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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

How to make an Utensilo

Eventhough my sewing desk does have many big drawers, I've accumulated so many tools and materials over time, that every inch of space is stuffed. So I finally decided to make myself a utensilo that, hanging on the wall, can keep some of the things I don't need that often, or that I don't really have a place to put (like my big ruler, it's always in the way).
These utensilos are functional and a nice accessory for decoration and can be adapted for the childrends' room, bathroom or kitchen or wherever you need to stow away stuff.

My finished utensilo measures appr. 60x70cm.
I started by cutting three rectangles of that size from my fabric, batting and backing. Additionally I cut strips for the pockets of all three layers, the lower pocket strip measures 20x70cm, the upper, shorter strip, 20x40cm.

To get started, place the three layers for each piece on top of each other, with the backing coming first, right side down, the batting and last the fabric right side up.

Quilt the layers together. For evenly spaced parallel lines I use the guide that comes with my sewing machine.

In this case I opted for a simple grid, quilting parallel lines first horizontally and then vertically to cover the whole piece.

Prepare all three pieces in that way and square them off.

Now you need to prepare the strip for binding. I will need to bind the upper edge of the lower pockets (70cm), the two long and left short side of the upper pocket (1m) and then the whole quilt (2.6m). Therefore I will need at least 3.5m (the corners take up a tiny bit more and your need longer edges in order to be able to close the binding that goes all the way around the utensilo.

Cut enough strips of 10 cm to join them to a strip of the needed length. To join the strips, place the ends of two strips perpendicular to each other right side to rigth side and sew right through them as shown below.

Cut away excess seam allowance and keep on adding all pieces to one long strip.

To prepare the strip for binding, first iron it in half lengthwise, then iron the two raw edges for 0.6cm of seam allowance to one side of the strip.

In order to attach the binding to the upper edge of the big pocket and the three edges of the upper pocket, pin it in place on front and back and attach with a simple straight stitch close to the edge. Don't worry about the other edges, they will be included in the binding of the whole utensilo. For more detailed information on how to bind a quilt have a look at this tutorial.

Apart from the pockets I need to prepare a strip of fabric that will hold the upper part of my long ruler in place.
Cut a strip measuring 3,2 x 35cm and fold it in half lengthwise, right side inside.

Sew a straight seam along the long side to create a sleeve.

Turn the sleeve inside out and insert a piece of elastic that's 30.5 cm long.

Now place the background piece on the table and align the lower pockets with the lower edge and corners of the background. Then place the upper pockets with the raw side aligned to the right side of the utensilo at the desired height and place the elastic strip on the left so that one end will get caught in the binding while the other end will be attached under the upper pocket.

Pin the binding in place starting in the middle of one short side possibly on the top as there's only one layer to deal with. When pinned, attach the binding leaving about ten cm of the strip at the beginning and the end unattached and fix your seam at the start and at the end with a couple of backstitches.

To pin binding in place I find that Clover Wonder clips work really great, they hold the binding in place without any distortion. But you can do the same with regular pins, it's just a little bit more difficult.
Finish the binding as explained in my binding tutorial.

Now attach the lower and right sides of the upper pockets making sure to fix the right end of the elastic strip in the process. Make sure all your layers lie flat and sew a simple straight stitch through or right next to the binding to attach the pocket.

Think about how many single pockets you want and how big they should be. I will need the left part of the lower pockets to be just big enough to hold my long ruler. Then I want another 3 pockets on the lower strip while I will divide the upper strip into only 2 pockets.

To divide pockets, sew a straight seam fixing the pocket layer and background together where you want the division to be.

Finish dividing your pockets and attach strips or a sleeve or whateve is good for you to hang the utensilo up. In my case it goes on a more than 3m high wall where it's hung on a painted pipe (see below) so that I simply attached two long strips that I knotted around the pipe. I had to add a stick on the top of the backside of the utensilo to keep it hanging straight, too.

Have you made a project following this tutorial? Let me know what you think. Did you like it? Was it easy to understand and to follow? Do you have any suggestions?
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