Sunday, January 9, 2011

TV Remote Organiser Tutorial

Got too many TV/stereo remotes? Got a baby that likes to throw them across the room? Sounds like you need one of these:


But before I show you how to make one, I'd just like to say a quick thank you to Maaike over at her blog  CreJJtion. She was kind enough to nominate me for an award and then totally let me off the hook. What a doll!

I'd say pop over to her blog for this reason alone, but frankly this is the least of the reasons you should go. Maaike's blog has such a serene and arty ambiance, I love seeing what she's been up to. Her photos are lovely and she always arranges them just so - perfect! Plus she blogs in English, not her native tongue (Maaike lives in the Netherlands), which just makes me all the more amazed.

Back from Maaike's yet? OK, let's crack on with making this organiser. Firstly, have a good look at the wall space you have available, how many remotes you have and how you want them to be organised (horizontally, vertically, know what I mean.)

For my organiser I used a yard of Echino's High on a Perch Border in turquoise, designed by Etsuko Furuya. It's home decorator weight, so it has a light canvas-like feel to it. Tougher and stiffer than normal cotton, perfect for this purpose.


I cut my yard in half, after checking it would be wide enough to accommodate my four remotes side-by-side (with some spare). One side will form the wall hanging, the bottom of the other side will be used for the pouches. (I also trimmed some of the yellow birds off the top of the yardage as it was too tall.)

Then I grabbed something for the backing. I chose a cheap IKEA pillow case because this organiser is for me and I couldn't care less what the back looks like. If you're making this as a gift you'll probably want to give it a little more thought.


Then I chose my batting - I went with a firm, fairly thick polyester to give it some strength. You don't want your remotes sagging all over the place. Plus hopefully polyester is cheaper (unless you live in France).


Whack the right sides of your organiser and backing together and sew around three edges. Leave the bottom open so you can turn the thing inside out (right sides out).

But before you turn, trim down your seams a little to reduce bulk (or if you were too lazy to trim down your backing piece before joining, like me, do that now).


Then turn it out the right way and give your seams a press.


Cut your batting/wadding/what-have-you to slightly less than your organiser.


Clip them corners a teeny bit.


And then stuff it right on in there. This does take a bit of fiddling/smoothing, but I found the easiest way is to fold the batting and make sure it goes right in to the end, then work back towards the opening smoothing and straightening.


Once your batting is in place, you need to sew through all the layers to ensure it will stay in place (ie. quilting). This is also a good time to sew closed the bottom edge of the envelope. I turned those bottom edges in, pinned, and then pinned my layers together across the whole piece (the pins are a little hard to see, below).


Then I sewed all the way around all four edges. I also decided to sew three horizontal lines across the organiser, top, middle, bottom. If you are really loading up your organiser you might want to do more quilting than that to give it more strength and help it keep its shape.

This was when I realised I had no light blue machine thread in my collection. The only matching thread I had was for hand quilting, so two of my lines had to be done by hand.

I used disappearing marker to mark out my lines.

With the organiser body complete, I cut off the bottom turquoise part of my other piece of fabric. I wanted my pouches to blend in with the organiser and not distract from the beautiful fabric.

I willy-nilly started pinning in my remotes. Then I realised the pouches were uncentred and I hadn't hemmed the fabric. Duh.


Try again. Hem the piece you are using for the pouches. I cut a small diagonal from each corner so that they wouldn't be too thick with folds.


I also drew a guiding line up from the bottom of my organiser, just to help me eyeball keeping the pouches straight (they tend to want to go wonky when you are gathering them).


So I tried pinning again. I started from one side and moved across to the other, pinning each remote in turn. Don't pin them in too tight or you'll have a cuss of a time getting the remotes in and out. You need some wiggle room.

I didn't worry about the bottom edge at this stage, except to keep it level (I used my topstitched edge line to do this in the end, rather than the line I drew).


You may need to pin this a few times to get it centred and to ensure your material is evenly distributed across your pouches.

Then I went back and made some simple little pleat-like folds at the bottom corner of each remote pouch, and pinned those.


I also ruled straight lines to sew along in between each pouch (as my pinning wasn't exactly a straight guide).


Then you sew it all down. My humble recommendation:

1. Take the remotes out first!
2. Sew the bottom of the pouches closed first.
3. Then sew between the pouches, starting from the bottom up to the top. That way, if you have any slack it will simply shift upwards. If you are sewing down towards the bottom of the pouches you could end up with some unwanted extra fabric getting all up in your seam. And nobody wants that.
4. Be sure to back-stitch at the start and end of your stitching lines to ensure strong corners.

Here is everything sewed down. I have two remotes that are shorter than the others (we try not to mention it as it causes a lot of friction in the house). I lined up the tops of all the remotes and marked a line at the bottoms of the two, er, more petite ones.

Oops, they slipped down again before I took this pic.

Then I just sewed those lines down.


Ah, on the home stretch now.


I grabbed some scraps and made little tubes to fashion some hanging loops. Again, I didn't bother changing thread to match the backing as I didn't care what it looked like. Plus, I am a rebel.


