Shoe organizers are not a new invention but cute ones just might be! These hanging shoe organizers are a stylish way to display and store 12 pairs of shoes (or more) and use vertical space to your advantage.
Today’s Lesson: Tabs, Rows of Dimensional Pockets and a Secret Tip.
*For this project, a stronger/stiff fabric works well. Choose something like a light canvas, thick cotton or outdoor fabric… patterns look most awesome!
– Backing (Sturdy Fabric): 46″ wide x 54″ tall (double sided version) …I recommend making your shoe organizer double sided for sturdiness but if you’re on a budget, it’s totally okay to make it with a single sided backing.
– Pocket Rows: 30 x 50 inches (Sturdy Fabric)
– Tabs: Two pieces each measuring 17×5″ (matching the backing fabric, you can probably use scraps for this)
– Thin-ish Piece of Wood (like a simple baseboard): 21.5 inches long (if you don’t have wood, ask at your local hardware or flooring store if they have any scraps… sometimes they’ll cut it too)
– Metal Door Hanging Hook (like this, available at Walmart, Home Depot, etc)
Using the two pieces of 17×5″ fabric, create 2 tabs made just like the straps from the Shopping Bag Project (see Step 3-5). Each piece of fabric is folded lengthwise, sewn up the long side, turn inside out and iron. The ends of each tab do not need to be sewn up.
Note: If you’d prefer your tabs less wide, you can trim the 5″ width to your liking. You can also shorten the length of the tabs if needed.
Double Sided Backing: Fold your Shoe Organizers backing fabric in half (goodsides in), ie. the 46″ width becomes 23 inches (the 54″ is the height of your backing). Line up the corners & edges, iron the folded edge and pin along the longest opened edge (where the two sides of the fabric meet). Sew the longest edge (where the two sides of the fabric meet) from top to bottom with a 1/4 or 1/2 seam allowance. Do not sew the short sides yet.
2-Fabric Backing (more affordable): If you are creating your backing with the more affordable fabric combo, you’ll create it almost the same as the double sided method (above), except that instead of folding the fabric in half, you’ll join the two pieces face to face (goodsides in). Then, line up the corners & edges, pin along the 2 longest sides. Now sew the 2 longest sides from top to bottom with a 1/4 or 1/2 seam allowance. Do not sew the short sides yet.
Measure the space between the outside hooks on your metal door hook (in my case, they’re 17″ apart).
Lay your backing on the table with the top/short edge up (important if your fabric has a directional pattern).
Mark the ‘hook gap/spacing’ from Step 3 along your top edge, spaced evenly from the outside edges.
How I did it (If my way of using center to space your tabs feels complicated, you can try it different ways… or just eyeball it at center and measure the correct spacing between your hooks/tabs)
A. Find the center of your fabric width and mark a little line/tick at that center (ex. 22″ width of fabric = center is at 11″… mark a line/tick).
B. Find the center of your hook measurement (ex. my hook gap is 17″ across = center is at 8.5″)
C. Put your center measurement from B in line the with the center-mark from A and mark your 2 hook edges the right distance away from center. (ex. I lined up 8.5″ on my ruler with the fabric widths center [‘tick’ from A]. Then marked 1″ and 17″ on the fabric, these are where my 2 hooks are (and where my tabs need to go).
Note: You can also use a straight pin to mark your ‘ticks’.
Once you have your hook spacing marks on your fabric, you’re ready to set-up the two tabs. Fold your tabs in half, the 2 ends of each tab will be along the top edge of the fabric. See next photo/step…
With your tab centered on your hook line/tick from Step 4, place each tab between the two layers of fabric (along the top of the backing fabric). Pin in place securely.
Note: The two ends of the folded tab will be along the edge of the fabric (once it’s turned inside out, this will reveal the tabs. Just like the elastic loops in the Laptop Case Project).
Now you’re ready to sew the top edge from step 6 (straight stitch), backstitching at the beginning and end. And for extra strength, stitch over the two tabs again (they’ll be holding the weight of a dozen shoes).
