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ScrapBusters: Flatware Pockets for Outdoor Dining

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Today is the first article in our Sew It Up 4 Summer series: new and classic projects that are quick to create and a perfect choice for summer fun in the sun. One of the best parts of warm weather is moving meals outside. You can have a picnic on your own porch or patio. When dining al fresco, keep forks clean and napkins from blowing away with our cute little flatware pockets.

These handy pockets also make it easier to shuttle utensils to and from the kitchen. Load them up, stack them up, carry them out. 

Because they're so nicely self-contained, you can use the pockets with placemats, tablecloths or set them right down on the table. 

We dove down deep into the Sew4Home scrap stash and found a number of Moda lovelies from their classic Half Moon Modern collection. This would also be a good project for leftover fat quarters. 

Our samples feature a strip of twill tape along each pocket's top edge. You could also use ribbon or rick rack or simply leave it plain.

So fast and easy, you can make plenty o' pockets to set your table in just a couple of hours. Create an assembly line and whip up a dozens for this summer's family reunion. Or, how about color-themed pockets for a gorgeous garden wedding?!

We tested our pockets with both bulky plastic flatware as well as traditional stainless – both worked equally well, with plenty of room for a napkin and even a straw.

Each flatware pocket finishes at approximately 5½" wide x 10" high.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

NOTE: The quantities below are for ONE flatware pocket and include a bit extra to accommodate fussy cutting the motif. If your motif is particularly large, you might need a larger piece. Simply keep in mind the cut size of 6½" wide x 17½" high. 

  • Approximate 10" wide x 20" high scrap of TWO coordinated standard weight cotton fabrics 
  • ONE 6½" length of ½" wide twill tape or similar thin trim (optional)
  • Scrap or ¼ yard of lightweight fusible interfacing; we used Pellon Shir-Tailor
  • All purpose thread to coordinate with fabric and twill tape
  • See-through ruler
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Straight pins

Getting Started

  1. From each of the two fabrics, fussy cut ONE 6½" wide x 17½" high rectangle. Take the time to center your motif on each piece.
  2. From the interfacing cut ONE 5½" wide x 16½" high rectangle.
  3. From the twill tape, cut ONE 6½" length.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

NOTE: Within the instructions below, when we refer to the "front," we mean the front of the pocket when folded into position. The "back" is the fabric inside the pocket, behind the flatware. 

  1. Center the interfacing rectangle on the wrong side of the front fabric rectangle so there is ½" of fabric extending beyond the interfacing on all sides. 
  2. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse in place. 
  3. Still working with the front piece, find the twill tape and position it along what will be top of the pocket when folded up into its final position. If working with a directional fabric as we did, this should be the top of your motif.
  4. The twill tape should be parallel with the top raw edge of the fabric and positioned about ½" plus a hair from the raw edge. This extra "hair" is important to insure the tape is not caught into the ½" seam that will secure the front fabric to the back fabric. Pin the tape in place.
  5. Thread the machine with thread to match the twill tape in the top and bobbin. 
  6. Edgestitch the tape along both long sides. 
  7. Place the front and back panels right sides together. Once again, if you are working with directional fabric, pay attention to which way the motif is running on each piece. 
  8. The illustration below (which shows sewn dimensions) helps you see how the panels match up. The motif on the back panel should be right side up; the motif on the front panel (with the twill tape) should be upside down. Pin along all sides, leaving an approximate 3" opening for turing along one side. Make sure this opening is positioned so it will fall behind the pocket when everything is folded up. If correctly postioned like this, the pocket's side seams will also close the opening. The illustration below shows where we positioned our turn gap. 
  9. Re-thread the machine with thread to match the fabric in the top and bobbin. 
  10. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch across the top and bottom. Along the top, stitch with the front panel facing up so you can make sure your seam runs right along the edge of the interfacing to the right of the twill tape's edgestitching.
  11. Still using a ½" seam allowance, stitch both side seams, intersecting your top and bottom seam lines at each corner. Remember to lock your seam at either side on the turn gap.
    NOTE: We are suggesting four individual seams in order to make sure the top edge with the twill tape is as clean as possible. If you feel confident about your precision, you can certainly simply stitch around the perimeter with one continuous seam, pivoting at the corners and locking the seam at either side of the turn gap.
  12. Trim all the corners and turn right side out through the side opening. Gently push out all the corners so they are nice and sharp. A long blunt tool works well for this, such as a knitting needle or chopstick. 
  13. Press flat.
  14. Press in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with sewn seam.
  15. Fold up the front into position to form the pocket. The pocket should finish 6½" deep and all side edges should be flush. 
  16. Edgestitch both sides. These seams will be visible, especially across the twill tape, so be careful how you lock your seams at the start and finish. Either use a lock stitch, very carefully back-tack, or leave the thread tails long and hand knot to secure.
  17. Press flat.

Contributors 
Project Design: Alicia Thommas   
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Leah Wand

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Comments (5)

Beth Bell said:
Beth Bell's picture

I will do some printing on it through sublimation machine which I own. I love to do such types of activity and also upload pictures once it is finished.

ska said:
ska's picture

Love this! Great for get togethers with family or friends.

Lori Smanski said:
Lori Smanski's picture

this is such a wonderful idea. Thanks for sharing. Guess what I will be doing?  LOL  We love to eat out side and this will make it so much easier and more fun.

Kathleen Ann said:
Kathleen Ann's picture

This is a really cute idea! And I'm thinking, these could do double duty by using them as dessert mats. They seem big enough to put a coffee mug and dessert dish on them. Might even use a fusible batting instead of fusible interfacing if using them as dessert mats. 

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Kathleen Ann - Fun idea! They finish at 5-1/2" x 10".

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