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Tips & Techniques > fabric bowls-sewing information

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Posted by: SewVeryTall
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Member since: 3/2/04
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Posted on: 4/22/04 5:48 AM
Last Updated: 1/13/05 1:07 AM
Review Rating: Helpful by 1 people   Very Helpful by 47 people   
Fabric Bowls-sewing info

Is your machine capable of making a fabric bowl? First, you'll need to be able to do a satin stitch. This is a zigzag stitch done with a stitch length of nearly zero. Second, you'll need to be able to stitch through fabric layers that are fairly thick. There's no better way to know than by doing a test on scraps. This is also the perfect time to test the satin stitch, and take note of machine settings. You'll need quite a bit of thread...at least two bobbins full.

The original online instructions that I found for making these bowls called for Timtex sandwiched between two fashion fabrics. Timtex is described as a very firm/stiff interfacing-type product, similar to what is used in the brim of a baseball cap. I didn't want to make a special trip to the store for it, nor pay the expensive price. Instead I used 3 layers of a heavier interfacing that I already had on hand. Cut out circles of fabric and whatever stiffening you are using, a little bigger than your pattern. All these layers [I had 5 layers counting the outside fabric] need to be held together. Original instructions used a fusible product between each layer. I used glue stick on one bowl, and spray glue on a couple others...they both worked wonderfully. It works better to apply the glue to the interfacing, not the fashion fabric.

Next, trace the pattern onto the fabric sandwich [I used air soluble pen], and trace the little 3" circle in the middle [the flat bottom of the bowl], as a guide for satin stitching. Cut the outside traced lines, not going thru the inside little circle markings.

The first stitching I did was a zigzag around the cut edges, normal stitch length and 2mm wide. This is extra insurance that your layers stay together, and reinforcing.

Next set your machine for the satin stitch, using a 4mm wide zigzag. Sew the little inside circle, starting just a little before one of the 'dart' points. The machine moves forward so slowly that it's easy to make a perfect circle...DO NOT cut your thread...overlap your beginning satin stitch a little until you are at the beginning of the dart point. Leaving needle down on the outside of the circle, turn to head toward the outside edge. This is when you start forming the bowl shape, by bringing the dart edges together, butting them right up next to each other and satin stitching to hold the edges together. Again, the machine is moving forward slowly, so it's not hard to do. When you finish the first dart at the outside edge, cut your thread.

Move to the next dart point, pulling edges together, backstitch a little to that center circle stitching, then forward to complete the dart. Do this to all 8 darts. Trim thread tails and any uneven edges.

Satin stitch around the top edge of your bowl. I tied off my last stitch and used a needle to bury the ends, so the bowl would look really nice.

The original instructions suggested satin stitching everything twice for extra solid coverage, but I didn't find that necessary, my machine did a good job with one. Any questions, feel free to ask.

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17 Comments
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katieb said...
Thanks for all the extra information and time spent looking for the original website. I will certainly have a go. I looked at the pictures you suggested in your other tips/technique, they look great. Thanks very much.
4/22/04 1:59 PM
Gigi Louis said...
Can I ask what you are using your fabric bowls for? I saw the plastic template at the store yesterday but wasn't sure I would make enough bowls to warrant the $22 price. Please enlighten me!
4/22/04 3:23 PM
SewVeryTall said...
katieb-you're welcome :)
4/23/04 6:58 AM
SewVeryTall said...
Gigi-yikes, $22, I had no idea I saved so much by making my own patterns! [see previous tips on this] I can hardly wait till the next time I'm at the fabric store to see what this template looks like, lol.
4/23/04 7:00 AM
SewVeryTall said...
Gigi-uses: So far, I'm using one bowl in my bedroom to hold hair clips, and other hair accessories. It matches other bedroom things I've made. I have one by my sewing machine, holding notions that I'm currently using, or getting ready to use. I have a satin one in the living room just as a decoration, empty. I'm thinking of making a little one for the kitchen table, to hold sweetener packets, and to match other kitchen things I've made.
4/23/04 7:04 AM
SewVeryTall said...
Gigi-uses-cont'd: A desk could use one to hold paperclips, rubberbands, etc. A pretty pastel one could hold blown out decorated eggs for Easter. A Christmas fabric bowl could hold ball ornaments. A larger one could hold dinner rolls on a warmer [it'd really let the heat conduct], and the bowls are washable. Mostly, whatever you put in them should be fairly lightweight. It's kind of a shame to put anything in them, and cover up how pretty they are. These are so fun to make, and even nicer than the pictures you see of them.
4/23/04 7:06 AM
Gigi Louis said...
Thanks! I will use your directions to make my own pattern (didn't see that tip before I posted). It sounds like fun and a good way to use up some fabric leftovers. :-)
4/23/04 10:14 AM
lela said...
Thank you so much for all your posting on the bowls. I am glad that you decided to share what you know, Sew Very Tall. I will make them for gifts and for holding many things around the house. They are certainly beautiful. :)
5/2/04 0:46 AM
Jemparrot said...
Thank you for all of your fabric bowl tips! They are all helpful. I've never seen/touched Timtex so I'm curious about it. Is it similar to buckrum?
5/13/04 4:57 AM
SewVeryTall said...
To everyone...you're welcome! Jemparrot...I've never seen Timtex, so I don't know if it's like buckram. Buckram might work for these bowls, but keep in mind that it isn't washable.
5/14/04 6:40 AM
Julie Whitehead said...
Thanks for the info can you tell me where to find you instructions for the pattern etc
5/17/04 7:31 PM
SewVeryTall said...
Julie...you're welcome, and the pattern making tip is just a couple before this one, on the list of tip/techniques.
5/19/04 7:51 AM
patrice said...
great directions and advice. have been wanting to try, now I think I will Thanks for all the clear and concise info
3/9/05 4:05 PM
Nana said...
thanks............I may try it !
9/29/05 12:28 PM
omarose said...
Your tips were great, I have made quite a few fabric bowls from the book I bought from Clothila, also annie's attic has them too. I have had a great deal of trouble with my zigzig stitches. my thread keeps skipping or breaks. I have used several different needles and thread but still have trouble. I keep going over the stitches three times. I love making them in all holiday themes for gifts. if you have a needle size and special thread please let me know. I have a singer 15 years old. thank you
9/29/05 4:43 PM
nance221 said...
Thank you, THANK YOU!! for such detailed directions!
1/9/06 10:49 PM
TrishW said...
I just bought the sew shabby template and an accessory tool for making these. I thought if "they" say think of using them instead of baskets - well - can I put some stuff in em for munching? Maybe with a coordinating fabric/napkin to absorb the oil from chips?
5/25/06 2:02 PM
 
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