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Upcycling an Old Sewing Box

March 12, 2024

A sewing box sitting open showing its contents. The box is on a sewing table with a sewing machine and wooden containers of stationary and other crafting supplies.

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This is part 2 of 3 in a series of covering various things in my life in fabric for various reasons. Click here for part 1 (my journal!) or here for part 3 (plastic hangers!).


The Why

Some of my favorite projects have been made with random free things from strangers on the internet (like the cat tree I made out of a free Craig's List ladder when we first adopted Jack in 2016).

This sewing box is no exception. I was on the lookout for yarn to make a baby blanket for a friend when I happened upon someone offering up "yarn, crafting and sewing supplies". YES PLEASE!

I assumed that all of these fun things would come to me in a random bag or even a trash bag, but WOW that was not the case. Instead, I became the proud owner of this very ugly cute sewing box, plus it's fabulous contents. If you want to see everything in the haul, it's on TikTok here. :)

A white vinyl sewing box with a gold flower design

I knew right away that I wanted to give it a makeover and make it not ugly cuter, and that of course, to me, means turning to the vintage fabric stash.

This felt like such a perfect project to showcase these fabrics because it will be pride of place in my crafting space and the adorable flowers on these fabrics will be able to soak up the sunshine.

The Supplies

Ironed dainty floral fabrics hanging on the back of a chair

As always, I got my supplies together as a first step. They are very similar to the supplies from the journal makeover:

- Glue

I used both hot glue and Sobo craft glue. I also used Fray Check for all the raw edges.

- Fabric Scissors

I LOVE my Ginghers, but these are a fabulous affordable option.

- Pencil or chalk, small ruler

For marking where to cut the opening for the handle.

-Iron and Ironing surface of some kind

This is my iron and my mini folding board.

- Fabric

Second-hand is best, even if that means cutting up an old shirt! The fabric I used was given to me by a family friend.

- Bias Tape Maker

For the elastic topped pockets.

- Paint

I painted my hardware with this acrylic paint and sealed it with this varnish. This is just what I had and luckily it seems to be holding up well!

- Paint brushes

I have an old set. No recs here unforch!

The How

I chose a different fabric for each part of the box, including the handle, and decided to lay them in this orientation.

A selction of blue, white and red fabrics laying on the sewing box. There are bins of fabric on the table in the background.

The inside of the lid had this horrible pocket. This pocket is the only formal organization in this thing, and since it was stretched out, plasticky, and GROSS, I decided to replace it with not one, but TWO pockets.

Showing the inside of the box with a gold, plastic pocket. My cat Pete is in the background.

I used some random elastics that actually came in the box of free stuff (do you know what these are for?! I certainly dont'!) and another red floral from my stash.

Showing two elastic loops with large plastic hooks attached

This part was maybe my favorite of the entire project - I got to use one of my new bias tape makers. This really has to be seen to be believed, so feel free to scroll down the check out the video of this project!

Ironing a piece of bias tape with a bias tape maker

Basically, this little contraption folds the fabric into a C fold which can be ironed in place. From there, I folded it in half (longways) and attached it to the top of the red fabric. This made a channel that I was able to pull the elastic through.

A blue strip made with the bias tape maker pinned to the top of a piece of red floral fabric

I cut a piece of cardboard the size of the pocket backing and covered it in fabric before glueing the pockets down. Then I set the finished pocket piece to the side.

Showing the completed pocket piece

From here I painted the hardware because it was truly looking a little gnarly. I should have primed it with white first to make the gold pop, but 3 coats of paint and one of varnish worked quite well!

Painting the latch gold

Adding the fabric to the box was... interesting because the hardware was weird shapes and going around it was a major challenge. I used a pin and tweezers to help tuck the ends underneath and glued it right up against the edges of the hardware. I got better as I went along!

Gluing fabric around the hardware of the handle
Glueing fabric around the hardware of the latch

Once the lid was done, I put the pocket piece in!

Making an excited face next to the installed pocket piece

The handle was plastic and pretty grungy, so I wrapped it in fabric a long strip of fabric and then used extra pieces of tiny little fabric to cover the ends near the hinge.

Wrapping the handle in red fabric with tiny pink flowers

Each piece of fabric was different, but, long story short, I made sure that there were no raw edges of fabric anywhere and that all the edges were crisp and clean.

Gluing fabric on the box, my cat Pete is in the foreground.

To Sum Up

The completed box open, full of supplies like yarn, thread, pins, etc.

I mean wow. I am really into this sewing box! I don't know what I will put in it permanently but I do know that this box will be proudly on display in my craft space/dining room for a good long time. Storage is so important, but who says it can't be cute, too? ;)

The closed sewing box sitting on my sewing desk

I hope you have a beautiful rest of your day and thank you so much for being here! Check out part 1 (my journal!) here, and part 3 (clothes hangers!) here!

💖, Katrina



  • Ann

    So sweet! And I'm sure Mary is enjoying how you are making pretty things with her fabric stash.

    March 12, 2024 at 6:01 PM

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