Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Fabric Storage Bins Tutorial

Today, the temperature in Cleveland is somewhere in the -20's, and everything is covered in the grey slush of poorly plowed snow (which I'm sure is thoroughly frozen by now.)  So, I whipped up a little fabric bins tutorial for your sewing pleasure.  Please let me know if you have questions or run into any problems while making this project, and enjoy!

Click on the link below, and find the full tutorial after the jump.

Hello, and welcome to the fabric bins storage tutorial!  This tutorial will show you how to sew these fully-lined, square storage bins.  These bins have finished measurements of 6 inches on all sides (but you could easily change the dimensions to fit your own space.)  Let's get started!

Supplies needed:  
-1 yd each of outer fabric and lining fabric*
-fabric paint and letter stamps (for optional lettering)
-sewing machine
-iron and ironing board

*I used a neutral cotton for the outer fabric, and peach cotton for the inside.  If you'd like stiffer boxes, feel free to interface your outer pieces.  They stand up pretty well on their own (for my purposes) but if you're looking for more substantial bins, I'd recommend the interfacing.  

1: Cut your fabric pieces.  You will need 5 squares of the outer fabric, and 5 squares of the lining fabric, each measuring 6.5 inches.  (You will have a total of 10 squares.)

2.  If you would like to do the lettering on the front of the bins, it's time!  I used this fabric paint, and some letter stamps I found at Wal-Mart a couple of years ago.  Any fabric paint or ink will work, though, so be creative!  I stamped labels in French to house my belongings.   "Les protections périodiques" sounds better than "tampons," doesn't it?  I agree.

I chose just to stamp the label on the front panel of each of my four bins, and here they are!  Now you'll need to let them dry completely (and make sure you follow the directions for whatever paint you chose to use.)  Once your front panel is dry, forge ahead!

3:  It's time to start assembling the outside of the box, so grab four of the squares you've cut of your outer fabric.  Making sure to place right sides together, sew two of your squares together, along one side edge.  Then, still with right sides together, attach two more squares outer squares side by side, in the same fashion.  Once you're done, you should have four squares sewn together side by side, right sides facing up.  It should look something that looks like this. 

5.  Flip your squares over and press the seams open (here's a few from the back)

6:  Making sure to put right sides together, sew the two end pieces together, so that you end up with one big loop.  Press that last seam open.  (I find this easier to do by hanging the loop off the end of my ironing board, as seen in the picture below.)

7:  You have now assembled the four walls of your bin, and it's time to attach the bottom.  Still making sure to put right sides together, pin your remaining outer fabric square onto the bottom of your loop, lining up the corners with the seams.  

8.  Sew all the way around the bottom four edges, making sure to lift your presser foot at each corner to re-adjust the fabric.  You should now have a nice little inside-out box, with four sides and a bottom.   It should look something like this:

9:  Press the seams out as well as you can, and then turn your box right-side out.  The outside of your box is now done, and can be set aside.  Hooray!  

10:  Now, repeat steps 3-8 with your lining fabric, making sure to always place right sides together during assembly.  When you finish step 9, press your seams out as well as you can, but leave the lining inside-out.  You should now have two boxes that resemble these:

11:  Place the outer box inside of your lining box, lining up the corner seams, and pinning around the top.  The right sides of fabric should be touching each other.  It should look something like this:

12:  Sew around the top edge, making sure to leave an opening of about two inches (or more!) on the backside, so that you can turn your box right-side out during the next step.  

13:  Turn your box right-side out, and press all of the edges: press the top edge flat, and then press the corners and bottom edges so that the corners (any place that there is a seam) are as crisp as possible.  

14:  Once you're done pressing, topstitch around the top edge, making sure to neatly close your opening at the back.

If you opted to use interfacing, or used a sturdier fabric, or are just happy with your box the way it is at this point, feel free to call it a day!  If you're like me, and want your box to have a little more structure, forge ahead, my friend!  We're going to do some more topstitching, which will help your little box to stand up on its own.

15:  Pinch your corners together at the seams, and pin (including the bottom edges.)

16:  Go ahead and topstitch all of your seams.  I had about 1/4 inch seam allowance, which was just about as close to the edge as I could get, without my needle getting all caught up in the thickness of the previously-sewn seams.

Trim your threads, do a once-over for any last-minute pressing, and voilà!  Your box is all finished...go and fill it with things!

Congratulations on completing this tutorial, and thanks so much for joining me today!  As always, please let me know if you have any questions or concerns about this project, and please share your finished products with me!  Simply comment on this post, or e-mail me.


  1. that is so cute!<3

  2. Replies
    1. It is my pleasure! Thanks so much for stopping by!