oyster card holder v2.0 (more pocketses!)

After having done it once, and seeing that the two pockets I’d made weren’t enough for the cards I was starting to need to carry (driver’s license, M & S card, oyster card, credit card, some cash and a few business cards), I decided to make a second version with more pockets. I’d especially liked the diagonal pocket, so I made two of them.

I cut out the pieces carefully, even though I didn’t bother measuring them.


I then pinned the edges of the pockets so I could get nice angles on them.


This side will have one full-length pocket in which I will hide the oyster. See it never needs to be removed to be used, it can work through the oyster card holder’s fabric, which means I can put it in the nearest-to-the-outside pocket, and hide it completely from view quite safely.


After stitching all around the flipped “innards” of the holder, I cut the edges closer to the seam with crimping scissors. This means that when I flip it inside-out, the edges will be less poofy. (what do you mean, “poofy” isn’t a technical term?)


Ta daaaa!

As I was making it, I decided to add a strap. I cut a length of fabric about 5cm wide in the diagonal of the fabric to make sure it will have some extra stretch, and stitched it inside-out along the long edge. This made for a tube, which I trimmed close to the seam and flipped inside-out to get a simple strap. I then anchored the strap between the “innards” (green pockets of the inside) and the blue rip-stop canvas outer, and made sure it stayed put when I stitched around the edge.


This is the oyster card holder v2.0 in use.





Oyster card holder in 30min

A few weeks ago I was handed a cute oyster card holder from some guys advertising specsavers at waterloo station. Having moved back to london more or less that week, i took one and started using it. Yesterday, it split in two and became unusable.

In the few weeks i’ve had it, i’ve discovered that if i add my cafe loyalty cards and a credit card in there (and sometimes my driver’s license for picking up things at the post office) it becomes my “pop to the shops” or “night out with a teenie handbag” wallet. So when it broke, i was left with a bigger problem than i had imagined an oyster card holder could create.

My immediate thought was, of course, “easy, i’ll make one”. So i did. Here are the photos of me making my first ever – and slightly wonky – oyster card holder in about 30min. Complete with sewing machine deployment and re-tidy. Yes, speed was essential. I was going out.

Step one: my big fat canvas backing

I forgot to take a photo of that… I underestimated the length of canvas I would need and cut it way too short! So I had to go back and cut a nice long strip again for the entire back of the oyster holder. One doesn’t realise quite how long two oyster cards can be!

Step two: ok, so i’m not going to iron these into shape… Ah! Let’s sew them on the flip side!

I originally thought I would sew the pieces flat onto the canvas. Then I realised I’d want nicely trimmed / rolled edges, to I tried rolling them under the edge and pinning them down. That didn’t work. I would have needed to iron them. Or have fingers a large as a newborn’s. Neither were going to happen, i’m 34 and was in a rush. So I just sewed them together as you would a little pouch, inside out, guaranteeing myself a nice even finish once I flipped them.


Step three: i should’ve done it on one big piece…

As an amusing replay of the canvas being too short, I didn’t think of cutting one long piece of the green fabric to make the inner backing of the folding oyster holder. So I had to stitch the two halves together before placing the long piece with flipped pockets onto the canvas for that final stitch around the edges.


Step four: niiice and easy

This last stitch is the most visible piece of the oyster holder. I also, bravely for someone in such a rush and refusing to use a ruler, decided to do that in yellow thread. I had to be very very very careful when running that last stitch! I also used a longer stitch length, which makes the stitches themselves more visible and more decorative. (they look more like dashes than like a dotted line)


Step five: ok, it’s a bit wonky, but it works!!

So here it is. Completed and used. I ran out of the house about 5 minutes later and was flashing it to a bus driver’s yellow oyster sensor a couple of minutes after that.



The one thing I forgot was to add some kind of marker for which side to have facing me, so I would know which side the oyster card is on. It’s important, as that’s the side you want to touch to the oyster NFC sensors (near field communication) in tube stations and buses. But hey, it worked!

And of course the star of the show: my beloved Singer from 1919. Such a joy working on that every time!!



What do Marilyn, Liberty, Selfridges, Laduree, Westwood and TopShop have in common?

