11 Nov 2012

Vintage Sewing Kit Makeover

After the ill fated animal magnets, I think I just might have redeemed myself with this project.  I haven't been so happy with a makeover in quite a while.  I just love this one.  It makes me happy every time I see it.

Remember the little lopsided sewing kit that I bought at an estate sale last month?  

I bundled it with a few other things for $10, so I would say I paid less than $5 for it.

I loved the design of it, but didn't like all the wood - it's not really my thing.  It needed some colour.  Since my DIY chalk paint attempt on the hexagon end tables only went so-so, I really wanted to  try some Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.  So far I've been too cheap to splurge on the $50/pint price tag.  Since this was a small project, I figured it would be just right to try out a test pot of paint.  Luckily we have a shop within 15 minutes that sells the paint.  I chose Antibes Green, which is a really nice bright Kelly green (fitting, right?).  Even just the tiny test post was $15, so I was sure hoping it was going to be worth it.

I started out thinking that I wanted to keep the handle natural for some contrast.  Then I also decided that keeping the little diagonal pieces natural would be nice too.  You know what that meant?  Ya, a heck of a lot of unscrewing.  The screws were teeny tiny, so I had to use my little screwdriver that I use for glasses.  It took a really long time, but I eventually had everything apart.

The nice thing about chalk paint is that there is no prep required.  No sanding, which I LOVE.  I did 2 coats of paint on all of the compartments and legs.  The paint dries super quick, so I managed to do both coats in the span of a TV show (Navy Seals training that Mr. Swell was watching....in case you were interested....and I now know there is no way I would ever pass that training!!!).

Here's how things looked after the 2 coats.

I left it overnight, and then I distressed the edges and a few of the flat areas using a fine sanding block (my new best friend these days).

I then applied 2 coats of Minwax Paste Wax, and left them over night in the garage to de-stink.

The next night I set out to reassemble.  I quickly realized that this was a 2 person job.  I had labelled which boxes went on which side, but apparently I hadn't labelled enough.  It was a complete jigsaw puzzle trying to reasemble it so that all the holes lined up and fit the little wood slats.  Luckily Mr. Swell is very good at this kind of stuff.

I was so frustrated that I had to step away from it all.  He calmly worked his way through all of the screws.

Check out the stamp I found on the bottom.

I love that it doesn't say made in China on it.  Let me tell you, the Polish must have had some kind of patience to put these suckers together.

Ready to see the final product?  I love it so much!

The chalk paint distressed so well.  Although expensive, I have decided that buying the real thing is worth it for certain projects.  This was one of them.  The paint finishes super smooth and the distressing didn't change the colour of the paint at all, which is one thing that drives me nuts with latex paint.

This is such a little thing, but I just love how it distressed on this leg.  There was a little drip of varathane that was left from whomever finished it last, and it just left such a cute squiggle on the leg.  I know, who have I become that I get excited about leg squiggles?

It has taken residence in our upstairs hallway beside our antique Singer.

This was totally unplanned, but the wood tones are almost an exact match!  It's sewing kit fate.

I don't have it all filled yet (with the 3 needles and 4 buttons that I own), but here's how it looks open.  My trusty assistant will demo how easy it is to operate.

This guy is definitely no longer sad and lopsided!  He's now very happy to be part of a non-sewer's life.


  1. What?! That looks fantastic!! And I love that color. It almost looks just like the color I chose for my shelf on my porch =]

    1. Thank you! Its an awesome colour. Maybe one day I wil be brave enough to paint a big piece of furniture that colour.

  2. Oooh I like it!! And youre right, the real thing is definitely worth it! Thanks for stopping by and visiting with me. ;)

  3. i love this look- love that you kept the slats wood... so smart! and yes, this counts. :)

  4. Totally had to click on this from Prim and Proper because I have the EXACT SAME ONE!!! My friend picked it up from a pile of garbage on the curb, and its FULL of thread, buttons, etc. WOW. I havent done anything with it yet though, and the legs are busted off... Youve inspired me.... :) Also, that sign you have above your sewing machine is FABULOUS. One more thing, its not a "new party" by any means, but I am looking for some "new blood" so if you have a chance Id love for you to link up to our Trash to Treasure Tuesday party!

  5. What a fun color and great update! Functional & pretty, my favorite. Love your happiness canvas, too! :)

  6. Just scored my own on Monday. You have inspired me!

    1. Since posting this, i have heard that there are a lot of these floating around. Maybe I see a collection in my future? Good luck with yours.

  7. So gorgeous!! Ive seen these around but never thought to buy one. Your makeover makes it so pretty and such a colourful addition. Perfect!


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