Guest blog: Kerry Green, sewing portfolio organiser

Wednesday 9th January 2013, 14.40



Meet Kerry Green a sewing fanatic, in particular an avid fan of working with vintage fabrics and Liberty print! Kerry’s day-to-day job is teaching young children music, the rest of the time she spends being creative, running her own blog called verykerryberry along with a joint blog called Sew–Ichigo with Penny Layman.

Tell us a little about yourself?

I have been sewing since I was tiny. My mum passed on her needlework skills and let me loose on her sewing machine from a young age. I am also a collector and love a thrifty find, especially vintage fabric and ‘kitchenalia’.

You are based near the south west coast, is this where you draw a lot of your inspiration from?

The light is very good there. We get a lot of sun all year round and the sea is close by so the colours and contrasts influence my work. The joy of the internet is that you can explore global inspiration from wherever you are. I follow a lot of blogs from all round the world and love modern Japanese crafting and quilting styles.

How do you think sewing and crafting has evolved over recent years?

The internet and social media has changed everything. It has created a supportive and highly skilled international sewing and crafting community ready to share ideas and celebrate them. On Twitter and Instagram I can post ideas and get feedback for new ideas, and I get help and support with finding resources almost instantly. I’ve made such great sewing friends through the internet.

Where does the name Very Kerry Berry come from?

I like repetition and rhyme – my day job is running music classes for babies and toddlers. My husband also calls me ‘Kerry Berry’ so it brings a touch of home to my blog.

How did Sew-Ichigo come about?

Penny and I met on Flickr where there are a multitude of quilting and sewing groups. We were in an international quilt bee called ‘Ringo Pie’ and hit it off as we had a similar style and aesthetic. We both wanted to develop designs into PDF patterns to sell and working together is great as we can bounce ideas off each other and keep to deadlines. Skype, email and cloud storage makes running a mini business in two different continents possible.

What do you do with your projects once you have finished with them?

I love the process of designing and making and once something is finished I look towards the next project. I either give them away as gifts or swap them with other sewers and quilters, but I keep a small number at home. I make a lot of clothes too and it’s fun to wear and use things that you’ve made in your everyday life.

What has been your most enjoyable project made from Liberty print?

I loved making the tea cozy for Café Liberty. The Copeland print reminded me of the Victorian craze for all things Japanese with its big chrysanthemum blooms and my Tea Kettle pattern had a traditional Japanese teapot shape – that worked so well together!


Kerry has shared with us her instructions on how to make a ‘Sewing Portfolio Organiser’ using Liberty print. This project is for the more experienced sewer or if you fancy a real challenge!


Download the diagrams here


Liberty Lifestyle Bloomsbury fabrics used throughout – there are the lots to choose from and you can mix and match the colour pallets.

Red Fabrics:

4 Fat eighth cuts in each of these prints: Rich Red Blue Dance, Magenta Teal Dorothy, Rich Red Blue Leonard, Rich Red Blue Charles for case outer.  The spool holder is also cut from one of these fabrics.

Pale Blue fabric:

1 Fat quarter blue Leonard for case outer

Dark Blue Fabrics:

4 Fat eighth cuts in each of these prints: Magenta Teal Dance, Rich Red Blue Dorothy, Rich Red Blue Lytton, Rich Red Blue Catherine

1 Fat quarter Rich Red Blue Dorothy for lining pockets

1 Fat quarter Rich Red Blue Lytton for lining background

1 Fat quarter Magenta Teal Dance

1 Fat quarter Rich Red Blue Woolf for binding and zip tab and handle

1/2 metre lightweight woven cotton fusible interfacing for lining pockets and handle

1/4 metre heavy fusible fleece Vilene H640 for outer case

Cotton machine piecing thread

Co-ordinating thread for topstitching

26” Open-end nylon teeth zipper


Rotary cutter

Quilt ruler


Disappearing fabric pen/water soluble chalk pencil- test on a fabric scrap

2 sets small press-stud fasteners

Zipper foot for your machine

Walking foot for your machine (optional)

Zipper charm- optional



From the red fabrics:

Cut 3 squares of 3 1/2” and 2 squares of 1 x 1” from each fat eighth for case outer. Cut 1 strip , 1 x 8 1/2″ for spool holder from one red print.

From the pale blue fabric:

Cut 34 rectangles, 1 x 2 1/2″ sashing strips and 1 rectangle 1 1/2 x 10” for case outer.

From the dark blue fabrics:

Cut 3 squares of 3 1/2” and 2 squares of 1 x 1” from each fat eighth for the case outer  from Lytton, cut rectangle 10 x 15” for lining.

