Facebook Twitter Sew4Home RSS Feed Follow Me on Pinterest


Sofa Caddy

Printer-friendly versionSend by emailPDF version

Click to Enlarge

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

Fabric and Other Supplies

Click to Enlarge

  • 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

Getting Started

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.

Click to Enlarge

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

  1. Lay out base (solid) fabric and measure, draw and cut a rectangle 10" wide x 44" high.
  2. 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.

    Click to Enlarge
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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

  1. 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.
    Click to Enlarge
  2. Edgestitch in place.
  3. 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.
    Click to Enlarge
  4. 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.
  5. First, sew the binding on each side of the base fabric.
  6. Then sew the binding to the top and bottom edges, overlapping the side bindings at each corner with a folded, finished edge.
    Click to Enlarge
    Click to Enlarge
  7. Again, for step-by-step help attaching binding, see our tutorial, Bias Tape: how To Make It & Attach It.
  8. Set your completed base piece aside.

Constructing the pockets

  1. 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.
  2. For EACH pair: pin together, and using with ¼" seam allowance, stitch the two sides and the bottom edge. Leave the top edge open.
    Click to Enlarge
  3. Trim the bottom corners diagonally ( to make a cleaner point), turn all the pockets right side out and press.
    Click to Enlarge
  4. 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.
    Click to Enlarge
  5. Stitch along the edge of this folded 'faux binding' with a straight or zig-zag stitch. We chose a zig zag stitch.
    Click to Enlarge
  6. Repeat with remaining three pockets.
  7. To form the side gussets, fold each side of the pocket back 1½" and press to create a firm fold.
    Click to Enlarge
  8. Edgestitch along the fold and then stitch again 1/8" from the first edgestitching to create double stitching lines. Do this along both folds.
    Click to Enlarge
  9. Fan fold the side flap back towards the side edge. Press firmly. Fan fold the other side flap. Press.
    Click to Enlarge
  10. Repeat for each pocket. Set all the pockets aside.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
    Click to Enlarge
  13. 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.
  14. Pin the pleated edge to the base fabric along both sides.
    Click to Enlarge
  15. 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.
    Click to Enlarge
  16. 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.
    Click to Enlarge
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
    Click to Enlarge
  19. 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

Other machines suitable for this project include the Bernina bernette 92C and the Husqvarna Viking Sapphire 830.



Comments (14)

FabricBuzz said:
FabricBuzz's picture

Thank you. Just what I was looking for. Great tutorial layout.

ddscarberry said:
ddscarberry's picture

My couch has velcro under the cushions for the seat cushions to stay in place. I think I'm going to skip the grip and attach it with velcro instead!!

That may be a good option even if you don't have it already there! It'd be an easy place to stick velcro since no one sees it anyways!

elucymom said:
elucymom's picture

Great idea!  I am going to use the arm covers that come with the sofa, (that always are lost or on the floor!) as the contrast fabric for my remote holder!

Simona said:
Simona 's picture
Thanks! It is a great tutorial. Used to make a Christmas present. smilies/cheesy.gif
soontobegranma said:
soontobegranma's picture
smilies/smiley.gifThanks a million. I'm expecting my first grandchild soon and I wanted to make a crib organizer for my daughter's baby. This tutorial is perfect for me. Keep up the good work.
Liz L of Mel said:
Liz L of Mel's picture
Hi there, thanks so much for this. It's a brilliant idea for gifts. I've just made one with two pockets. A note for Australian readers- if you ask for Gripper fabric at say, Spotlight, you'll get a roll of rubber matting that people use to line kitchen drawers with; not quite the same as what's in the photos on this tute. Better to couch your request in terms of the fabric used for the feet of kids' pyjamas. Having said that, it still worked a treat- just difficult to sew, so I would absolutely go unquestioningly with Liz's recommendation of using greaseproof paper. The stuff stretches like crazy.
Ikea sell similar caddies with a metal rod to keep things from slipping; I think the gripper franic is a much better idea and probably more environmentally friendly.
I didn't do the bias binding option- instead, I double folded the hems. If anyone has a solution to make the corners neat, I'm all ears!
For the pockets, I used striped canvas decking fabric - available in 6" widths at places like Patchwork on Central in Melbourne. It saved me a lot of hemming (I didn't line anything).
Thanks again for this tutorial. I can't wait to try others on this website.
Liz L of Mel said:
Liz L of Mel's picture
Hi there, thanks for this. It's a brilliant idea for gifts. I've just made one with two pockets. A note for Australian readers- if you ask for Gripper fabric at say, Spotlight, you'll get a roll of rubber matting that people use to line kitchen drawers. Better to couch it in terms of the fabric - as Liz says - that is used on the feet of kids' pyjamas. The other type seems to do the job, though - I would say go for the greaseproof paper option liz describes as it's tricky to sew otherwise- seems to stretch all over the place.
I went pretty much with Liz's measurements. Instead of bias binding I just did double fold hems (if anyone has a solution for making the corners look neat, I'm all ears!). I used decking canvas - available here in 6" width at places like Patchwork on Central in Melbourne - and so didn't need to do seams on the tops and bottoms of pockets. It looks great. Thanks once again. Can't wait to try some of the other project son this website.
emaven said:
emaven's picture
If you have a Mac computer, just choose print.
One of the options will be to print to PDF.
Pick a place to save it and you are done.
Archae0 said:
Archae0's picture
Hi BeagleMom53

I totally agree on how handy a pdf option would be. In the mean time here's a work around you might want to try. I have a "pdf" printer installed on my laptop. There are several free ones out there. Just do a web search on "pdf printer". Follow the instructions to download and install. It will show up as an additional printer on your system. Just select it as your printer when you want to print to pdf. You'll wind up with a pdf file on your system instead of sheets of paper.

Tip: remember to save the pdf files where you can find them smilies/wink.gif

hope this helps

Best regards,
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
Hi BeckyCraigo - Thank you so much for the awesome comment. It makes all the hard work worth it when we hear from people who we've inspired to get sewing! You're one of the pack now... your next assignment: pass it along to your friends. smilies/wink.gif
BeckyCraigo said:
BeckyCraigo's picture
I love sew4home.com! I have taught myself to sew using this website almost exclusively. The projects are great and the instructions are perfect! I love the pocket with the gussets tutorial on this project, I will be using the same technique on the pockets to my apron that I am current;y constructing. Thank you so much, you guys here brought new life to my old singer. Love ya!
Liz Johnson, Editor, Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson, Editor, Sew4Home's picture
A PDF option has definitely been on our wish list of development projects and we are looking into how best to budget for this option. Stay tuned.
fluffysmum said:
fluffysmum's picture
Yes, I must agree, PDF is a much better way of finding projects to make at a later date, that way you never lose them
BeagleMom53 said:
BeagleMom53's picture
Great idea putting gripper fabric on the back of the sofa caddy. NOW, could you please add a "PDF" option to your web pages. Your users can "save" projects instead of printing. Much easier to save a project in PDF format, than print 4-5 pages, only to perhaps not find them later.....AND you no longer have the project indexed on your website. So the project is lost. No matter if you say that the projects are always available on the website, I use "PDF" files to SAVE PAPER.
Please add the "PDF" option to Sew4Home and GO GREEN!! THANKS!!

Add new comment

*Sew4Home reserves the right to restrict comments that don’t relate to the article, contain profanity, personal attacks or promote personal or other business.
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.