Posts Tagged sewing box
Like Picasso, I am going through a ‘period’ where I favour certain colours. Unlike Picasso, mine is red not blue. Also, unlike Picasso I’m not an incredibly talented, world famous artist but, let’s not quibble – I’m not Spanish either.
Last October, when I went to visit my friend who was housesitting, I found this slubbly spotted linen and immediately thought it would lend itself to one of my hexagonal work boxes. Finally, I have got around to making it. I used, on the inside, a linen blend fabric I found at a craft fair which is a finer weave and more suited to the interior.
Meanwhile, my little sewing group has been working on this pattern we found in a French crafts magazine from back in 2000 and, although I am quite pleased with the result, it was a pain in the derrière to make. The instructions were really bad – and don’t blame my French, as my two fellow group members are French so it wasn’t my fault.
It’s quite sweet though and when I have figured out exactly where to insert the piece of wooden dowelling – no suggestions please! – it can be hung from a hook and, when you want your needles, threads, etc. you unhook the ribbons and – voila!
What I love the most though is this gorgeous teapot which I made from my blogging friend RicRac‘s awesome pattern. I just love it. I will have a go at the cup and saucer next .
And, finally, my plan to do a patchwork block a week with my group commenced with the ‘Tumbling Blocks’ pattern as it came first in the sampler book I have and is fairly straightforward. Also, I am determined to stop being a slave to my machine and I am only going to do the hand pieced blocks which is much more sensible – and sociable – when you are round somebody else’s house. Everybody will be needing different coloured thread and constantly rethreading the sewing machine then trundling away at 90 mph is not conducive to socialising and, in my case, learning French. So, I’m getting out the Sharps no. 8s (and needle threader) for these blocks. I don’t know what I am making yet but if I keep the colour scheme similar, if I want to and have made enough blocks, it could become a quilt.
Did you guess it was going to be red? (obviously not the finished item – 4 more tumbling blocks to go and, even though my hand quilting isn’t brilliant, it won’t be as large as these tacking stitches – just saying…)
Anyway, apart from the blocks which I am going to do at the weekly group, all my current projects are finished. SO! Does this mean I can go back to Madamoiselle Tialys’ 18th birthday quilt which should have been finished last August but is still languishing in the cupboard? Yes. Well, hopefully. By the time she either has her 19th birthday or, failing that, leaves for University, I will have that quilt finished and wrapped up to present to her. And, this time, I won’t be asking for it back in order to finish it. That’s the plan anyway. By the way, if you have forgotten or didn’t see my earlier posts on the subject – her quilt is predominantly red. I’m spotting a theme.
Happy Jubilee long weekend to everybody back in the ‘old country’ – I’ll definitely be putting up some bunting and coming over all ‘monarchist’ on Sunday – I’ve even got my souvenir issue of the Radio Times with the new portrait on the front – can’t quite decide about that portrait but let’s just say I’m glad it’s not of me.
At the Patchwork Group yesterday, two of my ‘pupils’ had finished their hexagonal boxes. Andrée has made hers in a marine blue colour with floral interior and now shows newcomers how it’s done in much better french than mine – but, as she is French, I’m not too ashamed. Sandra has made hers in a lovely ditsy floral pattern with gold highlights and, inside, a marbled pink. Apologies for the photo quality but I forgot my kick ass one and only had my casio. When they have all finished I am going to take a lovely one of a pile of all the finished boxes.
This is the one I made as the instructional model – is that even a proper term?
A bit of a Japanese touch going on here with this striking fabric from Kokka.
Do you remember when I told you I had joined a Patchwork Group, mainly to improve my French but also to maybe learn some new skills? (if you don’t, it’s here )
Well, for the past two weeks I have been showing the rest of the group how to make one of my hexagonal étui boxes and, as the written instructions are in English, I have been talking them through it in French. There have been some mistakes made! Partly because they are so impatient and keep getting ahead of themselves before I have shown them properly how to do it but, partly because I have been making them for so long the things that seem obvious to me, like not leaving a seam allowance when cutting out the gussets that hold up the sides, aren’t obvious to anybody else. One poor woman had inserted them but they were so big the box sides opened almost flat. Of course, I’m sure none of it is due to my command of the French language.
In return I am being taught how to do ’boutis’ and, so far, I have been told off as my stitches aren’t small enough and the ever helpful Michelle kindly pulled all my existing stitches out and suggested I start again. The indignity of it. Although I do have trouble with tiny stitches – I don’t know why – I think I have become too reliant on the sewing machine. I can do them when they are ‘invisible’ such as on my boxes but for quilting purposes and, now boutis, I find it difficult. Anyway, I will do my homework and see if I can get them smaller and make her proud.
