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ScrapBusters: Rainbow Zippered Pouches in Two Sizes

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Designed to be the perfect size to drop into a larger bag or tote, these little pouches are really too pretty to hide! They’re long and slim with a full 12” opening. We combined a bold stripe with a pretty floral and topped them off with a striking rainbow zipper. Follow our design or create your own unique combination of fabric and hardware. It’s a fun and easy project – perfect for experimenting with unusual pairings of color, texture and motifs. So dive deep into your stash pile and pull out something new and different. 

Would you like to learn more about mixing and matching? Take a look at our article: Top 10 Designer Tips for Blending Colors and Prints. Mastering the proper mixology of color and motif is something designers spend years perfecting. But there are basics everyone can use to create a fabulous look. 

Make one or make both. A matching set would be a lovely gift idea - especially for anyone on your list who travels a lot and needs to contain little items within their luggage. 

Or, make them for yourself to hold a myriad of items from pencils to sewing supplies to snacks on the go. 

We use fusible fleece for structure, which gives the pouches a lovely, soft feel and a bit of extra dimension. If you’d prefer a stiffer finish, add a layer of mid-weight interfacing to the exterior panels. 

If you’ve never put in a zipper, you’ll find this kind of insertion about as easy as it gets, and we show you how to add zipper tabs to each end to fill in the opening and give your a professional finish along the sides. 

We added an optional tab loop with a split ring so you can not only use these pouches as a drop-in but could also clip them in place for even easier access.

ScrapBusters is one of our most popular series here at Sew4Home. It’s our way to give you make-in-a-day (sometimes even make-in-an-hour) projects that use those great little bits and pieces of fabric you’ve been saving. Pull them out and put them to work!

Our Large Pouch finishes at approximately 6" high x 12" wide. Our Small Pouch finishes at approximately 4½" high x 12" wide.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

NOTE: The quantities listed below are enough to make one or both pouches, provided you do not need a lot of precision fussy cutting. Because we wanted a fussy cut of the flower on both of our pouches, we actually worked with a full yard of the quilting weight cotton in order to get the perfect cuts for both pouches.

  • Scrap or ⅓ yard of 44"+ wide quilting or décor weight fabric for the front and back bottom panels on the large pouch and the side panels on the small pouch: we used a décor weight Wave Runner Stripe in Cantaloupe from our stash 
  • Scrap or ⅓ yard of 44"+ quilting weight fabric for the front and back top panels on the large pouch and the center panels on the small pouch: we used Rachel in Green from the Color Brigade collection by Jennifer Paganelli for FreeSpirit Fabrics from our stash
  • Scrap or ⅓ yard of 44"+ wide weight fabric for the lining: we used Cotton Couture in Soft White by Michael Miller Fabrics from our stash
  • Scrap or ½ yard of 44”+ lightweight fusible fleece; we used Thermolam Plus by Pellon
  • ONE 10-12” metallic zipper for each pouch; we used the 12" YKK Excella Rainbow Teeth zipper in White from the Etsy shop: Zipit Zippers
    NOTE: The 12” zipper length requires a bit of extra manipulation to provide a full seam allowance. Our steps are explained below.
  • ONE colorful split ring for each pouch, optional
  • Scrap or ¼ yard of ¾” wide twill tape or grosgrain ribbon; we used grosgrain ribbon in natural
  • All purpose thread to match fabrics
  • See through ruler
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Fabric pencil, pen or chalk
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Straight pins
  • Hand sewing needle

Getting Started

LARGE POUCH

  1. From the fabric for the lower panels and zipper tabs, cut the following:
    TWO 13” wide x 3” high rectangles for the lower panels; we cut our stripe to run vertically
    TWO 1¼" x 2½" strips for the zipper tabs; we cut from the white stripe to best match the white zipper; you could use whichever fabric you prefer
  2. From the fabric for the upper panels, cut TWO 13” x 5” rectangles; we fussy cut to best center the largest flowers.
  3. From the fabric for the lining, cut TWO 12¾” x 6¾”” rectangles.
  4. From the fusible fleece, cut TWO 12” x 6” rectangles.
  5. From the ribbon/tape, cut ONE 3” length.

SMALL POUCH

  1. From the fabric for the side panels and zipper tabs, cut the following:
    FOUR 3” wide x 5½” high rectangles for the side panels; we cut our stripe to run horizontally
    TWO 1¼" x 2½" strips for the zipper tabs; we cut from the white stripe to best match the white zipper; you could use whichever fabric you prefer
  2. From the fabric for the center panels, cut TWO 9" x 5½" rectangles; we fussy cut to best center the largest flowers.
  3. From the fabric for the lining, cut TWO 12¾” x 5¼” rectangles.
  4. From the fusible fleece, cut TWO 12” x 4½” rectangles.
  5. From the ribbon/tape, cut ONE 3” length.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Assemble the front and back panels

  1. Find the exterior panels. 
  2. On the large pouch you have one upper panel and one lower panel for both the front and the back. Pin the bottom of the upper panel right sides together with the top of the lower panel along the 13” side. 
  3. On the small pouch, you have one center panel and two side panels for both the front and the back. Pin a side panel, right sides together, on either side of each center panel.
  4. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch the seam(s).
  5. On the large pouch, press the seam allowance up towards upper panel. On the small pouch, press the seam allowances out towards the side panels. 
  6. Using matching thread, edgestitch along the seam(s). On the large pouch, stitch within the upper panel. On the small pouch, stitch within the side panels. We used our Janome Edge Guide foot

