Bright DIY Tropical Paper Backdrop

It’s been a while since I’ve created a fancy wall backdrop craft and I was inspired by our seemingly endless winter (doesn’t it always feel that way in April?) and the desire to soak up some sun. This easy, bright and fun vignette is perfect for birthdays, costume parties or any upcoming Hawaiian-themed events to lighten the winter mood to encourage that warmer weather to arrive.


  • For Leaves:
  • Scissors
  • 3-5 paper poster boards in varying tones of green
  • 8.5″ x 11″ paper in more tones of green (optional)
  • Pencil
  • For Flowers:
  • Hot glue gun
  • Crepe paper in varying colors for hibiscus flowers (yellow, coral, or pink are good options)
  • Paint
  • Floral wire

We’re going to start off by making the greenery. Having a variety of shapes will enhance the ‘tropical forest’ feel of your backdrop, so take to google images and look for island plants and leaves. Sketch out a few of the shapes that appeal to you. For me, that was a big, round monstera leaf, some palm leaves, ferns and a few ‘generic’ looking leaves to fill the space.

With your pencil, trace out a few of your shapes onto the poster board. For high impact, I wanted the leaves to be very large. I started with my biggest leaf, the monstera, and used the whole width of a poster board to draw it in. I also cut my large palm leaves. From here, using the remaining paper from the poster board started drawing and cutting out my other leaf shapes, even saving the edge scraps for some long thin leaves to fill in gaps.

Once you have a starting variety of shapes, sizes and colours, you can start playing around with arrangements and see what “gaps” you have in your collection, whether you have too much of one size or colour, and use your remaining supplies to balance it out.

You can totally stop here, tape it up on the wall and party, or add a few flowers to the mix.

I based my flowers off of this tutorial for making the hibiscus flowers but sized everything up to scale. You’ll cut 5 ‘tear-drop’ shaped petals from your crepe paper and if you want the look of real hibiscus, take a little bit of paint and colour the bottom quarter or so. (I used gouache since it is pigmented but also soaked into the paper a bit. Acrylic would work if you thinned it out a little so it won’t get stiff, and in a pinch even a felt marker would do). Yellow hibiscus tend to have coral centers while the pink and red flowers simply have a darker tone in the middle.

Once this is dry lay them out in a fan shape and hot glue the centers, one petal on top of another. They should overlap quite a bit.

To prepare the stamen that epitomizes the look of the hibiscus flower, cut out two small rectangles from your crepe paper, and with a little bit of hot glue, sandwich your floral wire in between. Then snip into the paper at an angle to create a little fringe. Use your fingers to fluff and fold it out.

Lay your floral wire in the centre of your fan and glue down. Next, carefully fold and twist your petals around the wire and tuck the bottom petal on top of the topmost petal and hot glue. Once dry you can peel back your petals and open your flower. For the rippled effect, gently tug and stretch the crepe paper at the edge of your petals.

To display, use wall safe tape and layer your leaves on the wall. For the ones on the bottom you can tape along the edges if they’ll be covered by other leaves, otherwise use tape loops so it isn’t visible. Bend your floral wire 90 degrees and slide your flowers in between your leaves and secure with tape. Voila! Your walls are ready for a tip-top tiki party. Just add some pineapple and coconuts.

Marvelous Paper Marbling (+Gold Leaf! )

Marbling & Gold Leaf // Boots and Cats

No matter how many times I try it, how many colour combinations I make, marbling is just like…the coolest. After my very successful attempts at marbling with fabric, I decided to try something a litter different and go back to the roots of this craft- marbling on paper.

I knew immediately the challenges of paper would be different than fabric – but seeing as people have been marbling with paper for centuries it had to work…right? The biggest hurdle for me was dealing with the paper getting wet. With the technique I am using the paper would be wet multiple times (when preparing it with alum before marbling and rinsing off the carageenan after) and post-water wrinkled paper is my biggest pet peeve. (I had one of those Wreck this Journals when I was younger and loved destroying it until one page said put it in the shower. It was the worst experience ever and even though it was the point of the book to get over things like that, I pretty much stopped using it because of its crinkled, stiff state. But I digress)

Marbling & Gold Leaf // Boots and Cats

When doing research, it was actually pretty difficult to find out specifically what paper would be best to use actually use. Pretty much all the resources said to use the smoothest surface possible to ensure the paint stuck, but I couldn’t find any info about weight. Ideally you’d be working with something thin enough to bend when marbling, but thick enough not to wrinkle and curl into nothingness when wet. I tried two types of drawing paper and hoped at least one would work.

