March 10, 2009

Tutorial Tuesday: A Kiddo's Pocket Organizer

This weekend I crossed several things off of my "to do, but to procrastinate because it's not terribly exciting" list, and I even managed to snap photos for a few tutorials and/or patterns that will be popping up here bit by bit.

Here's how you can make a little pocket hanger for a toddler bed* using two fat quarters, some batting, and thread.

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*Please note: You should always follow the current safety standards for items used with children. This is not intended for infants or children who are too young/small to use this safely (read: avoid entanglement, suffocation, strangulation, etc.). Use wisely and at your own risk.

You'll need:

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  • 2 fat quarters. I like to use contrasting or coordinating fabric.
  • Thin quilt batting.
  • Coordinating thread.
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat.
  • Ruler.
  • Iron.
  • Sewing machine.
Step 1. Cut your first fat quarter (FABRIC A) into two rectangles measuring approximately 17.5" x 10". I was able to achieve this by simply folding the fabric in half width-wise and cutting. (Afterward I did a little measuring and trimming to make the rectangles match each other more precisely.)

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From your second fat quarter (FABRIC B), cut a piece that is approximately 17.5" x 13.5".

Cut a piece of batting that is slightly smaller than the two 17.5" x 10" rectangles.

Set all of these pieces aside.

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Step 2. With the remaining fabric from FABRIC B, cut eight strips that measure approximately 1.5" x 8.75". (If you want to skip this and the following few steps, you can substitute lengths of ribbon instead. Just finish off one end of each ribbon strip and you're ready to go.)

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Fold each strip in half lengthwise with right sides together. If it's helpful to you, use your iron to press them in place. Sew one short end and the open long end of each strip using a 1/4" seam allowance.

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Turn each strip right-side-out. (I found a knitting needle to be helpful in doing this.) Use the iron to press out any wrinkles gained from the turning. Top stitch around both long sides and the closed short side of each strip. (You can stitch the open end, but it will be hidden eventually anyway.)

Kids' Organizer (7)(Please pardon the wobbly stitching. I was not particularly fastidious with this project.)

Step 3. Take the rectangle cut from FABRIC B and fold it in half lengthwise with wrong sides together so you have a double thickness. Use your iron to press the fold for a nice, clean edge. Top stitch along the folded edge for a finished look.

Step 4. Now's the tricky part. It's not hard, just requires that you be sure everything stays in place. You're going to layer all of your pieces into a nice sandwich for sewing.

First lay down your batting. Then lay down one of the 17.5" x 10" rectangles (FABRIC A) right-side-up. Next position your pocket fabric (FABRIC B), also right side up, lining up the ends with the ends of the other layers and the bottom with the bottoms of the other layers. All of these rough edges should be caught in the same seam once you start sewing. You should see a few inches of FABRIC A above the folded edges of FABRIC B. At this point you may want to place a few pins to keep your layers from slipping as you work with them.

Kids' Organizer (9)(A rather lame attempt at photographing the "sandwich.)

To add the ties, use two strips for each corner. Place them side by side (if you place them directly on top of each other you're adding layers to sew through), lining the raw, open edge up with the edges of all the other layers. The strips should be lying on top of the other layers and pointed in toward the middle of the piece, not extended out from it, so that they are in the right place once you're done sewing. Also, learn from my mistake: It is best to position the ties close to the outside edges of the piece. Otherwise when you add cups and books, the piece will sag and pull in.

Baste the strips into place. (You don't have to do this, but it will keep them from shifting when you're ready to sew, and it will add a little strength, too.)

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Place your last rectangle right-side-down on top of all the layers. Again, some pins might be helpful here. Now you're ready to sew.

Step 5. Sew around all four sides with a 3/8" seam allowance. Remember you're sewing through a lot of layers, so use the right needle and go slowly where needed. Leave an opening of at least 3" or 4" for turning. (I recommend the opening be somewhere at the top of the piece where there are fewer layers to deal with when you close it up.)

Step 6. Turn the piece right-side-out and use a knitting needle or something similar to push out the corners. Close up the opening with some hand stitching.

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Step 7. Top stitch around the entire piece.

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Then top stitch a divider in the pocket, if desired. Simply position your needle where you want the divider to be (I measured mine in 6.5" from one side) and sew from the top to the bottom of the pocket, through all the layers.

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Tada! There you have it! Tie the pocket onto a bed rail or some decorative hooks or knobs (you could omit the bottom ties in this case) and load it up with books, toys, and a sippie cup. Your little one will have easy access to the "necessities" for naps or early mornings when you pray he stays in his room just a little longer so you can snooze!

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Tweed Thoughts said...

Looks great - I have done something similar but as a wall hanging. Good to have everything close by, especially if it means some extra snooze-time for you : D!

Anonymous said...

I could use one of those for holding some of my things. :) said...

Oh this is so cute, I love it! You always choose the cutest fabrics too. I'll be linking.

Anonymous said...

I have been dreaming about something JUST LIKE this for my kiddos playroom. What a fantastic idea. thanks for sharing this-- I can't sew AT ALL but maybe someday I will learn-- LOVE it!!!!!

livingindomesticity said...

What a fantastic idea! I will be making two of these, one for each of my kiddos, and linking to this idea on my blog. Thanks so much for the great tutorial.