Turn a Few Fabric Scraps into a Pretty Useful Vintage Jewellery Case - Just Perfect for your Travels
You may have read my previous post – Let’s Make a Vintage Needlecase.
If you want to take your creativity a little further, keep reading to see how the same techniques can be applied to create lots more pretty and useful things. In this post, I am making a vintage jewellery case designed to tuck all your precious bits and pieces of jewellery into to keep them safe when you are travelling.
Once you have made your case, there will be no need to stuff your favourite jewellery in a bag where it gets all tangled up on your journey any more. Now, you can keep everything neat, tidy and safe and always find the piece you want quickly.
Make a vintage jewellery case for yourself or to give as a gift or – if you are feeling generous – maybe you could “Have a Heart” and donate it to your local charity shop to sell?
Whatever you decide to do with it – enjoy the creative process and have fun making it!
What You Will Need
Everything you need is set out on my previous post, so you can refer back to that for the full list. The beauty of this sort of crafting is that you really need very little to make something beautiful. Just make sure you hold onto scraps of pretty fabric/lace/ribbon etc. instead of throwing them away.
As I practiced the techniques of using bondaweb to create a fabric collage and stitching it into place using free motion embroidery, there were a few extra tools which I found particularly useful:
- A pair of fine pointed tweezers – really handy for pushing little scraps of fabric and lace into exactly the right place.
- A pair of long handled haemostats/forceps, for turning the jewellery case inside out at the end.
- A pair of magnets – and a small magnetic board – great for holding the image in place so you can trace it accurately through the bondaweb. When I had finished tracing, I inserted the magnets into a little pocket on the inside of the cases so that the heart shaped pocket would close neatly.
- Instead of using baking parchment, I used a spare piece of calico to protect the design from the heat of the iron because I was worried that the organza might melt if exposed directly to the hot iron. You can use the calico again and again, of course.
Designing your Vintage Jewellery Case
I decided to reduce the size of the case I made previously because I wanted a squarer look to this case so that it would suit the image I was using for inspiration better. For this project, I cut 4 pieces of calico (2 for the from/back and 2 for the inside) and batting 7″ x 14′ and allowed 1/2 ” seams.
I wanted to create a textile picture of a 1920s style elegant lady on the front of the case. I looked for an image with closed eyes, because I wasn’t too sure that I could create open eyes well enough!
To give more colour – and glamour to the jewellery case, I laid a piece of orange organza over the top of the calico and transferred the design onto the top of that.
For the inside of the case, I wanted to create a couple of padded pockets and somewhere for storing earrings safely.
I had some pretty French lace in my stash with eyelet holes. Backed with a piece of felt, pre- punched with a small hole punch to line up with the eyelets, I had a strip perfect for pushing earrings through. I hand stitched it to the silk pocket with invisible stitches leaving the bottom half loose so that the earrings could be pushed through.
The right hand side was created using the quilted heart pattern I used previously. For this design, I obviously didn’t need to add a pocket on the back of the heart – but I did add a lining. The finished quilted heart was then top stitched to the right hand side of the case.
I enclosed the little round magnets on the inside of the case and stitched a square all around them to hold them securely in place.
What I forgot when I designed the case was that you would be able to see the square of stitching when you opened the quilted heart pocket up. I solved this by stitching an organza flower I had made previously (see my previous post on fusing fabric) over the top of the square. The top of the flower lined up with the quilted heart so it is invisible until you lift the pocket. Neat!
Tips and Tricks
There were a few things I did differently this time – there is no substitute for experience?! I have included them on this post in the hope that they will enhance your own learning journey.
- I cut the calico strips using a rotary cutter and a metal ruler rather than just tearing them. I found this gave me a straighter edge and resulted in a neater finish.
- I tacked the front and back cover pieces together first, all the way around, using a long machine stitch. I found this helped me see more clearly where the edge of the case was going to be so I could avoid getting too close to it with my design and inside pockets. Also, the tacking line meant I could sew a straighter seam when I came to sew the finished case together. A further benefit was that it held the fabric layers together well during the assembly process which made the sewing machine part a little easier.
- This time, I sewed the front/back and insides separately, then joined them together at the end.
- When I assembled the finished case, I sewed the corners in place and just left a gap for turning in the middle of one of the short sides. This gave me neater corners than leaving both the short side unsewn as I had previously and reduced the amount of hand sewing required too.
- One thing I didn’t do (which I might do next time) is flip my image before I printed it out for tracing onto the bondaweb. You have to remember that the transfer process will REVERSE your image!
The old purse I used part of to make my Vintage Needlecase came into it’s own again for the pocket on the left hand side of the jewellery roll. I still have lots of it left too!
The beautiful little flower buttons on the left hand side of the case and the fastening button were given to be my my good friend Marion – the lady with a complete haberdashery counter in her garage (yes – really!). The soft pastel colour is something you just don’t find on modern buttons.
The quilted heart was made from a piece of an old curtain given to me by my sister, I have a LOT of this left, so watch out for a reappearance. The colours complemented the rest of the design perfectly I thought?
The hair on my design was carefully extracted from a charity shop scarf. You can just see the brown threads in the photo above. It gave a lovely texture to the design I thought and really helped to bring it life.
Would you like your own Vintage Jewellery Case?
If you don’t have time/resources to make a jewellery case for yourself, then visit my Etsy shop. I will aim to always have one on my shelf. Because I work with upcycled materials though, each one is unique. There will never be another like it and when it is gone, it is gone! Consider favouriting my shop if you want to be the first to know when new items are added.
I also accept commissions for custom orders, so Contact Me if you are looking for something special you can’t find in the shops.
I donate all my profits to support the valuable work at Birmingham St. Mary’s Hospice.