Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Thread Caddy Tutorial

Basic caddy: bird's-eye view (top); straight-on (bottom).

Three styles: basic (left), double-ribbon card (right), single ribbon card (front).
Double-ribbon card style with lidded boxes.
Today's post is part of the Papercraft Fabrications strand of sewing-related papercrafts.

These thread caddies are papercraft interpretations of traditional sewing aides called quilter's dollies. The cotton reels are loaded into the pockets and a ribbon is threaded through them. The cotton reels can then rotate freely as you unwind the thread - very handy. The centre of the caddy can hold pins, needles, thimble. For optimum use of the space on the handle, I have designed some of the caddies as ribbon cards. 

The caddies make wonderful gifts for sewing enthusiasts. The caddy doubles as a useful gift on its own and as attractive gift packaging.

Here's how to make the caddies:
1) Cut out the pieces (pattern templates to follow). You need a centre box, four thread pockets, and a handle for the basic caddy. Score and fold as indicated, using an embossing tool held against a metal ruler.

2) Glue the thread pocket tabs. The tabs on the smaller long side are "outsies". 
3) The tabs on the longer, front pocket edge are glued as "innsies". To complete the thread pocket, glue the long tab and the short sides inside the pocket. Use tacky glue applied with a cocktail stick or ds tape. Important: the thread pocket back flap remains unglued and is folded as a mountain fold. Assemble the three remaining pockets in this way.
 4) Pinch the pockets to get nice, sharp corners.
5) This pic shows the centre box with tabs glued, surrounded by the thread pockets.
6) Attaching the thread pocket, step 1. Glue the underside of the thread pocket back flap inside the box.
7) Attaching the thread pocket, step 2. Attach the back of the thread pocket to the outside of the box. Repeat steps 5 and 6 to attach the remaining three thread pockets to the centre box.
8) This pic shows the assembled caddy base and the basic handle prepared with ds tape. You can glue the handle together if you prefer. 
Note that the bottom triangular tabs are glued onto the base of the centre box.
9) Attaching the handle. The handle sits diagonally across the centre box.
10) Glue reinforcements inside the box sides.

11) Time to load the thread. You need a length of ribbon (about 1cm/3/8in wide) and a yarn needle. Pass the needle through the first pocket hole, pass it through the cotton reel, then insert the needle through the hole on the opposite side of the pocket. The thread is now in its pocket cradle. Repeat for the three remaining pockets.
12) This pic shows first reel of thread in its pocket, needle progressing to next pocket.
13) When all four cotton reels are in their pockets, tie the ribbon ends into a bow. (Note: for a bit of extra embellishment, you can thread a couple of pony beads onto the ribbon in the between-pocket gaps. Of course, this must be done as you are threading in the cotton reels.)

That completes the no-frills thead caddy. You have other options. Here's how to make the version with the triangular pockets:
This pic shows the pattern piece for the triangular box. Be careful to crease the folds allowing for the top lid overlap! Cut out two boxes.

This pic shows one assembled triangular box, and one about to be taped together.
The top of the box takes a brad backed with a brad mat. On the bottom of the brad mat, glue two spacers as shown. This allows you to wind the thread with room to spare - for easy closure.

This pic shows the brad (with mat) inserted in the box lid.

The boxes are fastened with ties. Pierce two holes at opposite corners of the centre box. Use a yarn needle to insert craft thread ties through the holes.
This pic shows the box and tie in place.
 This pic shows the tri boxes about to be placed.

Box open. (Audrey ll, I know.)

Your other option is to make lidded boxes - then you can use the compartments for items other than thread. The back flaps of the box lids are glued inside the centre box sides, as for the thread pockets in Step 6. The boxes are fastened with matted brads and craft thread ties.

Here are your pattern templates:

So, there you have it. Boxing clever - quilter's dollies, thread caddies - whatever you call them, useful Papercraft Fabrications for your sewing convenience. Fun to make, I might add!

Mega-thanks to my daughter, Leah, for taking the photos. Patience during the mini-marathon photo-shoot greatly appreciated!

