Fabric Scrap Basket Tutorial

April 21st, 2009

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I thought I’d share with you how to make my fabric scrap “basket”. It’s VERY simple. I whipped out another two baskets in no time at all. Now I have all of my smaller scraps organized into small, medium and large groupings. Did I even mention I’m a Capricorn and like to be organized to a fault? No? Well if this doesn’t prove it, I don’t know what will. Go ahead, make yourself a few of these today. You’ll love it so much better than your Ziploc bags. I know I do!
Directions
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1. You will need to gather your supplies. I grabbed two fat quarters (one for the interior and one for the exterior) and my sew-in interfacing. I bought this a few years ago and have no idea of it’s name. It’s like a thick paper, not as thick as card stock, but thicker than printer paper. I think it’s something like this. You could also use a fusible interfacing, Timtex or batting. I found that I really like this interfacing for the boxes. It gives it a nice shape, but is easy to work with.

2. Cut out your pieces as follows:
Exterior: 1 – 15 x 15”
Interior: 1 – 14-7/8” x 14-7/8” **
Interfacing/batting: 1 – 15 x 15”
**I like my interior to fit and not be so rumpled from too much fabric, so this is why I cut my interior slightly smaller. You could of course cut it the same size as your other two pieces.

3. Cut 4-1/2” squares from each corner of your exterior and interfacing. I stack these two together and cut each corner. It should look like a giant plus-sign when you’re finished.

4. Take your interior piece and fold it in half one direction and then in half the other direction, resulting in a 7-1/2” square. Lining up on the corner with no folds, cut a 4-1/2” square. Again, you should have a giant plus-sign once opened out.
Note: You could also just cut a 4-1/2” squares out of each corner, it just goes a bit faster this way. The reason I didn’t do this with the exterior + interfacing is because of the rigidity of the interfacing I used. If your working with a softer material, or fusible interfacing, you could do this for your exterior + interfacing (or batting) pieces. This is your call.

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5. Fold opposite corners of the plus-sign to each other (as pictured) and pin along outer edges. Right sides of fabric together. Stitch with a 1/4” seam allowance. Open out and repeat for the opposite direction. (See photos below for more photo explanation.)

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6. You will now sew your lining in the same manner. Essentially what you’re doing is sewing your sides together by sewing the sides that were created when you cut out that 4-1/2” square from Step 3.
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7. With right sides together, nestle your exterior box inside of your interior.
Note: By “right sides together” I mean to have the fabric facing out on your exterior piece, and the fabric facing in on your interior piece.
8. Pin these two pieces together at the corner seams, making sure the seam allowances are facing opposite directions. This allows you to butt the seams together for a continuous seam from inside out. (See photo)
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9. You’ll notice that there is a little gapping between your exterior and interior, this is because your two fabrics are slightly different in size. You will need to ease your fabrics together, but pulling slightly as you pin.
I suggest you start with a pin in the center, and then half way between that and your edge seam, as shown in the second picture above. Continue around the top until it’s all pinned. You can see I have LOTS of pins in that last picture.
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10. Sew around your piece with a 1/4” seam allowance, leaving an opening on one side in the center to turn.
11. Pull your piece right side out.
12. Press along the top edge.
13. Edge stitch along top edge, approximately 1/8”.
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And you’re done! So after writing all of that out, it seems like a lot of directions for something really easy…but sometimes explaining takes a bit of time. I hope you’ll give it a try and share your creations in my Flickr group.
**EDITED** See this post for info on pressing it to get a nice, crisp, boxy shape.  Approximate size is: 5.5″ x 5.5″ x 4.5″ deep.

123 Comments

  1. ~Michelle~ says:

    Awesome! Next time I need a box, I’m making one of these – so simple compared to some I’ve seen!

  2. Fine Hand says:

    Thank you for this tutorial! I will have to make these fabric baskets to replace the big black garbage bag I now use!

