There are so many things that make sewing great. A lot of those “things” are the fantastic notions and tools that make our project construction fast, easy, and fun. But there are so many… everywhere… all over my work space. Time for a bit of sewing room tidying up with our Multi-Pocket Table Top Sewing Caddy.
This rectangular sewing caddy has TEN pockets plus a unique ruler sleeve along the back to stash your favorite measuring tools. The caddy is interfaced to be stable but not completely rigid. We wanted it to be lightweight and a bit flexible so it would be easy to move around and to allow the various pockets to easily accommodate whatever you need to store. In addition, the more pliable panels make it much easier to assemble everything and apply the binding.
What will you put in your ten pockets? There’s a triple pocket on both the exterior and interior, an additional double-pocket on the interior, and two side panel pockets with snap flaps to secure your smaller items. There are several hard-working products holding everything together: plastic snaps on the side pockets, double cap rivets holding the handles in place, even an interior lanyard with a Swivel Hook. We used ours to clip onto a pair of small scissors, making them easy to find and pull up from within the caddy.
If you’re hesitant to tackle a three-dimensional project – don’t be! We’ve done all the hard work for you. There’s a free PDF pattern bundle for all the main pieces so you can be confident those pretty bottom curves will align perfectly.
The front and back panels with their pockets are put together as flat pieces, making all the steps straightforward. You’ll then make the long side-bottom panel that will wrap the front and back, extending above the caddy on either side to create the fold over pocket flaps. The seam allowance is formed on the exterior and bound all around.
All the main panels are quilted so there’s no shifting of layers. We love the look of evenly spaced, straight line quilting. It adds just the right bit of texture and interest. If you keep your interior fabric as a solid as we did, the quilting is especially impressive on the inside.
Our exterior fabric and binding are two cuts from our own Sew4Home secret stash: the Tabby Road collection by Tula Pink for FreeSpirit Fabrics.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing machine and standard presser foot
- Zipper foot
- Walking or Even Feed foot; optional but best for thicker layers – or use your machine’s built-in fabric feeding system, such as the Janome AcuFeed Flex™ system
Fabric and Other Supplies
- 1½ yards of 44”+ wide quilting weight fabric for the exterior panels, pockets, and sleeve
NOTE: The yardage above includes enough for precise fussy cutting for pattern matching.
- 1½ yards of 44”+ wide mid-weight fabric for the interior panels and pockets; we used a cotton/linen blend – it is a nicer finish if the interior fabric has just a bit more heft than a traditional quilting cotton
- ¾ yard of 44”+ wide quilting weight fabric for the binding
- 1 yard of 45”+ fusible fleece; we used Pellon Thermolam Plus
- ½ yard of 45”+ mid-weight fusible interfacing; we used Pellon Décor Bond
- ¼ yard of 20”+ ultra-firm fusible interfacing; we used Pellon Deco Fuse
- 1½ yards (one package) of 1” Dritz Belting/Strapping; we used Citrus Orange
- FOUR 1” Dritz Rectangle Rings; we used antique brass
- TEN Dritz Double Cap Rivets; we used antique brass
- Dritz Double Cap Rivet Setting Tools
- ONE ½ Dritz Swivel Hook; we used antique brass
NOTE: This Swivel Hook comes packaged with a matching D-Ring, which you do not need for this project. Keep it in your stash for later.
- TWO Dritz Plastic Snaps; we used gold
- Dritz Plastic Snaps Setting Pliers
- Dritz Fray Check
- ⅓ yard of ⅝” wide ribbon; we used grosgrain to match the interior fabric
- All-purpose thread to match fabric and belting
- See-through ruler
- Measuring tape
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Rotary cutter and mat
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
- Small hammer to set rivets; we recommend a soft leather mallet or a ball peen hammer
- Heavy metal, stone or wooden block to use as a cutting and hammering surface for setting the rivets; we use a small granite block
Getting Started and Pattern Download
- DOWNLOAD AND PRINT: the TWO pattern pieces required for this project. If at all possible, print the pattern in color. If not, at least refer to the color version on your computer during construction to confirm all the cutting lines. The main panel pattern will be made up of three pieces. The side/bottom panel will be made up of four pieces. You may want to print two or even three copies of the first three pages of this PDF in order to more easily slice the assembled pattern into the sections needed for the full panels, triple pockets, and double pocket.
