Last week, I mentioned the wonder of making an embroidered box and provided a link to a project featured on the V&A; website. This week, I’m revisiting the subject because the whole notion of making an embroidered box has caught my fancy, and I believe it’s more than a passing interest. This bodes well – I believe I will actually make one, and if I do, I’ll certainly step-by-step the process here on Needle ‘n Thread. My interest in making an embroidered box is more fixed, thanks to you readers out there who expressed enthusiasm for the topic, and especially for those of you who recommended some books. I was able to lay my paws on two books that were recommended in the comments section of the previous post, and today, I want to show you one of them – Making Hand-Sewn Boxes, by Jackie Woolsey.
Making Hand-Sewn Boxes is a terrific how-to book! And even though the author is not specifically illustrating how to make an embroidered box, the techniques are exactly what an embroidered-box-maker would use to make a box. I love this book!
The copy of the book that I was able to pick up is an ex-library copy. It’s in good shape. The book is apparently not in print anymore, but you can find it online through various booksellers.
The book features all different types of boxes, from the simple rectangular box to more complex boxes with drawers and trays. For each type of box in the book, the author takes us step-by-step through creating the box, from the materials list, through the assembly of the box, using clear diagrams and color photos.
Boxes of different shapes – from square, to round, to octagonal and hexagonal – are all covered. (No pun intended, honestly.)
The whole notion of constructing the actual box is what intimidated me whenever I contemplated an embroidered box. But this book practically eliminates any worries along those lines – the text instructions, the diagrams, and the photos all work together to clarify the process of finishing.
One of my favorite sections to read was the chapter on making a Victorian étui. While this isn’t exactly the type of box I have plans to make at first, I love seeing how it is made. Tanja Berlin’s blackwork étui was the first box I saw like this, and it fascinated me. And now I’ve got this wonderful book that shows me exactly how to make my own!
At the end of the book, the author provides a photo gallery of all kinds of hand-sewn boxes. Once the techniques of creating different types of boxes that include different features – from trays to drawers to doors – are understood, all kinds of box possibilities spring to mind! And they all seem accessible, because the author covers pretty much every possibility of box construction in this book.
I reiterate – this is a great how-to book! If you’re interested in constructing an embroidered box and you can get your hands on this book, it’s a worthwhile investment. If you just want to take a look at it, check your local library! If they don’t have it, they should be able to get it for you.
There are a few new and used copies available on Amazon:
Later on, after I recover completely from the Wog and get caught up, I’ll show you what I do to books that I want to use as references while working on something from them. That’s probably the only drawback of this particular book – it doesn’t lie open easily. When I’m working from this type of book, I like to have it open in front of me while I work. In order to achieve that, I demolish the book. Well, not really! I’ll show you what I do, once I have the chance to do it!
In the meantime, start dreaming up a box!