  3. Ok, I need to have a go at this one, though things like this usually have me totally stumped! It looks really easy though so I’ll have to show you how it all goes! :)

  4. Ooooh cute AND handy! Now that’s what I’m talkin about! Thanks for the tutorial, will definitely have a go at this one!

  5. erica says:

    I am going to have a go at this. Thanks for the tutorial!

  6. These are WONDERFUL! Thanks so much for sharing, I’ll be linking.

  7. Froggy says:

    These are awesome. I so wish I could sew things!

  8. Sister Diane says:

    Beautiful! And what a great tutorial. Thanks so much!

  9. kyouell says:

    I think I’m going to give this a whirl. Maybe some larger sizes/different shapes to replace those “magazine” baskets I didn’t bring when we moved? Very interesting. (btw, I found you thru @SisterDiane on Twitter)

  10. Hadley says:

    I just want to know this…how did you know I use ziplock bags?!

    seriously, I love this! I am going to try this!

  11. Mary Corbet says:

    I love this! I really, really do – what a great idea for organization and for gift-giving!

  12. Laura says:

    oooh! I need to make some of these. Right now my fabric is piled on my desk (and I am working on my bed) and is in serious need of some organization/storage help. I think I’ll try bigger ones too… way more stylish then plastic boxes or bags! (i.e. I can leave them out to inspire me!)

  13. You have a lovely blog here

    I found you through How about orange and i love this tutorial, thank you so much for sharing this.

    I will defintely have to make this its going to my to do list.

  14. Chelsea Ling says:

    This is awesome!! But I would want to buy it and not make my own lol.. not that ambitious at sewing :)

  15. elena says:

    Wow, what a great tutorial! Thanks so much: your boxes are beautiful!

  16. Just came from How About Orange…Great tute! What an ingenious way of sewing a box together, the folding in half diagonally part. I will have to try this out…soon. Today, doing a big art festival though. hmm…Would this work for rectangles I wonder?

    1. Kimmy G says:

      Wondering the same thing. Did you ever do one?

  17. Molly says:

    I am adding this to my favorites! I surely need something cuter to put my scraps in than an old diaper box!

  18. Mary says:

    I heart this basket. I will definately be making some!

  19. Hello! I love your blog and this is a great idea! thnk you for sharing it!

  20. jordy says:

    Thanks for the great tutorial!

    (how did you know i used ziplock bags for my scraps?)

  21. erlthegirl says:

    Just like all the posters above, I am LOVING this. I have so many planned out in my head now…including one or two for gift giving. Better than wrapping paper!

  22. Sarah says:

    Thanks! These are amazing! Going to make one tomorrow!

  23. I love these – I’m going to try them soon, I hope. I’m a bit concerned that the interfacting stuff I have is not stuff enough – it was the stiffest sew in stuff they had at the fabric store, so here’s hoping.

    - Donna

  24. Susie says:

    Hi, what a great blog, i have added to my fav blog list, im sure some of my readers will love these too, they are great, better than the plastic boxes im using now. A great idea.

  25. How easy, and stylish too. I cannot guarantee I will forgo my love of Ziplock bags to keep my scraps since I forsee I will probably make some boxes and then store the Ziplock bags in them…

    I am looking forward to checking out the rest of your blog, you have some neat ideas. Thanks!

  26. Great baskets! Love your blog. Check mine out sometime!

  27. Jennifer says:

    So fun and EASY! I am not one who can follow patterns very well. Actually I can’t follow a pattern to save my life. Thank you for posting directions and not a pattern. I put a link up on blog linking your directions. I hope you end up inspiring a lot more people as you did me.

    here’s the link:
    http://randomvintagefinds.blogspot.com/2009/05/tuesday-tip-handmade-fabric-scrap-box.html

    jennifer
    http://www.randomvintagefinds.blogspot.com

  28. This is fantastic… I feel like gorgeous storage options like these make re-organizing less daunting and more decorating. :)
    I’ll be linking from my blog… http://www.kojodesigns.blogspot.com

  29. BaileyGirl5 says:

    I just made one! It came out a little bit wonky because I had to keep analyzing the directions between each step and I didn’t cut the squares perfectly. I got a little confused with what to do with the interfacing but I had some iron on stabilizer here and i just ironed that to the back of my outside fabric. Worked out great! I love my little box!!!!