IMPORTANT: This pattern download consists of SEVEN 8½” x 11″ sheets. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page.
- Cut out the pattern pieces along the solid line.
- Following the arrows on the pattern pieces, align Caddy Front-Back parts A, B, and C. Butt together, do not overlap, and tape to create the full pattern piece.
- Following the arrows on the pattern pieces, align Caddy Side-Bottom parts A, B, C, and D. Butt together, do not overlap, and tape to create the full pattern piece.
- As mentioned, if you print and assemble three copies of the Caddy Front-Back pattern it makes it easier to slice that pattern into the shapes required for the various panels and pockets.
- The full panel is used to cut the front and back exterior panels.
- Following the Key on the first page of the PDF, you’ll see that there is a blue line the denotes the cut line for the exterior and interior Triple Pocket panels. Cut along the top of this blue line to create this second pattern piece.
- There is a brown line the denotes the cut line for the interior Double Pocket panel. Cut along the top of this brown line to create the third pattern piece.
- Cut the Dritz Belting into the following lengths:
FOUR 3” lengths for the Rectangle Ring loops
TWO 20” lengths for the handles
Seal both ends of each length with Fray Check or similar.
- From the exterior fabric, fussy cut the following:
ONE 12” x 12” square for the ruler sleeve
TWO 7½” wide x 11 high rectangles for the side snap pockets
Using the full assembled Caddy Front-Back pattern, cut TWO
NOTE: We layered our exterior and interior fabric and cut all the Front-Back panels at once.
Using the assembled Caddy Front-Back pattern – trimmed along the blue line – cut TWO for the exterior triple pocket
NOTE: As shown in the photo below, we took the time to pattern match our pocket to our main panel. If you are new to this technique, we have a full step-by-step tutorial you can review prior to starting this project.
Using the assembled Caddy Side-Bottom pattern, cut ONE
- From the interior fabric, cut the following:
Using the full assembled Caddy Front-Back pattern, cut TWO
Using the assembled Caddy Front-Back pattern – trimmed along the blue line – cut TWO for the interior triple pocket
Using the assembled Caddy Front-Back pattern – trimmed along the brown line – cut TWO for the interior double pocket
Using the assembled Caddy Side-Bottom pattern, cut ONE
- From the binding fabric, cut the following:
FIVE 1½” x 15” strips on the bias for the pockets
Enough 1½” strips on the bias to equal 80” total, when seamed together, for the Side-Bottom panel binding
NOTE: As always when cutting your bias strips, the idea is to cut strips as long as possible to keep seaming to a minimum.
- From the fusible fleece, cut the following:
Trim the full Caddy Front-Back pattern along the dotted seam allowance line, then use this trimmed pattern to cut TWO
Trim the Caddy Side-Bottom pattern along the dotted seam allowance line, then use this trimmed pattern to cut ONE.
- From mid-weight fusible interfacing, cut the following:
ONE 11” x 5½” rectangle for the ruler sleeve
TWO 6½” x 5½” rectangles for the side snap pockets
Trim the blue-line-cut Caddy Front-Back pattern along the dotted seam allowance line, then use this trimmed pattern to cut TWO for the triple pocket panels
Trim the brown-line-cut Caddy Front-Back pattern along the dotted seam allowance line, then use this trimmed pattern to cut ONE for the double pocket panel
- From ultra-firm fusible interfacing, cut ONE 11” x 6½” to stabilize the very bottom of the Caddy.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Create the binding
- Find all the strips of binding cut on the bias. The five 15” strips are cut to length. Set those aside. For the binding around the side-bottom panel, you will likely have two or more strips to seam together. Do that now. If you are brand new to working with bias cuts for binding, you can take a look at our full tutorial on the subject; it covers measuring, cutting, seaming, and finishing.
