Introduction: Cool and Classy Casserole Carrier

What better way to make your casserole dish easy to carry and keep it warm? This casserole carrier is a classic among my friends and family, and it is one of my "go to" wedding gifts. Over the years, I have used and tweaked different patterns until I now have the best yet. One of the features that I have added is being able to remove the carrying dowels because who doesn't need to wash something that food is carried in? I changed the placement of the velcro to accommodate variations in your pan size, and I skipped the quilting of the insulation to the fabric. You can also use it for cakes or brownies...anything that fits in your 9x13" pan. You can make it fairly plain (and personalize it if you have an embroidery machine) like the one shown here, or pick out any print you like. My instructions are simple, but you do need some basic sewing knowledge. A beginner should be able to make one of these. If you don't know how to sew, there are lots of online free sewing tutorials, so check them out. This instructable would be way too long if I try to teach you sewing basics.

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

  • 1 yard fabric (45" or 60" wide will work)
  • 1 yard lining fabric (45" or 60" wide)
  • Insulation (I have used polar fleece, old mattress pads and towels--stay away from polyester batting since it tends to melt down and not do well with the heat)
  • Sew-in velcro (16" of 3/4" wide)
  • 1/2" wooden dowel (you need 26")
  • Thread
  • Pattern (I have modified McCalls 6177 view A for my carrier. You can watch for sales at JoAnns or Hancock Fabrics and get patterns for $1-2---don't pay full price. Or you can make your own pattern... see next step)
  • Velcro cord keeper (optional)

Step 2: Prepare Your Pattern

  • If you are using the McCalls pattern and plan to use it a lot, you can use iron on interfacing to keep it from tearing up. You will only need piece #2 for my altered version.
  • Make your own pattern using the dimensions shown in the picture. You can use the Casserole Carrier Pattern .pdf file to print the cirlce for the handle

Step 3: Cut Out Your Pieces

  • Cut one piece from fabric
  • Fold your fabric in half so that your pattern fits as shown in the picture--make sure the fold is parallel to the grain of the fabric so that the fabric won't stretch
  • Put the edge of the pattern with the arrows on the fold of the fabric and pin the pattern down
  • Cut it out
  • If you are going to embroider the outside piece, don't cut out the circle for the handle yet (mark it with a pen or chalk)
  • Cut out the lining and insulation in the same way (you can cut out the circle now)
  • You should now have three pieces--one outside, one insulation, and one lining

Step 4: Embroider Your Cover-optional

  • If you have the machine, you probably know how to use it, so embroider away
  • You could also applique or fabric paint on the outside
  • Make sure the top of your design is toward the circle
  • Cut out the circle when you are done

Step 5: Sew Velcro on Outside

  • Cut two 7" pieces of velcro (both should be the non-fuzzy side of the velcro)
  • Pin them on the flap of the outside of the carrier as shown in the picture (1.5" from the end and 2.5" from the side)
    • You will only do this on one side--the other side will get the matching (fuzzy) strips of velcro when you sew the layers of the cover together
  • Sew the velcro to the cover along all four edges of the velcro--I like to use a slight zigzag stitch as it seems to hold better

Step 6: Sew the Layers Together

Okay, this part can get a little tricky, so be careful

  • Put your outside fabric on the table. The side with the velcro on it (the side you want to see) should be facing up.
  • Cut two 3" pieces of the fuzzy side of the velcro and pin it on as shown in the picture (2.5" from the sides and touching the edge). Make sure it is face up and on the opposite flap from the velcro you sewed on in the last step. Don't sew yet; that will come later.
  • Put your lining fabric face down (right side if you want to use sewing terms)--so now you have your fabric and lining right sides (the sides you want to see) facing each other
  • Put your insulation on top and pin the whole thing together
  • Sew all the edges (1/2 " from the edge, or in sewing terms 1/2" seam allowance) but leave about 6" open so you can turn it right side out later as shown in the picture

Step 7: Trim and Clip

This part may seem tedious, and you might be tempted to skip it, but don't!!! If you neglect this very important step, you cover will be all pucked and ugly when you turn it right side out. Using the pictures as a reference, trim and clip away.

  • Trim the insulation (the yellow polar fleece in this case) close to the stitching
  • Cut off the pointy edges of the outside corners
  • Make a slit into the inner corners
  • Make slits about 1" apart along the curves by the handles
  • Be sure not to cut your stitching

Step 8: Turn Right Side Out

  • Reach inside the 6" opening between the lining and outside and carefully turn the cover right side out
  • Your insulating material should be inside, and the cover should lie flat when you are done
  • If the corners aren't pointy, you can use a pin to carefully pull them out as shown in the last picture
  • If there are puckers anywhere, turn it back and do a better job at trimming and clipping so that it is nice and flat
  • Fold your flaps together to make sure the velcro sticks together the right way

Step 9: Press and Pin

  • Get out your iron and carefully press all the edges so that they are even
  • Make sure the edges of the 6" opening are folded to the inside so that they look the same as all the other edges
  • Pin around the outside edges in preparation for sewing

Step 10: Topstitch

  • Topstitch (this is a fancy sewing term for sewing on the outside where you can see it and it looks nice)
  • Sew close to the edges all the way around the cover
  • I used a fancy stitch with some multicolored thread for added decoration since my fabric is plain, but you can use thread that matches your fabric and any stitch that you want (straight, zigzag, or decorative)
  • If your thread matches and blends in, you won't have to worry as much about getting it perfectly straight

Step 11: Add Velcro to Hold Your Dowels

  • This is the step that I came up with on my own to make your cover washable. You will add velcro on one end of the pockets for the dowels so that you will be able to take them out and wash the cover when it gets dirty...and who doesn't spill food on something like this?
  • Cut two pieces of velcro 1 inch long (fuzzy and non-fuzzy side). You should now have four separate pieces (2 fuzzy and 2 non-fuzzy)
  • Measure 1-1/2 inches from the edge of your cover as shown in the picture. This is where your velcro will meet
  • Pin one fuzzy and one loop on the lining side of the cover so that they are close to the outside edge as shown in the picture

Step 12: Sew Dowel Pockets

  • Fold the ends by the circles down 1-1/2 inches and pin. Your velcro should hold one end for you so that you don't need a pin
  • The picture shows one side of the cover, but you need to do this by both circles. You should be sewing four places
  • Sew where shown by the red lines (it was hard to see because my thread blended in, so I added computer lines to help you)
  • Be sure not to sew the side with the velcro, or you won't be able to get your dowel in and out
  • I like to sew this a couple of times for extra strength since this stitching has to hold up the weight of your casserole pan when you get your handles in

Step 13: Cut and Insert Dowels

  • Cut your dowels (mine were 13 inches long, but check your length before cutting as shown in the picture)
  • If you are challenged when it comes to woodworking (like me), get someone better at it (like your kids) to do it for you :)
  • Insert your dowels through the velcro opening

Step 14: Use and Enjoy!!

  • Place your casserole dish and the carrier as shown in the pictures

Step 15: Optional Tip

You can use a velcro cable tie to hold the handles together if you want

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