Roll it up: holiday gifts to go

While we wanted to separate gift ideas by recipients, with these two projects, we decided it was best to show a version of scaling your project by technique and project type. These two are perfect for those who love to have their creative endeavors organized and ready to go anywhere.

First up is a lovely gift for a new or seasoned knitter. Especially a fiber friend that doesn’t sew themselves — a knitting tool roll. Based off many available for sale, we decided to use a few of our most favorite of fabrics – waxed canvas, hemp/organic cotton denim and a hemp/organic cotton ticking stripe.

A couple of notes – you can adjust the dimensions easily enough, just keep in mind your seam allowances. As you may know by now, we’re big fans of a 1/2″ for many reasons but most certainly for the ease of design changes. You can also change the height of the pocket panels as well as the distance in between the “quilting” rows depending on the way it will be used. Have questions? Leave a comment or send us an email if anything doesn’t make sense.

Finished dimensions: approx. 16″ wide by 15″ tall.

What you’ll need:

Great project for decent size scraps but here are some yardages (you’ll have leftover if not scraps).

  • For exterior – half yard of waxed canvas or 7 ounce cotton canvas (you’ll be able to get three exterior panels or make other things with the leftover)
  • For interior  – half yard of canvas or similar (we used two fabrics, one was a stripe so we changed the directions for contrast)
  • 1/3 to 1/2 yard of coordinating ribbon, twill tape or cord
  • Thread
  • Scissors (rotary cutter ideal)
  • Ruler (clear and gridded ideal)
  • Hem gauge
  • Point turner
  • Frixion Pen/tailors chalk/hera marker

Cutting instructions:

  • For the exterior:
    • One panel that is 17″ x 16″
  • For the flap (that makes it so nothing slides out):
    • Cut two panels that are 17″ x 4.5″ or cut one that is 17 x 9 and fold in half for sewing
  • For the interior:
    • Cut one panel the same size as the exterior (to face it) 17″ x 16″
  • Interior pocket panels:
    • One 17″ x 14.5″
    • One 17″ x 9.5″
    • One  17″ x 5.5″

Photo Dec 09, 1 49 07 PM

Once you have all your pieces cut, you’ll start by hemming the three pocket panels and preparing the flap pieces.

For the hems on each of the pocket panels use your hem gauge and fold over 3/8″ on the top raw edge twice. Press well and pin, then topstitch a 1/4″ from the edge on the right side.

Photo Dec 09, 2 02 53 PM

Once all three pocket panels are hemmed and topstitched, arrange them wrong sides together to the main interior panel, matching the side raw edges on either side. Pin the side raw edges, ensuring they are all very flat and no puckering.

Photo Dec 09, 2 03 16 PM

After they are matched up and pinned, baste stitch the sides at 1/4″ to secure placement.

Next prepare the flap pieces. Match up right sides together and you can make the edges rounded or not. To round, taking a cup or a plate, you can match the curve up to the same measurement on either side of the corner and then trace the curve on the bottom two corners. We used 1.5 inches.

Photo Dec 09, 1 40 48 PM

Sew, right sides together at a 1/2″ seam allowance, using your chalk mark of the round as the raw edge on three sides, leaving the top edge open. You can opt not to round the corners, which will save a little time.

Press open your seams and then turn right side out, press again. Edge stitch at a 1/4 inch or closer from the edges.

Cut your ribbon or tie to desired length. I often just leave at a half yard so I can cut down once made as needed.

It’s time to make a sandwich of cool fabrics.

With you main interior panel right side up, place your tie/ribbon halfway down on one side (we ended up doing it where the second interior panel matched up to one side). Make sure the ribbon/tie is coiled so that it will rest in the middle of the panel and doesn’t get caught in stitching.

Next line up the top edge of the flap on the top edge of the interior panel, right sides together. You’ll want to center it so that there’s a 1/2″ clearance on either side of the flap from the raw side edge. Pinning the rest of the side of the flap from the edge will prevent from other catching in the stitching.

Then place the exterior right side down and then pin around all edges. Mark an opening (your start and stop marks) opposite of the flap on the top, at about six inches wide. Starting at the mark on the right, backstitch and then sew around all four sides until you meet the next opening mark, backstitching once again.

Press your seams open, clip corners and turn right side. If you’re working with waxed canvas like we did, be sure to use your hands versus a hot iron when pressing your seams.

Turn right side out and use a point turner and your iron to get all the sides straight and flat. Reshape the opening, and again, press well (minding if you’re working with waxed canvas too).Photo Dec 10, 12 49 16 AM

Next you’ll determine the line up of your pockets. By stitching the entire height of the three pocket panels, you’re creating layers for each. This is just how wallets come together. We made one pocket, the most far right, the widest at 3.5″ and the gradually reduced the width. You can make them the width you wish, but we recommend not going less than 1″ wide as it’s hard to slide much of anything into something more narrow.

We like using a hera marker (crease disappears under the stitches) or a frixion marker (will iron out) for the next part along with a clear gridded ruler. Start at the right and then work your way over (or opposite of the side where you lined up your ribbon/tie). We made ten pocket lines, which technically resulted in thirty pockets total. You can choose that many or not. The bottom row is great for stitch markers, darning needles, pins and shorter double-pointed needles. The second row is great for straight needles, gauge markers, swatches of yarn, scissors, and more. The third row is ideal for longer needles, including straight and circular. The flap  prevents metal needles and top row tools from sliding out when rolled up.

Mark your sew lines and then starting at either the top or the bottom, stitch in a straight line (you’ll want to increase your stitch length). Backstitch and the beginning and end of each stitch. You’ll slowly close your opening with each stitch line but can also use hand stitches to do so in between the lines. conversely you could topstitch/edge stitch with the machine on the bottom to close.

