I have a little cold this weekend so I thought I’d stay indoors and make up a tutorial for a zippered pouch I did a couple weeks ago. These are handy little pouches that you can use to keep all types of things, and you can pretty much vary the size according to your personal preference, limited mainly just by the length of your zipper. So whether you keep makeup, knitting stitch markers, pencils, a little sewing kit, or whatever else you feel like, these are handy little things because they let you see their contents at a glance and pretty much everybody could find a use for one. My cell phone pictures here aren’t exactly professional, but hopefully they’ll still show you what to do in a way you can understand!
Materials (for a pouch 7.5 x 5.5 inches):
- Fabric for the main part of the pouch (what you see on the back and sides)
- Coordinating fabric for the inside (what you see through the window)
- Heavy weight interfacing (fusible or sew in as desired)
- A zipper to go with the fabrics you chose (at least 7 inches)
- Thread to match or contrast your main fabric, as desired
- Clear vinyl (note that the insert for mine says it can be used for “blankets” – NO IDEA what that might mean, and I for one am not cheered by the prospect of a vinyl blanket, personally)
- Optional: fusible mesh tape
From your materials cut the following pieces:
|Piece 1||Inside fabric||7.5 inches by 5.5 inches||Size of finished pouch|
|'||Interfacing||7.5 inches by 5.5 inches||Same as Piece 1|
|Piece 2||Main fabric||8.5 inches by 6.75 inches||Cut 1 inch wider and 1.25 inches taller than Piece 1|
|Piece 3||Main fabric||7.5 inches by 2.5 inches||Cut to width of pouch and to be 2 inches after turning under 1/2 inch on each long side|
|'||Interfacing||7.5 inches by 2.5 inches||Same as Piece 3|
|Piece 4||Vinyl||7.5 inches by 4.75 inches||Cut to width of pouch and to be .75 inches shorter than Piece 1|
A note about the measurements: I’ve provided the cutting instructions for a pouch 7.5 inches by 5.5 inches, but you can pretty much make this project to your own specifications if you cut Piece 1 to the size you want your finished pouch to be, then cut the other pieces to add the appropriate allowances as directed on this linked image.
For the interfacing, you can cut it to size separately if you prefer, but I sort of like to to use fusible, iron it to the pieces, and then use my rotary cutter to square off the edges. I think it’s a little easier than measuring and cutting out the pieces separately. Speaking of which, you can begin by doing that.
Take the 2.5 inch by 7.5 inch strip (Piece 3) and turn the long edges under .5 inch (I find it helpful to mark the folding line with a pencil). Press into place.
Take one side of the strip and place it on the zipper up near the teeth. I like to use the fusible tape here to hold it in place while I top stitch it down, but you can pin it instead if you like. Stitch along the folded edge next to the teeth, but not so close that it will rub too much against the pull.
After you topstitch this, you’ll have a little flap on the other side where the folded edge is free. Take the piece of vinyl and tuck it inside that flap. Pin it into place. When pinning, be careful not to pin the vinyl anywhere that it will show later – so the part behind the fabric strip is OK, but the main window isn’t (not that it would help you to stick pins there anyway). Fabric mostly self heals from pins, but vinyl won’t!
Top stitch along the other folded down edge to fix this cloth strip to the vinyl.
Turn it over. The little long flap at the top underside of Piece 3 will still be free. Technically you can just leave it this way, but if you’re like me and this will annoy you every time you try to take something out of the pouch, get out a needle and thread and whipstitch the flap in place, stitching it directly to the vinyl.
You now have the front panel of the pouch pretty much complete.
Now take Piece 2 (the larger piece of the main fabric) and place it right side down. Place Piece 1 (the inside fabric piece) right side up on top of it, with a half inch allowance on the sides and bottom. I like to use fusible tape here again to fix the two pieces together in place, but again, you can pin it instead.
When you go to assemble the pouch, you’ll place the top panel on the Piece 1/2 sandwich, and align the vinyl and the top of the zipper with Piece 1, like so.
