We’re back with another clever project featuring beautiful Renaissance Ribbons. These eyeglass cases are embellished with a variety of their newest ribbons from Amy Butler, Anna Maria Horner, Dena Designs and French General… just a few of the amazing designers who trust Renaissance Ribbons to execute their work in woven ribbon. Our cases have a soft fleece lining to protect your lenses. And, an internal flex frame makes them easy to open and shut with just one hand. Make one or make a bundle, they would make a great stocking stuffer as well as a lovely teacher gift. Ribbon is an excellent way to add instant beauty to projects. Jacquard ribbon, for which Renaissance Ribbons is famous, adds both woven texture and vivid color.
Our thanks to Renaissance Ribbons for sponsoring today’s project. You can find their ribbons at fine in-store and online retailers everywhere, or shop directly from the Renaissance Ribbons online store. Browse their Holiday section to find ribbons that will give your eyeglass cases a festive feel. Or personalize them with a favorite designer, such as Kaffe Fassett.
Our thanks also to Amy Barickman and her incredible Indygo Junction team for providing the fabric for this project. We used four pieces from her Crossroads Denim collection.
This denim weave is very soft and supple and a good combination with the soft fleece we chose for the lining. However, if you are concerned about your skill level when working with thicker fabrics on a small project, or are worried your sewing machine might not be up to the task, you could substitute a standard quilting weight cotton for the exterior.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome Horizon Memory Craft 8200 QC)
- Satin Stitch foot (optional – but helpful for ribbon stitching)
- Clear View Quilting Foot and Guide Set (optional – another choice to keep your ribbon stitching precise)
Fabric and Other Supplies
NOTE: Our cases are sized to fit standard glasses and/or readers. If you have a particularly large pair of glasses or want to use the case for traditionally larger sunglasses, adjust the width and length as needed. As always, we recommend making a prototype out of inexpensive muslin or fabric scraps if you are unsure our dimensions will work for you.
We used EIGHT beautiful jacquard ribbons from Renaissance Ribbons. The amount of ribbon you need depends on your embellishment design. For the vertical design, plan on 1 yard. For the vertical design plus the strap, plan on 1½ yards. For the horizontal design, plan on 1½ to 2 yards in order to get a precise fussy cut. For just the strap, plan on ½ yard.
Case 1: 1½” Gold/Light Blue Yarrow Flower by Anna Maria Horner on Coffee House Brown denim with a plain fabric strap.
Case 2: 2″ Plum with Silver Metallic Brocade by Amy Butler on Eggplant denim with a strap made with ½” Metallic Tape.
Case 3: 1½” Orange/Turquoise Raindrops on Poppies by Anna Maria Horner on Downtown Teal denim with a plain fabric strap.
Case 4: 1½” Red & Green Garland on Ecru by French General bordered on either side with ⅝” Scalloped & Dotted Edge Holiday Motif on Green by Dena Designs on French Vanilla denim with a fabric strap accented with the same ⅝” Scalloped & Dotted Edge Holiday Motif on Green by Dena Designs
Case 5: 1½” Ecru Garland on Red by French General bordered on either side with ⅝” Scalloped & Dotted Edge Holiday Motif on Red by Dena Designs on French Vanilla denim with a fabric strap accented with the same ⅝” Scalloped & Dotted Edge Holiday Motif on Red by Dena Designs
- ¼ yard of 44″+ wide medium-weight denim or twill for the exterior of EACH case; we used 54″ Crossroads Denim from Indygo Junction in Coffee House Brown, Eggplant, Downtown Teal and French Vanilla
- ¼ yard of 44″+ lightweight fleece for the lining of EACH case; we used 60″ Micro Chamois Winterfleece in White (#234247) from Fabric.com
- ⅛ yard or scrap of 45″ wide medium-weight fusible interfacing for EACH case; we used Décor-Bond® by Pellon
- ONE 3½” snap frame for EACH case; we used a 3½” Internal Flex Purse Frame (#201036) from Fabric.com
- ONE ¾” D-ring for EACH case
- All-purpose thread to match fabric
- All purpose thread to match both fabric and ribbons and/or Invisible Thread in Clear; we used invisible thread
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
- Hand sewing needle
NOTE: We are showing the main construction of Case 3 and the strap variation construction of Cases 4 and 5. The main construction steps are the same for each case. All our cuts are determined based on our selected ribbons. If you choose ribbons of different widths, your final look may vary. You would need to measure each of your ribbons to insure the height and width.
- Cut the main accent ribbon into ONE 23″ length (1½” Orange/Turquoise Raindrops on Poppies by Anna Maria Horner in our sample)
- Cut the strap ribbon into ONE 13½” length (⅝” Scalloped & Dotted Edge Holiday Motif on Green by Dena Designs in our sample)
- From the denim for the exterior, cut ONE 23″ x 4½” rectangle.
- From the denim for the strap, cut ONE 13″ x 2″ strip.
- From the fleece for the lining, cut ONE 13″ x 4″ rectangle.
- From the interfacing, cut ONE 23″ x 4″ rectangle.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- Find the 13″ x 4″ rectangle of fleece. Fold it in half, right sides together, so it is now 6½” x 4″.
- Pin along both sides from the folded end to the top raw edges.
- Using a ¼” seam allowance, stitch both sides.
- Trim back the seam allowance to ⅛”. Do not turn right side out. Set aside.
