Make a clever space-saving roll-up organizer from a tea towel

Embroidered brocade rolled pouches began showing up in specialty markets in the early 1980s. Imported from the Far East, they served as elegant carriers for jewelry and valuables. The concept was not unlike the rolls used by craftsmen and made of leather a century earlier. The goal, then and now, is keeping specialty items in good condition and easy to access.
Using simple fabric such as a tea towel in your favorite print or color instead of leather or brocade can be a trendy and inexpensive modern interpretation of this time-tested pattern. If you’re on the move, you’ll get good use out of a roll-up organizer. A rolled pouch can carry art supplies, tools, makeup, jewelry or any collection. Add a monogram or use contrasting twine to create a distinctive look.
- Cutting mat or craft board
- Fabric marker or pencil
- Measuring tape
- Fabric scissors or rotary cutter
- Straight pins
- Dish towel, 24 by 24 inches
- Fabric strip yarn or twine (40 inches)
- Sewing machine with regular and zipper feet
- Matching thread
- Zipper, 10 inches long
DIY Everywhere
1. Place the dish towel face down over the cutting board on a clean, stable surface.
2. Measure 20 inches from the left edge of the towel and mark vertically with the fabric marker or pencil. Cut along the line, and set the excess material aside.
3. Center the fabric back on the board and smooth it down. Measure 6 inches up from the bottom and mark it. Measure 6 inches from the side and mark it. You will have marked off a square at the bottom corner.
4. Measure 6 inches from the top and mark it. Measure 6 inches from the side and mark. You will have marked off a square at the top corner of the fabric.
5. Cut the squares away from the main fabric.
6. Measure the yarn to be twice the width of the fabric, about 40 inches.
7. Fold up the lowest portion of the fabric, making the base a straight line across.
8. Double the yarn, and tuck the folded part under the lefthand edge of the folded fabric.
9. Pin the yarn at the left edge between the folds of fabric. The pin should be vertical.
10. Pin vertically down the left edge of the fabric.
11. Measure 3 inches from the left side, and put in a vertical line of pins. Continuing measuring every three inches and putting in a vertical line of pins until you have six vertical rows.
12. Turn the fabric, and fold up the bottom flap, making that edge straight.
13. Pin just inside the base edge of the flap to secure it. You should have a perfect rectangle.
14. Starting with the bottom edge, sew along the lines of pins, cutting at the end of each seam or row of vertical pins.
15. Put the second piece of fabric back onto the cutting board face down, with the cut edge down.
16. Measure 10 1/2 inches from the lower right side on the cut edge.
17. Measure 2 inches up from the bottom.
18. Mark the fabric at 2 inches along the 10-inch length.
19. Measure up from the 2-inch line another 4 inches.
20. Mark the fabric at 4 inches along the 10-inch length.
21. Cut off the hemmed edge from the right side of the fabric.
22. Cut along the long and short lines, creating two long sections.
23. Turn the zipper upside down, and pin it to the edge of the wider section. Pin the second flap of the zipper to the thinner section.
24. Sew zipper onto the sections with the zipper foot.
25. Turn the piece over and sew on the front of the zipper to complete the attachment.
26. Going back to the original fabric, fold in the top flap, and turn the piece over on the cutting board so the smooth surface is up.
27. Take the zippered piece and set it, with the zipper pull down, flush with the right side of the original piece.
28. Turning over the left edge to make a hem, pin the zipper piece securely on all three sides to the original piece.
29. Sew along the three edges.
30. Turn the flap created inside out, and smooth it down.
31. Pin along the hemline, and sew along it from the top. Turn the piece out, and smooth it down.
32. Starting from the zippered area, roll up the pouch and tie it with the yarn.