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Six-Pocket Round Bath Caddy: Go Back-to-School in Style

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The new tiny house movement has nothing on dorm life, where living space shrinks to the bare minimum and you're welcomed to the world of the communal bathroom. For kids heading off to college, it's often the first experience in condensing all their belongings to fit into a very small shared space. Let them use this great looking, super functional round caddy to keep bath necessities together in one handy organizer that's easy to tote back and forth. We worked with our friends at Fabric Depot to select a heavier-weight Oxford Cloth in a fun dot pattern; it reminded us of happy little soap bubbles. The pretty exterior is paired with a water repellent rip stop nylon for the lining.

Pleats all around allow each pocket to open and easily expand to accommodate toiletries of all shapes and sizes. There are six pockets total, four large and two small. The loop handle makes it a carryall, and also allows the caddy to be hung right outside a shower stall, keeping everything safe and close at hand. 

A combination of interfacing works together to give the tote both flexibility and stability. Medium-weight fusible for the exterior body panel and the pocket panel is blended with strips of heavy-weight fusible in the top accent bands as well as the round base.

The stand-up handle is stitched right into the upper trim panel. This allows for extra strength, and the stitching pattern leaves a small loop at the base of each side of the handle -- perfect to clip a key when your caddy is traveling. 

We love the pretty Oxford Cloth Dots we selected in 100% cotton by Lecien from Fabric Depot. And of course, there are several other options. Check out these three dot color combos.

    

There are hundreds of non-dot options available at FabricDepot.com as well, just remember to look for a fabric that is heavier than a standard quilting cotton for the best result.

Our easy-to-follow design and instructions allow you to create all the caddy's multi-size pockets while working with the fabric flat. When the pockets are done, you'll simply seam the flat panels into a tube and insert the base to finish. If you're brand new to this technique, we have a full tutorial on the common 3-D conundrum of inserting a flat base into a round tube.

Our round caddy finishes at approximately 8½" high x 9" in diameter. The pocket depth is about 6".

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies    

  • ¾ yard of 44"+ wide medium-weight cotton oxford cloth, home décor fabric or similar for the exterior panels and pockets; we used 45" Color Basic Dots Oxford Cloth by Lecien in Light Blue
  • ½ yard of 44"+ wide medium-weight cotton canvas or similar for the exterior trim and handle; we used 54" 7oz. Duck Canvas Cloth in White
  • ¾ yard of 44"+ wide water repellent nylon or similar for the body and pocket lining; we originally used a gray waterproof nylon, which is a bit hard to source, a standard white rip stop nylon would be a good alternative
  • ½ yard of 45" mid-weight fusible interfacing; we used Pellon Décor Bond
  • 1⅓ yards of heavy-weight fusible interfacing; we used Pellon Peltex Ultra Firm
    NOTE: It's best if all the trim pieces are cut as continuous strips. Because heavy-weight fusible products are usually narrow (apx 20"), you need extra length in order to cut your strips vertically. 
  • All purpose thread to match fabrics
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Straight pins
  • Clips; we used Wonder Clips - optional but helpful for the thicker layers

Getting Started

  1. Download and print out the Caddy Base pattern.
    IMPORTANT: This pattern is one ONE 8½" x 11" sheet. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guide rule on the page so you can confirm your final printout is to scale.
  2. Cut out the pattern piece along the solid line. As marked, it is designed to be cut on the fold to create a full circle. 
  3. From the fabric for the exterior panels and pockets, cut the following:
    ONE 29" wide x 9½" high rectangle for the body panel
    ONE 41" wide x 7½" high rectangle for the pocket panel
    Using the caddy base pattern, cut ONE on the fold
  4. From the fabric for the exterior trim and handle, cut the following:
    ONE 29" x 2¼" strip for the body panel trim
    ONE 41" x 2¼" strip for the pocket panel trim
    ONE 21" x 3" strip for the handle
  5. From the fabric for the body and pocket lining, cut the following: 
    ONE 29" wide x 9½" high rectangle for the body panel
    ONE 41" wide x 7½" high rectangle for the pocket panel
    Using the caddy base pattern, cut ONE on the fold
  6. From the mid-weight interfacing, cut the following:
    ONE 28" x 9" rectangle for the body panel
    ONE 40" x 6½" rectangle for the pocket panel
  7. From the heavy-weight interfacing, cut the following:
    ONE 40" x 1" strip for the pocket trim
    ONE 28" x 1" strip for the body trim
    ONE 21" x ¾" for the handle 
    Using the exterior base pinned in place as a pattern, cut one base circle (because you can't fold this heavyweight interfacing very well)

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Fusing the main panels

  1. Find the exterior body panel, exterior pocket panel, and the rectangles of mid-weight interfacing. Place an interfacing panel against the wrong side of each exterior rectangle. On the body panel, the interfacing will be flush along the top edge of the fabric, but along both sides and the bottom, ½" of fabric will extend beyond the interfacing. On the pocket panel (shown below), the fabric will extend beyond the interfacing ½" on all four sides. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse the interfacing in place.
  2. Find the exterior base circle and the heavy-weight interfacing circle. Place the interfacing against the wrong side of the fabric. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse the interfacing in place.

