I found the best selection of what I needed for this project at a fabric store that specializes in outdoor and sports fabrics (for me this is Seattle Fabrics). If you don't have similar specialty fabrics store near you I can tell you I was able to find all of the materials below at large chain fabric stores with the exception of the two-inch-wide webbing in a color other than black. Black webbing will work out fine as it will match the mesh fabric we're using to make the pockets.
In the chain fabric store I found the mesh I wanted sold in the section with the nettings used for petticoats, it was labeled "Special Mesh" and was a bit stiffer than the other options. In the specialty outdoor fabrics store the mesh I liked best was located with the tent making materials.
- 1/3 yard (or 9" x 19" rectangle) of a heavyweight and stiff cotton duck
Gather the following items in the same color, or in a color that will contrast nicely with the duck:
- two 9" nylon zippers (nylon because we'll be trimming the excess)
- one package of Extra Wide Double Fold Bias Tape
- spool of thread
- 1/3 yard (or about 10 inches) of 2" wide nylon webbing (if you cannot find this in a color to match use black to match the mesh fabric)
- 1/4 yard of a quilting weight cotton fabric to use as the applique (if you're going to decorate the case with initials I suggest finding a coordinating plaid to add an extra bit of interest)
- 1/3 yard (or 9" x 13" rectangle) of stiff black mesh
- large snaps (I used the Heavy Duty Snap Kit made by Dritz)
- Steam-A-Seam (or a similar material used to bond two layers of fabric together)
- Items that might be useful to have in a glove compartment -- flashlight, sunscreen, tissues, pen, etc.
Prepare the exterior of the case.
- Trim the Steam-A-Seam, leaving about half an inch around the design, and place the glue side down onto your applique fabric. Leaving the paper on, iron it to bond to the fabric.
- Carefully cut the design out of the bonded fabric and Steam-A-Seam. You may find a small exacto knife useful here, but you can also use small scissors if you don't have one.
- Using a ruler measure down 3" from a top edge of your duck material. Center the applique, remove the paper backing and position on the cotton duck. You'll find the Steam-A-Seam glue will be tacky but you can reposition the piece before the final ironing. When it's positioned where you'd like iron it on.
Prepare the interior of the case.
- Sew the zippers to the bias tape, simply overlapping the bias tape about 1/4 inch and stitching down.
- Allow the rough ends of the opening end of the zipper hang about 1/4 past the edge. Make sure both zippers are facing the same direction. Note: I realize that using bias tape to attach the zippers is a bit unusual, but I think it creates a tidier looking edge while encasing the ends of the mesh fabric, and it also allows us to attach the zippers without needing to pull out a zipper foot for the sewing machine.
- Center the mesh fabric over the inside of the duck. Arrange as shown above, so that the zippers are opening at the top, and the applique is on the other side to the left.
- Baste down the sides of the mesh close to the edge. Then stitch the top edges of the zippers.
- Place the webbing in the center of the case, with the finished edge 2" in from the edge of the case as shown above. Position it so that the folded over edge faces the same was as the zippers.
- Stitch it in place with two rows of stitches 1/8th of an inch in. Extend each row of stitching all the way across to separate the two zippered pockets on either side. The webbing will create a pocket for the flashlight as well as be the bottom of the case.
- Trim the zippers and the webbing flush to the edges of the duck fabric.
- Attach the snaps. Find the center point of the tops of the case, about 1" down and 4.5" in from the side. Apply according to package directions.
- You're done! Fill will items that the father you're giving this to might find useful to have in the car. I included a mini Maglight flashlight, a digital tire gauge, a multitool, hand wipes, a small bottle of hand sanitizer, tissues, a pen, a small notebook with telephone numbers (in case a cell phone is lost or loses battery power), some bandaids, a fold of duct tape, a small packet of motion sickness pills, some aspirin, a small tube of sunscreen, a bottle opener, a stain remover, nail clippers, and breath mints. All these things are items that might be useful when on a picnic, a road trip or just when out running errands.
A note on applying bias tape:
This is my favorite method to apply bias tape. It was first taught to me by Amy Karol of Angry Chicken. Amy created a video that gives terrific instructions for applying bias tape. This method is very good to use with curves like the ones on the corners of the cases.
- Unfold the bias tape, line up the edge of the tape with the edge of your fabric.
- Stitch along the first fold of the bias trim, you can use a basting stitch here as it won't be seen later.
- Now wrap the bias trim over the edge of the fabric. Still with the right side of the fabric facing up, stitch the bias trim close to the edge. Because the narrow edge of the bias trim is on top you will catch the layer beneath.
Crafty genius Megan Reardon lives in Seattle with her husband Scott and a clover plant, which she might have killed last week. You can find more of her DIY projects at her blog, Not Martha.