If You’re Going To Make A Mistake, Be Sure People Can See It

Going around in circles

Going around in circles

This blog has never been about achieving perfection, mainly because I’m too impatient for the precision necessary. However, on occasion, I do try very hard to do a good job with what I am making.

Last Saturday, Elizabeth and I spent the day working on fabric-covered boxes with Wendy of Sticky Fingers in Coppull, near Chorley. Both of us had decided to make a circular box with an overlapping lid. We had prepared the board, during our previous day at Sticky Fingers, by dampening it and wrapping it around a round baking tin and tying it in place. That part was far easier that either of us had imagined: not so, construction of the actual box.

We progressed well during the session, so well, in fact, that Wendy said we would be able to finish the box at home, if we wanted to. I was so pleased with what I had achieved during the day that I decided I want to continue working on the box. My aim was to complete the entire construction during this week. Well, I did, but that’s where the mistake comes in.

I was enjoying the hand stitching and was taking great care to keep it as neat as possible. I even remembered to make sure that the fabric joins were all going in the same direction!

Outer and lining joins, almost lined up, but definitely going in the same direction!

Outer and lining joins, almost lined up, but definitely going in the same direction!

On the lid, as well!

Joins on lid and box flowing in the same direction

Joins on lid and box flowing in the same direction

I did encounter some difficulties when I was stitching the fabric onto the box lining. It was very hard to keep the fabric smooth: it was cut on the bias and it seemed as though all the wrong bits were stretching! I checked the instructions on Wendy’s notes to see if there were any tips, but could find none. Aha, I thought, I bought a couple of books on box making recently, perhaps there would be something of help in one of those… no such luck. Then I had a look on YouTube to see if some kind person had uploaded a tutorial but, again, I could find none. OK, I thought, time to try finding a written tutorial: no luck. I thought about how I was approaching the problem and decided to change the way I tackled it, which worked-ish. I positioned the fabric and carefully pinned top and bottom, with the pins about 1.5 – 2.00 cms apart. I laced the fabric together with stitches about 0.5 – 0.75 cm apart and removed the pins as I reached them. Working like that made it easier to control the puckering and so obtain a neater finish.

Having measured the depth of the box lining before I even cut the fabric to cover it, I popped the covered lining inside the box and carefully stitched it in place. The first part of the stitching is not as neat as I would have liked but, once I got into my stride, I began to find it easier to make each stitch.

Hooray, the box was finished!

My finished box!

My finished box!


The lining is too tall!

The lining is too tall!

My lid doesn’t slide down all the way to meet the box outer. Cue tears of frustration. Measuring, cutting and trimming the board; then measuring and cutting the fabric, only to find that it wasn’t wide enough; measuring, checking measuring and cutting the second strip of fabric; pinning and re-pinning the fabric to the box liner; stitching the strip onto the box lining; and, finally, stitching the lining in place took much longer than the rest of the process. AND IT’S WRONG! Argh!

At the moment, I really cannot face unpicking and redoing the lining. I shall need to think about what I want to do with the box, then decide whether or not to change it.

In the meantime, the box doesn’t look too bad like this:

One frustrating box!

One frustrating box!


2 thoughts on “If You’re Going To Make A Mistake, Be Sure People Can See It

  1. Dina, I am impressed! This is a lovely box, the shape, the colours, the patterns on the fabrics. You have a lot of patience to make something like that. It’s really pretty. As for the mistake, I would leave it as it is. It’s a handmade box after all.


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