Portfolio-Style Fabric Box

So, did I mention that I really like my tangram puzzle? A lot. But I knew as soon as I finished the project I would need some way to store the whole thing. Because a neat little stackdoesn’t stay neat very long.
I thought I would do a bag at first, like what I used in my chess set, but my sister suggested a box, and after thinking about it, I decided to go with it.

When it came to the design of the box, I wanted to do something a little different. I knew it had to be a fabric box (unsmashable) since my girls would be using it, but I wanted it to have some sort of lid, too. As is often the case, I thought back to my college studies for some ideas (I picked up a lot of DIY skills during my art major). I decided to use an overlapping flap closure from the portfolios I used to make for my printmaking class.

I originally thought a tie closure would be nice, but in the end I decided to go with buttons, because I love hand-sewn buttonholes. Don’t you?

Would you like to make your own fabric box with flap closures (in case you’ve already made up a set of tangram pieces you need to store, or you have something else you want to store with style)? It’s pretty much the same process as making a regular fabric box like the cute ones here and the ones I made here, but the flaps are added in as you are sewing the box up.

  1. Cut out the pieces of your fabric basket. The sizes of each piece will depend on the dimensions of what you’re putting in the box, but you will need to have four side pieces and a bottom piece in the outside fabric, four side pieces and a bottom piece in the inside fabric, and eight pieces for the flaps.
  2. Now you’re going to be sewing your box together. Start by sewing the side pieces to the bottom piece for both the inside and outside parts of the box. You’ll end up with something that looks like a “+” sign.
  3. Then sew up the sides of the box.
  4. For each flap, put your two pieces of fabric right sides together, and sew the flaps on three sides. Clip the corners, and then turn them right sides out. (If you want, you can do some fun little label, stamp, embroidery, or other embellishment on your flaps to identify the contents.)
    (I also did rounded corners, just for fun.)
  5. Clip the corners of your box outside and inside.
  6. To assemble the box, start with the outside box part wrong side out, and then lay the flaps in the box, arranging them face down and pin them in place.
    Then place the inside box piece (right side out) in the outside box piece, so the right sides are facing each other, with the flaps sandwiched between the two.
  7. Sew all the way around the top edge, leaving an approximately 5-inch opening for turning out.
  8. Turn the box out with the flaps.
  9. Top stitch around the top edge of the box to seal the opening.
    This is a little tricky with the flaps, but if I can do it, I think you can too.
  10. The closure method is really up to you.
    I put the buttons on the inside flaps, and put the buttonholes through the two top flaps, but you could put the buttons on the top and the loops on the side of the box. Or sew ribbon into the flaps to tie at the side. Be creative. If you are going to do machine-stitched buttonholes, you should probably sew those on the flaps before you sew the box together.

You’re done. Congratulations. You now have a cute little box for storing your tangrams, or anything else, really. I thought these boxes might be nice for storing photographs, collectible items, memorabilia, felt food, or other handmade toys, or as extra-special gift wrapping for a special gift.

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