How to Make a Fabric Bowl

The 15" x 12" rectangle in question.
The 15" x 12" rectangle in question. | Source

What Can You Make From a 15" x 12" Rectangle of Fabric

One day a few years back a friend dropped by my house with a fixed-grin on her face and asked "You do crafts don't you? Would you like to have some of my left over fabric?" As a true fabric-holic the mere thought of taking any material to the dump made me break out in a cold sweat. One look at the left-over fabric in question and I was hooked. My friend makes beautiful custom draperies so her left over fabric was a treasure trove of drapery and upholstery fabric sample books, over 100 of which have ended up in my crafting room.

She left me that day with a wave of her hand saying "Whatever you can't use just take to the dump." I've spent the intervening years pulling apart the books, running all the different fabrics carefully through my fingers as I remove bits of paper and glue from them. Each time I do I find a different project that I can see these pieces would be good for.

My First Acceptable Fabric Bowl

This little bowl is a little bit floppy but it turned out to be just ducky for holding beautiful handmade soaps.
This little bowl is a little bit floppy but it turned out to be just ducky for holding beautiful handmade soaps. | Source

A Fabric Bowl of Course

Making a fabric bowl sounds easy enough, right?

Realistically all you need to end up with is a round shape that stands up by itself and is firm enough to hold things inside. As you can probably guess, my first attempts didn't quite turn out the way I had intended. I've never been one to give up without at least a bit of a fight however - something to do with my obsessive compulsive nature I'm sure. So after a few tries and lots of grumbling under my breath with a couple of "eureka" moments thrown in to keep me going I managed put together a fairly easy method that that results in a lovely fabric bowl.

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First Step

Select a plate to use as a guide for marking a perfect circle on the reverse side of your material. If you're good with a protractor and compass then you could do without the plate but I find a large dinner plate is the quickest and easiest way to get a perfect circle every time. I use a large primary school type pencil for marking, along the lines of a carpenter's pencil with a broad tip because they tend to mark on rougher fabric like drapery or upholstery fabric more easily.


Fold your circle in to half and then half again to get a quarter circle as shown. Give both the inner and outer layer a good pressing while they are folded and this will give you a nicely quartered pie when you open the pieces out. Use a ruler to draw in the pressed lines.

Mark your inner circle using a smaller round plate or bowl. and then cut a base of this size out of heavy duty interfacing other stiff material. I use the stiff interfacing like they have in baseball caps..

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Divide up your "pie" into 8 pieces

Add in the rest of the lines to divide your pie into perfect eighths.  The quarter circle makes a handy reference for checking that the quarters are staying the same size as long as you make sure to keep the center points aligned.
Add in the rest of the lines to divide your pie into perfect eighths. The quarter circle makes a handy reference for checking that the quarters are staying the same size as long as you make sure to keep the center points aligned. | Source

Add An Interfacing Base

Extend your lines all the way across the interfacing of the base and move the base between outer and inner layers to make sure that all the lines match up correctly.
Extend your lines all the way across the interfacing of the base and move the base between outer and inner layers to make sure that all the lines match up correctly. | Source

The Darts are Essential So Measure Carefully

Getting ready to mark in the darts.  Each dart for the bowl shown was 1/2 inch wide its widest.  For a bowl that stands more upright 1 inch wide would have been better.
Getting ready to mark in the darts. Each dart for the bowl shown was 1/2 inch wide its widest. For a bowl that stands more upright 1 inch wide would have been better. | Source

Carefully Mark All the Lines Needed for Each Dart

Draw in the darts from the outer rim to the inner circle.
Draw in the darts from the outer rim to the inner circle. | Source

Verify That the Base Line Matches Where the Dart Point Will Come

Sew the base interfacing to the outer fabric along the eight pie lines.  Remember to keep the inner lines lined up with the line that the point of each dart will come to.
Sew the base interfacing to the outer fabric along the eight pie lines. Remember to keep the inner lines lined up with the line that the point of each dart will come to. | Source

Time to Start Sewing

Sew all the darts, then clip them open as close down to the point as possible. Press well.
Sew all the darts, then clip them open as close down to the point as possible. Press well. | Source
Repeat sewing the darts for the inner lining, starting each dart from the circle of the base.  Clip them open and press well.
Repeat sewing the darts for the inner lining, starting each dart from the circle of the base. Clip them open and press well. | Source

Join the Two Layers Together

Place one bowl inside the other, right sides together
Place one bowl inside the other, right sides together | Source
Sew the outer layer to the inner layer.  Don't forget to leave this seam open between two of the wedges to allow for turning the bowl right side out.
Sew the outer layer to the inner layer. Don't forget to leave this seam open between two of the wedges to allow for turning the bowl right side out. | Source

A Little Bit of Hand Sewing

Once everything is turned, hand stitch the opening closed using a complimentary thread.
Once everything is turned, hand stitch the opening closed using a complimentary thread. | Source

Join the Two Layers Together at the Edge of the Base and You're Done

From the outside, sew the inner and outer layers together at the edge of the heavy interfacing that will be the base of the bowl.
From the outside, sew the inner and outer layers together at the edge of the heavy interfacing that will be the base of the bowl. | Source

Finishing Touches

These little bowls are a great way to try out some of the decorative stitches that most sewing machines come with these days. I edged the bowl that was used for these photos with a metalic thread and a basic scallop shape.

Comments 2 comments

brsmom68 profile image

brsmom68 3 years ago from Alberta, Canada

I have a ton of 100% cotton fabric. I know drapery fabric is heavier, but perhaps with a stabilizer I could make the fabric I have work as well. Voted up and interesting.


Practical Paws profile image

Practical Paws 3 years ago from Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada Author

Thanks for your comment. Another option for 100% cotton fabric might be to use the super heavy interfacing that is used for stiffening the brim of ball caps or something similar. I use this for the base of tote bags and the bowls that I make.

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