I needed to sew a jewelry travel case, or pouch, and fast. In the past, I have been so low budget as to wrap my earrings, necklaces, and bracelets in tissue paper, then pop them into a multi-sectioned plastic case. On this night before travel there were two main problems. The biggest was that I couldn’t remember where the plastic case was. The second was that I wanted a smaller set up. I let it simmer in the back of my mind while I continued with other travel preparation. Then, I thought of my polar fleece scraps.
I have had so much fun with my polar fleece scraps the last couple of years. This time, it was going to be the simplest, quickest project yet. But first, I needed a small tin. I knew I had several of those in the sewing room, because I collect them there. I was just hoping there was one that looked like the right size. It turned out to be an old Fossil watch tin.
- no extra bulk
- no unnecessary seams
- good fit in the tin
- small to moderate number of pieces of jewelry
It didn’t take long to remember that the polar fleece doesn’t require hemming, so that would help a lot with the first 2 goals. Pretty was not one of the goals, but I did find a zebra print scrap, so it is at least part-way fashionable. I could cut it to fit in the tin, leaving ease for the jewelry to fit. It would be full when it was full.
For the main back piece, I cut it the width of the bottom of the tin, just cutting with my rotary cutter next to the tin, then sliding the tin along for the next cut. I estimated how many layers would fit in the box, which would be finally tested when I had the little pockets sewn on.
The layer for the pockets ended up being cut just a fraction of an inch narrower, but the same length. I thought that might make it easier to see what I was doing with sewing the pockets in place. I pinned it centered down the length of the main back piece.
I wanted one of the pockets larger than the others, for a comparatively large pendant. I sewed that pocket completely first, taking up the whole width of the upper pocket piece. However, for the other pockets, I sewed a seam right down the center of the pieces of polar fleece, which would give me pockets on either side. Of course, I still had to sew the sides of each pocket. I did this at varying sizes. Some pockets ended up being only large enough for one fairly long earring, but I still ended up with a couple of empty pockets after packing, so all it good.
Three folds later, the polar fleece jewelry case was snuggly, but not squashed, inside the little tin. I expect it to travel well in my carry-on size suitcase, and provide easy access to my jewelry during our trip. Total project time: less than one hour.
All of the jewelry pieces traveled safely. The only thing that I had to deal with was that every time I took the fabric out of the tin, many of the pieces fell out. This was inconvenient. So, when I got home, I made a quick adjustment to avoid this in the future.
I didn’t want or need more cushioning in the tin, so I was looking for a thinner fabric to made a couple of flaps that would fold over the edges of the pockets. I found a discarded brown t-shirt that I had saved because the fabric was still in good shape. As I laid things out, I decided it would be easier to sew if the fold-over piece fit all the way across the back of the original jewelry case. I also added end flaps to keep the end pockets from losing their contents.
Since any unneeded bulk might limit how much jewelry I could fit, plus every ounce of weight in luggage can count, I cut out rounded corners of the fold-over piece.
The slightly wider edges of the bottom piece of polar fleece were just enough to sew around, to attach the t-shirt fabric without accidentally sewing my pockets closed.
It seemed practical to go ahead and fill it with jewelry again and see if it still fit in the tin. Tight, but not crushing. I became slightly impatient with filling it when I wasn’t actually packing to go anywhere, but I filled all but a couple of the smallest pockets. I put a couple of bracelets in the middle after the knit flaps were folded over.
When I took it out of the tin again, everything stayed wonderfully in place!
I’m thinking this might be something to add to my list of quick, fun gifts to sew. I would still use polar fleece, or a thicker knit, for the main part. I might experiment with a thinner cotton or even a silk for the fold over flaps. That would make it pretty. The general idea might also work well for storing real silver pieces long term at home if I use some of the anti-tarnish fabric I have leftover from making my flute cover. What does it make you think of sewing?