Even though I have marbled twice now, the bath seems to be slightly different each time (and I am even using pre-made kits, what’s up with that?). This time I was crafting with a friend who wanted to experiment with the world of marbling, so naturally it did not work out as well as before. The carageenan size wasn’t as thick as previous, and most of the pigment sank to the bottom or bled after being pulled. No bueno.

Marbling & Gold Leaf // Boots and Cats

Between my two papers, I found the heavier weight one worked better. The lightweight paper curled almost immediately after touching the marbling surface. However the thicker paper meant it was trickier to get a smooth lay along the surface of the size. While fabric will bend and then lay softly as you roll it along the surface, paper is stiffer and I found I would end up dunking the middle underneath the paint as I tried to get the edges to touch. This lead to more of the paint bleeding away when rinsing and it made the pan very cloudy and hard to see the patterns.

Despite the challenges, I did manage to get a few really good pulls. I knew I was making them as gifts, so I picked paint colours that I knew would suit each of the recipients. I am not sure if I will try marbling with paper again, maybe if I get a better paper recommendation. For now, I am way happier with the results I’ve been getting on textiles.

Back to the prints; while marbling is very pretty, it doesn’t have a particular focus and as a pattern felt like it was missing something. In order to give them as gifts, I had to take it up a notch; but how?

Enter the magic of gold leaf.

Marbling & Gold Leaf // Boots and Cats

I recently had the experience of working with gold leaf in some renovation projects at work and fell in love. Basically, it’s metal rolled out as thiiiiinnn as possible. You prep your surface with a special glue, then very carefully lay the leaf on top to stick. It is hecka finicky and SO delicate, but the incredible shine and finish is totally worth it. I had access to a few sheets leftover from the projects and decided to play them up here.

I chose some simple words, phrases and illustrations to accompany my prints. If you’d like to try it yourself, here’s how.

You’ll need:

  • Cardstock
  • X-acto knife/ scissors
  • Pencil
  • Small paint brush
  • Gilding size (glue)
  • Gold leaf
  • Soft bristle paint brush
  • Fine tip permanent marker


  1. Select your motif for your print, either by drawing or searching the internet and print onto a piece of cardstock
  2. Using an x-acto knife and scissors, cut out your motif from the cardstock
  3. With a pencil, trace the outline of your stencil onto your marbled print. Trace lightly in case of mistakes or if you want to reposition it.
  4. Very carefully, with your paint brush, ‘paint’ the gold leaf glue inside the lines of your motif. The leaf will stick to anything remotely adhesive so be very careful not to get any drips or smudges outside your design.
  5. Once the glue is tacky, carefully lay your gold leaf down on top of your design. Let it set for 30 minutes.
  6. Gently start to pull away the gold leaf. Because it is so delicate, using a very soft bristle brush or muslin cloth is best for this part to keep the leaf from ripping off your design. The leaf with easily flake away (and fair warning, it will get EVERYWHERE. It’s worse than glitter.)
  7. Let your final design dry for 24 hours before putting in a frame. If you feel like you need extra contrast between your design and the marbling, outline with a fine tip pen.
  8. Enjoy your marbled, gold goodness.

Marbling & Gold Leaf // Boots and Cats


A Halloweaving // Boots & Cats

I love Halloween. This can be evidenced by the fact that I am wearing glow-in-the-dark pumpkin socks and eating a ghost cookie as I write. As soon as the calendar flips to October my apartment is fully decorated and I plan in as many spooky (but not scary, mind you) activities to make the most of this holiday.

I can’t really pin-point exactly what I love about it so much. I love the visual aesthetic of orange and black, not to mention the graphic style of vintage decorations. It could also be the child-like sense of fun in creating costumes and getting together with friends. Or it could just be the copious amounts of sugar. Who knows.

What I do know is that I can’t get enough and love to fill my days with Halloweeney things. Best way I find to do this is to infuse the spirit into my crafting. (Pun? I think so.)

A Halloweaving // Boots & Cats

This year, I happened to buy a loom and take up weaving in September. Loom weaving, especially wall hangings, has been on my radar for the last few years but I never jumped into it- I guess I had too many other crafts on my plate. Then this summer some really stunning work repeatedly popped up on my feed that I felt really inspired and connected to. I went to Etsy and got myself a loom, and an arm load of yarn to play with.