Trim all your threads and you’re ready to roll (just now realized what a pun that was while editing and we’re leaving it). Add some fun stitch markers and maybe our favorite Clover Chibi darning needle set and you’re golden. A skein of chunky, soft yarn never hurt for a good cowl too (maybe it will come back to you as that;)).

It’s kind of amazing how well it rolls up with things in it too!

And it’s probably wrong and definitely against the whole idea of gift giving but think I am going to keep it;)!

Second project:

Now, along the same lines and possibly one of the quickest projects possible is a pencil/marker/crayon roll for the kiddos. We used one of most recent favorites of canvas and linen and a favorite laminated cotton so that any marks from the art supplies are wipe clean.

You can make this as hard or as easy as you wish. We made it most easy in the mindset that we could add a set of colored pencils or markers as well scale the project. At the end of the post you can see another variation.

What you’ll need:

  • Quarter yard of linen or canvas print fabric
  • Quarter yard of laminated cotton or other seven ounce cotton
  • Scissors (rotary cutter and ruler ideal)
  • Thread
  • Teflon or easy glide foot (if using laminated cotton)
  • Half yard of ribbon, tie or similar
  • Hera marker/Frixion Pen
  • Point Turner

Cut two rectangles from the canvas/linen or similar that are 10″ tall by 12″ wide. Then cut one rectangle from the laminated cotton (or similar) that is also 10″ x 12″. Then cut 15 to 18 inches of twill tape, ribbon or similar. You’ll probably adjust but this way you’re good.

Photo Dec 11, 2 00 55 PM

Once everything is cut, prepare your from pocket for sewing. You can also use a 5.75 tall panel and hem over 3/8″ of inch twice. The 10 x 12 inch option is fast, easy and makes the pocket lined by folding the panel in half, height wise. Press well and then topstitch a 1/4″ from the top.

Align the pocket panel, wrong sides together to the pencil roll front back panel with the raw edges of the sides and bottom. Pin in place and press well. Also take your ribbon or twill tape and align it with when your twill tape matches the top of your pocket panel.

Photo Dec 11, 2 05 14 PM

Pin in place and the put the back panel of the pencil roll right side down. Pin around all sides and make an opening by marking two lines with your Frixion pen or chalk approximately 5 inches in from either side.

Photo Dec 11, 2 07 51 PM

Starting at the mark on the right, back stitch and then sew with a 1/2 inch seam allowance around all four sides until you meet the next mark, back stitching again. If you’re still working on turning corners at your seam allowance, we often recommend using your hem gauge to make your turn point before sewing.

Once you’ve sewn, press open your seams and trim corners. Much like the waxed canvas from above, you’ll not want to put a hot iron directly on the laminated cotton so use your hands or a pressing aid. We sell and love the Clover Iron Finger, despite it’s strange shape and name;).

Photo Dec 11, 2 10 54 PM

Next turn right side out and then press on the canvas side in tandem with your point turner to get all the sides straight, opening is flat and straight, and corners reshaped.

If you have a teflon foot or an easy glide foot for your sewing machine, now is the time to change the presser foot so you have an easier time sewing on the laminated cotton. You can also using tissue paper but when I didn’t have a teflon foot, I often put scotch tape on the bottom of my presser foot when sewing laminates or oilcloth. Comes off easy enough too!

Next, topstitch on the  interior side close to the edge (you’ll close the bottom this way too), about a 1/4 inch will do. Increase your stitch length so going through so many layers works well. Trim threads. (Excuse the photo, I took it before I realized my bobbin had ran out just before I got to the corner, so please make sure your lines meet up unlike the photo indicates.)

Photo Dec 11, 2 22 55 PM

Next you’re going to draw your sew lines to make the marker/crayon/pencil pockets using the ruler and a marking tool. Same steps as the above project.

I often make one just slightly bigger to hold scissors, an eraser or a big Sharpie. My own kids have recently fallen in love with me drawing their own version of a coloring book page with a sharpie that they then color. If you have a mischievous one at home or to gift, possibly don’t include scissors or a Sharpie but an eraser;).

Just as with the knitting roll, mark the sew lines with a hera marker or a Frixion pen (you can iron away afterwards as it’s heat soluble). With the exception of one at an inch and a half, all others are one inch. Again, you can choose the width but the goal is that they are evenly distributed.

Trim your threads, adjust length of ribbon or tie and it’s done!!

There is another variation for a pencil roll that we truly love but it does require more time and steps. From Pink Chalk Studio, below is our version of the pattern. You’ll just want to cut 1.5″ strips that will then match up with your sew lines if using a standard 1/4″ seam allowance to piece the strips. This pattern goes on a rainbow adventure but you can make it your own too! Makes for an excellent use of scraps.

Photo Dec 11, 2 36 10 PM


A word on cost for each of these projects. Both could be deemed as free if you’re using scraps from other projects. The waxed canvas, at a half yard will be the most expensive but it makes it an amazing gift. We love working with the seven ounce sailcloth since most all home machines can handle it well. A half yard of waxed canvas will run you $13.50 but you can use it in at least three small projects. The two other quarter or half yards can run anywhere between $10 and $15, also getting you more than one project.

The second project is less than $10 in materials and will get you three pencil rolls. Perfect for all the creative kiddos in your life. Add a fresh set of crayons, color pencils and a cute notebook and you’ve got a gift that will please the kids and the parents. Also a bonus, the small pencil roll was completed in less than twenty minutes from cut to done – boom!

We’ll be back early in the week with some more quick projects!



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