Sew the bottom of the shoe organizers ‘backing’, leaving a 6″ opening so that you can turn it rightside out in Step 9.
Turn your shoe organizers backing right side out and iron all of the seams/edges and the full surface of your backing.
If you’d like, you can sew a straight line along the very top (1/4 inch in) to hold the tabs more firmly and give a little decorative/construction detail to your hanging shoe organizer (You can see my line in Step 13.)
Iron the edges of the 6″ opening along the bottom (of your backing) so that it’s easy to sew closed later in Step 15.
Now we’re ready for the “secret tip”. Your shoe organizer needs a pair of ‘shoulders’ (my term) otherwise the shoes it holds will cause it to slump and sag.
You’ll need a piece of wood that’s strong but not too thin or too thick (ie. Not a meter stick and not a two-by-four). I used a scrap piece of baseboard and cut it to size. (If you don’t have a piece of wood, ask your local hardware or flooring store if they can give or sell you a piece of scrap. They may even cut it to size for you).
I used a piece measuring 21.5″ long, 2″ tall, half inch thick.
Before you feed the piece of wood into the backing/case, test its fit on top to make sure it’s not too snug (also measure this ahead so you only have to saw it once).
Feed the piece of wood through the bottom opening from Step 8. Arrange the wood at the top of your casing right along the top (below the 2 tabs).
Tuck the wood snug at the top of your panel and pin together the fabric below it (helps hold the wood and preps for Step 14).
Sew a line along the bottom of your ‘Wood Shoulders’ with the presser foot against the edge of the wood (Similar technique to the foam in Step 18 of the Laptop Case Tutorial). You’ll kinda be ‘reach sewing’ in this step because of the wood. I recommend positioning the wood with the fabric excess on the left (tabs on the right)… it’s less bulky and easier to maneuver.
Pin the bottom opening from Step 8 closed and sew it shut with a straight line & thread that matches the fabric.
Look at those secret shoulders… smart cookie!
…the full backing so far (you may want to iron it again). Now we’re ready to connect the 4 rows of pockets!
Here’s what it will become!! I’m giggling at my slanted top row, I tried one technique and it didn’t work… but it taught me the right way to do it 🙂 Mistakes are never a bad thing… you can always learn something from them and keep improving 🙂
Use an L-Ruler to cut four pieces our of your pocket fabric, each measuring 30″ wide by 11″ tall.
Straight Line Cutting Technique: I don’t have an L-Ruler so I use a different technique. I put the fabric goodside down and find the straightest edge. I measure in 3-4 parallel points from the straight edge and mark those points (ie. If I’m trying to create an 11″ height, I measure 11″ across from the straight edge, 3 times across the fabric… so that I can connect the ‘dots’ and the line is parallel to the straight edge). Then, take a long ruler and draw a line that connects the three points, and cut along the line. Then I go around the other sides of the fabric using the same technique (or I use my T-ruler and I can create a perpendicular line). This works really well for me, hope you like it too 🙂
Note: If you’re cutting a big piece of fabric like a bedsheet, use more than 3 points to connect the dots.
*SUGGESTION* These pockets have 2 types of stitches on each panel, a zigzag and straight stitch. To save switching your settings back and forth, I recommend doing Step 17 to all 4 pocket fabrics in a row, then continuing on to the other steps..
Along one of your pocket fabrics long edges (top of the pattern), create a 1/2″ double hem (ie. Fold once, then fold again). Iron and pin the double hem in place.
Set your machine to a medium sized Zig Zag stitch. Sew the top edge (double hem) of your 4 pocket fabrics with a zig zag stitch using a complimentary thread color.
– – – – – –
Once the four pockets top edges (double hems) have been sewn with the zig zag stitch, you can change your machine settings to a Straight Stitch, Medium Length Stitch.
Hem the other 3 sides of each pocket with a 1/2 inch fold, iron each fold and pin in place. If the corners are poking a bit of a ‘sail’ or flag’ out, fold them under slightly & pin in place as you see above.
