My parents have the great fortune of spending many weeks a year traveling together. Whether they are sailing the turquoise waters of the Caribbean, enjoying a food tour in some new city for the weekend, or simply catching a flight to come visit their awesome grandkids, those two are always on the move.
Up until Mother’s Day (when I gifted her these great new trays), my mom had been using one of those little paper hats that they put on hotel cups to put her jewelry and things in at the end of the day. Resourceful, but chincy.
If you’re jet-setting this summer, sew yourself a little travel tray—the perfect spot to keep your keys, rings, phone and glasses together in one spot. Simple to sew, the tray unsnaps to fold flat in your suitcase for no-bulk packing too. And… even if you don’t sew, you can still make one! Scroll to the end of these directions for that info.
– Two fabric pieces measuring 8.5″ x 11″ each. You’ll want the interior fabric to be a solid light color, so that it’s easy to see your items within.
– low loft batting
– snaps (I like the ones that install with a hammer, rather than the sew on type)
1. Use a letter sized paper to cut two pieces of fabric and your low loft batting to 8.5″ x 11″ each.
2. Stack the three pieces with batting on the bottom and the two fabrics with right sides together on top.
3. Using a 1/4″ seam allowance, sew together all three pieces. Be sure and put the batting on the top, otherwise it could snag on the jagged feed dogs of the machine.
4. Sew most of the way around, leaving a space of a few inches for turning.
5. Turn the fabrics right side out and the batting will tuck inside. Top stitch 1/8″ around the entire piece to close it up.
6. On each side, sew a straight line 1.5″ from the edge.
7. Inside the interior rectangle, sew lines every 1/2″ for a quilted effect.
8. From the corner, measure in 1″ and install your snaps.
9. Finished! Snap the corners together and you’ve got yourself a nifty padded tray. The finished useable inside space measures 6″ x 8.5″. I found this ideal for a small cellphone, a pair of sunglasses and some jewelry, but you can easily customize the size by adjusting the beginning dimensions.
I mentioned earlier that you can make one of these without sewing! Instead of cotton fabric, cut out a square of marine grade vinyl. Attach snaps in the same location, 1″ off the corners.
If you’re not the traveling type, these make excellent gifts for those in your life that are. My mom raves about it’s usefulness and I’m so glad she’s no longer hoarding hotel cup covers!