Doug and I live in a 2 bedroom apartment with no plans on up-sizing any time soon. A small home just makes a lot of financial sense for two people. Plus I hate vacuuming. So I figure it’s win/win. It does often require a bit of creativity when it comes to storage. When we put a bookcase in our living room, it’s not for a pretty little display of a family picture. No way- that thing is going to Store Stuff (capital S’s prove I mean business!). Running a creative business from your home means having a TON of supplies on hand (and, let’s be honest- I had a ton of supplies on hand before the business…) and the only room we had to store that stuff was the living room. Bleck.
This is where I became best friends with McCall’s Pattern M6051. Out of everything it offers, I’ve only made up the bins. But let me tell you, that bin pattern has been fantastic!
The pattern was simple enough that I could adjust it to fit my bookshelf exactly (more on that later). And I could sew the bins out of a fabric that would actually look good in my living room. I love them! This bookshelf holds about 65 skeins of yarn, a pile of wool felt scraps in every color imaginable and more yards of fabric than I’d like to admit to. I pulled the bins out a bit so you could see contents, but usually the bins fit well enough that none of that is visible.
On the other side of the room we have our TV armoire packed with three huge faux leather bins made with the same pattern. These things hold stuff we don’t get to very often: our old baby blankets, a quilt made by Grandma, things like that.
With 9 bins made and more in the works (I seriously want to make some bins for my kitchen cupboards out of laminated cottons that can be wiped clean. And my sewing room is just crying for some better storage.) I’ve got to admit this is one of my favorite patterns to have on hand.
If you’re looking to create your own custom bins, here’s what I’d suggest. Get the McCall’s pattern (since I learned all I know on bin making from that pattern, it’s only fair to direct you there. Don’t be scared by the price on the package- you can often find patterns on sale for under a few dollars.)
The pieces for the bin pattern will look like a big plus sign, kind of like this:
If you want, you can start out by making one up exactly like the pattern says to get the feel for it. But if you want to jump right into your own custom size, it’s not too hard. Your custom pattern piece will look like the plus sign (the straight lines are where you’ll cut the fabric, the dotted ones are where you’ll fold up the sides). To get your custom dimensions, figure out the height, width and depth of the bin you’d like to make. (I don’t worry about getting all technical by adding seam allowances. When I’ve made bins, I go with the exact measurement I need. Yes, the bin technically gets smaller when I sew it. But then the thickness of the fabric and all the contents stuffed into the bin poof it out enough that it fits pretty well)
Take the image above, replace each ‘D’ with the Depth measurement, each H with height and W with width. So, if I had a shelf that was 7 inches high, 12 inches deep and 10 inches wide, my custom pattern piece would look like this:
Once your pattern is adjusted, you can follow the directions in the McCall’s pattern to create your bin. Trust me, your shelves will thank you 🙂