    I can’t wait to make more. Thanks so much for posting this tutorial. Now that I’ve actually made one it makes absolutely perfect sense!

  30. karin says:

    I made one today and it turned out great! Your instructions were very easy to understand. Here is the link to my blog post about it:

    http://www.fromscratchbaby.blogspot.com/

    I also mentioned the pattern for more sizes, which I am going to buy to make more! All of the ideas for things that need organizing in these lovely boxes is swirling in my head.

    What a GREAT project you have come up with and even greater idea to sell a downloadable pattern, too.

  31. jessica says:

    i love this. will definitely make it soon. thanks for the tutorial and inspiration.

  32. Dianne says:

    Found your blog the other day. And I made my first box this morning, and I’m in love! Can’t wait to make more. THANK YOU!

  33. Heckety says:

    These boxes are great! Thank you!

  34. Bethany says:

    This is just lovely! I still haven’t found a good way to hold scraps – I will put this on my to-do list. Thanks for sharing! :)

  35. I love these! I have been looking for boxes to buy for my kids toys, but I would much rather make some. Could you tell me what their finished size is?

  36. Christina says:

    This project is roughly 5.5″ x 5.5″ x 4.5″ (length x width x depth)

  37. Hello! These right here! OMG! do you have an etsy?

  38. I love these. Just posted about them on my blog and am so excited I found your great blog! Thanks for the great tutorial!

    http://ontherefrigeratordoor.blogspot.com/2010/02/i-want-to-make-these.html

  39. samsstuff says:

    Cute & very useful! I saw this on Debbie’s blog & stopped by to take a look. Thanks for posting these simple little boxes.

  40. Cute and very nice.Thakns for the great tutorial.Your boxes are awesome!!

  41. Khris says:

    Thanks for the great tutorial. I have put a link to you on my freebies site…Khris

  42. maltese7 says:

    Really love theseand I will try to do one in the future since I am organasing my sewing room. These are very useful. Thanks for the tutorial.
    Lorraine

  43. bekahdu says:

    This is so cool I’m going to box up everything. I’m trying (so hard) to be organised and this’ll help no end, thank you :)

  44. Thanks for sharing. I have made one for my daughter to keep her shells in. I just love how you can personalize them!

  45. Tricia says:

    Thanks for the great tutorial! I made two of these last night and they were easy-peasey. Posted to my blog here: http://scrapquilt.blogspot.com/2010/03/fabric-boxes.html

  46. Becky Yo says:

    I’m a very novice seamstress, but these I can make! In fact, I just did and it was so much fun! Can’t wait to try different sizes and colors, and maybe even get wild and crazy by adding a little handle?? Thanks for the tutorial

  47. Samelia says:

    Love them. Am going to attempt to make one this morning.

  48. Kristi says:

    I did it! It’s not as good, but I’m pretty proud. Thanks for the great tutorial!
    http://tryingtogetstuffdone.blogspot.com/2010/03/fabric-basket.html

  49. Alex says:

    Hey Christina this is such an excellent tutorial, just what I need to keep my fabric in order. Ive posted my attempt on my blog http://www.makedoandsend.squarespace.com with a link back here if you’re interested :)

  50. Christine says:

    I was really looking for an easy way to sew such boxes! So finally I found yours – thank you for sharing this!