- Once you have all your binding strips, fold each strip in half, wrong sides together so it is now ¾”.
- Press to set a center crease line. Unfold, wrong side up, so the crease line is visible. Fold in each raw side edge so they meet at the center crease line . Press well.
- Re-fold along the original center crease line. You now have a finished binding strip at ⅜” in width. Repeat to fold and press all the 15” pocket binding strips as well as the 80” side-bottom binding strip.
Create the exterior triple pocket, the interior triple pocket, and the interior double pocket
- Find the two exterior triple pocket panels and one of the coordinating mid-weight interfacing panels.
- Place the interfacing on the wrong side of one of the exterior pocket panels. The interfaced panel is the side that should be facing out – essentially the “front” side of the pocket. If you have one panel on which your motif is centered better, use it as the front. The interfacing should be flush along the top straight edge and there should be ½” of fabric showing beyond the interfacing along the sides and across the bottom. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse in place.
- Place the fused exterior panel and the plain exterior panel wrong sides together. All raw edges should be flush.
- Lightly pin together the layers around the sides and along the bottom.
- Find one of the 15” binding strips. Slip the binding over the straight top raw edges of the layered panels. The raw edges of the fabric panels should sit right up against the center crease line of the binding.
- Pin the binding in place across the top of the pocket.
- Thread the machine with thread to best match the binding fabric in the top and bobbin. Slightly increase the stitch length.
- Edgestitch across the the binding. Go slowly and carefully to insure you are catching both the front and back of the binding in this one seam.
- Repeat to create the interior triple pocket and the interior double pocket in the same manner.
- First, fuse the interfacing panel in place on one layer. Then, layer the fused and plain panels wrong sides together and slip the binding over the top.
- When properly positioned, edgestitch the binding in place.
- Set aside the three pocket panels.
Create the exterior snap pockets
- Find the two 7½” x 11” exterior fabric panels and the two 6½” x 5½” mid-weight interfacing panels.
- Place an interfacing panel on one half of each fabric panel, on the wrong side, so there is ½“ of fabric showing beyond the interfacing along the bottom and the sides. As above with the main pocket panels, the interfacing should go against what will be the “front” half of the finished folded pocket; keep this in mind if working with a directional fabric. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse in place.
- Fold each panel right sides together and pin the the bottom raw edges. The top folded edge will become the top of the pocket.
- Re-thread the machine with thread to best match the exterior fabric in the top and bobbin. Re-set the stitch length to normal.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, sew along the bottom edge only.
- Turn each pocket right side out through the open sides and press flat.
- Set aside the two side pockets.
Create the ruler sleeve
- The ruler sleeve is constructed in a similar manner to the side snap pockets. Gather the main fabric panel and the mid-weight interfacing panel. Center the interfacing on the wrong side of one half of the fabric panel and, following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse in place. As above, the interfacing should be on the half of the sleeve that will be facing “front.”
- Fold the fabric panel in half, right sides together, and pin along both sides. The top of the sleeve is the folded edge. The bottom edge remains raw.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch both sides.
- Press open the seam allowance and clip the corners.
- Turn the sleeve right side out through the open bottom and press flat.
Quilt and bind the front panels/pockets and add the handle tabs
- Find the main front exterior panel, the front lining panel, and the fusible fleece panel. Center a fleece panel on the wrong side of the exterior fabric panel so there is ½” of fabric showing beyond the fleece on all sides. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse in place. Layer the exterior and interior panels wrong sides together. All raw edges should be flush. Lightly pin around the perimeter.
- Gather your fabric pencil or pen and clear ruler and mark for the quilting lines across the panel. You can refer to the paper pattern for a center line starting point, then measure in 1” increments across the panel.
