Sometimes, I think my TV remote has a mind of its own. Nine times out of ten, it’s not where I want it when I sit down. I figure it must get up and leave when I’m not looking. Same thing goes for all my other controls … never around when I need them (much like gas stations). This cool sofa caddy keeps everything right at my fingertips, The pockets all have the perfect expandable gusset: big enough to easily slide stuff in and out, but not so big that things topple out.
Proving you can mix and match designer fabrics, we used coordinating Amy Butler and Vicki Payne fabrics, both in decorator weight. You really need the extra heft of a decorator weight fabric for both strength and stability. The background fabric is an Amy Butler’s Decorator Solid. The patterned fabric is from Vicki Payne’s Bark Home Decor.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome Memory Craft 6600P)
Fabric and Other Supplies
- Fabric for base: 1 yard of 54″ decorator weight fabric: we used Amy Butler’s Decorator Solids in Brown
- Fabric for binding and pockets: ½ yard of 54″ decorator weight fabric: we used Vicki Payne’s Bark Home Decor in Bars – Bark
- Gripper fabric: one piece apx 20″ x 4″
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
- All purpose thread
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Straight pins
Some important notes on sizing
Our pocket sizes were determined based on the things we wanted to store; you’ll have different stuff, and you can change the pocket sizes to get the best fit. Remember, the pockets can go horizontally or vertically. Do whatever works best in your space. We needed the following items handy: a Logitech Harmony 800 remote, an iPhone 352, and a Sonos Controller 200.
Chairs vary a lot, especially the style of their arms. So before you decide our measurements are going to be perfect for your chair and your arm, we recommend grabbing your cloth tape measure, a note pad and a pencil, and heading on over to the chair for which you’re making this chair caddy. Lift up the chair’s cushion and insert the end of the tape measure about half way under (make sure you insert the 1″ end). Drop the cushion back into place, then continue measuring up and over the arm, finally letting the other end of the tape measure fall to the floor. Sit in the chair, but do not start watching TV! Instead, place your arm over the arm of the chair and gauge a comfortable reach for the pockets. Grab the tape measure at the points you think are good for the pockets, note these measurements on your pad of paper. Finally, get out of the chair (I know …. bummer!) and pick your bottom point. How long you make the caddy will depend on how many pockets you want; it’s totally up to you and your chair (you two talk it over). My only note: it doesn’t usually look good to have it go all the way to the floor.
Now it’s time to cut
- Lay out base (solid) fabric and measure, draw and cut a rectangle 10″ wide x 44″ high.
- All the pockets have side gussets for expansion and an inside lining for stability. The lining fabric folds over the top to mimic binding. This means 3½” must be added to the finished width and ¼” to the finished height for the outside or printed fabric. And, 3½” must be added to the finished width and 1¼” to the finished height for the inside or solid fabric.
- For our sample, we chose two tall pockets and one wide pocket.
Pocket 1: Finished size needed to be 4″ wide x 6″ high. From the printed fabric we cut a rectangle 7½” wide and 6¼” high. And from the solid fabric we cut a rectangle if 7½” wide and 7¼” high.
Pocket 2: Finished size needed to be 3″ wide x 6″ high. From the printed fabric we cut a rectangle 6½” wide and 6¼” high. And from the solid fabric we cut a rectangle if 6½” wide and 7¼” high.
Pocket 3: Finished size needed to be 8″ wide x 3½” high. From the printed fabric we cut a rectangle 11½” wide and 3¾” high. And from the solid fabric we cut a rectangle if 11½” wide and 4¾” high.
- For the edge binding, cut two strips of the printed fabric 2″ wide x 11″ long and two strips of printed fabric 2″ wide x 45″ long.
NOTE: You’ll need to cut these pieces across the width of your 54″ decorator fabric.
- Cut a strip of gripper fabric 10″ wide x 4″ high. Finish the raw edges with pinking shears or a pinking rotary cutter. You could also serge the edge or fold under ¼” and edge stitch. This gripper fabric will help make your caddy extra resistant to slipping.
