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Extra-Large Wash & Dry Clean Laundry Bins

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These jumbo fabric baskets are so big and beautiful, they'll make sorting laundry fun! Well... if not actually fun, at least functional. And, they look great doing their job. Sparkling iron-on letters down one side let you know which items should go into the wash and which are headed to the dry cleaner. We used a combination of three striking Waverly fabrics for our two bins. 

Although heavier than traditional fashion-weight fabrics, the 100% cotton, décor weight fabrics are still soft and easy to work with. Ultra-firm fusible stabilizer allows them to stand up on their own in your closet or laundry room yet still be flexible enough to hold plenty and tote easily. It also means you can practice your mad basketball skills, shooting in socks from across the room without knocking them over!

As mentioned above, bold iron-on letters indicate what goes where and add some fun sparkle. Who says laundry can't be a little glamorous?!

Because of their large size and the rigid interfacing, these bins are meant to be spot cleaned rather than tossed in the washer and dryer. We show you how to attach the interfacing as individual panels, which makes it easier to maneuver in the machine and allows a sharper corner to the box shape without the extra hassle of inset side panels. 

Waverly fabrics are available at fine in-store and online retailers everywhere. Our links below will take you to the fabric we found from Jo-Ann Fabric Stores.

Each bin finishes at approximately 20" high x 20" wide x 10" deep with 7" handle drops.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

Supplies shown are for ONE bin. 

  • 1¾ yards of medium to heavy-weight 44"+ décor fabric for the exterior; we used 54" 100% cotton home décor fabric by Waverly in the following patterns:
    Stripe for "Dry Clean" Bin: General Store in Crimson by Waverly  
    Plaid for "Wash" Bin: Pantry Plaid in Crimson by Waverly
    NOTE: The yardage above allows a bit extra to fussy cut the pieces in order to match the plaid and stripe. 
  • ½ yard of 44"+ medium-weight décor fabric for the binding; we used 54" 100% cotton home décor fabric by Waverly in Country Fair Crimson
  • 1½ yards of 44"+ medium weight muslin or ticking for the lining and side label; we used a basic 45" wide 100% cotton ticking in natural, purchased locally
  • 2 yards of 20"+ heavy-weight fusible interfacing; we used Pellon Peltex Ultra Firm One-Sided Fusible
  • 3¼ yards of 1½" wide, soft cotton webbing or similar for the strap construction; we used cotton webbing in natural
  • ONE package of 1" - 1½" iron-on letters; we used Dritz 1¼" Soft Flex Iron-On Letters in Cooper Metallic Gold
  • All purpose thread to match fabric
  • Heavy weight thread to match webbing and binding; this is optional, you can use a regular weight thread – the heavier thread is simply a nicer look for the large size of the bin
  • See-through ruler
  • Measuring tape
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Pressing cloth
  • Straight pins
  • Hand sewing needle

Getting Started

  1. From the exterior fabric, carefully fussy cut the following -- if using our same fabric, cut to match the stripe/plaid on both main panels as well as the base as shown in the drawing and photo below:
    TWO 31" wide x 21" high rectangles for the main panels
    ONE 21" wide x 11" high rectangle for the base

  2. From the binding fabric, cut TWO 3½" x 31" strips.
  3. From the lining/label fabric, cut the following:
    TWO 31" x 21" rectangles for the main panels
    ONE 21" x 11" rectangle for the base
    ONE approximate 7" x 20" rectangle for the side label (our sample label finishes at 3½" x 15½"; your label may vary based on what is says and the size of the iron-on letters you select)
  4. From the heavy-weight interfacing, cut the following:
    TWO 20" x 20½" rectangles
    FOUR 5" x 20½" rectangles
    ONE 20" x 10" rectangle
  5. Cut the webbing into TWO 58" lengths.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Side label

  1. Find the lining fabric piece that will become the side label.  Draw a vertical line on which to align the base of each letter so it reads top to bottom, like the spine of a book. 
    NOTE: You are working on the right side of the fabric, so make sure the fabric pen or pencil you choose is one that will easily wipe or wash away or that will vanish with exposure to the air. 
  2. Pick your own wording or use ours. If you'd like to match our exact wording, using the suggested Dritz Iron-On letters specified above, you can download our Letter Spacing Template.
  3. Following manufacturer's instructions, adhere the letters in place. We used one piece on which to fuse both phrases.
  4. When in place, measure and trim to the final label cut size. As mentioned above, our panel finished at 3½" x 15½", so we cut our piece to 4½" x 16½" to allow a ½" hem all around. 

