There are so many great little tools for sewing. But you can't take advantage of them if you can't find them! Our sewing spaces can quickly start to look like the famous kitchen "junk drawer" – a jumbled mess of stuff. How many times have you bought new supplies because you've misplaced the originals? I know I have! We've created a handy wall caddy with fourteen pockets to keep all your favorite notions organized and available to be used.
The smaller eight pockets across the top are clear vinyl so you can see their contents at a glance. We bound the top of these strips to protect your fingers; you can reach in without snagging that sharp edge you get with cut vinyl.
The six bottom pockets are fabric, each with a generous pleated bottom so they expand to hold plenty. We used a beautiful linen blend, but any décor weight fabric in your stash could work.
The sturdy base of the caddy is formed by two layers of tough canvas with interfacing in between. You can fill each pocket to the brim with confidence.
Simple hanging loops slip over a dowel. Attach a pair of eyelet screws and a strong cord, and you can hang your caddy right by your machine for easy access.
We show the caddy as a sewing room solution, but you can use it anywhere! Organize tiny toys in the kids' rooms, store arts and craft supplies, keep jewelry or lingerie sorted. A place for everything, and everything in its place.
You will be sewing across vinyl at several point during this project. If you are new to working with vinyl, take a look at our tutorial for helpful tips and tricks: Successful Sewing With Laminated Cottons, Oilcloth, and Other Sticky Stuff.
Our hanging caddy finishes at approximately 18" wide x 28" high.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
- Walking or Even Feed foot; or engage your machine's built-in fabric feeding system, such as the Janome AcuFeed™ Flex fabric feeding system we use on many of our studio machines
- Quarter Inch Seam foot; optional, but helpful for precise seams
- Teflon® type foot, such as the Janome UltraGlide foot; another option when working with vinyl
Fabric and Other Supplies
- 1 yard of 44"+ wide medium-heavyweight cotton canvas or similar for the caddy base; we used a Duck Canvas Cloth in Natural
- ¾ yard of 44" + décor weight fabric for the bottom pockets, pocking binding, and hanging straps; we used a linen blend décor cut from our scrap stash
- ¼ yard of 20"+ wide 4-6 gauge craft vinyl
- 1¼ yards of 45"+ wide medium to firm-weight fusible interfacing; we used Pellon Décor Bond
NOTE: Our chosen linen blend décor fabric was somewhat soft, so we opted for the firm Décor Bond for both the base panel and the pockets. If your pocket fabric is more substantial, you may want a lighter-weight interfacing. To give the pockets the shape and stability needed to hold a variety of notions and/or tools, we do recommend at least some interfacing.
- ¾ yard of ¼" twisted cord or similar for hanging; we used a matching natural cord, purchased locally
- TWO small eyelet screws; large enough to accommodate your cording
- ONE ¾" - 1" x 18" dowel
- All purpose thread to match fabrics
- Heavy thread to match fabrics; we used Coats Dual Duty Heavy in Natural
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Iron and ironing board
- Pressing cloth
- Straight pins
- Seam Sealant; optional for ends of hanging cord
- From the fabric for the caddy base, cut TWO 29" high x 19" wide rectangles.
- From the fabric for the bottom pockets, pocket binding and hanging straps, cut the following:
TWO 12" high x 25" wide rectangles for the pockets
TWO 1½" x 25" strips for the bottom pocket binding
TWO 1½" x 19" strips for the vinyl pocket binding
ONE 3" x 24" strip for the hanging tabs, sub cut this strip into THREE 3" x 8" strips.
NOTE: Because our motif was a strong vertical, we cut our strip 24" high x 3"; your cut may vary based on motif direction of your fabric.
- From the vinyl, cut TWO 4" x 19" rectangles.
- From the interfacing, cut the following:
ONE 28" x 18" rectangle
TWO 6" x 25" rectangles
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Create the bottom fabric pockets
- Find the two fabric pocket rectangles and the 6" x 25" interfacing rectangles.
- Fold one pocket rectangle in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, so it now measures 6" high x 25" wide. Press along the fold line, creating a sharp crease.
NOTE: If you're using a directional print, pay attention to which way is up; the fold line will become the bottom edge of the pocket.
