Decisions about Pockets
While you are taking inventory of the supplies you intend to store, consider the size of different items. The pockets on your caddy will be constructed in rows, and each pocket in a row will be of equal depth. They can be of different widths. Some can also be pleated for extra room while others can be flat, but the depth of all the pockets within a row will be the same.
Get very specific in your list of what pockets you’ll need. Include space for items you don’t currently have on hand. Consider putting really long items, such as rolls of wrapping paper or knitting needles, in pockets on the back of your caddy
Decisions about Hanging
You can design your caddy to hang from a peg, a hook, or a clothes hanger. This is great for closet storage. You can choose a hanger with a rotating hook. A wooden coat hanger is less likely to break than plastic, but the curve designed for suit coats might not be what you want for your caddy A hanger will limit the width of your caddy.
For caddies that will be heavy when they’re full, it’s a good idea to design the top to hold a rod supported on three hooks. To do this, plan to extend your top an extra 4”. Later, you will cut a half circle about 6” across and 3” deep from the center of your top. The top 2” will be turned to the back and stitched, forming a casing with an opening for a center support.
For caddies that will have a permanent place on the wall, you can equip them with a sleeve on the back to hold a hidden dowel or a decorative curtain rod.
Another option is to put straps on the top of your caddy and equip the ends with fasteners that will snap or otherwise fasten to the caddy
This will allow you to hang your caddy from some chair armrests, bedsteads, or crib railings. The fasteners can be on the back to be out of sight or in front to make the caddy easier to attach. Consider sewing decorative buttons on the front.
Decisions about Design
Once you have decided how you will hang your caddy and what pockets you’ll need, it’s time to figure out your overall design. Generally, it’s better to put the smallest pockets in the top row, progressing downward to the largest at the bottom. Use the dimensions in your inventory to determine what you’ll want for each row of pockets. This will determine the overall dimensions of your caddy. A diagram will help you as you start actually constructing your caddy. Draw one as you plan, complete with dimensions of each pocket and how far apart you want the rows. Note which pockets will need to be pleated and how large these pleats should be.
Once you’ve decided on the layout of your caddy you need to think about fabrics. The weight of all the contents will determine how heavy your fabric should be. Corduroy for the hanging frame and lighter-weight cotton for the pockets might be perfect for gift wrap. Canvas or denim would be better for holding shoes. Prequilted fabric would work for greeting cards or baby supplies. Coordinating unquilted fabric could be used on the pockets.
Pattern and Pieces
Nearly all of the pieces of your hanging caddy will be cut by measuring and will not require a pattern. The one exception, if you are using a clothes hanger to hang your caddy, is the shape of the top.
On brown wrapping paper or other pattern material, trace the sloping shoulders of your hanger. Indicate the placement of the hook. Add ½” around the slope if you’ve chosen a wooden or thick plastic hanger, ¼” for a wire hanger. From the end of the shoulders, draw straight lines downward the length of your caddy. Add ½” seam allowances all around.
Cutting the Pieces
Your plan should make it easy to cut your pieces. Remember to allow ½” seam allowances on all pieces. Begin with the front and back pieces. These should be exactly the same size, though they don’t necessarily need to be of the same fabric.
You will cut each row of pockets in one long strip. You can cut your pockets twice as wide as the depth you want for the finished pocket, and then fold them in half. Or you can cut two pieces, for the outside and inside, sew the tops together, and turn them. A third option is to make your pockets out of a single layer of cloth and hem the top. Your decision will determine the width of the strips you cut for your pockets.
The length of the pocket strip will be the width of your caddy frame, plus whatever you need to add for pleats. Adding 2” to a pocket would mean that when your caddy is finished, you could flatten your pocket against the frame and hold a pinch of fabric that would be 1” deep. Use your fabric to help you visualize what you’ll want to add.
If you are hanging your caddy from a dowel, you will need to cut a sleeve or casing. If you are using a ½” dowel, cut a strip 3” wide and plan to fold it in half for the casing. Cut it 2” shorter than the caddy’s width if you want to hide the dowel.
If you are making fastening ties for the top of a detachable caddy, cut them twice the width you’ll want for the finished ties, plus ½”. You can cut one strip, fold it in half and stitch ¼” seam, turn, press, and cut it into your individual ties afterward.
Attachments for Hanging
If you are planning to hang your caddy from a rod suspended from three hooks, or if you are using a clothes hanger, you will be finishing your attachments later. Sleeves or ties that will be used for hanging your caddy should be added now.
Sleeve for a Dowel
There are any number of ways to attach a sleeve to the back of a
hanging. Often these are sewn on by hand later. However, here is one suggestion for a sturdier sleeve.
Begin by folding your 3” wide strip in half the long way, with right sides together. Sew across the ends. Clip the corner at the fold, and turn it right side out. Fold and press the whole strip in half the long way to make a 1½” wide, double-thickness strip with finished ends. On the frame back, measure down from the top 1¼” and mark a straight line across the fabric there. Center your sleeve above this line with the raw edge lined up with it. This is sort of an upside-down version of the way you attached the pockets. Make sure the ends are within the side seam allowances. Sew the strip to the frame ¼” from the raw edge. You might want to reinforce this seam with twill tape or seam binding on the back. Turn the sleeve downward and press. Topstitch close to the lower edge of the sleeve.
Detachable Caddy Ties
If you want to be able to attach your caddy to something like a crib rail, you can add your ties to the frame on top of the pockets.
Turn under one end of each of the ties. Blind-stitch or topstitch them closed. If you are using self-gripping fasteners, put 1” or 2” of the stiff, or hook, half onto the finished ends of each tie. If you plan to attach your caddy with buttons, center a buttonhole in one end of each. Refer to your sewing machine manual for specific instructions.
Evenly space your ties across the top of your frame front, remembering to allow for the side seam allowances. Line the unfinished end of your ties up with the raw edge of the top of the frame. The self-gripping fastener should be lying face up on the frame. Sew across the ties ½” from the raw edge.
Add the other half of the fasteners to the back so they are spaced to match the ties.