Stuff I used: the card is from my stash (weight about 160 gsm), ribbon from www.craftfairy.co.uk

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Midi-Cigar Box Haberdashery Stash

Fun storage: stack 'em high.
A functional box reveals...
... even more functional compartments.
Paper-punch lace trim keeps things pretty.
Modular storage compartments... have them your way! (Divisions of 6 shown.)

Divisions of 4.
 2,4,6... choose the mix! Just some of the possible box compartment combos. But you might just want one storage space:

Last week's project was a cantilever sewing box. The top compartment was a cigar box. I thought that it'd be handy to size the box up and add really useful storage divisions. Now there are lots of options for storing your bits and pieces. And as projects go, it is pretty easy!

Cigar boxes are sturdy, practical, and shabby chic. The ideal place to store your button hoard or other small treasures. Great as gifts!

These are half-sized cigar boxes, so although I have called them "mini", they are actually "midi" - and they can hold plenty of stuff. Small enough to be cute, but capacious enough to be useful.

The cigar boxes are all decorated with paper lace made using Tonic Studios Simplicity Geared Pattern Punch, Doily Strip Pattern (item 966e). The geared punch cuts like butter, so punching a strip to fit round the cigar box is a cinch. The basic doily lace pattern is pretty on its own - but you can craft a variety of lace effects just by scissor-snipping and weaving in a strip of 2mm (1/16") quilling paper.
Tonic doily punch: basic strip (top), lace variations achieved with scissors.
To create a wider band of lace, glue the strips together with tacky glue applied with a cocktail stick. Carefully align the holes when you glue, and you will be able to lace through them with a strip of quilling paper to conceal the join. 
The peek-a-boo diamonds are created simply by lacing the quilling strip round and round across the width of the paper ribbon.
Brad-wrap closure. Spacers under the brad give lift, so wrapping is easy.

Tie closure (less secure than brad-wrap, but pretty).
I have concentrated more on the box decorations this week because making a cigar box is pretty straightforward.  Having said that, there are a few things to remember when constructing your cigar box. After cutting out, score all folds with an embossing tool held against a metal ruler. A bone folder is handy for making crisp folds. The cigar box lid is made separately from the base. Add the brad to the lid before assembling the lid (you glue down the flaps inside before sticking top to bottom - the lid is a double-layer sealed unit). Decorate the base before inserting the brad and folding the flaps inside. Attach glue or double-sided tape to the outer side of the lid flap before joining it to the inside back of the base.

Note: if you want a tutorial on basic box construction, take a look at Sept 4th's blog, the Cantilever Sewing Box http://thepapercraftpost.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/cantilever-sewing-box-tutorial.html - the fold-in sides construction technique is similar to the method used for the Midi-Cigar Box. The fold-in flaps make a durable box - and they also conceal the construction tabs for a tidy finish.

The typeface I used is Campanile - it is available from Dafont.com. The label panel measures 11.5 x 4cm (4-1/2 x 1-1/2in). Centre it on the box lid.

Here are your pattern templates:

Stuff I used: Tonic Studios Simplicity Pattern Paper Punch (Doily Strip, 
966e).  Bazzill Basics cardstock for the cigar box itself, Inspire Me Premium Paper for the compartments. Don't forget the mini-brads and the craft thread for the closure. If you are wondering about the prop buttons, they are a mix of Jenni Bowlin Studio Vintage Style Sew-On Buttons and Doodlebug Design Boutique Buttons.

Take it from here: just a reminder that a cigar box lid provides creative space on both front and back!

That's a wrap. Plenty of time to make zillions of these by Christmas!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Cantilever Sewing Box Tutorial

Three tiers of storage to slide outwards or stack upright.
A tray on the bottom, matchbox middle tier, and cigar box top layer.

Today I am beginning a new strand: Papercraft Fabrications. Here I will feature papercraft projects and techniques inspired by textiles, sewing, and needlecraft. This first project is perfectly timed to coincide with National Sewing Month - be prepared!

