My husband cuts a lot of wood for our wood stove every year and I can't tell you how many times I've heard him say that he wished that he had some kind of carrier to haul several pieces from the backyard into our home to the stove. So, being the loving, devoted wife that I am... (ahem)... I began researching just what kind of carriers were out there. Let me tell you, there's a bunch! All of them being far more expensive than I wished!
The firewood carrier that he had in mind needed to be portable and durable so that it would last more than a few months. I wanted it to be washable and inexpensive. A heavy-duty canvas firewood carrier seemed to be just what we were looking for.
After looking at several photos of commercially made carriers, this is the design that I came up with. I hope you'll feel inspired to make one of your very own!
- 1 1/2 yd - 60" wide fabric - 10 oz. canvas, cotton duck or heavy denim
- Good quality, All Purpose Polyester or Dual Duty thread
- 3/8" x 36" Dowel rod
- Sewing machine
- Sewing gauge
- Straight Pins
- Tape measure and/or yard stick
- Coping saw or hack saw to cut dowel rod
- Cat (optional)
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Step 1: Gather Your Materials and Supplies
This first step should be obvious, but if you're like me, you'll throw yourself headlong into a project only to find out five minutes later that you don't have something that you need. So, I suggest getting that headache out of the way by simply gathering up your materials and supplies at the very beginning.
I also suggest that you get yourself a decent table to work on. I've just begun setting up a sewing room and as you will see, I'm currently working on two card tables that aren't even the same height. The kitty is optional for this project but does make it much more interesting to work on!
Step 2: Fabric Layout
Lay out your 60 inch wide, 1 1/2 yards of fabric on the table. Your fabric should be folded in half lengthwise, with wrong sides together and will measure 30" across the double thickness. If you didn't have the nice lady in the fabric department cut off your fabric to the required length and need to cut 1 1/2 yards from a larger piece of fabric like I did, just cut off a 54" length. 54" = 1 1/2 yards!
Step 3: Cutting Out the Pieces
Now that your fabric is laid out nice and flat, you're going to cut out all of the pieces needed for your firewood carrier.
Starting from the FOLD side of the fabric, measure out a rectangle that is 19 1/2" wide by 41" long. Remove the rectangle that you've just cut out and set aside. It will become the main body of your firewood carrier.
What you'll be left with is an L-shaped piece of fabric. You want to cut straight across the fabric from the salvage side and cut off the wide bottom of the L. You'll end up with two rectangles of fabric. 1. A wider rectangle with a fold on one end and the salvage edge on the other, and 2. The long narrow part of the L that has the salvage edge running the length of it. The long narrow piece is leftover fabric to save for another project.
Now, take your wider rectangle that has the fold at one end and salvage edge at the other. Cut two 5" wide and 30" long double thickness strips from the rectangle. These will be your handles for the carrier. You will have another narrow double thick strip of fabric that should measure around 2 1/2" wide x 30" long. Cut this strip into four pieces measuring 2 1/2" wide by 5" long. These will be double thickness so you'll actually end up with 8 single thick pieces when you separate the fabric. These will be the reinforcing tabs for the handles of your carrier.
Now, all of your pieces are cut out! :)
Step 4: Sewing the Main Body of the Firewood Carrier
Remember that 19 1/2" by 41" rectangle that I had you set aside? It's ready to become the main body of your firewood carrier. Take the rectangle, line up the cut edges so that they're nice and neat and iron the fold of the fabric. (Photo 1)
You want a nice sharp crease because you're going to open up the fabric, lay it right side down and use that crease as your cutting line. (Photos 2 & 3) You will end up with two rectangles roughly the same size.
Take the two rectangles and lay them right sides together. On my fabric, the stripes will be on the inside facing each other. Line up the edges and square up the two pieces of fabric as best as possible. You may see that one rectangle is slightly larger than the other, like I did. Just clip the excess away so that the edges are lined up one on top of the other. (Photos 4 & 5)
Now, pin all four sides of the rectangle, leaving a 9" opening in one end of the fabric pieces.
Beginning at one side of the 9" opening, line up the edge of your fabric rectangle on the 5/8 inch seam allowance line on your sewing machine. Mine happens to have a hole on the 5/8" line. If yours doesn't, use your stitch gauge to find the 5/8 inch line, as shown in photo 6. Make a couple of stitches forward and then back stitch to lock the thread in place.
Proceed to stitch around the rectangle, turning at the corners until you come to the opposite end of the 9" opening. When reaching the corner and turning the fabric, be sure to line up the new edge next to the 5/8" line on your sewing machine plate. (Photo 7) This will give you an even 5/8" seam allowance all the way round. When you reach the opposite end of the 9" opening, back stitch a couple of stitches to lock in the thread at the end. (Photo 8)
To reinforce your corners, it's helpful to either back stitch a few stitches on either side of the corner as you go, or you can simply sew over the stitching approx. 1 " on either side of the corners after you've stitched your rectangle together. This will help your corner fabric not to push through when you turn the rectangle right side out.
After stitching and reinforcing the corners, you'll want to clip diagonally across the fabric, near but not through the stitching. This removes excess fabric that would bunch up and keep your carrier from having nice square corners.
Step 5: Turn the Fabric Right Side Out
Slip your hand inside of the 9" opening and begin to pull the entire fabric rectangle right side out. What you end up with will look something like a large pillowcase. Put your hand inside again and use your index finger to push each corner out as far as you can. If you want really square corners, you can use a pencil or straight blade screwdriver. However, you must be very careful not to push to hard or you'll push the tool through the corner!
After turning, you'll notice that the opening raw edges stick out. We'll fix that in the next step.