NOTE: As always when working on the right side of your fabric, make sure you choose a marking tool that will easily wipe away or will vanish with exposure to the air or the heat of an iron.
- Pin along each of the drawn lines.
- Re-thread the machine with thread to best match the exterior in the top and to best match the interior in the bobbin. Slightly lengthen the stitch. If possible attach a Walking or Even Feed foot or use your machine’s built-in fabric feeding system, such as the Janome AcuFeed Flex™ system we are using for our sample.
- Stitch along each drawn line from the top to the bottom.
- Find one of the 15” lengths of binding and slip the binding over the top raw edges of of the quilted panels. Pin in place. Keep the slightly lengthened stitch.
- Edgestitch the binding in place. If necessary, remember to switch out to a matching thread in the top and bobbin for the binding fabric.
- Find two of the 3” lengths of Belting – these are the tabs for the handles. You should have already applied a line of Fray Check seam sealant to each raw end of each length of Belting. Place one tab 3” to the right of center and one tab 3” to the left of center. Use the original paper pattern as a guide to placement. The tabs are centered between the quilting lines. The top edge of the tab should sit right under the binding and the bottom of the tab should be 3½” down from the top bound edge. Pin the tabs in place.
- Re-thread the machine with thread to best match the Belting in the top and to best match the interior fabric in the bobbin. Keep the slightly lengthened stitch.
- Stitch a 1” X Box at the bottom of each tab through all the layers to secure the tabs in place. If you are brand new to this technique, we have a full step-by-step tutorial you can review prior to starting.
- Find two of the Rectangle Rings. Loop the free end of each tab through a ring, pulling it back on itself about 1”.
- Pin the tab back down against the front of the panel through all the layers.
- Find the Double Cap Rivets and the Rivet Setting Tools.
- Using the cutting tool, cut a hole through all the layers: the Belting as well as the exterior and interior fabric layers, and the fusible fleece. This hole should be centered within the top of the Belting about ½” down from the bottom of the Rectangle Ring.
- Set the front cap into position through the hole from front to back.
- Place the back cap onto the stud of the front cap.
- Using the setting anvil, hammer to seal the two halves together.
- You should use a very hard surface to hammer against for the best seal. We like to use a small block of granite.
NOTE: Riveting is easier than you might think (especially with the proper tools), and we’ve summarized the steps above. Check out our Metal Rivets Tutorial if you are brand new to the technique.
- Find the exterior triple pocket and the interior triple pocket. Pin the exterior triple pocket in place right side up on the exterior side of the front panel. Pin the interior triple pocket in place right side up on the interior side of the front panel. In other words, the two pocket are sandwiching the main front panel. The raw edges of the main panel and both pockets should be flush along the sides and across the bottom. Be especially careful to align the curved corners of all the panels. Pin in place along the sides and across the bottom through all the panels so there’s no shifting.
- Find the original paper pattern and lay it down on top of the exterior triple pocket. There are heavy dashed vertical lines indicating the division lines for the triple pockets. Crease the paper pattern along each marked line and use this crease to mark the pocket division on the fabric itself. There are two pocket division lines and each will be in line with an already stitched quilting line.
- With the division lines clearly marked and all your layers securely pinned, you will stitch along each drawn line through ALL the layers to create the pocket divisions. Remember to re-thread with thread to best match the exterior in the top and to best match the interior in the bobbin. Keep a slightly lengthened stitch. Stitch from the top of the binding all the way down to the bottom raw edge.
- Finally, machine baste along both sides and along the bottom. This will help keep the layers together for the final exterior binding.
Quilt and bind the back panels/pocket/sleeve, add the lanyard, and add the handle tabs
- Fuse the fleece in place on the back exterior panel, layer with the back interior layer, and mark the quilt lines across the exterior back panel in the same manner as you did for the front.
