/ / How to Sew a Fabric Storage Bin – free sewing pattern!

How to Sew a Fabric Storage Bin – free sewing pattern!


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Sew a storage bin out of fabric from your stash! This generously sized bin with a foldover lid will help you organize your closet, but it’s so pretty you won’t want to hide it away. My readers asked me to write them a free sewing pattern for a fabric storage bin – and here it is! This bin is perfect for organizing towels or linens, toys and kids’ stuff, or your best fabric. The vinyl window on the front makes it easy to see what’s inside, and my technique for sewing the window is easy as pie.

These bins are great for saving space and keeping annoying moths and bugs (gasp!) away from your stuff.

This blog post has been converted to an optional PDF that’s optimized for printing. Find it here. The Storage Bin Tutorial is included in the blog post below and is totally free to read, print, and sew! Just hit CTRL +P on your computer to print. The Optimized for Printing PDF download for $2 is totally optional.


I also added this sewing pattern to my list of 11+ Free Sewing Projects to Make You More Organized – because it totally fits!


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My big storage bins are sewn from high quality quilting cotton fabric, sturdy foam stabilizer, and some 12 gauge vinyl for the window on the front.

The finished size is approximately 15’’ wide x 10’’ deep and 10’’ tall.

Don’t worry about sewing with vinyl – it’s easy! You can check out my tips for sewing with vinyl if you want.


I didn’t put handles on this particular storage bin pattern, but I did sew easy handles on the sides of my DIY Sturdy Storage Totes. If you want to add handles to this project, then I suggest making and adding these same handles. I’ll tell you when would be a good time to add the handles below.


The lid on the storage bin folds over the top and secures on the front with hook and loop tape (velcro). This project is great if your not sure about sewing with zippers yet.

The first step in this pattern is quilting large pieces of fabric with foam stabilizer in between. This is pretty much the same technique that I use to make most of my projects that use flexible foam stabilizer.

I made a quick how-to video showing how to baste and quilt fabric and foam stabilizer together. The video should play automatically in this blog post. If you can’t see it, you can find the video on my YouTube channel too.


Are you ready? Let’s sew a Fabric Storage Bin!

You will need:

  • 1 yard of fabric for the exterior

  • 1 yard of fabric for the interior (lining)

  • 1/3 yard of fabric for the binding and handles

  • 1 yard of foam stabilizer (such as ByAnnie Soft and Stable)

  • a 6 1/2’’ x 12’’ rectangle of 12 or 14 gauge vinyl

  • 4’’ of sew-on hook and loop tape (velcro) – either 3/4’’ wide or 1’’ wide will work. I used 1’’ wide.

  • Wonderclips

  • a fabric marking pen (such as a Frixion pen)

  • Creative grids curved corner ruler (or a cup with about a 4’’ opening)

  • Sewing Stiletto (very helpful!)

Cutting

Note: all cutting dimensions are height x width. This pattern works great with directional fabric IF you cut the main pieces as stated (height x width). If your fabric is not directional, you may cut your fabric rectangles however you like.


Cutting diagram for the exterior and interior fabrics

Cutting diagram for the exterior and interior fabrics

From your fabric for the bin exterior, cut:

  • 1 rectangle 34’’ x 17’’

  • 1 rectangle 27’’ x 15’’

From your fabric for the bin interior (lining), cut:

  • 1 rectangle 34’’ x 17’’

  • 1 rectangle 27’’ x 15’’

From your flexible foam stabilizer, cut:

  • 1 rectangle 34’’ x 17’’

  • 1 rectangle 27’’ x 15’’

Tip: Smooth out a fabric rectangle on top of the foam stabilizer and use it to cut a stabilizer piece that is the same size.


Cutting diagram for the binding strips

Cutting diagram for the binding strips

From your binding fabric, cut:

  • 2 strips 2’’ x 12’’ (for above and below the vinyl window)

  • 2 strips 2’’ x 10’’ (for either side of the vinyl window)

  • 1 strip 2 1/4’’ x 35’’

  • Cut the remainding binding fabric into 2 1/4’’ wide bias cut strips (strips cut at a 45 degree angle) and sew them together to make a strip at least 100’’ long.

Note: If you prefer, you may cut all of your binding fabric into bias cut strips. See my video tutorial for making lots of bias binding at once! It is recommended that the longest binding piece be cut on the bias because it has to be sewn around curved edges. The other pieces are sewn to straight edges, so it doesn’t matter if they are bias cut or not.


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Baste and Quilt the Fabric and Stabilizer Rectangles Together

Watch the video on this page or on YouTube to see these steps in action.

1. Smooth out an exterior fabric rectangle on top of a foam stabilizer rectangle of the same size (with the wrong side of the fabric against the stabilizer). Baste stitch all the way around the edges.

2. Smooth out the interior fabric rectangle on the other side of the stabilizer (with the wrong side of the fabric against the stabilizer. Baste stitch around the edges again.

3. Quilt the layers together using free motion or a walking foot as desired. This time I decided to quilt a free motion meandering design with fun loops.

