Monday, March 7, 2016

Large Embroidered Zippered Pouch - Tutorial

Don't let a zipper intimidate you, these aren't that hard to make!  If you have a zipper foot, some patience, and a bit of fabric, you can get over your fear of zippers.  (Is that Zipaphobia?) 

This large pouch is handy for lots of stuff - school supplies, crochet and knitting supplies, random junk that usually gets lost in larger bags...  And they are a fun way to show off embroidery or fancy fabric you love!  The finished size is approximately 10"x11" and there are tons of modifications you could add in.
Amazing Urban Threads embroidery designs make my projects even cooler!

Lovely Tula Pink Tree of Life fabric, so glad they reprinted it!
Some clearance fabric I picked up at Hobby Lobby with no project in mind. Matches perfectly, lucky me!


Fabric - 1/4 yard of outside and inside fabrics.  Fat Quarters of quilting fabric would be great for this project, but you will need 4, especially if you have directional fabric.  Duck cloth, canvas, or other fabric would work as well.

9" zipper - if you use a plastic one, you can go longer and cut it down, but metal ones are tricky to cut down, so stick with exactly 9" for that type.

Interfacing - If you use duck cloth, you can skip interfacing unless you want it to be super stiff.  For quilting cotton you need 1/4 yard Shape Flex 101, and 1/4 yard of a medium weight fusible interfacing.  If you have scraps leftover from other projects, you just need 2 pieces of each - 9"x11" and 12"x11"

thread, scissors (rotary cutter and mat is MUCH easier), seam ripper (yes, even for a small project like this I seem to rip at least once!), iron and ironing board.  Optional: embroidery machine and awesome design.

Embroidered Pouch
First, before you cut anything, embroider your front piece.  My (old) embroidery machine does up to 4"x4" and I can never seem to get it perfectly straight, so I give myself plenty of room around the design.  I set it up so that the middle of the hoop has at least 6 or 7" away from any edge of the fabric
You can see the 'hoop burn' from before I ironed it (Sorry about the color change, this fabric is almost neon green, which my camera hated)
Trim your cut away interfacing as close to the embroidery as you can.  Alternatively use tear away (for light designs) or wash away stabilizer
If your design is exactly 4"x4", cut the fabric so that you have 3.5" on the top and bottom, and 2.5" on the right and left sides.  Clear quilting rulers are great for figuring this out and making sure it's all straight.  The zipper will actually have a smaller seam allowance, so if you can't get your design exactly centered, having it slightly to the right is the best option.  Your final piece needs to be 9" wide by 11" tall
A bit blurry since my camera didn't know where to focus, but you can see the idea of how to center
Slightly wavy, but ironing, interfacing, and later stuffing it full will take care of that.

Non Embroidered Pouch
If you aren't doing embroidery, but instead have a fabric with a design you want to show off, you can still use a clear ruler to preview where the design will be.  Cut your piece to 9"x11"


All the pieces,with the interfacing fused
Outside fabric
  • cut one - 12"x11"  (for directional fabric, the 12" will be the top and bottom, with the 11" being the sides)
  •  Cut four - 1"x2" zipper tabs
Feature fabric/embroidered panel -
  • cut one - 9"x11"  (top and bottom edge are the 9")
Lining fabric
  • cut one - 12"x11"
  • cut one - 9"x11"
  • SF101(or medium woven fusible interfacing) - cut one 12"x11", cut one 9"x11", cut four 1"x2"
  • Medium weight fusible interfacing - cut one 12"x11", cut one 9"x11"
Fuse interfacing to outside and lining pieces, it doesn't really matter which one gets the stiffer interfacing, I've done it both ways.  If your embroidery did more puckering, go for the sf101 on the outside.  Fuse the SF101 to the wrong side of the zipper tabs.

Cut zipper down to 9" - even ones labeled 9" usually have extra to them.  Using your sewing machine, run a few stitches across each end to keep the zipper pull from trying to escape.
Before sewing zipper ends.  I could tell the pull was waiting to make a break for it.
Attach zipper tabs to each end:  Take 2 of the zipper tabs and place them even with the end on the front and back of the zipper, right sides against the zipper, and using 1/2" seam allowance, sew the tabs to the zipper on both ends.  Finger press the zipper tabs open so that you can see the right side of the fabric.  If you want, you can iron them.  Topstitch the folded edge of the zipper tabs to keep them from wiggling. (I forgot to take a picture of this step, sorry!)

Attach zipper to fabric.  Lay your smaller lining piece face up on your work area.  Put the zipper right side up (Zipper pull should be at the top, and visible) and line it up with the left side of your lining. Place your front focus piece face down on the zipper and align the left edge of the fabric with the left side of the zipper.  Sew along the zipper, using your zipper foot, as close as you can go.  Flip the fabric back, iron and topstitch along the edge.  Place your larger lining piece face up and line the un-sewn side of the zipper up with the right side of the fabric.  Place your backing piece face down on top of the zipper, matching the sides and making sure that the edges of the fabric line up.  Sew, open up, iron, and topstitch.  (It takes longer to read how to do it than to actually do it, once you understand the method. - Let me know if you are confused and I can try to get pictures on my next pouch!)

Take your pouch and match the un-sewn edges of the fabric, wrong sides together. (Lining will be on the inside and the outsides will be on the outside - pretty much how it will be when you finish except the edge opposite the zipper will be raw ends)  The back fabric will show about an inch on the front (refer to the very first photo if you need to)   Iron to crease the fold.  Open the zipper all the way.  Put the pieces right sides together - the 2 outside pieces will be together and the 2 lining pieces will be together.  Keep your fold in the fabric

On the side where they meet, sewn in separate steps
Sew around 3 sides of the outside fabric, starting on the size of the zipper that has the most fabric. Don't sew the extra little flap that has the fold.  Sew the 3 sides of the lining fabric, but on the lining fabric, leave a gap on the end that is big enough for your hand, usually 5 or 6".  Make sure your zipper is OPEN before you sew.  Important - only sew up to the zipper tabs, don't sew through them!  You can sew the approximately 1" after the zipper tab, or you can spend some time later folding it inside before topstitching.  If you sew through the zipper tabs it will make the edge not as square.

stopping at the zipper pulls
Trim the corners, then reach inside through your hole, pull the entire assembly out and then shove the lining back inside.  Wiggle it around a bit, use a turning tool to make sure the corners are square and every thing fits, then pull the lining back outside and stitch the bottom closed.  Shove it back inside, smooth everything again (and iron), fold in the flappy part edges, then topstitch all the way around the pouch (all 4 sides).  Make sure you catch the top of the zipper pull and inch past it so they are completely closed.

Viola!  A beautiful zippered pouch!

Maybe later I'll add on steps to give it a strap for easy carrying...

If you have questions or need more pictures, let me know!  I still have at least one more of these to make in the next few months...

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