Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Useful Item: Hanging Jewelry Organizer

Though I didn't seek out a hanging jewelry organizer on Amazon, somehow I found myself contemplating this one:

Why could I not just order this $13 item? I think it was because I knew I had scraps of vinyl, both clear and solid, and every other supply needed to make myself one. Because I didn't want to wait the two short days free shipping would require. Because I hated to think of consuming another plastic thing when it wasn't truly necessary. And because I have a cussed determination to make as many things as I possibly can, whether it makes sense from a time/return on investment standpoint or not.

My rendition:

Comparing the features of my organizer with the commercial item is really a matter of splitting hairs. The two biggest differences are that I chose to make mine single-sided and my pockets are larger. I thought that flipping the thing around to see both sides might be annoying and awkward in my tiny shared closet. If I need more space, and I think I will, I'll make another one.

Sewing more divisions to make the pockets tiny would have been a simple matter, but I thought it might then be tricky to fish out the contents. These pockets, at 4" wide by 2.5" tall, are easy to access.

The vinyl backing is a faux leather piece with a plush reverse. I decided to use the plush side as the front, since it seemed more gentle to the jewelry. Things might conceivably stick to the smooth side. I had on hand some medium weight clear vinyl. I've used it to construct see-through pouches for makeup and pencils and sewing notions, and I love it. It's not too difficult to sew, but I did use a walking foot. When it was necessary to sew with the clear vinyl against the feed dogs, I tore strips of the tissue paper that came along with the vinyl (to prevent it from sticking to itself on the roll) and placed them between the feed dogs and the vinyl. After the seam was sewn I was easily able to tear away the tissue.

The reverse side would have looked a bit nicer if I'd matched my bobbin thread to the darker color of that side of the vinyl, but at least you can see how the lines run. My best tip on making one of these is to use blue painter's tape to mark lines. Apply the tape so that you will be stitching a couple of millimeters from one edge of it. You can remove and reuse a strip of tape multiple times. 

My order of construction was:
1. Bind the top edges of the pocket strips with extra wide double fold bias tape. 
2. Apply the horizontal strips to the backing.
3. Stitch the vertical dividing lines, starting with the center lines and moving to each side
4. Stitch 1" from the outside edges; trim to 3/8".
5. Bind outside edges.
6. Turn a 1" casing at top and bottom; while sewing, hold casing in place with short strips of blue painter's tape or clothespins, removing each as you come to it.
7. Insert slim dowel or other rod in top and bottom casings.
8. Attach to skirt hanger, fill and hang.

The finished dimensions of my organizer are 17" wide by 24" high. It's a bit bigger than the organizer on Amazon, but that was really determined by wanting to maximize the use of my vinyl remnant. I did take the width of a hanger into consideration, as I wouldn't want it much wider than the rest of the items hanging from the rod.

I also made a pocket shoe organizer for another closet. It is perfectly functional and much needed, but I would want to perfect the dimensions and pocket shape before I'd feel good presenting that design as a model. Between the two items, I probably saved about $35, and the shoe hanger is a better size for my space than any of the commercial options. More importantly, I used plastic crap I already had rather than adding plastic crap to what I already had.

Another one or two of these organizers would come in very handy for hair accessories, scarves, belts and other small items. 

Do you ever sew things that are "on the line" in terms of the amount of time/fun/utility/cost? I'd love to hear!


  1. What a great jewelry organizer!

    1. Thank you so much, Shams! If I can bear it, I'll make more. Actually, if one wanted to (and I don't) these could be made to look very cute, with fun binding and backing fabrics. A set could be monogrammed...with matching garment shoulder dust covers...and shoe bags...but I won't be doing that, unless I'm making a gift.

  2. This is exactly what I'm working on right now... I found you through a Google search for sewing vinyl pockets :) Anyway, I started a tutorial from another site, I don't have the patience to pleat vinyl pockets. No. Did you just simply sew down the vinyl and backing to make pockets? Nothing fancy? I like it.... but wanting to make sure that's all you did with the pockets :)

    1. Glad you found me! Yes, you are exactly right--I just stitched the pockets flat. No pleating. What a pain that would be. I'm still using this organizer and it has been great.

  3. Also, you can cover your presser foot in scotch tape when you sew vinyl...glides right through :) just leave the opening for the thread

  4. There are many ways to go about organizing your accessory. Different methods make more sense depending on your space and what you’re storing. No matter which method you choose, these hanging accessory organizer  definitely helps you to reduce the space usage. Once again great post man! Cheers!

  5. StorageManiac 4-Shelf Hanging Shelves from Bizarkdeal

    I have limited closet space and storage so I am always looking for solutions that will help the situation. This is a great option! It is super easy to install with its velcro fastener on the top. It stays in place and is also pretty secure as long as you don't overload it. The picture shows hats, but it is big enough that you can use it for a wide variety of things. I have tee shirts and scarves on mine. They stay nicely on the shelf and as long as you don't overload the shelf, the shelf stays nice and even without bowing. I really like that it also makes things visible and easy to grab. Convenience is key when you have a busy lifestyle and this organizer really helps. I highly recommend it, especially if you have limited storage space.