Repeat these steps with the remaining fabric and stabilizer rectangles to make 2 quilted pieces total.


Cutting diagram for the quilted pieces.

Cutting diagram for the quilted pieces.


More Cutting

1. From the larger quilted piece, cut:

  • 1 rectangle 32’’ x 15’’

2. From the smaller quilted piece, cut:

  • 2 rectangles 10’’ x 15’’

  • 2 strips 2 1/2’’ x 12’’ (the diagram says 2”x12” – sorry. The correct dimension is. 2 1/2”x 12”)


3. Sew around the edges of all of the cut quilted pieces, 1/8’’ from the edge. This helps prevent the fabrics from separating as well as compresses the fabric and stabilizer in the seam allowances – making them easier to bind later.


Prepare the Top Piece

The top piece is also the bottom and back – it’s just easier to call it the Top Piece!

1. Using the 2’’ radius rounded corner of the Creative Grids Curved Corner Ruler or a cup with an opening of about 4’’, mark curves at the top corners of the 32’’ x 15’’ quilted piece. Cut along the curve marks to create two rounded corners.


Note: You should mark two corners at one short end. If your fabric is directional, make sure that you mark and cut the corners at the top of the piece. If your fabric isn’t directional, the only thing that matters is that you mark and cut two corners at one short end as seen above and below.


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2. Use the fabric marking pen to draw three 15’’ horizontal lines on the top piece. I drew my lines on the exterior side, but it doesn’t matter, the inside is fine too. The first line should be 2’’ below the curved edge. The other two lines should each be 10’’ apart.


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3. Sew along the drawn lines. These lines of stitching will create natural fold lines in the back and top of our bin to help it look nice and rectangular.


4. Turn the top piece over so that the interior is facing up. Pin the scratchy side of the hook and loop tape to the top (curved edge) of the piece. It should be centered and 1/2’’ below the top edge.


5. Sew around the velcro tape to secure it. Make sure that your bobbin thread matches the exterior of the bin.

Set the top piece aside for now.


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Make the Front Window Piece

1. Fold the 2’’ x 10’’ and 2’’ x 12’’ binding strips in half lengthwise and press.


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2. Place one of the 2 1/2’’ x 12’’ quilted pieces on your work table with the lining side up. Place the 6 1/2’’ x 12’’ vinyl on top, with the long top edge aligned with the one of the long edges on the quilted piece.

3. Lay one of the 2’’ x 12’’ binding strips on top of the vinyl with the raw edges lined up with the top edge of the vinyl. Use wonderclips to hold all of these layers in place.


4. Sew along the edge through all layers with a 1/4’’ seam allowance.


5. After sewing, open the vinyl away from the lining fabric and finger press the seam flat.


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6. Flip the piece over to the right side and finger press the binding and the seam allowances toward the exterior fabric.

Then wrap the binding around the seam so that the folded edge of the binding tucks behind the seam allowance.


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From the lining side, you should only be able to see the binding a tiny bit.


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7. Topstitch the bound seam allowance down close to the edge.


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8. Sew the remaining 2 1/2’’ x 12’’ quilted piece to the bottom edge of the vinyl in the same way:

  • Place the small quilted rectangle on your workspace lining side up.

  • Place the vinyl and binding piece on top, right side up and align the remaining cut edge of the vinyl with the side edge of the quilted piece underneath.

  • Clip the remaining 2’’ x 12’’ binding piece on top of the vinyl and quilted layers underneath with the raw edges lined up.


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9. Stitch with a 1/4’’ seam allowance.


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10. Finger press the vinyl away from the fabrics, then flip the piece over and finger press the binding and seam against the exterior fabric.

Wrap the binding around the seam allowance and topstitch it in place as before.


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11. Trim the window piece to 10’’ tall and 11 1/2’’ wide. Try to keep the window in the middle.


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Attach the Sides

1. Sew one of the 10’’ x 13’’ quilted pieces to the right edge of the window piece:

  • Place the quilted rectangle on your workspace lining side up.

  • Place the window piece on top, right side up and align the right side of the widow piece with the side edge of the quilted piece underneath.

  • Clip a 2’’ x 10’’ binding piece on top of the vinyl and quilted layers underneath with the raw edges lined up.


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2. Stitch with a 1/4’’ seam allowance.


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3. Finger press the vinyl away from the fabrics, then flip the piece over and finger press the binding and seam against the exterior fabric.

Wrap the binding around the seam allowance and topstitch it in place as before.


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4. Sew the remaining 10’’ x 13’’ quilted piece and 2’’ x 10’’ binding piece to the left side of the window in the same way.

5. Trim the side and window piece so that it is 35’’ wide. This will mean trimming about 1/2’’ away from either side. Try to keep the window in the center.


6. Use the fabric marking pen to draw 2 vertical lines on the long piece that makes up the sides and front of the bin. Each line should be 10 1/4’’ away from a side edge.

