Thursday, January 29, 2009

Tutorial for Fabric Mail Sorter

Yesterday my hanging mail holder design, posted here on Craftster, made it onto the CRAFT magazine blog! Since I’ve gotten several requests for a tutorial here goes! I actually made two organizers last night, one just like the original (brown/purple) and one smaller (tan) for those who are short on horizontal wall space. There is no extra space between the edge of the pocket and the binding. The instructions for the modification are in parentheses. Let me know if you have any difficulties or need clarification!

First the materials needed:

1 yard fabric for the body and outside of the pockets – can be cotton, linen, or even canvas would be ok
½ yard fabric for the pocket lining and binding – should be quilting cotton or similar weight
½ yard Pellon 70 or other ultra heavy weight interfacing
½ yard Pellon 987F or other lightweight fusible fleece or fusible interfacing
1/3 yard Pellon 40, 50, or other lightweight interfacing
65 inches of bias binding, if not making your own
Extra-large grommet and setting tools
Thread to match backing fabric
1. Make your pattern piece. I find it easiest to make a paper pattern and cut from that. Follow the photo below. Also, make this all one piece of paper, I accidentally cut mine! Draw a horizontal line where the pieces would separate though. **If you do not have a serger, add a seam allowance on the bottom and the angled sides.**

2. Cut out your fabric. From the lining fabric, cut about 65” worth of binding. If you’re not sure how to do this try this tutorial. There may be better ones but this is pretty good. Also cut 3 pocket pieces. If you are only making this once, you can now cut the pocket pattern on the line you drew, otherwise fold. From the main fabric cut 2 pieces for the backing that measure 20” high by 14” wide (for the small organizer 20” high by 11.5” wide). Also cut 3 pieces from the small pocket pattern you just cut.

3. Cut your interfacing. Cut a piece of Pellon 70 and Pellon 987F the same size as the backing. Cut 3 small pocket pieces of Pellon 987F and Pellon 40.

4. Fuse your interfacing. Fuse the Pellon 987F to the backing and the front of the pocket pieces. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to do this. TIP: If you are using cotton as your main fabric and you see it bubbling after you fuse, rip off the interfacing and fuse from the front, keeping your iron moving and gliding it slowly across. This time it won’t bubble. Make sure no fleece is exposed to where your iron could touch it though! Also, this goes against ALL the manufacturer’s recommendations so beware. But it works for me.

5. Assemble the pockets. Layer the pocket like this: Pellon 40, front of pocket right side up, lining wrong side up, matching raw edges at the top. The sides of the lining will hang over a bit, just center it. Sew a ½” seam. Next spread the fabrics apart and press the seam towards the lining.


Serger Instructions: Fold the lining over the top so that wrong sides are together and match the raw edges on the bottom. With the lining side up, serge the raw edges starting on the right side, this way if the fabric stretches it will just roll right into the lining band at the top.

Non-Serger: With right sides together, match raw edges at the bottom and press from the bottom up so that you get a lining band at the top. With the lining side up, start from the right and sew the sides and bottom. Leave about 2 inches on the bottom edge to turn, then turn right side out and press flat. (for the small organizer, just stitch the bottom edge)

Repeat for rest of pockets. Turn under about 1/2” toward the lining on the sides and bottom of each pocket and press.

6. Put it all together! Line up the interfaced backing right side up over the Pellon 70. Pin in the center of each side to stabilize it while you sew. Start with the bottom pocket. Center the pocket on the backing (for the small organizer it will fit perfectly) and line up the folded bottom edge about 1.5” from the bottom . Pin or hold in place and starting a few stitches away from the sides, topstitch it right onto the backing about ¼” from the folded edge. Now line up the side of the pocket parallel to the edge of the backing, folding under the pressed edge and tucking it into the space you left unstitched. Stitch it in place like you did the bottom edge and repeat on the other side. (for the small organizer you don’t need to fold, the edge can just be basted into place) Repeat for the other two pockets, spacing them 1.5” from the top of the previous pocket.


7. Finish it! Almost there, this is the last step! Line up the other backing piece and pin in place. Starting at the bottom, attach the binding using your preferred method. Now find the center point at the top, between the top of the pocket and the binding. Attach your grommet according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Now you’re done! Enjoy your mail sorter! Here are the finished photos of mine (sorry I was lazy so no grommets!)

16 comments:

sugabeats said...

Ooh! Thanks for sharing!

sassypriscilla said...

I cannot wait to try this! Thank you for sharing

Sam said...

Hi, I love your bags and your blog. I also make bags and have been trying to make a bag like your Paddington Travel Bag but am having trouble with the shape of the sides. Can you offer any help.

Alevin and Company said...

Thank you so much for posting the tutorial! I bought fabric yesterday and plan to make this (or at least start it!) today. The only thing is, I can't tell what two of the measurements are: On the top strip (the one you cut/fold to make the smaller pocket), is the length 8 1/4" or 8 3/4"? Same with the left height. I can't tell if it is 1/4 or 3/4 of an inch. Thank you so much for sharing such a great pattern!

brittany said...

Sorry about that Alevin and Company! The measurements are 8 1/4" on top and 1 1/4" on the side.

Alevin and Company said...

Thank you so much! I am going to go cut the pieces. Yay!

Alevin and Company said...

I just finished it (save for the grommets) and it was super easy! Your tutorial was fantastic-even for someone who uses the seam ripper more than the sewing machine. I blogged about it if you want to see the finished product. It's a bit over the top, but I plan to make a more neutral one soon. Thank you again for the tutorial! http://rhinosaurriver.blogspot.com/2009/02/fabric-mail-sorter.html

vorember said...

Thanks! I just made one for my husband's desk out of black canvas and dark blue quilter cotton--very manly but still helpful!

brittany said...

That sounds like a great version of the mail holder, now men don't have an excuse not to use it! :)

6p00d8341c504353ef said...

I know this is a little late but I don't understand how the two pattern pieces work. Do you not cut the pattern pieces and cut the lining piece from both together or is the bigger piece for that? Then the small piece for the pockets is for the main fabric?

Also, do you cut the pattern pieces on the fold of the fabric?

Thanks! I've been meaning to make this for months and it is now on my to-do list!

6p00d8341c504353ef said...

OK - that was a weird ID for my last comment. The question about the pattern pieces came from me (sassypriscilla).

Natural State Catering said...

Hi there! I just love your mail organizer.
Would you be able to make one for me?
Seriously...I am a first time mom and have no time! :)
If you're interested just let me know.

LaWanna said...

Wow this is brilliant. Just exactly what I was looking for! Thank you.

Casey said...

This is great! I am totally going to make one now, thank you for the tutorial!

Alfred said...

Thanks for sharing this with all of us. Of course, what a great site and informative posts, I will bookmark this site. keep doing your great job and always gain my support. Thank you for sharing this beautiful articles.

K4R1N4 said...

I wish I was better at sewing to make one of these. :(