"Where did I put my ....?" Sewing projects are full of little bits and pieces, including numerous notions whose jobs are to make construction easier, but only if you can find them when you need them! Corral important items with our clever clear-view caddy. We used our Janome Skyline S7 for the construction as well as the pretty decorative stitching. It was a real pro when it came to handling the multiple layers and the variety of substrates; it sewed through it all with flying colors
Cotton, canvas, and clear vinyl are the power trio we came up for this hardworking caddy, plus we threw in some binding and decorative stitching for good measure. We love the finished look of this handy mid-size organizer, and also like how you can hang it from a counter, cabinet, even an ironing board or cutting table.
We originally used two fabrics from the Hello Darling fabric collection by Bonnie & Camille for Moda. These options are no longer readily available, so we chose a new combo from their recent Handmade collection with a similar bright and happy feel. Both fabrics are currently available at Fat Quarter Shop.
This caddy is designed with the size and rigidity to hang straight down from a counter or table - because don't you hate it when a caddy swings backwards, making everything harder to reach?! The layering, interfacing, and fabric/vinyl weights were all taken into account to create the best, most balanced effect.
Because of this extra stability, we were able to add a secret, full-width pocket on the back of the caddy. It makes a great place to store an instruction manual or pattern sheets.
Two large Dritz® Home plastic grommets allow the caddy to hang from hooks or even be clamped in place. We used and recommend the flexible Command brand removable hooks. They make it very easy to get exact placement and will work on just about any surface. Plus you can remove and re-use them if you want to move the caddy into a new position.
We added double lines of pretty decorative stitching on the canvas backing that is visible through the clear vinyl pockets. Plus, the two largest pockets along the bottom even feature decorative stitching on the vinyl itself. Once again, no problem stitching across the vinyl with the Skyline S7.
We used pre-packaged binding for both the top of the pockets and the perimeter of the caddy. For an extra professional finish, when creating the pocket divisions, we recommend taking the time to change out your thread color as you stitch from the vinyl (we used white to match the white canvas backing) to the binding (we used red).
Our caddy finishes at approximately 16" x 18" with two rows of four 4" x 3" pockets, one row of four 4" x 4"pockets, and one row of two 4" x 8" pockets. The hidden back pocket is 16" x 8".
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
- We used the built-in AcuFeed™ Flex Fabric Feeding System on the Janome Skyline S7; if you do not have this feature, a Walking or Even Feed foot is recommended for the thicker layers and sticky vinyl
- 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
- Satin Stitch foot, optional - but a transparent foot is recommended for decorative stitching
Fabric and Other Supplies
- ½ yard of 44"+ wide quilting weight cotton for the front accent bands and back pocket
- ⅔ yard of 44"+ wide quilting weight cotton for the back panel
- ½ yard of 44"+ wide medium-heavyweight cotton canvas for the front base panel (we recommend the lightest color that matches your fabric so the notions are easy to see); we used 7oz Canvas Duck in White
- ½ yard of 25"+ clear 8-10 gauge craft vinyl for all the pockets; we used and recommend 8 gauge as the easiest to pleat
- ½ yard of 20"+ wide heavy-weight fusible interfacing; we used Pellon Peltex
- ¼ yard of 20"+ wide medium to mid-weight fusible interfacing; we used Pellon Décor Bond
- TWO 1" plastic grommets; we used 1" Dritz® Home Curtain Grommets in Red
- 4 yards of ½" (finished width) binding; we used Wrights Extra Wide Bias Binding in Red, which comes in three-yard packages - get two packages for easy cutting
- Lightweight tear-away stabilizer for decorative stitching and vinyl stitching; we used Sulky Tear Easy
- All-purpose thread to match fabrics
- All-purpose thread in contrasting yet coordinated colors for the decorative stitching
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Measuring tape
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Iron and ironing board
- Pressing cloth
- Straight pins
- Fabric clips, such as Wonder Clips for working with vinyl
- Low-tack tape to hold pleating in place
- From the fabric for the front accent bands and back pocket (Mum in Red in our sample), cut the following:
ONE 1½" x 16" strip for the bottom accent band
ONE 3½" x 16" strip for the top accent band
ONE 16" x 16" square for the back pocket
- From the fabric for the back panel (Orange Peel in Multi in our sample), cut ONE 16" wide x 18" high rectangle.
