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Fast Fridays: Special Occasion Cutlery Pockets

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A popular trend when planning party table settings is to corral your cutlery in their own little pockets. They hold everything you need in one handy unit and add a bit of flair to the overall look of the table décor. Because they're self-contained, you can use the pockets with placemats, tablecloths or simply line them up on the table buffet style. 

Our Fast Fridays projects are all about whipping up something wonderful in no time at all, and these really fit the bill. We made all three of our samples in under two hours from cutting out the panels to tying the final knots… and we have to stop and take pictures! You should be able to whip out each one in about 20-30 minutes.

The Supplies list and Getting Started cut list below show you what’s needed for one pocket. Of course, it’s hardly a special occasion if you only need one pocket! But, by knowing what’s needed for one, it’s easy to multiply and plan your cutting layout to make however many you need. Buy in bulk, set up an assembly line, and you’ll have dozens of matching pockets in no time at all. 

We went classic with our color combo, choosing a natural linen with a tuxedo stripe black and white ribbon. It would be perfect for a rustic wedding or a special anniversary dinner. But, you could just as easily go color-block bright or choose a novelty print for a special party theme. We do recommend staying with two lighter-weight fabrics for the exterior and lining, otherwise the layers for the final edgestitching might become too thick to handle smoothly. 

If your party is happening outside, these are an especially great idea. They keep the napkins from blowing away and the flatware clean. They also make it easier to shuttle utensils to and from the kitchen. Load them up, stack them up, carry them out. 

We tested our pockets with standard plastic flatware and show how a napkin can be inserted into the pocket with the cutlery or slipped behind the ribbon at the back to free up more room within the main pocket. 

Each Cutlery Pocket finishes at approximately 3½" wide x 6" high.

Do you have a suggestion for a Fast Fridays Project? We’d love to hear from you. Leave us a comment below or email your idea to info@sew4home.com.

If you like these “dining pockets,” you may also like our Flatware Pockets for Outdoor Dining and our Picnic Placemats with Flatware Pockets.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

NOTE: The quantities below are for ONE flatware pocket. Bear in mind that our cuts are 4½” x 13, so you would use the entire height of an eighth of a yard. If you are worried about your cutting accuracy, figure for ¼ yard Or, as mentioned above, add up the panels for all the pockets you’ll be making to get a total amount of fabric needed.

Getting Started

  1. From EACH of the two fabrics, cut ONE 4½" wide x 13" high rectangle.
  2. From the interfacing cut ONE 3½" x 12” rectangle.
  3. Cut the ribbon into ONE 4½" length and TWO 9” lengths.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

  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. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse in place.
  2. Still working with the front piece, find the three lengths of ribbon and position them on the fabric panel. The 4½” length goes at the bottom with the outer edge of the ribbon sitting 2” up from the bottom raw edge of the fabric. 
  3. The two 9” lengths sit 2” down from the top raw edge of the fabric. Again, it’s the outer edge of the ribbon that sits at the 2” position as shown in the photo below. Pin all the ribbons in place.
  4. Fold the panel wrong sides together, aligning all the raw edges, just to double check that your top ribbon lengths are perfectly aligned with your bottom length. Adjust and re-pin if necessary.
  5. Baste the ribbon in place, staying close to the raw edge of the fabric panel. 
  6. Pin the tails of the top ribbon lengths at the center of the panel to keep them well out of the way of the outer seam line.
  7. Find the lining panel. Place the front panel and lining panel right sides together. Pin all around, leaving an approximate 2” opening for turning along one side near the bottom. We left our opening just above the horizontal ribbon, marking it with a set of double pins.
  8. Re-set the stitch length to normal. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch around all four sides. Remember to pivot at each corner and to lock your seam at either side of the 2-3” opening. 
  9. Clip the corners. And, if using a fabric prone to raveling, such as linen, finish the seam allowance. We used a pinked finish. Check out our four-part series for more information about common machine sewn seam finishes.
  10. 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, chopstick or point turner.
  11. Pull the upper ribbons out to either side. 
  12. Press flat, pressing in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam. Pin the opening closed if need be. Ours stayed flat and flush without pinning.
  13. Fold the pocket in half so all the seamed edges are flush. Your ribbons should also line up perfectly front to back.
  14. Pin in place. Your top ribbons should be pulled out to either side. 
  15. Attach a Walking or Even Feed foot or engage your machine’s built-in fabric feeding system. We used the built-in AcuFeed™ Flex fabric feeding system on the Janome Skyline S7. You are working on the edge of some thicker layers, so we do strongly recommend the correct foot be used for the best results.
  16. Slightly lengthen the stitch. Edgestitch both sides. These seams will be visible, 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 knot to secure.
  17. Press flat.
  18. Tie the upper ribbons into a knot with the ribbon tails facing up and down.
  19. Trim away the excess ribbon from each end so your knot resembles a bow. 
    NOTE: Why didn’t we just start with shorter ribbon lengths? Because it’s very hard to tie a pretty knot with stubby little ribbon tails. You’ll get a better look with longer tails that you can then trim to fit within the finished panel. 

Contributors 
Project Design: Alicia Thommas   
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Liz Johnson

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