Which dish are you in charge of for this year's holiday celebrations? Will you be whipping up Nana's famous lasagna or maybe a warm pan of apple-cranberry crisp? If your culinary talents are on-the-go this season, you need a carrier that can keep your special dish toasty on the car ride there. Our wrap-it-up design includes a handy loop to clip a pot holder and an inside pocket for a serving utensil. It would also make a wonderful present for the foodies on your gift list. Make the pretty carrier, then wrap up a new baking pan you've filled with a yummy homemade treat!
Our carrier is made for a standard 9" x 13" covered baking pan. You'll want to measure your particular casserole dish and adjust the four "fabric wings" to fit. We noticed many newer dishes have large molded handles. This would definitely be something you'd need to account for, especially for the short bottom and long top wings.
We give you the basic sizing and all the steps; all you need to do is adjust to best fit your pan(s). As we often suggest, lay things out on paper first and/or make a prototype in muslin or another inexpensive fabric from your scrap bin. Sometimes, we even make mini-samples out of paper towels to ensure our dimensions are correct.
We originally used two fabrics (one print and one solid) from the Simple Marks collection by Malka Dudrawsky for Moda Fabrics. This is an older collection and can be hard to find. As an alternative, we found two options at Hawthorne Threads. The first includes a print from the Handcrafted collection by Alison Glass for Andover paired with a FreeSpirit Designer Solid.
Sewing Tools You Need
Fabric and Other Supplies
- 1¼ yards of 44-45" wide cotton printed fabric for the carrier's exterior and pocket
- 1¼ yards of 44-45" wide cotton solid fabric for the carrier's interior, binding and carabiner loop
- 1¼ yards of 45" wide insulated fleece: we used Insul-Bright by The Warm Company
- ¼ yard of 20"+ wide mid-weight fusible interfacing; we used Pellon's Designer's Lite™
- ½ yard of ⅝" sew-in Velcro®; we used black
- 2 yards of 1" wide poly or cotton webbing: we used 1" cotton webbing in a natural color
NOTE: Cotton webbing is lovely and soft but can be hard to butt together and stitch because of its tendency to fray; polyester webbing is harder to stitch through, but there is no fraying.
- ONE 2" carabiner
- All purpose thread to match fabrics (both front and back) as well as thread to match the webbing for the handle
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Tape measure
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
- Painter's tape for cutting and stitching guides (optional)
- From the fabric for the exterior and pocket (Simple Marks Pond Pebbles in our sample), cut the following:
ONE 29" high x 35" wide rectangle
ONE 8" high x 6" wide rectangle for the pocket
- From the fabric for the interior, binding and loop (Simple Marks Hand Dyed Pond in our sample), cut the following:
ONE 29" high x 35" wide rectangle
ONE 11" x 3" strip for the binding
ONE 4" x 1¼" strip for the loop
- From the insulated fleece, cut ONE 29" x 35" rectangle.
- From the medium-weight fusible interfacing, cut the following:
ONE 7" x 2½" strip
ONE 10" x 2" strip
- Pull the Velcro® apart and cut as follows:
TWO 3" lengths of the loop side (the soft side)
FOUR 3" lengths of the hook side (the rough side)
ONE 9½" length of the loop side (the soft side)
- Cut the webbing into ONE 64" length.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Cutting the corner notches
- Place the interior rectangle right side down and flat on your work surface.
- Place the exterior rectangle right side down on top of the interior piece. Align all four raw edges of both layers.
- Fold both pieces in half lengthwise so they now measure 35" x 14½" and the interior piece now faces right side up. Make sure your layers are still even and laying together nice and flat.
- Mark the first corner cut. It should measure 9" up from the bottom raw edge and 7" in from the side raw edge. Make sure your measurements come together at a perfect right angle (a 90˚angle). You can draw your lines with a fabric pen or pencil, or mark with painter's tape as a cutting guide as we did.
- Cut out the corner notch through all the layers, keeping your cut lines clean and smooth. We used a rotary cutter.
- Flip the fabric to cut the opposite corner notch. This notch should also measure 9" from the bottom edge, but should be 13" in from the side edge. Again, make sure you have an accurate 90˚ angle.
- When unfolded and laid flat, you should have a cross with two corners that are 9" x 7" and two corners that are 9" x 13".
- Repeat to cut matching corner notches from the 29" x 35" rectangle of insulated fleece.
Layering and quilting the main front and back pieces
- Place the insulated fleece right side down (shiny side down) on your work surface.
- Place the exterior fabric right side up on top of it.
- Place the interior fabric right side down on top of everything.
- You now have a three layer quilt sandwich.
- Pin in place all around the "cross," leaving the longest 11" end open for turning (the 11" end of the 11" x 13" arm of the cross).
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch all around, pivoting at each corner, and locking your seam at the beginning and end. Remember, that one 11" end is completely un-sewn.
- Trim back the seam allowance to approximately ¼" and cut in diagonally at each corner. If you are new to this technique, check out our tutorial on sewing and cutting corners.
- Turn the piece right side out through the open end and press well.
- Starting at one 15" end of the cross, mark quilting lines at one inch intervals across the entire piece. You can draw in the lines with a fabric pen or pencil (make sure it is one that will wipe away or vanish with exposure to air as you are working on the right side of the fabric). You could also use painter's tape as guide lines (the favorite method of our seamstress, Aimee for this project). Or, if you have a Walking foot with a Quilt Bar, you could use that to maintain an even distance.
- For more tips and techniques on straight line quilting, you might want to read our tutorial from our friend, and extraordinary quilter, Heather Jones.
- You want the quilting lines to blend in to the fabric, so be sure to thread your machine with thread to match the exterior fabric in the top and the interior fabric in the bobbin. We had coordinating fabrics and so used turquoise thread in both the top and bobbin.
