Translate My Blog

Monday, 16 November 2009

Victorian Etui Box Tutorial

Again i have been asked to do a tutorial on my etui box. Again i can only offer you the way i make the boxes together. I therefore have made another one, and took photos as i went along. Measurements are extremely important because the box needs to match up perfectly. I tried to make the box with gussets but i just couldn't work it out so i have kept to the traditional look of the box opening up flat. For this one i have made the lid separate as it was easier to do. Hope you find the instructions helpful and hope that you too can make such wonderful etui boxes :o)


Some things you will need:

batting used for padding.
double sided tape
glue (bookmark glue or pva glue)
waxed dental floss or fishing wire.
strong cotton
sewing machine
sharp needle

MEASUREMENTS for the Cardboard Pieces:


cut 1 of 4.8 inches square of cardboard (outer side of lid)

cut 1 of 4.4 inches square of cardboard (inside part of lid)


cut 4 of 4.10 inches by 1 inch of cardboard.


cut 1 of 4.6 inches square cardboard (outside bottom of base)

cut 1 of 3.14 inches square cardbord (inside part of base)


cut 4 of the outer walls 4.3 inches by 4.7 inches square of cardboard

cut 4 of the inside walls 4 inches by 4.4 inches of square of coardboard


first we will start with the lid. you need the cardboard for the top of the lid and the cardboard for the inside of the lid which is slightly cut smaller than the other one. you will need some batting for the inside, and 4 of the side bits that form the lip of the lid.

cut both your fabrics for pieces of cardboard lid.

starting with the inside bit, cover the cardboard with batting using some double sided tape.

do the same with the top lid fabric but no padding, then turn the corners over and sew them down, i mitred the corners first........then lace the back of both pieces like you would lace if you were framing a piece.

front sides look like this, the one that goes inside the lid is padded the other one is not. **all the outside walls of the box are not padded, but the inside ones will be padded.

now place the inside one on top of the outside one and glue into place, making sure you centre it.

now you must prepare the lip sides of the lid. using your little pieces, place them onto the fabric and cut out a piece of fabric about 3.5 times the width of you cardboard.

leave a tiny gap between each cardboard because you want these spots to bend which will form your corners on the lid.

with some double sided tape in the centre of each cardboard place them onto the wrong side of the fabric one length height of the cardboard.

with some more double sided tape, this time on the side facing you

and turn the fabric over and tape will hold it in place for you while you work.

now fold the top down to meet the cardboard.

now turn it over again and this time it should meet just under the bottom edge as per picture below.

now open it again and turn the corner section over as per picture.

now turn it down again and begin to stitch it together with hidden whip stitches.

keep going till you get to the other end and fasten off your thread.

now you should have your lid and this strip of fabric.

now starting at the back part of your lid, begin to stitch the strip to the lid and make sure that the untidy side of the stitching is on the inside of the lid, as you want the prettier side to show outwards.

holding it in a position that is downwards because you want the lip to sit downwards begin to sew.

keep stitching it with whip stitches til you get to the end

now you will get to the spot where you started from

now close shut the 2 ends together, forming one of the corners of the lid.

you now have the lid completed. Notice how the corners are important for the lid to work out properly. That is why measurements are extremely important, otherwise your box will not work out to match.

this is the inside view of the lid.

now you will prepare the bottom of the box. you will have your cardboard pieces similar to the lid, the padding to go on the inside part, and fabric for the bottom side.

complete both pieces like you did for the lid. the outside one has no padding and the inside one has padding.

i have used patterned fabric for the inside part, but you can use the same colour of the sides if you wish. for the outside parts, i have used all the same fabric except the lid of course.

now put all what you have done aside.


now you will prepare the sides of the box. You will have 4 pieces of cardboard that will be used for the outside and 4 pieces of fabric. No padding is required for the outside bits.

now complete the sides like you did for the outer lid. Don't forget to lace the backs.

now you will prepare the side bits that will form the inside walls of the box, these will be padded.

now complete them as you did for the inside part of the lid, lacing the backs.
now you have 4 walls for the outer side of the box, and 4 padded walls for the inside of the box.

now you will join the 4 outside walls to the base of the box which you have prepared earlier. don't forget to make sure you place the sides properly as you would not want the laced sides on the outside.

now i have used waxed dental floss to attach the base of the side walls to the base of the box, as per picture, i continue like that and pulling tightish as i go. (you can use fishing wire or very strong cotton for this part.)

you now should have the following.

this what the other side looks like, all my fabric that i want to show on the outside is showing.

now i just sit the other parts to see what it looks like on the inside.

now if you want to, you can stop here and glue your inside parts to the outer walls and glue your inside base to the outer base, and perhaps put a strip of ribbon in the centre of each one before you glue the peices in place.

now if you are more confident you can attach pockets to the inside walls as i have. for this you will need some more fabric and some elastic.

now cut 4 pieces of fabric that is 1 & 1/2 width of the inside wall and add a further 2 cms and the height of the wall .............iron the top down about 2 cms and iron again a further 2cms over.

machine stitch the seam down with matching cotton.

you can also now machine stitch some lace on the top like have to give it some contrast and plus it looks pretty too :o) will also need to cut 4 elastic peices the with of the inside wall and add a further 2cm .

now using a safety pin, feed the elastic just enough for one end to meet the end of the fabric and machine stitch in place so that the elastic is secured. Now move the safety pin to the other side and do the same but be careful not to loose your elastic.

now hand sew the fabric about just under half way of the inside wall to the back of the peice, and make sure you stitch it well starting from one side going right around and then the bottom to the other side and then fasten off your thread. .............dont worry how bad the back looks as you will not see this after you are finished. you now should have this.

this is what the backs of mine look like.

Now glue the inside walls which have the pockets to the walls of the box and glue in place the inside padded base to the base of the box.

Congratulations, you have just finished your victorian etui box. Makes a wonderful gift for a stitcher. Enjoy!

Luv from Olga.


Miss 376 said...

Fantastic tutorial, thank you. It must have taken you ages to get all this prepared

Solstitches said...

Olga you are so generous to take the time to put up this tutorial.
The box looks fabulous and I'd love to try making one after Christmas.
Thank you.

Annie said...

Your box and accessories make such a great stitcher gift. Thanks for such a detailed tutorial. It really takes a lot of work to take all those detailed photos and write up instructions. You are so sweet to do that.

Olenka's Stitches said...

This is a great tutorial! I am sure I've spent a lot of time on it. And the box turned out so Christmac-y and lovely.

Irena said...

There are no words to express my thanks for your post. I've been searching for over 8 hours for a pattern. Ideally I was looking for a 6 sided etui but I'm sure I can adapt your instructions. Your step by step photos are just great - you're a star!