Make Your Own Travel Accessory!

Traveling… Do you travel for business? (If so, then does everyone then think that you are having fun, rather than working?) Do you carry on, or check your bag? Traveling is getting more difficult if you are riding in economy. Packing must be more compact and better organized.

Having just returned from Art & Soul in Portland Oregon, where Artistic Artifacts is the onsite store, I had to deal with a jumble of wires and power cords for various computers, receipt printer, camera, Kindle, etc. There has to be a better way!

And there is! Liz Kettle of Textile Evolution brought out her beautifully made charger/cord organizer. I quickly decided we should post her tutorial on how you can make one too! Special thanks to Havel’s (the best scissors made) and Liz Kettle (the best roomie).

Remember that Liz will be visiting Artistic Artifacts next month and teaching several of her favorite classes with us as part of our celebration of the Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) 25th Anniversary Conference taking place May 1-4 in Alexandria, VA. We have created a robust week-long schedule of fiber and surface design classes and events, open to all! Travel in for SAQA, or our classes, or both — and bring your new charger organizer with you!

Finished charger and cord organizer, rolled and tied

Fully Charged Organizer

By Liz Kettle

Do you ever get to your vacation spot or business conference and realize you left a critical charger cord at home? Ugh! This has happened to me too many times. There are a few charger organizers on the market but they weren’t perfect and they were just a tad too boring in design. So, I did what any creative maker of stuff would do and designed a charger organizer that fit my unique charger needs! Best of all, it is a quick project and I had it ready to go for my next trip.

Multi-Purpose Cloth™ by Roc-lon®, (aka MPC), is a white non-woven canvas that is perfect for this project because it doesn’t fray, is sturdy and just heavy enough to give the organizer body. I use it for all sorts of bags, totes, placemats etc. You can buy MPC from Artistic Artifacts.

Heavy canvas or felt may be substituted but will give a different look and feel. Canvas will ravel so all the edges will need to be stitched tightly.

Charger/Cord Organizer Tutorial

You will need the following supplies for Charger/Cord Organizer:

  • Multi-Purpose Cloth ~ 16" x 12½"
  • Decorative fabrics ~ 2 pieces 16" x 12½" (I used a Japanese linen print)
  • 4 feet of 1" wide ribbon or twill tape for closure
  • 14" of double folded seam tape
  • Plastic for pockets (medium thickness)
  • ¼" wide elastic ~ 14" length
  • Mistyfuse or other fusible web
  • Rotary cutter and mat
  • Havel’s Teflon scissors
  • Sewing Machine

To design and sew your organizer, follow these steps:

fabric layered with Mistyfuse

1) Using your rotary cutter and mat, cut the MPC, Mistyfuse and fabrics 16" x 12½". Layer the MPC, the Mistyfuse and the outer decorative fabric. Follow manufacturer’s directions to fuse together.

fabric fused on both sides

2) Repeat with the inner decorative fabric layer to cover both sides of the MPC. Set this aside for now.

fusing seam tape

3) Cut a piece of Mistyfuse ½" wide x 14". Place this inside the folds of the unfolded seam tape. Use a non-stick craft sheet and iron the tape to fuse the inner folds flat.

fused seam tape with elastic

4) Pin in the 14" of ¼" wide elastic to the back side of the seam tape.

elastic pinned evenly to seam tape

5) Pin the elastic evenly around the tape while stretching to fit. When you are finished it will look like the above photo.

sewing elastic to seam tape

6) Use a zigzag stitch to stitch the elastic to the seam tape.

sewn seam tape curling up from the elastic

7) When you have finished sewing, the seam tape will curl up, as shown in the above photo.

marking the plastic for cutting

8a) Use a permanent marker and a ruler to mark the plastic.

cutting the plastic with teflon scissors

8b) Use Teflon scissors to cut a piece 20" x 5".

chargers and cords in place to determine pocket size

9) To personalize your organizer, place the specific charging cords and devices on the base of your organizer. Place the plastic over these. Begin on one end and pin the plastic to the edge. Then smooth the plastic between the cords to allow for the depth of the pocket and pin the bottom and top of the plastic onto the base fabric. Trim off the extra plastic with your Teflon coated scissors.

marking organizer pocket placement

10) Remove the charging devices and mark the pin placement on the plastic on the bottom edge so you can realign it later. Mark the fabric as well or measure and record on a piece of paper. Remove the pins and plastic.

sewing the elasticized seam tape to the plastic

11) Place the seam tape along the top edge of the plastic, stretching to fit and stitch in place with a zigzag stitch.

repinning pocket placement

12) Place the plastic back on the fabric and re-pin the plastic in place along the sides and bottom. Create small pleats or folds along the bottom edge of the plastic to make the pocket depth needed for the cords. Pin these in place. Stitch along the side and bottom edges with a straight stitch.