- Set your pretty quilted body aside.
- Find the 8" x 6" pocket piece and the 2½" x 7" interfacing strip.
- Fold the 8" x 6" piece in half right sides together so it is now 8" x 3".
- Unfold wrong side up so the crease line is visible. Place the interfacing along the crease line and centered end to end. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse in place.
- Refold the pocket right sides together. Pin along both 3" ends and the 8" raw edge, leaving an approximate 2"-3" opening along this 8" side for turning.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch along both 3" ends and the 8" side, pivoting at the corners, and remembering to lock your seam at either side of the approximate 2"-3" opening. Clip the corners. Press the seam.
- Turn the pocket right side out through the opening. Push out the corners so they are nice and sharp. A chopstick or long knitting needle works well for this.
- Fold in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam. Press flat.
- Place the quilted carrier body right side up on your work surface with the long end of the cross to the left, the short end of the cross to the right, and the upper and lower wings in the middle. The pocket should be placed on the upper wing of the cross with the open end of the pocket facing towards the long end. The bottom of the pocket should be 2" in from the right edge, and the outer edge of the pocket should be 2¼" down from the top edge of the wing.
- Pin the pocket in place along both its sides and across the bottom.
- Edgestitch the pocket in place along both sides and across the bottom, pivoting at the corners and with a generous backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam, ie. at the pocket top. This is a stress point for the pocket and it's smart to secure the seam well. We used our Janome Quarter Inch foot to keep a precise seam.
Binding and loop
- Find the 11" x 3" binding strip and the 10" x 2" interfacing strip. Center the interfacing side to side and top to bottom on the wrong side of the binding strip. You should have ½" of fabric showing all around. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse the interfacing in place. Fold the strip in half lengthwise and press lightly to set a long center crease. Unfold, wrong side up.
- Fold back each 3" end ½" and press well. Fold back each long side (now 10" in length) by ½" and press well.
- Flip over so the folded piece is now right side up and the center crease line is visible. All the edges are still folded back.
- Find the 9½" length of Velcro® loop. Center it within one half of the flat binding strip between the center crease line and one outside folded edge. It should also be centered end to end.
- Pin the Velcro® strip in place. You can also use a fusible seam tape or a spray adhesive to lightly hold the strip in place.
- Thread your machine with thread to match the Velcro® in the top and thread to match the interior fabric in the bobbin. We had black in the top and turquoise in the bobbin.
- Edgestitch the Velcro® in place along all four sides.
- Re-fold the binding strip wrong sides together so all the folded edges align. Slip the binding over the raw edges of the open end of the carrier (the end you used for turning right side out). The side with the Velcro® should be on the inside. Pin in place.
- Rethread your machine with thread to match the binding fabric in the top and bobbin.
- Find the 4" x 1¼" loop piece.
- Fold the loop in half wrong sides together so it is now 4" x ⅝" and press.
- Open it back up, wrong side up, so the center crease is visible. Fold in each long side to meet in the middle along the center crease. Press. Fold in half along the original crease line so the folded edges align and press again. Pin in place.
- Edgestitch along the folded edges to secure. Both ends are raw.
- Fold this thin loop in half, aligning the raw edges.
- Slip the raw ends under the binding on the exterior of the carrier. The loop should be in the exact center of the binding. Pin in place.
- Edgestitch across both ends of the binding and all along its bottom edge. Go slowly and make sure you are catching both sides of the binding with your stitching.
Position the Velcro®
- Find the 3" lengths of Velcro®. You should have two loop lengths and four hook lengths.
- Place the carrier body right side up and flat on your work surface. It should be the same direction as it was when you placed the pocket, with the long end to the left, the short end to the right and the "wings" top and bottom in the middle.
- Find the four lengths of hook (the rough side).
- Position one in each corner of the bottom middle wing, and one in each corner of the short end. The strip should be positioned perpendicular to the quilting lines on the middle wing and parallel to the stitching on the end. Position the strip 1¼" in from the side and ½" up from the bottom.
- Re-thread your machine with thread to match the Velcro® in the top and thread to match the fabric in the bobbin.
- Pin or fuse each piece of Velcro® in place, then edgestitch around all four sides.
- Flip over the carrier to place the last two lengths of Velcro®. They go on the inside of the wing opposite the wing to which you just attached the hook lengths.
- As above, the strips run perpendicular to the quilting stitching and are 1¼" from the side and ½" up from the bottom. Edgestitch in place as above.
NOTE: This can be a bit of a brain teaser because your are working in 3-D. Take a look at the wrapping photo series above in the introduction, which should help clarify the Velcro® positioning.
The webbing handle
- Find the 64" length of webbing. Make a loop, butting the raw ends together. Make sure there are no twists and turns in your loop.
- Using a very tight zig zag stitch, attach the ends. We stitched across the joint three times.
- Place the finished carrier right side up on your work surface.
- Fold the handle so the seam is at one end. Place a pin at the opposite folded end.
- Unfold and center the handle across the middle of the carrier. It should be positioned so the zig zag seam and the opposite center pin point (the point you marked above when you folded the handle) are both aligned with the center quilting line. The outer edge of the webbing should be 3" in from the edge of the carrier. Pin the loop in place from the center point outwards, stopping 1" beyond each corner. This end point should align with a line of quilting.
- Here is a close up view of the positioning of one corner.
- Re-thread your machine with thread to match the webbing in the top and thread to match the interior fabric in the bobbin.
- Edgestitch each side of the handle in place, starting and stopping at the one-inch-beyond pin points. Add a box stitch at the beginning and end to reinforce. In the illustration below, we've shown the handle stitching in black so you can see the pattern.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Aimee McGaffey