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Tutorial: making reusable tissue boxes

Now that you have made your reusable tissues, you would certainly like to know how to make them into beautiful dispenser boxes, similar to the disposable cardboard boxes of paper tissues.

I made 2 formats of boxes for our personal use: a standard format, which is perfect for leaving everywhere in the house, and even in the car; and another pocket, which will be used in a school bag, a satchel or in your pockets. The first type can contain up to thirty tissues, and the second about 5.

In both cases, you can fold the handkerchiefs so that they follow each other when you take one, as with paper handkerchiefs. Folding instructions are at the end of the article.

First step: choose the fabric

For the box to stand well, it is preferable to have a rather rigid fabric, of good thickness:

  • Cotton twill or cotton-polyester
  • Canvas for curtain or cushions
  • Jeans

You can match the fabrics according to your tastes and decor.

Second step: cut the fabrics

You can use just one fabric for the whole box, or use contrasting stripes for the opening. I favored the second option for ours, but the confection is similar in both cases. The diagram below shows you the pieces of fabric to cut and the dimensions, depending on the model you have chosen to make. They are all rectangles, to be cut along the straight grain of the fabric.

Third step: assembly

Fold the contrast strips in half and iron. (One piece pattern: fold over 1½” each side and iron.)
Sew the contrast pieces in place. Overlock is preferred, but straight seam and zigzag can be used as substitutes. (One-piece model: sew the 2 folds in place)
Iron the seams flat.
Align the 2 contrast stripes or folds one over the other.
Sew the ends of the 1¼” opening for the standard model, or ¾” for the pocket model. BE CAREFUL to sew only the openings!
Flip and center the opening.
Make an inward fold of ¾” for the standard model, or ¼” for the pocket model at the 4 corners.
Sew the 2 ends with an overlock, or with a straight seam followed by a zigzag.
Turn over and place the corners.

Folding the tissues in the box

Basically, we place the handkerchiefs alternately, offset by half, and we fold one over the other. It will be easier to understand in pictures.

First handkerchief in the pile
Second handkerchief placed on the right, halfway to the first.
Fold the first handkerchief over the second.
Place the 3rd handkerchief to the left of the pile.
Fold the 2nd handkerchief over the 3rd.
The next handkerchief is placed on the right of the pile, then the left handkerchief is folded over it.

…And so on until the desired number of tissues in your box. For pocket size boxes, the handkerchiefs are first folded in 2. Then, we make our stack by folding each handkerchief in 3, always alternating left and right. We therefore make 2 folds, we place the 2nd handkerchief which we fold 2 times, we fold the last third of the first over the 2nd, and so on.

We finish by placing our tissues in the box like this:

Slip the tissues into the box.
Take out the first handkerchief.

Enjoy your beautiful new boxes of tissues!

If you would like to have your boxes made by Taille & Retailles, rather than making them yourself, contact me privately for the cost and the choices of fabrics available.

Other articles on the subject:
Tutorial: Reusable Handkerchiefs Made from Recycled Fabric - Part 1 of 2: Jersey (Knit) Fabric
Tutorial: Reusable Tissues Made from Recycled Fabric - Part 2 of 2: Woven Fabric

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Tutorial: Reusable Tissues Made from Recycled Fabric - Part 2 of 2: Woven Fabric

Today, I'm showing you how to make your handkerchiefs from upcycled woven fabric. This way requires a little more sewing skill, and the use of a sewing machine. This will involve cutting squares of fabric from worn-out clothes or old sheets, then sewing them on all 4 sides to prevent them from fraying.

Woven fabric: how to recognize it?

  • It is not expandable.
  • When you look at it closely, you see threads in the horizontal direction, and others in the vertical direction. The wires cross at right angles.
  • It is easy to tear in a straight line from a notch parallel to the direction of the threads.

Example of items made from woven fabric:

  • Sheets
  • Shirts
  • Some pants and skirts
  • Drapes
  • flannel pajamas

Tips for choosing your equipment:

Among your used clothes or sheets, prefer a rather thin fabric, because some thicker fabrics are less easily manipulated to blow your nose or clean the inside of the nostril. For example, a thinner summer shirt will be better than a winter shirt in a thick, stiff fabric.