Step 6: Press Your Canvas Carrier
On both raw edges of the opening, fold under a 5/8" seam allowance and using your iron's cotton setting,press them flat. Continue to press along all outside edges of your rectangle using a straight pin to help pull the seam stitching up and out before ironing. This will help to make your fabric rectangle nice and straight.
TIP: Using a water spray or steam burst as you go will really set the seams nicely.
Step 7: Stitch Carrier Body and Rod Pockets
Placing the edge of your presser foot along the edge of the fabric, stitch close to the edge of the carrier all the way around the rectangle. I like to use a long stitch setting for this.
Now, turn down each end of your canvas carrier 1 1/4" to form two dowel rod pockets. Press in place.
Aligning your presser foot with the bottom edge of the rod pocket, stitch across full width of carrier, being sure to back stitch at the beginning and end of your seam. Now, lining up your pressure foot between the first stitching and the edge of your rod pocket, stitch again, very close to the first line of stitching. Repeat on the other end of the carrier. This double stitching will reinforce each rod pocket so that it doesn't pull out when in use.
The main body of your firewood carrier is now finished. In the next steps, we'll add the handles and reinforcing tabs.
Step 8: Steps to Forming a Continuous Handle
The handles, or should I say handle, for your firewood carrier is made from one continuous loop of double stitched fabric that will be attached to the body of your canvas carrier and reinforced with double stitched tabs.
Let's begin by creating the handle.
Take the two 5" x 30" folded strips and unfold them so that you have two 5" by 60" long strips of fabric. Press these strips of fabric flat. With right sides together, place one strip end on top of the other strip end to form a 90° angle. Draw a 45° line from the inside corner of the top strip down to the outside corner of the bottom strip, as shown in the photo. Pin in place. This will be your stitching line. Stitch seam, remembering to back stitch at the beginning and end of the seam. (Photo 1)
Cut approximately 1/2" away from the seam line and discard excess corner fabric. (Photo 2)
You'll now have a strip that is approximately 5" wide and 120" long. Lay the strip wrong side down on your table and fold both ends in toward the middle of the strip. Take the two ends and lay one on top of the other in another 90° angle like you did before. Draw your line, pin the ends on the line and stitch the two ends together. Cut off corner fabric as before. What you will have is a very large loop of fabric - similar to how a rubber band looks.
(Photos 3, 4 & 5)
Step 9: Press and Stitch Your Handle
Take your long continuous loop of fabric and press open the two diagonal seams. Then, on one raw edge, press down a 3/8" seam allowance all the way around the loop of fabric. Repeat with the other raw edge. (Photo 1)
Fold your strip in half lengthwise, lining up your pressed edges. Pin in place as you go around the loop until the entire loop of fabric is pinned. Press flat. (Photos 2 & 3)
Stitch close to both finished edges of your fabric loop with long even stitches. (Photo 4)
This completes your continuous handle.
Step 10: Attaching the Handle to Your Firewood Carrier
Take your long continuous loop of fabric handle and fold in half to find the middle. Mark the middle of each side of the strip with pins as shown in photo 1.
Fold the carrier body in half and mark the middle with two pins. (Photo 2)
Now, open up the carrier body making sure that the rod pockets are facing up. This will be the outside of your firewood carrier.
Approximately 1 1/2" away from the outside edges of your carrier, line up the pins marking the middle of your fabric handle strip with the pins marking the middle in the carrier body. Pin each side of the handle strip only up to the bottom of the rod pocket. (Photo 3)
Stitch along both sides of your handle strips on both sides of the carrier body, remembering to stop at the bottom of each rod pocket. (Photos 4 & 5)
Step 11: Make Reinforcing Tabs
Find your 8 strips of fabric that measure 2 1/2" wide by 5" long. These will be the reinforcement tabs for your carrier.
Lay 4 strips face up and lay the other 4 strips face down on top of them to make four double thickness tabs. (Photo 1)
Take one tab and stitch all around, except for leaving an opening in one of the long sides for turning. A little larger opening will make turning of these small tabs much easier. (Photo 2)
Cut excess fabric from corners by clipping fabric diagonally close to, but not cutting, the thread of your seam. Discard excess fabric. (Photo 3)
Turn tab right side out, press and stitch close to the edge all the way around. (Photo 4) Tip: If you are using a screwdriver or pencil to help turn your tab corners, be careful not to push through the fabric with your tool.
Repeat for the other three tabs.
Step 12: Add Reinforcing Tabs to Carrier
Take your carrier and lay it inside up. (Handle side should be down against the table.) Pin your reinforcing tabs over the rod pocket, lining up vertically with the handle strip. You want to position the tabs so that there is approximately 1" of tab below the rod pocket.
Stitch a square through all layers of the carrier fabric below the rod pocket and another square above the rod pocket where it joins the handle. To make the stitching extra strong, sew an X within the squares that you've just sewn. Make sure that you don't sew into the rod pocket area or you won't be able to add your dowel rods in the next step.
Please see photos if you're unsure.
Step 13: Add the Dowel Rod Stabilizers
Whew! You've made it this far. Only one more step to go!
To finish your firewood carrier, you'll want to add a couple of dowel rod stabilizers. These help to keep everything from twisting around when the carrier is loaded with wood.
Take your 3/8" by 36" dowel rod and mark it at the halfway point. (36 ÷ 2 = 18) The halfway point on a 36" dowel rod is 18". Now, using your coping saw or hack saw, carefully cut your dowel rod in two. Use sandpaper to sand smooth all ends of the two 18" dowel rods. Beveling the end edges will make sliding the dowels in and out of your carrier much easier.
Insert one dowel rod into each rod pocket of your carrier.
Step 14: Finished Canvas Firewood Carrier
There you have it, your very own heavy-duty canvas firewood carrier.
Stand back, take a look and be proud of what you've created. Take photos and post them online. Email them to your family and friends.
Runner Up in the
Sew Tough Challenge