- From the fabric for the front base panel (white canvas in our sample), cut ONE 16" wide x 18" high rectangle.
- From the clear vinyl, cut the following:
TWO 22" x 3" strips for the two top pocket panels
ONE 22" x 4" strip for the third pocket panel
ONE 18" x 4" strip for the bottom pocket panel
- From the heavyweight interfacing, cut ONE 16" x 18" rectangle.
- From the mid-weight interfacing, cut ONE 8" x 16" rectangle.
- The binding will be cut to length during construction.
- The strips of tear away will also be cut to length during construction.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Back panel and pocket
- Find the back panel, the back pocket, the heavyweight interfacing panel, the mid-weight interfacing panel, and the binding.
- Fold the square pocket panel in half, wrong sides together, so it is now 8" x 16". Press to set a center crease. The top raw edges will become the top of the pocket, the folded edge will become the bottom of the pocket. If you have a directional motif, fold accordingly.
- Unfold the pocket so the crease line is visible.
- Place the mid-weight interfacing against the wrong side of one half of the pocket, aligning one long side of the interfacing with the center crease line of the pocket. The other three sides of the interfacing should be flush with the raw edges of the pocket fabric. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse the interfacing in place.
- Re-fold the pocket wrong sides together, sandwiching the interfacing between the layers.
- Cut a length of bias tape binding 16" to fit across the top of the pocket.
- Slip the binding over the top of the pocket, remember, the raw edges are the pocket top. The raw edges should sit right up against the fold of the binding.
- Pin the binding in place.
- Thread the machine with thread to match the binding in the top and bobbin.
- Edgestitch the binding in place, removing the pins as you go. Stitch slowly and carefully to insure you catch both the front and the back of the binding in this one seam.
- Place the heavyweight interfacing against the wrong side of the main back panel. All edges of the interfacing and fabric should align. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse the interfacing in place. The heavyweights take more heat and pressure to adhere properly. Press well from both sides.
- Place the fused main back panel right side up on your work surface. Place the pocket on top of the main panel. The sides and bottom edge of the pocket should be flush with the sides and bottom edge of the main panel. Pin in place, then machine baste in place, using a ⅛" - ¼" seam allowance, along both sides and across the bottom.
Create the front base panel
- Find the front base panel and the top and bottom accent bands. You'll notice that the base panel is a full 16" x 18" cut and the accent bands are overlays rather than seamed panels. This is to give the base panel a consistent weight from the top to the bottom. This helps ensure the caddy will hang straight, and it also gives the top grommets a better surface to "bite" into.
- Press back one long raw edge of both the top and bottom accent bands. If you have a directional fabric, press back the top 16" edge of the bottom band and the bottom 16" edge of the top band. We used our Hot Hemmer.
- Place the base panel right side up and flat on your work surface.
- Place the bottom accent band on the base panel along the bottom edge. The raw edges of the two pieces should be flush. Pin in place.
- Repeat to place the top accent band on the base panel along its top edge. The raw edges of these two pieces should also be flush. Pin in place.
- Re-thread if necessary with thread to best match the accent fabric in the top and thread to best match the base panel in the bobbin.
- Edgestitch each accent band in place along its folded edge.
Add the decorative stitching
- Using a clear ruler and fabric pen or pencil, the next steps are to draw in the guidelines for the decorative stitching as well as the pocket base seams and pocket division seams.
- You are working on the right side or the fabric, so make sure you are using a pen that will easily wipe away or will vanish with exposure to the air.
- The drawing below shows the various dividing lines.
- Starting at the bottom edge of the top accent band, measure down 1" and draw a horizontal line.
- Also from the bottom edge of the top accent band, measure down 3" and draw a second horizontal line.
- From the second horizontal line, measure down 1" and draw a third horizontal line.
- From the third line, measure down 3" and draw a fourth horizontal line.
- From the fourth horizontal line, measure down 1" and draw a fifth horizontal line.
- From the fifth line, measure down 4" and draw a sixth horizontal line.