- Unfold the pocket and place it wrong side up on your ironing board. Place a 6" x 25" rectangle of fusible interfacing on the wrong side of the fabric, aligning one 25" edge of the interfacing with the visible crease. The side and bottom edges of the interfacing will align with the raw edges of the fabric. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse in place.
- Re-fold the pocket wrong sides together and press again.
- Find the two 1½" x 25" pocket binding strips.
- Fold one strip in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, so it is now ¾" x 25". Press well to set a crease.
- Un-fold wrong side up. Press back one 25" raw edge ¼".
- Find one folded pocket. Place the pocket on your work surface, non-interfaced side up. This side is considered the back of the pocket panel.
- Align the raw edge of the binding strip with the top raw edges of the pocket panel, right sides together. Pin in place across the width of the pocket.
- Using a ¼" seam allowance, stitch across the width of the pocket through all the layers. We used our Janome Quarter Inch Seam foot.
- Bring the folded edge of the binding strip up and over to the front of the pocket panel. The original crease line should now sit along the top of the pocket. Pin the folded pocket edge against the front of the pocket panel.
- Re-thread the machine with the heavy thread in the top and bobbin. Slightly increase the stitch length.
- Edgestitch along the binding strip across the width of the pocket, through all the layers.
- Repeat to create the second fabric pocket.
- Find the vinyl pieces and the 1½" binding strips. Repeat the binding steps above to bind one 19" edge of each vinyl rectangle.
- Although you are stitching along fabric at the step, not directly across the vinyl, you may still find it helpful to engage your machine's built-in fabric feeding system, use a Walking or Even Feed foot or a Teflon® type foot, such as the Janome UltraGlide foot.
Pleating the fabric pockets
- The two bottom fabric pocket panels will each be divided into three pleated pockets.
- Along the bottom fold line of one pocket panel, measure and mark ½" in from the right raw edge of the panel. Use a pin or a fabric pen/pencil to mark this spot.
NOTE: We used pins throughout for our marking. If you choose to use a marking pen/pencil, remember you are working on the right side of the fabric. Make sure the marking tool is one that will easily wipe away or vanish with exposure to the air or the heat of an iron.
- Measure 3" to the left of the first mark and make a second mark.
- From the second mark, measure 1" to the left and mark. From this third marking point, measure another 1" to the left and mark again. This set of three, close-together pins/marks denote the first pleat for the right pocket.
- From the left-most pin, measure 3" to the left and create a full vertical marking line – either with pins or a fabric pen/pencil. This full vertical guide line is the first of the two pocket divisions.
- From this full vertical line, start over, measuring 3" to the left, then another 1", another 1", and another 3".
- Repeat one final time to create the marks for the third pocket pleat. As on the right side, you will end up with an additional ½" at the far left edge for a seam allowance.
- The drawing below shows the full pleating diagram.
- Make a pleat at each set of three marks. To do this, pinch the fabric together at the outside marks (you are pinching together ½" on each side) and bring the folds together to meet at the center mark.
- Pin each pleat in place.
- To give each pocket extra strength and structure, stitch each side of the pleat in place, running 2" vertical seams up from the bottom folded edge of the pocket.
- The machine should still be threaded with the heavy thread in the top and bobbin, and the stitch length shoudl still be slightly lengthened.
- Repeat to create matching marks and pleats on the second pocket panel.
Attach pockets to base
- Find one of the large base panels and the large piece of interfacing. Center the interfacing against the wrong side of the fabric panel. There should be ½" of fabric extending beyond the interfacing on all four sides. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse the interfacing in place.
- Place the interfaced panel right side up and flat on your work surface. Find one of the pleated pocket panels.
- Place the pocket panel right side up on the base panel. The bottom edge of the pocket panel should be 1½" up from and parallel to the bottom raw edge of the base panel. Pin along both sides and across the bottom. Place additional pins through all layers along each of the two pocket division guide lines.
- Still using the heavy thread, increase the stitch length to maximum for a basting stitch. Machine baste the bottom of the pocket panel in place.
- Re-set the stitch length to longer than standard but not as long as for basting (the same slightly lengthed setting as you've used above).
- Stitch each pocket division from the top of the binding to the bottom folded/basted edge. If possible, use a lock stitch to secure your seam. This will give the neatest look. If not possible, very carefully back-tack or leave the thread tails long, bring them through to the back and hand knot to secure.
