and opalescent ribbon and popped in the post.
Mum has already used her gift and seems very happy with it, which is lovely to hear. I’ve also let her know I have some of that lovely dragonfly fabric left over if she wants to use it for anything (or get me to sew her anything else).