Projects

All Buttoned & Stitched Flatware Pockets

Created By:

Heidi Proffetty

Skill Level: Advanced

Learn how to make customizable flatware pockets with canvas fabric, perfect for any special occasion or everyday use. Discover tips for sewing canvas with a sewing machine, as well as creative ideas for accenting stitching and embellishing the project with buttons. Gather your materials, including canvas fabric, novelty and linen accent fabric scraps, embroidery floss, and buttons, and get ready to create a beautiful addition to your holiday table arrangement.

 

Skill Level: All Levels

Makes: Set of 4 Utensil Holders

Finished size: 9.75” x 5”

Time: 1 Afternoon

Janome Supplies Required
Fabric and Notions Required
  • 1 yard of either a plain or colored light to medium weight canvas fabric for the front and back of utensil holder
  • 4 scrap pieces of 3.75” x 3.75” sheer linen fabric for pocket embellishment
  • 4 scrap pieces of 3.5” x 3.5” cotton fabric novelty print for pocket embellishment
  • Fabric marking pen
  • Standard quilting ruler, cutting mat & rotary cutter
  • Scissors
  • Clover mini clips work best for canvas fabric
  • Straight pin to hold embellishments
  • All-purpose polyester or cotton 40 wt. thread for construction
  • Coordinating thread for sewing embellishments
  • Iron & Ironing surface
  • Assorted coordinating buttons for embellishment
  • DMC embroidery floss coordinating colors
  • Embroidery or hand sewing needle size #3
  • Elmer’s washable glue or seam tape
  • Topstitch needle size 90/14 for embellishments

Note: If working with cotton fabric in lieu of canvas, you will need 1 yard of interfacing for front and back cotton pieces.

Instructions

 

 

 

 

Preparation is Key

Like with practically every sewing task, we need to do a little preparation for this project before we begin. Because canvas is a heavier fabric, you're going to need to use a specific thread and needle for the sewing machine in addition to making several machine adjustments.

First things first, this design should fit most standard silverware sizes, but it never hurts to break out the measuring tape and make any changes to the pattern if needed.

For this project we are working with a medium weight canvas which is similar to medium weight denim, a 40-weight cotton, polyester, or cotton-wrapped polyester thread will most likely be your best selection.

There’s no such thing as one needle that works for every type of sewing project. As with any thicker fabric, sewing canvas requires a stronger needle, one that has a stronger shank and a pointy, slightly rounded tip that can penetrate the fabric without bending, deflecting or breaking is essential. The eye of the needle also needs to accommodate the thickness of your thread. Jeans needles in sizes 90/14 or Janome's purple tip needles, are two nice choices.

My machine has automatic tension, which means it has built-in sensors that detect the thickness of the fabric and adjust the foot pressure automatically. If your machine does not offer an automated tension option, you may need to adjust the tension manually. Heavier threads and materials require significantly less tension, letting your fabric feed more smoothly through the machine.  If your machine is having trouble feeding your fabric, the presser foot is probably pushing down on the fabric too hard, preventing the feed dogs from feeding the fabric. By reducing the presser foot pressure, you are releasing the feed dogs and letting them do their job.

Because you are sewing through many layers of fabric, a walking foot is key. A walking foot evenly feeds your top and bottom layer of fabrics. I'm using a Janome Continental M7 sewing machine, which has a special system for uniformly feeding fabric from the top and bottom. It's called the AcuFeed Flex feeding system. Used with the HP2 foot, which has excellent visibility and is ideal for precise topstitching. It firmly holds the fabrics in sync with the feed dogs. It’s paired up with the Professional Grade (HP) straight stitch needle plate. By combining these sewing components, I am able to achieve perfect, professional looking topstitch results.

A hump jumper (a button shank foot) or even a wedge of folded fabric can become your new best buddy in no time. It balances your foot when beginning to sew heavier fabrics or when approaching a thicker seam. Because the front of the presser foot is already lifted when you start stitching thick material, place the hump jumper beneath the rear of the presser foot to level it from front to back. This will guarantee that you don’t get stopped or locked up as you take those first initial few stitches while also keeping the fabric moving underneath the foot.

Canvas is a tightly woven, heavier cotton fabric; therefore, a somewhat longer straight stitch length is needed. A stitch length of 3.0 to 3.5 can help keep the material moving without stopping the foot and stitching in one spot, as well as give you a nicer, more professional-looking finish.

After you've set up your sewing machine to sew, don't forget one of the most important steps is to slow the speed of your sewing way down and especially when you do back stitches. On some machines, you can adjust the speed manually with your foot controller, or there may be a slider level, dial, or setting on the sewing machine itself to reduce the machine's speed. And, of course, always perform some tests before you dive into making your project.