From Dorothy, cut 1 rectangle 10 x 11” for large flat lining pocket and another rectangle 9 x 11” for pleated bellows pocket.

From Dance, cut 1 rectangle 7 x 10” for small flat lining pocket.

From Woolf, cut 1/1/2 x 55” bias strip for binding.  See jaybird quilts part two for bias strip cutting.

You will need to piece bias strips together, follow jaybird quilts part one for joining. Cut 1 rectangle 1 3/4 x 3” for zipper end trim.  Cut 1 rectangle 2 1/2 x 6 1/2”

From lightweight cotton interfacing:

Cut 1 rectangle 10 x 15” for lining

Cut 1 rectangle 5 1/2 x 10” for large flat lining pocket

Cut 1 rectangle 3 1/2 x 10” for small flat lining pocket

Cut 1 rectangle 4 1/2 x 10” for pleated bellows pocket

Cut 1 rectangle 2 1/2 x 5 1/2” for handle

From fusible fleece

Cut 1 rectangle 15 x 10” for case outer

Please Note:

Read the pattern in full before starting

Seam allowances are 1/4” unless stated otherwise

RS=right side of fabric WS=wrong side of fabric

Finished size 1 x 7 ½ x 10”

Assembling the Outer

To make the hourglass blocks, pair the red and blue larger squares and place RS together. On WS of each top square, draw a diagonal line in pencil. Stitch 1/4”either side of this line using a small stitch (see a). Press flat, rotary cut across opposite diagonal (see b), then cut the pencilled diagonal (see c).  Press triangles open pressing the seams towards the darker triangle each time. Pair triangles together (see d), the seams should nest together at the centre seam point.  Stitch the diagonal seam, being careful not to pull the fabric as the bias will easily stretch.  Press this seam open. You will need to make 24 hourglass blocks. (See diagram 1)

Trim the blocks to 2 ½” square taking care to line up the diagonal with the ruler markings as you trim. (See picture below)

Arrange blocks into 2 panels each having 3×4 blocks. You can experiment with the layout by placing the blocks in different colour arrangements.  Place narrow sashing strips and small red and blue squares between the blocks. Sew blocks and sashing strips together in rows. (See diagram 2)

Press seams towards the sashing. Sew sashing and small squares together in rows. Press seams away from square. Sew the rows together as in the picture. Press these seams towards sashing. (See picture above)

Add light blue strip 1 1/2 x 10” between the two outer case panels. Press seams towards the strip

Press WS of outer case well to flatten seams

Apply fusible fleece to WS following manufacturers instructions. Allow to cool and set to one side.

Making the Lining and pockets

Apply woven interfacing to the lining to WS of the fabric following manufacturers instructions. Allow to cool.  Fold each pocket fabric in half lengthways to make 3 pockets- a large flat pocket measuring 5 1/2 x 10”, a small flat pocket measuring 3 1/2 x 10” and a pleated bellows pocket measuring 4 1/2 x 11”. Open out folds and press interfacing pieces to half of each pocket on the WS of fabric lining up with the fold line. Allow to cool.

On all 3 pockets, topstitch along folded edge.

Place large flat pocket over the interfaced lining. Pin to secure. The raw edges will be far left; the folded pocket edge will be left of centre. Baste the edges to the lining within the 1/4” seam allowance.

Place small flat pocket over the large flat pocket, aligning the long raw edges to the far left side. Pin to secure. Use a chalk pencil or disappearing marker to draw three lines that will form pocket channels. Follow the measurements in the picture.  Stitch on the lines through all layers with co-ordinating thread securing each end of the stitching line with forward and reverse stitching. (See diagram 3)

Place the pleated bellows pocket over the far right end of the lining.  Baste the two side edges within the 1/4” seam allowance. Use a chalk pencil or disappearing marker to draw two lines that will form pocket channels, each is 2” from the outer edges.  Stitch through all layers with co-ordinating thread securing each end of the stitching line with forward and reverse stitching. (See diagram 4)

Make 1/4″ folds in the excess pocket fabric at the stitching channels evenly on each side. Baste the lower edge of the pocket within the 1/4” seam allowance to hold pleats in place.

Attaching The Spool holders

Press the raw edges in 1/4″ all around the red strip 1 x 8 1/2″. Bring the 2 long edges together and press the fold. Stitch along the fold to make a long thin strip.

Take the lining, RS facing and with a chalk pencil or disappearing pen, mark a centre point along both long edges. Join the points to make centre line on the lining. Mark the centre of this line.

Pin the centre of the thin strip to the centre of the line and sew securely through the strip and the lining.

On the centre line, mark 2” from the outer edge.  Stitch the female part of a press stud on this point through the lining.

