I have finally finished sewing on the outside fabric, and the bottom has been fabric-covered and stitched in place, too.  It doesn’t look much different from the last time, I must admit.



The strip of fabric hanging from the back of the box will be the hinge.  It will be sandwiched between the lid pieces in the same way that it is sewn into the sides of the box.  It will be awhile before the lid goes on, since it will be a crazy patchwork piece, with some applique and embroidery on it, and I haven’t made it yet.  That’s the plan, anyway.

I know that many boxmakers use glue and gummed paper to put their creations together, but I am such a loser with glue…it always either gets smeared outside the fabric, or it oozes out of corners and just isn’t pretty.  I’m much better with a needle and thread, so that’s the way I roll.  I do get inspiration from books about boxmaking, regardless of technique, and so I was very happy to get this, earlier this week:













A Japanese book, with examples of fabric boxes made with the gummed paper and glue technique.  I ordered this from, and was very pleased with their service.  The prices are good, and shipping was fast.  I don’t know why Japanese boxmaking books seem to have French titles.  I have another one called “Le Coffret”.  This book also seems to have an article about shopping in Paris (it’s hard to tell, exactly, since I can’t read a word of Japanese).   The box projects are lovely, and easily converted to my sewing methods. 

Japanese craft books are really inspiring.  They’re also pretty easy to follow, if you know the basics of a particular craft.  They always have step-by-step photos, and there are often helpful illustrations included, too.  I wouldn’t try learning an entirely new craft from one, unless you read the language.  The photos are gorgeous and artistic, and if you’re tired of the focus on beginner projects that is such a feature of North American craft books, you will be impressed by the sophistication and complexity of Japanese books.  There are lots of sellers on Ebay who specialize in these books, and there are some good prices to be found there, too.


It’s a bit of a gray day here, which makes photography  challenging.  I wanted to show you my box in progress anyway.


I’m using a curved needle to stitch the poppy fabric to the top edge of the box.  You can see the needle and thread hanging off the left side of the box, waiting for me to get another minute to work on it.

There is rejoicing in Ottawa…the bus strike is over.  The bad news is that it could take weeks before full service is restored, especially where we are in the ‘burbs.

I covered the side pieces with lining fabric last night while American Idol was on.  It’s a good show for that–I don’t have to see everything that’s happening onscreen while I’m stitching.  And there are a couple of things I only wish I hadn’t seen.  It was easy to lace the fabric over the pieces of Sintra, not slippery at all.


This morning, I cut a piece for the box bottom and laced fabric over that as well.  I’ve pinned the pieces together so you can see how the inside of the box will look when they’re sewn (tonight’s TV project).  The red blobs you see on the corners are the heads of my pins.


Soon, all that lacing will be covered with the Poppy fabric and the lid preparation will begin.

I have been resisting the urge to make a new fabric box.  I signed up for a quilt block-of-the-month project and a sock “club”, and I didn’t want to create a whole bunch of unfinished things before things started arriving in the mail.  Also, I want to have the Clapotis done before I start knitting more socks.

But the post office is being painfully slow!  So I am going to make a new box.  Besides, I’m going to need a fresh box design for a Secret Sister exchange.  Yeah, that’s it.


The poppy fabric is a Hoffman print, from around 1999.  I’m going to use it for the outside covering.  The lining will be a coordinating fabric with a basketweave design.  The box will have a hinged lid, I think, and a crazy quilt design on top.  As you can see, I pulled out a few threads and beads for inspiration.

Normally, I use illustration board for the box structure.  It’s inexpensive and sturdy, but it also quickly disintegrates when wet.  I thought it would be fun to try a lightweight plastic for better water resistance, so I bought some small pieces of Sintra (an expanded PVC sheet).  It’s only 2mm thick, about the same as the illustration board.  It cuts pretty easily with my rotary cutter, and I can’t wait to lace some fabric over the pieces to see how that goes.

I’ll be teaching my fabric covered box class at Quilty Pleasures next month.  If you enjoy hand sewing, join me on two Fridays, October 17th and 24th from 10 a.m. to noon and I’ll show you how to make one.  The small, hexagonal box pictured above is about 4 inches deep, and 7 inches wide, measured between opposite sides.  The class fee of $35 includes precut cardboard support pieces.  I do that so we can spend as much time as possible on sewing, and I will also give you instructions for cutting your own pieces so you can make more boxes later.

I use mine for holding sewing supplies, but they make great gift boxes, and look lovely covered in Christmas fabric.  If you’d like to see one in person, there’s a box on display at the store.  They have an amazing selection of quilting fabrics and supplies, too.

I haven’t been a full-time student for 10 years now, but September still feels like the beginning of a new year.  September is when I look back at the goals I have achieved, and make plans for the future.

And I will be going back to school in a sense.  I’ll be teaching my favourite class at Quilty Pleasures in October…fabric covered boxes.  If you’re available on a couple of Friday mornings next month, and you enjoy hand sewing, why not join me?  The class details weren’t available on the web site last time I checked, but should be posted there soon.  It will be October 17th and 24th, from 10 a.m. until noon.  The box is a six-sided construction, about 4 inches tall and 7 inches wide.  The fee is a very reasonable $35, and includes pre-cut cardboard pieces for the box frame.

I know a visual would help here, and once the batteries charge up for my camera, I’ll post a photo of my favourite box.  I’ve also finished the Halcyon socks, and am eager to show them off.  They’re the best-fitting pair I’ve ever knit, due entirely to switching to the 2-circular needle method of knitting them, which allowed me to try them on at any point during construction.  Neat!