Sew, What's New?

Curating sewing and quilting talent, techniques, and tutorials, since 1997.

Notepad Organizers Sewing Project (PDF Pattern from DogUnderMyDesk)

I don't know about you, but I seem to have collected a vast selection of sewing patterns, both paper and in PDF formats.  Some of them I confess I don't know why I bought them, or when (if ever) I will get to use them. Others eventually come into use, when I suddenly decide I need something and have that light bulb moment "I've got a pattern for that!" and dig it out.

Which is what happened with these Notepad Organizers from Erin Erickson of Suddenly I desperately wanted to make one to co-ordinate with my red Stow-it-All tote bag.  So I did. Nice clear instructions as always from Erin.  

It comes in two sizes, the Medium holds a 5 x 6 inch top-bound pad, the Small holds a 3 x 5 inch top-bound pad.  I went on-line and found these A6 Jotter Notepads in a pack of 4 here in the U.K. This pad is just under four inches by 5 3/4 inches, or 10 x 14.5 centimeters, just right for the medium size organizer...

.. and here it is. I just love the colour and the spots! The Small size would be even better at using up scraps, but the A7 size pads are only 2 and 3/4 inches by just under 4 inches (7 x 10 cm) so a bit short.

Here is the inside, showing that lovely red ticking, and the handy pocket for tickets/receipts/stuff.

I only had a couple of problems with making it;

a) I cut the pocket exterior fabric and lining pieces the the wrong way round.  I cut new ones rather than unpick the ones I'd made.  

b) I feel I need a pen holder in it, so rather than unpick it I decided to make another one, with a pen holder.

For this one I used the fabrics left over from making the 20% smaller Stow-it-All for my niece. I've cut out the last few Butterflies to add as decoration.  I looked at other things with pen holders, and devised a little pattern piece for myself.  Sadly, as I hadn't added it into Erin's instructions, I stitched the right hand pocket on without putting it in.  Sigh. This time I did do the unpicking, and added it into the instructions!

Here it is finished, with the butterflies in place.  I applied them with some fusible web, then stitched round them with a narrow zig-zag.  This elastic is wider than the piece I used on the red one, and I think it looks more in proportion.  I will gift this to my niece.

Here it is, complete with the pen holder, and another butterfly on the pocket.  Looks good, despite a few hiccups.  

  • I cut the lining for the left pocket round the wrong way again, and had to join two bits together to make a new lining piece the right way round.
  • Then, when I did the top-stitching, the elastic got caught on the quilting guide I'd failed to remove from my walking foot, and I had some more unpicking to do.

  • All the pens I tried in the holder fell straight through!  I needed to stitch it again to make it smaller.  I did this by bending the flaps back so the pen slot stuck out and could go under the needle.  
  • However it was uneven, with the foot high on one side, low on the other so the stitches didn't form properly.  More unpicking.  I got out my Jean-a-ma-Jig and put it on one side, so my foot was evenly balanced, and the stitches worked. 

My pen now stays in place, hip hip hoorah!  I amended my instructions again.  Onwards and upwards!  I decided to make another one, to see if I had the pattern piece and instructions right now.  (I could never be a designer!)

I used this remnant of blue sewing notions fabric; the pen-holder went in at the right time and the pen fit.  However, I was noticing the corners were a bit soft with just one layer of interfacing. The pattern instructions suggest Pellon Peltex which I can't get, so I am using Vilene V240 (aka Pelmet Vilene).  I decided to try and double it up, and see what happened.

To try this idea out, I made yet another organizer.  It is a bit addictive! I used the pocket pieces I got round the wrong way on my first one, so this one is striped on the outside, spots on the inside. The extra layer worked well, so believe it or not, I went back and unpicked all the others and added a second piece of interfacing to all of them!

While I was at it, I took the opportunity to add a pen holder to the first one I'd made. So here they all are, all with the pens fitted and two layers of interfacing.  As you can see, I'm already using the sewing one for sewing project notes!  

Just in case you want to add a pen holder, here's how I made mine.  The pattern piece is 2" x 2". Follow the instructions through to step four a) and b) then;

  • Cut pen holder, 2" x 2" from lining fabric.  
  • Press under 1/4" on the top  and bottom, and top-stitch.  (I just tied off the threads rather than back-stitch as they will be caught in the stitching when it is attached)

  • Mark the sewing line 1/4" in from both raw edges.  (I used a Frixion pen).  
  • Fold the organizer in half, matching the raw edges together and pin (Check your pen will fit at this stage, and adjust accordingly)

  • Pin the holder on the right side lining.  Centre it vertically (about 2 1/2" from top and bottom).  
  • Position the right side pocket according to the instuctions in 4 c) but make sure the 1/8" top-stitching on the pocket piece will match the stitching line on the holder underneath.
  • Then follow the instructions to pin and sew the pocket in place, catching the holder too.

You can buy the pattern from Craftsy and make your own stack!  It's a good stash-buster, you could even piece the cover together, or add a monogram, name, picture or title.   It makes a nice personalised gift.

In Erin's Flickr pool I saw these.  Julie added pencil loops on the outside of her organizers, and made 10 as brilliant Teacher Gifts, adding a "Thank You" printed on fabric and added to the inside pocket.  Brilliant.


  • Piece patchwork, add applique/embroidery decorations before assembling organizer.
  • If you can't get Peltex, you can use two pieces of Vilene V240 (I did wonder about using Lazy Girls "Stiff Stuff" too, that might work well).
  • I stuck the pocket main and pocket lining pattern pieces back to back to try and prevent myself cutting them out the wrong way round.  It might work!
  • Add the pen-holder at step 4 (c).
  • 1/2" elastic looks better than 1/4".

Machine Savvy: Tips for Creative Sewing - $0.00

from: Craftsy

Views: 15863


You need to be a member of Sew, What's New? to add comments!

Join Sew, What's New?

Comment by Karen on April 17, 2015 at 2:48pm

Just bought 4 more pads and a selection of 3/4 inch elastic in 6 pretty colours, ready to make more!

Comment by Sue Smith on April 17, 2015 at 10:23am

Wow! I love this. I will make one soon. Thank you so much.

Comment by Patricia on April 16, 2015 at 7:26pm

love it

© 2022   Created by Sara.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service