Posted by: christinelaennec | February 20, 2015

Surreptitious sewing

Last month the Dafter turned 17.  Golly!  And I was very pleased to have a little surprise tucked up my sleeve to give her:  a patchwork camera strap cover.  This was an idea I’d had for nearly two years, but because she was so ill and we were together all the time, I never had a chance to do any secret sewing.  However, over the Christmas holiday she was away seeing friends overnight, and I swung into action.  I took a few photos to show those who might be interested in how I did it (see below).

She was extremely pleased.  She uses her camera a lot, and I chose meaningful scraps.  She recognised pieces left over from her coat-of-many-colours, her nappy bag, her thinking cap, my apron, a curtain that hung over a cupboard in our kitchen in Aberdeen, her star dress (when she was 1 1/2), the skirt I finished by hand on holiday in Paris, and other confections over the years.

A birthday surprise for the Dafter:  a patchwork cover for her camera strap.

A birthday surprise for the Dafter: a patchwork cover for her camera strap.

The hardest thing was measuring the camera strap without being found out.  Another day I rooted around in my cupboard for scraps to use.  Then when I had a chance to sew, I made up a simple pattern extending about 2 cm each side, plus seam allowance.  I decided on slanting pieces, as so:

Drafting a pattern.

Drafting a pattern.

The final pattern.

The final pattern.

I pieced the slanting strips, and then sewed them to a single long piece for backing.  I then tested the entire thing by cutting a piece of cardboard the same dimensions as the camera strap, turning the cover right-side-out, and seeing if the cardboard fit easily, which it did.  Then I turned it wrong-side-out again, and trimmed the seam to about 1/4″.

Sewing the pieces for the patchwork side.

Sewing the pieces for the patchwork side to the piece for the underside.

I turned it right-side-out again, and handstitched a hem for each opening.

Right side out, hemmed and pressed.

Right side out, hemmed and pressed.

I see I included a piece of the living room curtains as well!  (A leftover scrap, not an actual piece of the curtains.)  As you can see from the top photo, it tends to ride up a little bit, even though it fits perfectly when lying flat.  If I were to make another one, I might add an extra half inch to each end.  But it’s fine.

It was good fun, took just a few hours, and the best thing was her surprise, as she realised I had been pretty sneaky!

I wish you all a great weekend.



  1. What a great gift this is. Love the idea !!

  2. What a lovely idea, a cover full of memories. And what a sweet girl. Blessings, from Pam in Norway, hope your weekend is a very nice one.

  3. Such a thoughtful gift. Very cool!

  4. What a brilliant idea. It would make a very colourful tie too!

  5. Such a memorable and thoughtful gift. The Dafter will always treasure it I’m sure. She looks lovely, happy, and healthy in the picture.

  6. What an amazing gift, I love it!

  7. Wow, fantastic! So creative.

  8. So personal and full of meaning – the best sort of gift! The construction looks awfully mathematical to me. Quite scary…

  9. Hi Christine,

    Wow that is a beautiful picture of your darling daughter and again a gorgeous heart centred hand made gift. Happy 17th Birthday

  10. Handmade gifts are always the best. Dafter looks very well in this picture, I hope her progress continues in an upward pattern. xx

  11. It’s brilliant, and I love that the pieces came from other items; it’s a memory box in itself!

  12. What a fabulous gift – and so cleverly made (in all respects)!

  13. Thank you everyone! I was very relieved it turned out fine. Thanks also for your good wishes for the Dafter. She has been quite unwell the past while, but all we can do is be patient and positive, and try to enjoy life.

  14. How wonderful!!! I love all the special bits of fabric!!!! I’m so glad you managed to keep this a surprise! Love the picture of the Dafter with the camera on.

  15. what a thoughtful gift! I am very impressed with your drafting skills … somehow I can never get things like that to measure up.

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