Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Merrily We Sew Along: Canvas Nesting Boxes

Have you heard of the book Improv Sewing by Nicole Blum and Debra Immergut? I love the idea behind it. There are a ton of projects (101!) in all categories of sewing that let you take creative control. It's a little less about following the instructions right down to the letter, and more about learning just how creative you can get with your sewing machine. Sounds fun right? And don't worry, if you are a person who prefers following the directions to the tee, all the info you need is there.

My friend and coworker Rachael is hosting a sew along through the book, casually covering one project per month. She's been gathering some really great prizes for the participants too.

So this month I was very happy to make these cute little nesting boxes from the book with her and Kelley. (P.S. Both of these women are all around crafty geniuses. You should follow them.)

I started with three pieces of plain might even say blank canvas... which made me think of painting, so I went digging around the craft bin to see what colors of acrylics I had. I was very happy to find metallic silver! So gussy. So I painted the outside in the silver and added polka dots to the other sides using pencil erasers as my stamps. Now I really really want to try that on some pants for the kids or something. 

I did all the painting and let it dry before sewing of course. I was slightly worried it might be bad news to sew on all that paint, but it was fine. However, my bobbin shuttle was very sparkly when I cleaned it out afterward. 

After I finished I realized that they were completely reversible. I really dig it with the dots on the outside too. For stitching all the raw edges, I used gray 50 weight Aurifil thread and it matches the paint color perfectly. (Hey, isn't that one of our prize sponsors?)

The book has you stitch more brightly colored lines across the whole piece before you stitch the corners up for added structure. But I found that the dried paint made the canvas extra sturdy and I didn't need to. This let me keep the dots uninterrupted.

This was such a fun and satisfying little project! It uses such a small amount of fabric- all your need is about 1/3 yard cut of canvas. It would also be fun to try it with brighter colors of duck cloth and contrasting threads.

I'm mostly glad it reminded me that I should probably think of more excuses to paint on random things!

Are you inspired to stitch up your own canvas nesting boxes?? we would love for you to sew along with us (merrily, even).
merrily we sew along

... you should definitely check out the boxes made by the sew along co-hosts. They are all so different!

Make your own a set of canvas nesting boxes and share a picture in the merrily we sew along flickr group for a chance to win a super fabulous prize!!

speaking of prizes, episode three: canvas nesting baskets is sponsored by the very wonderful Aurifil Thread and Storey Publishing!

the winner of the merrily we sew along episode one challenge will receive a Folk Art Aurifil 12wt wool 12 spool large collection case, as well as a package of these five sewing books from Storey Publishing: Improv Sewing, One-Yard Wonders Fabric by Fabric, Mend It Better, Grow Your Handmade Busniess, and Sew Up a Home Makeover. how great is that??

so get improv-ing... i can't wait to see what you stitch up! just upload a picture of your canvas nesting boxes to the merrily we sew along flickr group by february 28 to be entered to win!!


  1. love them!!!! thanks for sewing along with us :) also, it gave me a good excuse to be on your page and read through your last few posts too... which reminded me that you're freaking awesome. yay you!

  2. I have ordered the book but where is the tutorial so I can get started?

  3. Holy Moly! Great idea with the paint and what great results! There is nothing I like to see more than folks getting super creative with the ideas in Improv Sewing - that is what we were after. Love the colors and design!

  4. Very cool! I need some of these thingies. I have random trinkets.

  5. So cool! Love your take on the project. It sounds like a very fun sew-along!


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