Little socks, little shirts, little shoes. Kid accoutrements have a way of turning into a meandering trail across the floor, making a mess and making it hard to find what you need when it’s time to get dressed. Our closet door caddy has nine 6” pockets to hold lots of little stuff. We can’t guarantee that some items won’t still escape, but we can promise super-cute organization that makes it more fun to tidy up.
As any aspiring Mary Poppins will tell you, making picking-up fun gets the job done more quickly and easily. Use a bright, happy print and hang the caddy at kid-height. We chose some frisky foxes from Robert Kaufman’s adorable Urban Zoologie collection, and the binding is done is a soft flannel. The original stripe flannel we chose is not longer readily available. Below are a few new flannels we liked in combination with the cute foxes:
The caddy is really meant to be spot cleaned, but it could be machine-washed on the gentle cycle and hung to dry. It will need to be pressed prior to re-hanging and re-filling. Anytime you’re working with flannel, we do recommend pre-washing as it shrinks more that most fabrics.
Each pocket has a small pleat at the base so it can expand to hold as much as possible. The three pocket panels are sell secured along the bottom, the sides and with each division seam, so we chose to not use interfacing. This works great to hold small clothing and accessory items. If you’d like your caddy to hold heavier items, consider adding a layer of interfacing to each panel prior to binding and pleating. We used Command brand hooks to position our sample caddy. They make it easy to adjust the height, and you can attach without a hammer and nails. You could certainly use any style of hooks, just make sure the curve of the hook has enough depth to handle the thickness of the caddy and the plastic grommet.
The grommets we selected are from Dritz® Home. Although the red we used is a promotional color no longer readily available, there are a dozen other colors that would look just as great. With our fabric combination, white, black or even pewter would be fun.
Our caddy finishes at approximately 20” wide x 30” high with nine pockets that are approximately 6” x 6” – each with an expandable pleat.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
- Walking foot – the Janome Skyline S7 has the built-in AcuFeed Flex™ fabric-feeding system; if you do not have this option, use an Even Feed or Walking foot or similar
- Ditch Quilting foot; optional to stitch binding in place
Fabric and Other Supplies
- 1 yard of 44″+ wide fabric for caddy front and pockets: we used Foxes in Sky from the Urban Zoologie Mini collection by Robert Kaufman Fabric
NOTE: This yardage is based on using the full width of fabric (44″+) in order to cut the main panel and the pocket panels side by side. If you feel your width will not be adequate, get 1¾ yards and cut the panel by itself with the pocket panels cut in two rows: one row side by side and one row individual … or get 2 yards and cut all the pieces on on top of the other.
- ½ yard of 44-45″ wide fabric for binding: we originally used Bias Stripe in Marine from the Cozy Cotton Flannel collection by Robert Kaufman Fabric, which is no longer readily available – see above for our new flannel options
- ¾ yard of 54″ wide heavy white cotton duck or canvas for the caddy back: we used 7 oz. Duck Canvas in Pelican Gray
- ¾ yard 45″+ mid-weight fusible interfacing: we used Pellon Décor Bond
- Two 1″ drapery grommets to coordinate with fabric; we used Dritz Home Curtain Grommets in a red we had in our stash, which was a promotional color; white, black or pewter would also work well
- All purpose thread to match the fabric
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Rotary cutter and mat
- Iron and ironing board
- Straight pins or clips
- From the fabric for the caddy front and pockets (mini foxes in our sample), cut the following:
ONE 21” wide x 31” high rectangle from the main panel
THREE 22” wide x 12” high rectangles for the pocket panels
- From the fabric for the caddy back (gray canvas in our sample), cut ONE 21” wide x 31” high rectangle.
NOTE: Because we used a solid canvas with no directional motif, we cut our back panel to most efficiently use the yardage: 21″ high x 31″ wide.
- From the binding fabric (stripe flannel in our sample), cut SIX 2½” x width of fabric (WOF) strips.
- From the mid-weight fusible interfacing, cut ONE 21” x 31” rectangle.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Preparing the caddy body
- Fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of the cotton duck/canvas piece (the caddy back).
- Layer the caddy front and the caddy back WRONG sides together. All the raw edges of both layers should be flush.
- Using a machine basting stitch and a ½” seam allowance, sew around the entire outside edge to hold these layers together. Set aside.
Preparing the pockets
- Find the three pocket panel pieces. Press each in half, wrong sides together, so they are now 22” wide x 6” high. Set aside.
- Find three of the WOF binding strips. Fold each strip in half, wrong sides together, so it is now 1¼” wide.
