Amy’s nesting fabric bowls

Today we’ve got a tutorial from Amy at Amy’s Crafty Shenanigans for those gorgeous fabric bowls featured on our homepage. Amy made these in Alchemy and Essex Linen using Nova’s Nesting Fabric Bowls pattern and they are so incredibly pretty and useful – I am going to have a hard time giving them back! Read on to hear about the project and how to make some for yourself. These also make a GREAT Christmas present. Hint. Hint.

The minute I saw the Nesting Fabric Bowls on the blog, I wanted to make a set for myself. I have been waiting for the perfect fabric to make them out of and when Alchemy came in to Annie’s shop, I knew that was the fabric for my set of bowls. I put these prints together with some Essex Linen in Steel and in Natural.

Alchemy fabric nesting bowls tutorial

Because Nova’s pattern is so very thorough, easy to follow and already has amazing pictures and diagrams, I will just share some of the things I did to help myself make a set of four bowls all at once!

My first task was to plan which fabric to use for which bowl! For this I made a few small sketches trying to visualize the end result. This sketch shows my final plan. I used my favourite of the four prints for the panel in the largest bowl.

Alchemy fabric nesting bowls tutorial

I then made “crib notes” or “cheat sheets” for each bowl, listing everything I needed to make it including a sketch of the parts of the outer bowl and the dimensions of all the pieces that I needed to cut. This was so I didn’t have to refer back to the pattern during the cutting stage. All my instructions could be in one place – one sheet per bowl. Nova’s pattern has charts with measurements for the different sized bowls and another chart lists the dimensions to cut for bowls with feature panels. You do need to refer to the first chart for the dimensions for all the parts and components of the bowl. This is why I combined all of the measurements I needed onto one sheet per bowl! My sheets are NOT pretty but they are very useful! It also meant that I could check things off as I cut them so I didn’t lose track of where I was in the cutting process! Once all the cutting was done I referred back to the pattern for the rest of the instructions.

Alchemy fabric nesting bowls tutorial

Once I had cut all the fabric for one bowl, I would set it all on the “cheat sheet” and move on to the next bowl and cut those pieces until all my materials for each bowl were cut and placed on their “cheat sheet”, ready to sew!

Alchemy fabric nesting bowls tutorial

Having all the materials for each bowl cut and in piles made it very easy to go to the next step of chain piecing the feature panel fabrics to the steel coloured linen. I went from bowl to bowl, each time replacing the correct sized bowl parts onto the correct “cheat sheet”! Then the interfacing and fusible fleece were ironed on which was also done in an assembly-line fashion! This process was by far the most time consuming part of making four bowls!

Alchemy fabric nesting bowls tutorial

Once all four of my bowl outers were sewn and interfacing and fusible fleece added, I did some hand stitching with two different colours of DMC floss, one colour on either side of the Alchemy fabric/feature panel. Machine stitching is perfectly fine too and gives a different look but for these bowls in this particular fabric, I wanted something fluid and organic (i.e. not perfectly straight!!) because the pattern on the fabric is so natural. Mixing hand stitching and machine quilting is very effective too. Have fun with it!

Alchemy fabric nesting bowls tutorial

Constructing the bowls was very easy as the pattern has wonderfully clear pictures and written instructions. The pattern also provides measurements for the placement of the opening on the lining (for turning through), the length of the opening plus a diagram and chart with measurements for all bowl sizes for sewing and trimming the gusset. Pay attention to the 1/8” gusset seam allowance as the smaller seam allowance (once trimmed) creates a tidier inside of bowl where the lining and bowl interiors meet.

When you are ready to pair the outer section with the lining and sew together, I highly recommend pinning like crazy so that nothing shifts when you sew them together. It may look like overkill but it makes sewing them together quite smooth.

Alchemy fabric nesting bowls tutorial

My top tip when sewing these together would be to use a darker thread than the fusible fleece. This means you can see it if you must rip out for any reason and it also shows you where you have sewn so you can stay on a nice straight line (unlike me)!

Alchemy fabric nesting bowls tutorial

To help reduce bulk at the seams, sewing them open helps a little bit. Iron them flat.

Alchemy fabric nesting bowls tutorial

I found it much easier to sew my final top stitch on the top edge of the bowls when I took the tray/extension table off of my machine and just had the sewing arm. This makes it easier to sew the smaller circular bowls.

Alchemy fabric nesting bowls tutorial

Nova’s pattern has brilliant step-by-step images and diagrams throughout and they are especially helpful when finishing the bowls. I totally recommend printing the entire pattern so you can see her clear and concise images!

You now have a set of Nesting Fabric Bowls!

Alchemy fabric nesting bowls tutorial


Alchemy fabric nesting bowls tutorial

Alchemy fabric nesting bowls tutorial

A quick note on fabric selection:

One of the fabrics used for the feature panels had a large pattern – wider than the three inches that would be used. I wanted to cut it to show as much of the pattern in the best way. Using spare fabric, I mocked up what a 3” wide panel of the fabric would look like in a few different directions and chose the one I thought showed the pattern on the fabrics best. This did mean that the fabric would be cut on an angle but once the interfacing was ironed on, there was no stretching when I sewed it. The pattern has directions when directional fabrics are used.

Alchemy fabric nesting bowls tutorial

Alchemy fabric nesting bowls tutorial

Thanks Amy!

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12 Responses to Amy’s nesting fabric bowls

  1. Mary Escott November 7, 2012 at 8:12 am #

    I just love these. I can see my girls being on the receiving end of this gift. x

  2. Gertie November 7, 2012 at 8:55 am #

    Amy these are gorgeous! I love the fabrics and the hand stitching detail. Beautiful x

  3. Di November 7, 2012 at 9:01 am #

    Love these bowls. Thanks Amy for showing us tips on how to make them

  4. Charlotte November 7, 2012 at 9:18 am #

    gorgeous bowls, and fantastic tips! Thanks, Amy!

  5. Colette Moscrop November 7, 2012 at 10:35 am #

    They are gorgeous, very clever to cut the fabric at an angle to get the most out of the pattern, thanks for sharing Amy! x

  6. Flying Blind November 7, 2012 at 3:53 pm #

    They look brilliant!

  7. moira November 7, 2012 at 8:16 pm #

    great job and a nudge for me to dig out the pattern and to get nesting

  8. Nova November 7, 2012 at 10:20 pm #

    Thank you so much for sharing such a lovely review of my pattern Amy & for all the great tips! x

    Your nesting bowls look fantastic! Great fabrics & love those hand stitches 🙂


  9. Kelly November 7, 2012 at 10:54 pm #

    Love these Amy – I have this pattern and you have inspired me to get cracking on making some!

  10. Kay November 12, 2012 at 11:52 am #

    These are just perfect and thank you for the great tutorial. As a relative beginner lots of pictures and advice is always helpful

  11. Shell Rummel December 5, 2012 at 8:57 pm #

    Just came upon this fantastic blog post while looking for projects that are being made with my Alchemy fabric collection…Love these!! Such a great idea…The soft organic qualities of my designs lend themselves so beautifully to the easy shape of the nesting bowls. So pleased to see my art transformed into such a functional yet beautiful product…Lovely!
    ~ Shell

    • Annie December 5, 2012 at 10:11 pm #

      Thank you Shell! I’ll make sure Amy sees this comment!

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