Add the zipper

  1. Find the zipper. Center it along the top of one panel with the zipper pull to the right.
  2. Find the two zipper tabs, place one tab on each end of the zipper. The tab and the zipper are right sides together. Pin each tab in place. 
  3. Stitch each tab in place, running your short seam just below the bottom zipper stop and just above the upper zipper stop. Remember to move the zipper pull out of the way when stitching along the upper zipper stop. 
  4. Fold each tab out into position. 
  5. Find the front exterior panel again and place it right side up and flat on your work surface. 
  6. Place the zipper unit right side down (zipper teeth down). Center the top edge of the zipper tape side to side across the top of the panel. The tabs will extend to either side. The zipper should be open about half way.
  7. Pin in place along the top edge of the zipper tape. 
  8. Because the zipper we selected was almost as long as the top of the pouch, we cheated our zipper to the right, allowing a full ½”+ to the left of the zipper’s bottom stop for the seam allowance. At the top of the zipper, we stitched the end in place 1¼” from the raw edge of the panel, hand-walking the needle across the metal teeth of the zipper. 
  9. We then clipped away the top zipper stop and one of the zipper teeth to allow a full ½” seam allowance along this side as well. If you use a 10” zipper, you can skip this step and simple center the zipper side to side.
  10. Attach your Zipper foot. Stitch the zipper to the fabric panel, running the seam about ⅛" from the zipper teeth.
  11. When you can start to feel you're approaching the zipper pull, stop with your needle in the down position. Twist your fabric around slightly and carefully close the zipper. Re-position your fabric and finish sewing to the end. Be very careful and go slowly; you want your seam line to be super-duper straight.
  12. Attach the remaining raw edge of the zipper tape to the exterior back panel, following the same steps as above, and stitch in place.
  13. Press the panels away from the zipper. You now have panels stitched in place on either side of the zipper and the excess width is neatly filled in with the zipper tabs. 
  14. If necessary, re-thread the machine with thread to best match the exterior fabric in the top and bobbin. Lengthen the stitch.
  15. Still using your Zipper foot, edgestitch along both sides of the zipper within the panels. As above, you'll need to open and close the zipper in order to stitch past the zipper pull with a straight stitch line. 
  16. Trim away any excess zipper tape extending beyond the edge of the fabric panel at either side.
  17. The zipper is inserted in the small pouch in the same manner.
  18. Remember to use matching thread and to keep your topstitching seams even and straight as they will be visible. 

Add the side loop

  1. Find the ribbon/tape and split ring. 
  2. Slip the ribbon/tape though the split ring. Fold the ribbon/tape in half, aligning the raw ends.
  3. Place loop along the right side of the pouch (below the zipper pull). On the large pouch it sits approximately ¾” below the panel seam. 
  4. The raw ends of the loop should be flush with raw side edge of the panel. Pin in place. You can hand or machine baste in place for further security. 
  5. On the small pouch the loop sits approximately 1” below the center of the zipper tab.

Finish the exterior

  1. Make sure the zipper is open at least half way. 
  2. Fold the front and back panels right sides together, aligning the raw edges along both sides and across the bottom. Be especially careful to line up the panel seams. Pin in place.
  3. Re-thread the machine with thread to best match the exterior fabric in the top and bobbin. 
  4. Re-attach the standard presser foot. Re-set the stitch length to normal. 
  5. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch along both sides and across the bottom, pivoting at the bottom corners. Use a substantial backstitch at both the beginning and end of your seam to reinforce these stress points at either end of the zipper. 
  6. When done, clip the corners and grade the seam allowance to reduce bulk. 
  7. Turn the exterior pouch right side out

Create the lining 

  1. Find the two lining pieces and the two pieces of fusible fleece. 
  2. Center a fleece panel on the wrong side of each lining panel so there is ⅜” of fabric showing beyond the fleece on all sides. 
  3. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse the fleece in place.
  4. Place the lining panels right sides together. Pin along both sides and across the bottom.
  5. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch along both sides and across the bottom, pivoting at the corners.
  6. Clip the corners.
  7. Fold down the top raw edge of the lining ½" all around. Press in place. We used our Clover Hot Hemmer.

Assemble the exterior and lining to finish

  1. Find the exterior bag. It should be right side out.
  2. Turn the lining wrong side out. Slip the lining inside the exterior so the two bags are now wrong sides together. 
  3. Align the bottom and side seams. The top folded edge of of the lining should fall below the zipper teeth by about ⅛". If it doesn't, adjust the fold to fit and gently re-press.
  4. Pin the layers together along the edge of the zipper. 
  5. Thread the hand sewing needle with thread to best match the lining.
  6. Slip stitch the lining to the bag, using very small stitches. Stitch along the front and the back, but leave the lining loose where it wraps over the side seams. This allows some "give" in the lining so it folds smoothly as you zip the bag open and shut.

Contributors

Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild

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Comments (2)

gina2sewmo@sbcglobal.net said:
gina2sewmo@sbcglobal.net's picture

Is there some way to machine stitch the lining in place and turn it right side out through an opening in the bottom of the lining?

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@gina2sewmo -- There is... but it' a completely different constuction technique than what we've described here. Unfortunately, I can't describe all the steps in a comment, but we'll add this to our You Asked 4 It list as a project idea for a future pouch.

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