Using a teflon foot makes sewing plastic easier

Note: If stitching on the plastic is difficult, use a Teflon foot, or simply stick a piece of tape on the bottom of your foot. This will help reduce drag from the plastic.

sewing up the pockets

13) Stitch the pockets from the bottom of the plastic up to the seam tape covered edge using a straight stitch. Stitch back and forth a couple times at the top to reinforce the top edge.

14) Stitch around all the sides with a zigzag stitch. I like to use a multicolored thread, such as Star Thread, and stitch around the edge multiple times to blend the thread colors. You can also use a satin stitch around the edge for a more finished edge.

15) Fold the wrapping ribbon or twill tape in half and place the fold on the middle of the top edge of the organizer on the outside. Stitch the ribbon securely with a zigzag stitch. I usually stitch it 2-4 times.

Charger/Cord Organizer by Liz Kettle

16) Place your charging devices and cords back in the plastic pockets.

rolling up your new organizer

17) Roll the organizer up from the bottom edge and wrap the ribbon around to tie. Trim ribbon as necessary.

You are now ready to travel anywhere fully charged!

About Liz:
Liz Kettle is a mixed media and textile artist living in Colorado. Liz is author of First Time Beading on Fabric and she is co-author of two books, Fabric Embellishing: The Basics and Beyond and Threads: The Basics and Beyond. Liz loves teaching and sharing the joy of making stuff in her articles, classes and workshops. Visit her blog and website,, where you can join the fun in her free on-line book studies.

A Plethora of Pinked Hearts from Liz Kettle

Heart Projects by Liz Kettle

Tutorials by Liz Kettle, Textile Evolution

I never used to be a ‘heart’ person. When I was in my formative art years, hearts were passé, trite and so unsophisticated. I was forced into using hearts because it is a great shape for teaching techniques; simple, recognizable, everyone can draw one, perfect for appliqué with curves with both inside and outside points and most people like them.

Somewhere along the way I realized that even if they were trite in the ‘serious’ art world I had fallen in love with them! I make my art to please myself these days, so even if the sophisticated shock artists of the world roll their eyes and dismiss me as trite…I am contented with my hearts.

Just like we often dismiss simple shapes we dismiss utilitarian tools or stitches. Take the lowly pinking shear…designed to help prevent fraying at the edge of fabric, very utilitarian…of course, most seamstresses found the little zigzag edge appealing but didn’t often call upon that cuteness for decorative effects. I have always loved rickrack and pinked edges so when I wanted to make a woven fabric base with just a little more pizzazz than normal for my hearts I grabbed those pinking shears and well…I fell in love yet again! How could I resist that little zigzag edge?

Weaving fabric is another often overlooked technique that is simple and low tech but gives you a wonderful intricate look. Using the pinking shears for the woven fabric strips gave me the bonus texture I was looking for and also made it easier to weave my strips together. I thought for a moment that it might be going over the top but I went for it anyway and pinked the edges of my hearts for an easy finish that doubles the cuteness factor.

I got a little carried away with possibilities for this plethora of precious pinked hearts. For most of these projects you don’t even need a sewing machine, so they would make great group projects. I hope one or two of them inspire a little woven and pinked love in your creative life.


  • Fabrics: 2-4 fabrics that blend or contrast. Fat quarters work well, or you could even use scraps.
  • Havel’s Pinking shears
  • Misty Fuse or other fusible web
  • A non-stick ironing and craft sheet, such as the Goddess Sheet
  • Craft felt — I used white, cut 12" x 17". Your piece can be smaller or larger depending on how many hearts you desire
  • Pearl Cotton or embroidery floss, and embroidery needles
  • Marking pencil and ruler
  • Ribbon for the heart banner
  • Poly fiberfill for stuffing puffy hearts

Making a Woven Fabric Base

Follow these steps for making your woven fabric base.

Woven fabric, Step 1

1. Use the ruler and marking pencil to draw parallel lines on your fabric ½" apart. I drew 12-15 lines on each of three different, but blending, fabrics. You can get a different look by using contrasting fabrics.

Woven fabric, Step 2

2. Use pinking shears to cut along each drawn line. With this project you don’t have to stress about getting perfectly even strips so don’t worry if you don’t cut exactly on the line every time.

Pile of strips

3. Make a big pile of pinked strips…isn’t it yummy???

Woven fabric, Step 3

4. Cut Misty Fuse to the same size as your felt base. Place on the felt and cover with a Teflon pressing sheet. Iron to fuse the web to the felt.

Woven fabric, Step 4

5. Place pinked strips of pink fabric directly on top of the misty fuse/felt in parallel rows. Place them closely together, but a little bit of white space is ok.

