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ScrapBusters: Bound Eyeglass Case

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I've worn glasses since I was about eight years old, which means I have absolutely no memory of what it is like to wake up and be able to see across the room. It also means, I'm a big fan of eyeglass cases because it's the best way I've found to keep track of my eyeglasses or sunglasses. Plus, it protects them when I need to toss a pair of into my bag. This fast and easy project would also make a perfect gift or a craft fair/boutique item to sell. I say this since everyone I showed my sample to wanted to keep it! 

Our sample case is made from a wonderful scrap of Pendleton's Spirit of the Peoples wool jacquard. You could use any thick, soft fabric. It just needs to be thick enough to hold its shape and soft enough so there's no chance of scratching your lenses, which does make wool or wool felt a good option.

We added a cute dangling fob made of of leather and beads.

The eyeglass case finishes at approximately 7" x 3". The binding reduces the opening to about 2½".

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

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  • Scrap of soft wool or a heavy felt – you need an approximate 8" x 8" square: we used a scrap of Pendleton's Spirit of the Peoples wool jacquard
  • 1 package of extra wide, double fold bias tape
  • 10-12" of soft cord or leather thong; optional for the beaded fob
  • Three colorful beads (to match your fabric) with a wide enough center hole to string onto the cord/thong: optional for the beaded fob
  • All purpose thread to match fabrics
  • All purpose thread to contrast with binding for the decorative stitching accent
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Straight pins

Getting Started and Pattern Download

  1. DOWNLOAD AND PRINT: the Eyeglasses Case Pattern on a piece of semi-transparent or regular paper.
    IMPORTANT: The pattern is ONE 8.5" x 11" sheet. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There's a guide square on the page to confirm your printout is to scale.
  2. Cut out the pattern along the solid line.
  3. Test the pattern on your glasses or sunglasses before you cut your fabric. Our case fits standard contemporary frames like the ones shown in our photos. To confirm the fit for your particular glasses, wrap the template around the glasses, noting that about ⅜" will be lost all around in the binding seam.
    Click to Enlarge
  4. If the case is too small, cut along the center line of the template and shift the two pieces apart to accommodate your glasses. Tape the pieces to another sheet of paper to provide the extra width for the pattern.
  5. If you have tiny readers and the case it too big, cut the template down the centerline and overlap as needed. You want the case to fit close but not tight.
  6. When you've insured the pattern will fit your glasses, place it on the fabric and fussy cut to center an interesting part of the design. If you print on a semi-transparent paper it is easier to determine a fussy cut.
    NOTE: If you don't have access to any paper you can see through, regular paper is okay. Simply fold the pattern in half along the Centering Line. Adjust the half pattern on your fabric until you have your design centered then return the pattern to its flat position and pin in place.
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  7. With your pattern pinned in place, cut out your fabric piece.
  8. To determine the amount of bias tape binding you'll need, measure all the way around your cut fabric piece, then add about 4" for an overlap. We cut a 30" length for our sample.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

  1. We are attaching our bias tape binding using the traditional method. The steps are summarized below, but if you are brand new to this technique, check out our tutorial: Bias Tape: How To Make It & Attach It.
  2. Place the fabric panel right side up and flat on your work surface. You'll notice the bias tape's folded edges are slightly different in width. Unfold the narrower edge and position it right side down along the edge of the fabric, aligning the raw edge of the binding with the raw edge of the fabric panel.
  3. Start pinning at the center point along the bottom (the curved side). Leave about 2" loose at the head and start your pinning a bit to the left of the actual center point. This is because you will be folding the piece exactly in half and don't want the bulk of your bias tape overlap right on that fold.
  4. Pin along the bottom edge, around the corner and up the side. Stop pinning about ¼" from the first top corner.
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  5. Stitch this first pinned section of the bias tape in place, following the fold. You are stitching right along the fold line, which makes it pretty easy to follow and keep your stitching straight. However, we like to use the Janome Satin Stitch foot with its handy red arrow as an extra guide to keeping the stitching precise.
    Click to Enlarge
  6. Remove the project from your machine, miter the corner then pin in place across the top, again stopping about ¼" from the next corner.
    Click to Enlarge
  7. Stitch this section section of binding in place. At the corner, remove the project from the machine, miter the corner, then pin in place down the side and around the corner, stopping about 2" from your starting point and leaving a 2" tail.
    NOTE: If you've never mitered bias binding, here's another reminder to check out our tutorial.
  8. Stitch this last section of the binding in place along the fold line.
  9. When you are approaching the point at which you started, as mentioned, stop about 2" short of that point and back tack or lock your stitch. This allows you space to join your binding end-to-end and then attach it to the fabric for a clean finish.
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  10. With the 2" you left at the beginning and the tail you have at the end, unfold the binding strip and place the two binding tails right sides together.
  11. Determine the point where you can sew a straight seam that will allow your binding to lay flat against fabric. Pin the ends together at this point.
    Click to Enlarge
  12. Pull the binding away from the fabric so you can place it under the presser foot of your sewing machine.
  13. Sew a seam where you pinned the binding. Trim the seam allowance and any excess binding to a ¼".
  14. The binding should now be a perfect flat fit against the fabric. Fold this loose section of the binding back into its original shape and pin in place.
    Click to Enlarge
  15. Finish sewing the binding in place, joining your starting and ending points and matching the seam lines.
  16. Press the binding up and away from the fabric and fold it around to the back. The folded edge of the binding should end up just beyond your previous stitching line. Make sure your fold is even all around the edge. The corners should automatically form a nice miter on the front. You may need to futz with them a little bit on the back to get the pleats just right. Pin well. Here's what ours looked like from the front (left) and the back (right).  
    Click to Enlarge
  17. Edgestitch your binding in place, stitching on the RIGHT side of the fabric. We used the Janome Ditch Quilting foot and adjusted the needle position slightly in order to stay very straight and as close to the edge of the binding as possible.
    Click to Enlarge
  18. Press flat from both sides.
    Click to Enlarge
  19. Cut your cording or leather thong into two pieces. They should be slightly different lengths. We cut one at 4" and one at 6".
  20. Thread two beads onto the longer strip, knotting on either side of each bead to hold it in place. Thread one bead onto the shorter strip.
  21. Flip over the panel over so it is wrong side up and pin or hand tack the two strips in place at the bottom center point.
    Click to Enlarge
  22. Fold the project in half wrong sides together, aligning the bound edges all around.
  23. Pin in place, placing your pins into the fabric but not the binding.
  24. Choose a decorative stitch.
  25. Re-thread your machine with contrasting thread in the top and bobbin.
  26. Test your decorative stitch on a scrap of bias binding tape to make sure the width and length of the stitch fits correctly within the binding.
  27. Switch to a Satin Stitch foot or whichever foot your machine manual recommends for decorative stitching.
  28. Stitch the bound edges together from the top, down the side, and around the curve.
    Click to Enlarge
    NOTE: We stitched from the top down and around the curve. We had a tiny bit of a challenge starting, because the needle is going through all that thickness at the doubled corners. However, as we've mentioned many times before, we love our Janome studio machines because they have such great power and are so good at starting right on the edge. If you are worried about your machine, you could start at the bottom and stitch up. Then you could stitch right off the bound edge at the top, leave your thread tails long, and hand tie them to secure your stitching. Another good trick is to use a hump jumper to level your foot when starting. 

Contributors

Project Design: Alicia Thommas    
Sample Creation: Liz Johnson

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