Think sweet! Feel free to rub the fabric over your nose to choose one that will be soft and thin enough for your little cold nose. The good news of the day: the more the fabric is worn, the softer it will be, in most cases! 🙂 Similarly, natural fibers will be softer and more absorbent than synthetic fibers.

Eventually, the more large and square pieces you choose, the more tissues you will get from the same piece of fabric, with minimal waste. For example, it will be more efficient to recover a flat sheet than a fitted sheet, or an XL shirt than a children's shirt...

The making:

1. Begin by cutting approximately 9” by 9” (23cm x 23cm) squares from your fabric. To prevent the handkerchiefs from twisting after washing, cut a notch at the desired location and then tear the fabric along the thread. The resulting cut will be straight. You will also see that it is much faster than cutting with a scissor or even a rotary cutter!

2. If you have a right stopper foot, use it, it will make your life easier to sew consistently on the edge of your handkerchief. If you don't have one, use the regular foot. You'll just have to be more mindful of the position of your fabric.

3. Fold the edge of one side of the handkerchief about ¼” (5mm) 2 times. Stitch the needle in place. Hold the folded edge while sewing.
If you have a pick (top right of next image), you can use it to hold the fold close to the needle to pick.
If you are a beginner, prick your fold with needles. It will take longer, but you will have an easier time maintaining the fold.

4. Sew the folded edge in place. Align the needle to be on the inside edge of the fold, not too close to the outside edge. Backstitch at the end of the seam.

5. Proceed in the same way with each of the 4 edges, remembering to make a stop point at the end of the first 3 sides, and at the 2 ends of the last side.

6. Cut the excess thread ends.

Enjoy your brand new washable tissues!!

If you need help, or would rather have it made from your used fabrics, please contact me in private for my schedules and rates.

Other articles on the subject:

Tutorial: Reusable Handkerchiefs Made from Recycled Fabric - Part 1 of 2: Jersey (Knit) Fabric
Tutorial: make reusable tissue boxes

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Tutorial: Reusable Handkerchiefs Made from Recycled Fabric – Part 1 of 2: Jersey (Knit) Fabric

Today, I'm starting with the easiest of the 2 types of fabrics to make reusable tissues, without spending a penny or using any new resources. You can use clothes that are stained or worn in places to cut your handkerchiefs into. You only need sharp scissors and a ruler to make them!

Jersey knit fabric: how to recognize it?

  • It is expandable
  • When you look at it closely, you can see the knitting pattern (see image opposite).
  • When cut, it does not unravel (apart from a few exceptions)
  • Cut edges will tend to roll

Examples of items made from jersey knit:

  • Most stretch sweaters, polo shirts and t-shirts
  • The leggings
  • Some dresses, especially for children

Choosing your fabric :

Among your used clothes, prefer a rather thin fabric, because some thicker fabrics are less easily manipulated to blow your nose or clean the inside of the nostril.

Likewise, feel free to rub your nose on it to test the softness. Think about the last time you had a cold and how your sensitive nose didn't want anything rough to touch it... Today's good news: the more worn the fabric, the softer it will be, in most cases! 🙂

The making :

Cut approximately 8” by 8” (20cm by 20cm) squares from your fabric, avoiding seams and other double layers.

You can use a tissue paper as a cutting template

TADAAAA!
That's it!!
Beautiful reusable tissues in one easy step, reminding you of your favorite clothes!

The only disadvantage of this type of handkerchief is their tendency to roll at the edges. But honestly, it's not that terrible. These are definitely my favorite handkerchiefs. I admit I eliminated the others with sewn edges.

If you have what it takes to machine sew, follow the next tutorial, which will talk about making your handkerchiefs in woven fabric.

Handkerchiefs made from old leggings

Other articles on the subject:

Tutorial: Reusable Tissues Made from Recycled Fabric - Part 2 of 2: Woven Fabric
Tutorial: making reusable tissue boxes