The Amazing A-Frame Organizer with cut-out handles and pleated pockets is going to change your life! Which room do you need it in? Your sewing room, living room, kids’ play room, bathroom, baby’s room? Yes, yes, yes, and yes. And if your fat quarters are on the slightly generous side, you might even be able to make this free sewing project with fat quarters!
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Lots of you have said that you wanted to use this handy organizer in the living room to hold your glasses, remotes, and other important items that always get lost in the couch. I think that’s an awesome idea.
However, I’m going to use at least one of my A-Frame Organizers as a take-along sewing kit! Maybe if I ever get to go on another sewing cruise, sigh. The pockets are perfect for holding all those little tools that I want to keep handy.
And the interior is the perfect size for fat quarters!
Did I mention that there are 6 interior pockets too?
Seriously, this might be my favorite sewing project ever.
Plus you are going to love the way I designed the handle flaps with a neat and tidy facing so the cut-out handles look great and you can’t see any traces of the snaps from the exterior of the organizer, which is a lot like a small bag.
Come to think of it, I think I’ll have to work on a bag design that incorporates these same cut out handles and flaps – they are so much fun, to sew and to carry!
Are you ready to sew an Amazing A-Frame Organizer with cut out handles? Let’s get sewing!
Amazing A-Frame Organizer (with cut-out handles) free sewing pattern
Finished size: approximately 8’’ tall, 10 1/2’’ wide, and 5 1/2’’ deep.
You will need:
1/2 yard cotton fabric for the organizer exterior and exterior pockets
1/2 yard cotton fabric for the interior and interior pockets
1/4 yard cotton fabric for the facings and bias binding
1/3 yard of flex foam stabilizer (such as ByAnnies Soft and Stable)
3/4 yard medium weight fusible interfacing (such as Pellon SF101)
fabric marking pen
Notes about materials:
Fat quarters will only work for the organizer exterior and lining if you have at least 11’’ x 22’’ of usable fabric. Some fat quarters are only 20’’ or 21’’ wide, so they won’t work.
Directional fabric is not suitable for the exterior or the interior of the organizer, however you can use it for the pockets and the facings..
You can get away with straight cut binding (not bias cut binding), but your corners won’t look as nice.
If you don’t want quilting on your organizer, you can use double sided fusible foam stabilizer – just fuse your main fabrics to both sides instead.
From the fabric(s) for your organizer exterior, cut:
1 rectangle 11’’ x 22’’ (main body piece)
2 squares 6’’ x 6’’ (side panels)
2 rectangles 9’’ x 16 1/2’’ (exterior pleated pockets)
From the fabric(s) for your organizer interior, cut:
1 rectangle 11’’ x 22’’ (lining body piece)
2 squares 6’’ x 6’’ (side panel linings)
2 rectangles 9’’ x 10 1/2’’ (interior slip pockets)
From flexible foam interfacing, cut:
1 rectangle 11’’ x 22’’
From fusible medium weight interfacing, cut:
2 squares 6’’ x 6’’ (for the side panels)
2 rectangles 4 1/2’’ x 16 1/2’’ (for the exterior pleated pockets)
2 rectangles 4 1/2’’ x 10 1/2’’ (for the interior slip pockets)
2 rectangles 3 1/2’’ x 10 1/2’’ (for the handle facings)
From the fabric for your binding, cut:
2 1/4’’ strips cut on the bias. Sew them together at an angle to make a strip at least 65’’ long.
You will also need to cut (from any fabric you like):
2 rectangles 3 1/2’’ x 10 1/2’’ (handle facings)
Quilting the Organizer Main Body Piece
1. Smooth out the 11’’ x 22’’ main body exterior piece over the flexible foam stabilizer piece and baste all the way around, 1/8’’ from the edges. Flip the piece over and baste the main lining fabric to the other side in the same way.
2. Quilt the exterior piece however you like! For this organizer, I quilted straight lines in a diagonal cross hatch pattern. For my previous one, I quilted free motion swirls.
3. Trim the quilted piece to 10 1/2’’ x 21 1/2’’. Seal the edges by sewing 1/8’’ from the edge all the way around again.
Apply the Fusible Interfacing
Fuse all interfacing pieces to the wrong side of the fabric.
1. Fuse the 4 1/2’’ x 10 1/2’’ interfacing pieces to the bottom half of the 9’’ x 10 1/2’’ pocket pieces.
2. Fuse the 4 1/2’’ x 16 1/2’’ interfacing pieces to the bottom half of the 9’’ x 16 1/2’’ pocket pieces.
3. Fuse the 3 1/2’’ x 10 1/2’’ interfacing pieces to the handle facing fabric pieces.
4. Fuse the 6’’ square interfacing pieces to the 6’’ square exterior side panel fabric pieces.
Make and Attach the Interior Pockets
1. Fold the interior pocket pieces in half (right sides together) with the 10 1/2’’ edges lined up. Pin.
2. Stitch along the 10 1/2’’ edge with a 1/4’’ seam allowance.
3. Turn the pocket pieces right side out and press flat.
4. Place the quilted main piece on your workspace running horizontally, with the lining side up.
Measure 8’’ from each short end and use the fabric marking pen to draw lines, as shown.