- From the sixth line, measure down 1" and draw a seventh horizontal line.
- From the seventh line, measure down 4" and draw an eighth horizontal line.
- All eight horizontal lines should be exactly parallel with one another.
- Now you'll add all the vertical pocket division lines. These lines will be harder to wipe away, so make them as faint as possible. Your best bet would be a fabric pen whose ink vanishes with exposure to the air.
- Again referring to the illustration above, draw in the dividing lines. There is one main line through the exact center, 8" in from each side. This line goes from accent band to accent band. The other two lines are 4" to the right of center and 4" to the left of center. These two lines start at the top accent band and stop at horizontal line #6.
- Cut four strips of tearaway stabilizer wide enough to bridge both lines of decorative stitching and the full 16" of the base panel's width. Pin a strip behind the canvas at horizontal lines #1, #3, #5 and #7.
- Set up your machine for decorative stitching with the first of your chosen stitch patterns. Thread the machine with the first of the two contrasting color threads. Our sample uses a coral thread in the top position for each of the decorative pairs.
- Stitch along horizontal lines #1, #3, #5 and #7.
- For all decorative stitching, we recommend using the machine's start/stop button rather than the foot control and running at a slow to medium speed.
- Re-thread the machine with the second of the two contrasting color threads. Our sample uses a lime green thread in the bottom position for each of the decorative pairs. Re-set the machine for the second of your chosen stitch patterns.
- Using the bottom edge of the previous stitch line as a guide, stitch the second line, creating four paired lines of decorative stitching. As always, we recommend testing your stitch patterns and widths on scraps of the canvas prior to starting.
Prepare the vinyl pockets
- Find the four strips of vinyl.
- The bottom 4" x 18" pocket features decorative stitching on the vinyl itself.
- Cut a piece of tearaway stabilizer to exactly match the vinyl: 4" x 18". Draw a horizontal line through the middle of this stabilizer strip. Clip the strip behind the vinyl.
- Set up your machine for decorative stitching. Thread the machine with one of the two contrasting color threads. We recommend the top color of the paired lines (coral in our sample). Choose a stitch pattern that is fairly open; you don't want to punch too many holes in the vinyl and it's best if the stitch doesn't move backward – only forward. There'll be less likelihood of tearing.
- Using the drawn line on the stabilizer as a guide, is should be visible through the vinyl, stitch across the center of the vinyl. As above, we recommend using the machine's start/stop button rather than the foot control and running at a slow to medium speed.
- Remove the stabilizer from the back of the vinyl. Depending on the density of your stitch pattern, you may need to use a pair of tweezers to pick out a few stabilizer fragments.
- Cut a length of binding to fit along the top edge of each vinyl strip.
- As you did above with the back pocket, slip the binding over the top edge of the vinyl and pin or clip in place. The ever-so-slightly longer edge of the binding goes to the back.
- Re-thread the machine with thread to best match the binding in top and bobbin. Re-set the machine for lengthened straight stitch.
- Edgestitch the binding in place on each vinyl pocket strip.
- Rather than draw our stitching marks on the vinyl, we opted to use tape markings. All the pens we tried tended to smear on the vinyl.
- On the top three pockets, measure in from the right raw side edge of the vinyl and make a mark at 5" in, 11" in and 17" in.
- Measure along the bound edge of the of the top three pockets at the same points from the right raw side edge: 5" in, 11" in and 17" in.
- For the bottom pocket, you need just one set of marks at 9" from the right raw side edge of the vinyl.
- Cut strips of tearaway stabilizer to fit behind the vinyl at each of the drawn vertical lines. You'll need 10 strips as there are 10 pocket division lines.
- Place the pockets in position on the base panel, aligning the marks on the vinyl with the vertical drawn lines on the front base panel. Remember, there is a small chunk of stabilizer between the layers. You can also use the original drawn horizontal lines #2, #4, #6 and #8 as guidelines for the bottom edge of each pocket.
- You are working on the flat surface of the base panel, so you really can't pin or clip the vinyl strips in place. Instead, to keep the marks aligned, we suggest using low tack tape as well as holding onto the vinyl with your fingers.
