Despite having a place for everything in my sewing space, my marking pens and pencils always go missing. In my office the highlighters and the pens that write also seem to go missing. Recently I’ve using empty food cans as improvised storage containers. While it’s much easier to find my pens, pencils and highlighters, cans are not aesthetically pleasing. While I could glue some fabric onto my can, I prefer a softer feel for my storage container. I hate the sound that dropping items into cans make so I’ll also making a can insert to reduce the noise. In this tutorial I’ll show you how to sew a fabric can cover.
You will need:
1 empty food can
low loft fusible fleece (total area must be enough to cover the sides and bottom of the can
fabric scraps (total area will be larger than the fusible fleece)
fabric glue or washable school glue (optional)
buttons, lace, ribbon or tassel embellishments (optional)
I’ve been using a 213 mL can in my sewing space because several of my marking pencils are less than 10 cm (4 inches) long. I use a 398 mL can in my office as it’s just the right size for the pens and highlighters I have. You can use any size of can you want so long as it is clean and doesn’t have any sharp edges along the top.
Wash and dry your can and remove any paper label. Check the rim for any sharp edges. If there is a sharp edge, select a different can. You don’t want to cut yourself when you are reaching for your pens etc.
Measure the height, circumference and interior diameter of your can.
The following table describes the dimensions of my two cans.
Cut a rectangle of fusible fleece to cover the exterior of the can and a circle of fusible fleece to cover the bottom interior of the can. Low loft fusible fleece is a few millimeters thick and the can has ridges. I got the best results when I cut my rectangle 0.5 cm (¼ inch) longer than the circumference of the can. The rectangle’s height is still the height of the can and the circle’s diameter is still the inner diameter of the can.
The following table describes the dimensions of the fusible fleece I used.
Cut a rectangle of fabric to cover the exterior of the can and a circle of fabric to cover the interior of the can. Add the seam allowance to all sides of your rectangle and around the circumference of your circle. I choose a 6 mm (¼ inch) seam allowance so I add 12 mm (½ inch) to each of my fusible fleece measurements.
This table describes the dimensions of fabric I used.
Fuse the fusible fleece to the center of the wrong side of the rectangle and circle, Sew any embellishments (buttons, lace, ribbon, tassels etc) onto the right side of the rectangle.
Fold the seam allowance along the long edges of your rectangle. This hides the raw edges of the fusible fleece and fabric. Pin, press and top-stitch ~ 4mm (1/8 inch) from the fold along both long edges. Your rectangle will now be the same height as your can.
Pin the short sides of the rectangle together, with right sides together. Pin and sew using a straight stitch. Press the seam open to reduce bulk.
Turn the fabric can cover right side out and slip it over your can.
Snip the seam allowance of your circle. Each snip should be perpendicular to the edge of the circle and stop at the edge of the interfacing. Space you snips ~ 8 mm (1/3 inch) apart.
Fold the seam allowance to encase the raw edges of the fusible fleece. Pin or glue in place. Use fabric glue or washable school glue if you are using glue.
Top stitch with a ~4 mm (1/8 inch) seam allowance. Now your circle is the same size as the interior bottom of the can. Place the circle inside the can with the fabric side facing up.
Here are some photos of my finished fabric can covers.
They turned out great. I like that the ridges in the sides of the can are much less obvious when I pick up the cans. With the fusible fleece lined fabric circles inside the can, I hear a dull thud instead of a metallic ping when I drop items into my cans. I find that sound less annoying. Since the fabric isn’t glued to my cans, it can be removed and washed easily. Similarly, if I move to a new home/office I can easily remove the fabric can cover and pack it, instead of packing the entire covered can. In that case, the bare can would go into the recycling bin.
Do you have any comments or feedback about this tutorial? Have you reused cans in an interesting way? Comment below and/or Pin Me for later.