But not so much a rebel that I didn't hand sew them on to ensure the thread showing on the front matched.


So we're finished, right? Well, you might well be, but I wasn't because I'd forgotten about the ipod remote.


That little sucker is like baby catnip, he can't keep his hands off it. Plus it's really small and he can hide it in sooooo many places.

I cut out a little pouch and hemmed it.


Then I sewed it on, again by hand. I think my stitching shows that it is getting quite late on Christmas night and I am ready to just hang this thing up already. (You can see where I stitched on one of the hanging loops just to the side of the ipod remote there.)


And here it is:


Mine looks a little funny at the top, but that's only because my adhesive-only hooks (so I don't annoy my landlord) are quite bulky.


Another hanging option is to sew a strip of material along the top width of the back, leaving an end open to slip in a length of dowel. If you have a lot of weight in your pouches you might find this offers better support. (That phrase works equally well as a bra advertisement.)

I'm quite chuffed with my organiser, and will be until the baby learns to either jump or climb up the TV cabinet.

Riffing on this pattern you could organise all sorts of things. I'm going to make a smaller one to hang next to our fireplace to hold the fire-starter briquettes and the gas lighter out of the baby's reach. You could get your mitts on some clear vinyl and make transparent pouches for organising stationery or your sewing room or your jewellery or your makeup or ... well, you get the drift.


OK lads, point taken.

This is my first attempt at more detailed tutorial like this, so please let me know if I've glossed over something and you need some clarification. I'll be happy to help.

Have a great weekend, everyone!


  1. I love it. Don't need one now but it is now in the brain, so, if I need it I might remember. LOL. I love reading your blog (I'm in North Carolina, USA) especially about your day to day - you have so much going on.

    If you get a minute take a peek (any ideas are welcome to make it better).


  2. Great tutorial, I don't need one of those as no young children here, and I hope not for a long time, as I have a teenager in the house!!!!
    I love the Echino print, and it looks great as a wall hanging.
    You have a great sense of humour, I always love reading your posts.

  3. Great project Kirsty - love the echino print! I always seem to have Xbox and Wii remotes all over the place - you don't have any techniques for teen organisation do you?

  4. Haha, I love the talking birds! Cute holder too, great idea.

  5. Very nice project and tutorial. I love your
    blog and think the name is the cleverist!

    Flora Doora

  6. that is genius! MY sister in law has a 20 month old and just had twins! I am totally making this for her! :) I was getting lost down the rabbit hole that is the blogger land and stumbled across yours! it was was wonderful to find it! Happy New Year!

  7. Hi Kirsty, the thank-you's are all over the place now, but I do have to say one more thank you for linking back to me so lovely! You make me blush... And one more thank you for posting this wonderful and detailed tutorial. I just started sewing class last week and this looks like a lot of tips and tricks to me! Happy Sunday to you,
    love Maaike

  8. Hi Kirsty,

    Great idea for the TV remotes - colourful and practical! The pointers on where things could go awry are much appreciated. I love your blog and you have a killer sense of humour.

  9. Very informative, comprehensive and entertaining. I would like to make one of those. If only I wasn't the only one in this household of five who would ever return a remote to its home. Sigh.

  10. brilliant. i love the product and i love the tutorial. easy peasy to follow. so suffer small baby, foiled again

  11. Bonjour !!
    Very nice realization. I really like it and thanks so much for the tuto.
    Your fabrics are so great.
    Hope you enjoy living in France!

  12. Only suggestion:
    How about sewing the poly batting onto the front and backing piece before having to stuff it later and it would be more secure.

  13. Hi Carole, thanks for dropping by. I certainly am enjoying my time in France!

    Mysterious Anonymous, thanks for dropping by too! Yes you could certainly tackle it in that vein, sewing the batting to the front or back first, then turning and quilting through all layers to secure back to front.

  14. Perfect with that fabric. Excellent job!

  15. Very inspiring! I read your tutorial and improvised on a few things. We are RVers so we're always hunting for the remotes. I used my favorite medium... PETMESH (Pet-
    d-Fence from Lowes) as backing, faced it with fabric backed by the stiff Pellon, and used clear vinyl (by Kitrich) for the pockets. It's great because you can actually see the remote controls. On the bottom I put a large divided pocket to hold my husband's iPad. He loves it! To finish it off I made a rod pocket on the back and used a tension rod because I had a little space between two window frames that it just fit.Now all I have to do is train the remotes to jump into the pockets!

  16. What a great idea - especially incorporating the iPad. Keep all those gadgets together!
    Enjoy touring with your new organiser, and thanks for dropping by.

  17. ummm... how do you put it up? sorry if you already said in the tutorial(i might have missed it)

    1. ha ha( its me the same person as before) i totally need to pay more attention to what im reading!!!! i reread and figured it out :b :p (i never can figure out which way goes better for a smiley face sticking its tongue out :p or :b) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) sorry i got carried away bye

    2. As long as you know you're smiling. that's all that matters! :-P

  18. This was really great. I am thinking of doing one for all my rulers! But I may not have a wall big enough!


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