Saturday, September 18, 2010

Tutorial: Think It, Make It Pouch

Share it Please
Details on a giveaway at the end of this post.

The single best thing about taking up sewing has been the ability to make things as I need them - throw pillows, gift bags, last-minute birthday gifts, passport covers, etc.

This past Sunday, I was going home to visit my parents as is my usual wont for Sundays, but also wanted to bring some quilting stuff to work on. Well, I decided I needed a pouch (the green one in the picture above) to contain my scissors to prevent any accidental poking or holes. I showed it to my parents who said that I should show you all how to make one.

This pouch is extremely easy to make and goes together quickly. It's also versatile. You can size it to fit whatever you need (covers for a kindle, iPad, small electronic, laptop, paperback, etc.) and it can even be waterproof if you use laminated fabric or vinyl. Use the directions below as a general guide for when you want to make your own.

I recently joined an ugly quilt contest and was paired up with a quilter in Tennessee. The challenge requires me sending her some fabric from my stash for her to use to make her quilt; she will send me some of her fabric that I will use to make a quilt. I wanted to send the fabric in a nice pouch.

You will need:
- fabric
- new hair tie
- button
- plus usual sewing items (sewing machine; needle; thread; scissors or rotary cutter)

all you really need: exterior fabric, pouch lining, hair tie and button

Step 1 - Cut out your pieces of fabric
The desired finished dimensions of the pouch are 11" x 5" with a 3" overhang. Including a 1/2" seam allowance means that I need a fabric piece that is 12" x 14". Here's the math:
[11" wide + 2(.5" seam allowance)] x [2(5" inch height (one front and one back) + 3" overhang + 2(.5" seam allowance)]

(I used pre-quilted fabric because I wanted to give the pouch some body and a bright fabric for the interior to add a pop of color. You don't need to use pre-quilted fabric; really any fabric will do. If you do want to add some softness and cushion to the pouch, you can also just use some low-loft batting in your fabric sandwich.)

Step 2 - Baste your hair tie in place
Find the center of the edge of your exterior fabric where your pouch will fold over and pin your hair tie in place so that you can staystich it. You could also just use ribbon, but I like the hair tie for its stretchiness.

You want to pin the hair tie to the right side of your fabric. In my case, my exterior face doesn't really have a right or wrong side because both sides look the same.

I started my staystich about one inch before and after the hair tie and about 1/8" from the fabric's edge.

Step 3 - Make your fabric sandwich
Place your lining fabric on top of your exterior fabric, right sides facing together.  Your basted hair tie should be in the middle of your sandwich. Pin the fabric together at regular intervals to prevent the fabric from shifting.

You can see that the edge of the hair tie is just peeking outside of the fabric sandwich. That's because when you turn your fabric sandwich inside out, the hair tie will be facing out.

Step 4 - Sew your fabric sandwich together
Use a 1/2" seam allowance to sew all around the fabric, but be sure to leave an opening of at least 3" along one of the sides of your fabric sandwich so that you have enough room to turn the fabric sandwich inside out.

Do not sew over your pins. It's potentially dangerous because your sewing machine needle might break and fly into your face. Remove the pins as your sewing machine needle gets near them.

To minimize the look of a messy finish, I chose to leave my opening along one of the sides where the pouch will fold on itself and not on the bottom or top edges of the pouch.

where the pouch will be turned inside out
Step 5 - Turn your fabric sandwich inside out
Trim the corners of the sandwich so that you will have nice corners when you turn your fabric inside out.

be careful to not cut into your actual corner seam
Your fabric sandwich will look like when turned inside out; use a chopstick or other small instrument to help push the corners out, but don't push too hard. You don't want to make a hole.

Iron your fabric sandwich to create a clean edge. You may have to fiddle with your sandwich to make the edges lie flat.

a shot of the back

Step 6 - Topstitch the bottom edge of your fabric sandwich (optional)
Find the side opposite of your hair tie and topstitch about 1/4" from the edge. The topstitch is both decorative and functional. It reinforces the edge, but also maintains the design element for when you have to stitch your fabric sandwich together to make your pouch.

Step 7 - Sew your fabric sandwich together to make your pouch
Fold and then pin in place the edges of your fabric sandwich to make your pouch as deep as you want. Remember that you still haven't sewn your opening shut. You will now.

Starting from bottom edge of your pouch, topstitch a 1/4" seam all the way around your pouch. Do not sew over your pins; remove them as your sewing needle gets near them.

Step 8 - Sew your button in place
Fold over the top of your pouch and position your button into place. Handsew your button.

I wanted the pouch to have some give, so I positioned the button a little bit higher than I had originally planned, but that's okay because the elastic hair tie can stretch to fit an overstuffed pouch.

Step 9 - Use your pouch!
Congratulations! You've made your pouch.

Now use it and make many more to give away as gifts or to just use around the house.

Would you like a custom-made pouch?

Leave a comment by next Friday, September 24, with your favorite color. Depending on the number of comments I receive, I will select one or more names at random and each person will receive a pouch in the color mentioned in the comment.


  1. Well, of course green is my favorite color and combined with pink its even more favorite! I would love to have an adorable pouch for my Ipod Nano...I hope I win!!!!!

  2. My favorite color is burgundy. Just found out about your site. Off to read past posts. :)