Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sewing Jar DIY Tutorial

After working out some kinks with the new sewing machine, I've finally started on that skirt tutorial that I talked about in my hobby post. It took me forever to figure out the pleats (damn you!) but those are finally pinned and ironed, so I'm about a quarter of the way through. Ish. I'll certainly be posting the final results of that when it's completed, but until then, a small preview...

In the interim, I made something that I've wanted to try out even long before I decided to purchase a sewing machine. See, I have a weak spot for mason jars, as I'm sure many do, and now that I'm sewing, this project makes the perfect easy DIY. May I introduce: The Sewing Jar.

Martha Stewart 2006

I love these jars. They've been around for quite awhile and it seems every other blog offers a tutorial (yes, now including me). The idea is a pincushion/storage container all in one so they're practical and super cute to boot. This project is super quick, easy, and best of all, cheap.


1. Sewing odds and ends. I bought a pre-packaged kit at Hobby Lobby for $5.00 that included Scissors, a Needle Compact, Tape Measure, Pin Wheel, Tracing Wheel, Safety Pins, Thimble, Snap Fasteners, Hook & Eyes, Wool Needle, Needle Threader, Shirt Buttons, Seam Ripper, Dressmaking Pencil, 10 small spools of thread, and a Pin Cushion (no longer needed!) Or if you're a sewing extraordinaire, just use everything you already have on hand.

2. A mason jar of your choice. It can be tall, squat, large, small, whatever, as long as it has the two-piece lid. Just make sure it fits everything you want to throw in there to keep around. Mine was just about 70 cents - half off the original price. Can you really get much better than that?

3. Stuffing of some kind. I put off doing this project for awhile because I thought it was ridiculous to buy a huge bag of filler (I never saw small bags during my trips to the craft store, though to be fair, I didn't look overly hard). Of course, that's exactly what I ended up doing, so now I have enough to make about 300 sewing jars. Or I guess I could keep it around for future projects... After I finished my jar I saw somewhere online that you could use cotton balls, so if you have those around, put them to good use!

4. Fabric (not pictured, ob-v). This is a great time to use any scraps you have lying around and to try out some fun things. I'm using all of my patterned fabric for my skirt, so I used a bit of some nice, heavy duty black fabric I have since I haven't gotten to that "box of scraps" point yet. Not all that exciting, I know. But the great thing is you can change it at any time, so for now it'll do.


Step 1: Draw a circle on your fabric one inch larger than the lid insert. This is a lot simpler to do with a drawing compass, but if you haven't had one of those since middle school (like me), it's pretty easy to freehand it. Cut out the fabric shape.

Step 2: Get a handful of filling ready. This is going to take some trial and error on your part. It depends on how big of a cushion you want on top and how firm you want it. (Note: if you want an extra large cushion bump, make sure to cut out a larger circle of fabric to accommodate the extra filling)

Step 3: Hold the outer ring of the lid upside down and place the fabric circle on top, also upside down (put the side of the fabric that you want to show face down). Then start filling it in, being careful to not let the fabric get pushed out through the hole. If this happens, you have too much filling, so start over and add less.

Step 4: Watch as the bump is pushed out the other side. Keep adding filling until you reach the size you want it to be (again, watch the fabric). Your fabric will probably pucker a bit at the sides (like in the picture) as you work with the filling. To get it smooth, gently pull the ends of the fabric a little at a time until it is smooth around the perimeter.

Step 5: Once the pin cushion is the size you want it to be, take the lid insert and push it back into the outer ring. It should snap back into place, holding the filling at bay. At this point you want to glue the remaining edges of the fabric down so that the top is easy to screw back on the jar. It's best to do this with a glue gun, which I didn't have with me today, so for now mine is hanging out in all its glory!


This whole process took me maybe 20 minutes and I love how it looks! All of my little sewing bits fit perfectly in the jar except the scissors, but that wasn't really a big concern for me. So now I have everything at my disposal in an adorable jar instead of an ugly green plastic case. No offense, Hobby Lobby.

Cost breakdown:
- Sewing kit: $5.00
- Mason jar: $0.70
- Filling: $3.50
TOTAL: $9.20


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