It was finally time to make something for myself, and there’s no better way to start a project than with an actual need. My need was for a better sewing tool storage system. I had been using a small basket a friend had gifted to me with sewing goodies inside. It technically held everything, but any time I needed something I had to all but empty the entire basket to find it. I was looking for something that:
- Held all of my most commonly used sewing tools and notions (scissors, rotary cutter, pins, clips, marking tools, seam ripper, 6″ ruler, etc)
- Served as storage but also made the tools accessible to me
- Could easily move from the sewing shelf to wherever I was working
- Looked great
I found this Craftsy class and thought the ByAnnie’s Catch-All-Caddy fit the bill. Since this is a project that I’d see a lot, I wanted to be sure to choose fabrics that I truly loved. The exterior is a gorgeous painted linen from my Grandmother’s stash. Since the floral print is so elegant, I wanted something to help ground it, so I used a natural canvas as the main contrast fabric, with a small geometric print from Andover Fabrics to help with accents. I felt it symbolic to have something from my grandma’s sewing room in my own, mixed in my own way.
This project was a bit of a beast for a few reasons. Firstly, holy moly cutting instructions. I’m sure it was no small feat for Annie to write out all of the instructions to make this little guy, but I really think the girl could have had some help making it at least read easier. I’m not too proud to admit that without the class to go along with it, I would probably be completely lost in the pattern. Secondly, this is a marathon, not a sprint. First you cut a ton of fabric, then you fuse a ton of fabric, then you quilt, then you cut again, and only then are you really starting to begin the project. However, the finished projects that people were posting in the class were motivation that it was in fact possible, and that maybe I was being a bit dramatic.
Annie showed an awesome way to sew on binding that didn’t involve the process of making the double-fold-binding-tape. Instead you just fold your piece of bias-binding in half, and align the raw edges of the binding with the raw edges of the wrong side of the edge you’re finishing. Sew at a scant 1/4″ and flip the folded edge of the binding over the edge of the piece you’re finishing (to the front) and sew 1/8″ away from the edge.
One of my design decisions was to use canvas as the interior and as the binding on the caddy. I thought the natural color of the canvas really brought something to the painted linen. I still stand by this decision, however I quickly learned just how fast layers of canvas add up! I was so encouraged by how the pieces were turning out, and yet I was really not looking forward to the task of assembling her and facing all those layers of canvas. So I did the human thing and ignored it for a few weeks. Finally annoyed at my sewing basket I decided I needed to finish the caddy for myself, even if out of pure utilitarian necessity. A few broken needles and re-sewn seams later and she was assembled.
Now the thing is, is after I labored to get this through the machine and proudly wiped my brow while gazing at my little beauty, it dawned on me that there was one final step. The last edge binding. I had already been gritting my teeth the entire time sewing the thing together, and putting binding on meant adding SIX MORE layers of canvas to my already very bulky side seem. My shoulders dropped, I just knew I couldn’t put my machine through that, but being so close to the end meant either a complete re-do (and a re-think on where to use the canvas) or an unfinished project.
I loaded her up with my sewing tools anyway, because I really did need something better to work with. Unfinished sides or not, she held my jars of odds and ends, chalk markers, pins, clips, and cutting tools, AND traveled easily between rooms. I’d figure out what to do with the sides later.
This caddy features:
- 6 Exterior slip pockets
- 1 Exterior zippered pocket
- 5 Interior expandable bellows pockets
It’s a few weeks later and her sides are proudly unfinished. Almost defiantly unfinished, because the mean voice in my head HATES it, which adorns the caddy to my heart that much more. It stands proudly on my shelf, not only as the holder of my most important tools made from my most beautiful fabric, but as a reminder that things don’t need to be perfect to be worthy. They don’t have to live up to the lofty expectations in my brain to serve an important purpose.
More to come, sooner than it did this time!