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Zippered, See-Through Pouches with Ribbon Accents: Renaissance Ribbons

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Not only are the ribbons from Renaissance Ribbons beautiful to look at, they are also lovely to work with. Their Jacquard ribbons are precisely woven with top quality polyester thread, so they will not shrink and they won't bleed onto your base fabric. The exquisite weaving also gives them a strength and stability that makes them easy to manipulate as accents and embellishments on all types of projects. For today's pouches, the ribbons actually hold the zippers in place. We used clear vinyl on the front so you can easily glance at the contents. A pattern download is offered below to create the handy 6" x 9" size with rounded corners. 

These really are a multi-purpose mini-carryall. We filled one with office supplies – great to drop into a briefcase. Another holds snacks and treats – emergency energy when you're on the go. 

And the third is packed with toiletries and make-up – perfect for the gym or a weekend getaway.

Prior to starting, lightly press the ribbons with a steam iron and pressing cloth to smooth and prepare them for sewing. However, take care when ironing polyester ribbons; they require a lower ironing temperature than cotton and linen fabric.

We used layer cake fabric squares (10" x 10") to create our samples. You could do the same or dive into your scrap bin for ideas. 

Each pouch uses just ½ yard of ribbon, which makes it a great project to sample several of your favorite Renaissance Ribbons styles. 

We chose two ribbons by Anna Maria Horner and one by Amy Butler. You'll also find collections from many of your other favorite designers at Renaissance Ribbons, such as Tula Pink, Sue Spargo, and Kaffe Fassett.

You can buy the ribbons at fine in-store and online retailers everywhere, or shop directly from the Renaissance Ribbons online store. Check out the special Sew4Home area on their site where our tutorials are featured and all the ribbons can be ordered with a simple click.

Each pouch finishes at approximately 9" wide x 6" high.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

Supplies shown are for ONE case. 

  • Layer cake squares, scraps or ⅓ yard cuts of TWO coordinating cotton fabrics; we recommend a minimum 10" x 10" square from which to work. 

Our fabric and ribbon combinations:

POUCH #1:

 

POUCH #2: 

  • Ribbon: ⅞" Orchid Reliquary by Anna Maria Horner for Renaissance Ribbons
  • Front Fabric: Cloud Cover in Lavender from Joel Dewberry's Bungalow collection for FreeSpirit Fabrics
  • Back Fabric: Chevron in Lavender from Joel Dewberry's Bungalow collection for FreeSpirit Fabrics
  • Raspberry fold-over elastic
  • Lilac zipper
  • Lilac zipper-pull ribbon

POUCH #3: 

OTHER SUPPLIES

Getting Started

  1. Download and print out the ONE pattern.
    IMPORTANT: This pattern is ONE 8½" x 11" sheet. You must print the PDF files at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guide rule on the page so you can confirm your final printout is to scale.
  2. Cut out the pattern along the solid line.
  3. Using the pattern, cut ONE piece from each of the two fabrics, the clear vinyl and the interfacing - four pieces total. 
  4. Take the time to carefully fussy cut your fabric so the fabrics' motifs are perfectly straight and nicely centered.
  5. Cut the ribbon in half into two 9" lengths.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Create the main panels and add the zipper

  1. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse the interfacing to the BACK fabric piece. 
  2. Find the paper pattern and the cut vinyl piece. Place the pattern over the vinyl so all the edges align. 
  3. Following the pattern, slice the vinyl along both dashed lines. This separates the vinyl into two pieces and leaves a small strip you can discard.
  4. Find the two lengths of ribbon. Center one length along the cut edge of each vinyl piece. The ends of the ribbon will extend beyond the vinyl just a bit. The edge of the ribbon should be flush with the cut edge of the vinyl. Pin the ribbon in place.
  5. Re-thread the machine if necessary with thread to match the ribbon or clear thread. We used clear thread in the top and all purpose thread to match the ribbon in the bobbin. 
  6. Edgestich each length of ribbon in place along its outer edge - not the inside edge that is flush with the cut edge of the vinyl. 
  7. Trim the excess ribbon ends flush with the vinyl.
  8. Find the zipper. place it right side up and closed on your work surface. 
  9. Place the larger ribbon-trimmed vinyl piece along the bottom of the zipper. Place the smaller ribbon-trimmed vinyl piece along the top of the zipper. The ribbon should be ⅛" - ¼" away from the zipper teeth. The panels should be centered between (and just inside of) the bottom and top zipper metal stops. Pin the panels in place.
  10. Edgestitch along the inner edge of each ribbon, following the zipper teeth. 
    NOTE: Start with the zipper half way open. Stitch to the middle, where 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 vinyl and ribbon and finish sewing to the end. 