NOTE: These are the binding strips for each pocket. You will use the remaining three strips later to finish the caddy body.
- Pair up one binding strip with each pocket panel, aligning the raw edges of the folded binding with the raw edges of folded pocket panel. Pin in place.
NOTE: Each binding strip will be longer than the pocket piece; that’s okay, you’ll trim off the excess once it’s sewn.
- Using a ¼” seam allowance, stitch the binding to each pocket piece. Trim off the excess binding from the sides so all edges are flush.
- Press the binding up and away from the pocket.
- Using an overcast stitch, a zigzag stitch, or a serger, finish the raw edges along both sides of each pocket panel.
- Fold the binding up and around to the back of the pocket panel, aligning it just beyond the previous stitching line. Make sure your fold is even along the length of the pocket panel. Press in place.
- On the front of each pocket panel, place pins ‘in the ditch’ of the binding seam line, which is right along the seam line of the panel and binding. This will catch the edge of the binding which should sit, as described above, just beyond the seam at the back.
- Using a standard straight stitch, sew ‘in the ditch’ – again, this is right along the seam line of the panel and the binding. In the photo below, we flipped over the pocket panel so you could see where we are stitching on the front (under the needle) and what it should look like on the back.
NOTE: You can sew in the ditch with a regular presser foot (we continued to use the AcuFeed™ Flex feeding system on our Skyline S7) or you can switch to a Ditch Quilting foot, which has a handy guide that runs along the previous seam to keep your ditch stitching perfectly straight.
- Fold back both sides of each pocket panel ½”. Press in place. You can see how we finished our raw edges with an overcast stitch. For more about machine sewn finishes, check out our four-part tutorial.
Pleating the pockets
- Place each bound pocket flat on your work surface with the right side (the front side with the clean edge of the binding) facing up.
- Line up a tape measure along the bottom edge of each pocket panel. Your overall pocket panel should measure approximately 21”.
- Using a fabric pencil or pins, place a mark at 7″ and 14″. Repeat for the remaining two pocket panels. These are the pocket division lines. Place a pin at the top and bottom and/or draw in a vertical lines at each of these two measurements on each pocket panel.
- With the pocket division lines marked, measure for the center point of each pocket panel’s three pleats. To do this, from the left folded edge of the pocket panel, measure 3½” to the right, 10½” to the right and 17½” to the right. These are the three center marks for your pleats
- From each center point, measure ½” to the right and ½” to the left. Place a pin or make a mark at these points. You should now have three marks/pins at each pleat point.
- Flip over the panel so you are now working on the back side of the pocket.
- To make each pleat, pinch the outside marks and fold them in to meet at the middle mark.
- Baste across each pleat close to the edge to hold it in place. Remember, this is the back side of the pocket panel.
- Repeat for each pocket on each pocket panel.
- Below is a bird’s eye view of how each pleat forms along each panel.
- Set all the pocket panels aside.
- Place the caddy body right side up on a flat surface. Trim the seam allowance to ⅜” from the basting line previously sewn. You used a ½” seam allowance for the basting, so this means you’re trimming off just ⅛”.
NOTE: Pay attention to the overall size of the door caddy; make sure it’s even all around and square at each corner.
- Using a straight stitch and a ¼” seam allowance, sew the three remaining binding strips together end-to-end to create one long strip. Press all seams open.
- Press the entire long binding string in half lengthwise, wrong sides together.
NOTE: Because our project has a definite front and back, we decided to bind the edge in the same manner we bound the pockets above. This allows for a clean bound edge on the front with the stitching line only showing on the back. This is different than how we’ve done instructions for other tutorials with reversible items that are bound, such as blankets and throws, where we traditionally recommend a two-step quilt binding with a hand sewn edge along the back. Just making sure you’re paying attention :-).
- Starting in the middle of one side or the middle of the bottom, line up the raw edges of the folded binding with the raw edge of the caddy body. Leave about a 6″ tail. Pin in place.
- Using a ¼” seam allowance, start sewing the binding to the caddy edge. Go from your starting point (remember to leave that 6″ tail) to the first corner.
- Stop at the corner. Raise the needle and the pressure foot. Pull the caddy out slightly from under the needle to the left of the machine. You do not need to cut the thread.
- Rotate the caddy. To turn the corner, bring the folded edge of your binding up. This automatically creates a pleat and a 90˚ corner. Pin.
- Line up the next side’s raw edge with the raw edges of the binding, pinning your way to the next corner.