As hard as I tried to take a workshop with Lucy Poskitt while I was in Vancouver (I visited twice recently and BOTH TIMES she taught the day after I left) I didn’t take any classes to get started. I read a few tutorials, mainly from A Beautiful Mess, but I found it pretty easy to get the hang of it. Sure there are some basic techniques you need to know, but once you get those down, honestly the main skill required is patience.

A Halloweaving // Boots & Cats

This isn’t a quick craft, especially as your pieces get larger, but the creative possibilities are actually endless. You can play with geometry and colour blocking, gradient tones and abstract textures, or bold motifs. The bulk of what I’ve seen is abstract work, with lots of chunky elements and fringe, which is stunning, but I find that my default is lots of structure, uniformity and simplicity. My first few pieces were primarily geometric shapes, but the lightbulb went off for me when, in an ABM tutorial, Rachel said “think of shapes in pixels”. My mind rushed with words and  shapes I could incorporate into more graphic style work.

A Halloweaving // Boots & Cats

And with Halloween coming up, there’s no better time to put that idea to work! I knew right away I wanted to play with some cute little ghosts flying around and sketched out some shapes. I found it quite helpful to design on grid paper to keep in the ‘pixels’ mindset. To ensure I kept true to my design, especially on the rounded shapes, I actually drew it onto my warp yarn with a sharpie, to act as a guideline. It might be cheating but it works!

I constructed most of the hanging using a basic basket weave (over one-under one) using contrast yarns for the ghosts and sky. I could have left it like that, but I picked up an amazing orange yarn from Rain City Knits in Vancouver and needed to incorporate it. I used it to add some extra texture and highlight elements. I was a little on the fence about it at first but I think it heightens the overall look. Makes it ‘pop’ if you will.

A Halloweaving // Boots & Cats

Like I said, weaving takes a lot longer to complete than you think. I would estimate there is about 6 hours of work in this little guy. But hey, what better way to binge watch Netflix shows. (I am all about Once Upon A Time right now… that’s kinda Halloweeney right?)

These little ghosties are now hanging in my ‘Halloween corner’ of my living room along with some spooky flowers, pumpkin lanterns and glitter bats and seems to fit right in.

A Halloweaving // Boots & Cats

Now that I’ve completed my fourth weaving, I can stay that I am quite enjoying it. I always loved the fluffy texture and the endless array of colour in yarn, but knitting and I still haven’t completely hit it off. I am already brainstorming many more things I could weave. The loom is relatively non-intimidating to experiment with in terms of design and techniques which is really nice.

Now I just need to get ALL the yarn! Muahahaha

Easy Washi Tape Easter Egg and Bunny Art

Easy Easter Washi Tape Art // Boots & Cats

The unpleasant snowfall that kicked off this month could be written off as an April Fools joke, but seriously, this weather can just stop and let the sun shine through. I am ready for spring- mentally, fashionably and creatively. This means that the winter decor in my apartment needs to get changed up from the current deep tones and metallics right into the rainbow of bright and pastel hues that let you KNOW warmer weather is imminent.

While thinking about this, I was a little caught off guard by how soon Easter was coming up. Like… this weekend! I lamented my utter lack of decor for the holiday that would push everything in the ‘spring’ direction. (As you should all be familiar with by now, I LOVE holidays, seasons and any reason to celebrate and decorate). Luckily a friend and I had a craft night on the calendar and Pinterest had loads of easy and adorable ideas for Easter crafts and pretty things for spring in general.

Easy Easter Washi Tape Art // Boots & Cats

With not much time for prep or supplies on hand, I decided to do a take on this simple silhouette artwork from Minted. I wanted to incorporate some cute bunnies by creating my own cut-outs and I also decided to use washi tape instead of scrapbook paper since glue and I don’t always get along (self-adhesion for the win!).

I made both pieces in about an hour and a half and I already had everything I needed in my craft drawer.

Easy Easter Washi Tape Art // Boots & Cats

To make your own artwork you’ll need:

  • Cardstock (2 sheets per piece)
  • Washi tape (various colours and patterns)
  • A pencil
  • Scissors (or xacto knife)
  • Double-sided tape or glue

Start by drawing your image in pencil on the cardstock. Once you are happy with your design, cut it out using the scissors. To keep it symmetrical, I cut out one bunny first, then used the piece I just cut as a guide to trace his friend. Now choose your washi tapes (coordinating colours work best) and layer stripes on the un-cut piece of cardstock. This will be placed behind the cut piece so you have the show-through effect. Once all the space has been filled with washi stripes, place double sided tape along all the sides and stick the two layers together.

