Hi Everyone! In part 2 we are joined by Donna Kinley with an adorable and functional storage idea! I'm loving this and am really excited to have her share this easy to follow tutorial project with the group. So gather up your supplies and follow along in the video below to see how easy it is to make a doll bed storage bin!
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The Doll Bed Storage Bin Project Tutorial
Ok, now let's jump into the project! In this video, Donna is going to show you one way to turn a simple plastic storage bin into a cute ottoman or bed for your dolls. And it doubles as a storage box!
For this project, you will need:
A plastic storage bin. Look for one that is mostly rectangular with straight sides, and no special locking system on the lid. The plainer, the better. This shoebox size is about 13 inches long so it’s about the same length as a Little Darling® doll or a Maru® Mini-Pal. A sweater size box seems to be about right for WellieWishers™ or Ruby Red Fashion Friends®. I’m going to use the shoebox size for this demonstration, but the process is the same for larger bins as well.
Quilter’s batting. It’s nice to give the top a little bit of cushion.
Fabric. The amount you’ll need depends on the size bin you are using. I did this shoebox size with less than a yard of fabric. A sweater size bin would need about a yard.
Trim for the sides of the lid. Gross-grain ribbon works well. This trim is about an inch wide, but you may prefer even wider trim. You’ll need enough to go around the perimeter of the lid with a couple extra inches for overlap.
Elastic ½ to 1 inch wide. Most any type will work. I’m sure you could make a skirt for the bin without using elastic, but an elastic casing is just a quick and easy way to make the top band of the skirt section.
Glue or double-sided tape. This will be used to keep the skirt from sliding down the sides of the bin. I also used it attach the topper to the lid. You need glue or tape that will adhere to both the plastic and the fabric. I had this Aleene’s Jewel-It® Embellishing Glue™ on hand, so that’s what I used for the fabric to plastic areas. This glue is designed to bond beads and jewels to fabric. Hot glue might work as well, so you could test that out if you have it on hand. I used double sided tape to hold the ribbon to the sides of the lid because I was concerned that the glue would bleed through the trim.
Some other things you’ll want to have on hand are:
A long ruler, preferably a clear one that has a half inch line.
A pencil or other marking tool.
A measuring tape.
Straight pins. I use mostly one color, but I like to have a few red and green or yellow ones as well. (You’ll see why later.) I also like to keep a small safety pin handy in my pin cushion.
You’ll need some sort of bodkin for threading the elastic through the casing. You can use a large safety pin for this, but my favorite one for wider elastic is the Clover brand because it holds the elastic flat.
Scissors for the batting and your fabric scissors. You might want to have some pinking shears for trimming raw edges.
And of course, some thread and your sewing machine. A serger is great if you have it. I used mine for sewing the side seams and finishing the edges on the skirt.
Here's a breakdown of the full step by step tutorial:
Part 1: The first thing we’ll do is cut all of our pieces and then we’ll work on putting things together.
- For the topper, lay the lid on the wrong side of the fabric, making sure you have plenty of space around the edges for a seam allowance. Trace the lid. Add a ½ inch seam allowance all the way around.
- Fold the fabric right sides together so that you can cut two pieces for your topper at once. Pins will help keep the fabric from sliding. Cut the topper layers along the outer line.
- You can use the cut fabric toppers as a guide for cutting your batting. You’ll want to trim the seam allowance off of the batting so that it’s the size of the lid itself. You could trace the lid on paper to create a pattern for the batting if you prefer.
- The skirt section is made like a simple elastic waist skirt. The fabric pieces are long rectangles. To determine the size needed, we need to measure the height of the sides of the bin and the girth around it. For the height, fold the end of your measuring tape to the size you need to make a casing for your elastic. This would be the width of your elastic plus a half inch or so of seam allowance and wiggle room. Then hold the folded edge of the tape up to the side of the bin and note the distance to the bottom of the bin. Add a half to ¾ inch for hem allowance and this will be the height needed for the rectangle. In my case, it’s about 6 ½ inches. For the girth, measure around the perimeter of the bin. You can just do this with the fabric or actually measure it. In order to have some fullness, I took this measurement and added half again for my total length. If you want a fuller skirt, you could just double the girth measurement. Now that we have the dimensions, we can mark these measurements on the fabric and cut out the skirt pieces. It will most likely be necessary to sew two rectangles together to get the total width needed for the skirt.
Now we are ready to take these to the machine.
- Construct the skirt in the same way you would for an elastic waist skirt. When sewing the casing, remember to leave an opening for threading the elastic. Once you have the casing sewn, you can thread the elastic through. I use a same small safety pin to hold the ends together while I check to make sure the elastic is laying smoothly. I stretch the skirt out and check the fit. You want it to be snug, but not too tight, especially if you have slanted sides on your bin because it will want to slide to the smaller edge of the bin. Once you are happy with the fit, you can stitch around the overlapped section of the elastic to secure it and tuck it back inside the casing. Now it’s time to topstitch, and close the opening.
- To determine the hem line, slide the skirt onto the bin and hold the “waistband” up to the top of the side. Fold the raw edge up so that it is even with the bottom of the bin and pin. Remove the skirt. With the final length marked, fold the raw edge down so that you’ll have a nice, finished look to your hem. Press up this amount all the way around the skirt and then topstitch your hem in place. Set the skirt aside.
Part 3: Now it’s time to do the topper.
- Place one layer of your topper fabric face down on your work surface. Place the batting in the center, so that you have about ½ inch of seam allowance all the way around. Now lay the second layer of the topper fabric over the batting, right side up, matching the raw edges with the other layer of fabric. Pin in place, sandwiching the batting between the layers of fabric.
- To help keep the batting from shifting with use, we’ll make several tacks through all the layers. The number of these you need depends on the size of the lid. I’m doing four on this one. You could choose to sew several lines of topstitching rather than using the tacks. Either way you choose to do this, mark your tacks or stitch lines and put in a few pins to hold the layers in place as you sew.
- Stitch around the perimeter of the topper using a ½ inch seam allowance. I did this by setting my needle position to the left and using a wide presser foot. You could use a zipper foot if you prefer. The main thing is that your stitch line ends up about where your original traced line of the lid is, so it turns out to be exactly the size of the lid. Now you can stitch your tacks or lines that hold the batting in place. If you are doing tacks, you can pull the threads to the underside and tie them off or add a dab of seam sealant.
Part 4: Now it’s time to add the trim.
- Start your trim in the center of a side or an end, rather than on a corner. Place the edge of the trim just over the line you stitched earlier and stitch near the edge of the ribbon. When you get to the corners, go slow and pivot as needed to keep the trim on the stitched line. The ribbon will pull up at the corners, but that is exactly what you want it to do, so no worries, there. Stop when you get near the end of the trim and fold under the end so that you have a little overlap. Cut off any excess ribbon and continue stitching along the edge until you get to the end. Pivot and stitch down the folded edge to secure the ends. Now you can check to see how it fits the lid. Trim the seam allowance of the fabric layers if desired. Pinking shears are great for this.
Part 5: Now it’s time to set it up.
- Place the skirt on the bin and add a line of glue or double-sided tape to hold it in place around the “waistband” area of the skirt. I put some glue around some of the top areas of the lid to help secure the topper and then added some double-sided tape to hold the ribbon to the sides of the lid.
- When the glue is dry, you’re ready to store your doll’s items inside the bin.
Place the lid on it and add a pillow and some cover so she can have a nice nap!
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