Friday, October 10, 2014

Make it Better: Serving Pieces Cover DIY

In celebration of our wedding anniversary this weekend, I thought I'd share a DIY that has been used in our home to protect some of the wonderful wedding gifts we received.

When my wife and I were newlyweds, we kept many of the serving pieces we received as wedding gifts stacked in a closet, in the boxes each gift had arrived in. It wasn't that we didn't love them -- it was that we feared we would break them in our small kitchen. When we had guests over, we would pull out the boxes one by one and open the ones containing items we wanted to use, returning the empty boxes to the closet. After our guests left, we again pulled out the boxes, and returned each item to its home. This practice took up a lot of space in our closet, and took up a lot of time when we wanted to use anything.

After several months of this, I became determined to figure out a way to make our lovely serving pieces more accessible, while still being safely stored. A hutch would be ideal for storing our china and serving trays, and we eventually plan to have one, but it's a good thing we didn't hold our breath -- it turns out that years after our wedding we are still looking for the perfect one that we can both agree on!

In the meantime, we needed another solution. We had some space in a lower cabinet in the kitchen, but not quite enough to fit everything in its protective box. They all fit nicely side by side lined up like books on a bookshelf, but that didn't seem very safe. So, using some thick fabric, I created very easy cases for each of the trays, platters, cake dishes, and cheese boards that needed a home. This allowed the items to live next to one another in protections smaller than their boxes would allow.

This is a super easy and fast project -- folding the fabric in the right direction is the most confusing part. Once folded correctly, just two quick seams complete the project.

Figuring out the measurements for some of these pieces, such as this Nambe curved tray, can be as simple as estimating, which makes this an easy project that doesn't require great sewing skills. If one doesn't even want to even measure, she doesn't need to.

Supplies Needed:
-Thick fabric.
I used fabric that is fake leather on one side and felt on the back. I would also suggest plain thick felt because it will be soft enough for the delicate items but thick enough to add some protection.
-Sewing machine and thread.

Step One: Figuring out the size of the fabric is mostly by common sense plus 3" for the folding closure, but for a more scientific breakdown, here's how mine worked out...

These pockets have an envelope-style closure, so they work best if the opening is on one of the short sides of the item. Fold the fabric in half so that the fold is on one of the short sides. Here, the fold is on the left side.

For the length, it should be long enough to cover the item plus about 3" for the closure. For the width, it should be wide enough to cover the item plus 1" for seam and ease of sliding in and out. But don't forget there is the thickness to consider... My tray is 20" long by 10" wide, but because it curves up about an inch, I added an additional 1" to the length and 1" to the width.

Here's how it broke down:
Tray: 20" x 10"

-Double the length (so we have a front and back to the cover).
-Add 3" to the length (for the closure).
-Add 1" to the length (for height of the curve).

-Add 1" to the width (for seams).
-Add 1" to the width (for height of the curve).

Final measurements are:
Cover: 44" x 12"

Closure flap folded inside
Back, and open.
Step Two: Folding the fabric so that right sides are facing, fold the fabric in half, while allowing about 3" extra to sick out of one end. The extra 3" is for the closure fold.

Fold the extra 3" piece in-between the two right sides that are touching. Now everything visible should be wrong sides.

Step Three: Sew a seam along each of the long sides.

Front, and closed.
When the cover is turned right side out, the fold closure will be able to flip from open to closed as shown.

The best part about these envelopes is that they are easily sized up and down to create the correct fit for each item that needs to be stored. Being very quick to make makes them even better.

Maybe by the time we celebrate our ten year anniversary we'll have finally agreed on a piece of furniture to store these types of things, but even then, these protective covers might come in handy.

Here's wishing you a beautiful weekend full of love.

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