Amy here. We have been on an organizational kick at home, as I'm sure is the case for many of you. Spending all my time in my house with two little kids has really brought out the tidy in me, and as we are emptying closets, shuffling toys and tools and reorganizing spaces to accommodate different activities, I have been looking for new places to stash stuff in a more orderly fashion. Without the luxury of popping to the store to buy a whole bunch of stuff for these projects, I have gotten resourceful and thought to myself, why don't I just make what I'm imagining?
Enter: the wall pocket organizer! We created a bunch of scraps at the studio when we made all our Sienna Maker Jackets that are good sturdy denim or canvas, and I thought I would show you too how to make a scrap busting, infinitely customizable hanging pocket organizer using similarly durable fabrics. This also coincides with our series on Make it Work sewing for beginners since it makes the perfect place to store all your sewing necessities without taking up a lot of room. This could be hung on the inside of a closet door, next to your sewing machine, or just about anywhere you need to stash your bits and pieces. But like I said, it works for any organizational project, whether it's a kid's room, your clothes closet, a pantry door,or mudroom. Really the options are endless...
- Sturdy woven scraps (canvas, cotton twill, denim)
- One piece of base fabric the size of your finished piece (you could also sew a few pieces together if you don't have something big enough)
- One x 2 inch strip non-stretch fusible interfacing as long as the top edge of your finished pockets
- Bias tape or quilt binding (you could use ready-made or just cut some strips of quilting cotton)
- Grommets ( with an installing tool) or
- Dowel (slightly longer than the top edge of finished pockets)
To begin I ironed out my big piece of base fabric. This is an undyed piece of white denim. It was a funny shape so I turned it into a rectangle and made sure the grainline was running up and down. I had this piece of black bias tape I had made to bind a quilt so I just roughly made sure I had enough to go around the sides and bottom. You will leave the top edge unfinished, since we are going to turn it over. Start by pinning it on the top right corner.
I only sewed it once, using a straight stitch, making sure I was catching both edges on the front and back. If you want to install it using a two-step sew you most certainly can!
I sewed it all in one step but make sure to mitre your corners for a clean finish.
Iron a piece of interfacing on the wrong side of the top edge of your fabric.
Press the top edge down about 2" and then press the raw edge under 1/2". You want to make sure the finished hem is wide enough to accommodate your grommets. If you are using smaller grommets you can decide what you think looks best. If you don't have grommets, this edge can also work as a channel for a dowel, although you can skip the interfacing. You could then hang the dowel on your wall with wire or string.
Topstitch the hem in place, again making sure you have enough room for your grommets/dowel.
We had these extra large grommets at the studio. I used 5 for my organizer - you want to distribute the weight evenly or they will start to pull and sag (especially if you are putting very heavy stuff in these pockets). You will have to experiment a little to figure out what will work for your purposes but whatever you decide, space them out evenly.
Mark your holes using a pencil.
I found folding the fabric in half along the circle I could use the scissors to cut a half circle out of both layers at once. You want the hole to be a little smaller than your grommet.
Your grommets should come with a tool to install them. Follow the package instructions to hammer those in now.
Take all your scraps and iron them out. Cut them into squares and rectangles as big as the pieces will allow. If you have a metal square or quilting ruler, make sure you create nice right angles. If there is any selvage on the pieces you can use this to make sure the grainline is running parallel to the edges of your finished fabric.
Now is the fun part! Lay out your scraps in a pleasing design. You will want a mix of sizes for different items. Orient the scraps in different directions so that the depths of the pockets vary. You can put a long skinny one horizontally and then sew it into smaller pockets for very small items, or put a long skinny one vertically for scissors or rulers. It's totally up to you and - whatever is must functional for your needs! If you wanted to get really fancy or are making this for children who need a little guidance,e you could use iron-on labels which says what goes where. If you were making this for a mudroom or entryway, you could put numbers or each kid's name to keep track of whose stuff is whose. I told you the possibilities are endless!!
I kept everything laid out and just worked on one pocket at a time to keep my design straight. You could also trace them all and make yourself some sort of a map and then batch iron and sew all at once.
Start by ironing down the top edge of each pocket twice and then top-stitching it in place 1/8" from the folded edge.
Then press the rest of the edges under by 1/2".
I pinned each pocket down as I finished them until the whole thing looked like this. I rolled the pockets up from the bottom to fit it under my machine and also to keep it all in place. I started with the top left hand corner pocket sewing around the edges at 1/8". Make sure you backstitch a couple times at the top corners of the pockets as these will get a lot of wear and tear. You could even put a small bar tack in each corner if you wanted.
All done! Final step is to hang up your organizer. I put some screws in the wall to hang on the grommets, but you could also use hooks.
Time to fill up your pockets!
I hope this gave you lots of ideas for storage solutions. I want to make one with tiny scraps next for my jewelry and I'm thinking of making a smaller one for separating mail. As I said, this project is as flexible as your creativity and once you make one, you'll never want to buy expensive organizing solutions again. Happy sorting!