Flashback: Make a Project Keeper

Craft & Design

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By Diane Gilleland

If, like me, you tend to accumulate projects-in-progress, you might want to stitch up a bunch of these easy oilcloth holders. They keep all the needed supplies together, neat and tidy, and they’re structured so little things can’t easily fall out. They store easily on a shelf or in a bin, and when you’re ready to craft, you can read the handy hanging tag to find project you want.


1/2 yard oilcloth or tablecloth vinyl See note below.
Scrap of 8 mil clear vinyl (optional)
Downloadable tag pattern
Pearl cotton embroidery floss or baker’s twine

Chenille needle large eye, sharp point
Large sew-through button
Pinking shears or decorative-edge scissors
Masking tape
Sewing machine

Materials Note: If you want to make a lot of Project Keepers on the cheap, watch your local thrift stores for vinyl tablecloths.

Download Tag Pattern PDF. Right click to save the PDF to your desktop. See directions on downloading PDFs.


Project Keeper 01

Step 1: Decide on the size you want your finished Project Keeper to be, and then follow the above diagram to cut a piece of oilcloth or vinyl. Size your Keeper a little generously, as the side seams will take away about 1″ in width.

Project Keeper 02

Step 2: You should end up with a long rectangle of oilcloth or vinyl. If you like, trim both short edges with pinking shears or decorative scissors.

Project Keeper 03

Step 3: Fold the rectangle almost in half, leaving about 3″ at the top, as shown. Crease the fold well with your fingers. This step helps you identify the front panel of the Keeper.

Project Keeper 04

Step 4: If you like, you can add a clear vinyl pocket to the outside of your Keeper. I like these pockets because I’m always trying to keep my craft tools with my WIPs (works in progress), but then I usually end up wanting those tools later for another project. I store scissors, hooks, needles, etc. in the outside pocket of the Keeper so I can find them easily.

If you want to add a pocket, unfold the rectangle so it’s a single layer again. Cut a scrap of clear vinyl to the pocket size you want. Tape it to the front panel of the Keeper with masking tape.

Project Keeper 05

Step 5: Sew along 3 sides of the pocket, leaving the top edge open. You can sew right over the tape and pull it off afterward.

If you’ve never sewn on vinyl before, you might want to look at this great tip from Futuregirl.com.

Project Keeper 06

Step 6: Refold the piece as in Step 3. Place a couple tabs of masking tape around each side to hold this fold in place.

Project Keeper 07

Step 7: Fold that extra 3″ over the front of the Keeper. Make sure this flap overlaps the front panel no more than 3/4″. Tape the flap down as well.

Project Keeper 08

Step 8: Sew along both sides, through all layers, using a 1/2″ seam allowance. Again, you can sew right over the tape and peel it away afterward.

Project Keeper 09

Step 9: If you like, you can trim the seam allowance with decorative scissors or pinking shears.

Project Keeper 10

Step 10: Next, make the hang tag. Download the pattern and cut out the 3 tag pieces. Trace the tag front and back onto oilcloth, and trace the tag window onto clear vinyl. Cut out all 3 and stack them together, with wrong sides together and the clear vinyl in the center. Tape them, and sew along 3 edges and the top as shown above.

Leave one side open so you can slip in a handwritten label later.

Project Keeper 11

Step 11: Sew a button to the front panel of the Keeper, about 2″ below the top edge. Make sure it’s centered.

Project Keeper 12

Step 12: Thread a chenille needle with about 36″ of embroidery floss or twine. Pass the needle up through the top of the tag from back to front. Then, pass it back down to form a small loop, as shown here.

Project Keeper 13

Step 13: Pull the floss through until the ends are even, and then pass the ends up through the loop. Pull the floss to make a slip knot.

Project Keeper 14

Step 14: Thread the 2 ends of the floss together on the chenille needle. Bring the needle up through the flap, passing it from inside to outside. Center this stitch above the button.

Project Keeper 15

Step 15: Pull the floss until the tag is hanging about 6″-8″ below the stitch, as shown.

Project Keeper 16

Step 16: Then, pass the needle back down through the flap, forming a small stitch.

Project Keeper 17

Step 17: Tie the ends of the floss in a secure double knot at the inside of the flap. Trim away the end of the floss that isn’t attached to the tag.

Project Keeper 18

Step 18: To operate this closure, just wind the floss around the button a few times.


Fill your Keeper with a project, write its name on a scrap of paper, and slip it into the tag. Storage accomplished!

About the Author:


Diane Gilleland produces CraftyPod, a blog that geeks out on crafting.

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Haley Pierson-Cox from Red-Handled Scissors is a maker of crafts, a lover of cats, an avid swearing enthusiast, a cross-stitch book author, and a general purveyor of quirk. She's also sometimes an irritable cartoon named Tiny Cranky Haley. https://www.redhandledscissors.com

View more articles by Haley Pierson-Cox


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