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Saturday, 7 October 2017

A Set of Fabric Envelopes

fabric envelopes crafted by eSheep Designs
Set of two fabric envelopes...
Back in August, I featured a project from Laura Coia's SewVeryEasy YouTube channel for making the very easiest drawstring bag ever.

Like I mentioned, I was first introduced to her while searching around YouTube for something or other when one of her videos was recommended for me. It was for making fabric envelopes, a project that I am featuring today (direct link to the video is at the end of this post).

As I watched her for the first time, I was entranced by Laura's friendly presence and smooth delivery. (Don't know about you, but even with so few videos watched, I've encountered YouTubers who appear uncomfortable in their own skin and talk as though they have a mouthful of marbles.) She's extremely easy to listen to and her instructions are clear. I like that the videos are generally short, yet I didn't feel as though I was missing anything.

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Anyway, several days later, I looked at the travel themed fabric that I had taken out to make my Zip-Around Yahtzee Wallet, and figured that it could be used for a matching set of fabric envelopes. (I had a use in mind. The smaller one is for keeping my receipts together when I travel. The larger one is meant to hold my bits and pieces of leftover interfacing.)

The envelopes seemed like an easy enough project to do in an afternoon... or so I thought.

I know; you're expecting me to say something contrary now, aren't you? (Like, it took me days to finish! LOL) Let's put it this way: things are almost never as simple as they appear to be.

Except maybe my lip balm carriers.

fabric envelope crafted by eSheep Designs
This is the original square version of the envelope...

To make this envelope, you have to track against an edge, but not sew on it. The edge is mostly straight, but in eight places, it curves inwards or outwards. And the smaller you make this thing, the more challenging this part will be. Take a look here at what I mean. The red line that I started to draw has to be followed all the way around, with the exception of a turning gap.

fabric envelope crafted by eSheep Designs
You see that red line? You have to sew alongside the interfacing all the way around...

Unlike some vloggers, Laura doesn't film herself actually sewing. (At least not in this video and not that I can recall in the others that I viewed.) In the interests of being efficient, I don't have a problem with that. All I'm saying is that because you don't see it being done, you may find some of the sewing tricky despite the relative simplicity of the project.

Actually, my biggest problem is that it takes me forever to cut anything. I think I had fiddled and fidgeted with my fabric for about an hour by the time I finished cutting the four required pieces (four fabric, two interfacing).

The fab part of this project is that you can start with any size square. Well, technically. Having made one starting with a 9.5" square, I can tell you that it's not advisable to go any smaller. Going bigger is no issue, but I had only a two inch space to turn my fabric when all was said and done with my smaller envelope.

Laura used a double-sided fusible interfacing in this project to get an ultra crisp, clean finish on both sides of the resulting envelope. I had no such interfacing and wasn't about to buy some, so I took a moment to consider my options.

I chose to use glue on one side.

fabric envelope crafted by eSheep Designs
I glued the interfacing onto one fabric...

I found the result perfectly acceptable. In the above picture, the interfacing has been glued onto what will be the outer fabric. I then sewed all the way around the interfacing per the instructions and notched the corners (see previous photo).

The next step was to fuse the seam allowance of the uppermost fabric to the interfacing. This will help create very clean and crisp edges when it's turned right side out.

fabric envelope crafted by eSheep Designs
Fuse the seam allowance to the interfacing...

Again, as a remark on the "simple" part, you really must take care here not to burn your fingers or overshoot the edge of the fabric with a hot steaming iron. (My Clover Hold It Precision Stiletto did the job for me; it was what I eventually purchased with the remainder of the Amazon gift card that I won last year.)

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The next step is to turn the thing right side out, poke out the corners and crevices, and fuse. As you can see here in this extreme closeup, the technique used here really does deliver excellent results.

fabric envelope crafted by eSheep Designs
Happiness is a clean corner!

After top-stitching, here it is, ready to be folded...

fabric envelope crafted by eSheep Designs
Glad I managed to turn this one right side out, since I only had about a 2" gap to reach into...

As usual, I can't make something and not make it my own somehow, so for the bigger envelope (started with 17" fabric and 16" interfacing), I decided to deviate from the square shaped result. In the above picture, you can see that the little inverted cuts into the fabric have been placed evenly on all four sides. When folded up, this will result in a square shape.

In my larger version shown below, you can see that those cuts have been placed slightly off centre.

fabric envelope crafted by eSheep Designs
This larger envelope folds up into a rectangular shape...

Mathematically speaking, since it still starts out as a square, there is only so much deviating that can be done to turn it into a usable rectangular shape. I went with a 45%/55% split, locating the cuts at 7.25" and 8.75" for my 16" square.

Just keep in mind that the folds are made on the diagonal. I'm not going to say anymore about it other than: work out the placement of your cuts on paper first. (I take no responsibility for any quirky results that you might get otherwise.)

The ribbon tie needs to be attached slightly differently when the result is not a square. This is how I did mine.

fabric envelope crafted by eSheep Designs
Attaching and threading the ribbon through a rectangular envelope...

The "ribbon" in this case was a very narrow bias tape that I found in Mom's old sewing kit. I stitched down the middle of it and then added black electrical tape to the ends. (I suppose this means that you can use a fashionable shoelace also!) Works like a charm. Here is the small envelope.

fabric envelope crafted by eSheep Designs
Threading the ribbon through a square envelope...

The ribbon is fed through the centre on all layers for the square shaped envelope. I found that I could thread both ends (rather than just one) through the final grommet on top and tie a bow to secure. The bow is too substantial to slip through the grommet.

Here it is stuffed with receipts from our recent Okanagan holiday.

fabric envelope crafted by eSheep Designs
My projects need to be used to be deemed successful!

And here is a series of photos to show how my odd pieces of leftover interfacing — which used to get crushed into a big plastic zip lock bag — now have a more appropriate home. Over time, all of the pieces inside have flattened out. I really don't know what I was thinking when I took to the practice of stuffing them inside a plastic bag... not like I can iron the creases out of a piece of fusible interfacing before using it!

fabric envelope crafted by eSheep Designs
A fancy new home for my interfacing remnants...

By the way, the finished size of my big envelope is 9.5" high x 11" wide. The small one is 4.75" square. And here is the link to the original video.

I encourage you to take a look through Laura's YouTube channel for other neat project ideas. She's also an accomplished quilter and you may notice a beautiful red and white quilt hanging behind her in some of her videos. The pattern is called Glorious and Free... guess what country she calls home??


  1. Very neat, thanks for sharing this, Rochelle! Am thinking these would be perfect to use for gift cards.

  2. I'm with Verna. First thing I thought of was gift cards - so much nicer than an envelope.

  3. Thank you very much for the sharing the pattern! It is a great idea to upcycle fabric scrap!

    1. You;re very welcome, Florina. Hope you have fun with it!


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