I have had it on my creative to-do list to make myself a coupon caddy for almost 3 months now! I thought it was such a great idea that I ended up making a few as gifts before I got around to sewing one to keep. I came across this fabric at JoAnn's while looking for fabric for another project and absolutely loved everything about it.
I finished sewing my coupon caddy a couple of weekends ago and got to use for the first time on my grocery shopping trip last week. I loved it! It easily attaches with a velcro strap on each end. There is now a spot for my pen to check items off my list, my calculator for when I need to price check for the best deal, scissors if I need to cut a coupon or two, and pockets to sort the coupons I pulled when writing my list from the ones for products I have already put in my cart so they are ready at check-out.
I followed this tutorial on Blue Cricket Design after seeing Beckie's version on Infarrantly Creative. I think the 4th time was the charm for me as far as ease of sewing (and not sticking myself multiple times) because each time I figured out a few tricks that helped during the next round. I would say I am a beginner to barely intermediate sewer, and there were a few parts of this pattern that were a little bit difficult for me. I want to share a few of my tips in case any of you want to make a coupon caddy of your own!
(close-up of the back of the strap)
I found that staples to hold the layers together were hard for me to remove without snagging the fabric. I really wanted a way to hold the 3 layers together that didn't involve pins and would keep the fabric in place while I stitched on the binding around the edges. I looked at fusible interfacing, but the double sided fusible was so thick I was worried about my machine sewing through it, especially on the corners which were already thick. Enter Sulky. It's a temporary adhesive that the JoAnn's clerk recommended and it worked like a charm. After I cut out the 3 pieces, I just sprayed each side of the interfacing one at a time and smoothed the fabric on. It did a great job of holding the 3 pieces together while I worked.
Binding tape. This was the most frustrating part for me. The sides were easy, but the corners gave me fits! At first, I didn't understand from the tutorial that you are supposed to sew it on in one big piece, folding the corners, but instead tried to cut the piece for each side and tuck the raw edges under. Can you say headache? It is SO much easier when you sew the binding on in one continuous piece! I would definitely recommend searching "binding tape corner tutorials" on you tube and watching a few videos to get a rough idea of how to work with binding tape if you haven't ever done it before. A lot of the examples were for quilting, and were more complicated than I was looking for, so I didn't follow them exactly. But, they gave me a great starting place to play around and figure out how to fold the corners on my own. (If anyone is interested in a few more photos of how I folded the corners, I would be happy to take some! Just leave me a comment.) I didn't pin the binding tape all the way around before sewing because that was a recipe for sticking myself with pins as I maneuvered the caddy, so I just tried to pin 2 sides ahead of where I was sewing at all times. This was enough that I had room to work and get the corners folded well without being too close to where the needle was in the fabric, but not so far ahead that I was sticking myself as I turned the fabric to sew.
(close-up of the folded corner after the binding tape is sewn on)
If you use coupons regularly, I would definitely recommend sewing a coupon caddy! I can imagine that it would be even more helpful if you often have kids with you at the store that you are trying to manage while also pulling out coupons and referencing your list. The few opportunities that I've had to mine so far, I have been thrilled with how much more organized and easy it is to shop with coupons when I have this cute addition on my cart!