I am a sucker for bags and pouches. Not, of course, in the way normal people collect handbags and cute wallets and delightful leathergoods of all persuasions. No, the bags I collect in quantities defying rationality? Project bags. Pouches for little stitchings, totes for large blankets. A project isn’t a project unless it has a bag to keep it safe, organised and clean.
I have a pouch that I often use for my needlework. I made it way back in 2014 for my Once Upon A Time cross-stitch, and I still love it to this day. Pinwale corduroy and (what else) my signature patchwork Echino linen (I will carry my obsession with that fabric to my grave). It has been toted, almost literally, from one end of the country to the other. At times, with two 6″ hoops inside, even. It is currently hosting my Storytime Sampler, and often my Christmas cross-stitch as well. With the advent of the Alice In Wonderland stitchalong, I had more stitcheries than pouches, and the fabric for Alice was a bit more than felt comfortable in the existing pouch. Which meant only one course of action – sewing time!
I hit up the stash and while I was tempted to do another echino, I thought something different would be nice too. In the end, I decided on some of the leftovers from the cases I made for quilt camp gifts – in particular, a dirty navy and a mushroom pink. They looked lovely together, and as a side benefit, are both rather heavy fabrics, and so I felt with both of them combined, I wouldn’t need interfacing.
The original plan was quite simple. Stitch them together and turn out, topstitch, fold up the bottom and stitch in place then add a button to secure the top flap. The first stumbling block, however, was the discovery that my large cutting mat and long ruler were packed away in storage. Never fear, says I, I can cut on the fold, and then I only need stretch half length…we all know where this is going, right?
So off goes I, merrily cutting, sewing, turning topstitching, laying it on the mat to fold and construct and….insert record scratching sound… it would seem that I, accountant by profession, currently homeschooling year 11 maths, can not, in actuality, add up successfully. I can’t even blame the fold cutting, because I nailed that, for the length I planned to cut. The problem, dear reader, that to make an 8″ pouch with a 4″ flap, is that 8+8+4+seam allowance does very much not equal 12.5″.
I retreated to The Thinking Chair. I facetimed with my folks. I pottered in the garden pulling weeds for 10 minutes, even though I could have sworn I’d cleared that particular section the day before. In the end, in between all my avoidance and denial, the answer came to me. I would add an opening to one side. It would mean my pouch wasn’t lined, but it would also mean I hadn’t wasted both fabric and precious sewing time.
With only a small amount of overthinking, the final steps of creating a closure system fell into place, and from what started as a disaster, ended up being a super cute little pouch. I love it so much, even though it’s not lined, and I can see it being rather versatile – it would be a great option for an oval hoop too, with that moveable top flap.
TO MAKE ONE OF YOUR OWN – suits up to 7″ hoop. Unlined.
2 pieces of fabric, 8.5″ x 12.5″
1 piece of “interior” fabric, 3″ x 2″
1 piece of “exterior” fabric, 21″ x 1″
With the long strip of exterior fabric, press in half, wrong sides together. Open up, and then fold raw edges in to the pressed centre. and press in place. Refold along the original centre, and press again. Stitch down the centre. This will form your closure tie. Set aside.
Take the large rectangle that you wish to use as the “inside”, and mark a line 5″ from one short end (if your fabric is directional, measure from the top).
Moving to the long side, mark a line that crosses the first line, 3/4″ from the raw edge, as well as one 1 3/4″ from the raw edge. Repeat on the second side. Mark each of these new lines 1″ either side of the middle line. Clear as mud? Your markings should now look like:
Now those markings are in place, it’s cutting time! You need to cut the middle line, between the two inside markings, and then diagonally out to the outside line where it is cut by the top and bottom lines. You should cut as per the red lines below.
Fold all the newly cut edges to the wrong side, and press. Top stitch in place all the way around all four sides.
Take the rectangle you have been working with, and the other large rectangle, and place them right sides together. Stitch around all four sides.
Turn right side out through the opening created above, press, and top stitch around the outside.
Find the centre of the bottom edge. Take the closure prepared earlier, fold in half, and stitch it to the centre of the bottom edge, on the “interior” side.
Take the remaining small rectangle. Press 1/4″ to the wrong side on one of the short edges. Press in half length ways, open, and fold raw edges to the centre line, pressing in place. Bring the two newly created folded edges together and press the whole thing flat. Top stitch both long edges and the pressed short edge.
Slip the D ring onto this strap. With the short edge that is hemmed to the top, fold the excess behind, and play with the length until you are happy. Trim off the excess so that the raw edge will sit approximately 1/4″ below the finished/hemmed short edge.
Find the centre of the top edge. Place the D ring attachment in the centre of the top edge, on the “exterior” side. Stitch in place, stitching a rectangle up the sides, across the hemmed edge, back down, and across above the D ring. Also stitch diagonally in both directions across this rectangle.
Snip any loose threads, pop in your project, and tie it closed! You’re done!
If you make one of these pouches, I would love to see it! Tag me on insta (@barefootcrafter), or drop a link to your blog post in the comments. One of my favourite things is seeing other peoples twists on my tutorials.