Monday, January 7, 2013

Travel tissue covers for a quick and easy teacher gift

These are a couple of tissue holders that I made for my girl's teachers as holiday gifts. The outer fabric is Dandelion in Indigo from Tula Pink's Prince Charming collection, and the lining is Canyon Stripe in Piney Woods from Denyse Schmidt's Hope Valley collection. Both collections are out of print I think, but there's still a bit of them around here and there.

If you are looking for out of print/past collections of quilting cottons, I've found that Hawthorne Threads is a good source -- that's not a scientific assessment, just that I've clicked over there a few times and thought: oh wow, they still have some of that? and in three colorways! (And no, Hawthorne Threads is not paying me to say this. I wish! I am, um, a good customer.)

To make the tissue covers, I used this tutorial. I have to admit I found the first part of it a bit confusing, and totally bollocksed up my first attempt. I am a very, VERY word-oriented person, so I don't always do well with tutorials with descriptions like "sew it together like this:" followed by a photo. (When sewing from Japanese pattern books, which are supposedly so great because the instructions are diagrams requiring no translation, I actually write out step by step instructions in words. True story!)

So if you are similarly text-ophilic, I'll offer that you want to begin by sewing the outer fabric to the lining fabric, right sides together, aligning the short (5.5") edges of the pieces and sewing a 1/4" seam along each edge. (You'll be left with a bleb of extra lining fabric in the middle, which is later pressed flat to form the decorative edging at the mouth of the cover.)

From there it's smooth sailing. The cover has a very clever, tidy construction, and once you know how it's done, you really can make one in 10 minutes flat. 

That the stripes of the lining fabric ended up oriented across the opening of my tissue covers (a much more attractive result than if they were oriented along the opening, so that you would just see one or two stripes and they would probably, knowing me, be crooked) was a complete accident. But if you want to do it on purpose, make sure you cut your lining piece so that the stripes are oriented parallel to the long (7.5") side of the rectangle.

I made two tissue covers, one for my girl's main teacher and the other for her math teacher. I wanted to give them something handmade, but small and unobtrusive. These seemed to fit the bill, plus they're the perfect size to tuck a gift card into. And I thought, hey, what elementary school teacher couldn't use an attractive and tidy container from which to dispense facial tissues?

Of course, those were the thoughts I had on December 13, way back in an earlier era when the idea that Kleenex could somehow be an appropriate metaphor for the care teachers show our kids, and that a few scraps of fabric could be an adequate thank-you, seemed slightly less ridiculous than it does now. 

But the best thing for my girl is for me to pretend, on some level, at least around her, that we still do live in that era. So off I send her with a couple of tiny packages tied up in thin silver ribbon, because what else can you do?

I put my girl on the bus this morning for her first day back at school and it felt exactly like this.

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