Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Tutorial: Fabric Key Tray

 You know how it is.  You need a quick make because you want to give something that you've made, but you are meeting your friend in half an hour so you are up against it time-wise.

Never fear!  You can make a great key keeper / bon bon tray and still have time for a quick brush of your hair and a slick of lip stick before you meet them!
 All you need is 4 charm squares (5" squares) and a 6 1/2" square of wadding.

1. Sew the charm squares into a four patch.  I quite like making this with two pairs placed diagonally, but I've made it with four separate fabrics too.

2. When you've sewn and pressed your 4 patch, place the wadding on it with the points of the wadding on the seams of the 4 patch.

Secure it with a little fusible spray or a couple of tacking stitches.
 3. Fold the 4 patch in half, right sides together along one of the long seams.

Sew along both short ends with a 1/4" seam.
 Here it is with the seams showing.
4. Open out the 'pouch' shape so that it resembles a square. 

Match the short seams in the middle and sew the long seam, leaving a gap in the middle of one of the patches (does that make sense?  It's best that it isn't at one end of the seam and I prefer it not to go over where the other seams meet up).

5. Turn through and poke the corners into nice sharp 90 degree shapes.

You should have a padded 'hourglass' block.

6. Ladder stitch the opening closed using matching thread to try and keep it invisible.
7. Measure 1" in from each corner and mark both on the edges and where the lines match on the diagonal seam (with a disappearing pen).
8. Quilt as desired - I like to run a line of stitching near the edge of the block and to join up the dots that you've made.  This second square is the outer limit of the base of the key keeper.  I kept within this line and added some squiggly quilting.

Machine or hand quilting?  It's entirely up to you.  Machine quilting is quicker if you are short of time.....
9. Using a doubled thread that matches your fabric, catch together those marks that you made on the outer edges of the block.

Sew them together tightly and they should form neat corners.
10. When you have completed all four corners you have finished your gift!  Of course, you could always gift one to yourself as well as making them for friends!
Hand quilting? machine quilting? A mixture?  One of each shown here.

Of course, if you don't want to use your sewing machine these are easy to make by hand.  No more than 90 minutes from start to finish, unless you go mad with the quilting!

Many thanks to Lis from Piece'n'Peace for the original idea for how to make the block.

I hope that you enjoy making these little trays - plenty of time to get started and to make a pile before Christmas comes along!


  1. I use to make these as by hand I called them quilt as you go blocks using Japanese fabrics they were roughly 6inchs finished never thought to do this with them, great idea Plum. Yours look colourful and happy. Thanks for sharing. Hugs Glenda

  2. I have these in mind for Christmas gifts this year.
    I have no idea how to do machine quilting, not even the stippling, so not sure?

  3. Thanks Plum. I'm off with cold / sore throat lurgy, so won't be making any this week, but they will be on the Xmas list. Hope all is well at your end.

  4. Hi Plum! Thanks for the tutorial! Your quilting s beautiful, and I love the fabrics you used! I need to make one for our keys to rest in ... ours will have double wadding .... so hand quilting will be best! Thank you for the super idea!
    Barbara xx


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