- Find the interior double pocket and position it, right side out on the main interior panel, aligning the raw side and bottom edges. Lightly pin, just enough to be able to flip the panel to the exterior side so you can see the quilting lines. We pinned through the center as this is the critical positioning as you’ll see below.
- From the exterior, pin along just the center line through all the layers.
- The machine should still be threaded with thread to best match the exterior in the top and to best match the interior in the bobbin. The stitch should still be slightly lengthened. Stitch along just the center drawn line through all the layers.
- Remove the panel from the machine and fold the interior double pocket out of the way along that sewn center line. You want to move it out of the way so you can create the main panel quilting stitches from the outer edge into the center. Stitch along each drawn line from the edge to the center. Remember, you are now stitching only through the fused exterior layer and the interior layer – not through the pocket.
- When the first side is done, move the pocket out of the way to the opposite side and add the quilting lines on that side. Which side you do first is completely up to you.
- When all the quilting lines are stitched in place, find the two remaining 3” lengths of Belting and the two remaining Rectangle Rings. Stitch these in place in the exact same manner as you did on the front panel. You will, once again, need to move the double pocket out of the way to box stitch and rivet the tabs in position.
- With the tabs in place, flatten the double pocket back out into position and lightly pin through the layers.
- Find the length of ribbon and the ½” Swivel Hook.
- Slip one end of the ribbon through the Swivel Hook. Fold under the end on itself to create a clean finish and pin in place.
- Re-thread the machine with thread to best match the ribbon in the top and bobbin. Re-set for a standard stitch length. Stitch across the folded end to secure the Swivel Hook in place. We stitch across twice for strength.
- Find the remaining 15” length of binding and bind the top raw edges of the back panel in the same manner as above for the front panel. Don’t forget to insert the raw end of the lanyard under the binding prior to edgestitching the binding in place. The lanyard should be positioned to one end of the panel against the interior side of the panel. Ours was positioned to the right edge aligned with the first quilting line.
- Place the back panel exterior side up on your work surface. Find the exterior sleeve and the original paper pattern. Lay the paper pattern down on top of the exterior back panel. There are small dashed lines indicating the sleeve position – a horizontal line for the top folded edge and two vertical lines for the seamed sides .
- Crease the paper pattern along each marked line and use the creases to mark guide lines on the fabric itself.
- Using your marks, place the sleeve into position right side up on the back panel. Pin along the top folded edge only. This edge should run just under the rivets on the tabs.
- Re-thread the machine with thread to best match the exterior in the top and to best match the interior in the bobbin. The stitch should be slightly lengthened.
- Edgestitch along the top edge of the sleeve only.
- Flatten and smooth all the layers, and machine baste along the sides and across the bottom as you did on the front panel. This helps keep the outer edges of all the layers stay together during the binding process.
Stabilize, layer, and quilt the side-bottom panel and add the snap pocket panels
- Find the exterior and interior side-bottom layers, the coordinating layer of fusible fleece, and the rectangle of ultra-firm fusible interfacing. The paper pattern has a shaded area marked on it to indicate the positioning of the ultra-firm fusible.
- Using this pattern guideline, position the ultra-firm interfacing, and following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse in place on the wrong side of the interior layer.
- The fleece is fused on the wrong side of the exterior layer in the same manner as the panels above, centering it so there is ½” of fabric showing beyond at fleece all around.
- Layer the exterior and interior panels wrong sides together, sandwiching the fleece and the ultra-firm interfacing between the layers. Lightly pin around the perimeter.
- Use the paper pattern to mark the quilting guide lines. We first folded the pattern at several points and drew in small marks to indicate the line spacing.
- Then, connected those smaller marks to create full guide lines with our ruler. As on the front and back panels, these quilting guide lines are spaced 1” apart.
- Stitch along each drawn line across the entire side-bottom panel.
- Find the two side panel snap pockets. Using the paper pattern as a guide, place a pocket on each end. Remember the seamed edge is the bottom of the pocket, the folded edge is the top of the pocket, and the raw side edges should be flush with the raw sides of the side-bottom panel. Pin each pocket in place.
