mail sorter: a tutorial

In handmade, printables, projects + tutorials on 12/29/2009 at 1:22 pm

I always feel better greeting the new year with a clean house. At least, as clean as our house gets. It seems I’m in a losing battle with our mail. It ends up heaped in the office where things are buried, lost, and forgotten. I’ve tried different filing systems but they never last. I prefer a tidy workspace. My husband prefers to have the important stuff in his line of sight as a reminder to deal with it. I managed to put this little number together in less than an hour. Super simple.

Materials:unbleached cotton fabric

coordinating thread

1/2″ wide elastic or ribbon (depending on where you’re hanging it)


off-white cardstock

Steps:1. From your fabric, cut a rectangular panel measuring 27.75″ by 16.5″ (or whatever dimensions you deem appropriate depending on your needs).

2. On each of the long sides, fold in the edge about 1″ and press flat.

3. Top stitch both folds closed using a 1/4″ seam allowance.

4. Determine which side you want to be “the front”, and top stitch a second time 1/4″ below the first line of stitching. (See the image if you’re confused.)

5. Fold the panel in half, lengthwise, right sides facing, and stitch up the sides. (1/4″ seam allowance again)

6. Now it’s time to add the pockets. I chose the size of mine based on the widest piece of mail that we receive on a regular basis. Using a straightedge, simply pencil in a faint line from the top to the bottom of the front panel to show you where to stitch in your dividers. This makes it easier to sew in a straight line and you can’t see the pencil mark after you sew over it.

7. Stitch in your dividers, following your pencil line, beginning at the bottom and stopping when you reach the lower top stitch line. (Again, refer to the image if I lost you.)

8. Print each of the four labels, below, onto cardstock and cut them out. I left a very narrow border around each one. [UPDATE: The reason for the “action required” label is that invariably, we have pieces of mail (not bills) that require a written reply or a telephone call in response.]

9. One at a time, position each pocket under the foot of your sewing machine. Place the printed label in the desired spot.  Top stitch across the top edge of each label to secure.

Whether you add elastic or ribbon at this point is entirely up to you. Ribbon loops or ties would be ideal for hanging on the wall. I chose elastic because I wanted our door to be able to wear it. To accomplish this, I stretched the elastic snugly around the door to determine a good size. Then I stitched one end carefully to the upper back side of the organizer. Just be sure you don’t stitch both ends, as you’ll have no way of getting it onto the door!!! Using a door is a bit tricky, I recommend hanging it just above the middle hinge. This gives the elastic something to catch on and it just so happened that one end of the organizer rests comfortably on top of the doorknob, which keeps it from sagging. The unstitched end of the elastic is secured to the fabric with a sturdy safety-pin.




  1. What a fantastic Tutorial…thanks for sharing it with us!

  2. Mail! The never ending source of clutter! Would that it would all just stop (but for those sweet handwritten letters from dear friends, of course)!

    Very nice looking sorter. I will put it next on my list of sewing projects. Unfortunately, in hopes of decluttering, I put my sewing machine on the shelf and haven’t used it much since. Bad idea.

  3. This is a really fantastic idea! All of our mail tends to land in a heap on my husband’s desk in the office and I think he’d love a system that could clear up the clutter… especially one that was wifey-made : ).

    Thank you for the tutorial and sharing your wonderful printable labels!

  4. How funny as I was just rolling my eyes upstairs at the clutter of mail I had to sort through that has piled up since before Christmas. This would very much come in handy!


  5. It is good that you took the trouble come up with tutorials.

  6. wow — what a great idea!

  7. Great idea! May I suggest buttonhole elastic? That way you could sew buttons in place & not have to use the safety pin. Thanks for the inspiration.

  8. Holy! WOW. This is one of my new years resolutions. Along with doing laundry right out of the dryer.

    We’ll see….thanks for the awesome tutorial though.

  9. I was just looking at the mail sorters in One Yard Wonders yesterday and thinking that we could really use something like that. I like yours much better – the 4 organizing slots really makes everything neat and tidy. Thanks for sharing the tutorial!

  10. Aww, this is so sweet, I love it! Thanks so much for adding it to the One Pretty Thing Flickr Pool. I’ll be linking in the Weekend Roundup.

  11. Love this!
    So generous of you to share…I am SO doing this.

  12. This is such a great idea! I love it!

  13. […] Gina from bright and blithe shows how to sew a hanging mail sorter.  With pockets for things to be filed, things to be paid, things that require action, and things to be sorted, you’ll be able to keep your mail neat and organized for the coming year.  Get the how-to. […]

  14. What a great solution for the mountain of mail we all get!! I featured your tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing:


  15. I am new to blogging and so happy I came upon your blog this sleepless night in NJ. This is a wonderful idea! You are very creative. I will be returning to your blog regularly. Thank you for sharing.

  16. I am so making this! Thanks so much for such a great idea!


  17. This is an awesome idea! Definitely going to have to make this!

  18. This is sooo fabulous!! I’ll be featuring!

  19. Sometimes you need to see someone else thinking outside the box before you can. It never would have occurred to me to make a mail sorter our of fabric and not *gasp* wood! Thanks for the inspiration!

  20. I love this! I can’t wait to make a bunch for mail, books, paper dolls, you name it every wall in our house is going to have one. Okay, maybe not every wall. Thanks for sharing!

  21. gorgeous! thank you!

  22. I am making this for sure. I will send you a photo. I think I will make mine out of a painters drop cloth. Can’t wait to try it!!

