Freebie Friday! Pleated Ombre Pouch


I mentioned in the past few months that my cotton stash has gone down quite significantly 😀 Especially the big pieces – which leaves lots of little scraps leftover. That’s part of the reason why I came up with today’s project. I wanted to revisit the look of the pleated clutch I made a year or so back while still incorporating the scrappy look that my cotton stash is leaning towards.

I made these pouches super-stabilized with some Pellon SF101 interfacing so they’d stand up on their own. I also added contrast corner patches to make the finished product look a bit more put-together. All in all, they were a lot of fun to make ^-^ I wish I could make more in loads more colors.


The basic setup of the pouch is easy, but the pleats and the corner patch details can be a pain.
Makes one pouch that’s 7” wide, 5” tall, and 2” deep

Materials & Tools:
• 10 strips of 2 1/2” x 24” cotton pieces (jelly roll strips fit this perfectly)
• 1/8 yd. of contrast fabric for corner patches (I used quilting cotton)
• 1/4 yd. of lightweight fabric for lining (I used polyester lining fabric)
• 1/4 yd. of medium to lightweight fusible interfacing (I used Pellon SF101)
• 6” zipper
• 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, batting, & interfacing and cut them out.
4. Mark the fabric with any symbols or markings from the paper pattern.

1. Gather up all of your patchwork strips and prepare to pleat! To get the look of the finished pouch, you’ll want to lay out all of your strips in a gradated arrangement as I’ve shown here. Of course you can go with whatever arrangement you choose, but I’m showing ombre 😀

2. Next up you need to sew all the strips together using a ¼” seam allowance in the order you arranged in the previous step. Press open your seam allowances and it’ll make the next step much easier.

3. Next up is the pleating, which is a little trickier. The pleats are made by folding the fabric strips along the fold line that the pattern indicates. This will line up the bottom seam of the strip with the line indicated on the paper pattern, about 2/3 up the strip. Fold the fabric with wrong sides together and sew where these lines match up to hold the pleat in place.

In the photo above you see how the 3rd strip in my configuration (the pink/white nouveau fabric) gets folded with the pretty side facing out and sewn across the seamline.
As you’ll see in the next step, don’t bother sewing a pleat for the bottom strip, since that will add too much bulk.

4. With all of your pleats sewn, press the pleats so they all point downward and you should have something like this.

5. Next up is to cut the pouch pieces from your finished pleated fabric. You should be able to fit two pouch pieces on the fabric, side by side. I would recommend cutting them out one at a time. Be sure the bottom edge of the pouch pattern is parallel with your pleats, and try to cut the 2nd piece identical to the first. That is, be sure the bottom edge of the 2nd piece is aligned where the 1st piece was.

6. Since all the pleats are managed, now’s a good time to fuse the interfacing to your fabrics. Make sure the interfacing is centered within the seam allowances on the wrong side of your pouch pieces and two of the contrast patch pieces. Then fuse them all in place.

7. Next up is to sew the two pouch pieces together so they make a complete unit. Line up the bottom edges with right sides facing and sew the edges in place with a ½” seam allowance. You’ll want to press the seam open to reduce bulk. Repeat this with your lining pieces as well so it matches up.

8. The pouch is all ready for the corner patches, so up next is to sew those. Align two of your corner patches together with right sides facing and sew along the wonky curved edge. Use a ½” seam allowance, but it also helps to use the interfacing as a guide. The bottom edge (the one that’s relatively straight) should be left open for turning right side out. When you’re done with both patches, trim the seam allowance of the seam you just sewed and turn both of the patches right side out.

9. Take your completed patches and align them over the sides of the pouch as shown. They should line up with the markings on the paper pattern, but more than anything the center of the patches should match up with the bottom seam you sewed in step 7. Make sure the raw edges are aligned, then edge stitch the patches in place right over the pleats you made.

10. Now it’s time for the zipper. Trim your zipper down to 6” long if it isn’t 6” already, then sandwich one of the zipper ends between two of the zipper tabs. Sew through all the layers using a ½” seam allowance. Then trim the seam allowance down to ¼” or so and press the fabric away from the zipper. Repeat this with the other end of the zipper to complete the zipper tabs.

11. Install the zipper by lining it up along the upper edge of the pouch, that is the short straight edge as shown. Then layer your lining piece over it to match, sandwiching the zipper. Make sure the right side of the zipper is facing the right side of your pouch, then sew the three layers together with a ¼” seam allowance.
When finished, press the fabrics away from the zipper then repeat this step with the remaining side of the zipper and pouch. You’ll have to fold the fabric over to get it just right, but just be sure the correct sides are facing the zipper and you’ll be good.

12. Rearrange all your lining and outer pouch fabric so you have the lining nicely tucked inside and the outer fabric facing out as shown. Align the sides so all the raw edges line up and sew the layers together with about a 1/8” seam allowance. This is the first step in our French seam for the sides. Trim the excess fabric when the seams are done, especially any little frayed threads.

13. Turn the pouch back wrong side out so the lining is facing you and press the seams from before. Now sew the previous seams again, this time with about a 3/8 seam allowance, which should encase the seam allowance from before.

14. To finish up, all that’s left to do is box out the corners. To do this, pinch the corners of your pouch so the body of the pouch folds at a diagonal and the side seam goes down the middle. Use a ruler to measure 1” down from the point and make a mark across. The paper pattern shows this guideline as well in case you need extra help.

15. Sew along this mark that you’ve made to complete the boxed corner! Repeat with the other corner of your pouch so both sides match up, turn the pouch right side out, poke out the corners, and you’re all finished!

And there you have it! I’m thinking of using mine to hold either makeup or art supplies – I haven’t decided yet ^-^
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!

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