Saturday, 4 February 2017

Fabric Toy Boxes

I'm experimenting with some new storage solutions and I'm inspired by IKEA's DRĂ–NA boxes but they're a bit pricey and the colours are limited.  I'd rather make my own and co-ordinate them with the rest of the fabrics in the room.  Plus this means I can make them in custom sizes.

I'm using a contrasting lining of a cheaper fabric to make my coordinating upholstery fabric go a bit further.  If I really wanted to be frugal I could use the upholstery fabric just for the front of each box but I have plenty of it so I'll splurge.

These boxes need to be 18" x 11.5" x 7" tall.  Including a 1/2 inch seam allowance that's:
  • 8" x 19" for each side in upholstery, lining and interfacing
  • 8" x 12.5" for the front and back in upholstery, lining and interfacing
  • 19" x 12.5" for the base in upholstery and lining
  • 4" x 10" for the handle / strap in upholstery fabric

After cutting these pieces I ironed on my interfacing to the weakest fabric, in this case the lining fabric.  Heavy weight interfacing would have given the box more strength but I'm working with what I had to hand.  

Starting with the strap I folded it in half right sides together and sewed along the open edge.  Then turned it rightside out with the help of a loop turner.  I gave it a good press.  

Then top stitched the sides to make it look really neat and professional.  I pinned it to the front panel and sewed in place.  

I then sewed all four sides to their corresponding base.  Then up each corner to make a rough box out of both lining and upholstery fabric.  

I put the lining fabric right sides together inside the upholstery fabric and pinned the tops together matching all the side seams carefully.  I sewed the tops of both pieces leaving a large gap for turning.  

Here's the rather unstable box after turning.  If this was going to be filled with say folded fabric or if it was much smaller it'd probably be OK like this but as you can see a big box just isn't anything like rigid without some help.  This is going to be a toy box so it needs ot stay open whilst Little Miss learns to throw her toys in it.

So out comes my cutting mat and ruler with a stanley knife.  I cut four pieces of mount board just a half inch smaller than the four sides of the box.

Then I pushed those pieces of mount board through the gap in the top.  

This is how it looked if I arranged it carefully and didn't move it.  The whole thing would collapse as soon as it was touched.  

First I top stitched the top edge to ensure that gap was closed up.  

Then I carefully matched up the lining and upholstery fabric corners.  Plenty of pins and some careful sewing up the sides.  

Then comes the very fiddly part, persuading those mount board pieces to go into the right sides.  It's pretty tricky, I fiddled about with it one evening in front of the telly.  Maneuvering each piece until I could push it between the right two corners.  The last piece was the toughest, I had to gently bend the mount board to get it to snap into place.  

And voila!  A reasonably sturdy box that stands up to a toddler and bounces back into shape.  More importantly it keeps all her toys out of sight so I can enjoy the living room after she goes to sleep.  

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