Monday, September 5, 2011

Book Pocket {Tutorial}

I wish I could say this was my own genius, but alas, I stole it from this genius: Megan at Penny Carnival.
I absolutely fell in love with the idea as soon as I came across it on Pinterest, and starting imagining all the neat things I could use it for. I thought about stitching columns into it to make pockets for things like keys, cell phones, mail and the like for hanging at an entrance way. Or even tubes and bottles of paint and brushes, crayons, markers and papers in a craft space. I also thought about how I could make it deeper to fit stuffed animals and dolls. You could even hang it in the kitchen to hold pot lids, utensils, spice pouches or recipe books. But before all those things, my children come first (such a SAP).
Here's how I made Ella's "Book Pocket" as we're calling it.

Approximate Dimensions:
Width: 45"
Height: 6.5"
Depth from Wall:  4" (depends on bracket)

Supply List:
- 1 meter of a nice quality quilting cotton. You could also buy 1/2 of a meter of two separate fabrics and make it reversible. If you're concerned about making mistakes or the person not cutting your fabric accurately, just ask for 1/4 of a meter more.
- 1 set (of 2) double curtain rod brackets. I got mine from Lowe's, they also come in black and were about $7 each.
- 2 wooden dowels. Mine were 48" long and the bracket accommodates one dowel 3/4" in diameter, and another 5/8" in diameter.
- Sewing machine & general supplies (thread, iron, pins, scissors etc).
- Screwdriver or drill etc.

Step 1:
I measured out where the studs in the wall were, so that everything was the perfect length to fit securely. You could use anchors if you don't like where the studs end up in relation to the rest of the furniture in the room, but I suggest those giant screw-looking ones rather then those tiny slim plugs. You never know how many books or kids are going to be hanging off of it. The wall I chose used to be a doorway, so the studs were all over the place but ended up working that I could use the full width of my fabric, which was 45" (a common width).

Step 2:
I didn't bother to pre-wash my fabric, as I don't see this needing to be washed often. I ironed out the fabric and trimmed the edges so everything was nice a square and straight. Using an iron, fold in the salvage edges once (the factory made edge, not the cut edge) on both sides. Some fabrics may have writing or a white stripe, so make sure that is all hidden inside. Then, fold the fabric in half, lining up the cut edges and pin together on the ironed edge. This seam is going to be about 20" long (or more).

Step 3:
Sew once or twice to make a nice edge, I used one short stitch-length for strength, and one long stitch-length for esthetics.

Step 4:
Use a soft tape measure to find how much you'll need to fold over to create the channel for your dowel. It's best to make them the same size so that it doesn't matter which dowel goes in which, I used 3.5" on each end. Mark the distance from the folded edge (not sewn or cut) and fold the edge to the mark, iron & pin along evenly. Sew, this seam will be about 44" long, depending on the hem you did on each end. Make sure to back-stitch on each end so it doesn't unravel. This seam needs to be strong!

Step 5:
3 out of 4 sides are done now, so the last one I left for adjustments. Now it's time to figure out how deep you want your pocket to be. Go through your book collection and find a pocket size that is not too deep that you cant see the tops of some shorter books, but not too shallow that some taller books will tip out of. In my case, I wanted my pocket 6.5" deep. Add half of your dowel-channel measurement (1.75") plus 1/4" for the cut edge to be hidden.
I personally prefer to iron everything over before I cut, that way I can change my mind.

Step 6:
Fold, iron and pin the 1/4" over to hide the cut edge, then fold everything over like you did for the other channel. Make sure they're both folded on the same side of the fabric.
Step 7:
Repeat the sewing from step 4.
Iron all the kinks out, cut off all the threads and there you have it!

Step 8:
Once you know how long you'll need the dowels, mark and trim off any excess length on the dowel. I used a chop/miter saw.
Alternatively, if it's close but they're not quite close enough together, you could always leave some dowel showing.

Step: 9
You could leave them bare wood, paint them with a brush and craft paint or stain, or I actually sprayed these with some "Watermelon" pink paint I had from another project. You're only ever going to see the end and possibly 3"-4" down the rod, so don't worry about the rest.

Step 10:
I used an electronic stud finder, then a pencil to mark where I needed to screw my brackets to. Also, it helps if you have the child (or whoever is using the book pocket most) there, to make sure they can see the books well and it's at a good height. Again, if you can't find studs where you want them, use good anchors.
Use a level, or measure from a level object (in my case, I measured down from the ceiling and stood at a distance to make sure). Screw the brackets in, mine came with nice long screws. If it doesn't get harder to turn about half way through, you didn't hit the stud and you should either move over or use an anchor. I didn't tighten the top screws until both sides were on and I thread the dowels through to make sure everything was square, then I put the bottom screws in each side.

Step 11:
Slip your channels onto the dowels, put the dowels in the brackets, tighten any screws, fill with books, and admire!

I chose this green, blue, pink and red plaid because it went well with the rainbow of colours in Ella's room, and I figured it wasn't too young of a print if I wanted to change the scheme of her room one day. AND it only cost me $7!

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