    NOTE: If your lettering differs, your label size may differ. Just remember the side of the bin finishes at 20" high, and it will look best with approximately 2" of main fabric showing above and below the label and approximately 3" to either side. Center your wording within the panel. 
  5. Create a ½" single-turn hem along each side with a neat diagonal fold at each corner. To do this, fold in the raw edge ½" all around.
  6. At each corner, open out the hem and fold in on the diagonal...
  7. ... creating a pretty point. If you are new to this technique, check out our full hemming tutorial. This tutorial shows a double turn hem; the hem here is simply a modification using a single turn. 
  8. Pin the hem in place and set the labels aside.

First side seam with interfacing

  1. Find the main exterior panels and two of the 5" x 20½" interfacing panels. 
  2. Place one exterior panel wrong side up on your work surface. Place one interfacing panel along one side edge. It should be positioned so the top of the interfacing is flush with the top raw edge of the fabric, the outer side edge of the interfacing is ½" in from the raw side edge of the fabric and the bottom edge of the interfacing is ½" up from the bottom raw edge of the panel. 
  3. Following manufacturer's instructions and using a pressing cloth, fuse the interfacing panel in place. Be patient, the heavier-weight fusibles take a bit of pressure and time to adhere properly. 
  4. Repeat to fuse the second interfacing panel in place on the remaining main panel. It should be a exact match to the position of the first panel. 
  5. Place the two main panels right sides together. Pin in place along the interfaced edges. 
  6. Attach a Walking or Even Feed foot if possible or engage your built-in system.
  7. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch the panels together. Since you did such a wonderfully precise job of positioning the interfacing, you should be stitching right along but not on the interfacing. This is important as you want to keep the heavy interfacing out of the seam. 
  8. Press the seam allowance open from both sides. 

Attach the side label

  1. Place the seamed exterior panels right side up and flat on your work surface. 
  2. Place a hemmed and pinned label over the side seam. The label should be centered side to side and approximately 2" down from the top raw edge of the fabric. 
  3. As mentioned above, your label size may vary, which means the position from the top edge may vary. Simply remember to center over the side seam and center top to bottom for the best look. 
  4. Re-thread the machine with the heavy-weight thread to match the lining/label fabric in the top and bobbin. Lengthen the stitch. 
  5. Still using a Walking or Even Feed foot if possible, edgestitch the label in place around all four sides. Press well, using a pressing cloth to protect the letters.

Fuse the center and opposite side panels and attach the handles

  1. Find the two 20" x 20½" interfacing panels, the two remaining 5" x 20½" interfacing panels, and the two 58" lengths of webbing. 
  2. Place the main exterior panel wrong side up on your work surface. Place one interfacing panel to the left of the already-interfaced side panel. The large panel should butt up against the side interfacing panel and the bottom edge of the large panel should be in line with the bottom edge of the side interfacing panel – so it is ½" up from the bottom raw edge of the fabric. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse the large panel in place. 
  3. Repeat to place a 5" x 20½" interfacing panel next to the larger panel. As above, this side panel should butt up against the center interfacig panel its bottom edge should be ½" up from the bottom raw edge of the fabric – in line with the other panels. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse this second side panel in place.
  4. Repeat to place the remaining two interfacing panels to the right of the already-fused side panel in the same positions. 
    NOTE: Fusing these interfacing panels in place in sections not only makes them easier to handle, it also creates a slight crack along the exact corner, allowing the bin to more easily form its final rectangle shape. 
  5. When the interfacing panels are securely in place (remember, take the extra time and use some extra pressure plus a pressing cloth to get these large, heavy-weight panels to adhere), flip the main exterior panel to the right side. Lay it flat on your work surface.
  6. Measure 15" to the right from the sewn side seam. Place a pin at this point - it is the center of the panel front. From this center point, measure 3" to the left and 3" to the right, placing a pin at each point. 
  7. Place one length of webbing into position, using these pin marks as your guide. The inner edges of the webbing should align with the outer pin marks. The bottom raw ends of the webbing should extend beyond the bottom raw edge of the fabric about ½". This allows for a bit of extra stability within the base seam. Pin the webbing in place, making sure it stays straight.
  8. At the top, the handle loop should extend beyond the top raw edge of the fabric about 7".
  9. Measure 2" down from the top raw edge of the fabric and place a horizontal pin across each side of the webbing. Measure 2" down from these first points and place another horizontal pin on each side. These mark the top and bottom of the "X-Box" that will secure the webbing at the top stress points. 
  10. Re-thread the machine with the heavy-weight thread to match the webbing in the top and bobbin. Lengthen the stitch. 
  11. Using a Walking or Even Feed foot if possible, edgestitch the webbing in place. Stitch up one side...
  12. ... stop at the first horizontal pin point and stitch a 2" "X box", then edgestitch down the opposite side. 
  13. Repeat on the other side of the webbing. Then, repeat the whole shootin' match to attach the remaining length of webbing to the left side of the main exterior panel. 
    NOTE: If you are new to stitching an "X-box," check out our full tutorial on the subject
  14. Pin the remaining side edges right sides together.
  15. If necessary, re-thread the machine with thread to best match the fabric in the top and bobbin. Re-set to a standard stitch length.
  16. As above, stitch together, with a Walking or Even Feed foot if possible, running the ½" seam allowance along the edge of, but not on, the interfacing.
  17. You have now formed a loop with the exterior panels. With the slight crack between the panels at the corners, the loop should already be fairly easy to bend into what will be its finished rectangle box shape.

