Have you ever heard of a rug/carpet for a sewing machine? It's a handy contraption that sits under the machine and has one or more pockets that dangle in front for keeping tools and paraphernalia handy. I've had one with open-topped pockets for years, though I don't use it at home, due to the design of my machine cabinet. However, I love using it when I sew somewhere else, like at a meeting or a friend's house.
My quilting group recently made these, but this version has a zippered pocket, which is even better than the open ones! I made one to give away to someone here and another to keep, though I simplified the one I'm going to keep. ;) Here they are:
They're the same size, but I didn't have them evenly arranged on the table before taking the photo. The colorful one is nicer, and that's the one I'm going to give away. The black and white one is less detailed, but it will do nicely for my purposes.
How did I make that one? I used a piece of double-sided pre-quilted fabric, approximately 24" x 28", to begin with. Then I was lucky and found a purse zipper (22") with double zipper pulls — much handier, IMHO, than a single pull — and some wide grosgrain ribbon. I stitched the ribbon onto each side of the zipper tape, then added some mesh-like fabric (not the stuff that was so popular a few years ago and which is difficult to find these days) to one of the pieces of ribbon.
The next step was to stitch the grosgrain ribbon (the one without the mesh attached) to the quilted fabric and then baste around the rest of the mesh/zipper combination to hold things in place. Add binding all the way around (I had a piece with tiny dots on it!) and then divide the pocket by means of stitching, if desired, and it's done! :)
You could, of course, quilt your own fabric, but I didn't. The one I'm giving away is sturdier, since it has an extra layer with the strippy blocks and borders, as well as some "real" mesh screening for the pocket. That one also has a "parka" zipper in order to have the double pulls. Neither one is difficult to make, and they are so handy for keeping things together when sewing away from home!