Freebie Friday! Collapsible Fabric Boxes


Time for more patchwork! I’m slowly chipping away at my stash of quilting cottons, and today I’m killing two birds with one stone. I made some extra storage boxes for my scraps with my scraps. I’m hoping I won’t need to use them all the time, so I made them collapsible so I can tuck them away when my stores of fabric aren’t quite so huge. The sides are held in place with bits of Velcro, so they come apart and fold up easily. The sides are made stable with Peltex, which is about the most rigid interfacing you can find. I needed two boxes, so I made mine in a brick layout design and a diamond layout design. I’ll show you how to do both here, so just be sure to pay attention to whichever one you want to do.

You could make yours with whole cloth of course, but either way I think they’ll come in handy if you need a temporary storage solution or even if you just like the patchwork design used here. They’re cube shaped, which makes them ideal for a lot of the cube-centered modular furniture you see out there, like stuff from Ikea.


It’s a little unwieldy to sew and there’s some precision required to get the sides to line up. So it’s not terrible but it does take some time.
Makes one 11” x 11” x 11” box

Materials & Tools:
Brick Layout Version: Various patchwork fabrics, totaling 1 1/4 yds.
Diamond Layout Version: Various patchwork fabrics, totaling 1 1/2 yds.
Whole Cloth Version: 3/4 yd. light to medium weight fabric (I used quilting cotton)
• 3/4 yd. light weight fabric for lining (I used quilting cotton)
• 1 2/3 yds. of 20” wide fusible peltex (or you could piece the peltex together, then you’d only need 1 yd.)
• 3” x 5” rectangle of clear vinyl (optional)
• 18” of Velcro
• Matching sewing thread
• Basic sewing tools (sewing machine, scissors, iron, needles, pins, fabric marker, seam ripper)

The Cutting:
0. If you’re using whole cloth, follow step 1, then skip to step 10.
1. Print out the project pattern here
Brick Layout Version:
2. From your various patchwork fabrics, cut 12 strips, 3 1/2” x width of fabric (the pattern for this block is also in the .pdf)
3. Subcut 11 of those strips into 75 rectangles (or more if you can spare it, so you can swap out rectangles), 5 1/2” x 3 1/2”
4. Subcut the last strip into 10 rectangles (or more if you can spare it, so you can swap out rectangles), 3” x 3 1/2”. Then skip to step 7.
Diamond Layout Version:
5. From your various patchwork fabrics, cut 12 strips, 4 1/2” x width of fabric
6. Line up your diamond template on the fabric with the grain line arrow parallel to your cut edges and use it to trace and cut 76 diamonds (or more if you can spare it, so you can swap out diamonds). Then skip to step 8.
Your pieces so far should look something like this:

7. To piece together the brick layout, it’s done by creating 10 rows of 8 bricks. If necessary, lay out your bricks on a design wall first to be sure that you don’t have any repeats too close together (if you have extra blocks you can switch them out). Be sure to use a 1/4” seam allowance for all the patchwork. The odd rows are a row of 8 full bricks; sew 5 of those. The even rows are a row of 7 full bricks with a half brick on each end; create 5 of those. Sew all the rows together, alternating them to recreate the illustration here. Your finished patchwork should measure about 40” x 30”. Skip to step 10 for the rest of the box.

8. For the diamond layout, it’s not quite as straight forward. We’re still doing rows and columns, but since the seams are at an angle they need to be lined up differently. This is what it looks like when you sew up a pair, keep that in mind for the next step when you see the full layout we’re going for. And don’t forget to use a 1/4” seam allowance for the patchwork.

9. This is the diamond layout you want to create with your 76 diamonds. They’re all pieced at a slant like this, but once you get the hang of it you’ll see it’s just like squares, only tilted. The thing to watch out for is that there are a different number of diamonds to piece in each row. It goes: 2 diamonds (2 rows), 4 diamonds (2 rows), 6 diamonds (2 rows), 8 diamonds (2 rows), and 9 diamonds (4 rows). Your finished patchwork should be about 43” x 36”, but having a 1/2” or two off won’t affect your project.

