Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Fabric Nail File Sleeve Tutorial

I previously showed you the gifts I made for my boys' teachers for their birthdays.  Click here to see those.

Today I'm going to show you how I made those fabric nail file covers.

  • Outer fabric:  1.75" wide by 14.25" long
  • Inner fabric:  1.75" wide by 14.25" long
  • Pellon Peltex 72F Double Sided Fusible Interfacing*:  1.75" wide by 14.25" long
  • Thread (matching or contrasting, your choice)
  • Pinking shears
  • Marking pen of your choice
*I already had this Pellon Peltex 72F on hand, and it was perfect for this application.  It is fairly sturdy and it has heat-set adhesive on both sides.  However, you could use many different products.  You could adhere regular interfacing (not lightweight) to one of your fabrics and just stack the other on top.  You could also use Wonder Under to adhere your fabrics together, but you may not have the structure needed for the sleeve to hold its shape.  Fusible fleece is another option.  I'd love to hear comments from anyone who tries this project with a different interfacing.

Start by cutting your fabrics and Peltex.

Follow the manufacturer's instructions to adhere your fabrics to the Peltex (confession:  I didn't use a damp press cloth, and it turned out just fine).

This is what your fabrics should look like now.  The fabrics are back-to-back with the Peltex sandwiched in the middle.

Lay your project flat with the "inner" fabric facing up.  Measure 7+ 5/8 inches down from the top and draw a line across the fabric.  The pink fabric with the birds is my inner fabric, and the floral fabric is my outer fabric.

Sew on the line.  You're not making a seam here.  You're actually creating a fold line for later.  It makes it easier to fold this thick fabric sandwich exactly where you want to.  This is the same idea as scoring cardstock before you fold it.

My pen disappears with heat, so one quick pass with my hot iron got rid of the black line.  You can leave your line since it's on the inside and won't be visible after the project is complete.

Next, sew a line 1/4 inch from the bottom edge.  Again, you're not making an actual seam.  This is how we finish off the edge that will rest in front of the nail file.

Now use your pinking shears to finish off that short side where you just sewed.  I have a fancy pair of scallop pinking shears.

Now that this edge is finished and pretty, we're ready to finish constructing the fabric sleeve.

Fold along that stitched folding line.  Your pretty finished edge should not reach the top (the front half is a little shorter than the back half).

Start stitching at the lower left corner of your fabric sleeve.  You'll be starting at the fold.   Your stitch line should be 1/4 inch from the edge (I use my presser foot as a guide).

Sew along this long side.  Backstitch at the beginning of your seam.  Stop when your needle is 1/4 inch from the short edge (which is actually the top, but your nail file sleeve is fed in bottom first).  Leave your needle in the project, lift your presser foot, turn your project so you're ready to sew along the short side, and put your presser foot back down.

Sew along the short (top) side, again 1/4 inch from the edge.  Stop again at the other corner (1/4 inch from next long edge).  Do the same maneuver for turning your work with your needle in the corner.

Continue sewing along the other long edge.  Good thing we already finished that short edge that's now in front. :)

Backstitch when you reach the fold edge at the end of this seam.

Now that our fabric sleeve is fully constructed, we just have to make it a little prettier (and keep the edges from unraveling).

Use your pinking shears to cut outside the seam around the whole project.  I must warn you that it's a little difficult to cut through all those layers.  My hand was a misshapen claw by the time I was done.  It's worth a little pain to make something pretty.

Add a nail file, and you have a cute gift!

This little fabric cover will keep the nail file from scratching everything else in your purse (or the gift recipient's purse).  I think these measurements will fit most nail files.  This sleeve is snug enough to keep the file in, but you can easily grab the exposed end and pull it out.

I'd love to hear from anyone who makes one of these!



  1. I made one of these today and the dimensions were perfect. Thank you for writing this tutorial.