If you’re anything like me, by the end of the year you’re feeling a little low on happy reserves and struggling to remember all of the good things that have happened over the course of the year. This summer, I heard a lot of people were resolving to keep a jar in an easily accessible place, to add a note for every happy thing (big or small!) that happens in 2013. At the end of the year tip the jar out and bask in the warm glow of happiness as you recall a year that was actually pretty good.
So here it is – my tutorial for a “jolly jar”. And it has to be as jolly outside as it will be on the inside, so choose yourself some fabric that makes your heart sing and let’s get cracking!
- 1 x jar – any will do. I used a Tilly Jar from Junk & Disorderly
- Tape measure
- Pins, scissors, thread, tailor’s chalk
- 2 x contrasting fabric panels
- Stencil for lettering (I used the Silhouette Cameo to cut my letters), see “Notes” below
- Velcro strips
- Measure the circumference and height of your jar. Add 1cm seam allowance to each side, PLUS an additional 2cm to the length. The additional 2cm is to create an overlap, which is where you will sew your Velcro strips. (See the very complicated Figure 1, below!) Make a paper template to cut from if you find that easier; I marked my measurements directly onto my fabric.
- Cut one rectangle from each fabric panel.
- With right sides together, sew a 1cm seam allowance around the sides, leaving an opening to turn (see Figure 2, below).
- Clip corners to remove bulk, turn right sides out, use pencil end or chopstick to push corners out, and press. Topstitch around the outside. You should now have a rectangle of fabric, with a different fabric print on each side.
- Choose which fabric you’d like facing out – I chose a plain red fabric, with the busier floral fabric for the inside (to peek through when I open my jolly jar to make a deposit), and for the lettering.
- Cut your Velcro strips to the height of your fabric rectangle. My rectangle was 9cm, so I cut 9cm of Velcro strips – make sure you have both hook and loop (i.e. they fuse together when you join them up).
- Clip the corners (to avoid minor scratches from the stiff and pointy Velcro tape), and pin into place on your rectangle. TEST, TEST, TEST that the fit is correct before you sew. You want it to be snug enough that it will stay on.
- Once you are satisfied that the Velcro is in the correct position, sew around to secure.
- Cut out your word using whichever fabric will be facing into the jar (see “Notes” below).
- Pin them into place – before securing (by sewing or ironing), TEST, TEST, TEST that when the fabric is around your jar, and the Velcro is stuck together, that your letters are in the “middle” of the rectangle. When your fabric is laid flat on your work bench, the middle differs from when your fabric is wrapped around your jar. Remember that 2cm overlap we added when we cut? That affects the middle here, so please make sure you test first.
- Once you are happy that your letters are correctly placed, secure them.
- Voila! Your jolly/happy/sweet/good/[insert your word here] jar is complete. Enjoy!
- You can draw the letters directly onto your fabric if you have a steady hand, cut using a machine like the Silhouette Cameo, or trace with a stencil and fabric pen. I am lazy and obsessed with my Cameo, so I chose that option, with iron-on interfacing at the back to save me appliqueing the letters on.
- If you choose to applique your letters into place, you should do this before Step 3 above, otherwise you’ll be sewing through two layers of fabric (no biggie) and your stitches will show on the reverse side (also no biggie, just a matter of preference).