Laundry Cart to Fabric Storage Cabana

I wanted to create a fabric storage cabana. I needed a way to store folds of fabric along with bolts in my sewing room. I imagined a pool towel cabana like this but for fabric:

I was shocked to see the $1,300 price tag. I decided to build my own fabric cabana with a laundry hamper base. I found this Household Essentials Laundry Center 7024 on eBay for $80. I wanted a curved top so this model was perfect.

Materials needed for fabric cabana:

Once I got the cart assembled, I started my plan to cover the cart. I envisioned it in three pieces. A canopy top around the curved top section, curtains held back with a tie to hide fabric, and hanging shelves to hold fabric. I’ve never attempted a project quite like this before and didn’t have a pattern, so it was lots of trial and error.

Cart assembled! You can see why I need dowel rods to hold up the canopy across the top curve.

I measured the top and cut out a lining first. Once I had the general shape for the front, I sewed channels of bias tape every few inches being sure to leave the center of the bias strips unsewn so I could insert dowel rods.

I used 1/2 inch double fold bias table on a roll from Amazon.
I opened out the 1/2 inch bias tape to create 1 inch channels. I sewed near the edge of each tape. I ended up with 11 channels.
I used dowel rods from Ace Hardware (size 5/16 x48)
Channels sewn and ready to insert the dowel rods.
Dowel rods inserted and trimmed 1/2 inch from the edge. It’s not shown in the this photo, but I ended the fabric about 1 inch from the edge of the metal on each side.

Once the lining channels were finished and cut to size, I cut out the main exterior canopy fabric using the lining as a guide. I also added scalloping around the hem. I used a plate to draw my scallop pattern with chalk.

Proof of concept before I attach the exterior fabric to the lining and create the scallop hem. I leave the right and left sides open for turning.
The chalk shows my sewing line as I sew the lining and exterior right sides together.
After I sew along the chalk line, I use pinking shears to clip my seams and notch the curves to create smooth curves when turned. This is the view from the lining side
View from the exterior side of the fabric once scallop is sewn and excess is trimmed away with pinking shears.
Turn the fabric right sides out via one of the open sides and press the scallop very well. After this picture, I trimmed the right/left side to about 1inch past the metal pole.
This piece was an imperfect science. I held up some scrap fabric and used chalk to mark this curve. Once I was happy with the pattern, I cut 2 pieces for each side, lining and exterior. I sewed the bottom sections together for a hem before attaching to the scalloped canopy. It helps to remove the dowel rods when sewing the first side. Once one side is sewn, add the dowels before sewing the other side section. This seals in the dowel rods. Flip seams to the inside and give a final press avoiding the rods if possible.

On to the curtains! The curtains around each corner were the easiest part of the fabric cabana! They are just 4 rectangles with all 4 sides hemmed. I made sure that they overlapped a tiny bit when closed. I used these clips from Ikea but I found similar ones on Amazon.

Clips to hold the 4 curtains under the canopy. These aren’t seen but makes it easy to “close”.

Add some ribbon to the corners to hold the curtains back. For the shelves, they were hanging closet shelves from Amazon. Two of these worked perfectly and hangs with velcro from one of the top bars. As a side note, I wasn’t happy that the canvas hamper bins were off-white and looked dingey, so I washed them with about a half-gallon of bleach and now they look sparkling white!

Tie back ribbons and shelves added.
Fabric cabana is done!! I adore the bins to hold bolts of interfacing.

If you attempt this fabric cabana project or a similar project, let me know at Home and Geek on Facebook! Covering a giant cart was a first for me and I’m happy to offer help and guidance.

Be sure to check out my other sewing room projects.