Note: This should leave 14 1/2’’ in between the lines for the front of the bin. If the space between the lines is not 14 1/2’’, make adjustments to your lines to make the front exactly 14 1/2’’.


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I 7. Sew along the drawn lines. These lines of stitching will create natural fold lines in the sides of our bin to help it look nice and rectangular. The lines also mark the front corners.


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Bind the Top Edge of the Sides and Front

1. Fold the 2 1/4’’ x 35’’ binding piece in half lengthwise and press.

2. Place the Side and Front Piece on your workspace lining side up. Pin or clip the binding to the top edge, with all of the raw edges lined up.


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3. Stitch with a 1/4’’ seam allowance


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4. Wrap the binding around to the front of the piece. Sew it down close to the fold. I love using my sewing stiletto for sewing binding like this.


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Attach the Remaining Piece of Velcro Tape

1. Pin the 4’’ long soft side from the hook and loop tape (velcro) to the front of the Side and Front Piece above the window. It should be centered and 1/2’’ below the top edge.


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2. Sew around the hook and loop tape to secure it.

Note: If you would like to have handles on the sides of your bin, please refer to the ‘Make and Attach the Handles’ section of my DIY Sturdy Storage Totes pattern. Make 2 handles the same size as specified for the medium storage tote. Sew one handle to each side of this piece. Each handle should be 2 1/2’’ below the top bound edge and 2’’ away from the side raw edge and the vertical line that marks the front corner.


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Sew the Bin Pieces Together

1. In order to make it easier to sew the bin together, make two 1/4’’ snips along the bottom edge of the Side and Front Piece right on top of the vertical stitching lines.


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Then make two 1/4’’ snips in the Top Piece on either side of the lowest horizontal line (the one that is furthest away from the top curved edge.


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2. Place the Top Piece on your workspace with the lining side up.

Center the Side and Front Piece on top, right side up. The window should be in the middle. Clip the bottom edges together.


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2. The 1/4’’ snips that you cut on either side of the window should each be exactly 1/4’’ away from the corners of the Top Piece underneath.


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3. Stitch across the front of the bin 1/4’’ away from the bottom edge. Start sewing at one of the 1/4’’ snips and stop sewing when you reach the other one.


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4. Clip the bottom edge and back edge of the bin together on one side.


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Tips:

  • The snips that you made on top of the lines of stitching will help you turn sharp corners.

  • The bound edge at the top of the side should meet the horizontal line on the back of the bin.

  • I placed my clips upside down because when sewing the sides and back together, it is best to sew with the Top Piece (the bottom of the bin or the back of the bin) on top.


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5. Sew the bottom and back edge with a 1/4’’ seam allowance.

Notice that for this side, I began sewing on the bottom of the bin.


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6. To turn the corner, stop sewing with the needle down when you reach the snip. Lift the foot and turn the project so that the next seam is straight in front of you. Lower the foot and continue sewing.


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7. Clip together the other side of the bin in the same way. Sew the bottom and side edge with a 1/4’’ seam allowance.

For this side of the bin, I began sewing on the back of the bin with the bound edge against my sewing machine.


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Bind the Remaining Raw Edges

Binding is sewn remaining raw edges in a continuous loop so it doesn’t matter where you begin – except that I like to start and end in an inconspicuous spot. I chose one of the back side seams.

1. Fold the 2 1/4’’ x 100’’ piece of bias binding in half lengthwise and press. Clip one end to a side back seam on the bin.


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2. Sew the binding on with a 1/4’’ seam allowance. Leave about a 4-6’‘ tail of binding free at the start.


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Carefully curve the binding to sew around the top rounded corners while maintaining a 1/4’’ seam allowance.



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3. When you reach a corner, stop with the needle down 1/4’’ away from the edge. Lift the sewing machine foot and turn your project so that the next edge is straight in front of you. Lower the foot and continue sewing.


4. When you reach the side that you started on, stop sewing about 6’’ away from where you started sewing. Bring the ends of the binding together and fold them back where they meet.

Use your fingernail to crease the folds in the binding.


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5. Cut the extra binding of 1/4’’ past the creased folds.


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6. Bring the cut edges of the binding right sides together and stitch with a 1/4’’ seam allowance. Finger-press the seam open and re-fold the binding as before. Finish sewing the binding to the side of the bin.


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7. Turn the binding to the other side of the seam and stitch it down close to the fold.


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A sewing stiletto really helps for folding the binding around the corners and holding it in place!


And now your bin is done! I hope you are able to make some beautiful fabric storage containers to organize your home or sewing studio.

This was a really long sewing tutorial! Don’t forget that I also prepared it in PDF format that has been optimized for printing.

As always, I’d love to see the projects you sew from my patterns and tutorials. Please post a picture to Instagram and tag me @sewcanshe or #sewcanshe so I can take a look!

xoxo,


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Disclosure: some of my posts contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of those links I may receive a small commission, so thank you for supporting SewCanShe when you shop! All of the opinions are my own and I only suggest products that I actually use. 🙂

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