Onto the box!
10. Assemble the box pattern pieces, see the page here for more help
11. Lay out your box pattern pieces onto the patchwork you created in steps 1-9 as if it were full fabric yardage. Cut out the pieces following the pattern guidelines.
12. Repeat the same thing with your other fabrics: lining and interfacing
13. Mark the fabric pieces with the markings from the pattern

14. Now we’re ready to actually start making the box! At this point we’ll be using a 5/8” seam allowance unless stated otherwise. The box has 3 major components, the bottom, the sides, and the front/back. Each one is sewn to the lining, but in a slightly different way. For the bottom, layer a patchwork and lining piece together with right sides facing. Sew them together with little L shapes at each corner as the illustration shows. When complete, trim the seam allowances in that corner, turn the bottom right side out, and press. The paper pattern also shows this, but you’ll know you have it right when your pressed shape looks like a very fat + sign.

15. For the sides, you use the same pieces as the bottom, but sewn a bit differently. For this one, layer together one patchwork and one lining square as before, but sew them together along the top and sides only. Leave the bottom open for turning right side out when you’re done. Trim the corners of the seam allowances, turn the piece right side out, and press flat. Do this with the remaining pieces so you have two sides total.

16. The front and back use the extended pieces and are also sewn together a bit differently. Just like with the others, layer a patchwork piece with a lining piece with right sides facing and line up the raw edges. Sew around the sides and top of this piece, but be sure to turn at a right angle before heading out the bottom. Trim the seam allowances, turn the piece right side out, and press it flat. The paper pattern also shows this, but you should have a little extension at the bottom if you’ve done it right.

17. To give the structure to your box, you’ll be filling each piece with an 11” x 11” square of Peltex. The pattern is the same as the square for the sides and bottom except with the seam allowances cut off (in case you missed the note on the pattern). Slide each square of interfacing inside each side of your box. The adhesive for the interfacing should be facing the wrong side of your patchwork. The square should nestle snugly against the seams from steps 14-16, leaving the extensions free. The paper pattern also shows a guideline as to where they should go if you get confused. When the interfacing is all settled, fuse it in place.

18. Once the interfacing is all fused, I wanted to make sure it stayed in place so I did a little topstitching around the interfacing square, about 1/4” in from the edge for each side of the box. At this time, also add your vinyl pocket if desired. Tape it in place where the pattern guidelines indicate on what will be the front of your box, then sew it place around the sides and bottom (about 1/8” from the edge) to form the pocket.

19. Now we can start joining the sides. Each side of the box is attached to the bottom via a French seam so it fits under the sewing machine relatively well without bending the interfacing too much. First up we’ll be adding the sides. To begin the French seam, line up one side piece with the bottom piece with *wrong* sides facing and sew them together with a 1/4” seam allowance along just one of the extensions. When complete, trim down the seam to 1/8” and definitely be sure to get all the extra threads out of there.

20. To finish the French seam, turn the pieces back the other way with right sides together. Press the seam flat, then sew the same seam as before, but with a 3/8” seam allowance. This should encase the seam from the previous step, creating a nice finished seam with no raw edges on either side.

21. Repeat this with the remaining side piece and the opposite side of the box bottom. You should have a row of 3 squares as shown in the illustration.

22. Now repeat steps 19-21 with the front and back sides of the box and the remaining extensions on the bottom piece. Altogether it should look something like this from the inside.

23. Lastly I added the Velcro to hold all the sides of the box up. I saved this for last because while I have guides on the pattern that show where they should go, you might want to double check them with where your box lines up personally. Cut up the Velcro into twelve 1 1/2” long pieces. The hook side of the Velcro is placed on the inside of the front and back flaps. Three on each side.

24. The other side of the Velcro goes on the sides of the box on the outer fabric. Once again, three on each side. After that, lift up your box sides and attach them to the Velcro on the box front and back. You’re all set to fill!

There you have it! I’ll admit making mine took a while, but it was so worth it to use up all those scraps. Now I have something to hold the rest of my slowly shrinking collection of quilting cottons!
If you do try making the project, I’d love to see it! Send me a photo and I’ll send you exclusive free patterns as a reward!

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5 thoughts on “Freebie Friday! Collapsible Fabric Boxes”

  1. I just moved and finally actually have a space for fabric for the first time! These look awesome! My mom actually found your website for your plushie totoro patterns and shared the link with me. I will definitely be trying these.

  2. i’m going to try these soon. i printed the pattern tonight on 11 x 17 paper and increased the proportion by 113%. i’m hoping this will be a good fit for my Ikea Kallax shelving.

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