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Moda Fabrics' Lil' Rascals Storybook Bedroom: Bedtime Picturebook Caddy

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Read me a story! Read it AGAIN!! Keep all your favorite bedtime books handy with our cute caddy tutorial. You'll notice our sample includes some well-worn classics from our own libraries... the ones read over and over, bringing delighted smiles each time. The caddy slips between mattress and box spring, held in place by the mattresses themselves as well as some gripper fabric. Two generous pockets are wide and deep enough to hold plenty of lil' literature. 

As we mention below, this caddy tutorial works best with a print that has a strong vertical motif. The Lil' Rascals collection by Chloe's Closet for Moda Fabrics collection was perfect for this. We chose the Clubhouse design, which features: tree top monkeys, chubby-cheeked cowboys, tumbling and tussling kittens, even a pugnacious puppy practicing his boxing. 

Many online retailers allow you to search for fabric by theme should you wish to find a similar vintage storybook theme. Hawthorne Threads and Fat Quarter Shop both offer categories of wonderful designs for children. 

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

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  • 1 yard of 44-45" wide fabric for the caddy's front panel and the pocket fronts; we used Lil Rascals from Chloe's Closet for Moda Fabrics in Clubhouse Natural
    NOTE: Your best fabric option for this project is a print with a strong vertical motif.
  • ¼ yard of of 44-45" wide coordinating fabric for the binding: we used Lil Rascals from Chloe's Closet for Moda Fabrics in Sugar & Spice Yellow
  • ¾ yard of 44-45" wide coordinating solid fabric in a heavier weight, such as cotton duck, canvas or twill for the caddy's back panel; we used cotton duck in a natural color
  • 1 yard of medium-weight fusible interfacing
  • Gripper fabric: one piece apx 14" x 8" 
    NOTE: This is like the traction fabric used on the bottom of feetie pajamas - it can be found in stores and online under the names Slipper Gripper and Jiffy Grip. Or... do what we did and use a shelf gripper sheet, which is easy to find in the kitchen supplies aisle.
  • All purpose thread to match fabrics
  • See-through ruler
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Straight pins
  • Seam gauge
  • Tape measure

Getting Started

  1. From the solid fabric (cotton duck in our sample), cut the following:
    ONE 14" wide x 28" high rectangle
    ONE 14" wide x 6" high rectangle
    ONE 14" wide x 9" high rectangle
  2. From the medium-weight fusible interfacing, cut the following:
    ONE 14" wide x 28" high rectangle
    ONE 14" wide x 6" high rectangle
    ONE 14" wide x 9" high rectangle
  3. From the fabric for the binding (Sugar & Spice Yellow in our sample), cut the following:
    TWO 2" x 14" strips
    TWO 2" x 15" strips
    TWO 2" x 29" strips
  4. Cut the gripper fabric down to ONE 14" x 8" rectangle
  5. From the main print fabric (Clubhouse Natural in our sample), fussy cut ONE 14" wide x 28" high rectangle, centering your design motif along the vertical length of the piece.
  6. Following the manufacturer's instructions, adhere the 14" x 28" fusible interfacing piece to the the wrong side of the 14" x 28" main print rectangle (Clubhouse Natural in our sample).
  7. From the main print fabric (Clubhouse Natural in our sample), you also need to cut TWO pockets: one 14" wide x 9" high large pocket and one 14" wide x 6" high small pocket. We wanted the motif on these pockets to exactly match the motif on the main printed piece. To do this, take the interfaced 14" x 28" main piece and lay it on top of the remaining print fabric (both the interfaced piece and the remaining fabric are right side up). Adjust the main piece until it perfectly aligns with a motif on the remaining fabric.
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  8. Using a fabric pen or pencil you are sure will erase or wash away (because you are marking on the right side of the fabric!), trace around the interfaced main piece, going across the bottom and 9" up each side. Remove the main piece from the remaining fabric, and use a see-through ruler to connect the drawn side lines, completing a 14" x 9" rectangle.
  9. Cut along the drawn lines; this is your large pocket. Set it aside.
  10. Place the interfaced main piece back on to the remaining fabric, moving it around again until you find another place where the design motifs match up exactly.
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  11. As you did above, use a fabric pen to trace across the bottom of the main piece, but this time draw just 6" up each side. Remove the interfaced main piece, connect the lines to complete a 14" x 6" rectangle. Cut along the drawn lines; this is your small pocket.
  12. Following the manufacturer's instructions, adhere the 14" x 9" fusible interfacing piece to the the wrong side of the 14" x 9" large pocket and adhere the 14" x 6" fusible interfacing piece to the the wrong side of the 14" x 6" small pocket.

At Your Sewing Machine

Gripper strip

  1. Place the 14" x 8" gripper fabric across the top of the wrong side of the 14" x 28" solid back fabric. Pin the gripper fabric in place, matching the top and the two sides. Stitch across the bottom edge of the gripper fabric only, securing it to the back fabric. The other three sides will be secured within the binding.
    NOTE: If the gripper fabric does not slide freely under your machine's presser foot, place a sheet of wax paper over the gripper fabric and stitch on top of the wax paper. The wax paper will easily tear away from the stitching when finished.

