Monday, September 22, 2014

TUTORIAL : How to make a (super adorable) USB Flash Drive case

Yes, you are in the right place.  And yes, this is not a recipe!  It's sewing-related!!!!

Remember this? Can't believe it's been more than two and a half years and still no tutorial.  I must really apologize for my lack of commitment to that promise.  To my readers who originally came here for the sewing, I am so sorry that you have found no sewing activity here for so long!

Since it's the school holidays, I made this plan to finally make the tutorial.  It seems I got too excited to sew, that yesterday, in between breakfast and lunch, I finished the whole thing!

Isn't that absolutely adorable?

This is in fact a one-sitting kind of project.  It's pretty easy.  However, I would still recommend it for people who have some sewing experience particularly in bias binding and sewing over multiple fabric layers and around curved seams.  I have had no practice in tutorial-making for sometime now so I might be making unclear instructions here and there that beginners will find hard to understand. Still, if you are new to sewing and are interested to make one of these cases, just consider it a challenge!



fabric scraps
small piece of fusible fleece
small piece of plastic
25" long two-inch wide bias tape**
one 2" long velcro
one key ring or swivel hook

**It is best to just make this yourself as you are only going to need a small length.  If you don't know how, learn from here.  You need to cut 2" wide strips.  Keep the tape open for now (no need to fold it).


1.  Download the pattern from here.  Print it out in Actual Size.

2.  Cut out the pattern pieces then use them to cut out your materials.

     A: Cut two pieces from outer fabric for the flaps .
     B: Cut one piece for the lining.
     C: Cut two pieces from fusible fleece.
     D: Cut two pieces from plastic.

     In addition, cut three 2"x 2" squares from outer fabric.

3.  Iron on fusible fleece to the back sides of the flap pieces.

4.  Take one of the 2" square pieces,  Fold it in half to create a crease then open again.  Fold two opposite sides towards the center crease then fold again to end up with a 1/2" wide strip. Iron.  Do this for the other two 2" squares.

5.  Take one of the strips and stitch along the two long sides, about 1/8" from the edges.  Insert your key ring (or swivel hook) then bring the raw edges together to make a loop.  Sew the raw edges together.

6.  Center your key ring loop on the straight side of one of your flap pieces.  Baste.

7.  With right sides facing (with key ring loop inside), sew the two flaps together.  Sew right where the end of the fusible fleece is.

8.  Open up your flaps, right side up.  The seams will naturally fold towards one side (in my case, downward), in the opposite direction of the key ring loop.  Topstitch very near the center stitching where the two flaps were sewn together, catching the seams at the back.

9.  Insert the remaining two 1/2" wide strips (from step 4) into the straight edges of your plastic pieces.  Topstitch close to the inside edges.

10.  With wrong sides facing, baste together your assembled flaps and lining.

11.  Position your two plastic pieces on the two ends then baste.  If you are having trouble with sewing over the plastic, stick a small piece of magic tape on the underside of your presser foot so it will move smoothly.

12.  Position your velcro 1" from the top of the curve on both ends. Stitch along the long sides of the velcro.  Cut off the excess velcro, following the shape of the curve.

13.  Fold one end of your open bias tape 1/4" in, then fold the whole length of the tape in half lengthwise and iron flat.

14.  Pin your bias tape to the plastic side of the case, aligning the raw edges.  Using a 1/4" allowance, sew the bias tape all around. (I did not find pinning necessary but I sewed very slowly.) When you reach the end, overlap the tape by about 1" then cut off the excess.

It doesn't really matter where you start sewing.  However, if you have a preferred front flap for your case, start sewing the bias tape on what would be the back flap.

15.  Turn the bias tape over to the other side.  If it seems too tight, trim a bit off the seam allowance.  Iron this if you need to but just remember there's plastic underneath!

16.  Slipstitch the bias tape by hand, making sure you are concealing the raw edges and any stitching.

Yay!  That's it!  Now put your flash drives into the plastic pockets. Secure with the velcro closure.

You can attach this to your bag, use it as a keychain or hang it somewhere near your computer.  Never misplace your flash drives again!

Hope you will have fun making this simple project!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Swiss Meringue Buttercream with Shortening

A few months ago, I bought a big tub of hi-ratio shortening with the intention of practicing piping buttercream flowers.  At the same time, I also wanted to learn a few other buttercream techniques that I knew could only be done with a crusting buttercream.  After making two batches of American-style buttercream, however, I confirmed what I already knew all along - I didn't like it!

And so my tub of shortening got shelved and forgotten until recently when I remembered to check it and realized that it was already nearing its "best before date".  The tub was still about 3/4 full so rather than having it all go to waste, I had to think of something to do with it.

Below is a recipe for Swiss meringue buttercream that uses some shortening.  While I have yet to test it in warm conditions, the shortening is supposed to make it more hot weather-friendly than one with pure butter.  I have always been hesitant to make frosting with shortening but I must admit that this has converted me.  It does taste wonderful plus it spreads really easily and smoothly.  Using hi-ratio shortening results in no greasy mouth feel that is typical of regular vegetable shortening.  The icing sugar adds some stability to the buttercream too and because it's just a small amount, it doesn't make the buttercream too sweet nor does it make it have that powdery, sugary texture.  While this version is a little bit heavier than normal swiss meringue buttercream, its stiffness makes it more ideal for piping.  I found that my roses came out a lot better!

The procedure is basically the same as normal SMBC.  If you haven't made that, just refer to this post as it has step by step photos.


3 eggwhites, room temperature
¾ cup granulated white sugar
1/2 cup sifted pure icing sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, very soft
6 tablespoons hi-ratio or all vegetable shortening (~85g)
pinch of salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a large, clean heatproof bowl, combine the eggwhites and sugar. Set the bowl over (but not touching) simmering water in a saucepan and heat the mixture, whisking constantly, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the mixture is very warm to the touch. Remove the bowl from the saucepan.

Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat the eggwhite mixture until it is fluffy, cooled to room temperature, and holds stiff peaks.  Add in the icing sugar then beat until well incorporated.

With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter and the shortening, about a tablespoon at a time. Beat on high speed until it is smooth and creamy. Add salt and vanilla extract and beat until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Before using, beat using the paddle attachment to knock off any excess air.

Here are two cakes I've made using this buttercream:

A mocha caramel cake -

Numeral cakes for a 40th birthday -

I loved how these cakes turned out so until my hi-ratio shortening runs out and most likely in the summer months too, I will be using this buttercream recipe.  Try it!