Jess Pryles

How to make your own knife roll

make your own knife roll step by step
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Keep your knives safe during travel with this simple denim and vinyl knife roll.

In the age of Amazon, it’s tempting to just click a button and purchase whatever it is you may need online. But there is something to be said for the pride of craft. Sure, you could just buy a cheap nylon knife roll, possible for even less than this one costs to make, but then you wouldn’t have a badass customized roll that you can proudly call one of a kind.

make your own knife roll step by step

I first came up with the idea for this roll when I moved from Australia to Texas. Since I’m wasn’t a chef, I had never before needed to transport my knives. However, my blade collection would need to be thoroughly secured for such a long journey. So I came up with a plan to simply make my own roll. I ended up making one or two more for friends, but figured it may be of interest to other folks too, and so I’m sharing the ‘how to’ with y’all.

make your own knife roll step by step

You will need a sewing machine for this project, and one that is fitted with leather or denim needles. You’ll also need to know how to use that sewing machine… I can’t teach you that on here! You can use another fabric in place of the denim, such as a firm canvas, just be sure it has a lot of structure/weight. You can also pick up some fancier patterned vinyl if you want to get elaborate. For the ultimate finishing touch, you could even sew a little leather patch onto the denim, just like a pair of jeans, and write your initials on it.

I’ve made this knife roll tall enough to accomodate a 12″ brisket slicer.

make your own knife roll step by step

To make your own knife roll you will need:

  • a sewing machine
  • scissors
  • tape measure
  • one piece of heavy denim*, 19 x 37″
  • one piece of vinyl, 17 x 13.5″
  • 2 yards of cotton ribbon or tape (for the ties)
  • a marker or chalk to mark the fabric
  • pins

*it’s really important the denim or fabric you use is thick and not too stretchy

Step 1: cut the denim.

Measure down 11.5″ from the wider side of the denim, and cut straight across. Set aside the smaller piece.

make your own knife roll step by step

Step 2: position the vinyl.

Working with the larger denim piece, position the vinyl so it sits 1.5″ from the short edge. The sides should be 1″ in from each side of the denim.

position the vinyl in knife roll

Step 3: fold the bottom pocket.

At the opposite end from where you’ve placed the vinyl, measure 6″ in from the bottom, the fold the denim fabric over at the 6″ mark. The fold should come up over the bottom of the vinyl by about an inch or so.

make your own knife roll

In order to help this flap sit flat, you may want to iron it along the crease. I don’t have an iron, so I used a hair straightener (which actually turned out to be easier!) and did the job just fine.

make your own knife roll

Step 4: fold and pin the sides.

Fold the long sides of the denim back over the flap you have created, and pin them down to secure. The sides will come in about 3/4″.

make your own knife roll

Step 5: trim the denim flap.

Now that the sides are pinned down, lay the smaller piece of denim you cut earlier where the sides meet the vinyl. Mark where the denim meets the other side, then cut along that mark to trim the denim piece to size. Basically, you are forming the flap that will flip down over the knives. This piece needs to be narrower than the width of the knife roll, so that it sits properly when you close it. Discard the smaller piece you have trimmed away.

make your own knife roll DIY

Step 6: sew the sides down.

Use the sewing machine to stitch down the sides you have pinned, coming in about 1/4″ from the edge. Remember to remove the pins as you sew along, otherwise they may break the machine needle.

Step 7: measure & sew the pockets.

At the larger pocket, make a mark every 3 inches along the fabric. This will create a total of 5 pockets when stitched. Sew along each mark, starting where the fabric is folded, all the way up to where it meets the vinyl. Repeat until all marks have been sewed.

make your own knife roll

Step 8: place & pin the flap.

Place the flap fabric over the vinyl, about 3/4 inch from the top raw edge. Fold the raw edge over so that it covers the top of the flap, and pin in place. For a neater finish, fold the raw edge over twice, tucking it under itself.

how to make a denim knife roll

Step 9: sew the top seam.

Sew the top seam you have just created to secure it in place. Make sure it’s covering the flap, as this step will secure the flap, too.

Step 10: cut & position the straps.

Cut the strap fabric into two straps, one yard each. Flip the knife roll over, and position the straps evenly on one side of the knife roll. Line up the centre of each strap with the sewed side seam – if you can sew along the same line you’ll have a much neater finish. Secure the straps in place with pins to help you, then sew them into place.

positioning straps

Step 11: load up with knives.

You’re done! Load up your knife roll with your favorite knives, cover with the protective flap, roll towards the side with the strap, then secure.

make your own knife roll

By Jess Pryles

Jess Pryles is a full fledged Hardcore Carnivore. She’s a cook, writer, and TV personality specializing in red meat, with penchant for grilling and bourbon. She's also a respected authority on Texas & competition style barbecue. Born in Australia, she now resides in Austin, Texas.

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