Pre-washing your canvas can prevent shrinkage and can soften the fabric somewhat, making it a bit easier to work with. Another great tip for storing canvas fabric is to keep it rolled rather than folded to prevent creases.

Keep in mind that while the simplest method for sewing this project may be stitching together two layers of canvas and turning the material right side out. Clipping and poking out the corners of a thick canvas or even a medium weight fabric can be challenging to produce really nice-looking results. Therefore, I have two recommendations for you: either continue using the canvas and try the technique I describe in the instructions that follow, or swap out the canvas with a lighter more pliable cotton fabric that has been interfaced. 

 

 

Cutting the Fabric

Prepare 4 sets of the following:

Cut 2 strips of canvas, one measuring 16″ x 5.5″ and the other 15.5” x 5.5”.

Cut 1 piece of 3.75” x 3.75” sheer linen fabric, straight and on grain for embellishment

Cut 1 piece of 3.5” x 3.5” cotton fabric novelty print for embellishment

A good tip here! Use the transparency of your quilt ruler to fussy cut the perfect section of novelty fabric to use for your project.

 

Preparing the Canvas

Using a fabric marking pen, mark a ¼” seam. Fold and press the lengthwise edges in ¼” for both pieces. Use mini clips instead of pins to hold the seams. You can also use small dabs of Elmer’s washableglue to set the seam or use some seam tape.

 

Prepare one of the shorter ends in a similar fashion.

 

Take both canvas pieces, putting them wrong sides together and align the edges carefully and use mini clips to secure 3 finished edges.

For the other shorter unfinished end, fold the ½” raw edge over the other raw edge, encasing it. Secure the end with clips and edge stitch.

On the shorter end you just stitched, measure down 5 ½” and using a fabric marking pen draw a line indicating where the fold will be.

 

Preparing the Pocket Design

Measure and use your fabric marker, draw a 4.25” by 4.25” square on the right side or the front side of the folded pocket about ½” down from the edge stitching. You can use a piece of pre-cut cardstock as a visual template for positioning your desired layout.

To create the hand-stitched border accent, we will need 6 strands of embroidery floss, which cannot really be sewed using a sewing machine. However, here's an interesting technique to try: remove the top and bottom threads from your sewing machine. Next, install your walking foot or HP2 foot and HP needle plate, increase the stitch length to 5 mm. Stitch out your square starting with your needle positioned exactly in any of the four corners of your drawn square. The needle will leave holes in the fabric that you can now use as a guide to hand-stitch your border using thicker embroidery thread.

Using a size #3 hand sewing or embroidery needle, hand-stitch your accent border.

Here's another creative idea! Do a second inner border of stitched perforations and use both borders to then create a zigzag or Kris cross pattern for your hand stitched design.

Using your pre-cut novelty fabric, fold the edge in ¼” to the wrong side and press all four sides.

Using your pre-cut linen piece, pick and remove 1 or 2 strands of the thread at a time, until you achieve a frayed look about ¼” in on all four sides.

Center your frayed linen and novelty fabric onto the center of the marked square on the pocket. Pin in place. Use a standard presser foot or try the open toe satin stitch foot for optimal visibility. Set your stitch length to 1.8 mm. Edge stitch all four sides of the novelty fabric.

Hand sew the accent buttons. Being creative is a lot of fun here. Arrange the buttons as you see fit, far apart or close together. Use a variety of button styles, sizes, and colors to fit your project, or use matching buttons, try a larger and smaller button stacked together, or go crazy and decorate your buttons with thread! Isn't this a lot of fun?

 

Finishing the Project

Fold your embellished pocket up about 4 ½” from the top edge. Look at the overall appearance of your flatware holder to make sure where the fold sits properly and looks nice. Flip the pocket open and out of the way, measure down 5” from the top shorter end, using a marking pen, draw a reference line.

 

Switch back to your walking foot or HP2 foot and HP needle plate. Set your stitch length to 3.0, starting at the reference line. Align your foot with the edge of the fabric and, if possible, adjust the needle position to the right. As you reach the top edge, check the marks on the needle plate and on your foot (if you have them) to help you stop your needle at the perfect position to turn the corner. Leave your needle in the fabric and lift the presser foot, turn your fabric, place the wedge or hump jumper under the backside of your presser foot, this levels the foot, stitch those first few stitches with ease, remove the wedge and continue edge stitching across the top and up the other side ending at the marked line. Back stitch at the beginning and end.

