Friday, April 1, 2011

Fabric To Go

My friend Nicole does internety things, including blogging her often weekly "Too Cute Tuesday" crafting evening, complete with a themed cocktail to go with the craft. The crafts are always cool, and range from cooking to fabric crafts and everything in between. A few of us on the island keep saying we should start some weekly crafting. . . maybe when winter is FINALLY over (yes, we did get a reprise of winter as an April Fool's joke from Mother Nature. . . though I secretly don't mind the snow).

Back in January, the craft was oragami-ish, cloth takeout containers, modeled after the cardboard takeout container and which one of the TCT crafters had seen on another blog.  It reminded me of the plastic reusable ones that are sometimes sold around the holidays. I actually have one that Mom used for packing Christmas cookies a few years ago. I loved the idea right away - very "green", which is, of course, all the rage these days. 

Nicole opted for a no-sew version and ended up adding a ducktape inner layer; I kept with the original style which has an outer fabric layer and contrasting lining fabric.

Stiff interfacing is key to the success of the container holding its shape. I spent what felt like an eternity staring at the interface section at Joann's and ended up buying several weights, mostly because one was the end of the bolt, and the other was on sale. 
interfacing galore

One of the key style elements of the takeout box is the folded ends. I wanted to avoid the bulkiness that I expected the interfacing would create so when I cut out the interfacing, I traced just what would become the sides; when I cut the fabric, I traced the whole box.
this was the less-stiff interfacting, so I doubled it up.
the interfacing is cut to form just the sides;
the fabric is cut to a shape that creates the flaps when folded

I originally cut the two fabric layers to different sizes, then folded the excess outer-layer fabric over twice to create a hem that also held the three layers (two fabric, one interfacing) together. The whole folding for a hem was great in theory, and looks neat with contrasting fabrics, but took a while and involved some creative pinning and sewing. 
creative, yet time-consuming, pinning

creative, yet time-consuming, sewing

neat contrast against the interior

I did eventually read how the original blogger sewed hers, which was quicker and makes a lot more sense. Her method involves the fabric layers being cut to the same size and the interfacing cut slightly smaller. The interfacing is fused to one fabric layer, and the second fabric layer is placed right-sides-together with the first layer. A seam is sewed around the whole shape, very close to the interfacing edge and an opening is left to turn the fabrics right-side out. This method was, in part, to create a reversible box that could feature either fabric used, and included an alternative method of securing the flap ends and keeping it closed.

This methed definitely involved less pinning and prep time. The only issue I ran into was that I didn't fuse the interfacing long enough, and it did peel away as I started to turn it inside out. This may have been because it was the stiffer, thicker interfacing. It wasn't too much of a problem, however, as I went back and topstitched around the whole thing to close the turning opening, and to secure the interfacing in place. I like this style a bit better.
design take two (and box number five):
second method of creating the outer edge

pressed & folded; the flaps are tacked
at the points and at the upper corners
To maintain the shape of the box I sewed an additional a seam across each flap where it would fold down to close. I pressed these edges in, and as I folded the box into shape I pressed the corners and flaps to help keep the shape. To keep the box held together I sewed the end flaps in place where they make a point and at the top corners, where they fold near the opening.

ribbon tie detail
To keep the box closed, I added ribbon to each flap end to tie across the top. Velcro, buttons, or hook-and-eye closures could all work to secure the top flaps, too.

There are endless possibilities for use of these boxes - jewelry storage, gift box, candy container; the original blogger crafted hers as a purse. Fabric combinations are also endless and I have a bunch of different fabrics in mind, including some random holiday fabric might morph into some gift boxes. If I can track down some oilcloth or a vinyl tablecloth, and find small grommets and the wire handle from an actual takeout container, it would be easy enough to sew a container that might actually work as a food container for transporting leftovers to school for lunch. Hmm. . .
the troops assemble: three standard-sized takeout, two short
And, perhaps, a few boxes might just make an appearance at the next Silver Threads. . .


  1. There must be a vacation craft day coming up. I can feel it in my bones....

  2. These. Are. Awesome. So much better than mine. Thanks for leaving a comment on the blog so others can really see how it's done!