Thursday, December 17, 2009

Locker Organizer.

Last year I sewed up a few tote bags as holiday gifts. One went to someone who had given many handmade gifts to others. When she saw the little bag, she was almost moved to tears. Not because it was any great present, but because even though she had made gifts for others, nobody had ever made a gift for her and she knew how special it was to think of someone while you carefully put together a gift for them.

This year I knew I had to make her something again, but something a little more than a tote bag. She works in a school and stores her belongings in a locker during the day. A locker organizer was the perfect thing! Somewhere to store her little odds and ends and supplies, a place to keep a pen at your finger tips, and a larger pocket to keep hats and mitts (or notebooks).

I used two cotton fabrics in contrasting colours. I don't remember the designer or name, but I picked it up from my local fabric shop. I made up the pattern as I went along. Two long rectangles of fabric for the front and back, and assorted rectangles in the contrasting fabric for the pockets. Everything with a layer of interfacing (pockets & body pieces) to keep things sturdier. I did finish the edges on all the pieces of fabric before sewing them on to the background. It wasn't strictly necessary, but I found it much easier not having to worry about keeping all the edges even while sewing everything together.

The picture frame is just a square of fabric with a smaller square cut out in the center (inner edges folded under by making a snip in each corner). I sewed a thin piece of clear plastic to the back to protect the photo. The top edge is not sewn down, so the photo can be changed. The pocket to the right has a few lines of lengthwise stitching to hold pens in place.

I sewed a pocket for and inserted a small dowel along the top to prevent the corners from sagging when the pockets are full. In hindsight, I probably should have done the same along the bottom since it does sag a bit there.

The binding came next, and was a pain! I had never made my own binding or worked with binding before (I had started it on an unfinished project, but that remains unfinished). The binding and stitching around it are uneven in places, but I guess I can't expect to be perfect on the first try!

Last came the little details - the matching fabric covered button, and the fabric loop to hang it all from. The loop wraps around the button to keep it closed when you fold it up for carrying.

I had a lot of fun making this project, and definitely learned a few new things. It's something that could really be played around with a lot...different sizes of pockets, layered pockets, velcro, zippers, hangers, magnets...there is just so much that could be changed. If anyone wants to give it a try and would like more detailed instructions, I would be happy to share.

All ready to go in one of the gift bags I sewed up from my Shinzi Katoh holiday fabric!


Tuesday said...

that bag would be absolutely terrific as one of those hanging travel bags!

i recently decided to take up sewing so i picked up a sewing machine at my local thrift store. unfortunately, the last time i used one was in the 7th grade, so i'm having quite a bit of trouble. maybe one day i'll be advanced enough to make something as adorable as that bag =)

Anonymous said...

This would make a great gift for my sis and mother in law - both of whom are teachers.

I've only recently started sewing, after my mom in law gifted me one of her sewing machines and I really like to make cute (and easy) things like this.

Thank you for posting this :)

Sophie van der Walt
BTW I'm all the way from Pretoria, in South Africa :)

lolie jane said...

Thanks for the lovely comments! I think I will have to put together a tutorial for this one day soon. I really just winged the whole thing. I'm glad it has inspired you to get sewing :)

Amanda said...

I love this!

Anna said...

This would be perfect for my sister. She gets a locker at the hospital she works at and this would be awesome for her to keep her stuff in check. If you ever get around to making a tutorial, I'd love to see it :D

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