Everything’s better when it’s tied up with string, isn’t it? I can’t help but to love just about anything that comes wrapped in a tidy little parcel. Enter the tiny canvas kit case. In this project, the finished product is equal parts wrapping and gift.
Originally designed as a sewing kit, the mini canvas kit project from Rose can be used for wrapping up any number of other little things. Tuck in a few simple craft supplies to make a simple kit for a creative kiddo: a cardboard loom and embroidery thread for a friendship bracelet, or a pint-sized kumihimo cord. (Add mini scissors to make it even more special.) Fold a pressed vintage hankie or two to encourage some paper-free habit shifting. Kit it out with a few simple supplies for making repairs on the go. (Who among us hasn’t had to mend a mask on the go this year?) Poke a pair of earrings or a few safety pins through the loose weave of the drop cloth and present it with a gift of jewelry. (Add a polishing cloth if you’d like.)
Whatever you decide secret away inside—even if it’s a crisp new bill or a note of well-wishes—you’ll have the perfect parcel to present it in. Here are the basic instructions from Rose:
+ 12” x 15” piece of canvas drop cloth or other medium weight fabric
+ 1 .5 feet of thick string or cord
+ sewing machine and thread
+ ruler (optional)
+ Fold the medium weight material in half, width wise (the 12” side), to make a long rectangle 6” in width.
+ Sew the open long side and one short end of the folded rectangle leaving a ½” seam allowance; leave one short end open.
+ Trim any extra fabric around the edges and turn the rectangle inside out. Poke out the fabric corners.
+ Sew the remaining open end shut using a zigzag stitch and trim any extra fabric.
+ Fold each short end in towards the center 3.5”. Secure the 3.5” flaps to the top and bottom edge along your case using a zig zag stitch. Go over the seam a second time for strength. Leave the inside facing seam open to create a pocket for your sewing notions.
+ Repeat for the second side.
+ Cut the string/ cord in half and secure each tail end to the center outer edge of the case using a zigzag stitch.
Ideas for tucking inside:
Into a kid’s crafting kit or a sewing kit, you can prepare flat thread bobbins on 1”x1” squares of cut cardboard. Wrap the thread neatly around the center and cut a small incision into the side edge to tuck the threads tail end in neatly. Prepare cardboard looms ahead of time for projects like bracelets or cords or mini woven pouches and leave the url or written instructions to help the project take off.
Simple notions for a sewing kit, like a selection of buttons, elastic cord, pins, sewing needles, safety pins, or soft measuring tape could all be useful. For any sharp notions (pins and needles) carefully weave them into one side of the inner flap pocket. Be sure the sharp ends are not sticking out too far and all parts are secure and neatly in line. If you prefer extra protection from pins, use a scrap piece of folded fabric or felt underneath the needles. No need to sew it in place as the pins will naturally secure it down.
Whatever you tuck inside, fold the kit in half and tie the cord ends to close.
Thanks to Rose Pearlman for developing this project, writing the instructions, and capturing the step-by-step instruction imagery. Rose is an artist, teacher, and textile designer. With a background in fine arts and a love of well designed functional objects, her creations blur the lines between art and craft and pushes the boundaries with non-traditional techniques and materials. Rose teaches monthly rug hooking workshops in and around her home in NYC, and also welcomes commissions for one of a kind constructions in decor and home furnishings. Her work has been featured in fiber magazines, galleries, and numerous online design sites. Her book Modern Rug Hooking is available wherever books are sold. She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her family.
If you’re hoping to expand your gift giving this year to help folks outside of your immediate family, consider supporting local community groups like the North Brooklyn Mutual Aid in preparation of personal hygiene kits.
“Hygiene Kits NBK is a volunteer-led project to assemble and distribute individual kits of personal hygiene products, period products, and baby products to our unhoused neighbors in North Brooklyn and greater NYC.”
For more ideas of places to direct money and energy, my friend Anja has compiled a full and growing list of mutual aid efforts happening locally and across the country on her site Never Sleeps.