Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Tuesday Tutorial: The Scrap Bin

With the rising cost of quilt fabric, I'm reluctant to toss even small bits of scraps. Which means my scrap storage method is quickly becoming inadequate!

There has been an explosion of "1 Hour Basket" finishes on blogs, Facebook, and Instagram. While I love Kelby's design, it isn't quite the right size to fit my new "scrap shelf." So I made some measurements, and came up with a fabric basket that finishes at a 10" cube.

Here's how I made mine!

What you'll need:

I used Soft and Stable for my first sample. It's kind of spendy, so I changed to fusible fleece for subsequent bins. The Soft and Stable bin stands upright when empty better than the fusible fleece bin. But when they're filled with fabric (and they are!) either works fine.

  • (5) 10" squares of Soft and Stable, or fusible fleece

  • (10) 10" squares of fabric -- perfect for leftover layer cake squares

You may choose to use decorator weight fabric or even canvas. If so, I would line the bin with quilting-weight cotton.

 And here's how to make it!

1. If using fusible fleece, follow the package directions to fuse the fleece to the wrong side of five of the ten squares. If using Soft and Stable, either glue base or sew baste at 1/8"  to wrong side of the squares.

2. Place two squares right sides together. Sew along one side, beginning and ending the stitching at 1/4" from the end.
Start with the lining. This way, you'll get practice stitching on the part that doesn't show in the finished bin!
I always use a red pin as a "flag" when I want to begin and end at a specific point in the stitching. 

3. Important!  On one side of the bottom square, leave an opening about 6-8" to turn the finished bag.

If you forget to leave an opening, you can pick out the seam later!
4. Continue adding squares to each side of the bottom square until it looks like this:

5. To sew the side seams, fold the bottom square to form a 45-degree angle. This keeps it from getting caught in the side seam. Line up the sides and pin in place.

6. Begin stitching at the bottom seam, back tack, and continue stitching to the top of the side pieces. Back tack again.
The back-tacking keeps the seam from coming apart when you turn the bin right-side out.

I used a red pin to show exactly where to begin stitching. It's not at the edges of the fabric -- this is like stitching a "Y" seam in a quilt block, you start sewing 1/4" from the edge of the pieces.
 7. After the lining pieces are sewn together, sew the outside box the same way.

8. Here is my finished "box."

9. Turn the lining right-side out and place inside the outside.  Pin all around the top:

I turned the seams in opposite directions so they would "nestle" when stitched.
10. and stitch all the way round:

11. Remember that opening you left on one bottom seam of the lining?

 If you press the seam allowance open, it will be easier to line up to stitch the opening closed.
Stitch the opening closed as close to the folded edges as you can. 

This will be covered with scraps of fabric, so don't panic if it isn't perfect! 
12. Press the top edge, using plenty of steam to encourage the edges to press flush. Then fold the top inch or two wrong sides together and stitch through all layers for about 1.5-2".

This helps the box hold its shape when upright. 
13. Top stitch about 1/2" from the top, all the way around.

14. Et voila! Your finished scrap bin, ready to fill with scraps, or squares, or strips!

It took me less than one hour to make the second and third bins. As you can see, I need six more!

I thought about making the bins match the color of scraps. But then, I would have had to buy (gasp!) fabric to make bins to hold scrap fabric. That just seemed silly!

See that basket with the yellow paper bow on top of the shelf? It was a "welcome baby" gift from my boss at Pacific Lutheran University when the younger son was born. Now it holds ironing supplies, but I think of Dean Moe every time I see it!

I hope you'll experiment with making your own scrap bins. Like the 1 Hour Basket, they're addictive!

From the desk of your auntmartisignature


  1. Neat idea, now what to do with the pile of scraps that need to be cut down that I just keep adding to! L

  2. Love the baskets. I have some left over fabric so must make some myself. They make such pretty containers for the scraps.

  3. Thank you for the tutorial! I like that idea and that they are large enough to really hold things!

  4. so far i have made 3 of the one hour baskets but like you need bigger for scraps

  5. Love basket and sure I'll try itThanks for the tutorrial!

  6. They do look great - nicer than plastic bins!!


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