- Place the caddy back under the needle and foot to continue sewing the binding, starting about ¼” in from the top edge (the point at which you stopped the previous seam).
- Repeat these same steps at each corner. We’ve summarized our binding instructions and photos. If you are brand new to the technique, check out our full tutorial on Binding Quilts and Throws.
- When you are approaching the point where you started, stop about 4″ short of this point and back tack. This will allow you space to join your binding end-to-end, and then attach it to the caddy for a clean finish.
- With the 6″ tail you left at the beginning, and the tail you have at the end, unfold the binding strip and place the two binding tails right sides together.
- Determine the point where you can sew a straight seam (just like you did when you joined the binding pieces end-to-end at the start), allowing your binding to lay flat against caddy. Pin the ends together at this point.
- Pull the binding away from the caddy so you can place the it under the foot of your sewing machine.
- Sew a seam where you pinned the binding. Trim the tails to a ¼” seam allowance, trimming away all the excess binding. Press open the seam allowance.
- The binding should now be a perfect fit against the caddy. Press this loose section of the binding in half wrong sides together (into its original shape).
- Pin the raw edges of the binding to the raw edge of the caddy.
- Finish sewing binding to the caddy from the point where you stopped to the point where you started, matching your seam lines.
- Press the binding up and away from the caddy.
- Fold the binding over to the back of the caddy, aligning it just beyond the previous stitching line. Just like you did above for the pocket binding. Make sure your fold is even all around the edge. You’ll probably need to futz with the corners a little bit to get the pleats right. Press in place.
- Also as you did with the pocket binding above, on the front of the caddy, place pins “in the ditch” of the binding seam line, which is just below your original seam line.
- Using a straight stitch, sew ‘in the ditch’ – again, this is right along your original seam line, which should then catch the binding at the back that is sitting just below the seam line.
NOTE: As mentioned above, check out our full binding tutorial if you are new to this technique.
- Remove any visible basting stitches from around the body of the caddy.
Attaching the pockets
- Place the bound caddy right side up you work surface.
- Using a fabric marking pen or pencil and a see-through ruler or tape measure, mark the pocket positions. For each pocket panel, you will mark the position of the bottom, the left and right sides, and the pocket sections.
- Place a long ruler or tape measure at the exact center (right to left) of the caddy, with the top of the ruler at the top of the caddy (the top of the binding).
- Down the center, place marks at 14½” from the top, 21″ from the top, and 28½” from the top.
- Move your ruler to the left side and position it so it is 1″ in from the binding seam (the ‘stitch in the ditch’ seam line, NOT the outside edge of the binding) along the left side of the caddy. Make the same three measurements (14½” from the top, 21″ from the top, and 28½” from the top). This represents the extreme left side of the pocket panels.
- Repeat with your ruler 1″ in from the binding seam along the right side of the caddy. This represents the extreme right side of the pocket panels.
- Connect each of these three sets of marks to make one long horizontal line at each marked height.
NOTE: Each line should be approximately 18″ long (the finished length of the pocket pieces with their pleats in place).
- Now, place your ruler along each drawn horizontal line, and mark at 6″ and 12″ (this is where each previously drawn vertical line should fall that represents the division lines of the pocket).
- Pin the bottom pocket panel in place, using the lines and marks as your positioning guides. Remember to place pins across each pocket division line.
- Pin the middle and top pocket panels in place in the same manner.
- Using a straight stitch, edgestitch each pocket panel in place. Start to sew at the top of one pocket side, stitch down, pivot at the corner, go along the bottom, pivot at the opposite corner, and go up the other side to finish.
- Be sure to back tack at the beginning and end of each pocket panel, and be careful to keep all your layers flat when stitching over your pleats along the bottom.
- To sew the pocket sections, start at the bottom line of edgestitching and sew to the top of the pocket (the top of the binding) along the drawn line. Again, be sure to back tack at the beginning and end.
- The illustration below shows the sizing and stitching of each pocket panel.
- Using the template that comes with the grommets, mark the position of each hole at the upper left and right corners of the door caddy. We positioned ours 1″ from either edge.
- Using a zigzag stitch, sew around the marked circle for each grommet’s position. We used a zigzag stitch to help keep the fabric from fraying in case we ever needed to wash our caddy.
- Cut out the circle, just inside the zigzag stitching.
- Place one half of the grommet in the hole from the wrong side.
- Snap on the other half on the opposite side.
NOTE: For more information on how to use Dritz® Curtain Grommets, see our tutorial: How to Use Snap-On Grommets.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild