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After making my first glass rod carrier, I made one for a fellow lampworker in my class. I took loads of pictures along the way so I thought I would make a tutorial. The measurements are what I used, based on the length of the glass rods (33cm/13″) and how wide I wanted my roll to be. The width of the roll could be adjusted to accommodate fewer pockets for glass rods.
- patterned woven fabric (outside and flap)
- white broadcloth or calico
- clear vinyl plastic
- lightweight iron-on interfacing
- 2.8m / 3 yards – coordinating cotton bias binding (12mm / 1/2″ width)
- 4m / 4.4 yards polyester belting/webbing and matching width side clip plastic buckles
- 1.5m / 1.6 yards round white elastic
- thread: white and coordinating to fabric and bias binding
Main Piece: fabric, broadcloth, interfacing, plastic
Inside Flap: fabric, broadcloth, interfacing
Rod Pocket: broadcloth
I cut out the fabric pieces but did not round the corners immediately.
I pressed the rod pocket along the fold:
You can see the length of the glass rod, and how far it will protrude from the pocket once sewn.
I made the edges rounded by tracing around a ramekin from my kitchen. I did all the edges at one time so that they would be as consistent as possible:
Iron the interfacing onto the back of the Main Piece Broadcloth
Now its time to mark the main fabric section for the pocket dividers. Along the bottom edge I marked measurements for the pocket dividers. I measured 1.5cm from the edge, and then every 3cm until I got close to the end. The last three pockets were 1.5cm, finishing about 1.5cm from the side edge.
I then measured up from the bottom edge of the main piece, 1/2cm short of where the top of the rod holder would end. I drew a straight line across the main piece, parallel with the bottom edge, and marked off the 3cm divisions along the line. These divisions should line up with the marks just made along the bottom edge.
Now to fit the rod pocket piece. I used pins to mark the divisions since I didn’t want to leave pencil marks visible. The divisions on the rod pocket are at a ratio of 1:1.5, so since the divisions on the main fabric section are 3cm apart, the divisions on the rod pocket section are 4.5cm apart (until the narrow pockets at the end… I made those 2.5cm apart). The difference in space allows for lots of glass rods to fit in a single pocket. I placed pins along both edges of the rod pocket piece.
Pinning the rod pocket to the main piece was a little tricky, I had to push the marking pins in the rod pocket, through the marks on the main fabric piece, lining them up properly to create the pockets.
I then trimmed off the excess fabric from the rod pocket.
Now its time to sew down each pocket. I did a straight stitch, starting from the bottom edge going to the top of the rod pocket, and then reverse-stitching the whole way back for durability. I used a quilting guide set at 3cm to help keep my stitch lines parallel.
After sewing between each pocket, I ironed the pocket “bubbles” down to create folds, all in the same direction. I tried to keep the fold within the space of each pocket, that is: not over the stitch line for the next pocket. I then stitched along the bottom edge, about 1cm from the edge.
To work out where to place the elastic, I laid the Inside Flap piece in position and placed the elastic where it looked the best, just below where the flap would lay. I measured using a ruler, directly upwards from the top of each rod pocket divider and used pins as markers. This was to work out where I needed to stitch down the elastic.
I used chopsticks to create space under the elastic for the glass rods to fit underneath.
After pinning all the elastic down, I sewed the sections as followed: zig-zag satin stitch to cover the pinned points (the width was just enough to cover the elastic but the machine needle grazed the edges of the elastic to secure it), then straight stitch between the zig-zags with the needle position to one side. I made a little video to show this better.
Click here for the video on YouTube. (opens in new window)
Time to make the Inside Flap! First, iron the interfacing onto the broadcloth, then lay the printed cotton fabric together with the interfaced broadcloth (right sides facing out).
Now to attach the bias binding. I always start on the back/inside of the fabric. Unfolding one edge of the binding, I lay the binding down (unfolded edge closest to the edge I want to bind). I always make sure I ease around the corners, and just in case of poor pinning, I leave the remaining length of binding uncut – just in case I end up with too much or too little binding after stitching. To sew, I position the needle directly in the fold of the binding.
