Pockets and Trim
Now that you've decided how you are going to make your pockets and cut out the strips, go ahead and prepare them. Hem the top, fold them in half or sew them to a lining piece, turn, and press. The sides and bottom of your strip are still raw edges at this point.
Marking the Pockets
Carefully measure and mark off each pocket. Be sure to leave ½″ at each end for the seam allowance. Flat pockets are easy. Simply mark where the stitches will divide the strip into separate pockets.
For pockets with pleats, there should be marks to indicate the pleats at the sides of each pocket. Fold the pleats in, and pin them at the lower edge. Be sure one pocket doesn't overlap with another. You will need to be able to stitch the pocket to the caddy front between the pleats of two side-by-side pockets. Test your row of pockets to be sure it fits your caddy. Adjust your pleats if you need to.
Sew across the pleats ½″ from the raw edge. On all pockets except those that will be on the bottom row, zigzag stitch along the edge of the seam allowance. This will keep the edges from fraying. This edge will end up inside the pockets when you're done, and you don't want loose threads catching on the contents of the pockets.
Adding Optional Appliqué and Edging
You may want to decorate your caddy to reflect what you use it for or simply to make it more fun. The area in front of the hanger or above the top row of pockets lends itself to decoration. Remember to take the seam allowance and the contents of the upper pockets into account as you design your appliqué. Sew your appliqué onto the front frame before you sew the pockets on so there is less fabric to struggle with.
Another decorating possibility is some sort of edging on the pockets. A side benefit of this trim is that it adds a little stiffening and shaping to the pockets. A baby's caddy might look great with a narrow row of ruffles, either sewn on the back to stand above the pocket or sewn near the top edge and pointing downward. Rickrack can be sewn to the back of the pocket edge so only the top half shows, adding some decoration without becoming too frilly. Double-fold bias tape caught over the edge will add color as well.
Don't try to finish the top edge of your pockets with bias binding alone. After items are pulled out of the pockets several times the bias binding is likely to pull away, fraying the single layer of cloth in the process.
Attaching the Pockets
With your pockets pleated and trimmed and appliqués sewn in place, you're ready to sew your caddy together. Begin by attaching the pockets.
Your bottom pockets will line up with the raw edge of the front frame piece, but the location of the others needs to be marked. Draw a line on your frame ½″ above the point where you want the bottom of your pocket to be. This will make it easier to get your pockets just where you want them. Measure from both ends of your line to the bottom or top of the frame to be sure your lines are straight.
Pin your pocket strips to the front frame, right sides together, so they line up the bottom edge of the pocket with the marked line. Sew across the pockets at the ½″ stitching line that formed the pleats. Stitch again close to the zigzag stitched edge.
Fold the pocket row up, and press the seam. Sew along the side edges and sew between the separate pockets. Be sure to backstitch to reinforce the stitching at the top of the pockets. If you want, you can reinforce the stitching further with seam binding (as described in Chapter 12).
Sew the bottom row of pockets into place along the bottom and side edges. Sew between these pockets the same as you did the upper ones. If you are adding pockets to the back, sew them to the back frame in a similar manner.