On the fabric strip, sew the male part of a press stuff to the underside of the fabric strip so the press stud meets with its other half on the lining.

On the centre line, mark 2” from the outer edge. Stitch the female part of a press stud on this point through the lining.

On the fabric strip, sew the male part of a press stuff to the underside of the fabric strip so the press stud meets with its other half on the lining.

Preparing the case for binding

Take handle fabric strip 2 1/2 x 6 1/2″ and interfacing.  Apply interfacing.  It is shorter than the fabric strip so there should be 1/2” at either end of the strip with no interfacing.  Fold strip in half length ways, press and open out.  Fold long edges into the fold, press and pin.  Stitch through these layers and the opposite folded edge. Press short raw edges in 1/2″ at both ends of the handle. On the RS of the outer case, mark, place the handle on the centre light blue strip and pin the two folded ends placing the handle centrally.

Stitch a small 1/2” square and X to secure at each end of the handle, as in the photo.

Place lining and outer case WS together. Pin around edges and machine baste within the 1/4” seam allowance.

Using a coordinating thread, place the outer case facing up and stitch in the ditch of the central fabric strip seam lines. The stitches will disappear into the seam of the outer case and will be visible on the lining

Mark 1” points from each corner on the outer case.  Use a small glass or large spool to round the corners. The curve should run to the very edge of the fabric at the 1” points

Trim the corners following this line and baste the edges together as before within the seam allowance.

Adding the Zipper

Open the zipper and starting on the lining side, fold the zipper ends diagonally and align with the centre line of the lining.  The zipper teeth should start just after the two stitching lines- see photo for reference.  Around the curves, you will need to cut 1/8” deep cuts in tot the edge of the zipper tape 1/8- 1/4″ apart. (See pictures below)

This allows the zipper to lie flat around corners. Use lots of pins and pin the zipper teeth down at the corners.

The end of the zip aligns with the centre front line on the opposite side and the end is folded inwards and pinned down. (See pictures below)

Using a zipper foot, starting on the right side at the start of the zipper, stitch slowly within the 1/4” seam allowance, removing pins as you sew. The corners are tricky. Take your time and make sure the teeth are flat and pinned down as you sew round the curved edge. The stitching will not be visible in the finished organiser so you can start and stop and redo areas if needed. At the end of stitching both sides, check the zip closes properly and trim the overhanging ends at the top of the zip.

Zipper End Trim

Hand sew the bottom of the zipper with an overstitch, just before the metal end. Trim off the metal end. Take the zipper end trim fabric rectangle, press 1/4” all around the edge and bring the short edges together and press the fold.

Place zipper end within the folded trim and hand sew the edges.

(See pictures below)

Adding the bias binding

Place the binding strip RS down on the ironing board, press 1/4” fold all the way along the top edge. Trim the far left end diagonally and fold the edge in by 1/4″ and press.

On the lining side, baste the zipper teeth to lie flat at each corner

Starting at the centre front line on the outside of the organiser, pin the edge of the binding aligning the edge with that of the case. Pin as far as the beginning of the first corner. Take a pencil and on the WS of the binding, make a pencil mark along the fold line for a couple of inches. Pin the binding around the corner. Use lots of pins! (See pictures below)

Stitch slowly 1/4″ seam from the start to this point, using the pencil line to continue the 1/4” around the corner. Secure the beginning and end of the stitching. Pin along the straight and to the next corner and repeat as above for each corner

At the end of the binding, let the binding ends overlap for an inch and trim the binding end diagonally. (See pictures below, overlapping wrong and right sides)

Join the folded end at the start to the fabric underneath with small hand stitches.

On the organiser outside, lightly press the binding away from the seam line. Fold the edge in so the fold line just covers the zipper seam stitches. Hand sew the binding down on the inside of the organiser.

Add a zipper charm if using.

Your sewing portfolio organiser is complete! It is now ready for all your notions and tools!




  1. Flying Blind says:

    Completely beautiful – Kerry is the most amazing sewist xxx

  2. Masko says:

    This is exactly the pattern I wrote for the book Zakka Style from Stash books except the inner pocket style and patchwork part. I even have the same diagram photo for the zipper installation here.
    I am shocked and sad to see this on a such big and famous company like Liberty…

  3. Mary says:

    What is with the sizing on the hourglass blocks? How is a square 3″x3 1/2″ ? If the finished block needs to be 2 1/2, then cutting 3 1/2″ squares would be appropriate. Unfortunately, I cut first, according to the cutting instructions, without questioning why a ‘square’ would be 3 x 3 1/2 “. Now I’ve wasted all that fabric and cutting time, and have to do it again. Please proof read.

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