January Project – Rolling Organization 

This month’s project is about organizing. It can also be called a FanU Fat Eighths Project because of the materials it uses. 
Here is what I needed to organize. This is the Shaker bandbox I keep next to the couch for my everyday day sewing. This is my go to space for the odds and ends of project after project. The funny thing is, though it is my first and favorite box, I never lined it with special pockets for keeping organized. So, I am constantly digging through looking for little tools. Bandbox filled with messy sewing tools and odds &ends.

Here are the tools that I tend to dig for. Bodkins, stilettos, awls, a crayon, hairpins, crochet hooks, seam ripper – long skinny ones. (I did notice not a single one of my metal bodkins are in the box. Where they should be.)Assortment of antique and modern sewing tools.

The long, skinny nature of these tools makes a rolled case perfect for keeping them organized. Rolled cases show up for both sewing and travel in nineteenth century literature. This one will have lots of narrow pockets for each tool. 

Materials, aka FanU Fat Eighths Project 

  • 3 fat eighths cotton (18″x9″) (makes 2 rolls)
  • 1 1/4 yards 1/2″ or 1″cotton sateen (or 1 1/2 yards for 2)
  • Optional: 1/2 yard ribbon to tie with
  • 1 or 2 good movies 
  • A good cup of tea

Some time in the past year, I picked up this pack of fat eighths in reproduction prints at an estate sale of all places. It has moved around the sewing room from project basket to project basket. At one point I thought “quilt”. At another, I thought “doll clothes.” 

They seemed like just the pieces for this project. I hadn’t actually opened the pack. I was quite pleased to find how pretty some of these fabrics were, especially the green and blue 1830s print. 

I picked out three fat eighths.  This is one outside, one lining, and one pocket. 

I cut each piece in half lengthwise. This makes 6 pieces 4 1/2″x18″. I set aside one of each.

The layer that would become the pocket, the top fabric, needed 1″ trimmed off the top. 

Once trimmed, I hemmed the upped edge of the pocket. The whole length. 

The pocket was then basted to the lining and pockets marked. (Imagine vertical lines marked.) 

I didn’t measure the pockets. I just eyed them mostly a half or three-quarters of an inch wide. I did make some wider pockets as well. If you have specified you want specific widths for, you may want to lay them out before marking the pockets. Keep in mind this is a flat pocket. The spaces for each tool needs to about twice as wide as the tool, in most cases. 

Next, the three layers were all basted together and bound with ribbon. Check your copy of Fanciful Utility for directions on how to do this. 


Each tool gets a space. the crochet hooks will live elsewhere. There was space for a small scissors in the box too. The pockets on the right are wide enough for needle packets. 

Why make one, when I can make two? Here is the second I made at the same time. That blue and green fabric was too hard to resist. 

Here it shows how this would be a nice case for holding hair supplies. Narrow pockets for hair pins; wider ones for fine hair nets, elastic ties, a couple ribbons, maybe even a small comb. 

Don’t miss the previous monthly projects:


We are having lots of fun talking about other used for a rolled case like this over on FB. Ideas like knitting needles, crochet hooks, paint brushes, even flatware have come up. I want to give a little heads up on jewelry. I would hate to see an earring fall out of this style of roll. Instead, pockets facing the other way would be a better choice, not guaranteed, but better. Take a look at this style Pocket of Pockets I use for many, many things: 

Published in: on January 14, 2018 at 2:22 pm  Comments (5)  

5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I love it. Did you use bias for the binding? Great use for small bits and pieces of fabric. Thank you.

  2. Wonderful! I need to make several, I am always searching for things in my sewing box, and knitting bag! Thanks, Anna

  3. I used ribbon for the binding.

  4. Is there evidence of women doing this to contain the same types of items? I’m curious because my goal is to carry my every day items in a historically accurate way at events and I’ve always considered making these. They look excellent.

  5. There are many extant examples of a variety of hand made cases made for holding sewing items. There are many written descriptions of larger rolling and folding cases for a woman traveling. These are meant for toiletries. There are descriptions for other things as well such as a sandwich case and one for medicine. You may want to look at those. I have some of them on this blog. Searching travel should bring them up. You can also look at wallets that were handmade.
    Fanciful Utility is packed full of cases meant for sewing. Some of them can be multi task.

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