Creating and inserting the base

  1. Find the 21" x 11" base panel and the 20" x 10" interfacing panel. Center the interfacing on the wrong side of the fabric panel so there is ½" of fabric extending beyond the interfacing all around. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse the interfacing in place. 
  2. Measure to find the center point of each 11" side. Place a marking pin at this 5½" point on each side. 
  3. Find the main exterior loop. Turn it wrong side out.
  4. Insert the bottom panel into the loop, aligning the right sides of the bottom of the loop with the right sides of the base panel. It's like setting a lid upside down into a box. Because of how you positioned the interfacing, you are matching fabric to fabric; the interfacing should be out of the way by ½".
  5. First match the side pin points on the base panel to the side seams of the exterior loop. 
  6. Then continue to pin in place just the short distance until you are ½" away from the first corner. Flip to the exterior side of the pinned seam allowance and clip into the corner. You are clipping into the corner at a diagonal at a depth of about ¼" - ⅜". This "breaks up" the loop into four sections so you can stitch each side of the bin independently.
  7. Turn to continue pinning along the wide main panel side, adjusting and easing as necessary and using plenty of pins. Repeat, stopping at the ½" point and clipping at each corner.
  8. Using a ½" seam allowance, sew the base panel to the body of the bin. 
  9. Start and stop at each corner. Yes, we mean remove the bin and re-set for each side, rather than simply pivoting. This allows you more control to insure each side is flat and the layers are not shifting. 
  10. When complete, the base will sit into the bin evenly and square. 

Lining

  1. If necessary, re-thread the machine with thread to best match the lining fabric in the top and bobbin. 
  2. Pin the two main lining panels right sides together. Stitch along both sides, using a ½" seam allowance. This creates a loop.
  3. Following the same steps as above for the exterior, insert the base panel. Clip each corner as above.
  4. And stitch into each corner, also as above, stopping at that ½" point to remove and re-set. 
  5. Find the exterior bag. Turn it right side out. Turn the lining wrong side out and slip it inside the exterior so the two layers are now wrong sides together. Align the side seams and the base panels. 

Top binding

  1. Find the two 3½" x 31" binding strips. Place them right sides together, aligning them along one 3½" end. Pin in place. 
  2. If necessary, re-thread the machine with thread to best match the binding fabric in the top and bobbin. 
  3. Stitch together, using a ½" seam allowance. Press the seam allowance open. 
  4. Press the long, seamed strip in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, to set a center crease.
  5. Press in each raw edge ½".
  6. Re-fold along the original center crease so the folded edges align.
  7. Unfold the remaining raw ends just a few inches in order to match up the full 3½" width. Pin right sides together. 
  8. Stitch the ends together, using a ½" seam allowance. Press the seam allowance open, then re-fold back into the original binding shape.
  9. Find the main bin, which should have the lining inside. Slip the binding over the top raw edges all around. Line up the binding seams with the side seams of the bin. The center crease of the binding should sit right against the top raw edges of the bin. Pin in place, placing the pins through just the front of the binding.
  10. Unfold the back of the binding so it sits up and away from the top of the bag. Edgestitch the front of the binding in place all around. 
  11. Fold the back of the binding back down into position against the lining and hand stitch in place all around. 

Contributors

Project Concept: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild

Section: 

Comments (5)

cathryn said:
cathryn's picture

These are great! I can see using them for a vairety of purposes. Please could you advise how you would wash these?

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ cathryn - as we mentioned above in the intro, "Because of their large size and the rigid interfacing, these bins are meant to be spot cleaned rather than tossed in the washer and dryer."

Theresa M. said:
Theresa M.'s picture

Great project! Since I purposefully avoid buying dry clean only clothing, I'm thinking my labels would be along the lines of "Lights" and "Darks" so the laundry would, hopefully, (teenagers, ya know!) already be somewhat sorted when it got to be wash day. 

Yvonne said:
Yvonne 's picture

I would also just have light and dark or just make one with wash. Great idea as I have a narrow space and that would work and fit. thanks

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Theresa and Yvonne - you can spell out anything you want - they could even be personalized with names for little laundry-generators or to take to a dorm room to keep someone's wash separated from a roommate's.

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