I have exciting news: Recently, I was chosen as one of the newest members of the Sew Crafty Design Team! If you follow me on social media at all, then you already know this, and you’ve already seen several sneak peeks of my first project. But did you guess it’s a Doughnut Themed Thread Catcher?! (I didn’t think so.)
Basically, as a member of the Sew Crafty Design Team, I was given store credit to their (awesome) online crafting/sewing supply shop. With my credit I was allowed to pick whatever I wanted to make whatever I wanted. Naturally, I found a doughnut pin cushion kit (sadly, sold out now) and doughnut themed fabric and went to town!
Let’s get started, on to the making!
I have to be honest and admit that the first time I saw a thread catcher, I thought “well that’s dumb, do you really need a little fabric bucket for threads and scraps and stuff??” And then I kept sewing, and thinking about it, and sewing, and bending down to retrieve threads and scraps and throw them in the trash, and then I decided I had to have one! Oh, and now that I made myself one, I LOVE it! Trust me, you need one.
Here’s what you’ll need to make your own:
- two coordinating fabrics of your choice – a fat quarter or half yard each will do – I chose these “doughnut” and “white sprinkles” fabrics
- your favorite -strong- crafting glue / adhesive
- coordinating thread
- bits of trim of your choosing – I used cotton candy pink ricrac and hot pink sequins – approx. 16″ of each
- pre-made or handmade pin cushion (I used a Make Arcade kit to make my doughnut pin cushion – another blog post coming soon for that one!)
- flat base for pin cushion (I used metal weights, more on that later)
- heavy/stiff interfacing, e.g. Pellon 71F Peltex Ultra Firm 1-Sided Fusible (not pictured, yet)
To get started, first cut out all the necessary pieces of fabric and interfacing. These measurements are what I used to make a somewhat larger thread catcher (I wanted to be able to grab my serger scraps in there as well), but feel free to adjust as you see fit to make your own custom thread catcher. These measurements also include a half inch seam allowance.
For this thread catcher, you will need:
- 2 rectangles – 1 from your main fabric 7″ x 16.75″ and 1 from your lining fabric 8″ x 16.75″
- 2 circles – 1 from the main fabric and 1 lining with a 6″ diameter
- 1 strip of interfacing .75″ x 15.75″
- 1 circle of interfacing with a 5″ diameter
- 1 small rectangle of lining fabric 4.5″ x 3.5″ (for the little connector tab)
- 1 small strip of interfacing 1.75″ x 3″ (for the little connector tab)
**Depending on the pin cushion you use and the base/weight you decide to make for your counter/table, the next pieces are optional or may require different measurements
- 2 more 6″ circles from main fabric
- 2 pieces of interfacing that are the same size as your base (I traced my metal weights to get the size & shape)
The last step of preparation before we get sewing is to iron the pieces of fusible interfacing to their corresponding pieces of fabric. This will definitely help keep everything straight as you move forward and doing all the ironing at one time saves from having to go back and forth. Obviously, if you choose interfacing that is no fusible – which is totally an option – then you can skip this step.
The long strip of interfacing will help form the band around the top of the thread catcher “bucket” and so needs to be adhered along the top edge of the lining fabric. You’ll notice that the measurements allow for an extra half an inch of fabric on either end of the strip (see photo above). The circles of interfacing should all be adhered centered on the main fabric.
Once all your pieces are prepped and ready to go, it’s time to start sewing! The first step is to take the two large rectangles, fold them in half to make squares (ish) with right sides of the fabric facing each other. Sew the side seam, or the side opposite the fold. If you open the fabric up, you should now have two tubes.
**As I mentioned above, these measurements include .5″ seam allowance.
Next, take the lining circle and sew it – right sides together – to the bottom of the tube of lining fabric you’ve just created, and do the same with the main fabric and the main fabric circle with the 5″ interfacing in the center. You should now have two cylinders or buckets. If you’re not used to sewing circles or complete rounds like this, it can be a bit tricky, but just use lots of pins and go slowly. It’s honestly not as hard as it sounds!
Now it’s time to sew the small rectangle of fabric which will make a sleeve for our connector tab. Simply fold the fabric in half so that it is just large enough to encase the small strip of interfacing, making sure to sew with right sides together. Then, turn the fabric right side out and insert the interfacing, tucking the unfinished edges in like a little envelope.
