If you’ve been to this blog more than a few times you might already know the main reason why I post all these free tutorials; I’m desperately trying to bring down my fabric stash! Earlier in 2013 I tackled my stash of heavyweight fabrics, and now I’ve moved onto my quilting cottons. Which means only one thing: patchwork! So a lot of the projects I have planned to post over the next few months involve patchwork of some kind, and this pouch is just a small taste.
When I visited Metrocon earlier in July, I found I was very much in need of some new pouches to store and organize little things like toiletries and makeup. I’m not entirely sure what kind of pouch would suit me best, so I’m having fun experimenting with different shapes and sizes 😀 Hence this little number. This simple pouch has a subtly curved shape, but what gives it its depth is a bit of gathering at the bottom. I’ve chipped away at my stash of lining fabrics by giving it a thin polyester lining that’s sewn in via a French seam.
Materials & Tools:
• 1/4 yd. of light to medium weight fabric for outer pouch (I used quilting cotton)
• 1/4 yd. of light to medium weight complementing fabric for lower section (I used quilting cotton)
• 1/4 yd. of lightweight fabric for lining (I used polyester lining fabric, but more quilting cotton would provide less headache)
• 9” long zipper (at least)
• Matching sewing thread
• Basic sewing tools (sewing machine, scissors, iron, needles, pins, fabric marker, seam ripper)
Before you begin:
1. Print out the project pattern here
2. Assemble the pattern pieces, see the page here for more help
3. Lay out the pattern pieces on your fabric and cut them out
4. Mark the fabric pieces with the markings from the pattern
1. To begin we need to attach the lower portion of the pouch to the upper portion. Since the edges are curved and we’re not using fabric that’s stretchy at all, it helps to clip the fabric within the seam allowances. The curve is very gradual here, so just 1/8” clips will do a world of good. Do this along the concave (inward) curve on each of the two lower sections of the pouch.
2. Match up the upper half of the pouch with the complementing lower half and sew them together. The edges should match up if you use the clips made in the previous step to stretch the concave curve a little bit. When finished, press the seam flat, and repeat with the other upper and lower pieces, creating two sides to the pouch.
3. With the front and back of the pouch complete, now we can look to the zipper. Trim your zipper to 8 1/2” long and sew on the zipper tabs. This is done by sandwiching the zipper between two of the zipper tab pieces, lining up the short edges with the zipper tape. Sew along this edge, trim the seam allowance to 1/4” or so, then press the tab away from the zipper.
4. Next we’ll be sewing the zipper to the top of the pouch, and since that is a little curved as well we’ll need to clip the zipper tape just like in step 1 with the pouch bottom. So again, clip the tape just about 1/8” in every 2” or so.
5. To install the zipper, sandwich it between one of the outer pouch pieces and one of the lining pieces with the right side of the zipper facing the outer pouch. Use the clips in the zipper tape to curve it around the top edge of the pouch and sew it in place with a 1/4” seam allowance. When finished, sew the other lining and outer pouch piece to the other side of the zipper in the same manner.
6. When the zipper is all sewn in, press the both the outer pouch and lining fabrics away from the zipper. To make the next step easier, you’ll want to match up the sides. Align the edges of a lining piece with an outer pouch piece with wrong sides together and do the same for the other side. When complete, baste around the entire perimeter of this shape so the lining stays in place for the next step.
7. Next we’re starting the French seam, which involves sewing the sides of the pouch. Bring the two sides of the pouch together with wrong sides together (lining facing lining). Sew around the perimeter of this shape using a 1/8” seam allowance – I used a wide zigzag that was nearly right against the edge of the fabric. If you have any excess fabric when finished, trim it away. You’ll definitely want to do this if you have little stray fabric threads.
8. For the last part of the French seam, you’ll want to turn the pouch inside out so that right sides are together now. Then repeat the same step as before, sewing the pouch sides and bottom, but this time with about a 3/8” seam allowance. This should encase the previous seam from before, so there are no raw edges showing.
9. Technically the pouch is done now, but we’re going to add the little ruffled bit on the bottom last. Using the markings from the paper pattern, sew a gathering stitch (the longest stitch on your machine) from one point to the other. Backtack at the beginning but not at the end, instead leave a long thread tail that we’ll be pulling on next.
10. To gather the bottom, pull on one of the two thread tails until the fabric bunches up. Gather the fabric until this section is between 2-3” inches, but whatever suits you is also fine. When complete, tie the two thread tails together for a temporary hold.
11. To hold the gathers in place permanently, run several more stitches over the gathers as if it were any other seam. Once you’ve done this, your pouch is complete! Just turn it right side out and press the sides flat; you’ll want to keep the bottom unpressed so it stays nice and ruffled.
And it’s done! I can’t wait to start giving these pouches a try with some of my toiletries and makeup. But I’ll probably keep experimenting with new shapes to see how those work out for what I need as well.
If you do try making the project, I’d love to see it! Send me a photo and I’ll send you exclusive free patterns as a reward!