Tuesday, August 5, 2008

boxing helena!

My friend Shaun always used to call me that. I never figured out why, but it always made me laugh. It's coming up to his birthday which is why I'm thinking of him, I guess - he would have been thirty two this year.

I still miss you, Shaun. And when I see you afterwards, you can bet that's the first question I'm gonna ask.

Anyway, totally not how I intended to start this post - as I've been sewing this morning! And I've decided to venture into the wonderful world of tutorials! After finding this adorable little tutorial over at applehead http://applehead.typepad.com/applehead/2006/05/hey_presto_a_li.html , I lay awake at night (as I often do) wondering how I could apply this on a slightly larger scale. See, I've been wanting to buy boxes to fill the shelves in the baby's room, and after seeing this I began to think, maybe I could make my own...

(A side note - "Maybe I could make my own" is a phrase that my mum will be very happy to hear me using, as it's a principle she's tried hard to instill in me over the years)

So without further ado - the modifed Fabric Box Tutorial!!

Firstly, make your pattern. I managed to figure out (and it took a lotta brain cells) that (a) is the height of your box, and (c) x 2 is the width and depth. So in my case, (c) was 10cm, which doubles makes 20cm. I made mine 21cm high (a) and really, (b) is irrelevant. I just thought it looked more professional that way. (d) should be exactly the same as (c). (Wow, I suck at these!)

Next, take your awesome Ikea fabric (Fredrika!) and lay that sucker on there. Remember to double it over first! The edge I didn't name (and clearly should have) should be situated on a fold. My mum is like my dealer - she gets me access to stuff I can't get way out here. Thanks for being my fabric pimp, mum!

Cut that sucker out. Leave about 1cm seam allowance on all sides (not so important on the bottom seam, but still leave a little extra). At this point, if your kitty is weaving around your ankles and demanding that she be given a tidbit, it's probably best to oblige her so she leaves you alone.

Isn't it cute??? Looks like a little kimono.... no, calm down Helly, get this one finished first. That's next in the list.

Do the same with your felt, only don't bother leaving a cm of allowance. It'll help that sucker fit right in. I didn't have any nice, handmade felt, so I went and bought a length of the fake stuff. It'll serve this purpose! (Plus it's three days till pay day, so I went the cheaper option!) Again, make sure that bottom seam is on a fold.

Turn your fabric inside out and sew (a) to (a), like you were closing up the sleeves of a cute little kimono. I used a straight stitch.

Next, begin to curse and beat your machine as the thread tangles continuously and inexplicably. After restraining yourself from tossing it out the door (You'd really like to finish this project and get to that kimono, wouldn't you?) examine things closer and realise it wasn't the machines fault, it was the thread. Apologise profusely and re-thread, all the while promising you won't say such awful things to your beloved machine again.

Um, now.... bring (c) and (d) together. I don't really know how to explain it better, but, to quote a favourite Terry Pratchett line, "It'll be.... obvious, right?". So, sew along and close up the ends. And yes, that's my baby house in the picture. Say hi, baby! It's your first blog appearance!

Before you do that, you should decide which way you want your seam to lay and iron it flat, right? But hey... I forgot. Still, it worked out ok.

Voila! One Floppy Box!

Now, repeat the above steps with your felt insert, Ok, now bung your felt insert in, no need to turn it inside out obviously. Make sure it's gonna fit neatly. Also at the point, check to see whether it's upper edge is shorter than the fabric edge. If it's longer, take it out and trim so it sits about 1cm below the raw fabric edge. This'll become obvious why, because now you have to fold the fabric edge under the felt and pin it, getting ready to sew it down.

Which, when you've done it, should look like this! Yay! I sewed it about 1/2 cm from the edge.

Then, in a mad panicked moment, rush into the other room to check that you actually did get the dimensions right, and breathe a sigh of relief when you see that you did.

Now, go and make more! There now, don't you feel clever? I know I do!


marianne said...

They look great! And congratulations on the first tutorial...now I can make some bigger ones without having to do too much thinking (saving my brain power for juggling three children!)Thank you for the link....

Helen said...

Thanks, Marianne! I aim to please. Let me know if you have any problems I can help with!

Anonymous said...

"Boxing Helena" is a movie - I think that's where the nickname came from.

tinger said...

Thanks for the tut! I made 2 (slightly modified) this afternoon. I am going to link to your bloggy blog from mine when I post the boxes that I made.


Twinkle Toes said...

don't know when i'll attack this, but in the meantime you entertained me! so funny...when's the tutorial for the kimono? ;)

Nicole said...

I love the colors used. These are so perfect for right now...planning on using the boxes for gift baskets:-}

Anonymous said...

Hi, these are so great! I have 'cute-material-envy'. I just wanted to drop by and say I've been playing around with these and the sizes, and hope to make more, most likley as a 'nesting set' or a puzzle of different sized boxes in one large rectangular one, and will post them on my blog. Hope you don't mind if i link back to your blog also, Mine is www.kittingoutkhaliah.blogspot.com

Stephanie Zacharda said...

This is almost exactly what I was looking for. Could you give any advice for a fabric liner instead of the felt? Also, how could you include a handle?
Looking forward to attempting these!
Stephanie @ momneedsahand.blogspot.com