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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Clever Catchall Tutorial

I'm posting another tutorial today, this time for a small container I call a catchall. It can catch whatever you'd like to put in it. I use mine to hold miscellaneous tools near my sewing machine, but it's also just the right size to hold a boutique-size box of tissues, or cotton balls, or balls of yarn, or embroidery threads, or... well, you get the picture. I made a bunch of these for my quilting retreat pals, and they seemed to be a hit, so I thought I'd pass it along. They do make nice gifts!

The Clever Catchall

I'm linking this up to the weekly #CreativeGoodness Linky Party that Darlene has going at QuiltShopGal. Since this is pretty fast and simple to make, I would consider it #KidFriendly for older children learning to use a sewing machine. If you choose, you could also use hand sewing and/or buttons to tack down the corners and flaps, which would be good for beginning sewers. All fabric cutting could be done ahead of time, or with scissors to make it even easier for children. I used my 15" square ruler and rotary cutter, so making this is super easy. You could use larger or smaller squares, adjusting the corner triangles to adjust the height and width of the finished piece. It's a fun thing to play with.

What you'll need:

  • Two 15" contrasting squares of  quilting cotton fabric, one for outside, 1 for inside
  • A 15" square of batting (I used a 14 1/2" square because my leftover scraps weren't quite big enough, but either size will work.)
  • Thread that contrasts with the inside fabric (I used Superior Threads Magnifico - it shows up nicely and I love the sheen
  • Sewing machine, pins
  • Buttons if you want to use them for tacking down the flaps
How To

Stack the fabrics as follows; Inside fabric right side up, Outside fabric wrong side up, and batting on top. Pin the layers together and sew 1/4" from the edge, leaving about 4" open at one side for turning.

After sewing, clip the corners and turn the square right sides out. Be sure you poke the points out. I use a Purple Thang, but you can use anything that works for you, providing it isn't so sharp you poke a hole in the fabric.

Press the square flat and make sure the opening is tucked in and pressed so that it is flush with the side. Top stitch all the way around the square. I did this twice because I like the look, but once will do. You could use a decorative stitch, if you like.This will close the opening you used for turning; no need to sew by hand.

Once the square is top stitched, fold it in half with the outside facing you., as below. You will mark the corners for sewing by making a mark 3 1/2" on either side of a folded corner and then drawing a line between them as in the photo.

Sew on these drawn lines to form the pouches at the corners.

When you have sewn both corners, fold the resulting pouch in half the other way, so that the seams you just sewed meet up at the middle. Then mark and sew the other two corners the same way.

You now have a box, but the flaps are sticking up. Fold them down and tack them. I chose to do this on the sewing machine using a decorative stitch, but you could sew a button on. With a fancy or playful craft button, this would be very effective.

Because I chose a decorative stitch, I wanted just one motif sewn. I can do that on my machine by starting to sew the stitch, then pressing the stop button (on my machine it's the second one down) and the machine will stop and tie off after making one motif. If you have this feature, it can be very helpful. I also used it to tack down the corners to that they aren't gaping open. It gives them more strength, so they can hold things like small scissors, tweezers, thread picks, stilettos, etc. This could also be easily done by hand.

Use this photo as a guide to determine where the tacking stitches should go. I just eyeball them, making sure the corner pocket stays straight and centered.

That's it, a finished Clever Catchall!


  1. Thanks for the tutorial! I like this one just to hold extra spools of thread.

  2. Lovely tutorial! I love a fabric that you have chosen for your catchall! Pattern is so fresh and floral.

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