- Make sure the machine is still set for a lengthened straight stitch. Re-thread the machine with thread to best match the binding in the top and bobbin (we used red), and stitch just across the binding along the vertical pocket division line.
- Re-thread with thread to best match the base panel fabric in the top and bobbin (we used white), and stitch the remainder of the vertical pocket division line.
- Remove the "marking tape strips" as you go; don't try to sew directly over the tape as it will be to hard to remove from the seam.
NOTE: As mentioned in the introduction, taking the time to change thread colors gives you a pro finish, but is optional.
- Remove the stabilizer from each seam as you finish.
- Repeat at each of the 10 pocket division lines. Each of the three top pockets has three vertical division lines. The bottom pocket has just one division. We recommend starting at the center and working out to each side. Remember, the vinyl with "bow up" between the vertical seams because you haven't yet done the pleating. This is correct.
- We also aligned the raw side edge of each vinyl piece with the raw side edge of the fabric panel and machine basted the two layers together. As mentioned above, the vinyl will "bow up" in the center. Securing the vinyl at the sides will make it easier to pleat.
Pleat the pockets
- At each vertical pocket division, you will make a small pleat. Pinch ½" of vinyl to the right of the division seam to create a fold. Bring the fold down so it aligns to the vertical seam. Pin in place at the binding; tape in place at the bottom.
- Repeat to pinch ½" to the left of the seam and bring the fold down to match with the first. Ta-da: a vinyl pleat. Tape in place.
- Repeat at each of the 10 pocket division seams.
- Below is a drawing that may help you visualize the pleating pattern of the top three rows...
- ... and the bottom row.
- Re-thread the machine if necessary with thread to best match the base panel in the top and bobbin and stitch across the bottom edge of each vinyl pocket panel, following along the original drawn horizontal lines #2, #4, #6 and #8. These seams secure all the pleats at the bottom; at the top, the pleats are free in order to allow the pocket to expand to fill up with notions.
- Remove all the little pieces of low-tack tape. Wipe away the drawn lines as best you can.
Layer and bind to finish
- Place the front and back panels wrong sides together and clip around the entire perimeter.
- Use a small glass or other object to round all four corners. We used our Hot Hemmer.
- Trim along the curve at each corner.
- Machine baste the layers together around the entire perimeter, staying very close to the edge. We used the needle position function to move the needle all the way to the right.
- Cut a length of binding about 76" long.
- Open up the binding flat and clip it to the edge all around. You are working on the front of the caddy. Start at the bottom center of the caddy, leaving approximately 3" free at the head of the binding.
- The binding is attached as you would attach traditional quilt binding. If you are new to this technique, check out our full binding tutorial.
- Re-thread the machine with thread to best match the binding in the top and bobbin.
- Stitch the binding in place, following along in the first fold of the binding.
- When you have stitched all around the perimeter and are back near where you began, stop about 3" from the starting point. Lock the seam.
- Remove the project from the machine.
- Pull the ends of the binding away from the edge of the project, and place the ends right sides together at a 90˚ angle. Pin together, then test that the binding lays flat when you place it back against the project.
- Stitch the ends together.
- Trim the seam allowance back to ¼". Position the binding back along the caddy and finish your seam, matching the previous stitching line and making sure the raw edges of the fabric are still flush. Be sure to lock your stitch at the beginning and end of the seam.
- Bring the binding up and around to the back of the caddy and pin in place.
- Hand stitch the binding in place at the back.
NOTE: You are welcome to try a machine stitch to secure your binding. We opted for a hand finish, similar to a quilt binding, to insure the very cleanest look from the front. For additional detail and other finishing options, we have two full binding tutorials: Figuring Yardage, Cutting, Making and Attaching as well as A Complete Step-by-Step for Binding Quilts and Throws.
Add the grommets
- Our grommets are centered in each top corner: 1½" from the top pocket's binding and 2" from the outside edge of the perimeter binding.
- Using the template that comes with the grommets, draw a circle in each corner.
- Cut out the circles. If you have trouble closing your grommets, you can carefully peel away and then clip back the heavyweight interfacing from the cut edge of the circles.
- Snap together the grommets.
NOTE: If you are new to working with the Dritz® home curtain grommets, we have a full tutorial.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Debbie Guild