We’ve all been to classes, or sewing group meetings and are stuck with the issue of the iron… You know you need it so you can have beautiful, pressed, seams, but what do you press on and then what do you do with your hot iron?! Now your problems are solved!! This awesome caddy makes carrying and transporting your iron easy – even if it is freshly unplugged and very hot – and it unfolds to form a nice pressing pad that you can use anywhere. Use for yourself, but also makes a lovely gift for any sewist!
(NOTE: My tutorial for this first appeared in Fabric Vine magazine.)
Total Time: 4 hours
Fabric - All cut to 19.5” x 25.5”:
* 1x Your Favorite Fabric
* 1x Insul-bright
* 1x Silver Iron Board Fabric
* 2x Warm & Natural Batting
Contrast fabric for binding & straps –
· 2 straps - 4”x21”
· Binding – you will need about 91” with ease/overlap. I recommend cutting it on the bias (you will have to piece it together), and cutting it 4” wide. See below for info on how to calculate yardage for this.
· You will also need 2 pieces of the batting – 1”x21”
Elastic – 2 pieces - .25” wide x 4” long. You can also use a colored hair elastic for a much prettier effect.
2 pretty buttons (or use Chinese frog or big hook and eye closures instead of the buttons and elastic)
Pattern [see files – not to scale]
Heat Erase pen – Frixion or other brand
Step 1: Prepare Your Fabrics
Pre-shrink your fabric if you plan on washing this tote. Cut all your pieces of fabric, Insul-bright, batting, & ironing board silver.
Step 2: Stack
Stack your fabrics in this order:
a. Your favorite fabric – FACE DOWN
b. BOTH pieces of batting
c. Insul-bright – either side up, doesn’t matter
d. The silver ironing board fabric – FACE UP
Step 3: Pin or Baste
Pin or spray-baste your layers together, then use the heat erase pen to mark the pattern. I’ve found that almost every home iron on the market will fit in the caddy without any alteration of the pattern. So don’t worry about your specific iron!
Step 4: Stitch
Stitch along the marked lines. Use a long straight stitch because of the thickness of fabrics, keep your layers pulled tight and together. If you have a walking foot, use it! Start sewing from the middle to the outside, always going towards the outside. I have found that your layers will ALWAYS shift slightly – no matter how carefully you pin or spray – because of the thickness. So just accept this with equanimity and try not to be a perfectionist ;>
(Go to my site or my blog and read about my Good Enough philosophy, then have a glass of wine and continue...)
Step 5: Square Up
After you’ve sewn everything, and you find that your layers have shifted slightly and your stack is no longer perfect… That’s ok!!! I promise, this is a very forgiving project ;> Simply square up your pad. If it gets a little smaller, that’s ok, it’s good enough. Look at off mine was!
(To square up, just trim the edges to match your fashion fabric)
Step 6: Make Your Straps
Fold each strip of fabric in half the long way, so it is now 2”x21”. Press it. Unfold. Fold both edges in to the center line and press again. Lay the batting to one side of the center line (either side), fold the 2 sides in and then fold in half again along the center line, and top stitch.
Step 7: Attach Your Straps
On your pad, find the center of the long side, make a small mark, then measure 3” out on either side (total spread of 6”), and pin your straps to the pad on the fashion fabric side – raw edges to raw edges, the loop of the strap in to the center.
Step 8: OPTIONAL - Corner Shaping
Use a clear quilting ruler to measure a straight line at right angles to the corner stitching 1.5” in from the outside corner edge. Cut along that line, removing the corner point.
NOTE: This step is OPTIONAL! I did cut it on the blue/green iron tote, but DID NOT cut it on the red/black one. The red/black was MUCH easier to bind using straight-of-grain strips, but of course the points touch each other a little when the bag is folded up. I think there is no reason to cut the corners – plus you get a little extra space on your mat, but if you want something perfectly aligned, with corners that don’t touch, cut away!!
Step 9: Add Button Loop (Unless You Are Using Frogs...)
Cut your hairband in half, or use the elastic pieces, and pin it in place on opposite corners – again, the loop to the center on the fashion fabric side, ends to the edge. Sew in place a couple times – back and forth. If you’re using hairbands, you might want to run a little zigzag stitch over them in the seam allowance to make sure they don’t slip out at all.
NOTE: If you plan on using frogs instead of buttons (I used frogs on the red caddy and button and loops on the blue and green caddy) SKIP THIS STEP!!!!
(What is a frog? It's the technical name for those pretty knot and loop closures you see on traditional Chinese garments.)
Step 10: Binding
Sew on the binding. Single-fold is fine. I didn’t use bias because I was conserving fabric, and it was much harder! So I definitely recommend using bias binding if you cut the corners in step 8. Otherwise, straight strips work JUST FINE. With cut corners, the binding was very easy to machine stitch on the first part, but then I choose to hand-stitched the inside, second part. Thought it came out much faster and easier than machine sewing the whole thing and trying to get all the corner angles aligned properly. I just put on a movie (Hercule Poirot, if you must know ;> ), and sewed away and had it finished in no time.
Step 11: Add Buttons (or Frogs)
Sew your buttons on the corners opposite the elastic. Do you like the little whale buttons I found to go with my Bubbles fabric?
If you are using frogs, sew them both on at this stage.
Step 12: ENJOY!
Look at your beautiful handy little iron caddy!!!
Step 13: HOW TO CALCULATE YOUR BIAS BINDING YARDAGE
How To Figure Your Yardage For Your Bias Strips:
There are many different ways to calculate how much yardage you’ll need for x inches of bias strips, but this is one easy way I like:
Multiply the total inches of bias binding you need by the width you’ve decided on. I’d suggested 4”, so that means 91” x 4” = 364”.
Use a calculator to determine the square root (there are also square root tables online). The square root of 364 is 19.0787. Round up to the next whole number: 20”
This tells us we need to start with a 20" x 20" square in order to cut enough bias strips for our iron caddy.
Add an additional 2” to 3” for seaming the strips. 20" + 2" = 22". We need a 22" x 22" square of fabric. (If you are using the original rectangular shape of the fabric, you will probably have extra bias.)
Divide 22" by 36" (the inches in a yard) to figure out the total yards needed. 22 ÷ 36 = 0.611 yards, a little more than a ½ yard. The next common cut measurement is ¾ of a yard, which is 27". If you want to be more precise, some retailers will allow eighth cuts. In this case, ⅝ yard is 22½" - just enough!