Five-sided box 12: the completed box – eventually!

Once I’d hit the snag of the box lid of my five-sided box not fitting, I decided to divert my attention for a while by finishing the sides of the main box while I thought about what to do.

I made short lengths of cording with two lengths of Gloriana silk the same shade as the tassel, and glued it in sections to the seams of the panels with PVA glue. When the glue had dried, I trimmed the cording flush with the base.

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My ‘aha’ moment about the lid was to make another fabric covered pentagon, half an inch bigger all round, and stick the first one to the second one. Looks like it was supposed to be like that all along, doesn’t it?!

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I had planned to make a fancy hinge made out of needleweaving, but I was getting bored with it now and wanted it finished, so I did a simple thread join instead, which is much less noticeable than a needlewoven one would have been.

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So, here’s my finished box, measuring about seven inches across at the widest point, and about five inches high:

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The fabric I used is cream linen from Chawla’s, a really good fabric shop based in London, but their website if wonderful too. The fabric cost £5.95 per metre in 2012, 54 inches wide , code LN550.01 . It’s really good for embroidering on! The lining fabric is a fat quarter from a bundle of yellow toned cottons on Ebay in 2013. The cardboard for the panels is from a Cheerios box! The most expensive component for this project was the threads, but they were all from my stash. The tassel and cording used about 3/4 of a skein of Gloriana silk, so that’s about £4, but other than that it was a cheap project to do.

This is the book where I got the motifs from:

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It’s a beautiful book, and if you’ve got space for the blanket that the book shows you how to make, in wool, then make that. If not, use the motifs as I did, for something completely different!!


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Five-sided box 11: Making the lid for the box

I decided, right at the last minute, to add an embroidered lid to my five-sided box, rather than just a plain fabric one. I used the small motifs provided at the end of the book ‘Flowers for Elizabeth’ by Susan O’Connor – she gives these mini motifs to be used around the edges of the blanket that she uses her flower motifs for. Of course, she makes a much bigger project than I am making, but these are still ‘mini’ for me, too – they are smaller and simpler than the box sides. I decided to use three of them, echoing the flowers I’d used on the five sides, using the ones I’d liked stitching the best – the strawberry, the gillyflower and the pea.

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It only took me an evening to stitch all three.

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I covered the pentagon for the box lid in the same way that I’d made the panels for the sides. I used half a skein of Gloriana silk thread to make the tassel, and attached it to the lid in between the top and the lining.

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But then – I hit a problem. Of course, being me, and not having any patience, I had rushed on with this without checking to see if all the various parts fitted together. I had just assumed that the lid would fit, as the base had done. But when I put the lid on the box, it was so small, that it just fell inside!

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I would either have to come up with a creative solution now, or ditch the whole thing.


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Five-sided box 10: assembling the sides

Having done the embroidery for all five sides of my five-sided box, I now needed to assemble them all into something approximating the box I’d seen online which gave me the original idea for this piece.

First, I cut thin card templates for the sides, and two pentagons (one for the top and one for the base).

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Then I made a kind of patchwork template – a card template with an aperture the size of the actual finished side that I wanted, and the outside of the card shape being the size I would cut the fabric to, to allow a seam allowance to fold over the other, actual size, card piece. Are you still with me? It’s easier to do than to describe! The aperture made it easy for me to centre the embroidery on the panel.

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This is the Peony and Buttercup embroidered side, cut to size.

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On the reverse, I trimmed the muslin I had used to strengthen the embroidery fabric, so that it was a touch smaller than the card panel that I was going to use, to cut down on bulk.

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I used the same templates to make an identically sized lining piece, using a lovely cotton print that I’d bought on Ebay, in a bundle of fabrics with yellow tones, suitable for patchwork. Using PVA glue, I stuck the fabrics to each card shape, only putting glue around the very edges of the card panels, and folding over the seam allowances onto the glue.

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I slip-stitched a lining piece to an embroidered piece, for all five sides, then with two embroidered pieces held together, lining sides facing, I laced the two together. Having done this one here, I realised I had laced them a bit too tightly, as I couldn’t open them out further than this, so I had to start again!!

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When four of the five curved sides had been slip-stitched, the piece looked like this (late at night, as you can see from the terrible quality of the photo).

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It was easier to slip-stitch the five panels to the pentagonal base while the piece wasn’t stitched into a round – I stitched the final curved side last.

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At this point, I am quite pleased with how it’s turning out. Looks nice, doesn’t it?

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Five-sided box 9: Peony and buttercup

This final side of my five-sided box features a deep red peony flower, and some yellow buttercups – the motif is from the book ‘Flowers for Elizabeth’, by Susan O’Connor.

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The long and short stitch filling was quite time-consuming to do – several areas needed padding with stitches first – but I was very pleased with the way it turned out.

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The very edges of some of the petals have two layers of stitched padding underneath them, so they look more 3D than the rest of the flower.

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Now comes the making-up part….oh dear! Scary!


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