Easy Easter Washi Tape Art // Boots & Cats

I used more washi to ‘frame’ them on the wall, but they’d also look quite elegant in real frames as well.

That is actually it. So simple. I love the bright colours and bunnies for springtime and it adds just the right amount of ‘festive’ to our space, just in time for the long weekend. With different colours you could totally apply this concept to other holidays or motifs. But for now, SUNSHINE.

I hope you all have a wonderful long weekend filled with some rest, some chocolate and some beautiful days. Cheers!

Learning Letterpress

Learning Letterpress // Boots & Cats

I have an unhealthy addiction to stationery. Cards, notebooks, prints, calendars, you name it, I want it. I am getting better at resisting cute paper works but anything with a clean letterpress design? I just can’t help myself. It is just so beautiful and something I just can’t recreate at home, which makes it more magical, right?

Can you imagine my joy and glee when a local letterpress artist I followed started advertising for small workshops? It apparently is the trendy blogger thing to do here in Edmonton after all. I have wanted to try letterpress for some time and this was a really exciting opportunity. After many months of dates that just didn’t work, Rory and I found ourselves in the small Uppercase Press Studio on a snowy afternoon a few weeks ago.

Learning Letterpress // Boots & CatsSince there was only two of us at a time, Rory and I got a real hands-on experience trying our hands at typesetting, mixing ink and pressing our own works. Lu was super helpful and made the afternoon so much fun. Beyond the basic techniques, she taught us some really neat stuff about the history of letterpress. (Like did you know that they don’t make presses anymore? You can’t just walk into Micheal’s and get one, you have to hunt down machines from 100 years ago if you want to do serious pressing. Maybe you knew this…I didn’t). I walked away from the afternoon feeling more knowledgeable, accomplished and inspired.

Learning Letterpress // Boots & Cats

Once you have it all set up, you can print as many copies of your print as time allows so I wanted to make sure I made things I could get use from (the craft drawer of pretty paper things is growing everyday with stagnant projects). The soft feathery flakes floating from the sky that afternoon inspired some festive holiday cards, and then some ‘cheers!” tags for gifts at any time of the year.

When typesetting, all your ‘stamps’ had to be snuggled up tight to hold together. I never knew how tricky that could be. I may have been a little over ambitious with my projects for a beginner. I did some serious MacGuyvering to get the diamond embellishments on the cards to stay put, and Lu had to show me some ‘cheating’ methods to get my ‘POP’ bubbles to sit still. I like to think it was worth it though!

Learning Letterpress // Boots & Cats

Learning Letterpress // Boots & Cats

Rory had fun typesetting his own little poem which he printed and is going to illustrate in the future. On his first print we realized he only had ONE typo. Pretty impressive seeing as you are spelling words with backward letters.

Learning Letterpress // Boots & Cats

Learning Letterpress // Boots & CatsWe easily agreed on ink colours, and though we both thought we were pros at colour mixing, we used WAY too much ink getting the perfect blue. Luckily, you don’t actually need that much ink to print, so in the grand scheme of things we didn’t waste that much.

After hours of printing, talking, laughing and even enjoying a spot of tea, we had created some pretty awesome things. I can imagine the work it must entail to do this day in and day out as part of a creative business. Lu was a wonderful teacher and knowing the methods of craftmaship makes me appreciate the letterpress process so much more.

Learning Letterpress // Boots & Cats

You can check out Lu’s work for Uppercase press at the Royal Bison both weekends of the show coming up and I can’t wait to give out my holiday cards!


Boots & Cats Best of 2013


I can’t believe that 2013 is almost over… even more unbelievable to me is that this is the 35th post on this here blog. To be honest, I was never sure I would make it. In the interest of being all reflective and nostalgic as one tends to be this time of year, here is a list of my favorite posts and projects from the past 10 months.

Yes. Yes we do. nom.

Yes. Yes we do. nom.

1. BlogShop. Really the adventure to start it all. I’d always wanted a blog, but never could get started. When I saw that Bri and Angela were coming to Vancouver I got Boots & Cats off the ground and was ready to learn.


2. The Yellow Skirt Project. The biggest and most complicated sewing endeavor I challenged this year, with pretty and bright results.