Binding strips

  1. Take your six binding strips and create double fold binding tape. To do this, iron each strip in half, wrong sides together, then open and fold in each edge to the middle.  
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  2. Press both new folds, then fold in half again and press.
  3. This will create two strips of binding tape ½" x 14", two strips ½" x 15", and two strips ½" x 29".
  4. If you are new to creating binding, read our tutorial, Bias Tape: how To Make It & Attach It.
    NOTE: Our project has all straight edges, so we created simple straight edge binding rather than bias strips. To do the folding, you can also use a Simplicity Automatic Bias Tape Maker.

Complete and bind the pockets

  1. Find the two 14" binding strips, the small and large print pocket pieces, and the small and large solid pocket pieces.
  2. Place the large print pocket piece wrong sides together with the large solid pocket piece. Pin in place along both sides and across the bottom.
  3. Slip one 14" binding strip of over the top raw edges of the layered large pocket pieces, encasing these raw edges with the binding.
  4. Edgestitch the binding strip in place, making sure to catch both sides of the binding.
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  5. Repeat with the small pocket pieces.

Layer the caddy

  1. Place the caddy back right side down and flat on your work surface. In other words, the gripper fabric should be facing down.
  2. Place the caddy front right side up on top of the caddy back. The two pieces are now wrong sides together. Match up all the edges of both layers.
  3. Place the large pocket piece right side up on the caddy front, lining up the bottom edges and both sides.
  4. Finally, place the small pocket right side up on the large pocket, again lining up the bottom edges and both sides.
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  5. Pin in place through all the layers and run a basting stitch around the entire perimeter to secure the layers. Keep the basting stitch close to the edge so it will be concealed under the binding.
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Bind the perimeter

    1. Find the remaining four binding strips, the two 29" strips and the two 15" strips.
    2. Unfold the binding strips a little bit at each end, then fold under each raw edge ½" and press. Re-fold the strips.
    3. Using a standard bias binding technique, first sew one long binding strip to each side of the caddy.
    4. Then sew the binding to the top and bottom edges, overlapping the side bindings at each corner with a folded, finished edge.
      NOTE: As above, if you are new to creating binding, you'll enjoy our tutorial, Bias Tape: how To Make It & Attach It.
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      NOTE: When you're sewing the pockets to the base fabric, and you get to the corners, you will be stitching through a lot of layers! Go slowly and carefully. Rather than using the foot pedal, sometimes it helps to use your machine's handwheel to crank through the last half to quarter inch, and go stitch-by-stitch. This is also the time to use your lock stitch button if you have one. If you don't, hit reverse and use the handwheel again to back tack a few stitches.

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  1. Slide your caddy between the mattress and box springs. Adjust so the pockets fall within arm's reach.
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Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Kathy Andrews, What Sew Ever



Comments (13)

pam r said:
pam r's picture
Oh, I want to add that I cut my binding strips at 2 1/2 inches and folded in half like I do for quilt binding. I only had a heavier interfacing so it made it easier for me to wrap around the bulk where the pockets are attached. Just a suggestion
pam r said:
pam r's picture
I just made one of these for my daughter for her Nook and her phone. She is 30 , so I didn't use the Lil' Rascals fabric (although I have some in my stash)
It was easy. The hardest part for me was to get the gripper fabric to move in my machine.
Gina S said:
Gina S's picture
I made one from this tutorial. It was so easy to follow and my grandson loved it. I made it for his 16th birthday so the storybook fabric was out, but the Viking fabric was in! Thanks smilies/grin.gif
Mary Ann M. said:
Mary Ann M.'s picture
Great storage solution - I'm going to start on this right away!
TaraGC said:
TaraGC's picture
Looks useful and not beyond my limited skill. The fabric is so adorable..
Geekymom said:
Geekymom's picture
Ohhhh !
I was searching for one exactly like this, very good idea it'll be usefull for my little one, she love reading at bed !

Merci beaucoup !
A french sewing mom.
Marcia Lewis said:
Marcia Lewis's picture
Thank you for all your good designs and ideas. I have no skill there but sure love to sew for all my little grand kiddies. Still got a few young nephews too who can use a few things. I have an old Janome and just bought a new one. Hooray!
Happytunes said:
Happytunes's picture
It's a crazy short week, but I'm so happy I did my usual sew 4 home look today anyway. I love this and I have the same trouble with having a good place to keep books as Amy. We've had more than a few tears when the ONLY story acceptable was the book we couldn't find. This looks really easy and I even have some of that shelf liner you mention!
Amy Reimer said:
Amy Reimer's picture
Both my kids need one of these. We have story time every night and they love it. The biggest problem is finding the book we're in the middle of. They have night stands but they are too small what with a lamp, clock and water bottle. So the books end up back in the stack or in the toy box. Anyway, thanks for this nice slim perfect-for-kids' books tutorial. The moda fabric is ideal and reminds me of old storybooks.