Mom's have stuff. Lots of stuff. It's a rule. Sometimes, we need to take our stuff from one place to another, in which case, we need a stuff-carrier... and we do not want to use a plastic baggie. This lovely pleated travel pouch is an elegant answer to a pressing need. It uses just tiny bits of fabric, so it's a great project to try out little fabric cuts or perhaps use up some scraps. Our design has an easy-to-insert top zipper, generous pleats on both sides and a luxurious satin charmeuse lining. I'm thinking... perhaps one for you AND one for Mom. I bet you have a bit o' stuff, too.
Our thanks to Michael Miller Fabrics for providing the brand new Black Dandy Damask and Black Lolli Dot for this project. And, to our friend Jona at Fabritopia for the amazing ribbon. Jona carries a wonderful selection of the Renaissance Ribbons. We were very impressed with the quality; they are so beautifully woven, they look almost as gorgeous on the back as from the front. Fabritopia also has lace, novelty trim and appliques... and fabric, of course.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome 3160QDC)
Fabric and Other Supplies
- ¼ yard 44-45” main fabric: we used Black Lolli Dot from Michael Miller Fabrics
- ¼ yard 44-45” feature fabric: we used Black Dandy Damask from Michael Miller Fabrics
- ½ yard 52-56” lining fabric: we used baby pink charmeuse satin
- 1 yard of 1” wide fancy ribbon (includes extra to allow exact design placement): we used Renaissance Ribbons’ Black on Pink Fleur de Lis from Fabritopia
- ¼ yard light-weight fusible interfacing
- 1 package of extra wide double fold bias tape: we used light pink
- 9" zipper
- All purpose thread to match your fabric
- All purpose thread to match your ribbon
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pencil
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Iron and ironing board
- Straight pins
- From the main fabric (Black Loli Dot in our sample) cut:
Two pieces 10" wide x 2½" high
Four pieces 5" wide x 6½" high
- From the lining fabric (Pink charmeuse satin in our sample) cut:
Two pieces 10" wide x 2½" high
Two pieces 6½" high x 19" wide
- From the accent fabric (Black Dandy Damask) cut:
Two pieces 6" wide x 6½" high, fussy cut to feature the Fleur de Lis in the center.
- From the interfacing cut:
Two pieces 10" wide x 2½" high
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Zippered top of the bag
- Following manufacturer's directions, use your iron to fuse the two 10” x 2½” pieces of interfacing to the wrong side of the two 10” x 2½” pieces of main fabric (Black Loli Dot in our sample).
- Lay one fused main fabric piece, right side up on your work surface. Place the closed zipper face down along one raw edge. Pin and stitch the zipper with a 3/8” seam allowance.
- Place one 10” x 2½” piece of lining right side down on top of the zipper, aligning it along the same edge you just stitched. You are sandwiching the zipper, which is still face down, between the main fabric and the lining. Pin and stitch, this time using a full ½” seam.
- Press both the main fabric and the lining away from the zipper, matching the remaining raw edges. Your fabric will be wrong sides together.
- Pin along these matched raw edges. Set your machine for a long basting stitch, and machine baste these three edges.
- Repeat steps 2-5 to create a 'zipper sandwich' on the opposite side. Set aside.
Body of the bag – front and back
- Match up two 5” x 6½” pieces of main fabric (Black Lolli Dot in our sample) with one 6” wide x 6½” piece of accent fabric (Black Dandy Damask) in our sample. Arrange them so the two pieces of main fabric are on either side of the accent fabric piece. Match up the 6½” sides, right sides together, and pin in place.
- Stitch the two 6½” seams, using a ½” seam allowance.
- Take this stitched panel to your ironing board. Lay it right side down on the ironing board. Fold in the seam allowances to the center of the accent panel to form a 3” pleat.
- Press pleats firmly in place with steam.
- Repeat steps 1-4 to create the other side of the bag body with the two remaining 5” x 6½” pieces of main fabric (Black Lolli Dot in our sample) and the one remaining piece of 6” wide x 6½” piece of accent fabric (Black Dandy Damask in our sample).
- Optional: as an added accent, you can carefully fold the main fabric away from the accent fabric, and edgestitch along both folds of the pleat.
- Find your two 6½” x 19” pieces of lining (Pink charmeuse satin in our sample).
- Take one 6½” x 19” piece of lining and lay it, WRONG sides together, on one pleated bag body panel. Fold the lining around both pleats, adjusting so the lining completely wraps the pleats and the outside raw edges of both lining and fabric are flush Press the entire unit firmly with steam and pin the pleat flat at the top and the bottom edges.
- Carefully carry this over to your machine, and using a 3/8” seam allowance, stitch across both the top and bottom of the panel securing the pleats.
Assembling the bag and adding the ribbon
- Align the top raw edge of each pleated body panel with either side of the zippered top panel. If you used a directional design for your accent fabric, make sure it’s running the right direction on both panels. Pin in place, lining sides together.
NOTE: Yes, this will create a seam on the outside of the bag. Yikes?? No. Hang in there with me.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch carefully through all the layers to attach both panels to the zippered top. Press the seams open on the outside of the bag. Trim off approximately 1/8” of the seam allowance’s raw edges to clean off any wayward threads.
- Find your fancy ribbon (Renaissance Ribbons’ Black on Pink Fleur de Lis in our sample).
- Center the ribbon over the open seam allowances.
NOTE: On our sample, we were careful to place the ribbon so it started with a full square on the seam line.
- Re-thread your machine with thread to match your ribbon.
- Edgestitch along both edges of the ribbon.
NOTE: It is critical that your ribbon covers the raw edges of the seam allowance AND that the top of the ribbon is exactly the same distance from the zipper on both panels... so they match up perfectly when you sew everything together.
- Cut a piece of ribbon approximately 7-8” in length for the handle loop.
NOTE: On our sample, we wanted four full squares of our Fluer de Lis design to show on each side of the loop, so we cut the ribbon to include 8 squares to show plus one square for a seam allowance. With our ribbon, we also needed to keep in mind the color pattern. We cut our ribbon to retain the light pink/dark pink color repeat.
- Fold your ribbon loop in half and pin it to the ribbon trim along one edge (We preferred the hanging tab be on the same same as the zipper pull when the zipper is closed). Line up the raw edges of the ribbon loop in the raw edge of the panel so the ribbon loop is facing in to the middle of the bag.
- Fold the bag right sides together and pin all around the three raw edges, matching the ribbon trim, enclosing the little ribbon tab, and matching the pleats at the bottom.
- Open the zipper about half way, and stitch all around the pinned edges TWICE... because you want the seam to be secure enough to handle lots of reaching in and out and searching around. Back tack carefully at the zipper tape ends, and go slowly over the places where the project is several layers thick.
NOTE: One trick to making sure the ribbon matches up at the seam line is to START your stitching with the needle down through all the layers at the thickest part. You can then go back up to the top and finish the seam, there’s no law that says you always have to start at the topmost edge.
- Clip off the bottom inside corners.
- Cut two lengths of bias tape about 8” and one length about 9”.
- Wrap the bias tape to enclose the inside raw edges of your lining. Pin in place, tucking under the raw ends of the tape at the beginning and end of each side
NOTE: We’re doing this as three separate pieces rather than one continuous piece because we didn’t want the bulk in the corners.
- Edgestitch the three pieces of bias tape in place.
- Turn the bag right sides out through the open zipper.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Kathy Andrews, What Sew Ever
Other machines suitable for this project include the Elna 5200 and the Bernina aurora 440QE.