3. Adventures in Montreal. My big vacation this summer, travelling back to one of my favorite cities here in Canada.


4. Sixties Style. My most popular post of 2013, and one of the most fun for me to make. Once it stops being -30 degrees outside I’ll have to jump on another one of these.


5. Halloween Garland. This project was long and tedious, but I was so happy to have it in my apartment for one of my favorite holidays. Plus a glittery gif!


6. Tiny Snowmen Made of Socks. These guys are just too cute I couldn’t leave them out.


7. Mini Golden Party Crowns. The most original project I tackled lately that I am super proud of and will probably drag out for the New Year’s Countdown.

Other Favorites:

Thanks everyone for reading my lil blog. I hope to try new things in 2014 and create more fun projects. Looking forward to new adventures and happy New Year to each and every one of ya!

Craft Party // # 2

Craft Party #2 // Boots & Cats This weekend I held the second rendition in what I hope to make a commonly reoccurring event. It was craft party time! The thing I love most about hosting this event so far is the quality creative and social time with my friends as well as the fact that I get SO many crafty things done when I set aside an entire day to do so. The time just FLYS by. snowglobe // Boots & Cats Unlike the last event held in the spring, we had this weather to deal with. While it inhibited some guests’ attendance, it was an amazingly lovely snowglobe view from the craft space. It also was nice and cozy when it was time for tea. Craft Buffet // Boots & Cats We had a wide array of smaller projects going on this time, so we each got more than one project going by the time the day was out.  Despite the project array, the mess was actually kept to a minimum, (with the grand exception of gold glitter) which was amazing considering the amount of crafting surfaces was severly decreased from the last event. Tiny Snowman! // Boots & Cats Earlier in the week a friend sent me an image of little sock snowmen and I got more excited than I should have been. These were the first things crafted during this afternoon. It had to be done. Here’s a sneak peek of the little guy, more details to come later this month. Festive Cards // Boots & Cats The snow also brought feelings of the holiday season, and these creative Christmas tree cards are simple, but are so beautiful. Hooray for Pinterest for having the best inspiration and craft ideas. stamps // Boots & cats Rory took to detail work and hand carved a footbag stamp, and explored coloring options and varying effects. I love the look and versatility of a stamp for cards and scrapbooking. With so many craft supplies ‘out-of-the-box’ it hadn’t occurred to me that it was even possible to craft my own. Project for holiday cards this year?? Celery Stamps // Boots & Cats I took the stamping inspiration to heart when preparing dinner. After slicing the celery I noticed the heart looked like a rose. Possible gift tags? It was really fun and freeing to take an observation to craft in 2 minutes.

Popsicle stick snowflakes, paper Christmas trees and tissue pom poms (more on the poms in a few weeks!) were also on the menu this weekend. Happy Crafting! // Boots & Cats Details about the first event and my craft party hosting tips here.

Have you hosted or attended a craft party, meetup, stitch ‘n’ bitch or the like? I’d love to hear about it!

Autumn Leaf Illuminated Garland


This year, I am falling head over heels for…well, fall. Everywhere I go I see inspiration about this time of year and an opportunity to make my space a little warmer (Both figuratively and literally…) This glowing falling leaves garland is just what the season ordered.

Last week I had to stop at the dollar store for a few odds and ends and noticed the huge tissue paper section. Every color imaginable. So of course I grab a few armfuls. Walking home I started brainstorming what to do with it all as the leaves fell overhead.  This idea instantly popped in my head and I just had to do it. I already had everything else I needed and in total it took about 30 minutes to complete!

supplies // Boots & Cats

What you will need is simply:

  • Autumn toned tissue paper
  • Matching washi tape
  • Scissors
  • A pencil (not shown)
  • Fairy lights (optional, not shown)


The first step is measuring the length of the space you plan on hanging the garland so you can make the strands long enough. The section of wall where I planned to hang mine needed two lengths of the tissue paper to hang nicely.

Then start sketching shapes for your autumn leaves. You may need to go outside or check Google images for reference or a tracing template. A good diverse mix of leaf types will be best.


From the tissue, cut strips with the depth of the leaves you’ve sketched (for best results, use varying dimensions for each color). From here fold the strips accordion style, like you are making a paper doll chain!


Trace one of your leaf designs onto the top piece of your accordion.

