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Natural fabrics are amazing and beautiful. But sometimes… you need an option that has a few more “super powers” to help it perform in non-traditional situations. This is the first of a series of projects we’ve developed using Oly*Fun™ from Fairfield World. The fibers of this woven synthetic have been fused to create a flexible, multi-purpose material. It doesn’t fray, tear or fade. There’s no white core; it’s the same bright color on both sides. It’s even water repellant. You can sew it, glue it, staple it, pin it or tie it. (We’re wondering if it can leap tall buildings in a single bound!) Since there’s no need for hemming, we used it to make a set of very narrow, double-sided pockets. Clip them together as the perfect gift set for manicure or sewing tools. 

Oly*Fun™ is available in 19 colors and in a variety of yardage options from 60” x 10-yard bolts to 20” x 3 yard rolls to pre-cut 12” squares in 18-piece sets. Not every color is available in every option. We did our testing using the handy 48-piece Craft Pack that includes four 12” x 12” sheets in each of 12 popular colors. There are also four Oly*Fun Metallics, which we will be featuring down the road. The metallics do have a distinct front and back unlike the solid colors.

We were impressed by the ability to cut narrow pieces without any tearing or fraying. Scissors certainly work, but for long, straight edges, we recommend a rotary cutter for the best and fastest cuts. The material also works well in a die-cutter.

Oly*Fun™ doesn’t require a special needle for machine sewing. We used our Janome Quarter Inch Seam foot to get a precise seam very close to the edge. No need for a hem; just cut and stitch.

Our samples are the same color on both sides. But since each sleeve is made from two strips, you could also use different colors for the front and back to give you an even more vibrant rainbow. We used contrasting white thread for one set of samples, and matching thread for the second set. The final look is up to your own creativity.

Our narrow pockets are stitched back to back so you can slip in a narrow tool on one side or both sides. We used a Triple Stitch for our samples. You could also experiment with a decorative stitch. If you choose to go the decorative route, keep the stitch width on the narrow side; you don’t want to change the pocket width too much. Of course, you could also start with a wider strip in order to give yourself more space and therefore allow you to use a wider decorative stitch motif.

With a eyelet in the corner, you can clip together several as a great gift idea. We used one of our sets to hold manicure tools. Add a couple bottles of nail polish and you have a fun and useful gift idea.

The pockets are also just the right long and narrow size for many sewing tools. Another great gift idea for your creative friends. Or, slip in your own favorite tools to keep them handy for projects. We clipped a set of sleeves to our Maker’s Apron — cute!

There’s no grain, selvedge or sizing, which means no pre-washing is needed. It can be washed on the gentle cycle, but needs to be air dried. As a synthetic, Oly*Fun™ does not take well to heat. It will melt if exposed to extreme heat, so if you need to iron it, use low heat and a pressing cloth.

Each of our pockets finishes at 8” high x 1⅜” wide with a 6¼” deep pocket opening on both sides. As you can see in our photos above, this accommodates a wide range of tools, but of course, it’s easy to adjust both the width and the height for your custom needs.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

NOTE: Quantities shown are for THREE double-sided pockets

  • THREE to SIX 12” x 12” sheets of Oly*Fun™ in a variety of colors; we used Lemon Drop, Bubble Gum, and Orange Crush for one set and Kiwi, Sky, and Jelly for the second set
    NOTE: As mentioned above, you can use the same color front and back as we did, in which case you’d need three colors; or you can use different colors on each side, in which case you’d need six colors.
  • THREE extra-small eyelets; we used Dritz 5/32” eyelets in white for one set and Dritz 5/32” eyelets in nickel for the second set
  • Eyelet Pliers or similar tool for setting eyelets; we used the Dritz Eyelet Pliers
  • TWO split rings or clips
  • All-purpose thread to match or contrast with the Oly*Fun™ colors; we used white for all the stitching on one set and matching thread on each for the second set
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Straight pins or clips; we used Wonder Clips

Getting Started

  1. For EACH sleeve, cut TWO 2¾” x 8” strips
  2. Fold each strip in half (so it is now 1⅜” x 8″) and finger press to create a visible crease line.
  3. Unfold so the crease line is visible. Measure 1¾” down along the crease line and mark a horizontal line from the center out to the right side. This creates a box in the upper right corner.
  4. Cut out the box.
  5. Re-fold both strips along their original crease line so the cut line is facing up.
  6. Place the two strips back to back, which means the pockets are facing out on either side and the solid sides are back to back, and pin or clip through all the layers.
  7. When the pockets are back to back, their folded edges should be opposite one another. In other words, along each side, you should have one folded edge and one double raw edge. This allows for the smoothest layering. Also make sure the top cut lines of the pockets are aligned front to back.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

  1. Thread the machine with your chosen color of thread in both the top and bobbin.
  2. Select a straight or decorative stitch. We used a Triple Stitch on our Janome Skyline S7, which gives a thicker, hand-look to our seam. As mentioned above, if you choose a decorative stitch, keep a narrow stitch width; you don’t want to overly compromise the finished width of the pocket.
  3. Starting at a bottom corner, and using a ⅛” seam allowance, stitch around all four sides through all the layers. The image below shows stitching with a matching thread.
  4. Remember to pivot at each corner.
    NOTE: Check out our tutorial for tips and techniques on Turning a Corner with a Decorative Stitch
  5. Mark a point in one upper corner for the eyelet.
  6. Cut a hole with your eyelet tool at this marked point.
  7. The tool makes a good hole, but it can help to have a pair of small sharp scissors to clean up the edges as needed.
  8. Push the eyelet through the hole.
  9. Set the eyelet using smooth, even pressure.
  10. Clip together the finished pockets with a split ring or clip as shown in the photos above.
  11. The nickel (as well as the brass, should you choose those) are the same color front and back. The colored eyelets are the featured color on one side and nickel on the opposite side.


Project Design: Liz Johnson
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild

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6 years ago

Nice project. I’m not sure I

Nice project. I’m not sure I fully understand, though. According to your explanations it seems that each sleeve is doubled with à pocket on either side, so we could put a pencil on one side and another one on the other side (?) But it doesn’t seem to be that way on the photos. Could you help, please? Thanks. 

Peg G
Peg G
6 years ago

I have used Oly Fun it to cut

I have used Oly Fun it to cut appliques for tote bags with my Accuquilt Go! Easy and no fraying.

6 years ago

I think I’ll make some for my

I think I’ll make some for my dpn’s – a great way to keep them organized and still be able to take a set in a project bag!  Also, grandkids art/school supplies for travel.  Thank you!

Primrose Bohne
Primrose Bohne
6 years ago

Oooh, this sounds exciting,

Oooh, this sounds exciting, and the possibilities for this type of fabric….Think I’ll see if I can get some.   Luggage tags instead of oilcloth?

mimi mcnairy
mimi mcnairy
6 years ago

What a wonderful idea!  Oly What a wonderful idea!  Oly*Fun fabric is fun to work with, for St. Patrick’s I traced an oversized shamrock onto a 21″ x 21″ square of lime green Oly Fun then stitched the outline on my Sashiko with dark purple thread.  Next, I finished it with the wave stitch on my serger.  I made 6 of these tabletoppers for our prayer breakfast — I recieved many compliments and these table toppers require little time and little investment, so you feel free to give them to participants. Also, in October 2016, I made several triangular shaped… Read more »

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