Fold your embellished pocket back into position again, 4 ½” from the top edge. Use clips to secure the pieces. Here is when the hump jumper's benefits and your sewing machine will truly shine as you stitch through a lot of thick layers at once. Once more, position the wedge behind the presser foot. Begin carefully edge stitching the pocket's three sides. Using the same backstitching and corner-turning techniques as before.

And you're finished! All that remains is for you to fill your beautiful flatware pouches with your pretty silverware and show your gorgeous work on the table. Your guests will be totally amazed that YOU made these!

Happy Sewing and Quilting!

Heidi

Everyone is Talking about All Buttoned & Stitched Flatware Pockets
Reviews


Tako
Beautiful
Wednesday, November 23, 2016

cpindzola
Around the Table Dresden Placemats
Saturday, December 17, 2016

I like the concept, but the directions are "sloppy." Nowhere in the supply list does it mention the felt or the batting (how much?). Also, I would never use a high loft batting in a placemat, or a table runner, as I think that it would be too unstable for a glass. The next time I make these, I will cut out the batting (I use flannel) and spray baste it to the wrong side of the Dresden plate before I put the Dresden plate on the felt to cut out. I have not yet washed the finished placemat, and am hoping that the single layer of felt does not curl up, or become distorted after washing/drying.
Txmaid
Fun Great Gift!
Tuesday, February 21, 2017

MargieARK
Teatime Quilted Tablecloth
Friday, February 24, 2017

I made this today but your cutting directions need to be changed. You only need 4 of color 1 and color 3 4.5 squares for the triangles. Also the inner border, you only need 2 cuts as WOF is long enough to cut each in half to fit the sides.
MickelSews
Great Machine
Wednesday, August 30, 2017

I've had this machine for only a week now. I bought it used from a lady who makes her own clothes, but she no longer needed the machine. During the purchase, she noted that she is almost sad that it's better to give it away because of how well the machine performed. (I also bought it along side a computerized machine of another brand.} She demoed the machine for us, showing it worked and gave us everything (including the box it came in!) She took amazing care of this machine. I have used it a few times now, and the directions for threading were easy to follow (albeit my hands are quite large so the lower looper was a pain, but that is no fault to the machine or brand.) And I recommend this machine to anyone who wants to learn to serge and wants a machine that can grow with them. I will happily use this machine time and time again.
rvstan
S9 Review
Sunday, February 25, 2018

I love, love, love my S9! It's sews and embroiders beautifully and it's simplicity of use amazes me. I would recommend this machine for both a beginner and an experienced seamstress. If I would ask anything of Janome it would be to upgrade the programming to run a larger hoop size. I understand that it can't get much wider but there is most definitely room for it to go longer. That is the only limitation of this machine.
pjmnana
PJMNana
Monday, February 26, 2018

I purchased a Memorycraft 15000 a few years ago and it was the best purchase I ever made! This machine can do just about anything you would would ever want! I love the capability of using the Acuedit app to set up my embroidery pattern on my Ipad and then download it to the machine! I love how my embroidery looks upon completion and I love all the good lighting it has to light up your workspace. That way you don’t need to worry about where to set up your machine. It also has plenty of room to do machine embroidery on any size quilts! There are many decorative stitches from which to choose that are outstanding! It’s hard to choose which one to use! There are so many great features it is hard to decide what I love the most. If you want to buy only one machine to last a lifetime, I would recommend this one!
KLWash
S9 Review
Sunday, February 24, 2019

The S9 is amazing. I learned to sew by hand when I was just 5 and in my grandmothers way as she was quilting. I took seeing classes in high school until they would no longer let me sign up. The S9 makes me appreciate my current skills as well as motivate me to want to learn more. This machine is awesome.
SewSueMe2002
Horizon Memory Craft 15000
Thursday, November 19, 2020

My Janome Horizon Memory Craft 15000 is fantastic! I love, love, love this machine! When I came across the Eye for and Eye embroidery design today, I wanted to make it. However, the embroidery file is missing. Nothing downloads when I select the download button. Please help!
Jillfmischo
Treat Bag fun!
Monday, August 16, 2021

I made the Halloween treat bag for my new granddaughter and I’m sure it will last for years. No embroidery machine so I appliquéd the lettering. Need a little more skirt fabric for a better gathered look, and I used thin double-bias tape for the skirt hem, over edge stitch on skirt sides. I’m pleased with my results!
elenaz
Very helpful tutorial
Wednesday, October 25, 2023

I want to say thank you for teaching me this method of applique. I was able to do it with a small letters. This method is the best so far from all of those I've seen and tried.
plonkar
So useful
Thursday, November 30, 2023

I'd like to express my gratitude for teaching me this appliqué method. I successfully applied it with small letters, and, so far, it's the most effective among all the methods I've seen and tried.

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