Saturday, 16 November 2013

Tutorial: Fabric Boxes For Bits and Bobs

I love new and interesting storage solutions. Some time back, while working on bento lunch bags, I came up with this simple and effective pattern for small boxes that you can easily make with fabric.

I really like that these boxes are light and soft, cut off threads and scraps don't easily fall out if the box is tipped over and I can fold and store the boxes away if I don't need them. I thought I would share this idea with you.

These boxes are quite soft but they are good for storing small bits and bobs like fabric scraps, lace, buttons. We are going to make the largest box out of the three pictured above. It's 9.5 cm x 9.5cm x 12.5cm.

  • 2 pieces of medium weight fabric measuring 21cm x 38cm for outer and inner layers
  • 1 piece of light fusible interfacing measuring 21cm x 38cm for outer layer
  • Water erasable pen (optional)
Note: Make sure that you use medium or heavy weight fabric, otherwise the boxes are going to be too floppy. The outer layer and the inner layer are made in identical way. Repeat each step for the inner layer. If you prefer your box to have a more stiff body, use medium weight fusible interfacing.

Step 1: Fuse interfacing to the wrong side of the outer layer. Measure and mark a line 1cm from the top and bottom edges on the right side of the piece. You will need the lines for step 10 when finishing the top edge of the box. Repeat for the inner layer

Step 2: Fold fabric facing right sides together and pin. Stitch right and left sides with about 0.5cm allowance. I usually position the pressure foot of my machine in a way that the right side of the foot is aligned with the right edge of the fabric. Backstitch at the beginning and end. Repeat for the inner layer.

Step 3: Align the side seams. Pin together. Place it in front of you so your box looks like a "house" with a pointy roof. Align the top corners.

Step 4: Make sure that when you bring the top corner down, you have a perfect square and the lines in the middle of the square are parallel to the bottom edge and sides of your "house". This will make sure the bottom of the box is square.

Step 5: Measure the width of your house. Mine is 19cm. Now we are going to work out the width of each side of our box. 19cm : 2 = 9.5cm. So each side of the box is going to be 9.5cm.

Step 6: Mark a line from the top of the house that is 9.5cm long. It should be about 4.5cm down from the tip of the corner.

Step 7: Turn over the "house" and do the same on the other side. Repeat steps 3-7 for the lining.

Step 8: Stitch on the marked lines. Don't forget to backstitch the beginning and end of each seam. Cut off the corners close to the seams. Repeat for the lining.

Step 9: Turn the outer layer right side out. Push the corners out carefully with a chopstick or pencil. Insert the inner layer inside the outer layer. Align all four corners. Align the side seams and pin together.

Step 10: Carefully fold the top edges inside on the marked line (from step 1) and iron well. Pin in place.

Step 11: Now you can machine stitch the top of the box or hand stitch using a running stitch with two threads of embroidery floss. Once done that, you can leave your box as it is or give it a more defined shape following the next step.

Step 12: Carefully iron four vertical edges of the box making sure that they are perpendicular to the bottom edge. You will have to topstitch only two sides of the box, the sides without the side seam.

Step 13: Starting at the right top corner, stitch very closely to the edge all the way down to the bottom edge. Leave the needle down, lift the foot up and turn your box 90 degrees anticlockwise. Low the foot and stitch along the bottom edge very close to the edge all the way to the left side. Leave the needle in and lift the foot up. Turn the box again 90 degrees anticlockwise. Low the foot and stitch along the left edge. Don't forget to backstitch the beginning and end of the seam. Repeat the same for the opposite side.

You are done! Happy sewing and scraps storing!


  1. Perfect little boxes!! Thank you for the tutorial!!

  2. These are a great idea! Thanks for the tutorial. I have already started thinking about the fabric I could use to make them:-)

  3. Lovely, tidy little boxes! Thanks for sharing them :)