The trickiest part of this project is cutting the tissue paper without tearing it, especially with more detailed leaves. Time and patience, friends.

repeat // Boots & Cats

Repeat the first steps for each color and leaf design you’ve chosen to make! (I made three types)


If you need multiple strips of tissue for length like I did, fasten the strips together with matching washi tape. It becomes nearly invisible on the wall.

enjoy // Boots & Cats

Now hang and enjoy! I first hung the fairy lights behind so they would glow through the paper and then layered each color layer on top. To create a more natural ‘pile of leaves’ look, fluff the strands and weave them within the different layers and through the lights.


I am now fully prepared for cool evenings sipping hot cocoa by a warm autumn’s glow.

Warm Glow // Boots & Cats

The Yellow Skirt Project


Last year, as a part of my University program, I had the opportunity to take a 2 month internship at Télio Fashion Fabrics in Montreal, Quebec. I can safely say that it was one of the most rewarding and exciting experiences I have ever had.  It was amazing to be living in such an artistic and cultural place, especially on my own, and learning how to be independent and exploratory. The internship itself was also amazingly wonderful. The environment, the people and of course…the fabrics!

Anyone who knows me knows that I am crazy about textiles. Colours, patterns and textures. It is all amazing. And those people who know me won’t go near a fabric store with me. I take hours deciding what I want and usually end up leaving with everything anyways. I have more fabric than I have projects, but its always better to have fabric when inspiration strikes than to have to go and get it afterwards. Right?

Anyways. I could not possibly imagine leaving Télio with a few more meters of fabric to add to my collection. (I may or may not have had to ship it home in boxes since my suitcases were jam packed too full…oops). One of the such fabrics was this vibrant and joyful Florence Lace #32930 (colour 08). I knew I could use it to make something bright, beautiful and definitely unique.


After making the huge decision of what fabrics to choose, comes the bigger decision of deciding what to make with it. This fabric had endless potential, plus, the stakes got so much higher! If I made something that didn’t turn out, I couldn’t get more of this fabric very easily. It took a long time to decide on a project, and even then to get going making it. There was a lot of hesitation and worry. But no risk, no reward. Besides, in the grand scheme of things, it’s only fabric.

I decided that a statement swing skirt was the way to go. This fabric needed to be center stage, but a full dress would probably be too much sunshine. I chose a relatively simple pattern, Butterick 5285.


Since the skirt needed to be lined (obviously), many questions were opened up that complicated the process. I wanted the lace to be a seperate overlay from the lining. But the pattern includes pockets! I love pockets! But would I have to sew the lace into them? And the zipper? Would that have to be tucked in too?! And then there was this problem:


I wanted the pretty scallop on the fabric to be my hemline. But the pattern is curved! OH WHAT TO DO!?

Luckily I was able to call upon my friend Courtney, who happens to be a pattern drafting guru. (Check out her cute little Etsy shop in the making here). She helped me figure out how to compensate for the curved fabric at the bottom by taking it in at the waistline. I would post a tutorial, but even after I cut the fabric I noticed I hadn’t measured correctly and  the sides were too long and droopy. From there I improvised and just pulled the extra fabric into the waistband. It worked for me, but it definitely was a hacked method. I may try to repeat this pattern alteration (correctly) and document it for you all in the future.


Even the most best laid plans do go awry. When I went to Courtney’s for pattern advice I had left my pattern instructions at home where I was reading them the night before. I thought I had intended to go with view A, with pleats. I didn’t have enough fabric to create a full circle, so I had to have side seams. When I got home, I realized I had initially measured to use view D, that was just ruched at the waist so it would be using less fabric. It also had a lesser curve on the hem. At this time the fabric was already cut so I just kept on truckin’ with the pleated version. And since I now had incorporated side seams, I went right ahead and added pockets. I sewed them into the lining and used a roll hem on the pocket openings on the lace to keep it flowing but able to get my hands in.


All in all the construction part wasn’t incredibly hard, once I got past the stressful decision making. I followed the pattern directions for the skirt, having the lace laid on top of the lining pieces and constructed them together (except at the side seams). It took about 3 days of solid motivation to get it all done. and I am super pleased with the result.


It is one heck of a statement piece, but I am glad I took the risks in not only actually cutting and using the fabric, but in finding solutions to having pockets and zipper in the multiple layers and having the fabric hem aligned in the skirt. It was stressful and frustrating and I am sure I took the scenic route on some things, but it was a learning experience and I always get compliments on the result.

