Quilted Chalkboard Organizer

Hi y’all!  I’m Kelly from Kelbysews.  I’ve only been sewing a year and I’m completely addicted to the Moda Bake Shop.  Obviously, I was thrilled when they liked my little project!  I was gifted some chalk cloth and I had an idea for a kids’ project, but then I realized I desperately needed a to-do board.  With all my quilt ideas, quilting bee blocks, swaps, etc., I was starting to forget what I was supposed to be working on!  Rather than hang one of those boring white dry erase boards, I decided to make my own quilted chalkboard organizer.  This is an easy project you can complete in a day and it’s a great way to use those charm packs you’ve been hoarding.  Please tell me I’m not the only one who collects charm packs like a squirrel does acorns!  Hope you guys like it and find it as cute and practical as I do!

1 Sherbet Pips Charm Pack (you only need 37 squares)
12.5″ square of chalk cloth
1/4 yard for binding (you only need 5″ x WOF)

ric rac
fabric origami:  Lisa has a great tutorial for this on her blog

You will need 37 charms for this project.  Select 3 prints for the outside of the pockets.  I chose my favorite charms that also had the print well centered.  Select 3 more charms for the inside of the pocket.  Choose 20 charms for the back.  You will need only 11 charms for the front, but if you’d like a bit more variety in the prints for the front, you may use the remaining 5 charms.

Cut the 11 charms you set aside for the front into (4) 2.5″ squares.

Cut a 12.5″ square of chalk cloth.  There are lots of places to buy this online.

Layout the 2.5″ squares and monkey around with the placement until you’re happy.   I did this somewhat randomly, only making sure I did not have two of the same print right next to each other.  It is important if you have directional prints that you sew the rows with the print in the correction direction, so laying all the squares out like this is helpful.   Using a 1/4″ seam allowance, sew 4 rows of 6 squares and 2 rows of 10 squares. Chain piecing makes this process go by very quickly.  Press seams open.

Sew 3 rows of 6 squares together.

With right sides together, sew the 18 square unit to one side of the chalk cloth.   WARNING!!!!  Once you put a hole in chalk cloth it is there for life so be careful while sewing.  Do not use pins on the chalk cloth! 

WARNING!!!  Yep, another one!  You CANNOT iron chalk cloth.  Got that?  No ironing!  Nada, zip, zilch.  Unplug your iron now please!  The chalk cloth will no longer work if you iron it!  Finger press the chalk cloth toward fabric.

I also finger press the fabric away from the chalk cloth on the front side.

Next, sew the remaining row of 6 squares onto the opposite side from where you just attached the unit of 18.  This will be the top.  Now sew a row of 10 squares on either side.  I use pins only on the areas that do not have chalk cloth.  Do you see that blue pin?  I made sure it was going through fabric only!  The key here is to sew slowly.  If you rush, your squares will not line up–trust me, I know! 

You should now have something like this.  Remember, do NOT iron this!!!!  I suppose you could iron the fabric part on the bottom, but I think it’s best to play it safe and keep your irons far, far away. 

Part of the reason I chose a more random layout is because I can never sew the squares back in the order I laid them out.  Hence, I now have a dog with four ears!  This was completely unintentional as you can see by my initial layout.  Thankfully, any boo-boos on the bottom will most likely be covered by the pockets we will attach later.

Now to piece the backing.  Using 1/4″ seam allowance, sew the charms you set aside for the back into 5 rows of 4 charms.  Press seams open.

I grouped mine by color just for fun.

Sew the rows together to create a rectangle that is 4 charm squares across and 5 charm squares down.

Cut a piece of batting at least as big as the backing.  I cut mine slightly larger.  Layer the backing, batting, and chalkboard top.  I lifted up the top and batting to make sure the top was well centered on the backing.

Baste and quilt as desired on the fabric only.  I free motion stippled mine because it is so quick, but straight-line quilting would look beautiful too!
Trim the excess batting and backing away.
Now it’s time to make the pockets!  Place the outer pocket and lining charms right sides together.  Starting at the middle of the bottom, sew a few stitches and back stitch.  Continue sewing all the way around the using a 1/4″ seam allowance.  When you get back to the bottom, leave about a 2″ opening.  Remember to backstitch on either side of the opening or your pocket can come apart when you turn it right side out!

The little opening I left at the bottom of the pocket.

Trim the corners, being careful not to clip your stitching.

Turn the pocket right side out through the little opening you left at the bottom and press.  Make sure the seam allowances at the opening are all tucked in while you press.  These openings will be sewn shut when we attach the pockets to the chalkboard.

Topstitch about 1/2″ from the top of each pocket.
First, center the middle pocket on the chalkboard.  Then, measure about 1/2″ to 3/4″ from either side and place the other pockets.  Use a ruler to ensure the pockets are level across the top.

Pin pockets in place.

Using your walking foot, sew slightly less than 1/4″ along the sides and bottom of the pockets.  This will sew the openings you left in the bottom of the pockets closed. 

Cut (2) 2.5″ x width of fabric strips from your binding fabric and bind as you normally do.  I have purposefully not included instructions on how to hang the chalkboard because this will be an individual choice.   Options include:

  1. Stick it to your design wall
  2. Pins or small nails
  3. Stick on tabs for pictures/posters:  my preferred method because there are no holes left in my walls
  4. Gromets and ribbon
  5. Add fabric or string loops to the back for hanging
  6. Magnets
  7. Velcro
****Please note:  Before using the chalkboard, you must “treat” it by coloring the entire board with the side of a piece of chalk and wiping the board clean. 

One super cute quilted chalkboard measuring approximately 16″x20″.   Hang it in your sewing room to keep track of your projects and hold small notions. Put it by the phone to jot down messages and important numbers. Hang it on your child’s door for a personal touch, or give it to a teacher as an extra special gift!  The possibilities are endless.  You can also decorate it with ric rac, buttons, yo-yos, etc!  Be creative!

Kelly Bowser

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