It was a present on the occasion of her completing sefer Yehoshua (Joshua) in English, with the Me'am Loez commentary for her birthday (we do siyyumim-which-are-more-or-less-birthday-parties in this family), which would take you or me about a week but was a major project for this kid.
It was a surprise. Loops goes through phases alternating pink-pink-pink with I'm-tired-of-pink-my-favorite-colors-are-orange-and-green. Right now we are in a pink phase so it had to be pink pink pink.
I could have bought her a sewing kit that comes in a cunning box with latches and trays, but I didn't see anything I liked.
It's not as if Loops has been clamoring to sew. So everything had to be as pretty and pleasant and painless to use as possible. I wanted a kit with good scissors and a retractable tape measure.
Push-button tape measures are even better than push-button umbrellas, and my mother carries a supply of them in her purse to amuse babies she meets in the park, but for some reason they haven't entered popular imagination as the tape measure in the way that when you think of an umbrella you automatically think of a retractable one.
So, I couldn't find a pre-packaged sewing kit that contained good scissors and a retractable tape measure, and although it occurred to me afterward that I could have bought a tackle box (with cunning latches and trays) for less than the fabric, I made Loops a hussif, aka housewife: a roll-up sewing kit, with a designated pocket for everything.
You can see historical examples of them here or here.
Here it is all rolled up and being pink and satiny.
Then you untie and unroll it and it's full of pockets.
1 pair Fiskar sewing scissors
Thread in white, black, pink, yellow, and tomato red (colors selected by recipient)
1 retractable tape measure
1 pair stork scissors. These are more or less redundant to the Fiskars but it is nice to have a tiny pair of scissors for delicate snipping, and besides, every kid should have stork scissors.
1 seam ripper
1 wand magnet
1 collection pearl-headed pins and fine needles, stuffed in a heart-shaped pincushion which is not too big to squeeze them out of when they inevitably get lost in it.
For an adult I would substitute glass-headed silk pins, which slide through fabric like butter, but Loops loves my pearly ones.
To make it:
I took a piece of quilting cotton 40 x 19 inches, folded it the long way ("hot dog"), ironed fusible interfacing on the inside to give it some heft, and sewed it shut.
Now I have a slightly stiffened pink rectangle which measures 40 x 9.5 in.
I draped aqua fabric over the scissors and cut it to size, so the dimension of that piece is (width of scissors' widest point plus a couple of inches) x 9.5 in.
I cut a slimmer rectangle of the same fabric (about 2" x 9.5") to be the lid for the pocket.
Same thing for thread.
I used two adhesive velcro dots to close each pocket. This works: it keeps the scissors & thread in, and isn't annoying to open.
The heart-shaped pockets were, again, draped to fit the tape measure and stork scissors; I cut two pink hearts and sewed them to two yellow satin hearts so they have satin lining and I didn't have to finish the edges. I didn't include room for velcro to close these pockets, so they don't close, which means you get stork scissors in your lap every time you open the hussif.
I made a narrow, side-opening pocket for the seam ripper. This works.
I took a strip of magenta cotton with finished edges and put velcro on it so you can thread it through the hole in the magnet handle and stick it to itself. This works.
The pincushion was a heart with finished edges, sewn to the base and stuffed with animal stuffing. This works well enough; you still get pricked (Loops will put the pins in sideways), but it's easy to use.
I rounded off the bottom corners to be pretty.
I pinned on all the pockets, sewed along the base of each one, basted down the sides, sewed some pink trim across a few that looked like they would benefit from decoration, and sandwiched the whole perimeter in pink alachson (can you tell I like that word?) -- bias tape.
Then I rolled it up and tacked a giant pink satin ribbon in the middle to the back, so the hussif ties shut with a bow.
If I were to do it again I think I'd add a pocket to store all the "cabbage" Loops always claims from my sewing projects and saves for some unknown future project.
I'd also roll it up the other way, I think; it feels counter-intuitive to unroll from the bottom.
These are minor points.
We're pleased. It had the desired effect: Loops suddenly has all sorts of ideas for the things she wants to sew, now that she has pretty pockets full of pretty sewing supplies.