Sewing Projects

Armchair Organiser

I had the foresight to take some pictures before wrapping my gran’is Christmas present, so can proudly show you the armchair organisers I made for her.  Hooray!

Gran tends to hang plastic bags off the end of her armchair arms, shoves important things down the side of the chair cushion or in one of the many handbags that she keeps about her person. Mostly this results in a lot of rummaging about for her pen or bag of sweets or remote control. My dad suggested that an organiser with pockets could be useful, I agreed and then panicked a bit about how to make it.

This is how I made it:

  • I measured the length of material I would need. This was one side of the armchair, over the top of the arm, down again, across the seat of the chair and then up, over and down the other arm. I genuinely can’t remember the length but it was about 1.5metres all in, including seam allowance (guffaw! I sound like I know what I’m on about!). The organiser will go under the cushion of the seat so that it can be anchored in pl
  • iace.
  • width, I went for about 40cm. Enough for a wide enough pocket and about the width if the armchair arm.
  • i doubled the width (plus a wee bit) so that the material would be double sided. I planned to use the same oilskin like cloth as the changing mat to make sure the organiser could be kept clean more easily.
  • once the material was cut, I folded it over right side to right side. I sewed around one width and one length, leaving an open end so I could turn the material right side out again.
  • Once turned right side out, I tucked the edges of the open width in and pinned. To make sure the stitching was secure, I sewed all the way round the edge of the organiser, it neatened the edges up and closed off the previously open end width.
  • to add pockets, I cut extra panels of fabric, single sided. I matched the width of the organiser, plus an extra cm all the way round so that I could stitch it to the organiser. To give a clean edge to the top of the pocket, I added bias binding. Once that was added, I pinned the pocket to the organiser, firstly by pinning the bottom edge of the pocket to the bottom of the organiser, then I could flip it up, tuck in the sides of the pocket and pin again. Then I stitched around the pocket (apart from the bias bound top edge obvs).
  • repeat for other end – v important to make sure the pockets are on the same side of the organiser. V important that…
  • done! Simple! Repeat in another colour!

the Pictures:

this is the organiser lovingly draped over and armchair.

Organiser pocket

Showing double sided nature of the organiser. Ooh.


The other organiser, pocket can be identified by the different coloured bias binding. Nice touch, isn’t it? Totally intentional…


The end. Time to wrap it now! (And hope that it passes muster from the fussiest person on earth. Merry Christmas, Gran.)

Baby products

Travel changing mat

With a baby due in the next year, I decided the thing I had to do in order to be really, truly, 100% prepared would be to make a travel changing mat. All the other stuff, that can wait, I’ve AGES to go. Next year!

Anyway, fully commited to being in denial, I headed to Dunelm Mill to buy some oilskin-like material. Most of the material is to be used to make an armchair organiser, but knew there would be plenty for the change mat. I chose a lovely pattern – white background with giant green apple print.  Unisex print but nice and bright.

First things first – how to make the mat? I took a guess on width and height to be honest. I cut the length I wanted but then added an extra half so that I could make a pouch pocket for wipes, and double the width, then folded it with the right sides facing and stitched all the way round apart from one corner so I could turn it right side out. I used a leather needle and strong white thread for all of this, not sure if necessary but it made me feel like a proper seamstress buying different machine needles.

once I had the right side out, (which was a bit of a struggle to be honest – I had completely underestimated how tough it would be to pull oilskin-like fabric through a little gap. I know. It’s obvious. But took me by surprise and I had to wrestle with it a wee bit) I tucked the open section in neatly, pinned it and then stitched it shut and, thinking why not, carried on all the way round the mat to give it a finished look.  This done, remember the extra half in length I added?, I then folded over one end by a quarter so as to make the pouch, pinned and stitched it.

Final thing to do was to add some bias binding. I have never used this before and only had a vague idea as to what to do. I underestimated how much I would need and only had enough to bind the two long edges. I know I should learn from this and actually measure things. But I probably won’t. Worse things happen at sea and all that… Anyway, I bought red bias binding as a contrast (which reminds me – a friend suggested I could make my own stuff. Reader, my immediate response was to laugh long and heartily. Make my own? Bwahahahahaha! The very idea… It’ll probably become my next obsession…) and set off trying to sew it on to the fabric. This was tricky – the oilskin-like material was pretty slippy and I struggled a bit to control it. This resulted in a pretty wobbly stitch line on the top bit of binding. But I finished it. Hooray.

pictures: folded mat – I added no padding to the mat as I wanted to make sure that I could fold it very small and shove it in a small handbag (ie giant MUM BAG)


You can see the binding here too, and the lovely print.

Next: unfolded, the full length. Look at that print! Love it. You can see where the pocket pouch is – I matched up the shape of the apples but not the pattern as it was important to me at the time to have an obvious head and foot section. I forget why it was so important…


finally: the pouch. It’s not deep, it will be big enough for a nappy or two and a pack of wipes if necessary. Because I folded over once I’d made the mat, it is all wipe clean (now this IS important!).


So there we go – one baby changing mat made. Using my own design and guessing a lot of the way, it took me maybe one afternoon to make, including watching The Family Stone on breaks…

D’you like it? Hope so!


Another “it’s been a while” post

I return from a year (more.?) of blog inaction. But I’ve still been making, baking, sewing and half heartedly knitting.  Fear not, dear reader, I will update with themed blog posts once I’ve taken pictures. The headlines are:

  • Baked cakes. Baked biscuits. Baked bread successfully for the first time ever.
  • last Christmas I made some fabric chains as decorations, this year I’ve made more. Have also made a tree decoration in the shape of a stocking.  Go me.
  • i sewed a fabric one room doll’s house for my daughter’s third birthday. I admit this was difficult. I cried, a lot, making this. She has never played with it.
  • i sewed my first top AND WORE IT. In public. Yeah, I did that.
  • I made a Frozen type dressing up outfit for my daughter. She BEGGED me to make it and the first parts were made by sewing turquoise fabric around her while she sang “do you want to build a snowman” at top volume. Second bits were added with her bellowing MORE SEQUINS at me. She cried the first time I made her wear the outfit. I think I need a new recipient for these things.
  • i have also been making a baby (32wks and counting) woo!
  • i adapted a pair of normal jeans into maternity jeans. Apart from a bit of swearing, this was fairly simple to do.
  • I’ve made a new travel changing mat. I am SO ready for the new baby now.
  • finally, I’ve made two armchair organisers for my gran so that she can stop hanging plastic bags off the end of her chairs.

All busy here then.  More posts to follow!

(if anyone is reading this, please do pop a comment on the blog. I love talking to myself but it’s more fun if I’m talking to someone else too!)