Layer and bind

  1. Place the the fused back panel wrong side up and flat on your work surface.
  2. Place the front panel right side up on top of the back panel. The two panels are now wrong sides together and the interfacing is sandwiched between the layers.
  3. Place the vinyl/ribbon/zipper panel right side up on top of these two layers. The front panel fabric will show through the vinyl. Pin the layers together. It's best to pin along the ribbons. Trim the fabric to match the vinyl if needed.
  4. Topstitch across the bottom end of the zipper, staying just inside the metal stop. This creates a new stop.
  5. When done, trim away the excess bottom tail of zipper so the zipper is flush with the vinyl panel.
  6. At the zipper top, unzip to move the pull out of the way and trim away the excess top zipper tape. 
  7. Find the fold-over elastic. Starting at the center bottom of the pouch, and leaving a 2" head, wrap the elastic around the layers, pinning in place as you go. Wrap across the bottom, around the curve of the corner, and up to the top right corner. Stop at this corner.
  8. Re-thread the machine with thread to match the elastic in the top and bobbin.
  9. Starting at the center bottom, edgestitch the fold-over elastic in place through all the layers. Stop at the top right corner where the pins stop. Lock your stitch. 
  10. Remove the pouch from under the needle. Fold the elastic at a diagonal to create a pretty corner, pin in place. Continue wrapping and pinning across the top of the pouch. Stop at the top left corner. 
  11. Replace the pouch under the presser foot, dropping the needle at the exact stopping point of the previous seam. 
  12. Edgestitch the fold-over elastic in place across the top of the pouch. Stop at the top left corner where the pins stop. Lock your stitch.
  13. Remove the pouch from under the needle. As above, fold the elastic to create a neat diagonal corner. Wrap and pin the elastic around the remainder of the pouch. Pin up to approximately 1½" from your starting point. Leave a 2" tail. 
  14. Edgestitch the fold-over elastic in place around the remainder of the pouch. Stop approximately 1½" from your original starting point where the pins stop. Lock your stitch.

    NOTE:
    For the neatest look, use a locking stitch rather than a traditional backstitch. If your machine does not have this feature, you could also leave the thread tails long and hand knot to secure then trim the tails flush with the stitching.
  15. Place the elastic binding's head and tail against the pouch so it lays flat. Mark the point where the two ends come together. Pin the ends together at a right angle at this point.
  16. Because you are working with elastic. Your seam needs to be slightly inside this marked point. Stitch across the ends at a diagonal. This will require a little twisting to get the binding to lay flat.
  17. Trim away the excess elastic about ⅛" from the seam.
  18. Wrap the finished fold-over elastic around the center bottom of the panel and pin in place.
  19. Edgestitch the elastic in place, precisely matching your new seam with the previous seams. 
  20. Find the eyelet grommet. Mark it's position in the upper left corner of the pouch. 
  21. Insert the grommet through all the layers. 
    NOTE: If you are new to this techique, we have a good tutorial on installing metal grommets. This is an "eyelet grommet," which is smaller than the grommets shown in the tutorial, but the insertion steps are the same. 
  22. Thread the thin ribbon through the hole in the zipper pull and knot to secure (similar to looping a gift tag into place).
  23. Slip your favorite hardware through the grommet so you have a handy way to secure the pouch to another bag or to clip a key or tag. We used three options; each worked and looked great.
  24. A simple ball chain loop.
  25. A split ring.
  26. A carabiner.

Contributors

Project Design: Alicia Thommas  
Sample Creation: Debbie Guild

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Comments (8)

Stephanie H said:
Stephanie H's picture

I love your pouches and your tutorial is great. This is next on my list of things to sew. Why did you use elastic rather than bias tape?

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

@ Stephanie H - We liked the stretchiness of the elastic to go around the vinyl; it seemed a bit "friendlier" to work with than traditional bias tape. 

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

@ doro von Hand zu Hand - glad you enjoyed. Thank you for sharing it with your blog visitors and correctly adding our name and a link back!

onel {Onelmon: Crafting Experiments} said:
onel {Onelmon: Crafting Experiments}'s picture

This is so pretty!! Thanks a lot for the tutorial!

Impressed said:
Impressed's picture

I was actually getting ready to sew a see-through pouch I bought some months ago but was hesitant to start.  Up pops your brilliant tutorial, the timing couldn't be better.   I willl certainly give yours a go - you make it all look so easy.  Thank you.

ska said:
ska's picture

I have been planning to make a bag like this & this saves me so much time! Thanks!

Jane Coombs said:
Jane Coombs's picture

Recently I made five pouches using one of your previous  tutorials. I used a glue stick instead of pins to stabilize the zipper.

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