  23. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Katherine, Mousewrites. Mousewrites said: Fabric Mail Sorter. Would be sweet on the back of my door/next to the wall calender. http://tinyurl.com/yaajj5q #tutorials #craft #organize […]

  24. fantastic idea. I ‘m so going to do this. 🙂

  25. What a fantastic idea!!!!

  26. I love this! Mail is a never ending battle (and argument) at our house. I have been looking for something that could hang on the back of the coat closet door that wouldn’t cost me an arm and a leg. Now I will just have to enlist the help of my mom since I don’t own a sewing machine.

  27. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by brightandblithe: mail sorter: a tutorial http://goo.gl/fb/Qnci

  28. […] mail sorter: a tutorial I always feel better greeting the new year with a clean house. At least, as clean as our house gets. It seems […] […]

  29. This is adorable. Hung on cup hooks would be perfect for our pantry!

  30. […] mail sorter: a tutorial « bright and blithe. Detta inlägg gjordes 6 januari 2010 kl 12:46 och är arkiverat under Syteknik. Du kan följa kommentarerna via RSS 2.0. Du kan lämna en kommentar, eller lämna en trackback från din egen blogg. Cancel Reply […]

  31. This idea is awesome…I totally need to make this! I’ve featuring you on my sidebar! Thanks!


  32. It’s such a great idea!!!!

  33. […] can find Gina’s mail sorter tutorial at her blog Bright and Blithe (see some of her other nifty tutorials […]

  34. […] mail sorter: a tutorial [bright and blithe via Ohdeedoh] Tagged:mailyou 2.0.10 […]

  35. […] perhaps), but you can easily make your own pocket covers if that design isn’t up your alley. mail sorter: a tutorial [bright and blithe via […]

  36. […] perhaps), but you can easily make your own pocket covers if that design isn’t up your alley. mail sorter: a tutorial [bright and blithe via […]

  37. […] perhaps), but you can easily make your own pocket covers if that design isn’t up your alley. mail sorter: a tutorial [bright and blithe via […]

  38. For a bit of extra pizazz, replace the cardstock with a contrasting-color fabric label. Use the embroidery stitches on your machine to create an interesting border design. Freehand stitch (lower the feed dogs) the words on each tag. The embroidery stabilizer sheet will lend the tag some stiffness.

    Or, fuse a design and the words on the labels using wonder-under.

    Another advantage of fabric tags: The whole thing will be washable.

  39. Hello. Great job. I did not expect this in the early morning. Good job!

  40. […] found this really cute mail center over at Bright and Blithe that I am going to make to help organize our mail. Look how cute it […]

  41. […] found this really cute mail center over at Bright and Blithe that I am going to make to help organize our mail. Look how cute it […]

  42. […] hex open frame bag. The mail sorter shown above is from Gina of bright and blithe and includes a tutorial. (Gina’s been busy!– Check out her design board, no-sew fabric bunting & washable […]

  43. Another day another bookmark. This one is great! I’ve been looking for some creative way to organize the paper trail that comes through the door a bit better. Cute too!

  44. Your sorter is on Sew Mama Sew’s facebook page right now, what a hit this tutorial was! Way to go Mama!

  45. Fantastic tutorial!!
    I don’t have a door or much wall space in my kitchen (our usual mail sorting area), so I’ll have to think about how I can customize it to fit in my space – but I love it!

  46. […] This mail sorter would make organization much easier. […]

  47. […] the next stop–my foyer. For which I will be making this bit of AWESOMENESS thanks to Bright and Blithe. Tell a Friend […]

  48. what a good idea!

  49. […] used the great tutorial and printable labels from Bright and […]

  50. I finally got around to posting your great idea and my not-so-pretty imitation. But it works, and I’m so grateful for the good idea!!

  51. Thank you so much for this! I made one and it turned out so great! I was too cheap to buy cardstock so I just hand-embroidered the labels on each pocket. Pic below!

  52. Hooray! Can’t wait to make this as part of my pre-spring cleaning and organizing. Thank you for sharing!!

  53. The table that once held the mail pile thanks you.

  54. […] feature is from Bright and Blithe with this clever Mail Sorter: A Tutorial: I always feel better greeting the new year with a clean house. At least, as clean as our house […]

  55. Oh, that is a fabulous idea! I must make one of these very soon. My husband eyed my pile of mail yesterday and asked if I was planning to “do something” with that soon LOL! Thank you so much for the perfect thing to sort the stacks of stuff that come in the mail.

  56. […] thinking, could be used as embroidery patterns as well for more permanent labeling, if desired.)To read the entire tutorial, follow this link.Via.  You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed. […]

  57. […] bright and blithe. Tags: diy, mail « happy […]

  58. It is too bad that I come across this tutorial only today, as it would have been great to have featured it in our ‘best tutorials of 2009’ here: http://www.finecraftguild.com/2010-free-craft-tutorials-best-of-2009-upcycling/

  59. SUCH a great idea, just in time for Spring Cleaning! I’ve added this to my “Get Organized” roundup for today, and you can grab an “I’ve been featured badge” if you’d like!

    Thanks so much for the terrific idea! 🙂

  60. […] De vigília Mart 22nd, 2010 | Author: admin [Translate] Enquanto vigio a febre da minha filhota, olho para o estado caótico actual da minha casa e penso na quantidade brutal de trabalho a fazer. Mas amanhã será um novo dia. Para desanuviar a cabeça, navego noite dentro pela net e deixo algumas das inspirações encontradas: Uma ideia para organizar o correio, com moldes e tutorial AQUI! […]

  61. Ohdeedoh pointed me to this tutorial – thanks for the great idea! All my mail would probably still be likely to end up in the ‘to be sorted’ pile, though! 😉

  62. I love it. Nice work:-).

  63. […] was inspired by this post from Bright and […]

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