Container Caps are a great way to cover salad bowls, mixing bowls, brownie pans, ramekins, jars, and casserole dishes, etc. for storage or travel instead of using plastic wrap (or lamenting that lost or broken lid). They are washable, reusable, and help to reduce plastic waste.
Make any size you need -- from very small (like a 3-5 inch ramekin or jar) to very large (like a 9x13 inch baking dish) -- using two pieces of cloth: 100% cotton quilting fabric for the exterior and 100% water-resistant nylon for the interior. These handy caps are easy to wipe clean or throw in the laundry in your regular cycle.
This project is great for beginner or intermediate sewists who have a good handle on the sewing fundamentals. It uses the two basic stitches (straight and zigzag) and has a few more complex elements to create a fun challenge. So let's get to it and cap those containers!
Make sure that your fabrics are washed and dried before sewing them -- especially the quilting cotton -- to avoid shrinkage after completing the project.
Begin by making a round paper pattern or using a large circular object to trace equal-sized circles on both pieces of fabric with fabric marker or chalk. Next, cut out the two circles following the pattern. I like to pin both pieces of fabric together and cut them at the same time rather than separately. That way they both come out the same.
The size of circle you cut will depend on the size of container cap you wish to make.
Places the two fabrics on top of each other so that the back-sides (wrong sides) are outwards and the front-sides (right sides) are facing each other. Pin fabrics together so that they stay put when you sew them!
Using a straight stitch, sew around the circumference of the pinned fabrics, leaving a 2-3 inch gap at the end. In other words, don't sew the full way around, but sew 95% of the circumference, leaving a small gap at the end. For extra strength, sew a zigzag stitch around the circumference along the very edge of the fabrics to keep them from fraying. Again, leave a 2-3 inch gap, stopping in the same place where you stopped your straight stitch.
Turn the cap right-side out, by pushing all the material through the gap you made. Made sure the edges are fully turned so that the fabrics form a full circle--the cotton pattern on one side and the nylon fabric on the other side.
*Tip: At this stage, it is helpful to iron the material on low heat, cotton side up. Please note that if the heat is high or if you iron the nylon side up, you will melt the nylon and have to start over. How do I know this? From experience, my friends!
Next, choose a matching thread and sew a straight stitch around the circumference of the circle again. Make sure to leave about an inch (or 3/4 inch) from the edge of the circle as you sew. In order words, don't sew right along the edge of the circle. You need the space to push your elastic band around the circumference of the container cap. Make sure to sew a full circle this time; do not leave a gap!
Now you are ready to thread your elastic band around the circumference of your container cap. Make sure that your elastic is the right length (see tip below) and attach a medium or large safety pin to one end of it. Insert the safety pin with the elastic attached into the two-inch gap that you created a few steps back,
*Tip: The length of elastic you use should equal the diameter of the container cap prior to sewing. For example, a 20 inch elastic for a container cap that's 20 inches in diameter; a 15 inch elastic for a container cap that's 15 inches in diameter; a 10 inch elastic for a container cap that's 10 inches in diameter, etc.
Push the safety pin/elastic around the full circumference of the container cap, exiting the same gap where you entered. Ensure your elastic does not get twisted in the process. The edges should now be bunched, as the elastic is shorter than the circumference, creating a cap.
Sew the elastic ends together; sew forwards and back a few times to create strength so the elastic doesn't come apart after a few uses. Again, make sure to check that the elastic isn't twisted before you sew!
The hardest part is sewing the gap together once the elastic is in and is bunching the fabric! Flatten the area as best you can, pushing the bunched material away from the gap are. Also make sure to rotate the spot where you've sewn the elastic together to a different place in the cap circumference so as not to add an added bunch right at the gap. Using pins or mini quilting clips, hold the elastic in place.
Next turn edges of both fabrics inwards to close the gap. Make sure the edge of the fold is in line with the rest of the circumference edge and pin in place. Sew gap closed with a straight stitch.
When the gap is closed, the project is finished! But I typically continue the straight stitch around the circumference of the whole container cap one final time (pushing the bunched fabric flat as I go) in order that the gap closure is fully integrated so no one can tell where the gap was.
Complete by spreading out the bunched fabric evenly around the elastic so no one area is more bunchy than the rest. AND... you're officially done!
Pop your new cap on top of your favourite container and off you go!