… they all were part of my (lovely) weekend 🙂

Saturday involved homemade english breakfast, a short (first ever) visit to the National Portrait Gallery (wow!), tea at Laduree, shopping at Liberty (!!) and a lovely movie with George Clooney. That, and changing a handbag lining. But more on that below.

Marilyn dress finds owner

Finally, after many tribulations involving flights, post offices, mailmen and snow, The Marilyn Dress has found its rightful owner!

This is my friend, N., modeling the dress. The feedback I got was that it’s going to be tough to find the right bra for it (indeed I have no idea how Marilyn herself pulled it off – or kept it in, as it were…), and that the skirt’s fullness (720 degrees of material sewn into 360 degrees of waist) is wonderful and very glamorous.

Now all we need is a Hollywood-style evening to wear it to. Us girls should get our diaries out and coordinate some massive charity ball or something, because we’re not rich enough to afford such an event on our own money. However, we are definitely good at getting things done and having fun (and 3 of us have already coordinated large events). So maybe later this year we’ll have some interesting news, born from a random comment while walking around Knightsbridge, dreaming of when we’d get to wear our lovely evening dresses…

Shopping at Liberty: Vivienne Westwood rocks!

As for Liberty… Well… I came across this stunning Vivienne Westwood dress… And I couldn’t resist. The pictures are from net-a-porter (where it was overpriced AND sold out), that’s not me!! It’s my first designer dress, and I’m very very excited to have added it to my wardrobe. I’ll be peeking at it for construction tips in the future, me thinks 🙂

Selfridge’s inspiring window

On my saturday-shopping-in-London day, I came across this window at Selfridge’s on oxford street that truly inspired me, and I had to share it.

I’ve said this before, but I’ve just finished losing weight (reached my target weight last week!!!) and as a result I have a bit of a messy wardrobe. There’s various shapes and sizes, and I need to go through it and toss things. Most acquisitions having occurred since I started working full time 5 years ago (which is when I started piling on the pounds) are often of a hide-my-shape nature. Despite always being fond of body-con, once you reach a well-padded size 14, you want to hide, even in body-con clothes.

So a lot of the stuff I have is darker, boring, drab… And I want to rejuvenate it. Because I’m in the best shape I’ll ever be (30 years old, with a body tighter and smaller than when I was 16!!) and I want to enjoy it while it lasts (aka before children and serious old age happen). And this quote on the Selfridge’s window about sorting through your clothes and making sure you love each and every one of them hit a chord. Because when you love your clothes, getting dressed in the morning becomes joyful, and you spend the rest of the day in the afterglow of knowing you are wearing lovely things and looking your best. I would like my clothes to mirror my new self: to be the best, and happiest, they can be.

TopShop handbag lining

In more practical news, a handbag I have been using for maaaaybe 2 months (tops) has already fallen to shreds. Well, the lining has.

TopShop’s leather handbags are usually very well made and quite solid, but this one seems to have been the exception that (hopefully) confirms the rule. Within 3 weeks the lining had already started to tear. You see, whoever created the handbag thought that it would be smart to line it in the flimsiest, most shreddable light little cotton… For the record, sir (women know that lining needs to be _solid_), you are a twit. And please don’t do it again.

So now I have a choice. Go hunting for my next handbag and spend another £50-100, or change the lining. Naturally, being offered to customise a handbag interior, I pounced. You see, I LOVE pockets. And I love special linings. So I’m replacing the awful TopShop material with a reinforced colourful silk one. Plus London Fashion Weekend is coming up next month, so I should hold off shopping around until then (there’s some great things there!)

I had scraps from the Marilyn dress and from my Medieval gown, and I used them to make me a new reinforced lining. I’ve put on 2 small internal pockets and one larger zippered one, and I plan on making a small makeup/whatnot pouch to match the lining for carrying some bigger clutter necessities I always have with me (swiss army knife, permanent marker, hand sanitizer, lip balm…)

Here is the lining with the pockets attached. Tonight I will sew it into the bag, and add a bottom, so I can use it tomorrow. Yey!! Not only do I end up with a more functional bag, but I save money, have fun, and improve the bag a hundredfold! A peek of beautiful lining makes the difference between quality designs and high street junk. Have I mentioned that Sewing Rocks!!?! 🙂