Friday, October 3, 2008

Fabric Buckets and Stitched Art

My sister-in-law and mother-in-law recently celebrated their birthdays 
and a curious little idea had been brewing inside my head for their 
birthday presents some months before. It stemmed from the evolution 
of Emily's recent drawings which had me both astonished and slightly 
melancholic that she was all growing up. Add to that my insensible 
need to freeze bits of the present and this project was conceived. 
I like to think of it as one of those odd things that happens when 
motherhood and a sewing machine violently collide. It began with 
a little help from my sister-in-law, who got her children 
to do some self-portraits

and these fabrics to which I alluded in an earlier post

which became these fabric buckets

using this excellent tutorial for the buckets themselves. 
It was a lot of fun to turn line art into embroidery - 
I used the sewing machine, of course, since I don't have 
the patience for hand embroidery right now.

I got Emily to draw portraits of herself, Jenna and Kate 
for a similar present for my mother-in-law.

In her drawings, each sister has an accompanying doll below her 
which, for sheer laziness, I omitted from the actual stitching.

Ah, fun. 
And the best part was how thrilled Emily was to have had 
such a big part in this - her rendering of herself and her sisters 
that crazy mom went and sewed onto cloth. I hope I am this 
sentimental when Jenna hones her marker skills to the point 
of recognizable creatures. And little Kate - what will be 
her choice medium? 
Hm. Time will tell but I am in no hurry to find out - 
let the children stay young for just a little longer.

Speaking of young, here is an ancient and rather different sort 
of fabric bucket that I made almost 20 years ago before I even knew 
what they were called. It was made with my then-favorite material
- 600 denier black waterproof nylon. I used it in everything 
except garments. Ah, those were the days before bibs, and 
when my fabric shopping took me beyond cotton and flannel. 
I remember wanting this bucket to be a sort of shape-shifter 
and having grand plans for it as a hand tote, defensive weapon 
against muggers, haberdashery storage etc. It's faded and ratty 
now and in its twilight years has been home to the kids' 
Mr Potato Head parts. Today while getting ready to do this post, 
I saw it sitting in the living room with its plastic innards all around 
it where the kids had dumped them out. Said to myself, 
"Hey - prototype fabric bucket! Made without (the currently 
very "in") fusible interfacing, besides!" 

So here it is in all its configurations- enjoy.


  1. And I am honoured to have one of your original buckets! You will be pleased to know that I use it to hold miscellaneous bits of haberdashery that are too large for the drawer :)

    It USED to store my drumsticks and the other soft bags that you also made for me.

  2. They are great! I love the idea of embroidering kid's drawings. It would have to be hand embroidery around here, so it's not likely to happen any time soon...

    Thank you for stopping by my blog (yes, I'm just getting around to replying to people now - I'm sorry... Blame my husband!)

  3. HI, Thanks for pointing me towards what you did with the tutorial. They are totally awesome. I love them. Using the childrens drawings makes them so sweet and personal.


  4. I remember that bucket! It sure has served you well!

  5. Hi, Lorraine!

    Thanks for directing me to this post! I really LOVE the fabric buckets! What a terrific idea - and the embroidery, of course, sets them off. It does "freeze" time! I'd like to do something similar for my niece. She's just at that age (7) where she's drawing cute stuff.

    Thanks for the inspiration!


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