Thursday, October 3, 2013

Hanging Mail Organizer Tutorial

Hanging Mail Sorter Tutorial

(Unless specified, measurements are in inches)

¾ Yard of Background Fabric
½ Yard of Pocket Fabric

Coordinating Thread
16x20 Cardboard Canvas
1 Piece of Foam Board at least 16x20, and a second piece 14x15

Rotary Cutter
Basting Spray
Elmers Spray Glue

Screw in Hooks ( I found mine at Hobby Lobby in the Wood Crafting section)
Photo Hangers
A Few Spare Hours

WELCOME, to my first tutorial. If I seem to miss something or you have any questions, don't hesitate to comment and ask. It has been a hectic couple of weeks, I started another class at school, spent a day in the emergency room, burned one of my fingers to a crisp, and have gone back to work. But I did spend a weekend making this Mail Sorter, which I am loving so far. If anyone makes one I would love to see any changes you make and share them on my blog. :) 

Diving right in...

Step One: Gather your supplies in one spot. In a box, on a table, something. I lost my hooks twice.

Step Two: Cut your Background Fabric about 3 inches bigger (on each side) than your canvas.
Since my canvas was 16x20, I cut my background fabric 22x26.

Step Three: Cut two pieces of batting exactly the size of your canvas. 

Step Four: Baste your pieces of batting together, and then baste them as close to the center of your background fabric as you can get. This can be frustrating, but trust me, it's worth it to make it close to center, because you will need that extra fabric to stretch around the back of the canvas.

Step Five: Quilt your background however you like. I chose to do a diamond pattern by sewing straight diagonally two directions, roughly the same width apart.

Step Six: Set your quilted background aside, and cut three pocket sizes. This is ultimately your choice,

and based totally on your needs. 

We personally don't need 5-6 pockets so I cut 2 of the following sizes of my secondary fabric.
8X6 6X11 15x16

Step Seven: Sew 3 sides of the two smaller pocket pieces, right sides together.
On the larger pocket, only sew the 2 shorter sides together, because in the middle is a piece of
foam core used to stabilize it.

Step Eight: Turn right sides out and iron.

Step Nine: Here is when I started playing with placement, deciding what the pockets would be used for

and what positioning I liked.
I had only decided that I needed a big one for magazines, and larger envelopes, my work schedule.
I knew that I wanted one for card sized envelopes, and business/appointment cards.
And of course, had to have a place to put the bills until they are paid and can be filed or thrown


Step Ten: Once you decided where you want to place them, carefully flip them down and pin them, and sew the bottom side. You know, the side you didn't sew shut earlier.

Step Eleven: Nap. Just kidding.
Now you need to cut a strip 3 inches wide and as long as your fabric, it might require making
two strips. Turn right sides together, sew, and turn right sides out. You know what to do next.
Pick up that iron and iron your tube flat.

Step Twelve: Cut your strip into 4, 3 inch strips, and press them in half so they look like little books.
These are going to hold the sides of your big pocket,

Step Thirteen: Now is when you hate me, because this part takes a little working on, and a lot of pinning. I easily spent 20 minutes positioning and repositioning these stupid tabs, but making the pocket like this is necessary if it is going to hold more than one magazine or big envelope.

Place the tabs, folded side pointing out, under your big pocket and pin only the bottom part
of each tab to the backing. You probably want about a ¾ of an inch underneath the pocket panel
on the bottom tabs, and ¼ inch on the top.
Sew the tabs to the backing.

Step Fourteen: Sew the tabs to the pocket.
I'm sorry! I know it's frustrating, but it can be done and look well, I promise.
Just use those pins!

Step Fifteen: Admire what you have done so far! It's a lot, and you are almost done!

Step Sixteen: Take your small piece of foam board and slip it into the big pocket. If you hold the panel
up at this point you can see why it helps. It makes that pocket stiff and sturdy instead of saggy.
Fold your fabric over the top of the foam core and clip it.

I used Wonder Clips, but clothes pins or binder clips will work too, so long as it holds the fabric in place.

Step Seventeen: Since I have a fancy new sewing machine, I was able to easily sew through the foam
board and secure it. You might have to hand sew it, or just glue it. If gluing I would probably
use the Elmer's spray glue, or mod podge so that you don't risk spraying glue on the rest of your project.

Step Eighteen: Cut a piece of foam board to the size of your canvas, I did not do this, but instead had 2 pieces because I was just making this up as I went and that is what I had on hand. 
Glue them to the front of your canvas using the Elmer's Spray Glue.

Step Nineteen: Wrap your fabric mail organizer around the canvas and foam board and staple the crap out of it! On the BACK side!!!! 

Step Twenty: Take a breather, and then take your hooks and screw them in the front, by hand, in whatever way you want. You can see that mine are in the bottom. They have been holding keys quite well.

Step Twenty-One: Screw hangers on the back.

Step Twenty-Two: Hang.

Enjoy your newly organized mail. :)

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