Woven fabric, Step 5

6. Use the iron to fuse an approximately ½" edge of strips on one side only. Be careful not to fuse more than about a ½".

Woven fabric, Step 6

7. Peel back every other strip of pinked pink fabric to the right. We will call this the warp row.

Woven fabric, Step 7

8. Place a strip of pinked pink fabric vertically on top of the remaining rows. This is the weft row.

Woven fabric, warp and weft

9. Replace the strips of warp fabric that you moved to the right. Now peel back the other rows of warp strips.

Woven fabric, warp and weft

10. Place another weft strip vertically. Replace the warp strips. Alternate the warp strips that you peel to the right. Use a pin or your fingernail to scoot the fabric strips together snuggly if needed.

Woven fabric, Step 8

11. Use a hot iron to fuse the woven fabric to the felt.

Woven fabric,Step 9

12. Make a heart template out of paper or plastic. Draw the template shape on the back of the felt. I like my woven fabric to be off kilter a bit, so I drew my hearts at an angle. Cut out hearts with your pinking shears. This is where you will really appreciate Havels’ pinking shears! They are lighter weight than most and cut through layers so easily you would think it was only one layer.

Now you can use your hearts in a plethora of ways! Don’t you love the word plethora? I use it as often as possible…

Pinked Heart Garland

Follow these steps to create your Pinked Heart Garland:

Garland Step 1

1. Adhere Misty Fuse to the back of one of your plain fabrics using a Teflon sheet to protect your ironing surface. Draw the heart template on top and cut out as many hearts as you need for your banner. My banner has 5 hearts that are 4½" tall.

Garland Step 2

2. Place a heart on your ironing surface, fused side up. Place the ribbon across the heart leaving enough ribbon for tying in place.

Garland Step 3

3. Place the pinked woven heart on top of the heart/ribbon layer and fuse in place. Repeat for all your hearts. Stitch around the edge with a running stitch by hand, or you can machine stitch.

Hang in a prominent place and delight everyone who sees it…they are going to smile just because it is so happy.

Puffy Pinked Heart

Follow these steps to create your Puffy Pinked Heart:

Puffy Heart Step 1

1. Cut a scrap of fabric for the backing slightly larger than your pinked heart. Pin in place.

Puffy Heart Step 2

2. Stitch around the perimeter of the heart, leaving a gap at the very middle of the heart for stuffing. I use a shorter stitch length when I make something that will be stuffed.

Puffy Heart Step 3

3. Cut out with pinking shears. Stuff the heart with polyester fiberfill. Stitch the opening closed by hand or machine.

Stitched Pinked Heart Card

Final steps: add a hanging cord or give it to a stitch friend for a pincushion (some sand or plastic beads added at the stuffing phase will make a sturdier pincushion). I embellished mine with some beads at the bottom and hung it up with my vintage chandelier crystals in the studio window.

Stitched Pinked Heart Card

Follow these steps to create your Stitched Pinked Heart Card

  1. Cut or tear a piece of art paper slightly smaller than the card size. Stitch a running stitch around the edge with pearl cotton or embroidery floss.
  2. Stitch a curved running stitch on your pinked heart with pearl cotton or embroidery floss. You could also stitch flowers or other designs.
  3. Use Misty Fuse to adhere the paper to a card base (I used a premade card base for this special greeting), and then the heart to the paper.
  4. Add a decorative strip of fabric or other embellishments as desired.

Pinked Conversation Hearts

Follow these steps to create your Pinked Conversation Hearts:

  1. Fuse a backing fabric to the back of your woven heart fabric.
  2. Trace 2" hearts and cut out with pinking shears.
  3. Stitch around the outside edge.
  4. Print conversation heart sayings on ribbon or twill tape.
    Directions to print onto ribbon or twill tape are available in both of my books or you can search online for tips.
  5. Cut Misty Fuse in thin strips the width of your ribbon/twill tape and fuse the sayings to your hearts.

About Liz Kettle

Liz Kettle is a mixed media and textile artist living in Colorado. She is the author of First-Time Beading on Fabric: Learning to Bead in Nine Easy Lessons and Know Your Needles; and is the co-author of Fabric Embellishing: The Basics and Beyond (with Ruth Chandler, Heather Thomas and Lauren Vlcek) and Threads: The Basics and Beyond (with Debbie Bates). Visit her website at

A Marvelous Memory Book by Liz Kettle

This posting is now a tutorial on the Artistic Artifacts website:

Fabric memory books are a merging of a quilt,  photo album and scrapbook. Because they are primarily made with fabric they are soft, tactile and ask to be handled and loved in a way that paper books do not. I have made these little books to commemorate a special trip, event or a special person in my life. Memory books can be made in any style and they can be embellished as much as you like. They make great gift and are always a hit with the recipient because each one is  unique and personal.  Best of all, they can be made in a day!…

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