Create the handle

  1. Find the 21" x 3" handle strip and the 21" x ¾" heavy-weight interfacing strip. 
  2. Fold the handle strip in half lengthwise (so it is now 21" x 1½"), wrong sides together, and press lightly to set a center crease. Unfold so the crease line is visible.
  3. Fold back each 21" raw edge ½" and press well.
  4. Unfold again, wrong side up, and slip the interfacing strip into place along one half of the handle. It should sit right in between the center fold and one edge fold. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse the interfacing in place.
  5. Refold the handle along all folds. The edge folds should be flush. Pin or clip together.
  6. Thread the machine with thread to match the handle fabric in the top and bobbin. Increase the stitch length. 
  7. Edgestitch along both 21" sides. The ends remain raw.
  8. Set the handle aside. 

Create the pocket panel and pleats

  1. Find the exterior pocket panel, which should have the interfacing already fused in place, and the lining pocket panel.
  2. Place the lining against the back of the pocket panel. Water repellent lining traditionally doesn't have a right or wrong side, however, if your fabric does, these two panels should be placed wrong sides together.
  3. Pin the layers together, then machine baste around all four sides so the lining doesn't shift during the pleating process.
  4. Place the pocket panel right side up and flat on your work surface to make SIX 1" box pleats along the bottom edge. 
  5. Starting from the left raw side edge, measure 8" to the right and draw a vertical line. Measure 5" to the right of this first vertical line and draw a second vertical line. Measure 7½" to the right of the second vertical line and draw a third vertical line. 
  6. Measure 7½" to the right of the third vertical line and draw a fourth vertical line. Measure 5" to the right of the fourth vertical line and draw a fifth vertical line. These five vertical lines will become the five pocket divisions. The distance from the last vertical line to the right raw edge of the fabric panel should be 8" just like the first segment. The remaining division will be created with the caddy's back seam. The illustration below shows all the divisions as well as the six pleats. Click the illustration to open a full size PDF.
  7. With all your divisions drawn, find the center point of each pocket. Mark with an upside down pin. Then measure ½" to the right of center and ½" to the left of center; mark both points with a right side up pin. Finally, measure 1" to the right of center and 1" to the left of center and mark these two points with another set of right side up pins. You should have five pins at the middle of each pocket.
  8. To the right of center, pinch along the inner pin and align the outer pin with the center pin. This means your other pin will sit along the fold itself as shown below.
  9. This creates the right side of the box pleat. Pin it flat against the panel. 
  10. Repeat to the left of center, pinch along the inner pin and align the outer pin with the center pin.
  11. This creates the left side of the box pleat. As above, pin this side flat against the panel. You should now have a finished box pleat 1" in width. 
  12. Repeat this pattern at the bottom of each pocket.
  13. Even though only the bottom edge of the pleats will stitched in place, we recommend pinning the top of each pleat in place as well to create the best dimension.
  14. Lightly press each pleat from top to bottom. With the heavier fabrics, this helps insures the correct shape.
  15. Machine baste the bottom of each pleat in place.
    NOTE: If you are brand new to pleating, we have a full tutorial on box pleats

Add the pocket trim

  1. Find the 41" trim strip. Press back one 41" raw edge ½".
  2. Unpin the top of the pleats so the top of the panel will extend to its full original 41".
  3. Place the trim strip against the lining side of the pocket panel. The right side of the trim strip should be against the lining and the un-pressed 41" raw edge should be flush with the top raw edge of the pocket panel. Pin the trim strip in place.
  4. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch the trim strip in place.
  5. Cut back the trim fabric side of the seam allowance to ¼".
  6. Find the 40" x 1" heavy-weight interfacing strip. Slip in into place under the folded edge of the trim strip. The edge of the interfacing should sit right up against the fold; it's opposite edge will come almost to the seam line, and there should be ½" of fabric extending beyond the interfacing at each end. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse the interfacing in place. Be careful to not touch the hot iron against the nylon lining fabric. 
  7. Bring the trim strip up and over to the front of the pocket panel and pin or clip in place.
  8. The trim's seam becomes the top edge of the pocket panel. 
  9. In necessary, re-thread with thread to match the trim fabric in the top and thread to best match the lining in the bobbin. Re-set for a longer stitch length. Edgestitch along the top of the trim strip. We used the Janome Edge Guide foot
  10. Edgestitch along the bottom of the trim strip as well.

Assemble the body and pocket panels

  1. Place the body panel right side up and flat on your work surface.
  2. Place the pocket panel right side up on top of the body panel. Align the bottom and side raw edges of both panels. Pin in place along the bottom and sides. Then, pin along each of the five drawn vertical lines. 
  3. Re-thread the machine with thread to best match the exterior fabric in the top and keep the thread to best match the lining in the bobbin, but keep the trim thread handy as well. Lengthen the stitch. 
  4. Stitch along each drawn line. You want the pocket divisions to blend with the fabrics, which means you should pause your stitch at the base of the trim strip and switch out the thread. You could stitch all the division lines up to the trim strip at once, then switch out the thread and finish each division line across the trim strip (you could go from top to bottom as well). For the best finish at the thread-change-point as well as at the top end point, use a lock stitch or leave the thread tails long and knot to secure. You could do a back-tack, but if you choose this options, be very careful to keep it super neat.