- Place the second pocket panel 2" above the top of the first pocket panel and parallel with it. Stitch it to the base panel in the same method as above: first, machine baste the bottom, then stitch the two vertical pocket divisions (remember to change your stitch length between the bottom basting and the pocket division seams).
- Press both pockets, pressing the pleats flat.
- Find the two bound vinyl pocket panels.
- Place the first vinyl pocket panel 2" above the top of the second fabric pocket panel and parallel with it. Lightly pin in place.
- Measure to find the exact center of the panel and mark with a pin or pen/pencil.
- Measure 4½" to the left of center and mark, then measure 4½" to the right of center and mark.
- These three marked points are the panel's three pocket divisions. Draw in a full vertical guide line at each point or mark with additional pins.
- Engage your machine's built-in fabric feeding system, use a Walking or Even Feed foot or attach a Teflon® type foot, such as the Janome UltraGlide foot.
- Keep an increased stitch length as above (not basting length; just the same slightly lengthened stitch you've been using). Continue using the heavy thread.
NOTE: If none of these feet are available to you, insert a strip of wax or parchment paper between your regular presser foot and the vinyl to prevent sticking. It can be torn away when done. For more information, check out our tutorial on sewing with laminates and other sticky stuff.
- Stitch each of the three vertical pocket divisions from the bottom edge of the vinyl to the top of the binding. As with the fabric pockets, use a lock stitch if possible to secure your seam. Or, very carefully back-tack or leave the thread tails long and knot to secure.
- Edgestitch across the bottom edge from side to side.
- Place the second vinyl pocket panel 1½" above the top of the first vinyl pocket panel and parallel with it. Lightly pin in place.
- Stitch in place exactly as you did with the first vinyl panel, being especially careful to make sure the pocket divisions are in line with one another.
- Find the three 3" x 8" strips.
- Fold each strip in half so it is now 1½" x 8". Pin in place.
- Using a ¼" seam allowance, stitch each long side. The ends remain raw.
- Press open the seam allowance.
- Turn each strip right side out. Roll the seams to the center back and press each strip flat.
- Fold each strip in half, aligning the raw ends, creating a loop.
- Place the loops along the top of the front base panel, aligning the raw ends of the loops with the top raw edge of the base panel. One loop should be in the exact center of the panel. The two other tabs should each sit 1½" in from the raw side edge. Pin in place.
Finish front to back
- Find the remaining non-interfaced base panel. Place it right sides together with the completed front panel, sandwiching all the pockets and the hanging tabs between the layers.
- Pin around all four sides, leaving a 7" - 8" opening along the bottom for turning.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch around all four sides. Remember to pivot at all the corners and lock your seam at either side of the bottom opening.
- Press open the seam allowance all around and clip the corners.
- Carefully turn the panel right side out through the bottom opening.
- Smooth flat and press well, using a pressing cloth to protect the vinyl pocket. Press in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam. Use a long, blunt-end tool, such as a knitting needle, chopstick or point turner, to gently push out all the corners so they are nice and square.
- Using a ¼ seam allowance and the same slightly lengthened stitch as throughout the rest of the project, topstitch around the entire panel, pivoting at all the corners. This keeps the layers flat and closes the opening used for turning. We continued to use the heavy thread throughout.
- We used our Quarter Inch Seam foot to keep this seam precise. You could also use a Walking or Even Feed foot or engage your machine's built-in fabric feeding system, as you will be running up and over some thick areas along the edges of the pockets. Our Janome machine powered right over, but you may want to slow down and/or hand-walk over these bulky sections.
- Remove the machine basting from the bottom edge of the two fabric pockets.
- Edgestitch along the bottom edge of each fabric pocket panel through all the layers, including the back panel.
- Cut the dowel to 18".
- Measure 4½" in from each end and set a small eyelet screw in place.
- Slip the caddy onto the dowel.
- Find the length of twisted cord. The exact length of the cord will be determined by where you are hanging your caddy. We used approximately 24".
- Double knot one end of the cord through each of the eyelet screws.
- Finish the end of the cording with tape or a seam sealant to prevent fraying.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild