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Quilted China Keepers

Kbrane | Posted in General Sewing Info on

Hi Everyone,

I helped host a tea at work yesterday and had to bring some of my china from home. I got to thinking about how my china is stored (my teapot was VERY dirty and gross) since it’s all in the original boxes when we got it (6 years ago). I’ve seen the quilted China keepers in places like Bed Bath and Beyond and would love some, but I’m notorious for being cheap to a fault (but I don’t have any money anyway so maybe it’s ok?) and am wondering how I could make them with my stash and my quilt batting leftovers.

I was planning to make the plate covers with some flannel rounds between each plate and a zipper at the top (to zip open the “lid”)which is how my mom’s set is. The part I’m having trouble visualizing is the cup box (and therefore the teapot box, cream and sugar box, etc). I’d like to have one box with little compartments for each cup and I’d like to have the compartments made out of (in order) fabric/batting/cardboard/batting/fabric so each cup has stability and cushion. Does that make sense? Foam would work too, but I’d have to buy that (see how cheap I am? 🙂
So my question is: How does a person sew a box like this? How do you sew a bunch of little inside corners? and contain the cardboard? Which part do you leave open to insert the cardboard?

It’s very complicated to my brain, but I’ve seen it done, so I know someone somewhere has done it. Any help you can give would be great!
Can someone explain this to me!?

Thanks so much!


  1. gailete | | #1

    Take a notebook to Bed Bath and Beyond and write down the measurements, etc. and examine closely for construction techniques. I would also look at instructions for baby blocks or square Christmas ornaments for how to make a square. Even if each was made individually then put into a rectangle bigger box, wouldn't that serve your purpose? The only thing close I have to what you are wanting is my hubby crocheted several circles out of leftover yarn so I can put them in between my Teflon skillets so they aren't getting scratched up in the cupboard.

    1. Kbrane | | #3

      Gail and Sue,Thanks so much for taking the time to reply! I'm glad to have gotten you thinking ;)
      I'll definitely have to look into fabric bowls and boxes, as long as they're not the "use a bowl as a mold and use stiffener to make the fabric work" kind.Yes Gail, if they were made individually and put into a larger box, that would work just fine. I'm also thinking about having the larger box as a separate piece and having the cup holder inserts as 4 (or 6 or whatever) covered rectangles with slits cut in them to make them fit together. Does that make sense? Then the insert could fold flat if needed. But what I'd really like is to have it make that way, but all one piece so it could pop up and pop down when you pull the corners.
      Gosh, I need visual aids! I'm afraid I'm not being very clear. I'm thinking of the old fashioned wine bottle boxes that my grandpa used to have.Thanks again for your help! I'll take any more that I can get.
      PS: Congrats on having a hubby who crochets!

      1. gailete | | #4

        I understand what you mean about the inserts folding flat or popping up. It is how they used to sell 6 packs of pop in the days of glass bottles, I think is what you are seeing in your head. You could use plastic canvas as the stiffener, cut to shape with slits hafl way down the the opposing piece with slits half way up. I think plastic canvas is pretty cheap or you could do it with cardboard too and then put the fabric around the stiff piece. I could coach you through the whole thing is you were here! Makes enormous sense to me!

  2. stillsuesew | | #2

    I made some plate holders for our RV. I simply stacked heavy, soft fabrics between the plates and pinned around them and then removed the plated and serged the layers together leaving a big enough opening. I'm wondering if one of those fabric bowl and box books might have something to help you. I can envision making one - perhaps sewing individual ones together. Mmmmm - now you've got me thinking...

  3. stillsuesew | | #5

    I didn't sleep well last night and I kept trying to figure this out. I think I would make individual boxes like this - let's say you are making a 4 x 4 x 4 box. I would cut 10 squares of fabric that size plus seam allowance all the way around and five squares of batting (or use quilted fabric and skip the batting.) Cut one piece of cardboard about 3 and 3/4. Assemble your layers the way you described but skip the cardboard in four of them. The one with the cardboard will be the bottom. Attach one sandwich to each side of the bottom with the seams on the outside. Then sew the side seams with the seams on the outside of the box. This should make a small box. If you made two boxes you can sew them together along the top edge, insides of the boxes facing so that the seam is hidden and the one top edge is finished. If you sewed a row of boxes together and then another row together I think you could sew those rows together kind of like sewing rows of patchwork. Once you get as many little boxes sewn together as you want you could cover the outside with a facing strip all around the edge. And even cover the bottom (and add a second large piece of stabilizing cardboard?) inside the bottom. If you end up with raw edges showing on the bottom you could cover that with a binding. I think if you try to put cardboard into each side piece it will eventually get in the way of sewing several together. I may have to try this just to see if it actually works! I hope this makes sense (and your china keepers were not what was keeping me awake.) SueOk I did try this. I would add - don't put the cardboard in the bottom until you are sewing the last side piece on. And when you sew the side pieces on and sew the side seams, leave the first and last 1/2" of each seam unsewn. I have a cute little box.

    Edited 10/8/2009 1:44 pm ET by stillsuesew

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