I recently faced the demon that was my chaotic sewing space and have been organizing with the help of my dear friend Alessandra. Yesterday when I shared the above photo of my newly cleared cutting table on Instagram, there were many questions about my rainbow of skinny bins hanging along the side of it. My skinny bins were made using a tutorial I wrote for Quilt Theory years ago, for a fabulous fabric party hosted by Mathew at Mister Domestic, and I use them to sort my tiny scraps by color. You know, those scraps that are too small to fold up again, but the perfect size for some tiny piecing? As I’m cutting, I just toss them into the color-coordinating skinny bin and viola! I thought it was a great time to share the tutorial here on my blog, so today’s your day!
The following is a blast from the past–May 2017 to be exact!–and the tutorial on how to make your very own fabric skinny bins. Enjoy, and please do tag me @nightquilter and #fabricskinnybin on social media if you make one (or ten!)!
Fabric Skinny Bin Tutorial
When you’re designing quilt patterns or even simply selecting fabrics for a quilt, having color cards from different fabric and thread manufacturers is extremely helpful. There’s nothing like having each exact thread and fabric possibility right at your fingertips while you’re fine-tuning your colorway. Most companies offer their color cards for sale, so anyone can benefit from having a rainbow of actual fabric and thread samples at their fingertips.
A few weeks ago, many fabric and thread companies were kind enough to send color cards to the Quilt Theory team to help with our planning. While brainstorming different ways to store and use these color cards, I realized that a skinny fabric bin I had designed to help sort my tiny scraps would also be perfect storage for the Aurifil thread color card strips once they were cut apart. While cutting up color cards seems terrifying at first, we’ve found the amount it helps ease comparisons between different color options and selection of a perfect fabric-thread match outweighs the initial anxiety about cutting into the card. You can see many other storage options in our guest post over at Auribuzz here.
Today I’m excited to share a tutorial on how to make your very own Skinny Bin, perfect for storing your Aurifil thread color card strips. The Skinny Bins are very versatile, so you can make one even if you don’t yet have Aurifil thread color card strips; they are perfect for sorting tiny scraps or catching threads, and just happen to make a lovely wine bottle cozy, too!
Let’s get started!
Gather your materials:
- 15” x 11” fabric for outer panel
- 15” x 11” fusible fleece
- 15” x 12” fabric for lining
- Thread – we suggest 50wt Aurifil thread
- Quilting ruler
- Rotary cutter
- Marking pencil or tool
- Iron and pressing surface
- Sewing machine
Making the Exterior
First, fuse the fusible fleece to the wrong side of your outer panel fabric piece, following the manufacturer’s directions.
Sew the short ends right sides together using a ⅜” seam allowance. You will have a tube with both ends open. Press seam open.
Centering your pressed seam (3 ½” of fabric should be on either side of the seam), press the tube flat, creating clear side creases.
Sew along the bottom with a ⅜” seam allowance. Do not turn right-side out yet.
Measure and mark 1 ⅞” (1 ½” from the bottom seam stitch line) up and 1 ½” in from the side on each bottom corner, as illustrated above.
Carefully cut out the marked squares and discard.
Opening the bin, fold the recently cut opening so that the bottom seam and side pressed seam match, right sides facing.
Carefully pin or hold in place, and sew along the opening with a ¼” seam. Be sure to backstitch at the beginning and end. Repeat for the other bottom corner.
Your bin exterior should look like the photo above.
Turn bin right side out, press out the bottom corners, admire, and set aside the exterior of your bin.
Making the Lining
Repeat Steps 2 through 7 with the lining fabric to create the lining of the bin.
With right sides out, carefully slide the lining fabric into the exterior of the bin, aligning the back seams and pressing the bottom corners into each other so that it fits snuggly. The exterior and lining should be wrong sides facing each other and the lining should extend about 1” above the top of the exterior.
Fold the lining down toward the outside of the bin so that the raw edge of the lining meets the raw edge of the exterior (approx ½”).
Fold again, so that the lining folds down over the exterior, with all raw edges contained inside the folds. Press carefully around the top edge of the bin so that your fold stays in place. You can pin or clip, or live on the wild side and simple feed carefully by hand as you stitch it down.
Carefully topstitch approximately ⅛” from the bottom fold of the lining around the top of the bin. Backstitch to secure threads, or knot and bury your threads. Here you can use a contrasting 12wt or 28wt thread for extra interest if you want!
I used my Aurifil 50wt 2600-Dove and a 3.0 stitch length so that it provided a bit of interest matching the pattern on the Alison Glass Sun Print Grow in Pansy I used for the lining.
Ta da! Your first Skinny Bin is compete! Arrange your Aurifil thread card strips delightfully, channeling your inner florist vibes, or fill with scraps or a bottle of your favorite bevvy.
Feel free to personalize the outer panel, too! Add-on exterior patterns may be available one day if the desire is high. Please use #fabricskinnybin and tag @nightquilter so that I can admire your Skinny Bins, too!
If you don’t yet have an Aurifil thread color card, ask your local quilt shop or order from Hawthorne Threads. Then check out our guest post on Auribuzz to see all of the fun ways you can organize and store it!