Organize Your Spring Design Table

Fabric project pots are easy to make and keep your projects in sight

Someone is always reinventing ways to organize our stuff, from folders to plastic bins to more shelving. It seems like there is always another way to cram more stuff into a smaller space. But what if you don't want to tuck things out of sight, and you just need an artful way of arranging things you are working with?

For me, projects get bundled into stacks in my enthusiasm to start something new while, at the same time, I don't want to lose sight of those first notes and project "starts." My solution is to keep them on my worktable or shelf in fabric pots.

They are quick and easy to make out of fabric you might already have on hand. Upholstery samples of home-decorator fabrics come in the perfect sizes.

Here are three sizes I make and use on my design table.

Finished size: 5 inches tall with a diameter of 18 inches at the opening
Fabric needed: 10 inches by 16 inches

Finished size: 11 inches tall with a diameter of 24 inches at the opening
Fabric needed: 11 inches by 25 inches

Finished size: 13 inches tall with a diameter of 27 inches at the opening
Fabric needed: 14 inches by 33 inches


Home-decorator canvas or other sturdy fabric. Consider two layers. You can line and turn two pieces first; interfacing can be added in between to add stiffness.

When using home-decorator or upholstery samples, I sometimes leave the paper with the sample information attached — it becomes a stiffener at the edge. If you want to add a pocket layer, consider that with your fabric amounts. Ribbon or other binding also can be added for stiffness at the top of your baskets. Raw edges add a natural, textured look to the top of the pot.


To add a stiffener: Cut two layers of fabric and one more layer of stiffener (can be fusible). Cut the stiffener 1/2-inch smaller all around than the outside fabrics. Place between two layers and press or stitch all around to hold in place.

Pocket option

A. Cut fold edge of pocket over and stitch if needed. Press flat and lay pocket onto large rectangle for the fabric pot.

B. Sew pocket up the sides and stitch up in several places for dividers or holders for smaller items.

Sewing Fabric Pot

1. All that remains to do is stitch up the side with a fold in the fabric to create the three-dimensional fabric pot. Top edges can be folded over and stitched now if desired.

2. Mark and use fold lines to create each size.

3. Fold fabric in half (on center bottom line). Next, tuck in bottom (folding on second set of lines) to create inverted fold in bottom (as illustrated). Your folded ends should look like the letter "W."

4. Pin and stitch up both sides. Note: If fabric is thick, the layers at the bottom may be hard to sew on a machine. You can sew this section by hand through all the layers of the bottom section with a needle and strong thread.

5. Turn pot right-side out and press folded triangles out to the sides.

A cardboard rectangle can be cut to place in the bottom to hold the rectangular shape. I like to have a short fabric pot for my trims, tapes and tools. I use the taller ones for rolls of fabric or paper and brushes, scissors and notebooks.

Fill your collection of fabric pots with projects and materials and enjoy on your design table.

Diane Ericson is a local artist with a studio in Ashland Art Center. She teaches, creates printed clothing and collages and shares her work online at

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