Note: a 1-Fold hem will do; no need for a double hem since the raw edges will be hidden & secured.
Sew the three remaining sides with a straight stitch, remove the pins and snipping all loose threads. Your panel will look like the one above so far.
NOTE: Do Step 17 – 20 to all four pocket panels.
Note: Your zig-zagged double hem always goes at the top of the pocket.
When attaching your pocket panels, begin at the bottom of the the shoe organizer panel… the bottom edge provides a straight line and helps you start off square & even.
Pin the left side of the pocket panel in line with the left edge of the Shoe Organizers Backing. (Tip: leave a thin space of the backing fabric showing on the sides and bottom to act like a small pretty border around your pockets).
Note: You should do each pocket/panel Step 21 – 31 before you go onto the next panel… that way you can use the previous one to space and line up the next pocket.
Now pin your right side the same way. To help it go across evenly and straight, I fold/drape the fabric like you see above. For the bottom pocket, it’s easy to make it straight because of the bottom edge, but once you move up… the trick is to fold/drape it across and focus on the edge of the pocket being parallel to the edge of the backing on both sides. See below…
Note: The vertical space/gap between each of my panels was between 2.5 – 3 inches (I eyeballed it).
Sew the left and right side of your pocket, backstitching the top and bottom each time. Remove the pins.
Tip: See the green straight pin in the picture… it helps to put a pin there (top and bottom) to prevent your pocket/panel from shifting or pulling.
Here’s how I solved my problem of the slanted top pocket. I drew a guide line with a ruler and chalk before I pinned down the bottom row. Drape the fabric evenly like you did in Step 22, then lighty draw a straight line along the bottom edge of the fabric with tailors chalk (you can use a ruler too if needed).
Now it’s time to create pockets, yaaaaay! 🙂 You will need a pair of shoes to measure your center pocket on each row (no high heels, wedges or bulky shoes for this step).
With your shoes toe up and heel up (see above pic), place them in the center of the panel under the pocket fabric. Drape/guide the pocket fabric beside the shoes with an even amount of fabric loose on both sides (this creates the other two pockets).
Put a straight pin on each side of the shoes at the top and bottom so your shoes can be removed and the pocket shape is held.
Use a ruler to line up the straight pins (from beside your shoes in Step 26). Add one more pin between the top and bottom pin. Also, it helps to face the pinheads in the same direction to help remove them when sewing the line in Step 31.
Creating the rows of dimensional pockets uses a technique similar to Rachel’s Apron Pocket (step 8). In each section, guide the excess fabric to the center and press down the ‘hill’ so that the excess fabric creates 2 ‘pleats’ or ‘gathers’.
Do this to all 3 sections per panel/row… it allows the top to gape open and fit your shoes without the bottom hanging down or being too large 🙂
Arrange it perfectly and in line with your straight-chalkline and pin in place 🙂
Once you have all three sections pinned, you’re ready to sew the bottom edge…
Backstitch at the beginning, and go on to sew a straight line along the bottom with your presser foot edge in line with the bottom of the fabric (helps sew a straighter line). Backstitch again at the end of the line and trim your loose threads. You can remove your pins on the pocket pleats along the way but you should leave the 2 vertical pin-lines ‘beside’ the center pocket so you can use it as a guide in Step 31.
Tip: If your presser foot has a hard time getting up over the pleats (or gets caught under them), use your stitch ripper to hold them down as the presser foot approaches (removing it before the needle reaches your stitch ripper). Saves your fingers 🙂
Starting at the end of the pin points (not the pinheads), sew a line to replace the pins and hold your pocket sections permanently.
Note: Remove each pin slowly as you sew towards it, they will act as a guide and help keep your eye sewing straight.
Do Steps 21-31 to all four rows of pockets and your Hanging Shoe Organizer will be happy to hold a dozen pairs of your shoes!!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this project, it’s my favorite 🙂