Condo Blues: How to Make a Hanging Mittens, Gloves, and Hat Closet Organizer – Winter Gear Storage Made Simple!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

How to Make a Hanging Mittens, Gloves, and Hat Closet Organizer – Winter Gear Storage Made Simple!

My coat closet is a big, hot, disorganized mess! Hats, gloves, mittens, and scarves play hide and seek way too often. I can’t tell you how many times I took Lacey outside wearing non matching gloves because I couldn’t find a pair in the hall closet.

Disorganized coat closet BEFORE
I am not proud of this

I resisted organizing our hats and gloves using a hanging shoe organizer on the back of the closet door for many years because the pockets aren’t large enough to store scarves (hand knitted courtesy of my mother in law. Thanks Mom!) and they rip easily with heavy use.

The solution was to sew my own custom hanging closet winter hat, glove, and mitten organizer. If you can sew a straight line, you can make this project. It only looks complicated but it is not. I promise!

How to Sew a Closet Door Pocket Organizer

For this project, I used home décor fabric so the heavier weight fabric will stand up to yanking and stuffing our accessories in and out of the pockets.

You will need:

2 1/2 Inch x 48 Inch Wooden Dowel Rods

Compact hand hacksaw

4 Dowel Rod Caps For 1/2 Inch Dowel Rods

Craft paint

Paint brush

Wood glue

4 Hollow wall anchors (learn more about them here)

4 1-1/4" Cup Hooks

Approximately 2 yards of fabric

Coordinating thread

Sewing gage

Straight pins


Tape measure

Sew machine

Iron and Ironing Board

The supplies in this tutorial are something that I’ve relied on and like so much that I have no problem recommending them to you (and using my big bold affiliate links.) Throw me a bone and use them for your shopping, will ya? It helps me keep the lights on  is at no additional cost to you. Thanks!

Step by Step How to Make it

1. Paint the wood dowels and end caps with the craft paint and brush and allow them to thoroughly dry if desired.

2. Measure the length and width of the back of your closet door and determine how large you want to make your door organizer and cut the fabric to for the back of organizer to size.

I want my hanging organizer to cover the majority of the back of my closet door but not so tall that I can’t use the top row of pockets. Short girl problems don’tcha know.

I need to cut the fabric for the back of the organizer 77 inches long and 26 wide to have enough fabric for hems and the rod pockets. The finished size of my organizer will be 66 1/2 inches long and 25 inches wide.

 3. Hem the sides of the organizer sides by the folding the fabric over on itself by one inch (check your measurement with the sewing gage,) pinning the fold in place and sewing the hem into place with the sewing machine and thread. I didn’t need to make an extra fold in my hems for a clean edge since I left the selvage edge (the woven edge of the fabric) intact so the fabric will not fray with wear.
Tip: Remove the straight pins as you sew to lessen the chance of needle hitting a straight pin and breaking your needle.

4. Hem the top and the bottom of the organizer fabric by by turning the raw edge over twice (again, use the sewing gage to make sure it is even,) pinning the fold in place, and sewing a straight stitch to hold it in place.

5.  Make the rod pockets by by turning the top and bottom edge over edge raw edge over two inches, pinning the fold in place, and sewing a straight stitch to hold it in place.

This is what the top and bottom rod pocket look like when you are finished

6. Measure and cut the fabric to make the pockets.

6 medium size pockets of 181/2 inches long and 13 inches wide.
2 large rectangle packets of 28 1/2 inches long and 13 inches wide.
Optional: Make all of the pockets the same size and cut 48 small shoe organizer size pockets of 12 1/2 long and 13 inches wide.

7. To make the pockets:
1. Use the sewing gage to measure and fold one inch of fabric over the top of the pocket and fold it over again by one inch to make the hem. Iron and pin the fold into place. 
2. Use the sewing machine and coordinating thread to sew the packet hem into place.
3. Use the sewing gage to fold the fabric of each side of the pocket by 1/4 inch and iron the fold into place to create what will be the side hems of the pocket.
4. With the wrong side of the fabric (the back side of the fabric) facing up (towards you) fold each side of the pocket toward the center of the pocket and iron the folds into place. The two fabric folds will now be the right side of the fabric (the pretty part) facing up.

 Fold the edges toward the center of the fabric

5. Fold the right side fold back on itself so the fabric is even with the first side fold you did in Step 4 and iron it into place.
6. Repeat Step 5 for the fabric on the left side of the pocket
7. Use the sewing gage to measure and fold the bottom raw edge by 1 inch (or less if you want a slightly deeper pocket) and iron the fold into place to make the bottom hem of the pocket.

Congratulations! You made a pocket!

For the long rectangle pockets I made shallower folds. The first folds are 4 inches from the edge to make a  2 inch fold back upon itself.

8. Pin the pockets to the backing fabric with the straight pins.

Lisa would be lost without me helping her decide where she wanted the pockets on her organizer before she pinned them to the backing fabric.

Thanks Lacey!

9. To sew each pocket to the backing fabric:

1.Sew the vertical sides of the pocket to the backing fabric first.
2. Sew the horizontal bottom of the pocket to the backing fabric last.

10. Cut the wood dowel rods to the width of the hanging door organizer with the hand hack saw if needed.

11. Slip a dowel rod into each rod pocket and use the wood glue to glue an end cap to each side of the dowel rod. Allow the wood glue to dry overnight.

12. Install the wall anchors (if you have a hollow core door) and cup hooks to hold the top and bottom sides of the hanging door organizer to the door. Don’t skip the bottom cup hooks. They keep the organizer from flopping around when you open and close the door.

13. Pop the dowel rods onto the cup hooks, fill it up with your stuff, and get organized!

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If you'd rather buy than DIY, check out the following ideas - and more!- below!

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