Monday, June 30, 2014

Quick DIY Craft Box from Two Fat Quarters - Tutorial and Give-away

Please leave a comment if you'd like to win a pattern of your choice from Prairie Cottage Corner
this week. Contest ends at 5 PM PDT, Monday, July 7th, 2014.

I used to keep a lot of my tools in Crystal Light tubes. I had eight of those boxes crammed full of my hand sewing and applique tools. They were wonderful. However, this little fabric box is better.

Know why? It holds everything I had in those Crystal Light tubes....and you can make this from stuff you have at home.

I just had this idea one day and I started working on it.

There are four variously partitioned pockets inside and outside.

The handles fold in, ready to grab....

or, out, so you can reach things....

It stands up by itself and measures about 5 1/2" per side.

The bottom is lightly quilted.

Here's what I did. I had 2 new fat quarters, unlaundered. (Laundering will shrink your fat quarter and, depending upon how much it shrinks, you may not have enough fabric to cut the cross pattern, below). Or have two scraps of laundered fabric that will measure 18" x 22" (the size of a fat quarter).

I made a 6" square and layed it out on freezer paper five times in a cross shape.

After cutting the cross from two fat quarters and a piece of polyester batting, I cut pockets and handles from the remaining scraps: 4 pockets from each of 2 fabrics and 4 handles the same. The sizes were as follows:

Pockets - 6" x 4"
Handles - 3" or 4" x 9"

These measurements depend upon the size of the fat quarters.

Sew the handles, right sides together, turn and press. Leave the ends open and raw. Use a 1/4" seam allowance throughout this pattern.

I used one print for the top of the handles and the other, for the bottom. I had a little selvage on them but needed the width, so left it would add strength to the handles, don't you think?
Hey, I'm flying by the seat of my pants, here!

Press a hem (turn the fabric to the wrong side two times forming a narrow hem) into the long side of each pocket......

and chain-stitch them down....

Then.....turn under the other edges of the pockets just one time and press.

Pin the pockets to the right side of the outside and inside pieces of the cross pattern about 1/2 inch from what will become the bottom of the box. Make sure the wrong side of the pocket is to the right side of the base fabric.

Make sure the pockets are the same distances apart across the bottom of the square and centered from side-to-side on the base fabric. Top stitch them, beginning at one hemmed corner and back-stitching to add strength at the start. Sew all around the three turned and pressed sides. End with some back stitching. Sew slowly and you will have a good outcome.


There's the new pocket with a pen in it. The bottom of the pocket is toward the bottom of the box and the top is toward the end of the cross.

Stitch the handles on with a basting stitch about 1/8" from the raw edge. It doesn't matter which piece you add the handles to. I added them to the outside piece, not the lining.

Be sure you have the right sides of the handles out (the right side is whatever side you want) so they match.....or not..... It's kind of a crazy little box, anyway.

Now, you have all the pockets sewn to the lining and outer base fabrics and the handles in place.

Next, stitch the partitions into the pockets. I guess-timated what I would need. Here, the pocket has two narrow and three wider partitions. Other pockets had two equal-sized partitions, some three, some four. Since I made this box, I've left one inside and one outside pocket full sized for larger templates and tools.

Hand baste the lining cross to the batting, going all over with long stitches several inches apart. Or, you could pin the pieces with safety pins spaced 4" to 6" apart. Whichever is convenient.

Using a contrasting removable ink or fabric pencil, lay out some lines in a chekerboard pattern on the bottom of the box from the bottom of a pocket on one side, to the bottom of a pocket on the other side. Using a long stitch, go over each line once and back-stitch a few stitches at the beginning and end of each row to secure.

Again, sew slowly. 

Here's the batting side of the quilting....

and the lining side of the quilting. Remove the basting.

Lay the crosses out with the outside piece face up, handles in.....

and the lining side, face down, batting on top.

Like this.

Mark the start and stop places about 4" apart along a cross end without a handle on it.

Baste or pin the layers together all around.

Begin with a back-stitch and sew toward the first corner.

Turn each corner with needle down.

End with a back-stitch. Trim the corners to within 1/16" of the stitching.

Clip the corners to the same distance.

Remove basting.

Start turning the piece right-side-out through the opening.

It's a little snug, but persevere......

"Just keep swimming....." (in the words of a famous, absent-minded, fish)

The handle ends come out quickly, once you get to them.

I use a large, fat, knitting needle to push the points out...but be gentle....

Use the other end of the knitting needle to push out the side seams where you can't reach with your fingers and hand.

There you have it.

Now, turn the opening in and pin together both sides, covering the batting.

Hand stitch it shut, using a blind stitch.

It's complete.....almost.

Beginning at any corner, blind stitch the sides from the top side down to the bottom of the box. Be sure to make several passes through the layers at the tops of the sides, to strengthen the stress points.

Stitch along, merrily.....

Look, two sides are done, already

Then, all four sides are up and ready to go!

I'm sure I can improve on this, and so could you.

But, for now, it's a sweet little helper.

My friend, Shari, saw this and I could tell she wanted I gave it to her. 

An actual pattern is forthcoming with all sorts of improvements in it.

So, please leave a comment and be entered to win the pattern of your choice. I want to hear your suggestions and ideas and, well, what's going on in YOUR life of threads and fat quarters?