Your Very Own Valet

You ever have one of those days where you set out to do a simple task and every little thing about it is difficult?  I just had one of those days – well, several days, because I had to walk away from the project – while trying to make something that really should have taken less than an hour from start to finish. It turned out well in the end, thankfully.

For Nicholas’s birthday, I wanted to make him his own valet.

Mr. Bates

But no, I don’t mean his own Mr. Bates.

I mean a little dresser valet, because he only gets to use a small corner of my usually-cluttered dresser, as there’s no night stand on that side of the room. He keeps his keys and phone and whatnot there, and he likes to keep his things neatly organized.

Lace and Lemons - Dresser Valet

The concept of this was really simple – it’s just two pieces of fabric stitched together, then pinched and sewn at the corners to make a box shape. I wanted it to look manly, so I picked out a leather-look upholstery vinyl and coordinating plaid-ish cotton print. I bought 1/3 a yard of each (and I now have a large leftover piece of the vinyl for future crafting).

Lace and Lemons - Dresser Valet

I cut the vinyl to a 10.5 x 10.5 inch  square, and the cotton to an 11 x 11 inch square. I hadn’t planned on using interfacing in this but the cotton was fraying like crazy so I backed it with iron-on interfacing to control that.

Lace and Lemons - Dresser Valet

Next I did a 1/4 inch hem all around the cotton square, which gave me a square the same size as the vinyl.

Lace and Lemons - Dresser Valet

Those two pieces just needed to be stitched to each other, wrong sides together. Easy, right? Wrong. I used a heavy duty needle because of the vinyl, and thick thread I originally used for a pair of jeans.

Lace and Lemons - Dresser Valet

I stitched along one side of the square, checked the back and…

Lace and Lemons - Dresser Valet

Ew.

The course of crafting never did run smooth.

I upped the tension on my upper thread, flipped the valet over so the vinyl was on top, and switched to a regular Polyester thread (the same one I had used to hem the cotton). Since I clearly didn’t follow the scientific method, I have no idea which of these variables fixed the problem, but something worked, so yay!

Lace and Lemons - Dresser Valet

That first time around with the new thread I stitched at 1/4 inch from the edge without thinking – it didn’t catch the hem on the cotton. * grumble * So I went around again at 1/8 inch. The double line of stitching is a nice touch. It looks like I did it on purpose.

Lace and Lemons - Dresser Valet

To make this flat square a box shape, I folded it diagonally and pinched it at the corners. Holding a straight edge along the upper rim, I lined up the ruler to find where to stitch to make the sides 1.5 inches high, and drew a chalk line there as a guide.

Lace and Lemons - Dresser Valet

Then stitch, lather, rinse, repeat*

*Just repeat with the other corners. 

Lace and Lemons - Dresser Valet

Voila!  A dresser valet!

And last but not least, I made sure he knows he can’t ask for a gift receipt (not that he would):

2014-01-18 20.32.13

Here it is in action:

Lace and Lemons - Dresser Valet

I had some struggles with this project, but it’s still a very simple DIY gift. Maybe someone you know would like one for Valentine’s day?  

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