I measured the space of the cubby holes in my expedit bookcase and the leksvik coffee table and decided to make the bins just smaller than the space just to make sure the bins actually fit the space when I was done with them. I cut each bin out like a plus sign in the outer fabric and the inner lining. I ironed craft fuse on the outer fabric to help it hold it's shape.
Above is a picture of the outer fabric laid out. I'd already sewn the handles on for this one.
After finishing a couple, I realized that the craft fuse wasn't strong enough to hold the bottom of the bins flat when there are toys in it. So, I brainstormed for a couple of weeks. I was showing a good friend my progress in my loft one day and mentioned my problem and a possible solution I'd come up with and she suggested velcro (thanks Cassie!). What a genius!
To make the bottom sturdy enough to hold toys, I went to HD and had them cut some backer board to the size of my bins' bottoms. I then made a pocket with velcro attached (pictured below) the size of the bottom of each of my bins and sewed velcro into the bottom of the bins. Once I slid the backer board in the pocket and inserted them in the bins, the bottoms are completely sturdy! My boys have an easier time getting the bins back on the shelves because the bottoms are just the right size. With the pockets velcroed to the bottom of the bins, I don't have to worry about my boys pulling the bottoms out and using them as toys/weapons, so that's nice too!
Above is the backer board slid into one of the pockets I made.Please ignore the wild pile of books. I came up with a great solution to that and the books don't look like that anymore.
And here they are in their new homes! Our loft/toy room stays so picked up and much cleaner now that all the toys are in bins. With each bin filled, I still have a couple completely empty too, so there's room to grow.
I had to give myself some motivation to finish the bins. My friend, Morgan was going shopping one night and invited me to come along. I decided that if I finished the bins before we left, I could buy some new picture frames so I can finally hang up all our family pictures. It worked! I sewed all day long and finished just in time to go shopping! Once I get the frames how I like them, I'll show you that too.
I also rearranged our loft (again) when I finished the bins. When I suggested moving things around again in the loft, my husband thought I was nuts and didn't want to help. Once I got started though, he took pity on me and helped. Our loft looks much better in the new arrangement and it opened up a lot of space for everything in the loft.
I have a couple more projects (it never ends...) to finish up in the loft and then I'll show the whole room off. I can hardly wait to see it all done!
Here's some tips and tricks and what I'd do differently if I'm ever crazy enough to do this again. First, I would have bought/used fusible fleece instead of craft fuse. It's much thicker, so it would hold the shape of the bins even better. I would also buy less fabric (I way over bought and still have almost 5 yards of the liner left. I ended up using most of my extra outer fabric for the pockets on the bins' bottoms).
Second, with the first half of the bins I made, I did each one individually. It took forever! I still had 7 1/2 bins to finish the day I went shopping, so I did those assembly line (do the same step to all of them before moving to the next step) and it saved TONS of time.
So, here's what I did. I ironed the craft fuse to the sides and bottom of each bin (with the backer board, I would skip ironing it to the bottom) and then sewed up the sides. I didn't add craft fuse to the liner, so I just sewed up the sides of those. Next, I inserted the liner into the outer fabric and pinned it around the top edge. I basted the two layers together. I made some bias tape from the lining fabric with my bias tape maker and sewed that around the top edge to give it a finished look. It was easiest to wait until this point to sew the handles on. I added a handle to both sides, partly because both the bookcase and the coffee table are open on both sides and also to help with getting the bins on the shelves. After adding the handles (which I sewed on with a big "X" in a square) I added the velcro in the bottom and slid my finished pocket in on top. The velcro doesn't line up exactly, but I used 2 inch wide velcro ('cause I bought a ton years ago for a project I never did) so it lines up enough to stick. I eyeballed the location for each of the handles, but measured for the velcro. The best thing about this project is that it actually turned out like I had pictured in my head!