Incorporating specialty fabrics, such as clear vinyl, can add functionality when sewing gifts and projects. This unique and widely available fabric is the star of the Sewing With Nancy program, Sew Simple with Rectangles & Squares—the third episode. Watch online by clicking here.

If you are planning to attend sewing retreats, sew-ins or simply heading out on a family vacation, create a Jewelry Caddy, which nicely doubles as a Notions Caddy and is featured in a Sewing With Nancy online tutorial.

Here’s a preview of the project that you’ll see demonstrated during the show. Exact measurements and detailed instructions can be found in Sew Simple With Rectangles & Squares.

Sew Simple with Rectangles and Squares, a new 3-part Sewing With Nancy seriesSupplies, Fabric, and Notions:


Note From Nancy: In some photos the clear vinyl is laid on top of the fabric so you can more easily see it. I hope this doesn’t confuse you as we construct the Notions Caddy. For more clarity, watch the video demonstration online.

  • Use the 5-in-1 Sliding Gauge to measure 1″ from the clear vinyl fabric rectangle’s short edge to determine the first zipper placement.
  • Mark a line parallel to the short edge with a permanent marker.
  • Use a measured or folded method to divide the vinyl equally into four pocket sections.
  • If you are using Make-A-Zipper, measure the 9″ zipper length, making sure that you have a zipper tape on each section. Bartack on each end of the zipper before cutting them apart.
  • Wrap a 2-1/2″ square of inner fabric around each zipper end, staring at the underside of the zipper and meeting right sides together.
  • Stitch 1/4″ from ends through fabric and zippers.
  • Turn fabric right side out over ends of four zippers.
  • Optional: Place double-sided basting tape
    on the wrong side of the zippers along both tape edges.

  • Layer inner fabrics on a flat surface in this order:

-Polyester fleece batting
-Inner fabric
-Clear vinyl fabric

Note from Nancy: Use a Teflon Presser Foot to stitch on vinyl. The smooth foot will glide over the unique fabric and allow for easier stitching. If you do not have a Teflon Foot, see the tip for sewing with vinyl in the video.
  • Trim away vinyl from the underside of the zipper between the stitching lines.
  • Trim excess zipper length flush with the vinyl edges.

  • Lay the vinyl onto the inner fabric/fleece stack.
  • Stitch pockets though all inner layers, along the top edge of each zipper tape.

  • Optional: Decide which pockets you would like to subdivide. Stitch vertical lines through the center of the vinyl, starting at the lower edge of the zipper tape and ending at the upper edge. Do not sew through the zipper teeth.

  • Add the wide ribbon closure to outer fabric by folding the fabric in half lengthwise to determine the center. Press.
  • Fold outer fabric in half again meeting short edges to determine center. Press.
  • Place a pin 4″ from the lower edge of the outer fabric rectangle, along the center press mark.
  • Place cut edge of ribbon at center point and inner edge along vertical fold. Pin.
  • Align the ribbon so it ends at the 4″ pin mark. Loop the ribbon back along the opposite side of the press mark, allowing the loop to extend 3″ past the cut fabric edge.
  • Fold under 1/2″ of ribbon end and overlap at the starting point.
  • Use the measurements provided in the Sew Simple with Rectangles & Squares book to secure the ribbon closure to the outer fabric.
  • Bind the edges by centering the rectangles stacked in the following order:

-Outer fabric, wrong side up
-Polyester fleece batting
-Inner fabric, right side up

  • Fold long cut edges of outer fabric to meet the cut edge of the inner fabric. Press.
  • Fold long edges a second time to cover the cut edges.
  • Edgestitch along inner folded edges.
  • Miter the corners by folding the short end corners at a 45° to meet the cut inner fabric edge.

  • Fold the short edge to meet the inner fabric cut edge.

  • Fold a second time to cover the cut edges.
  • Edgestitch along inner folded edges.
  • Fold and pin the ribbon handle out of the way while you sew.
All that is left for this project is to fill each pocket with your favorite sewing notions or jewelry!

Also in Sew Simple with Rectangles & Squares:

Portable Ironing Blanket

Make a portable mini-ironing blanket, and use it next to your sewing machine for quick presses. Or, create a larger ironing blanket, any size of your choice, with the same portability. It could easily be used as an ironing board substitute or for travel. Either way, you can custom-make these projects easily with my sew simple techniques.

Sew Simple with Rectangles and Squares as seen on Sewing With Nancy Zieman

Closet Organizer

How about adding extra storage to your home without assembling knock-down furniture or remodeling a closet? Create portable, compact closet organizers with double-sided quilted fabric, clear vinyl, and ribbon trim. It’s another straight-stitched project that can hang in full sight or hidden behind a closet door.

Sew Simple with Rectangles and Squares as seen on Sewing With Nancy Zieman

Watch Sew Simple With Rectangles & Squares (Part One, Part Two, and Part Three) on Sewing With Nancy online.

Sew Simple with Rectangles and Squares, a new 3-part Sewing With Nancy series

Bye for now,

Nancy Zieman The Blog

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