First, though, take the Piece 1 and 2 sandwich to the ironing board (keep the iron away from your vinyl!) and press in your edges. For the bottom and sides this will be 1/4 inch folded over, and then folded over again to cover the raw edge. Since you left 1/2 inch allowance, a good way to do this is to fold the raw edge in to meet the inside fabric, press, and fold it over again to overlap the inside fabric, and press. Do the bottom first.
After doing the bottom, do the top edge. Position the front panel in place with the zipper aligned along the top of the inside fabric, and press the top edge so that it lines up along the zipper teeth. This will mean a folded over flap of about 3/8 for most zippers, so your first fold with the raw edge will be just slightly over 1/4 inch. Basically just get it to line up nicely with the zipper. Check it before you move on to the sides.
After doing the top edges, fold in the sides and press them as well. Don’t worry that they will probably not stay in place. The important thing is just to have the creases there for when you stitch everything into place.
Place the front panel in place and position it as precisely as you can. It should align almost perfectly with Piece 1 (inside fabric). Pin it in place on the Piece 3 strip (almost anywhere else would leaves holes in your vinyl window!).
I recommend sewing the top edge first. Begin at the inside edge (see picture), even though this will mean you have a funny flap of the main fabric that is folded over but not sewn to the zipper. This will let you go back later and carefully trim the zipper off. There are other ways to do this, such as trimming the zipper before sewing the top edge, but this is my preferred method since it allows the zipper to remain closed while you sew the top edge. Personally I think it’s easier to sew down a zipper when it closed, but if you’d prefer otherwise then have at it!
When you get to the other end, stop sewing at the inner edge just like how you began. Later you’ll go back and trim the zipper overhang, but let’s wait so that there’s no risk of the pull coming off and ruining all your work!
Now go to the bottom edge. After folding it in 1/4 inch and folding that in again another 1/4 inch to hide the raw edge, you should have a 1/4 inch binding overlapping the vinyl panel. Pin this in place, but be careful not to puncture any part of the window that will show. Pin only on the 1/4 inch strip of fabric.
Now you can carefully stitch down along the edge of the bottom binding. Note that here it’s OK to go all the way to the edge, since you won’t need to trim anything from this later. I admit, I usually stitch this part by hand because it makes me nervous that I might make a mistake with the machine and make holes in my vinyl. So whichever method you choose, be careful not to stitch onto the vinyl part and create unnecessary holes in the window.
Now you have the top and bottom edges stitched down and you’re on the home stretch. Let’s trim the excess zipper now. The most important part of this to remember is to move the zipper pull to the middle of the zipper before trimming off the ends! I’m sure it’s not impossible to reattach the pull but your life is going to be SO much easier if you don’t have to. So tug the zipper pull to the center where it’ll be nice and safe.
You’ll note here that I trimmed both zipper edges at the same time, but if I had it to do over, I think it’s slightly “safer” to trim one side, sew the side edge down, and then wait to trim the second side of the zipper until that side is secure. That way at any given time there is only one place where the pull could theoretically come off, which you’re already at work stitching down anyway. Your preference, though. I trimmed both edges and it went OK.
However you choose to do it, when you’re ready to trim the zipper, fold back the flap of main material so that the excess zipper is easily visible. Now you can see more easily why I asked you not to stitch that particular part to the zipper – now you can trim the zipper without cutting your fabric!
Carefully trim the excess zipper, being carefully not to cut into the body of your pouch. When you’re done it should be even with your inside fabric panel.
Now you can fold over the side edge where you just trimmed the zipper, and pin it in place. The edge of the fabric will create the new stop for the zipper.
Note that you’ll have a bit of bulk at the corners where you’ve folded material over. If you need to trim a little of it the part that isn’t showing to reduce some of that bulk, that’s OK. Be careful not to cut too much, though.
At the beginning and end of the side edges, take care to tuck any awkward little raw bits under and sew them down so that they don’t show. Do your best to keep the folded edge looking as neat as possible. Stitch down the length of the side, being careful not to puncture the vinyl window.
After stitching the first side, if you haven’t trimmed the the excess zipper on the other side, repeat the steps for doing that. Then repeat the steps for sewing down the second edge. When you’ve done that, your pouch is complete!
I tried to be as thorough as possible, but if you have any questions or need clarification on anything, please comment on this post and I’ll answer you the best I can. Thanks for reading!