5. Turn the quilted piece vertically now. Place one of the pocket pieces on top with the bottom (seam) edge of the pocket piece aligned with the top marked line. Pin in place.
Stitch the pocket piece to the quilted main piece, sewing 1/4’’ from either side edge.
Turn the piece and stitch along the bottom edge of the pocket (close to the edge).
Now turn the quilted piece vertically with the opposite end up. Repeat step 5 to attach the remaining pocket piece in the same way.
Make and Attach the Exterior Pleated Pockets
1. Follow steps 1-3 above with the 9’’ x 16 1/2’’ exterior pocket pieces to make the 2 exterior pockets.
2. Use the fabric marking pen to draw 2 vertical lines on the exterior pocket pieces. Draw one line 5 1/2’’ away from each side edge.
3. Place the main piece on your workspace aligned vertically, right side up. Use the fabric marking pen to make two marks at the top end of the piece.
Each mark should be about 5’’ above the line of stitching (from sewing the bottom edge of the interior pocket to the other side) and exactly 3 1/2’’ from the side edges.
4. Place an exterior pocket piece on top of the main piece with the bottom edge of the pocket right on top of the line of stitching.
Then line up the vertical marked lines on the pocket piece with the marks that you drew about 5’’ above the stitching line. Place pins on the vertical lines to hold the pocket piece in place.
Note: The pocket piece will not be flat against the quilted piece. The vertical lines on the pocket piece are 5 1/2’’ apart, and the marks on the quilted piece are only 3 1/2’’ apart, so there will be a bump in the middle of the pocket piece.
Pin the side edges of the pocket piece against the side edges of the quilted piece with the raw edges aligned.
There should now be 3 bumps in your pocket piece.
5. Stitch along the two vertical lines that you drew on the pocket piece. Backstitch neatly at the top and bottom.
Tip: These lines will divide the interior pocket into 3 sections at the same time. Use bobbin thread that matches your interior pockets.
6. Stitch the edges of the pocket to the quilted piece. 1/4’’ from the edge.
7. Flatten each pocket by folding 1/2’’ pleats at each side. Don’t let the folds of the pleats extend over the lines of stitching. Place a pin on each pleat.
Tip: Don’t worry about measuring each pleat to make it perfect. Just flatten each pocket one at a time and try to make the pleats on either side of the pocket about the same size.
8. Stitch across the bottom edge of the pockets to secure the pleats.
Repeat steps 3-8 above to sew pleated pockets at the other end of the quilted piece. Make sure these pockets open toward the opposite end.
Make the Cut-Out Handles (and install the magnetic snaps)
1. Fold the bottom edge of the 3 1/2’’ x 10 1/2’’ facing pieces to the wrong side by 1/2’’ and press.
2. Use the fabric marking pen to make the following marks on the wrong side of each facing piece:
Draw vertical lines 3 1/2’’ from each side edge
Then draw horizontal lines that connect the two vertical lines and make a rectangle. The horizontal lines should be 1’’ from the top raw edge and 1’’ from the bottom folded edge.
Lastly, draw 2 small dots on either side of the rectangle in the middle. These dots should each be 2’’ from the side edge and 1 1/2’’ from the bottom folded edge.
3. Install the magnetic snaps where you marked the facing with dots:
Place the small backing disk over a marked dot to mark cutting lines through the holes on the disk.
Use a seam ripper or the point of your scissors to make small incisions on the cutting lines.
Insert the prongs on one snap end through the incisions from the right side
Place the backing disk over the prongs and fold the prongs outward to secure.
Repeat to attach 2 male snap ends to one facing and 2 female snap ends to the other facing.
4. Place one of the facing pieces against the right side of the main piece above the pleated pockets.
The 10 1/2’’ long raw edges should be aligned and the folded edge of the facing should be about 3/4’’ above the pleated pockets.
Pin the facing in place securely.
5. Stitch carefully around the rectangle formed by the marked lines.
6. Remove the pins. Fold the piece in half so you can make a small cut in the center of the rectangle.
Then unfold it and extend the cut to about 1/2’’ away from the short ends of the rectangle. From there make diagonal cuts to the corners of the rectangle without cutting the stitching.
7. Push the facing all the way through the opening that you cut. Carefully press the edges around the opening flat.
Pull the edges of the facing outward and place as many pins and clips around it to make it lay flat.
The 3 raw edges of the facing should be even with the raw edges of the main piece. The bottom folded edge on the facing should make a straight line about 3/4’’ above the interior pockets.
8. Stitch across the top edge to secure the facing, sewing a scant 1/4’’ from the edge.
9. Sew across the bottom edge of the facing close to the fold.
Tip: Make sure your bobbin thread matches the fabric on your organizer exterior.
