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DIY Sketchbook Bandoliers

Its been a long time since I last had my sewing machine out – I used to do a lot of sewing pre-kids, but it’s been gathering dust a bit since I’ve had the 2 boys. Amongst all the many and varied interests I have and would like to devote my time to, something has to give, and textile crafts such as sewing, knitting, hand-spinning, quilting, embroidery, etc. etc. all of which I once enjoyed, is one major area of interest that has on the whole been sacrificed since children came along. So it was nice to know that I hadn’t actually forgotten how to thread the machine, and to get it out to create my latest project: some sketchbook bandoliers.

I’m not quite sure where the idea for these came from, but it’s been bubbling away in my mind for some time. I wanted some, but I couldn’t find any to buy, so in my own time-honoured fashion I decided to try making some instead. The following is not intended to be a tutorial as such, (I don’t think I’m a good enough seamstress to recommend how to make these) but might supply some inspiration and a few tips to anyone who fancies having a go.

 

large-sketchbook-bandolier

One of the trickiest things I found was actually tracking down coloured and patterned elastic. Everything I could find was either black, white or flesh coloured. In the end I tracked some down on Etsy.

With no pattern or instructions to work to, I just had to experiment as I went along. I decided how many loops I wanted depending upon the width of the sketchbook the bandolier was intended for, and attached the patterned elastic to the wider, colour-co-ordinated elastic using a wide zig-zag stitch for maximum stretch. Each loop was made by fitting it round a pencil, removing the pencil and holding the elastic in place where I wanted to stitch it, using a straight stitch vertically. I then left a gap of about 0.5cm before stitching another line where I wanted the next loop to begin. The most difficult part I found was keeping the patterned elastic and loops straight as I sewed – I tried both tacking and pinning in place, but neither worked well for me, and in the end I just held the elastic in place as best I could. However I would not describe myself as an expert seamstress, so others who are more skilled and less rusty might not have the same difficulties.

 

small-sketchbook-bandolier

 

Once all the loops were stitched in place, I used zig-zag stitch to attach the rest of the patterned elastic to the bandolier, before joining the ends. I found it was most successful if the ends were lapped over each other and the edges neatly finished with zig-zag stitch. This ensured a strong seam that would lie flat on the sketchbook.

 

sketchbook-bandolier-detail

 

These are not difficult to make, (though they are fairly fiddly with being quite small) and I think they would make a lovely homemade gift for someone creative along with a sketchbook and crayons.

 

DIY-sketchbook-bandolier

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