Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Denim Organizer - With Instructions!

I pinned this Denim Organizer several weeks ago onto my Pinterest page, but when I went back to it to look at it more closely, I discovered that the original poster's page was in a foreign language.  I never could find this project on her page.    

Pinned Image

Being pretty crafty, I decided to create my own organizer, using the photo as inspiration.

Now, I've been recycling denim jeans for years.  Here are two examples:

Using an old pair of jeans, I turned a regular sweatshirt into a zippered-placket sweatshirt. Pockets make cool elbow patches!

My sister sent me the directions for a denim throw from www.allpeoplequilt.com, but instead of making the throw as suggested, I made a double bed-sized comforter.  It was fun to use all different colors and shades of denim.  I even incorporated a pocket (for my son's cell phone) and a Wrangler label into the quilt.

So, I dug through my denim stash, and found a few things to work with. Next, I had to search every closet in the house to find a solid wood hanger.  I measured the hanger width and determined the size of the base to be 16" by 20".  I drew a quick sketch of how I thought I could place the pockets.

The base of the organizer was cut from an old denim shirt.

I couldn't use the front of the shirt, but the back was large enough for the organizer base.
Using scraps from other projects, I was able to recycle the back pockets from a pair of jeans, the front pocket from my son's old black jeans, and the sleeve of the denim shirt, which I turned into three pockets.
I had to put a seam between the two back pocket to make them even.
The finished size of this pocket was 14" wide by 8" deep.    

I chose the right front pocket of my son's jeans, because it had  the little coin pocket -- giving me three pockets in just one piece!  The finished size of this pocket was approximately 6 " square.
I cut open the shirt sleeve, and there was enough fabric to make three pockets.    The finished sizes were 5" wide by 9", 5 1/2" and 3 1/2" respectively.  After hemming the tops of each pocket, I stacked them on top of each other, and basted around the sides.   
Since I had a little more room on the base, I first decided to add a narrow pocket using the cuff of the shirt, but then changed the design to make it a loop, putting the button and buttonhole to use.

In the original photo, it looks like the base was quilted a little bit, which was a good idea in my case because the shirt fabric was very soft.  I stabilized it with fusible interfacing, then layered it with batting and backing fabric that was a somewhat stiff piece of upholstery material.  Off to my Bernina to do some quilting!

One more reason to love my Bernina...the walking foot comes with a guide attachment, which made quilting the piece very fast.  I drew one line on the diagonal from top to bottom, and stitched it first.  Then, I let the guide ride along that row of stitching, making another line of stitching 1 1/2" to the left.  Repeat several times, and very quickly, the back is quilted without having to draw all of the stitching lines!

Next, I stitched the pockets into place.
From top to bottom, left to right:  I appliqued to attach the black pocket.   First, I bound the top edge with black bias tape.  Using a wide zig zag stitch and a short stitch length, I sewed it to the base along the sides and bottom.  For the loop, I stitched from the half-way point up, toward the button (positioned at the top), across the top, and down the other side, stopping at the half-way mark.  This allows the loop to open and close.  On the right, I sewed the stacked pockets, face down, across the bottom first, then flipped them up into place, and top-stitched the left side.  I basted the right side to hold it in place...the binding finished that side.
On the bottom, I hemmed the top and stitched it in place along each side.  I basted the pocket along the bottom to hold it in place; again, the binding finished that raw edge.  
While I was at it, I added a pocket to the back, too.  I'm not sure why, but since I had the fabric, I thought, "it can't hurt to have another."
A coordinating 'secret' pocket on the back of the organizer!
It took me a little while to decide how to finish the edges.  It appears that the original designer used bias tape, so I went back to my shirt and was able to cut enough fabric to make about 80" of single fold bias binding for the sides and bottom.  After stitching the tape on the front, I folded it over, clipped it in place, and used my zipper foot to stitch, from the right side, very close to the edge of the bias tape (which secured it on the wrong side of the organizer).  The zipper foot came in handy when (finally) I was ready to stitch the organizer to the hanger.

So, here's the finished product:  it has 9 pockets and a loop on the front, and a 'secret' pocket on the back.  I filled it with desk supplies, but you could use it for sewing or crafting supplies, or cards, envelopes, stamps and an address book, or make up and beauty supplies, or fill the pockets with small toys, crayons and a coloring book to keep young visitors busy.

If you decide to make one of these yourself, the most important measurement is the width of your hanger.
You can make the base as long as you want and add as many pockets as you can recycle.

Keep sewing!!

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