- The machine should still be threaded with thread to best match the exterior in the top and to best match the interior in the bobbin. The stitch should still be slightly lengthened. Edgestitch each pocket in place along the bottom edge only.
- Machine baste around the entire perimeter of the side-bottom panel to hold the layers together.
Pin and baste the side-bottom panel to the front and back panels
- The side-bottom panel wraps around the front and the back panels with the seam allowances facing to the exterior, which means you are working lining sides together – exterior sides facing out.
- Find the center bottom along both sides of the side-bottom panel. Find the center bottom along both the front main panel and the back main panel. Mark all these center points with double pins or carefully clip into the seam allowance.
- Align the marked pin point on the back main panel with the center marked point along one side of the side-bottom panel. Pin securely at these center marks and then continue wrapping around the main panel first up and around one side and then up around the opposite side.
- The extra-stabilized center section should be along the very bottom of the main panel. Once past the ultra-firm stabilizer, the side-bottom panel is pliable enough to continue wrapping around and up the sides. Here’s a view from the inside. Go slowly and carefully as you pin so the interior is nice and smooth.
- The side-panel will match up to the main panel until just about 1” beyond the top of the side panel pocket. After that point, the curved end is free and is what will become the folded down flap of the side panel pocket.
- Repeat to pin the remaining free edge of the side-bottom panel to the main front panel in the same manner.
- With both sides securely pinned in place, baste the layers together (both sides) with a zig zag stitch.
- Find the 80” length of binding.
- Open up one side of the binding as shown in the photo below. Starting at the center bottom of the back panel, pin the flat edge of the binding to the panel. The raw edges of the binding and the layered panels should be flush. Pin in place along the visible crease.
- Continue wrapping and pinning all the way around the entire perimeter of the side-bottom panel. You are starting at the center point, wrapping all the way around the corner, up the side, around the free curved end, back down the opposite side, across the front panel, up and around the opposite curved end, back down again, ending up where you started. Overlap the head and tail of your binding, trimming away any excess.
NOTE: If you are brand new to binding, remember to take a look at our tutorial on bias binding techniques for measuring, cutting, and attaching.
- Switch to a Zipper foot and stitch all around following the crease line, removing the pins as you go. The photo below shows how we started stitching at our overlap at the bottom center point of the back panel.
- When completely sewn all the way around within the crease line, remove the project from the machine. Thread a hand sewing needle with thread to best match the binding fabric.
- Wrap the the folded edge of the binding around to the exterior side of the caddy and pin in place.
- Carefully hand stitch the binding in place. We recommend a tiny ladder stitch. Remember, at the flap, the lining side of the panel becomes the “exterior” so this is the side to which the folded edge of the binding wraps around. Because of the solid color, be especially careful around these curved ends to keep your hand stitching small and neat.
Add the side pocket snaps
- Find the Plastic Snaps and the Plastic Snap Pliers.
- Using the original paper pattern as a guide, mark the position for the plastic snap halves on the base and the flap of both side pockets.
- Cut a hole through all the layers and insert the two parts of each snap half through the hole.
- Using the Plastic Snap Pliers, squeeze together the halves to seal.
Add the handles and rivet in place
- Find the two 20” lengths of Belting. These are the handle loops. As with the 3” lengths you used for the tabs, each raw end of both lengths should have already had a line of Fray Check seam sealant applied.
- Loop each end of each handle through the remaining free side of the Rectangle Rings on both the front and back of the caddy. Make sure you are feeding the ends through from front to back so the raw end sits against the caddy.
- Pull the raw end through about 1” and pin in place.
- Using the same steps as above, insert a Double Cap Rivet through both layers of the belting to secure the end in place. You are just going through the two layers of belting with these rivets – do not go through the body of the caddy. The handle should be able to fall down and away when not in use.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild