Ahhhhh... the beautiful flowers, blooming trees, and lush green grass of Spring. Oh, and the pollen, did I mention the pollen? Sunny days are not all sandals and ice tea. The warm weather can also bring the watery eyes and red noses of allergy season. Don't let it sneak up on you without a fashion solution; be prepared with a pretty tissue box cover to help distract you from the sneezing. We did a nursery project awhile back that included a cover for a small square box of tissues, which was the first time we came up with the idea of using a Dritz® Home grommet for the tissue pop-up point. We're back with a project for a more standard rectangular box of tissues. We give you the steps and formulas to figure the dimensions for your specific box.
The Bekko home decor weight fabric we used, by Michael Miller Fabrics and from Fabric.com, with its bold geometric design is a real eye-catcher, but also grabbing your attention are the beautiful ribbon accents. We used ribbon from the Parson Gray collection by David Butler for Renaissance Ribbons.
Our ribbon criss-crosses with a monogrammed accent band, because you don't want anyone swiping your box of tissue! Click here to download this monogram alphabet and brackets. The free download is sponsored by Fabric.com and available in all major embroidery formats.
The cover is quite stable with both a lining plus fusible fleece between the layers, specially cut to keep it out of the seams. And once again, we've used a pretty Dritz® Home grommet for the opening from which the tissues pop.
We used a standard large tissue box purchased at the local grocery store. To make a pattern for your own tissue box follow these steps and formulas:
- Measure the long side of the box (ours measured 9½")
- Measure the short side of the box (ours measured 4¾")
- Measure the height of the box (ours measured 4¾")
The formula for the cut width is the long side + the height x 2 + 1" for the seam allowance + ½" for ease. In our sample the equation was: 9½" + (4¾" x 2 or 9½") +1" + ½" for a total cut width of 20½".
The formula for the cut height is the short side + the height x 2 + 1" for the seam allowance + ½" for ease. In our sample the equation was: 4¾" + (4¾" x 2 or 9½") +1" + ½" for a total cut height of 15¾".
So, as you'll see below in the Getting Started section, our cuts for the exterior were 20½" wide x 15¾" high.
To make the cross shape, which will fold down into the final box shape, you need to cut a square from each corner of the rectangle cuts. To figure this square, use the box height. In our sample, our square cut-out was 4¾" x 4¾".
Sewing Tools You Need
- Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome Memory Craft 9900)
- Walking foot
- Quarter Inch Seam foot (optional)
- Satin Stitch foot (optional)
Fabric and Other Supplies
NOTE: Inventory shifts constantly, and some prints may not be in-stock when you first visit. The Brown Tatami Bekko we used is no longer in-stock, but the similar Parquet pattern is available in a rich navy and a bright coral. We like the Navy combined with the Black & Blue/Gray version of the same Parson Gray ribbon by Renaissance Ribbons.
Supplies and instructions are for our sample tissue box as explained above, and the yardage shown is enough to allow for fussy cutting of both the fabric and the ribbon.
- ½ yard of 44"+ wide medium weight cotton for the main exterior; we used 55" 100% cotton sateen Bekko Home Décor by Michael Miller Fabrics in Tatami Brown (#0286730) from Fabric.com; as mentioned above Tatami Brown is currently out-of-stock; we recommend Parquet in Navy (#0286757)
- ½ yard of medium weight twill for the lining and the accent band; we used 60" Organic Cotton Twill in Winter White (#UM-148) from Fabric.com
- ¼ yard of 45"+ wide fusible fleece; we used 45" Pellon 987F Fusible Fleece (#NR-399) from Fabric.com
- 1½ yards of 1½" ribbon; we used 1½" Bronze New York from David Butler's Parson Gray collection by Renaissance Ribbons
- ONE large Dritz® Home grommet; we used a 1-9/16" round grommet in antique gold (#NR-721) from Fabric.com
- Stabilizer for the optional embroidery as recommended for your embroidery machine
- All purpose thread to match fabrics and ribbon
- Embroidery thread to match the main fabric for optional monogram; we used copper
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Iron and ironing board
- Straight pins
- Use the formulas above to confirm your cuts.
- From the fabric from the main exterior (Bekko Tatami Brown in our sample) cut ONE 20½" x 15¾" rectangle.
- From the fabric for the lining and accent band (Organic White Twill in our sample), cut ONE 20½" x 15¾" rectangle, then:
If monogramming, cut TWO panels big enough to hoop for the accent band
If not monogramming, cut ONE 2" x 15¾" strips (the strip length should be your finished cut height)
- From the fusible fleece, cut the following:
THREE pieces that are the box long side x the box height (three @ 9½" x 4¾" in our sample)
TWO pieces that are the box short side x the box height (two @ 4¾" x 4¾" in our sample)
- Cut the ribbon into ONE length to match the cut width (20½" in our sample). Leave the remaining ribbon as one piece; it will be attached to the base of the box at the very end and trimmed for an exact fit.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- Download the free font collection in the proper format for your machine.
- Hoop the twill fabric and stabilizer, and monogram the letter of your choice surrounded by the brackets. You will do this twice to end up with the two strips.
NOTE: It is easier to do this accent band as two separate strips in order confirm perfect placement and make sure the letter is oriented in the proper direction when the box is folded into its final shape.
- Trim each of the finished monogrammed pieces to 2" x 7⅞", positioning the embroidery so it is centered side to side within the 2" width. The bottom-most curve of the brackets should be approximately 2½" up from the bottom raw edge of each strip.