Insert the base

  1. Fold the body/pocket panel in half, aligning the remaining raw side edges, and pin in place.
  2. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch the side seam.
  3. Find the fused exterior base circle. Fold it in half, top to bottom, and place a pin or mark at each edge of the fold. 
  4. Open up and re-fold the opposite direction, again placing a pin or mark at each edge of the fold. You are creating quadrant marks around the circle, like the points on the face of a clock: 12:00, 3:00, 6:00 and 9:00.
  5. Repeat this process with the exterior body. First, bring together the back seam with the front pocket division seam; these are your 12:00 and 6:00 points. Then, fold the opposite direction to mark the 3:00 and 9:00 points. 
  6. Set the base into the exterior body so the two pieces are right sides together. Align the quadrant pins of the exterior body with the quadrant pins of the base circle. 
  7. Pin at the quadrant points first, then fill in around the circle. Don't be afraid to use a lot of pins or clips in order to get the two pieces to lay flat against one another.  This technique is the same as any project where you are inserting a flat circle into a tube. If you are new to this process, check out our full, step-by-step tutorial
  8. If necessary, re-thread the machine with thread to match the exterior fabric in the top and bobbin.
  9. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch all the way around the circle. Go slowly, holding the layers flat with your fingers if necessary to avoid any puckers.
  10. Turn the exterior right side out and push the base down into position.

Lining and top trim strip

  1. Find the lining panel and base. 
  2. Stitch the side seam in the lining, then insert the base into the lining tube, following the same steps as above for the exterior. 
  3. We finished all our lining seam allowances with a zig zag stitch as the nylon tends to fray. 
  4. With the exterior caddy right side out and the lining wrong side out, slip the lining inside the exterior so the two are now wrong sides together. Align the center back seams and the top raw edges. Pin around the top.
  5. Machine baste the layers together around the top. As with the pocket panel, this basting seam helps keep the nylon lining from slipping around during the rest of the construction. If your machine has a free arm, now is a good time to use it. 
  6. Find the remaining 29" trim strip. Press back one long raw edge ½".
  7. Find the remaining 28" heavy-weight interfacing strip. Center it on the wrong side of the trim strip. One edge of the interfacing should sit along the crease of the folded edge, there should be ½" of fabric extending beyond the interfacing at each end, and there will be just over ½" of fabric extending beyond the interfacing along the top edge. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse the interfacing in place. 
  8. Unfold the initial ½" fold and place the ends together. Stitch together, using a ½" seam allowance. The trim is now a loop.
  9. Press open the seam allowance. 
  10. This top trim piece is attached in the same manner as the pocket trim. Place the trim strip against the lining side of the caddy, aligning the seam of the trim strip with the center back caddy seam. The right side of the trim strip should be against the lining and the un-pressed raw edge should be flush with the top raw edge of the caddy. Pin or clip the trim strip in place.
  11. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch the trim strip in place.
  12. Cut back the trim fabric side of the seam allowance to ¼".
  13. Bring the trim strip up and over to the front of the caddy and pin or clip in place.
  14. The trim's seam becomes the top edge of the caddy
  15. Find the handle. Insert one raw end under the trim 7" around the top from the center back seam. Slip the end all the way under until it butts up against the trim's seam. Pin or clip in place.
  16. Bring the handle up and over the top of the caddy, forming a loop like a traditional basket. Insert the opposite end of the handle 7" from the center back seam around the top in the opposite direction. If positioned correctly, each handle should be centered above one of the smaller pockets. Make sure the handle's loop isn't twisted. The handle should be facing down, away from the trim, on both ends. It is not yet pulled up into its final position.
  17. In necessary, re-thread with thread to match the trim fabric in the top and bobbin. Re-set for a longer stitch length. Edgestitch along the bottom of the trim strip. We used our Satin Stitch foot and with a quilt bar as a guide.
  18. Edgestitch along the top of the trim strip as well. We used the Janome Edge Guide foot for this step.
  19. Pull the handle up into position and pin or clip in place.
  20. To secure the handle in its upright position, topstitch across the handle in line with the top line of the trim strip's edgestitching. This will be a stress point for the caddy, so we recommend a double line of edgestitching for extra security. This is what creates the little open loop at the base of the handle on each side into which a clip can be secured to hold a key as shown in the photo above.
  21. Push the lining all the way down into the caddy. The nylon is quite slippery and will have a tendency to pull out when packing and re-packing the caddy's contents. To keep the lining in place, we recommend hand-tacking the bottom of the lining in place at 4-6 points around the base seam. 
  22. Thread a hand sewing needle with thread to match the lining and simply tack in place, running your stitches right through the base circle seam to hide them.

Contributors

Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild

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