Above is the purple hanging storage piece that inspired this entire project. Notice that I didn't say it was cute. That's because it belonged to Amanda and hung in her closet in her room that is yellow and gray. And it's definitely purple. Which clashes with yellow and gray. Amanda just couldn't take the purple anymore and asked if I could make something similiar to the purple piece but in bedroom-matching colors. It looked easy enough, so I said YES.
I'm happy to report that I did it! It worked. It turned out. It's even cute. (It's posted at the bottom of this entry.) But it wasn't super easy. If you're new to sewing, this is not the project for you. Experienced seamstresses only. (BTW, how do you correctly refer to a male who sews? Is he a seamster? Leave your thoughts in the comments.)
Here are the fabrics that we used for this project. I used about 1/3 yard of the gray fabric to make continuous double-fold bias tape by hand. I'll post a future how-to on that, but would recommend that you not make your own double-fold bias tape. (It took a lot of time, and it's fairly cheap to purchase.)
The main section of the project is double sided. Each unsewn piece was 24" wide by 43" long. If you use the same fabric front and back, you'll need 1 1/3 yards of fabric. Using two different fabrics, you'll need 2/3 of a yard of each fabric.
I used a yellow plaid flannel for the back, thinking it would be a nice soft surface to have hanging against the inside of Amanda's closet door. (No scratching off of paint.)
Next you'll need some clear vinyl. I purchased mine a few years ago when I was re-doing the seat cushions on our outdoor patio chairs. You can usually find it at a fabric store and can purchase it by the foot. (You'll need two feet of it.) My vinyl was 54" wide. If you'd like to save money and have recently purchased a new bedspread or blanket, you can use the clear vinyl from a couple bedding bags.
Cut six vinyl strips that are 3 1/2" tall and 24" wide. These are for the top six rows. I made the bottom row pockets a bit deeper. I suggest cutting two of them that are 6" tall and 24" wide.
Once you have your double-fold bias tape, your fabric measured and cut, and a total of 8 vinyl strips, you're ready to get started.
Step 1) Sew the bias tape along the top if each strip of vinyl using coordinating thread in a straight stitch. The vinyl is sandwiched between the folds of the bias tape.This step gives the finished product a crisp and durable edge for the pockets.
Step 2) Once you have sewn bias tape along the tops of each strip of vinyl, you're ready to start sewing the strips of vinyl to the front fabric piece -- right-side up. (See photos above.)
Start with the bottom pocket (6" tall) by carefully pinning it in place, aligning your pins vertically in the seam allowance so that you're not creating any holes in the vinyl that can be seen once the project is finished.
I sewed the vinly strips to the front fabric along the bottom of each vinyl strip 1/8" in from the bottom of the vinyl using a straight stitch in thread that coordinated with the front fabric (yellow). Once I'd sewn the bottom of the piece of vinyl, I'd also tack the top edge of the vinyl to the front fabric in the seam allowance on each side. I found that this helped to hold the vinyl in place better than just the bottom seam.
I left about 1/2" betweent the top and bottom of each row.
This step if the most difficult one of the entire project. Go slowy. Be patient. As you progress upward, sewing the vinyl strips onto the front fabric, you will probably need to roll the right-hand side of the project as you continue sewing the vinyl strips on. After a few rows, you will want to sew the vinyl strips on with the top part of the project on the right -- like I'm doing in the bottom photo above.
Step 3) I'm a perfectionist, so at this stage of the project I found it helpful to remind myself that it was okay if each row of vinyl wasn't perfectly aligned. Mine looked a little wavy at this point. I simply told myself that since it would be haning on the back of a closet door, it didn't need to be perfect, and I took a few deep breathes.
Now for the easiest part. Decide how many loops you want to hang your project by. I decided three loops would be good. Four would also work nicely. Multiply how many loops you'll use by 4 (inches). Now cut that many inches of the double-folded bias tape and sew a straight seam down the open side as close to the edge as you can. (I skipped sewing my bias tape closed, and it's niggling at me.)
Now cut 4" lengths of the sewn bias tape for each loop. Decide where to place your loops at the top of the front piece, and pin the loop to the front side of the fabric like the photo above.
Step 4) The end is in sight. Stay with me. For this step you'll be arranging the project with the front and back fabric pieces right-sides together. I laid the front piece on my table with the vinyl side up, and then draped the back piece over it, wrong-side up. Next, I pinned the two pieces together. Pay particular attention as you pin the sides and bottom, as you don't want to create holes in the vinyl that will be seen. I pinned between the vinyl rows on the sides, and horizontally in the seam allowance on the bottom.
You can round your corners at this point. I used a saucer from the kitchen to trace a nice rounded edge, and then cut off the excess. You can also decide to keep the corners square.
IMPORTANT: Mark off an 8" opening that will NOT be sewn along one of the sides. This is how you will turn your project right-side-out once you've sewn it together.
Carefully sew around the edges of the project in a straight stitch leaving a standard 5/8" seam allowance. Be sure to leave an 8" opening on one side. Once I sewed around the edges, I trimmed the edge leaving just over 1/4" of fabric/vinyl. Note: DO NOT trim the fabric/vinyl at the 8" opening.
Now you're ready to turn the project right-side-out using the 8" opening. At this point it's important to reach inside and firmly press outward on the seam -- especially at the corners. After doing this, I folded in the seam allowance at the 8" opening and sewed it closed close to the edge and continued sewing carefully around the entire edge of the project.
Step 5) It's time to use a dry-erase marker and make the vertical lines for the pockets. Be sure not to mark on the fabric or thread -- just the vinyl. We left the middle of the bottom row unmarked so that it would create a nice big pocket.
Once you have the lines marked, sew straight seams just to one side of the dry-erase line. (Note: If you sew right on top of the dry-erase line, it won't perfectly erase. Oops. I found out the hard way.)
The sewing segment of the project is done!
We hung our project using Command hooks, being careful to follow the directions on the package exactly.
Viola! There it hangs in all its glory. Whew!