*If don't include/use the pocket, then it's also reversible. But wait, there's more! It also doubles as a pretty hot pad for your dish when you arrive at your potluck party =)
Step 1: The "Ingredient" List
- Outer fabric (preferably at least medium weight)
- Coordinating inner fabric (light to medium weight)
- Insul-Bright (optional - I did not use it)
- Sewing machine
Step 2: Measure Twice, Cut Once!
- 1 - 21" square from outer fabric
- 1 - 21" square from inner fabric
- 1 - 21" square from batting
- 1 - 21" square from Insul-bright (again, this is optional)
- 2 - 3" x 15" long straps from outer fabric
- 2 - 3" x 7" short straps from outer fabric
- 1 - 6.5" x 7.5" pocket piece from outer fabric
- 1 - 6.5" x 7.5" pocket piece from inner fabric
Step 3: Making the Straps
- To create the long straps, fold the strips lengthwise (so that you have a 1.5" x 15" rectangle) and pin in place. Repeat with short straps (to make 1.5" x 7" rectangle).
- Then sew down the entire lenth of the straps, leaving the ends (1.5" sides) open. Use a quarter inch seam allowance or the edge of your presser foot.
- With great patience, turn the tubes inside out and iron flat. (Because my fabric had a pattern, I decided to iron the seam to the middle-ish of the back side, but you could just iron it to one side.)
- Optional step: You can topstitch down the two long sides of the straps or add decorative stitching at this point. (I felt my fabric was pretty and stiff enough to forgo the topstitching... or maybe I was being lazy...)
Step 4: Making the Pocket (optional)
If you choose to include the pocket, then you must decide which fabric you want as the main pocket. I opted to use the inner fabric as the main pocket and the outer fabric as a mock rolled hem on top, but you go do the opposite and it will look just as fabulous.
Here's how to make the pocket:
- With right sides together, sew them together along one of the shorter sides (6.5" side) using your presser foot as the seam allowance.
- Flip fabric so that right sides are showing and decide how much of a hem you want.
- Mark where you folded for the hem and flip it backwards at that point so that it is now right sides together again.
- Sew the remaining three sides with a presser foot seam allowance and leave an opening of 2" at the bottom of the pocket for turning.
- Turn pocket right side out and iron.
Step 5: Attach Straps
- Start by placing the long straps on opposite corners and the short straps on the other two opposite corners.
- I positioned my straps to be about 1.5" from the tip of the corner on each side and pinned them in place.
- Sew the straps down using a scant quarter inch seam allowance (don't worry, you will be sewing it again).
- Position the straps toward the center of the large square without pulling the corner up.
- Flatten the strap against the large square and baste it down (either by hand or with a sewing machine). This will make sure that it doesn't get caught in the outside seams when we are assembling the main carrier.
Step 6: Creating a Fabric Sandwich
- Outer fabric - right side facing up
- Inner fabric - right side facing down
- Insul-Bright (if using)
Step 7: Sew the Main Carrier Together
*See picture for tip on sewing the opening part.
Once you're done, clip the corners and also trim away any excess batting all around, but especially from the opening. The bulk will make it harder to turn and topstitch.
Turn the carrier right side out and iron. (It most likely will have gotten creased during the turning process.)
Step 8: Add the Pocket (optional)
Sew around the three sides (thereby also closing up the opening that you left for turning!)
Yay, now you have a pocket for recipe cards, keys, serving spoon, etc.
Step 9: The Finishing Touch -- Quilting (very Much Not Optional)
- Topstitch all the way around the carrier (again, you'll close up the opening left for turning PLUS you'll secure the straps even more. Triple WIN!)
- Quilting -- you can either quilt fabric around its pattern (like how I attempted to stitch around the paisley patterns) or you could sew straight lines like a tic-tac-toe board either parallel or diagonally. You could also use decorative stitches here if you have a fancy machine knows how (mine only does straight and zigzag).
- Remove the basting stitches from the straps, and you're done!!
Step 10: How to Use the Carrier
- With the carrier open, position your dish in the center (I really like this carrier because it will accommodate square, rectangular and circular dishes!)
- Bring the two longer straps together over the dish to make a "pole."
- Take each of the shorter straps and loop it around the "pole."
- The longer straps are now your carrying straps!