Prepare the accent strips
- Fold back each long raw edge of each strip ¼". Press.
- Machine baste the folds in place. We used our Janome Quarter Inch Seam foot.
NOTE: This basting helps keep the folds on the heavier twill in place, which means you need fewer pins to attach it. Fewer pins means easier (and straighter) edgestitching.
Prepare the lining and exterior
- Place the lining flat on your work surface. Following the notes above, mark the appropriately-sized corner cut-outs in each corner. Our cut-outs were 4¾" x 4¾".
- Cut along the drawn lines with scissors or a rotary cutter to form a cross.
- Keep one of the cut-out squares handy.
- Use this square as a pattern to cut the corners from the exterior rectangle.
- Your two pieces will now be a perfect match.
- Using a fabric pen or pencil, draw a line ½" up and parallel to each raw edge on the wrong side of both the exterior cross and the lining cross.
- Find the five pieces of fusible fleece.
- Place the exterior cross wrong side up on your ironing board. Following the manufacturer's instructions, fuse the five fleece panels to the wrong side of the exterior. Use the drawn lines around the bottom edges as guidelines, centering the pieces within each of the four "wings" of the cross. The final piece is centered in the middle of the cross, equi-distance from each of the other four pieces. Centering the fusing within the wings allows you to keep the fleece out of the hem for a smoother finish. The breaks between the individual pieces allow the box to more easily fold into its finished shape.
- We used a scrap of fabric as a pressing cloth to adhere our fusible fleece in place.
Place the accent band and accent ribbon
- Place the fused exterior cross right side up on your work surface. It should be oriented so the width and height are as cut. In our sample that means it is sitting so the width is 20½" and the height is 15¾".
- Find the two monogrammed accent bands.
- Measure to find the exact vertical center line of the cross.
- Center the accent bands on this line. The bottom raw end of each strip should be flush with the raw edge of the fabric. Triple check to make sure each monogram is facing the right direction. The letters should be opposite one another so when folded down into place they are right side up with the letter reading right to left. The opposite two raw ends of the bands should come together in the middle of the cross but they need not touch. Pin in place down the center of each strip.
- Make sure your machine is threaded with thread to match the accent band in the top and bobbin.
- Edgestitch along both sides of both bands. This edgestitching should be very narrow, just ⅛" or less, which means it will be well out of the way of the basting.
- Remove the basting.
NOTE: If not doing monogramming, simply find the one accent band piece and center it across the height of the cross. Edgestitch in place and remove the basting.
- Find the cut length of ribbon. This length should match the finished width of your cross. Ours is 20½".
- Measure to find the exact horizontal center line of the cross.
- Center the accent ribbon on this line. The raw ends of the ribbon should be flush with the raw edges of the fabric. The ribbon will overlap the monogrammed accent bands, forming a cross and hiding the raw ends of the monogrammed strips. Pin in place.
- Re-thread your machine with thread to match the ribbon in the top and bobbin or with invisible thread.
- Edgestitch along both sides of the ribbon. Again, your edgestitching should be very narrow, right along the edge of the ribbon on each side.
- Using the bottom drawn lines as your guide, press up the bottom raw edges of both the exterior cross and the lining cross. This helps set a crease for hemming later.
Form the exterior and lining boxes
- Start with the exterior cross.
- Fold down the sides of the "cross" to form a box. Align the raw edges of each pair of sides, placing them right sides together. Pin in place. At the top corner the seam will form a kind of triangle simply folding together on itself. This is just what you want it to do.
NOTE: You should unfold the pressed-up "hem crease" you just made above. You need to sew from the corner all the way down to the bottom raw edges.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch each side seam. Backstitch several times at the base to reinforce the stitching at this point.
- When all four sides are sewn, you'll have a box that should stand up on its own.
- Repeat to turn the lining cross into a box.
Assemble to finish and add bottom ribbon
- Re-fold the bottom raw edges along the original ½" crease lines on both the lining box and the exterior box.
- Turn the lining box wrong side out. Slip it inside the exterior box, which should be right side out, so the two boxes are now wrong sides together. Match up the side seams and align the bottom folded edges. Pin the layers together all around the bottom.
- Find the remaining un-cut length of ribbon.
- Starting at the center of one short side, pin the ribbon around the bottom of the box. The bottom edge of the ribbon should sit snug to the bottom folded hems.
- Pin in place all around.
- When you get back to the beginning, trim away any excess ribbon, leaving about 1½" -- just enough to overlap the starting point by about 1" and fold under by ½". The the fold, match up the ribbon's motif if possible. Your folded edge should be in-line with the edge of the perpendicular ribbon.
- Make sure your machine is threaded to match the ribbon in both the top and bobbin or use an invisible thread.
- Edgestitch the ribbon in place along both sides. We recommend stitching the bottom edge first. We switched to our Janome Walking foot for this step.
- Then, go all the way around again to secure the top edge of the ribbon.
Insert the grommet
- Using the template included with the Dritz® Home Grommets, mark the center of the top of the box, the intersection of the accent bands and the accent ribbon, for the grommet.
- Cut out the circle along the drawn line. You'll want to trim back the twill and fleece to lessen the layers so the grommet can more easily snap together.
- Insert the grommet and snap together.
NOTE: If you are new to using these easy snap-on grommets, take a look at our how to tutorial. Although... it really is as easy as shown.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild