Have you been wanting to jump into sewing but not sure where to start? I’m excited to share a fun, practical sewing tutorial today that is oh-so-perfect for beginners! I’ve partnered with my favorite scissor brand, Fiskars, to show you just how easy it is to make your own fabric storage bins. These little bags sew up so quickly and are great for storing craft supplies, organizing sock drawers or giving an update to houseplants. Both beginners and more advanced sewists like will enjoy making these little bins.
If you’ve been sewing for awhile you might be familiar with using a rotary cutter and ruler to cut out your fabric. If this is all new to you, I so encourage you to give it a try. Once you get the hang of using these tools, you will be amazed at how quickly and accurately you can cut out fabric. I used to think these tools were exclusively for quilters but then I gave them a try and now use them to cut out fabric when sewing clothing too.
Continue reading my tutorial below to learn how to make your own fabric storage bins. All the supplies used in this project can be found at your local Michaels store or online. Select Michaels stores will now have a fabric section so you can stock up on supplies when you’re shopping for all your other favorite art and craft supplies.
Check out the recording of my entire Michaels class to see me make the bins, plus I share beginner tips on using a rotary cutter and more.
Fiskars Total Control RazerEdge Scissors
Fiskars Ergo Control Rotary Cutter 45mm
Fiskars 6″ x 24″ Folding Ruler
Fiskars Folding Cutting Mat 24″ x 36″
Ironing board or ironing mat
Glass Head Pins or Wonder Clips
To get the most milage out of small pieces of fabric, I made my bins in three sizes but you can certainly go larger! Follow the chart above to make bins that are small, medium, and large. If you want to go larger, just keep in mind that every 1″ you add to your fabric pattern makes a bag that’s about .5″ larger (on the height, width, and depth).
All seam allowances are 5/8″ or 15mm
Prewash and dry your fabric. This is a step that I never skip. Fabric, especially 100% cotton fabrics like I’m using here, tend to shrink quite a bit in the wash. And since I have a toddler in the house and we’re prone to messes, I chose to prewash all my fabric and dry all my fabric. If you don’t plan on washing your fabric bins, you can skip this step. After washing (or not), iron your fabric with a good amount of steam to smooth it out before cutting.
Reference the chart above to decide which size fabric bin you want to make. Once selected, use your rotary cutter to cut your fabric. You will need:
- 2 outside pieces
- 2 inside, or lining pieces
- 2-4* fusible interfacing pieces, cut to the same size as the bin pieces
* If you are using cotton canvas for one of your layers, then you only need 2 pieces of the fusible interfacing. If you are using thinner fabric, such as quilting cottons like I am, then you will need 4 pieces of the fusible interfacing.
Use your iron without steam to press the pieces of the fusible interfacing to the wrong, or back side of the lining/thinner fabric pieces. If you are using all quilting cottons, then press the fusible interfacing on the wrong side of all pieces. Make sure the textured side is the side that’s touching the wrong side of your fabric, this is the side with the adhesive on it. If you accidentally iron on this side it will gum up your iron!
Use the rotary cutter and ruler or fabric scissors to cut squares out of 2 corners of each piece of fabric. Reference the chart above to see what size to cut out.
Place the outer fabrics together, with the right (or outside) pieces facing each other. Use the straight stitch on your sewing machine to sew along the 2 sides and the 1 bottom side. Use a 5/8″ (or 15mm) seam allowance. This simply means that your needle will be sewing 5/8″ (or 15mm) away from the edge of the fabric.
If you choose to sew closer to the edge, your finished fabric will bin will be a little larger than the ones shown. This is no big deal! These bins are very forgiving and you don’t have to be a perfectionist to make them. Just be sure to stick to the same seam allowance for the entire project to ensure the outside and lining fabrics will be the same size.
I love using the Fiskars Total Control RazerEdge Scissors to snip the thread tails after sewing. Since they are tiny and pointed, they allow you to easily trim the threads very close to your fabric.
Place the lining fabrics with the right sides together. Use a disappearing fabric pen or chalk to make a roughly 2″ wide gap along one of the side seams. This is how you will later turn the bag right sides out. Use a 5/8″ (or 15mm) seam allowance and sew along the 2 sides and the 1 bottom of the square, skipping the 2″ wide gap, and back stitching at each end.
Use your fingers to press open the seams. Line up the seams along the side and bottom. Use pins or Wonder Clips to hold them in place and then sew the corners closed. This creates a square bottom for the fabric bin. Repeat with the other side and then continue to do the same with the lining piece.
Turn the outside fabric piece right side out. Place it inside the lining piece of the right sides are together. Line up the side seams and pin or clip in place. Add a few more clips or pins along the top edge of the bin. Use a 5/8″ (or 15mm) seam allowance and all the way around the top edge.
Using the opening on the side seam of the lining, gently turn the bag right side out.
Line up the opening on the side seam and sew it closed, very close to the edge (using a 1/8″ seam allowance or even closer if you’re feeling extra confident). Use the iron to press the top edge of the fabric bin. This creates a nice crisp edge.
Optional: you can edge stitch / top stitch all the way around the top edge of the fabric bin if you like. It’s not necessary for the construction of the bin but is an optional detail you can add. If you plan on washing your bins later, this row of stitching will help the top edge keep its shape and avoid having to press it again after washing.
Fold over the top edge of the bin and you’re done! Now make more bins and fill them with plants, toys, socks, art supplies, fruit and anything else you can find.
What I love about simple sewing projects is that they leave lots of room for personalization. I chose to sew some of my woven labels into the top seams to create a cute little detail. Picture in the projects above are my Yellow Daisy and Made by Me tags. The pink heart tags are a freebie that I include in every woven label order and I just love how perfect they are for fabric bins.
Solid fabrics like the cotton canvas are blank canvas, quite literally! I choose to create a subtle pattern on a few of my bins by using white fabric paint and a round foam brush. After cutting out your fabric pieces, place strips of painter’s tape across the fabric. Dip the foam pouncer in the paint and stamp the paint half on the tape and half on the fabric. This is an easy way to paint half-circles without needing a custom stencil or brush. You can space them out to create half moons like I did, or put them side by side to create a scalloped detail (like I did on these diy scalloped cork placemats).