Going back to your cylinders, it’s time to put our buckets together! Take the cylinder of main fabric and turn it so that the right side of the fabric is now facing out, making sure to push out the seam at the bottom so the interfacing will sit flat inside. Then, insert the cylinder of lining fabric, pushing it all the way inside the cylinder of your main fabric. Just the strip of interfacing should be sticking out at the top (see above).
BEFORE we fold our nice little cuff at the top, we’re going to sew the connector tab in place. This is the small tab we made which will connect the bucket to the base and allow the thread catcher to hang over the edge of the table. Simply line up the tab just below the edge of the interfacing on the INSIDE of your bucket. With the wrong side (seam side) of the tab facing up, sew two short lines of stitching (1.5″ to 2″) on each side edge of the tab.
(Sorry if this step isn’t the most clear. I freely admit I made this up as I went along, and was really looking for a way to encase the end of the connector inside the cuff of the bucket. You could simply finish the edge of the connector (so the raw edges doesn’t need to be encased) and sew it to the outside of the bucket/cuff AFTER assembly, but it’s totally up to you!)
Once the tab is sewn in place, you should be able to fold the top of the lining “bucket” over the edge of the main “bucket” twice, creating a small 1″ cuff at the top of the two buckets. The tab will now be on the OUTSIDE of the buckets. Pin the fabric in place and sew. If you want to add a fun trim around the edge of the cuff, you can do that now, as well.
Okay, so now is where things may differ for you. I chose to use metal weights for the base of my pin cushion for a very specific reason. I thought, “wouldn’t it be cool if I made my pin cushion with magnets in it and then used a metal base so the pin cushion would just snap right into place??” I was right, it is cool, but it may also require materials that are a little harder to get and it does require making your own pin cushion (though, I suppose you could always alter a pre-made pin cushion). ANYWAY, depending on the pin cushion, and therefore the base, you decide to make, these next steps will vary.
For my base, I decided to get as close to a round shape as possible, tracing my metal weights (aka electric plate covers glued together) onto my interfacing. The next step is to gather the edges of the circles of fabric with a quick basting stitch, securing the end with a knot. It should look like this:
I am sure I could have come up with a more elegant way to cover the metal discs with my adorable doughnut fabric… But I really wanted a doughnut on the top and a doughnut on the bottom with trim around the edge, so this is what I came up with. When your fabric discs are assembled, it’s time to break out the glue (again, you can use whatever you prefer, just make sure it’s strong).
BEFORE your start gluing, however, grab your fabric bucket with the tab. Cover one side of the metal with a thick layer of glue, then insert the tab between the fabric disc and the metal discs. Hold or clamp in place. Obviously, your tab may already be sewn to the bucket, but that was really hard to photograph, so this is just an example of the fabric disc – connector tab – metal disc sandwich. :)
Once that is secure enough, glue the other fabric disc on top and again hold or clamp in place until secure. (Also, I know it’s probably some sort of sewing sin to use my precious wonder clips for this purpose, but you gotta use what works, right?! Right??)
To finish off the base, cover the exposed metal center of the sandwich base by gluing sequin trim (or a trim of your choice) around the entire side edge. For this, I simply used my trusty hot glue gun. And that’s it! Can you believe it?! Drop your pin cushion on top, hang the bucket over the edge of your table and get to sewing!
I hope this project was worth the wait! I know it’s a bit overly complicated, but I have to admit that I am OBSESSED with my donut thread catcher! The fabric and trims make me so happy; but, even more than that, the sheer functionality (especially with the hidden magnets inside my pin cushion which snap right onto the metal base) has made it an indispensable part of my sewing toolkit. I just love seeing this tasty little beauty hanging from the end of my work table!
A few notes:
This project is pretty easy to customize in whatever ways you prefer – from fabrics and trims to your choice of pin cushion and base style. If you do not wish to use a metal base, you can also make or use a pin cushion filled with sand as a weight and simply set it on top of a plain fabric base (maybe with some more interfacing inside to give it structure). If you want a pin cushion that attaches to the base without using metal and magnets, you can use velcro instead. You could also add a small strip of fabric to the interior of the bucket for holding small thread snips. I think you get the idea, the sky’s the limit!
You can meet the rest of the Sew Crafty Design Team on the Sew Crafty blog and even shop the members’ hauls to see what fun supplies they chose and the crafts they’re getting up to! Also, be sure to stay tuned for my review of The Make Arcade Doughnut Pin Cushion Kit AND more projects for the Sew Crafty Design Team!
What have you been making lately??
As always, thanks for reading! :)