I also sewed a straight line about 1cm from the binding free edge to secure the layers of fabric. Then, I trim the fabric in the seam allowance of the bias, being careful not to cut the bias binding itself.
I then fold the binding around to the front, over the raw edges and pinning the folded bias binding edge to the fabric. I try to make sure the bias tape covers my previous stitching line. Then, the bias is stitched down, as close to the folded edge of the bias as possible.
The inside flap is done!
At this point, all the parts for the inside of the roll are done: the flap, the rod carrier and elastic holders. Before I can assemble the roll, I need to put handles and clips on the outside.
I pinned the plastic to the fabric making sure to pin very close to the edge (about 1/2cm). The pinholes remain in the plastic permanently so I didn’t want them seen once the roll was complete. I placed masking tape across the width of the roll, roughly where I want the handles to join to the bag. I drew my measure marks on the masking tape, rather than the plastic. I measured about 15cm/6″ down from the top and bottom edges on both lines of tape. The straps will be laid across these markings.
Attaching the straps was a little complicated. Hopefully it will all make sense in the end!
In the first picture below you can see the strap taped down across the lower third of the bag (they are in line with the marks I made previously). There’s about 40cm/16″ of extra strap length past the masking tape strip on the left. This is for one of the straps. The second picture shows the inside bit of the buckle on the strap. At the end of the strap, I have double folded the tip to prevent fraying and pulling through the buckle (third picture).
Next, I created the first handle loop (about 80cm/31.5″) around the right side of the roll, and across the top third marked line.
You can see above that I taped the top section of strap down as I did with the bottom one. I attached the second inside bit of the buckle and turned the end of the strap in, just the same as the first one. The second strap was made out of a completely separate piece of webbing. I measured an extra 5cm/2″ on the length to allow for the ends to be turned under. I pinned the turned ends of the handle piece to the strap only, not through the plastic yet. I checked that the two straps were an even length and made any necessary adjustments.
Back to the other end now, I had to attach the clip casing sections. Two small lengths of webbing were cut, fed through the clip casing end and secured under the handles on the right, making sure the ends of the clip did not go past the edge of the roll fabric.
Since everything was placed where I wanted it, I pinned down all the webbing were I needed to sew, removing the masking tape as I went along. I used a wide satin stitch zig-zag, sewing both across and along sections of the webbing, particularly concentrating on the sections that needed most reinforcement (ie near the handles and clips). I also stitched the ends of the straps down with zig zag satin stitch. You can see the stich pattern on the reverse of the fabric in the middle picture here.
Finally… its time to assemble the layers and bind the edges of the roll. The inside flap was positioned slightly inside the edges of the main fabric section. The binding was attached in the same was as for the flap, however since it goes around the entire piece of fabric I folded the end in first.
Before stitching, I taped Magic Tape over the stitch plate on my machine… a little hard to see in the picture, but it helps the plastic slide along more easily. Once I stitched the binding in, I trimmed the excess at a slight angle, to reduce bulk. I thin trimmed the excess fabric in the seam allowance of the binding, same as before. Turned the binding to the right side, pinned and sewed it down. I used more Magic Tape under the presser foot.
The rod carrier is complete! Funnily, it took longer to write this tutorial than to make the roll itself!!
Thanks so much for reading my tutorial!
Since starting classes in Lampwork glass bead making, I discovered the need for a better glass rod transportation system to get my glass rods to class. The first method I used was bundling the rods in post tubes, but I found it difficult to see what colours I had, an I always cut my hands trying to get glass out of the tube! I bought a toolbox, which was great for a while, until I ended up with so much glass I couldn’t see the colours at the bottom.
A sewing solution was in order! Inspired by the rolls painters use to transport their brushes, also knitters storing knitting needles, I made a roll up storage bag.
Here are the pics of the results:
The bag rolled up – clips and handles.
From the side you can see how it rolls up.
Starting to unroll, the flap inside covers the sharp tips of the glass and protects them from bashing into each other.
Unrolled, the rods are colour organised, I can see what colours I have straight away. The elastic strap keeps them from toppling one way or the other. Also the white inside makes it easier to tell what the transparent colours are.