As far as learning more of the language goes……the first week I sat next to the ‘doyenne’ of the group who everybody calls ‘Mamie’ (gran) – can you imagine doing that in the U.K. and not getting a slap? Anyway, she is 88, originally Spanish and insisted on talking to me with a knitting needle clamped between her teeth. I hope I nodded in the right places but I doubt it. As far as I’m concerned, the most useful word(s) in French is ‘d’accord’ which sort of means, ‘o.k.’, ‘alright’, ‘oh, I see’ and other things along those lines. I use it all the time.
This is the first of my two latest hexagonal sewing boxes to be finished. I really like this linen fabric with the vintage newsprint design and I’ve teamed it with some more muted linens so it has a very luxurious feel to it. I like to cater for all tastes and this one is very different from the recent Kawaii style one I made and the next one will be a more floral design but still lovely linen. I hope you like it.
more lovely linen inside -
Tadaaaa….here’s my latest Hexagonal Etui Box, shown in an earlier post in pieces – I don’t mess around you know! It might make a good first sewing box for a young crafter because of the ‘cute’ kawaii red riding hood theme.
I love the way Anna’s illustrated tape goes so well in the interior
I just need to put it all together now!
For some time I have had people ask me if I could do instructions for my étui boxes. I ummed and aahed and finally decided to do something about it. The hexagonal boxes I make were taken from a pattern I bought so that was out of the question but my small étui boxes are my own design so I have decided to offer the instructions as a pdf file in my Etsy and Artfire shops.
Firstly, I had to make a box from scratch and, at each stage, take a photograph and note down the steps taken.
Then I had to work out how to convert the document into a pdf file of a manageable size.
Then, I needed guinea pigs as, when you have been making something for ages, you forget that what seems obvious to you will not seem so obvious to somebody who is making their first étui box. I asked a friend to test out my instructions and make her own box and then give me her feedback , criticisms and comments. I remembered somebody who had contacted me on Etsy to ask if I intended doing instructions and tracked her down to offer her a free pdf file in exchange for trying out the tutorial. This poor woman then received a file so enormous that it must have taken hours to download!! I have now learnt how to shrink them!
I would say you need a certain amount of skill and competence with a needle to complete one of my étui boxes to a high standard but if you like designing, cutting, sticking and sewing, I think you will find it a fun project.
These make great little sewing boxes, treasure boxes, memory keepers, trinket holders and also beautiful (if extravagant) gift boxes. I gave a friend of mine one which held a little pair of hand-knitted baby shoes and she was delighted.
It’s great fun to think up different themes for your boxes and an unusual way to display favourite fabrics. The top picture was made using some 5″ squares from a charm pack along with a 10″ square of the same fabric for the lid. Otherwise, a couple of fat quarters are all you need plus a strip of coordinating fabric for the little gussets. You may find you become addicted – like me!
I do ask that, if you use my instructions, you only make the boxes for personal use or in very small quantities for a craft fair for example and, of course, respect the fact that I have worked very hard on creating the tutorial and not reproduce it in any way.
Today I finished my newest Hexagonal étui box. This one has a very French feel to it as I’ve used some locally bought toile de jouy fabric and used some vintage French haberdashery to stage the photographs. I find it hard to photograph a 3D hexagonal shape and do justice to both the shape and the fabric. Any tips would be most welcome.
Tadaa! The finished article.
I’m really pleased with the way this one has turned out. I love the linen fabric, both inside and out, and the vintage images on the outside. I think the linen polka dot fabric goes really well too and I decided to stamp the plain linen on the inner base and lid with this gorgeous whimsical mannequin image from Stampington & Co.
I think I’ll make something quick and easy next, just for a rest.
Inspired by these gorgeous Japanese themed fabrics, which I found here in France, and my friend Maggie who is a Japanophile (must look up the right word for that!) I decided to make one of my Little Housekeeper étui boxes with a Japanese theme. I wanted to make a pagoda but couldn’t even begin to imagine how I would make a pagoda-shaped roof to fit one of my boxes without engaging in extremely complicated and time consuming calculations and engineering which would mean spending even more time than I already spend making one of these little houses. So, I faffed about with the fabric on the roof and used it on the bias, trying to suggest a sort of overlapping and overhanging effect.