Repeat steps to 4-9 above to sew a facing and cut out handle to the other side of the organizer.
10. Use the fabric marking pen and a medium sized spool of thread to mark curves at the corners. Trim all 4 corners to make them curved.
Note: my spool of thread was 1 1/2’’ in diameter.
Make the Side Panels
1. Place one of the 6’’ square exterior side panel pieces on your workspace wrong side up.
Make 4 marks:
2 marks on the top edge, 2’’ from each top corner
1 mark on either side edge, 2’’ below the top corner
2. Place a 6’’ lining side panel piece under the exterior piece that you just marked, so they are right sides together.
Place a ruler on top diagonally and slice off the corner between the two marks that are 2’’ away from the corner. Repeat to slice off the other corner too.
You should be cutting through 2 layers of fabric: the exterior piece and the lining piece, right sides together.
3. Pin the exterior and lining piece together, exactly as they are, right sides together.
Sew around the top and corner edges with a 1/4’’ seam allowance.
4. Trim away the extra fabric at the top corners. Turn the piece right side out so that the fabric wrong sides are together and press it flat.
Topstitch around the top sewn edge close to the edge.
Repeat to make 2 side panel pieces.
5. Place the organizer on your workspace with the lining side up.
Lay a side panel piece along one long edge of the main piece with the bottom raw edge of the side panel lined up with the raw edge of the main piece in between the two interior pockets. The lining side of the side panel should be against the lining of the organizer.
Important: If the side raw edges of the side panel overlap the interior pockets by more than 1/4’’ on each side, you will need to trim the sides of the side panel. Trim the sides evenly until when centered, the side panel overlaps the interior pockets by 1/4’’ on either side.
Pin the side panel to the main piece.
6. Sew the side panel to the main piece in between the interior pockets.
This means that you will start sewing 1/4’’ away from the bottom corner of the side panel and stop sewing 1/4’’ away from the opposite corner.
Use a 1/4’’ seam allowance.
Turn the organizer around and sew the remaining side panel to the opposite side in the same way.
Remember to trim the side edges of the side panel piece if necessary so the sides overlap the interior pockets by only 1/4’’, as before.
7. Fold the organizer so that you can pin or clip one side edge of a side panel piece lined up with the raw edge of the exterior over the interior pocket on that side.
Start sewing at the top edge of the panel piece and sew until you reach the corner where you started sewing the bottom edge of the panel. Use a 1/4’’ seam allowance.
8. Re-fold the organizer so that you can pin or clip, and then sew the other side edge of the panel to the organizer as well.
This is what the side of the organizer should look like.
So far so good!
Repeat steps 7-8 above to sew the sides of the opposite side panel.
Attach the Binding
I like to start sewing my binding on a side edge, even though this is not the easiest place to join the binding ends. If you wish, you may start sewing your binding along one of the top edges if you don’t mind having the ends joined there.
1. Fold the 2 1/4’’ x 65’’ strip of bias binding in half lengthwise and press.
To start, pin or clip the binding raw edges to one of the raw edges on the organizer, either next to a side panel or on the top edge over the facing.
2. Begin sewing on the side or top edge, leaving about 3’’ of binding free so you can join the ends.
You will need to shift and re-arrange the organizer over and over again to sew the binding on.
As you sew towards a lower corner as seen above, sew all the way into the corner of the side panel. Then stop with the needle down so you can turn and re-fold the organizer so that the bottom of the organizer lays flat against your sewing machine.
Then sew across the bottom edge of the organizer. In the photo above you can see me attach the binding along the bottom edge of the organizer right over the side panel.
A sewing stiletto will help you hold the binding in place as you sew.
After you sew into the other lower corner, stop with the needle down so you can re-fold and reposition the organizer again.
Work slowly so you can re-arrange the organizer as much as you need to. It helps to have the side that you are sewing flat against the sewing machine. There are 3 sides on the A-Frame Organizer (right, left, and bottom) so you’ll have to do a lot of shifting.
3. Stop when you are about 6’’ away from the place where you started sewing on the binding.
Bring the ends of the binding together and fold them back in the center. Crease the folds, and then trim away the extra binding 1/4’’ past the creases.
4. Place the cut ends of the binding right sides together and stitch with a 1/4’’ seam allowance.
5. Finger press the seam open and refold the binding.
Finish sewing the binding to the organizer.
6. Flip the binding around to the outside of the organizer. You can clip it in place if you like. Trim any bulky places if needed so that the binding fits evenly around.
Sew the binding down close to the folded edge. Go slowly, shifting and repositioning the organizer as much as you need to have neat binding.
And that’s it! Can you believe how Amazing your A-Frame Organizer is?
As always, I love to see the things that you sew using my free patterns and tutorials. Upload a picture to Instagram and tag me @sewcanshe or #sewcanshe so I can take a look!
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