Thursday, 6 February 2014

Tidy? Me? I will be now!

I am always fiddling with something or other. The Gretel of the crafting world. If ever I got lost would be able to find my way home. All I would need to do is follow the trail of little pieces of wool and cotton that I leave in my wake.

Andy is fairly resigned to it. They are even in the bathroom. He is not so amused when he sits on a needle that has been thrust in the chair when I am too busy to stop though.

Well, recently I visited a friend who has just taken up patchwork. One of her Christmas presents was a delightful sewing tidy companion. Or that's what I am going to call it anyway.

I was so taken by hers I thought I would make one when we arrived back in Spain. And I have. I love it and it is going to transform my slovenly crafting habits.

A bold statement indeed.

I have really enjoyed making it and in case you want to become a tidy little crafter like me I thought I would blog about it.

I was going to put a picture of the finished tidy first, but,that would kind of spoil the surprise.

So,instead let's look at what you need.

One rectangle of material measuring 44 cm x 31 cm. You could easily alter these measurements if you wanted a bigger size. I used a fairly sturdy upholstery cotton because I wanted it to be able to hold its shape without boning. The thought of asking for boning here in the little Spanish haberdashery did not fill me with confidence.

A second piece of fabric for the lining. I cut it the same size and just stitched a slightly larger seam so that it tucked easily inside the outer casing.
A nice bright contrast

Make the outside cylindrical bag first. Stitch along one side of the rectangle.


Fold the side seam to the middle and stitch the bottom seam.

Stitching lines

I wanted my crafting tidy to have a gusset at the base. So open the bag out at the bottom and make a corner. Measure 4 cms along either side of the triangular shape this fold has made and mark across with a pen. Do this on both corners of the base. If you look closely at the picture you can see both the side and bottom seams I had already machined.


Sew across the marked lines and trim off the pointy corners. Turn the bag to the right side and push out the gusset you have just made.

Work in exactly the same way with your lining material. By making the seams on the lining a little wider it tucks inside snugly.


I carefully machined just the top edge of the outer bag first to neaten.


Then I machined two rectangles measuring 24 cms x 10 cms with right sides facing.Turn them to the right side and I ironed them well to make them lie flat. Pin these inside the top of the tidy. These are the straps of your tidy. You will see the straps in position in the next but one picture.


Then carefully pin the lining inside the tidy turning the raw edge of the lining under as you pin. You could tack your work at this or any other point if you were not as slapdash as me!

Working slowly and carefully machine all around the top edge,thus securing the lining and the straps.

This way of working obviously left two lines of machining visible.

Lace to the rescue.


I wanted to disguise the stitching and prettify the top edge so I machined a sturdy piece of lace all around the top edge.The sturdier lace matched the material really well.


Now comes the inventive part. My friends lovely tidy had, I believe, a heavy coaster to act as a weight to balance the top part of the tidy. No such coasters here. So Andy thought outside the nine dots and came up with thus brilliant idea.

Take a plastic storage box. Fill it with heavy stones. Tape it up and hide it. What a brainwave. You need to work like this. And, I will say this is the fiddly bit. But, I was so excited to see it all coming together I just got on and did it!

Said stones. Lid on.. The other end of the straps stuck firmly to the top of the box and parcel tape around and around. Brilliant. Lid is secured, straps are secured and box is nice and weighty.

Now using a piece of fabric big enough to completely cover your box just like wrapping a Christmas present pin all your folds securely.
I found it easier to use a few tacking stitches to ensure neat folds.
Then using the tiniest stitches you can manage sew all around the seams created by wrapping your box.
Now,it's just the little bits to finish.

The box looked a little plain so I stitched a heart from a piece of vintage woollen blanket. I lightly stuffed it and sewed it on the top of the box.

The perfect pin cushion.



I was so pleased, but, realised it was missing one thing. I am always searching for my scissors and trusty crochet hook so I made a little pocket and hand stitched it into the back part of my tidy


And here we have it. A thingamajig. A whotsit. An invention. The creation to keep all my crafting pursuits tidy.

It sits on the arm of my chair ready for every scrap of monster quilting material, every end of wool and length of cotton.

I am so glad I went to see my friend and she showed me hers. It holds a secret of stones and tape but you would never know. And after all invention is the mother of necessity.

I hope you make one too. If you have any problems please email me. I would be delighted to help.



  1. This is so ingenious! What a great idea. I know you'll find it handy. I hope it helps you get your crafty self under control. :)

    1. Thank you so much Jennifer. We shall see :)

  2. Well done Linda you clever thing! I hope it solves all your yarn trail problems, trouble is my bits of yarn tend to stick to my clothes in places I can't see and they are revealed when I retrace my steps, unless they are following me of course.;)

  3. This is brilliant Linda!! You have a place for your needles and pins, scraps and fluff and scissors!! Your friend and you are very clever to have made these. I hope that the fluff bunnies all get captured in here and you don't have a crumb trail behind you any more. xx p.s. how is the toe? Much improved I hope. xx

  4. what a brilliant idea and thank you for doing your tutorial with the big reveal at the end xx

  5. You are amazing! That is a great idea! I have a little woven basket by my chair that I toss all my bits I cut off when sewing in ends and such. But yours is very imaginative! Have fun in the sun.. we're in the middle of a blizzard! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  6. I am so glad you all like it. So far it us working well and will soon become my best friend!!😊

  7. That's brilliant Linda, and you did such a fab job showing us how; thank you! Keep enjoying your holiday in the lovely sunshine and look after yourself! Hugs, Joy x

  8. Thanks for sharing a very clever idea...and your version is very attractive as well as being practical, Linda! The snow is blowing here! Hope you continue to enjoy the
    sun :) xx

  9. Oooh fab idea, off to raid the rockery lol

  10. Way cool!! I keep thinking of something similar for my armchair, but since it's not leather and wouldn't slip around, I've been thinking of making one that hangs on both sides of the arm. I laughed when I read about the pins in the arms because I do the same thing!! I try very hard to remember to take them out before I leave the chair though ;) Wendy x

  11. That's really clever, and such pretty fabric too. I bet you'll use it all the time now.

  12. Fabulous idea, Linda! I've been wanting to make myself one of these for ages. Right now I'm using small ORTS bags I've been gifted for all my thread ends and material bits......I even have the fabric to match my chair.........I should get on it one of these days.....I like the name ' a Tidy'.

  13. Cute and handy bag you made! I never would have thought to put pink with that beautiful fabric but it works! I love it!

    I found you from the comment you left on my blog. Thanks for stopping by for a visit! :-)

  14. Good idea, little inside pocket is a great idea too! Interesting fabric, where did you get it?


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