Last year I was at a picnic organized by my parents. My stepmother, who has a linen for every occasion, had a beautiful embroidered lace and linen cloth draped over the mouth of the lemonade pitcher.  It had a strand of small crystals sewn to each corner to help weigh it down and keep it in place.  Someone commented that it would be nice to have one for all the bowls too, to keep the bugs and tree debris off the food.   Lightbulb moment!

I decided to make a set of bowl covers in different sizes and weigh them down with beads on the corners.

Rather than sew the beads on, however, I put eyelets in the corners so the beads could be hooked on and then removed so you can throw the fabric in the wash.  The covers are lightly insulated as well, which (hopefully) helps to keep the cold food cold and also adds a bit of stiffness to the fabric so it’s not drooping into the bowl.  Much more attractive than plastic wrap or foil, don’t you think?

Supplies and Instructions

The finished cover sizes are 12″, 10″ and 8″.  For this project you will need:

  • Half yard of fabric (total) for the tops.
  • Half yard of fabric for the bottoms.  Could also be fat quarters or large scraps of three different prints.
  • Half yard fusible fleece.
  • Depending on the size, 36–48 beads.
  • 12 3″ eye pins.  You can find these in the jewelry/beading section of the craft store.
  • 12 hooks for the beads.  The ones I used are 1.125″  from the hardware store.
  • Needlenose pliers.
  • Wire snips or cuticle trimmers (but don’t expect to use them on your cuticles again!)
  • 12 eyelets.  I used Dritz 103.
  • Eyelet setter.
  • Hammer
Prepare the fabric for the top.  I used Essex Linen, then I appliqued hexagons to it after I’d quilted the whole thing.  You could use a solid piece of fabric, patchwork (this would be great!), embroidered cloth, or applique.  Anything goes!  Prepare three– a 13″ square, an 11″ square and a 9″ square.
For the batting/interfacing, I used fusible fleece.  As I mentioned, this adds a bit of stiffness and has insulating properties.  You could use quilt batting or a different kind of interfacing, or layer a couple of different things.   Cut three– a 13″ square, an 11″ square and a 9″ square.
Prepare three fabrics for the back.  The covers could be reversible, so use something pretty!  Cut three– a 13″ square, an 11″ square and a 9″ square. (I used these three prints.)
  1. Use your iron to fuse the interfacing to the back pieces.
  2. With right sides together, sew the top to the bottom using a half inch seam allowance. Leave approximately 4″ open along one side for turning.
  3. Clip corners.
  4. Turn right side out. Poke corners out. Finger press the seam allowance from the opening to the inside and pin. Press well.
  5. Hand stitch the opening closed, or edge stitch around the whole thing to close the gap.
  6. Quilt it. I drew a 1.5″ grid on the whole thing, keeping it very simple.
  7. Finish the top. (I sewed on the hexagons at this point.)
For the “jewelry”, I put some beads on 3″ eye pins.  I found these in the beading section at Michael’s.
Use needlenose pliers to create a small closed hoop at the top of your beads.  Use wire snips or cuticle trimmers to cut off the excess wire.
My husband has one of those cases with a thousand drawers for different size nails, screws and bolt.  That’s where I found these hooks.  Unfortunately, I have no idea what they’re for.  They worked fairly well because they are heavy, which helps weigh down the corners of the covers.  After I hooked on the beads, I used the pliers to close the bottom hook and tighten up the top hook.  You can see the before and after difference in this photo.  It makes the hooks a little harder to get in the eyelets, but they don’t fly off whenever someone lifts the cover off the bowl.  You could probably find these at the hardware store, or findings for earrings might work well.  You just want to make sure the combined weight of the hooks and the beads will weigh down the corners of the cover and keep it in place if a light breeze comes up.
To prepare the covers for the eyelets, place a mark about 1/4″ in from each corner, then use a pair of small sharp scissors to cut a little hole.  Place the male part of the eyelet in the hole from the top.  Place the female part on the back.  (Image is not on the corner, nor 1/4″ in.)
This is the part where you’ll feel like you need more fingers.  Place the bottom of the eyelet tool on a flat surface (the floor, not your coffee table like this photo!)  Set the bottom of the eyelet in the groove of the bottom setter piece, then hold the top piece of the setter in place on the top eyelet and hammer them together.  Don’t hammer too much or you’ll cut the fabric with the edges of the eyelet and it will come right through. You should probably practice first.  You can do it!  (Eyelets are just like small grommets, so check out this tutorial.)

There you go!  I gave away this set as a hostess gift to someone who likes to do a lot of patio entertaining, so they were well-received.  It’s a project I hope you have fun with.

–Kristin