- Find the 13″ x 2″ strip.
- Fold in each long edge ¼” and press.
- Fold in half, aligning the folded-in edges down the length of the strap. The strap should now be 13″ x ¾”.
- Edgestitch along both long sides of the strap.
- Cut 2″ from one end. Loop this tab through the D-ring. Align the raw ends and stitch across the ends to secure the loop through the ring.
- Finish one end of the remaining strap length with a tight zig zag stitch.
Fabric strap with ribbon accent
- Find the 13″ x 2″ fabric strip and the ⅝” x 13½” ribbon length.
- Make the fabric strap as described above for the plain strap.
- After the edgestitching, center the ribbon on the strap. It should be flush on one raw end and extend beyond opposite raw end by ½”.
- Edgestitch the ribbon to the strap along both long sides.
- Trim 2″ off the FLUSH end and wrap around the D-ring as above.
- At the opposite end, wrap the excess ribbon back over the raw end and pin in place. It will be stitched in place when the strap is attached.
Embellish the exterior
- Center the interfacing on the wrong side of the exterior. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse in place.
Following our design ideas or using your own, stitch the ribbons in place on the right side of the exterior. We prefer to use invisible thread for ribbon stitching, but you can also use matching all-purpose thread. See the Hints & Tips section below for additional technique notes.
NOTE: For more information about placing and stitching ribbons, you can also take a look at our other recent projects with Renaissance Ribbons, such as the Fabric Wallet, Sewing Machine Cover or Bolster Pillow.
- Find the 23″ x 4½” embellished exterior panel. Place it right side up and flat on your work surface.
- Fold back each end 2¾”, then fold up the raw edge ½”. The result looks like a little cuff. Pin in place.
- Using a ¼” seam allowance, stitch along each side of the “cuff” – from the top folded edge to the bottom of the ½” fold (on each end). Clip the upper corners, being careful to not cut into your seam.
- Clip into the seam allowance just below the side seam on each side (and each end). Again, be careful not to clip through the seam. Turn the cuff right side out. Press.
- Fold the cuff down 1″. The fold will be approximately ¼” above the first fold. This is correct.
- Edgestitch this second fold in place to create the ¾” casing for the snap frame. We found it was easier to stitch from the center out to each end rather than try to start the seam at the thicker ends.
NOTE: In the photo below, one of the snap frames is in place. This was just because we were checking the width. You do not want to stitch with the snap frame in place.
- Repeat to fold down and stitch the cuff at the opposite end.
- Flip over the exterior panel so it is right side up. Find the D-ring with its loop in place. Place the loop just below the casing. The raw ends of the loop should be flush with the raw edge of the exterior panel and the D-ring should be facing the center of the case. Pin or baste in place.
- Fold the exterior panel right sides together, sandwiching the loop between the layers. Make sure the top cuffs are flush.
- Starting just below the cuff and using a ¼” seam allowance, stitch each side. Backstitch across the loop on that side for extra security within the seam.
- Trim the bottom corners.
Final assembly and snap frame
- Turn the exterior case right side out through the top opening. Carefully push out the bottom corners with a long, blunt end tool, such as a chopstick or knitting needle. You can also gently pick out the corner from the right side with a needle.
- Find the fleece lining. It should still be wrong side out. Slip the lining down inside the exterior case so the two are now wrong sides together. Use the chopstick or knitting needle to help push the lining all the way down into the bottom corners of the exterior case.
- Tuck the raw upper edges of the lining under the bottom open fold of the cuff.
- Thread a hand sewing needle. Along both sides, whipstitch the exterior hem in place, concealing the raw edges of the lining.
- Find the remaining length of strap. Slip it though the D-ring and overlap at the back.
- Secure with a small X-box stitch.
- Find the two snap frame pieces and the two teeny tiny pins (keep track of those pins!).
- Slip one frame into each cuff casing.
- Align the ends, like the hinges on a door, and drop a pin through each pair. There is a distinct top and bottom to the hinges. The bottom is closed and flat. The top has a small tab sticking up. It helps to hold the pin with needle nose pliers.
- Crimp down the small top tab on each hinge. Again, pliers are best for this.
- Wrap one hand around the top and squeeze at the hinges to open and close the case.
Hints & Tips
As with many of our projects using the colorful Renaissance Ribbons, we chose invisible thread for all our ribbon stitching. For best results, you may need to loosen your upper tension slightly. It’s also a good idea to lengthen your stitch and sew at a slow and even pace. This type of thread does not stretch as well as regular thread and can break more easily under pressure, especially if it accidentally slides off the spool and wraps around the spool pin. Using a spool cap against the spool helps hold it in place on the pin, and again, going slowly and evenly helps the thread feed correctly off the spool. Finally, always sew in the same direction along both sides of the ribbon. This will help prevent any shifting and puckering. If you’d prefer not to use invisible thread, choose colors that very closely match your ribbon, and then take the time to re-thread as often as needed to maintain a perfect match.
You’ll also notice we use pins to hold our ribbons in place. Another option would be to apply a little basting glue or strips of lightweight fusible web, such as Dritz® Stitch Witchery, to the wrong side of the ribbon. Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and test to make sure the ribbon can be easily stitched without the adhesive gumming up the needle. Some adhesives are not meant to be sewn through.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Kathy Andrews, What Sew Ever