WARNING: If you are my mother or sister or otherwise related on MY side of the family (e.g., SILs Kristie and Krista, this means you), you may not want to read this post, as it may spoil your Christmas surprise. You may want to mark it and come back to read it after Christmas. (SisLH, you are getting something else, so it's okay for you to read this!) If you choose to read this, just don't blame me if you're not surprised at Christmas. I guess you can tell me which one you want if you do read this! Ha ha! I just couldn't wait to do this post until after Christmas. So....You've been warned. Proceed at your own risk...
NOTE: I cropped some of my photos of the patterns to avoid showing too much of the pattern out of respect for Larissa's copyright on the patterns. However, that caused some of my photos to be a little blurry. I apologize for that, and I hope it doens't reflect badly on Larissa...just on my point-and-shoot camera. I think this is yeat another good reason I deserve a new camera!
This weekend, I worked furiously on some Christmas presents. I had seen this post by Larissa Holland of mmmcrafts about her Gadget Cozies and that her pattern was finally available. I had been dying to get my hands on this pattern, so I immediately bought it.
I also wanted to get some wool felt to make the cozies with. Larissa also turned me on to a GREAT new source for wool felt, Prairie Point Junction. If you want to go directly to the page for these 12x18" pieces of wool felt that I ordered, click here. The prices are pretty reasonable ($1.65 per piece), and the color selection is fantastic. When I got these in the mail, I just thought, "Happiness is...having a really nice selection of wool felt to work with for projects!"
I wanted to make these gadget cozies for me and my iPhone- and Droid-lovin' family members for Christmas. I did so this weekend, and I thought you might like to see how they turned out and some tips and tricks I learned/used. At the same time, I thought, why not do a pattern review for you? So, here it is!
Where can you get the pattern?
The pattern is available on mmmcrafts' etsy site:
Larissa will e-mail the pattern to you shortly after you order it. I always get mine in about two hours. She is so conscientious. You will get a PDF file, and you can print out the pattern and instructions. I like that. I can keep an electronic file and a hard copy.
How much is the pattern?
Only $10.00! So reasonable!!!
What all do you get with the pattern?
You get instructions for making four different cozies. The instructions, appliqué templates, etc. are all included. The instructions show you how to make a cozy with or without a hanging loop (for attaching the cozy to your purse or belt loop), with or without a closure (a flap with a button or snap, or an elastic closure), and with or without a pocket (for storing your earbuds, some mad money, and/or your credit card).
There are also two sizes of cozies. The large size is designed to fit iPhones, (iTouch), Blackberries, and Droids. The small one is meant to fit iPods and more compact gadgets.
What about support? Is there support available if I need it?
I didn't need support, because the instructions were so clear and well written. But, I've e-mailed Larissa before, and she is incredibly responsive. So, I am confident if you had a question or problem, she'd be "johnny-on-the-spot" to help you.
For example, I wanted to order some felt in the same colors that Larissa used. I asked her if she could tell me the color names. After I asked that question, she incorporated this information into the pattern! So, when you buy the pattern, she'll tell you what the colors are for each design and where to get the felt. Nice.
By the way, I made all of mine exactly like hers...colors, patterns, etc. I like to be creative, but when I'm in the Christmas crunch, I don't have time to play around a lot with colors and designs. I just need to get 'er done and know that I'm going to like the outcome. So, I just followed Larissa's lead. Now that I've made some, I would like to try experimenting with some of my own appliqué designs.
What is the difficulty level of these projects?
I would say that a confident beginner could handle these projects with no problems at all. But the projects are fun for more experienced sewers as well, because you could add additional embellishments, etc. There is lots of room for creativity in these projects, so more advanced sewers will still enjoy this pattern.
What I Made, Tips and Tricks, and My Review
Let's start with a photo of the first gadget cozy I made so you can see what we are talking about here:
I mean, how cute is that?! I really love it. The instructions are incredibly well written and easy to follow. There are templates for cutting out all the pouch, pocket, tab, and applique shapes, as well as templates for how to align your pieces. I'll show you an example of that below.
The pattern calls for 1/4" bias tape for the hanging strap. I didn't have any at home and couldn't get motivated to buy any. I thought, "I have so many fat quarters at home, I'll make some bias tape for these." Well, when I started to make them, I thought, "Geez. I have a HUGE amount of beautiful ribbons...many from scrapbooking days. I should use some of that!"
Best of all, my iPhone fits in here just right, even when it has the protective case on. Not too tight, not too loose. Just right! (Almost every case I try to buy is so ungodly tight, it's just not functional.) I love how it just slides in and out so nicely.
I think this first one took me about an hour to make. That included cutting out the patterns for ALL of the cozies (not just this one) and to make this. After this, I started making two at a time, and I was able to make six additional cozies in about three hours.
Here is how it looks on my purse. When I carry this, I'll tuck it inside the purse. I have it on the outside just for display purposes here. But you could hook this on a beltloop if you wanted to. I don't ever like to do that, but that's me.
