The bedroom dresser top. In catalog and magazine photos, it's always so clean – a single rose in a vase adorning one pristine corner. In reality, this is one of the most cluttered, easy-to-lose-things-on surfaces in the house! Scatterings of coins, broken jewelry, forgotten notes, safety pins, missing buttons, dusty photos, watches in need of batteries... you name it, it's likely to end up on the dresser top. We've come up with a beautiful way to help you organize at least some of it. We're not promising miracles; you are still going to have to take those watches in for batteries one of these days, but at least you'll have a place to collect a few things. We call our cute fabric basket a Coin Catcher & Jewelry Minder, but you're welcome to let it catch and mind whatever you'd like.
The bottom is quilted with a layer of fusible batting to give the basket dimension and weight as well as extra softness so you can use it for jewelry or other delicate items without worrying about them hitting a hard surface when tossed inside. The construction will remind you of wrapping a present. It's just a simple rectangle you fold up and stitch; you then wrap the corners around the side and secure them with a ribbon or fabric tie woven through grommets.
As shown below in the supply list, you need just small amounts of two coordinating fabrics. Because of the way the box folds up, fabrics with a random, non-directional motif are best.
Just think of all the lovely fabrics in your stash you could mix and match for this project to make one or more.
Our sample box finishes at 8" x 6" and is 3" deep, but you could easily size it up or down. A coordinated set of three or four in varying sizes would make a great gift!
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
- Walking or Even feed foot; optional, but a good recommendation for working with the multiple layers - we added a quilt bar guide to help with the straight line quilting – you could also engage your machine's built-in fabric feeding system, such as the AcuFeed™ Flex system we use on many of our Janome studio model machines
Fabric and Other Supplies
- Scrap or ½ yard of quilting weight cotton for the exterior
- Scrap or ½ yard of quilting weight cotton for the interior and ties
NOTE: You could use ribbon instead of making your own fabric ties. If you'd prefer this option, you'll need 2 yards of ⅜" wide ribbon.
- Scrap or ¼ yard of lightweight fusible batting; we used a scrap of Pellon Thermolam Plus
- Scrap or ½ yard of medium to heavy-weight fusible interfacing; we used a scrap of Pellon Décor Bond
- FOUR extra large eyelets and appropriate setting tools; we used a Dritz Large Eyelet set in nickel that includes setting tools
- All purpose thread to match fabrics
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Tape measure
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
- Hand sewing needle
- From the fabric for the exterior, cut ONE 13" x 15" rectangle.
- From the fabric for the interior, cut the following:
ONE 13" x 15" rectangle
TWO 1" x 26" strips for the ties (omit if using ribbon)
- From the interfacing, cut ONE 12" x 14" rectangle.
- From the fusible fleece, cut ONE 6" x 8" rectangle.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- Center the interfacing on the wrong side of the main interior panel so there is ½" of fabric showing beyond the interfacing on all sides. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse in place.
- Center the fusible fleece on the main exterior panel so there is 3½" of fabric showing all around. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse in place.
- Pin the exterior and interior panels right sides together, matching all raw edges and leaving a 4-5" opening along one side for turning.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch around all four sides. You can run your seam right along, but not on, the edge of the interfacing. We used a Janome Even Feed foot. Remember to pivot at the corners and to lock your seam at either side of the 4-5" opening for turning.
- Press the seam allowances open and clip the corners.
- Turn right side out through the opening. Using a long, blunt tool, gently push out all the corners so they are nice and sharp. A chopstick, long knitting needle or point turner works well for this. Press flat, pressing in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam.
- Hand stitch the opening closed.
- Our sample has quilting lines running vertically (which means they are 12" in length) across the panel at 1" intervals.
- We used our Janome Even Feed foot adding a quilt bar to maintain an even distance. You could draw in the lines with a fabric pen or pencil (just make sure it is one that will wipe away or vanish with exposure to air or the heat of an iron as you are working on the right side of the fabric). You could also use painter's tape as guide lines.
- When the quilting lines are complete, lay the panel on your work surface with the interior facing up.
- Using a see-through ruler and a fabric pen or pencil (again make sure it's one that can be easily removed), measure 3" from the finished edge along both sides as well as the top and bottom.
- When all four lines are complete, you will have drawn a rectangular box in the center of the quilted panel.
- One at a time, fold in each edge along the drawn line and press well to form a crease.
- Fold up one side and the bottom along their crease lines. When the top edges align, a point should form to the outside. It will look like an inverted triangle - or for those less geometrically inclined, a pretty little wing. Pin in place.
- Repeat to create a "pretty little wing" at each of the four corners.
- Stitch from the top to the bottom of the wing to form the actual corner seam. Our corner aligned with one of our quilting lines, so we used this as a stitching guideline.
- Repeat for the remaining three wings.
- When all the corners are sewn, fold the wings toward the center of each long side (the 8" sides) and pin in place.
- Following manufacturer's instructions or our own handy Metal Grommet Tutorial, insert a grommet at the point of each wing.
NOTE: You are going through multiple layers, so when cutting the hole for the grommet, it works best to cut one layer at a time.
- If you are making fabric ties, find the two 1" strips.
- Fold one strip in half lengthwise and press to form a crease.
- Open up the strip, wrong side up, so the crease line is visible.
- Fold in each raw edge to meet in the center at the crease line and press in place.
- Fold one more time along the original crease line, encasing the raw edges and aligning the folded edges. Press flat.
- To create the finished ends, slightly unfold the tie and turn in each raw end about ⅜", hiding the raw edge to the inside of the tie. Re-fold the tie and pin in place.
- Slightly lengthen the stitch.
- Edgestitch along the folded edges to secure.
NOTE: Because this is such a narrow tie, you may want to thread a hand sewing needle and pull it through one end of the tie. Hold on to the thread tails to help start the tie moving under the presser foot.
- Repeat to create the second tie.
- Insert the tie (or the ribbon if opting not to create fabric ties) through one grommet from the front, around the inside, and bring it back out from back to front through the opposite grommet.
- We machine tacked the center of the tie at the inside of the box, hiding the tack along one of the quilting lines. This is optional, but does help to keep the ties even when making the bow.
- Repeat to insert the opposite tie. Then tie both into pretty bows.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild