Lighten up on the plastic wrap and aluminum foil and go green with these pretty fabric bowl covers. They're great when you're dining outside. Slip them over an open bowl to keep dirt and buggies from invading the contents. It's like a little bowl bonnet, and such a fun way to add a country-fresh look to your table. This is a super fast and easy project anyone can do, which is what our Fast Fridays series is all about: whipping up something wonderful in no time at all!
We used fat quarters for our samples, but any larger scraps would work well. A length of coordinating rick rack and some tiny elastic are the only additional supplies.
Our free downloadable circle template will work for bowls up to 10" in diameter. You could certainly go larger by drawing your own template. To do this, place your bowl face down on a large piece of paper and trace. Measure 3" out from this circle, placing dots at several points. Connect these dots to create an outer circle, which will be your cut line.
Both your fabric and trim should be pre-washed. It's especially important to make sure the bright rick rack doesn't bleed onto your main fabric. For lots of pre-washing/pre-shrinking tips, take a look at our full tutorial on the subject.
We mention the pre-washing because that's one of the beauties of these covers: you can wash and re-use them! Since they're all cotton, just pop them in the laundry and they'll be ready to use again in no time.
All-cotton also means they're breathable, which is good for many situations. But if your food item requires an air-tight seal, you may want to cover the bowl first with plastic wrap or a lid and simply use the covers as a pretty topper.
The size of each bowl cover will vary based on the size of the bowl you wish to cover. Ours were approximate 5", 7" and 9" in diameter across the top with a 3" ruffled drop all around.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
- Clear Satin Stitch foot; optional but great for stitching the rick rack to keep a straight seam.
- Beading foot; optional but makes applying the baby elastic super fast - this foot has a small channel on the underside that helps guide the elastic so it doesn't shift at all while stitching. Learn more about this foot here.
Fabric and Other Supplies
- Scrap or Fat Quarter or ½ yard of 44"+ wide quilting weight cotton fabric for each bowl cover; we used three fat quarters from our stash originally from the Petal collection by Tanya Whelan for FreeSpirit Fabrics.
- Rick rack or similar to fit your various cut circumferences. Reach back to math class and remember that circumference is: pi (3.14) multiplied by the diameter of the circle. If that makes your head hurt, simply gather up your rick rack scraps, pin in place around the perimeter (as shown below), and cut to fit.
- ⅛" baby elastic to fit your bowls. To determine the length, multiply the diameter of the bowl by 3, then subtract 5" from this measurement.
- All purpose thread to coordinate with fabric and rick rack
- See-through ruler
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
- Download TWO copies of the Circle Template. Each print out is a quarter circle.
IMPORTANT: This template is ONE 8½" x 11" pattern sheet. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guide line on the page to make sure your printout is the correct size.
- Cut out each quarter circle template along the solid line. Butt them together, do not overlap, and tape together to create a half circle.
- To select the circle size, start with your bowl's diameter and add 6". For example, if your bowl measures 9" across, add 6" to 9". This equals 15", so you would choose the 15" ring to cut your circle.
- With a half circle template, you'll need to cut on the fold as shown in the photo below. Cut the appropriately sized circle for each of your bowls. Press flat.
NOTE: You could also print FOUR copies of the template and create a full circle to use as your pattern.
- Using the measuring instructions above, cut a length of baby elastic and a length of rick rack for each fabric circle.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- Place your fabric circle right side up on your work surface.
- Position and pin the rick rack around the perimeter. The top waves of the rick rack should be flush with the raw edge of the circle. The ends of the rick rack can simply overlap as shown in the photo below.
- Thread the machine with thread to match the rick rack in the top and bobbin.
- Stitch the rick rack in place down the exact center. We used the Janome Satin Stitch foot, which is clear and has a great little red arrow at the front of the foot that makes it easy to keep your stitching straight.
- Using the rick rack seam line as a folding guide, turn back the raw edge of the circle all around and press flat.
- The rick rack acts as a facing and creates a clean edge on the inside, and exactly half of the rick rack (is that the rick or the rack?!?) shows all around the edge.
- If necessary, re-thread the machine with thread to match the fabric in the top. The bobbin thread should still match the rick rack. Topstitch the hem in place all around. We're still using our Janome Satin Stitch foot for a smooth stitch line.
- Flip the circle so it is now wrong side up on your work surface.
- Measure 1" in from the valley of the rick rack around all around, marking dots as you go. Connect these dots, drawing a line to form an inner circle. This inner circle will be used for the elastic placement.
- Fold the marked circle into quarters and mark each fold with a pin. This will give you quarter points around the circle, like the points of a clock at 12:00, 3:00, 6:00, and 9:00.
- Find the length of elastic and divide it into quarters as well, marking each quarter with a pen or pencil.
- Place the circle back under the machine. Place the elastic along the drawn line, starting at a quarter point (matching an elastic quarter point to a circle quarter point).
- Stitch the ⅛" baby elastic along the line with a small zigzag stitch (we used 3.5 mm width, 2.0 mm length), stretching as you go in order to match the elastic quarter marks to the pin quarter marks, following the drawn line all the way around.
- As mentioned above, we used the Janome Beading foot, but a regular presser foot would work as well. With either option, remember to test the width of your zig zag on a scrap first to make sure it effectively swings left to right to wrap the elastic. There is no need to pin. The weight of the foot will hold the little elastic in place and you need the freedom to guide and stretch the elastic.
- Overlap the ends and secure with a generous backstitch.
- Your bowl cover is ready to rock.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Michele Mishler