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Tips & Techniques > make your own fabric bowl patterns

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Posted by: SewVeryTall

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Member since: 3/2/04
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Posted on: 4/20/04 5:46 AM
Last Updated: 1/13/05 0:58 AM
Review Rating: Very Helpful by 7 people   
First, you don't need to be a whiz in geometry. Think of this as a paper folding project, sort of like making snowflakes.

To help decide the size you want your fabric bowl, you can measure a favorite size bowl in your cupboard. Measure from one side to the other, going underneath the bowl. This is the diameter or width of the circle you'll need. A cereal size bowl will measure about 9". Also measure the top edge around, or circumference [of the bowl from your cupboard].

I used newspaper, but most any paper will work to make the pattern. It needs to be a little bigger than the width of the circle. Fold paper in half, then in half again, then each section in half again. It is now folded into eighths. Measure from center point out, half the diameter or width, and mark all of this eighth of paper. Cut along the marks, forming a circle. You could also trace around a plate or anything round that's the right size to make the circle [or use a compass], and then fold into eighths. These eighth markings are where you will draw in the dart shaped cutouts.

But first you'll want to make a small circle for the center of the bowl, so it will have a flat bottom. This should be at least 3" wide, but can vary depending on the shape of bowl you want. Center the small circle over the big circle and trace onto big circle. Your dart shaped cutouts will taper to nothing and stop at the small circle marking.

To determine size of dart shaped cutouts, measure outside edge of large circle, or do the math [diameter x 3.1416]. Subtract the top edge measurement you took, and that's how much needs to be removed in the dart shaped cutouts. Divide by 8, this is how wide each dart shape will start at the outside edge of the circle. This pattern has no seam allowances, the edges are butted together when sewn, so no need to think about those. Measure and mark each dart shape [or V shape] on each eighth of the pattern and cut out. A true V shape will give you a very cupped bowl. To make a less cup-shaped bowl, the dart shape will look more like a Y.

Now comes the fun part. You can preview what your bowl will look like, before cutting fabric or sewing. Take 16 little pieces of tape and butt/tape each dart together, one piece in the middle and one at the outside edge. If you like the shape, clip the tape apart and your pattern is ready to trace onto fabric. If you don't like the shape, retrace pattern and make adjustments.

To make a fluted edge, while pattern is folded in eighths, round the outside edge.

Instructions for sewing can be found online [see comments below]. I've used 3 layers of heavier interfacing to give the bowls a firm structure and it worked great. I've also used glue stick or spray glue to hold all the layers together while cutting and sewing [instead of fusibles], and they both worked great too.

These are really fun and easy to make! Any questions, feel free to leave me a message.

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craftygirl2 said... (9/27/07 5:50 PM) Reply
instructions are very easy to understand. i am gonna try this very soon.
Honey Bee said... (6/14/07 7:30 PM) Reply
That's a wonderful tip. I'm not a math whiz so this will be much easier and less expensive than buying a book.
Mairmie said... (11/23/05 1:25 PM) Reply
The instructions say"instructions for sewing can be found online" How can I find these instructions for sewing the bowls?So far in the instructions everything is very clear and helpful. Thanks
Supa said... (9/28/05 7:16 PM) Reply
Cant wait to try this out THANKYOU for such detailed instructions!!
Mary Stiefer said... (9/28/05 2:25 PM) Reply
Again - thanks for the tips - I hadn't seen this until I read the thread on fabric bowls.
SewVeryTall said... (4/27/04 8:43 AM) Reply
cmgazerro-another way to figure it...if the top of the dart is 1 inch wide, you will remove 8 inches from the circumference, so that 31.4 measurement will become 23.4 and to figure the width or diameter of the finished fabric bowl, you'd do the math backwards... 23.4 divided by 3.1416 = 7.45 or about 7 1/2 inches wide.
SewVeryTall said... (4/27/04 6:13 AM) Reply
cmgazerro-on a 10 inch circle, 31.4 inches is the correct circumference...I think you misunderstood what should be subtracted from that 31.4 inches. Measure the top edge of the bowl you chose from your cupboard to see what it measures around [circumference], and subtract that number from the 31.4 inches. Then divide that number by 8 for the size of each dart. I hope this helps :)
cmgazerro said... (4/27/04 0:07 AM) Reply
Please clarify how to determind size of dart shaped cutouts. i.e. give example of say a 10 inch circle. When I figured it out I got 31.4 inches minus the 10 inches. This gave me 21.4 inches for the darts. Divided by 8 would give me darts 2.675 inches wide at the top. That seems too wide for that size bowl. Thanks, cmgazerro
G.G. said... (4/23/04 11:25 AM) Reply
Hello,again. These are lovelyand I can hear the little g.g.'s saying G.G. you always got so much stuff to give away.(ha ha).the web site is fantastic!!!
SewVeryTall said... (4/22/04 5:28 AM) Reply
Yes, there are several books I saw in my searches, but why spend the money. See new information about this subject, as new tips.
DebbyS said... (4/21/04 7:04 AM) Reply
Apparently, there's a book that shows how to do this - I found it here:
SewVeryTall said... (4/21/04 6:17 AM) Reply
Debe & katieb-I have now searched for hours on trying to find that instruction site for you, and it looks like it's gone. It will take me quite some time to get a photo of mine online, but here is the address of a fabric bowl that is like the pattern I describe making above: or if you'd like to see several styles, here is the album's address [which contains the bowl above]: I will try to add instructions asap here.
SewVeryTall said... (4/21/04 5:59 AM) Reply
Asa-I'm using one on my dresser to hold hair accessories. They can just be decorative by themselves, like a centerpiece on the diningroom table, or hold anything lightweight.
katieb said... (4/21/04 3:04 AM) Reply
How do you sew it together with no seam allowance? It sound interesting, I would also like to know the website address.
Sew it seams said... (4/20/04 1:00 PM) Reply
This sounds interesting. Can you post a picture of the finished bowl or mabe the online site you mentioned? Sounds like a fun project.
Asa Hagstrom said... (4/20/04 10:56 AM) Reply
I'm curious - what do you use a fabric bowl for? :)
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