  51. Cetatzeanul says:

    Now i wish to sew non stop cos of your blog. I won;t need to spend so much money at IKEA anymore. Thanks, you’re a fabric masters

  52. I love this! I’d love to try to make a bigger one for toy storage.

  53. Alisa says:

    Thanks so much for this great tutorial. I hope to use it very soon. I linked to it today if you would like to take a look. Thanks~

    http://alisa-thesweetlife.blogspot.com/2011/02/to-do.html

  54. lovely tute!!! I´ll feature on my blog. hope you don´t mind.
    hugs from Brazil

  55. I never knew it was this simple. Thank you so much for this tute!

  56. Thanks for the tutorial. I wanted to let you know that I blogged about it on my site.

  57. katie says:

    TOO CUTE!!! and how did you get the heart icon in your address bar??
    I’m definitely making these!

  58. katie says:

    OH and i’m a capricorn too and this totally explains my organizational freak attitude!!!!

  59. Rachael says:

    This is JUST what I was looking for for some washable bathroom storage baskets for my man’s shaving stuff (which somehow is currently evenly distributed all over our shared vanity). Very helpful!

  60. Cindy says:

    Thanks so much for such great and clear tutorial. I will get myself to make some one of these days. :)

  61. What a great idea, so clever and so many options for its use. I can see a few of these in my craft room soon. Thanks for sharing!

  62. Emma S says:

    Thanks so much. I’ve been looking for a pattern for these! I’m going to make an easket basket for my daughter for next year and some for her bedroom!

  63. Giselle says:

    Lindo e perfeito, parabens!!!

  64. Great idea! Thank you so much for sharing. I’m going to give you a call on on my blog.
    http://www.aprilmoffattdesign.com

  65. Allie says:

    Great tutorial! I’ve tried making one of these as well as one from Amy Butler’s ‘Institches’ and I much prefer yours! Much easier.

    Allie @ ducklyandjuicy.blogspot.com

  66. Adorable! I’ve added these to my to-do-before-baby-arrives list.

  67. Brandi says:

    Thanks for this! I am going to make some next weekend at our quilt retreat I think. :)

  68. Raven Create says:

    I’m embarrassed to say I couldn’t figure out what sides to sew, mine didn’t work. I’m a sewing beginner though.

  69. Sew I’m guessing by the last comment, that this is not for beginners? I was just going to ask that ? when I saw the last comment. What size does the box actually turn out to be? Do you think it’s sturdy enough to hold things other than fabric?
    Would you be able to e-mail me?
    Thanks so much!
    wendydot roos2boys @gmail dotcom

  70. little elm says:

    Just made one, bout to make lots more, will try and experiment with sizes x

  71. Rebecca says:

    Thanks for the great tutorial! I just made one using Christmas fabric and I love it!

    becky @ craftrules.blogspot.com

  72. Karen Larson says:

    I just found this via pinterest. I made 6 of the little buggers today. I am not a scrap collector so now need uses for them. Thinking….square box of kleenex. Maybe as a baby gift filled with diapers. Any more ideas out there?

  73. jannette says:

    fantastic now my first pressie is done i can make loads for myself yippee!!!!

  74. cassandra says:

    I found this tutorial a few weeks ago and just made my first one. thank you! I topstitched to avoid hand-sewing and it looks great. I also pressed the side seams to help it keep its shape since I didn’t have any heavy-weight interfacing to use. love, love this. big thanks!

  75. I saw this on Pinterest and I am going to give it a try. Need something to keep my scraps organized.

  76. Chandra says:

    I’m excited to dig in and try this. I do some reorganize things on my blog, and I would love to use some of these and link the directions back to here. I am a seasoned sew-er, but some things intimidate me still…like square things! This seems simple and super easy…I’m off to hunt through my stash!

