A TECHNIQUE DRIVEN Blog dedicated to mastery of surface design techniques. First we dye, overdye, paint, stitch, resist, tie, fold, silk screen, stamp, thermofax, batik, bejewel, stretch, shrink, sprinkle, Smooch, fuse, slice, dice, AND then we set it on fire using a variety of heat tools.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Book Review: Sewing Pottery by Machine by Barbara Warholic

 Many years ago, I aspired to become a potter.  Alas, after trying out the process in Junior College, I decided I was not cut out for it – the clay was very hard on my thin skin, and it was an exceptionally messy medium!  But I have always loved the graceful shapes of pots, bowls and vases that are typical of clay and ceramic creations.  Fast forward 46 years to 2012 – I had become an avid reader of blogs, particularly those written by my fellow fiber artists.  Sometime in the fall of 2012, I found a wonderful tutorial written by Sherrie Spangler on her blog, which helped me get started making coiled fabric bowls.  At first it was just a ‘stash buster’ project – a way to use up my ever growing collection of fabrics, and offer a new product at the craft fairs where I sell.  But over time, it has become a real avocation for me!  I love the process as well as the finished product, and that is always a plus for me.
Last summer, I found a book at a fabric store I was visiting, called “It’s a Wrap II” by Susan Breier, and that set me on a path to learn more about how to create various shapes along with embellishing and finishing techniques. 
Recently, I came across “Sewing Pottery by Machine” by Barbara Warholic, and it really got my interest, because she teaches techniques for creating shapes that combine two bowls to create a pot or vase, even pitchers!  I immediately ordered the book, and read it through as soon as it came in the mail. 
I decided to try her methods making a vase-shaped pot, and set about to see if I could follow her directions.  I will not go into detail here, as I do not want to divulge her secrets, but I will tell you that her directions are easy to follow… however, I did find a couple of steps to be a little more difficult than I anticipated.  The process involves constructing the bottom of the structure, then the top, and making both components the same diameter so as to join them.  I followed her directions for the top, making the number of rows she indicated at the angles she listed in the directions, and ended up with a top portion that was about an inch wider than the bottom.  I ended up ripping out several rows in order to make both diameters match, so the vase came out shorter than I had planned.  The last step, stitching the two components together, is a little cumbersome, but I can’t envision an alternate method, so I used some trusty tools to help me stitch it together.  Here is my finished pot:

Lessons learned:   Make the match of the top and bottom diameters your priority over  following the directions to the letter.  Once I ripped out the rows back to the diameter on the top that matched the bottom, the project progressed without a hitch.

Conclusion:  I can highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn how to make fabric pots.  There are other books on the shelf that teach bowl and basket making techniques, and I can recommend trying one of those for basic shapes, but “Sewing Pottery by Machine” is an excellent guide for advanced  shapes.  I found my copy used on-line, but have also seen it in fabric shops. Published 2011 by Martingale & Company.


  1. Judy, Looks like a great book. Love your pot!

  2. I just bought the book. I have been wanting to do this for a while now.

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  4. Beautiful vase. Another thing to put on my list of books and things to do.

  5. Thanks for reviewing my book! You're right, auditioning the top and bottom pieces together a few times will ensure that you won't have to rip out! Because sewing machines are different and no one holds their work exactly the same, the directions won't work perfectly every time. I'm glad you still enjoyed it though!


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