Maybe it’s all of the articles on micro-plastics that have been in the news recently, but this holiday season I decided that it’s finally time to make an environmentally-friendly casserole dish carrier. No more wrapping dishes in plastic wrap like they’re going on a space mission while ignoring my guilt about the environmental impact. The problem is that plastic wrap works really well. It keeps lids on tightly and works for any size dish. I use a lot of different size dishes and storing a fitted casserole dish carrier for each one would take up too much space. Determined to find an eco-friendly solution, though, I started designing.
The basic design parameters were simple:
- Adjust to fit multiple dishes, with or without lids.
- Keep lids in place.
- Fit tightly (no drooping onto the cheesy top of a lasagna, for example).
- Allow steam to escape, preventing condensation, so things like hot apple crisp stay crispy. This is something plastic wrap cannot do.
Using scrap pieces of fabric, safety pins, and a pen, I started experimenting with different configurations. It turns out that all it really takes is attaching handles and some Velcro strips to a rectangle of fabric. How great is that? No advanced sewing skills required, and the casserole dish carrier folds flat when not in use. Think of this project as a great way to use up fabric scraps, too. I got the best results from making one for rectangular dishes and one for square ones. The method is the same, just the dimensions change.
Here’s how to make a rectangular casserole dish carrier:
As always, the first thing you want to do is to wash and dry your fabric so it pre-shrinks before you start working with it. Since these carriers will be used with food, some of which will inevitably stain, I recommend at least two washes on the settings you would normally use for dish cloths and kitchen towels.
Once your fabric is ready to go, cut a rectangle 18″ x 26″ in size. Next, hem all four sides. Use a 1/4″ – 3/8″ hem that is folded twice so the raw edge of the fabric is completely hidden:
The hemmed rectangle is all you need for the basic carrier. I even tried to see if I could use a kitchen towel, but none were quite the right size. Maybe you will have better luck, but either way, all you do now is add handles and Velcro.
How to add the handles:
Cut two strips of fabric at about 2 1/2″ x 18″:
Fold each one in half the long way, with the right side facing in. Seam along the raw edge of each strip of fabric, making two tubes (one from each strip):
Turn the tubes right side out. It can be a bit frustrating, and slow, trying to stuff a lot of fabric through a tiny tube. Sometimes it helps to use the eraser end of a pencil. It also helps to have a break and a snack. For festive holiday beverage ideas, click here:
Once both tubes are right side out, you are ready to turn them into handles. Place the hemmed rectangle of fabric for the casserole dish carrier face up. Turn about 1/4″ of the fabric at the end of the first handle into the tube so the raw edge is hidden. With the seam of the handle in the middle and facing down, attach it to the right side of the casserole dish carrier fabric along the long edge. It should be about 4 3/4″ from the short edge closest to you:
Repeat this process for the other side of the first handle by placing that end about 3″ from the inside edge of the other side of the handle:
Stitch a rectangle with at least one diagonal to attach the handle firmly to the hemmed rectangle. It will be easier if you stitch just inside of the hemmed edge:
Repeat this for the other side so that both handles are attached to the casserole dish carrier:
Now all that’s left is the Velcro.
How to attach the Velcro closures:
You will notice that the Velcro comes in two parts: hooks and loops. To be efficient with materials, since each casserole dish carrier requires 6″ of each side of Velcro, we’re going to do some swapping.
Cut a 5″ piece of hooks, a 5″ piece of loops, a 1″ piece of hooks, and a 1″ piece of loops. The 5″ pieces are going to go on the right side of the carrier, and the 1″ pieces will go on the wrong side.
Fold the casserole dish carrier almost in half with the wrong side facing in. Pin the 5″ pieces of Velcro about 5 1/4″ – 5 1/2″ from the long edges on the right side of the fabric. Switch the 1″ pieces so that the 5″ hook piece goes with the 1″ loop piece, and the 5″ loop piece is with the 1″ hook piece. Pin the 1″ pieces on the wrong side of the fabric, the same distance from the long edges as the corresponding 5″ pieces:
For ease of sewing, all pieces should be just below the hemmed edge. Last, sew each piece of Velcro securely to the fabric. Now you have a nice, easy-to-store, environmentally-friendly alternative to plastic wrap for transporting casserole dishes.
To use the adjustable casserole dish carrier:
- Place the casserole dish on the wrong side of the fabric, centered between the handles:
- Fold the fabric over the dish, towards the 1″ Velcro strips:
- Fold any excess fabric against the dish and attach the 1″ strips to the 5″ strips:
- Tuck the fabric on the sides down, and lift up the handles to carry the dish:
To make a square casserole dish carrier:
The method is the same for a square carrier, just the dimensions change.
Cut the fabric to 14″ x 26″.
Locate the handles 5″ from the short edge with 3 1/2″ between the two sides (slightly further apart than for the rectangular carrier).
Place the Velcro 3″ from the long edge.
What you will need for any size:
- Velcro (without adhesive)
- Tape measure
- Needle and thread
Tips and tricks:
- The rectangular casserole dish carrier works with 11 x 7, 12 x 8, and 13 x 9 inch baking dishes. The square casserole dish carrier works with 8 x 8 and 6 x 6 inch lidded and non-lidded baking dishes as well as with 8 and 9 inch pie dishes.
- To make a different size, add 1 inch to the long dimension of the baking dish, plus a seam allowance. This will be the short dimension of your rectangle. Wrap a tape measure all the way around the short dimension of the baking dish. Add about 2 inches to this measurement (plus seam allowance) for the long dimension of your rectangle. Determine the locations for the handles and Velcro after you have hemmed the rectangle.
- Before washing, fold the fabric so you can attach the 5 inch and 1 inch pieces of Velcro together to keep it from snagging on other things.
- While this project works for virtually any kind of fabric, if you plan to carry heavy things, like lasagna in a glass casserole dish, consider using a heavier fabric, just in case. For me, this was a great opportunity to use some of this striped canvas I’ve had leftover for ages.
I hope you enjoy making a casserole dish carrier as an environmentally-friendly alternative to plastic wrap. As always, feel free to ask questions or leave comments. Don’t forget to subscribe to Creatorvox to get new posts right in your email. You can also follow Creatorvox on Facebook and Twitter for more tips and tricks between posts. Thanks for reading, and happy making!