    Thanks for sharing this!
    Chandra
    http://www.judyjane.com

  77. JuliaHaz says:

    on step 5 it would have helped to see contrasting thread…it’s hard to see where to sew….I can do this wrong….that’s why we have seam rippers… but that’s is not fun

  78. If I increase the cut size to 18″, do I still cut 4 1/2″ corners?

  79. Jody says:

    Someone mentioned this being better than gift wrapping. I think these would make excellent replacements for gift boxes. I’ve not made one yet, but maybe another box could be made just by adding 1/8-1/4 inch so that it would be just slightly larger than the other so you would end up with a lid. Slide the slightly larger box over the top of the other one and use ribbon to tie shut and decorate. Not only will the recipient get whatever gift is IN the box, they can use both the bottom and lid as storage. :)

  80. Great tutorial, I’m building shelves in my craft area just for things like this, and I’ll definitely be making a bunch of these! BTW, the interfacing used is +Lutradur®, a mix between fabric and paper, is a spun bonded polyester sew-in for crafting, sewing, quilting and fiber art. It can be manipulated in any way paper can but has the strength and permanence of a textile. Lutradur® can be printed, painted, dyed, stamped, foiled, burned and sewn.”. You can google the term to find where to buy it.

  81. PJKnitter says:

    I have a question… When do you apply the interfacing or batting? I didn’t see that in the steps. Thanks!

  82. Christina says:

    PJKnitter – I did not have an email address to reply to your comment, so i’m putting my answer here in the comments: If you’re using fusible interfacing I would fuse it on to your exterior fabric before cutting the corners away. If you’re using sew-in interfacing or batting, I would sew it to the exterior piece after you’ve cut away the corners.

  83. orlasworld says:

    I can see myself making about 10 of these as soon as I get a chance – they’re lovely! Thanks for the tut! :)

  84. Maris says:

    This looks great, and just what I need in order to organize my new sewing room! Thank you for the really great instructions and photos to help me along!

  85. Goldogmom says:

    Thank you for posting and maintaining this tutorial. I have wanted to make some fabric boxes for some time, to keep scraps handy for test runs for tension, or how does a decorative stitch look? And a second box for small quilt sandwiches to warm up for fmq. I am hoping to figure out how to make your tuttorial a bit larger, approximately 6.5″ wide, 9″long and 4.5″ tall. I realize I need longer. I am guessing if I have fabric 18 x 16, that would be enough to get my desired dimensions. Can you confirm that I would still cut the 4.5 square out of each, outside corner? I’m excited to make some this weekend so I can return the plastic basket I just bought that don’t really fit my storage spot anyway ;-)

    thank you for any help and again, for sharing your tutorial.
    Michelle

  86. grammas says:

    I’ve been having great fun making these! Your directions were easy to follow….okay, I confess to sewing the wrong seams, but still turned out awesome!

  87. You just made another Capricorn’s heart explode with happiness!! :)

  88. sunnyskies says:

    hi i was wondering if i could use fabrics from clothes?

  89. npfoto says:

    These are so cute & functional and could be used for so many things. Thanks for the easy tutorial.

  90. Ceacy M says:

    I love these! So easy to make! Your instructions are so easy to follow for a novice like me! If I wanted to make a larger one, how could I do that using the same method?

  91. donnaing says:

    Such easy to follow instructions. Thanks so much. Love this idea.

  92. Ana Lopes says:

    Super cute! I’ll try make some of these! Thanks so much for sharing the great tutorial! Would love to have you visit me sometime.
    Have a fabulous week!
    Hugs from Portugal,

    Ana Love Craft
    http://www.lovecraft2012.blogspot.com

  93. I am NOT a seamstress and even I could follow these easy directions. Come see how my boxes turned out: http://organized31.blogspot.com/2013/03/repurposed-cloth-napkin-boxes.html

  94. gedcarpizo says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this tutorial! ♥

    I shared this article in one of my blog posts:
    “Recycle Fabric Scraps: Easy Crafts”
    –> http://gedcarpizo.com/recycle-fabric-scraps-easy-crafts/
    Of course, I put a link back to your site. ^^

    Thanks again! And have a beautifully creative day ahead!

  95. Mary Beth says:

    Thanks for the tutorial! Here’s a link to my own tutorial for adding handles: http://fosterhouseblog.blogspot.com/2013/04/diy-fabric-basket-tutorial.html. I made these for my cousins to collect Easter eggs in!