I  recently watched and enjoyed  Le Havre, the arthouse feelgood movie. The art direction was tops – and the mood was 50’s retro. My favourite prop was... a cantilever sewing box, prominently displayed. This made me very happy, since I had already designed today’s papercraft project. 

Cantilever sewing boxes are minor miracles of engineering. The swivel action provides the wow factor. Basically, they are a set of boxes linked together with movable struts. They are not difficult to make. You just need to take it slow and easy when assembling .

My papercrafted cantilever sewing boxes are mini versions, measuring 10cm wide x 6cm wide x 6cm high (4in x 2-1/4in x 2-1/4in).  Filled with buttons, bows, and ribbons they would make memorable gifts for sewing enthusiasts!

The cantilever sewing box consists of a base tray and two levels of boxes. The middle level boxes have matchbox-style drawers. The top level boxes open cigarbox style. The handle is attached to the base tray – it doubles as a divider.

To make a cantilever sewing box, you need: 3 sheets of Craft Creations
Dark Brown Kraft Paper (12in x 12in), 1 sheet of Bazill Basics (for the handle and struts), 30 mini brads, craft thread; double-sided tape, tacky glue. Tools:  1/16" circle hole punch; embossing stylus, small metal ruler.

Here are the pattern templates:
... and here's how to make the cantilever sewing box:
 1) This shows the pieces for the base layer. Cut them out and score the folds with an embossing tool held against a small metal ruler. Crease the folds.
2) Tape the tray tabs on the right side of the paper. Join the handle tabs to the handle body and apply tape to the inside as shown.
3) On the left, you can see a completed base layer. Right shows tray with sides joined. Tape or glue the margins to the inside of the tray. Adhere the handle to the tray base. Note: the tray side tabs will obscure some of the holes, so re-pierce them with a hole punch or pointy tool (the tip of a brad works fine).
4) Middle level. Pic shows scored pattern pieces. The lefthand piece  makes a slipcase for the drawer (on the right). A reinforcement piece (in brown) has been glued onto the inside of the slipcase. The two projections are glued or taped upwards to strengthen the top and bottom of the slipcase.
5) Assemble the slipcase and drawer as shown. A brad with a brad mat for the drawer pull. Make two slipcases and two drawers. If you wish, you can line the drawer base with either matching or contrast paper.

6) Top level. Make two cigar boxes. The cigar box is made of a lid, which is made separately (left) and a drawer (right). Apply tape as shown. To make the lid, fold the side tabs in first, then seal the rest.
7) Cigar box assembly: it is essential to glue the lid on in the correct direction. The hole for the drawer pull goes in the front. The brad holes
are positioned side back. Make two cigar boxes. Add the brad mat drawer pulls.
8) Prepare the struts. It is recommended that you make double-layer struts. Glue struts of similar length together with edges aligned and wrong sides facing.

9) This pic shows how to attach the struts.

10) Base level: attach the struts to the tray as shown. Long struts on the outside, short struts on the inside. Make sure the brad wings lie flat.

11) Middle level: attach short struts to the outside of the matchbox-style slipcase. Make extra sure that the brad wings lie flat inside.

12) Assembly begins!: attach the short struts on the base tray to
the inside holes of the slipcases.
13) This is an inside view of the slipcase with the tray stut attached. The brad wings must lie flat so the drawer can slide in and out easily.
14) Top layer, step one: attach the long struts from the base tray to the rear holes of the cigar box.

15) Top layer, step two: attach the short stuts from the middle slipcases to the front holes of the cigar boxes. Congrats! The sewing box is now assembled. 

16) Add the ties. Make a craft thread slip knot. Pass the brad through the loop.

17) Finally, insert the drawers in the slipcases. Tah dah!

Note: have lots of crafty stash? Big up the pattern for a more capacious
sewing box. A good size is 20% bigger. I chose to feature the mini size because they are just so much cuter!
Fill the mini marvels with haberdashery, small treasures.
Big thanks to my very patient daugher, Leah, who took the photos and offered spot-on advice!