Sew yourself a quilted casserole carrier to take along hot dishes for potluck suppers or other food-centered events. The quilting helps keep the casserole warm and removes the need to bring pot holders or wrap the casserole in a towel. Use prequilted fabric or quilt your own fabric, perhaps using up some scraps in your fabric stash.
Cut fabric into three pieces: the first piece should be 36 inches by 16 inches. The other two pieces should both be 24 inches by 8 inches.
Finish the edges of the larger piece. Use a serger or a zigzag stitch around the edges. (A double-folded hem is too bulky for this project.) You can also use an overcast stitch to finish the edges by hand. Another option is to sew binding to the edges, although the edges don’t show when the carrier is used, and therefore edge binding is not needed for this project.
Turn under the long edges of the large piece ¼ inch to make a hem. Stitch the hem by hand or machine.
Make a pattern for handle cutouts. Draw a 6-inch circle on a piece of paper. Cut off about 1/3 of the top of the circle and discard. You will be left with 2/3 of a 6-inch circle. This is your pattern for the handle cutouts.
Turn under the short sides of the larger piece. Mark a point 2 inches from the end and fold on that line toward the center. Pin in place.
Center the pattern for the handle cutout that you made in Step 4 on the folded area from Step 5. Place the flat edge of the circle pattern on the fold and pin it in place.
Cut around the pattern. Remove the pattern and repeat on the other short side of the main piece. Remove pins.
Finish the edges of the cutouts with a serger, zigzag stitch, or hand overcast stitch.
Refold the edges of the large piece by 2 inches, identical to Step 5. Stitch along the bottom edge of the turned underpart of both sides to make pockets for the handles.
Finish all four sides of both small side pieces, using the same method as on the larger piece.
Fold the large piece in half so the handle cutouts match up. Mark the center of both sides of the fabric with chalk or fading fabric marker. Fold the smaller pieces in half lengthwise and mark the center of both sides with chalk or fading fabric marker.
Pin the small side pieces to the large main piece, matching the center chalk marks and with right sides together. Stitch the small pieces to the main large piece.
Sew a piece of Velcro to the right side of one of the side flaps and the wrong side of the other. Center the Velcro pieces at the top edge of the small side flaps. Pin in place and check that the Velcro pieces line up before sewing them on.
Insert dowels into the pockets of the larger piece. Slide them into the pocket from the long side of the large main piece. The cutouts expose the dowels, so you can easily grab them with your hands.
To use it, first lay the carrier flat on the counter. Center the casserole dish on the carrier. Bring the small flaps up over the top of the casserole dish and secure the Velcro closure. Bring the larger flaps together over the casserole and hold both handles together to carry it.
Fading fabric markers are available at fabric and sewing supply stores. Their marks fade when the fabric is laundered.