Geometric Print Tablet Bag


This project is one that came to me through the A Beautiful Mess e-course, DIY Dress-Up. I love working through this online resource. It really got me to think outside my usual ‘pattern from an envelope’ box and really got me sewing for fun in Montreal last summer. I am so proud of the things I made using their tutorials. (This e-course is now retired, but they have many more awesome and inspiring ones here. I also have BlogLove, and Art Journal Everyday.)

The tutorial in the e-course was actually for a laptop case using suede fabric with fringe. it had a really rustic feel to it that just wasn’t ‘me’, nor did I actually need a laptop case. I looked over the directions to get an idea of the process but I kind of took this project on it’s own path. That’s the great thing about DIY isn’t it? You can really take anything and turn it around completely to be your own.

I chose the fabric for this project somewhat by accident. Last summer one of my favorite fabric stores in the city, Sig Plach, closed down, so I snagged a whole bunch of fabric for various projects while I could. I intended to use the ivory microsuede on the outside and find a cheap fabric for the inside, but when I placed the navy fabric next to the ivory when I was digging through my box, there was no way I could do anything  different. I was kind of hesitant to keep the microsuede from taking center stage since I spent a bit more on it, but really, if you leave fabric sitting on your shelf for long enough, you forget how much you spent and you can use it in any way that you truly want to.

Anyways. Onto the project.


1) Since I was making the pattern for my Bamboo Drawing tablet instead of a laptop, I also wanted to include space for the cord and the pen. I measured the entire area of where the tablet would sit and added seam allowances , then multiplied the height by 2, so it would fold like a little pocket, and accounted a little extra triangle at the top to be the flap.


I also suggest having feline helpers on hand to assist.


2) I then realized it made more sense to take these measurements on the lining fabric instead. Sewing is a funny thing. You really need to think about order of operations. I marked the measurements with a chalk pen and cut away.


3) Now would be a better time to take the outside fabric measurement. I placed the lining on top of the outer fabric and added an extra 2cm seam allowance to allocate room for padding and general movement of the fabric. I didn’t want it to be so tight my inner fabric would get bunchy.


Note: You’ve probably heard this from day one of basic sewing class. but make sure you cut on the grain line. I had gotten so excited that I didn’t think much of it, until I tried to see what it would look like folded up. It didn’t affect the overall design *too* much, but it did skew my bag just a little. Something like this would probably make more of a noticeable effect on a garment.  I didn’t want to waste fabric and re-cut, since it is just a project for me, but it is something I am definitely going to be more aware of in the future.

This is what happens when you shoot photos in your basement. Orange lighting! yay.

This is what happens when you shoot photos in your basement. Orange lighting! yay.

4)  To make sure my tablet pen and cord wouldn’t roll around and possibly damage my drawing pad, I decided to make little pockets. I simply measured the size of them and pinned then stitched them onto my lining fabric.


5) Now the assembly really begins. I folded my outer fabric and pinned it right-side-in and my inside fabric right-side-out. By then turning them around I could see what they would look like after sewing. I tucked them inside each other to make sure they would fit, and then stitched it up.


6) To give some more protection from wear and tear, I wanted to add some padding. I (unfortunately) did not have any batting on hand, so I used some good old fashioned felt in some of the less popular colors to ‘fill’ in. (ha.) A single sheet was too short so I added a little extender piece to cover the whole length, then made a second one for the other side.


7) I had intended to sew the two layers together and then stuff in the padding, but realized that if I wanted to anchor the padding that wouldn’t work. So I sewed them onto the outside of my lining panel, so they wouldn’t bounce around.


8) I then slipped the layers inside one another like in step 5, but in reverse so stitches wouldn’t show and sewed all along the top and flap perimeter, leaving a 10cm section open so I could turn it inside out. Once I flipped it, I closed the whole with a simple whip-stitch (in matching thread so you can’t see my crappy hand sewing).


9) Now the tough part. Choosing buttons and a closure thread! I opted out of doing a button hole on this project, and decided on a button and string closure that is kind of like envelopes. (Now again, if you do planning from the start you would have sewn the buttons on the outer fabric first, so you can’t see the stitching on the inside. But whatever, you can’t really tell unless you look inside the bag.)


10) Et voila!

I love how it turned out and how functional it is (and fashionable too). I brought it to Blogshop and was so chuffed to have it. You can easily adapt this project in a million different ways to accommodate any of your tech items. Or you can also use it as a fashionable oversized clutch. Multi-purpose!