Here is another pair I made. Check out the fun ribbon I used for this hanging loop. For some reason it reminds me of pussy willows. What's fun about each appliqué pattern is that each is a little different and has you cutting and sewing a little different. So, that's pretty fun.
Larissa recommends marking your background sewing lines and sewing lines on the appliqué shapes. But I just did it all free hand. I was trying to work quickly. And it worked out okay.
Here's the back of that one. And here's what you get for not marking things...my buttons are off center on these. Oops. Got a little careless on this set...I was getting cocky after my initial success. I worked a little more carefully after this.
I really don't like marking patterns...especially on felt. I think felt is particularly hard to mark. So, instead of tracing around the patterns, I just held them on the felt (normally if I wasn't holding the camera with it, my left hand would be holding the pattern down in this photo), and I cut around the pattern piece with my smallest rotary cutter. This worked out really swell. Nice, smooth cuts. If I did occasionally have a little "jaggy," I just trimmed it up with my scissors.
There is so much attention to detail in her patterns. The above is an example. These are all the pieces for the next cozy I'll show you. There are several. In the center is the placement template. Notice how the template marks the flowers as 1, 2, and 3. The templates for cutting the flower pieces out are clearly marked. It is really easy to tell what goes where.
And see the little dots on the center placement template? Well, you punch those out, lay it over your piece of felt, and use a marking tool to put dots where the pieces go. This makes it REALLY easy and quick to lay out your pattern. Very, very clever.
I allowed this one to be pretty wonky with my stitching. I think maybe I got a little too wonky, but they are still cute and funky. I also could have done a better job of cutting the circles. This was hard to do with the rotary cutter. I will use scissors if I do it again. I used a satin ribbon on this.
This was also a really fun place to use those great Aurifil threads I had bought from Pat Sloan for my Meadow Breeze project. It was fun to dig around and see what would look good. You could change the look of the cozy simply by changing your thread color!
Here's another example of the templates she provides. (Sorry this is a little blurry.) I cut out on the dotted lines for placement. (The actual appliqué pattern pieces are on a different sheet. As you'll see in a minute, these openings are a little bigger than the actual shapes.)
I put a little basting glue on the backs of my shapes and laid the pieces down in the openings. Honestly, the thought that Larissa put into this sort of blew my mind. This just made things so quick and easy to do!
And, here's how this one looked. Notice I used a decorative stitch on my machine to do the background stitching on this one. I thought since the design was so simple on this one, this would be a good place to experiment with my decorative stitches.
I decided to use a tab closure on the back of this one, too, because I didn't have a hair elastic in a color that would match well. The instructions for how to do this were very clear, also. Notice I did two lines of stitching around the tab and I matched that along the pocket and top of the cozy. I did this for a couple of reasons. (1) I screwed up on the tab and "missed" part of the edge when top stitching, so I needed another row to hold it together well. (2) I wanted two rows of stitching to hold the tab onto the cozy, so I added another row around the top front of the cozy. I echoed this on the back and pocket for continuity.
Oh, and the ribbon I used on this one feels like moleskine or microfiber. It's really rich feeling. I think this one will go to Mom. I think she'll like the simple, sophisticated design.
Do you have one of these? I LOVE it. I put the button in the back and slide the foot closed to hold it. I put it on my machine with the fabric under the foot (see the tab under there?). I position it where I want the bottom of the buttonhole to be. I push the "sensor buttonhole" button, and I push the gas. It sews the perfect length buttonhole. Just the best.
I just can't say enough good things about this pattern and about this designer. The pattern is so fun, in part, because of the simple construction techniques used. No need to make things more complicated than they are. Larissa has you glue basting everything together before you sew, which also makes things so easy. The instructions are clear and easy to follow. I showed you examples of how clear her templates are. I only found myself wishing I had plexiglass templates to cut around with my rotary cutter. That would make things even easier for me. So, Larissa, if you're reading this, maybe you could start to produce and market those. :-) Ha ha. I would highly recommend this pattern to anyone. The price is certainly reasonable for all that you get. I would pay $10 for just one of these patterns (Larissa, if you're reading this, close your eyes here), and but you get four different designs and two different sizes--really 8 patterns in all. You can't beat that.
I figure I've got less than $5 in materials in each of these cozies. They will make GREAT gifts that are classy, useful, and very attractive. If I were to buy this cozy in a store, I could easily see it selling for $30. These will make great gifts, and they didn't take too long to make...especially after constructing the first one.
Check out mmmcrafts' etsy shop for other great patterns. She has some great patterns for softies, and I've made one of those, too (Binky Bunny). It was of equal quality--as are the other patterns I haven't had time to make yet. If you are into paper crafting, there are also some paper crafting things for you to check out also.
I hope you enjoyed this review and that it was helpful to you!
Until next time,