At Your Sewing Machine
Constructing the base
- Place the 10″ x 4″ gripper fabric against the back side of the base fabric, positioning it 4″ from top edge and edge-to-edge across the width. Pin.
- Edgestitch in place.
- If 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 tears away from the stitching easily when finished.
- Take your four pieces of binding fabric and create double fold binding tape. Iron each strip in half, right sides facing out, then open and fold each edge to the middle. Press both new folds, then fold in half again and press. This will create two strips of binding tape ½” x 11″ and two strips ½” x 45″. If you are new to creating binding, read our tutorial, Bias Tape: how To Make It & Attach It.
- First, sew the binding on each side of the base fabric.
- Then sew the binding to the top and bottom edges, overlapping the side bindings at each corner with a folded, finished edge.
- Again, for step-by-step help attaching binding, see our tutorial, Bias Tape: how To Make It & Attach It.
- Set your completed base piece aside.
Constructing the pockets
- Lay out all your printed and solid pocket pairs with right sides together. Line up the bottom edges of the solid and printed fabrics. The top edge of the solid fabric should extend 1″ above the top edge of the printed fabric.
- For EACH pair: pin together, and using with ¼” seam allowance, stitch the two sides and the bottom edge. Leave the top edge open.
- Trim the bottom corners diagonally ( to make a cleaner point), turn all the pockets right side out and press.
- Take one pocket. Fold down the solid fabric top edge ½” and press. Fold it down another ½” to cover the top raw edge of the printed fabric. Press.
- Stitch along the edge of this folded ‘faux binding’ with a straight or zig-zag stitch. We chose a zig zag stitch.
- Repeat with remaining three pockets.
- To form the side gussets, fold each side of the pocket back 1½” and press to create a firm fold.
- Edgestitch along the fold and then stitch again 1/8″ from the first edgestitching to create double stitching lines. Do this along both folds.
- Fan fold the side flap back towards the side edge. Press firmly. Fan fold the other side flap. Press.
- Repeat for each pocket. Set all the pockets aside.
- Lay out your base fabric piece and use your fabric pencil to draw guides for your pocket placement. If you’re duplicating our design: measure 1″ in from the left side edge and draw a 14″ vertical line. Then, measure 1½” up from the bottom edge and draw a horizontal line straight across.
- With the intersecting corner as your guide, draw an 8″ wide x 3½” tall rectangle. Measure 1″ up from the top of this rectangle and draw another horizontal line straight across. With the new intersecting corner as your guide, draw a rectangle 4″ wide x 6″ high. From the right edge of this rectangle, measure 1″ to the right and draw a third rectangle. It should be even along with bottom with the other but only 3″ wide x 6″ high. The far right edge should be perfectly aligned with the right edge of the pocket below.
- Using your drawn lines as guides, square up the largest pocket first (in our sample, the #3 pocket). Line up the right hand side of the pocket with the right vertical line and the bottom of the pocket with the bottom horizontal line.
- Pin the pleated edge to the base fabric along both sides.
- Edgestitch each side of the pocket to the fabric base, then stitch again about 1/8″ from the first edgestitching line. Leave the bottom edge open. Remove from the machine.
- Fold the gussets out to their final position and pin the the bottom edge of the pocket to the base fabric. Stitch the bottom closed by edgestitching through all layers, then stitch again about 1/8″ from the first edgestitching line. Start and stop these seams at the corners to best match the vertical stitching lines of the gusset’s fold.
- Lay pocket #1 on the base fabric, lining up the bottom and left side edge with your drawn lines on the left side and bottom. Pin and stitch as indicated above in steps 15-16.
- Lay pocket #2 on the base fabric, lining up the bottom and left side edge with your drawn rectangle. Pin and stitch as indicated above in steps 15-16.
- Slide your caddy under your chair cushion and up and over the arm. Adjust so the pockets fall within arm’s reach.
Hints and Tips
What are all those double stitching lines for?
These pockets need to hold some heavy things, and the gussets need to flex in and out repeatedly. The double lines of stitching keep the seams nice and secure. Double lines for double strength!
Stitching through the layers
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.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Coreation: Dianne LeBlanc