The folks at C&T just sent me a package of the beautiful new hand-dyed, prewashed, Kraft-Tex. (Please note that they provide this to me with no obligation and I do not get a kickback if you buy it. However, if your local quilt shop doesn’t carry it, you can get it directly from C&T here.)
The denim blue called to me first, and I needed a little tray to go beside my machine. Unless my tools are “corralled” they tend to roll or bounce off the table when I sew. The fabric tray I’ve been using was looking a little tired (the sides had sort of collapsed) and I thought Kraft-Tex would be a good material for making a sturdier tool tray.
I made a prototype from cardboard first to figure out the best size and shape for my tools. Here are instructions for making the tray in case you want one, too:
Cut the Kraft-Tex 6-1/2″ x 8″ and mark (with a heat-erasable pen) 1″ in from each side. Put a #70 needle in the sewing machine, lengthen the stitch a little, and remove the thread. Stitch around the central rectangle without thread to mark the edges of the tray base and kind of score the Kraft-Tex so it will fold well on those lines. Fold and press along these lines–it’s fine to fold all the way to the edge even though it wasn’t necessary to sew that far.
This picture was taken later in the process, but you can see where the material was pressed along the fold lines. You can press either with or without steam; both work fine without distorting the Kraft-Tex.
Select your lining fabric and cut it 1″ bigger than the Kraft-Tex in both length and width; my lining fabric was cut 7-1/2″ x 9″. Fuse the lining material to some stiff interfacing, then apply Heat’n’Bond or your favorite fusible web to the interfacing.
Once all of that is fused, cut the lining down to 7″ x 8-1/2″ using either a pinking blade in your rotary cutter or your pinking shears. Or, if you don’t want a decorative edge, just cut the edge straight. NOTE that if you use a pinking blade in your rotary cutter, you will want to cut on the back side of your cutting mat because the blade can kind of chew up the mat. Also, the blade will chew up the edge of your ruler, so either use an old ruler or cut about 1/8″ away from the ruler.
Now lay the Kraft-Tex down on the fusible side of the trimmed lining. Note that Kraft-Tex has a slightly different texture on each side, but there is no “right” side–use the one you like best. Get everything centered, then turn the decorative edge to the outside and clip it in place with something heatproof. Fuse the edges, then the central part of the lining, to the Kraft-Tex. Again, you can use steam if it helps.
Now put some thread in the machine! Sew around the edges of the tray bottom where you previously pressed the sides up. I marked the edges again with heat-erasable marker to make this easier. This step will help hold the lining in place. Edge stitch around the upper edge of the tray as well
Now don’t do what I did 😉 I mistakenly cut out all 4 corners on my first box. Just cut one side of each corner to create a flap that can be used to hold the box together!
Here’s how the corner will look finished–see the flaps?
Fold and press the box along the stitching lines bordering the bottom. Fold the flaps in and glue or sew them in place. I glued them, then sewed a decorative X in each corner. I used the awl shown in the picture to punch little holes for the needle to go through when I made the X stitches by hand.
And that’s it! The resulting tray looks plenty sturdy to hold those little tools beside my machine. And besides, it was fun to make something new!
What have you been up to?
This is such a great idea. I attended a sewing class once, where the instructor advised making a quilted block to use as a mat for holding the tools frequently used while sewing. This worked, in that, I always had them where I needed them. However, the sharp tools tend to fall off the mat, and I am so accident prone lately, that I think I need a container to hold these tools. Thanks for the idea. As for what I am doing lately…I am trying to figure out what to do with bins overflowing with scraps and remnants. Any ideas are welcomed.
My very favorite for scraps is to sort them by color and make single-color scrap blocks.
I almost ditched two whole bins of scraps before I caught myself! I like the idea of sorting them. Thank you. I think my granddaughter would love to help me sort.
If you look under the tutorial section of my main menu it will have an option for “slabs in 4 colors” that will show you what I mean; there are links to other scrap projects too.
I’ll be sure to check it out. Thanks.
Wow that quick and functional! I like the scalloped edges!
I learned about using the pinking blade from Laura Wasilowski, who is a fun teacher.
Super idea for using the Craftex — and I love the scalloped edges on the outside. Good advice on using a cutting mat and ruler that are old (it really does leave quite the mark)–but it does make it quite decorative! Enjoy your new tray!