  96. ruthagraber says:

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it and all the possibilities using coordinating fabrics.

  97. Lea Burg says:

    I’m a beginner sewer and things that look easy are not easy for me! I’m still learning how to use my machine. It works fine for a while then it stats bunching up thread on the back side! UUUUGGGG this looks like something I’d like to try, but I’m not sure my machine will cooperate

    I may just learn what’s wrong and be able to make this!

    Thanks for sharing

    1. That would be frustrating! But it sounds like an easy fix, I think your tension is off. So try adjusting your top tension, it sounds like it’s too loose.

    2. karen says:

      You may have it threaded wrong…check that you have your thread above the last “arm” or threaded exactly as per machine instructions.

  98. Thank you for the tutorial. I have included it in my blog – http://alittlebirdmademe.com/2013/07/26/friday-finds-a-list-of-23-free-tutorials-for-fabric-baskets-and-buckets/
    Please stop by and grab a button to show that you have been featured!

  99. A Roper says:

    I taught my 9 year old daughter how to sew using this tutorial. It is easy, straightforward and versatile. I’ve made quite a few of various sizes and some with handles and will be making these for Christmas presents this year for sure. Thanks for your expertise.

  100. Eva says:

    Hi, Wonderful tutorial, you are so neat and everything looks perfect!
    Thank you for sharing, Can you please say what brand interfacing you used as I have not been able to find anything stiff enough.

    1. sometimescrafter says:

      It is by Pellon, and is a sew-in interfacing. I think it’s their mid-weight, but I don’t have the paper from it anymore. It’s not quite as stiff as a piece of cardstock, but stiffer than a piece of printer paper. It’s pretty rigid. If you’re able to go to a store like Joann’s or Handcock, they always seem to have it and you’ll know when you see it that it will hold up nicely in these. I’m thinking it’s their 40-weight, but it could be their 50-weight.

  101. Ann says:

    Hi! Can this basket be resized to 10″x10″ easily? I’m not sure how to do that — do you have measurements I could use?

    1. Christina says:

      I sell a pattern with worksheets for resizing these baskets to desired size here: http://sometimescrafter.com/patterns/make-your-own-box/ A 10″ x 10″ would be a rather large box, but I offer two methods for piece, as shown in this tutorial (using a whole piece of fabric) or piecing the fabric (sides and bottom) to get the shape/size needed.

  102. mary says:

    these are so awesome made a bunch of them in different sizes and added handles to the sides!!! thank you so much!

  103. Sandy says:

    I made your Fabric Basket for week 6 of my “Craft Challenge 2014″. And I’m sure many will follow as they are so cute, easy to make and practical! Thanks for the tutorial!
    http://kiwisandkrauts.blogspot.de/p/kreativ-challenge-2014-craft-challenge.html

  104. Pingback: Thing 1 | 365 By 3
  105. Patti says:

    These would be great to make them a little larger and use to organize your undies, bras and such. Spray a little of your favorite perfume on the bottom.

    1. Christina says:

      What a fantastic idea!

  106. Ronda Marsh says:

    Thank you for this tutorial. Love it.

  107. Bodysoluble says:

    Oh these are fabulous. I am going to bookmark and sew a dozen, much nicer to organise with these than with the cardboard boxes i’m using right now. Also will make a few for baby’s socks and singlets. Brilliant instructions, thank you.

  108. Janet says:

    I love this basket. I have made several as gifts, always well received. They are quick to make. Instructions easy to follow.

    Do you have a pattern for a bigger basket?

  109. Lolo says:

    Thank you! I had made a mistake with some pinwheels (8.5″x8.5″ squares) and made a nice short sided ‘basket’ so no WASTE!!!

  110. izosik says:

    Very useful and clear tutorial. I want to make own basket, so it is something for me now.

  111. Jackie says:

    Looks so easy. I need to make one in each color for my applique scraps. Great way to organize my new sewing area. Thanks for the easy directions.

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