Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Over the weekend, I finally got around to doing something I've been wanting to do for a long time:  making zippered pouches.

I've been pinning various tutorials for different styles of bags for over a year, but I kept putting off actually making any.  They always seem to have so many steps, and I don't always have the mental energy to follow along.  Sadly, I wasn't able to figure it out on my own - and believe me, I spent a fair amount of time trying to do so!

Last Friday I finally got some time to sew, and decided I wanted to make something small rather than start a garment.  So I looked through my pins, and pulled up all the tutorials on zippered bags.  Bad idea - I was quickly overwhelmed!  Finally, I decided to just pick one website and make one bag to start with.  I picked Noodlehead

What a great choice!  This lady has a bunch of very easy-to-follow tutorials for designs I find useful.  She also has some lovely PDF patterns - I'm likely going to buy the Envelope Clutch pattern.

One of my goals in making these bags is to use up some of my scraps, so I started out with the Scrappy Makeup Pouch.  And scrappy is right - these bags can be pieced with very small bits of fabric.  Since I also have a lot of quilt batting leftovers, I used that instead of interfacing.  (Actually, this bag calls for batting.)  I used bits of fabric of random sizes to piece the front and back, but did cut them to the dimensions given in the tutorial.  Here's my first finished bag:

Perfect for holding my crochet hooks!

Chuffed by my success, I decided to make a second bag, so I got out my last bit of velveteen left over from the skirt, and some magenta corduroy.  I decided to get all fancy and add a D-ring and handle.  This one also used batting instead of interfacing.  Boy, did that take a herculean effort to sew through all those thick layers!

Same construction as the first bag, but not pieced.

On Saturday, I did indeed work on my quilt, but I couldn't leave well enough alone, and decided to try out the tutorial for the Open Wide Zipper Pouch.  Anna has made a really great chart showing three sizes for this bag, and even the sizes to cut the pieces for a constrast bottom!  I love this bag - it is perfect for knitting projects, as the top really does open wide!  For this one, I used fusible fleece to give the bag more structure.

I made the medium size, which uses a 12" zipper.

Sunday, I got up bright and early and headed off to JoAnn's to pick up some heavy interfacing.  When I got back, I tried out the Lil' Cutie tutorial.  This is such a practical little bag - just big enough for some cash and your keys, and a phone if it's not too big.  My phone is too big, so next time I make one of these I'll make it about an inch bigger each way.

This whistle keyring was the only one I had in the house!

I really had a blast making these bags, and I know I'll be making a lot more of them in the future.  I'm also very glad to have finally gotten over my apprehension about it.  Once I did it, it really made sense and now I feel kind of silly for being scared of these little projects!  It got me to thinking about how what is easy for one person can be confounding for another! 

Those of you who sew, have you ever made any of these?


  1. Ooh, I love your zippered pouches. I aspire to sew more (oh, who am I kidding ... I didn't sew at all last year) and pouches like these are at the top of my "to do" list. Thanks for the links -- I hope they'll help me get over my apprehension, too.

    1. Hehehe - I saw your pin about bag-making resources this morning! You should give it a try! I think these tutorials are very beginner-friendly.

  2. I've never made a zippered pouch! I always feel like I'm too clumsy to make small, fiddly things (and I'm scared of installing zippers that short). Is it difficult (or worse, tedious)?

    1. For me, it was fun rather than tedious. And when I was finished, I felt like, "Gosh, what was I so scared of? That was easy!"

      I've never had trouble with zippers. (See - something that a lot of people find difficult! But ask me to deal with a lining and I freak out!) But I would say that these aren't any different than any other zipper installation. The shortest any of these tutorials use is 8" - same as you'd use for a skirt or pants. I only had 12" zippers, so I cut them down: after sewing, which made it much less scary!

  3. Oh, yes, Gail. Have made a number of them.

    You may remember, I buy zippers by the room. (Enough for ~11 zips or so.)
    these make terrific gifts as well.

    There always scraps in my Stash.

    Your bags have inspired me to bring out my bag making notions.
    There are several rolls of zips! Bright lime, hot pink, basic black, tan, white

    There is even some 'pet screen' in this Stash.

    Of course, you've provided several more intriguing links.


  4. Oh those are adorable! I cannot believe how quickly you were able to whip those up, they would be perfect for storing knitting odds and ends. I want to try the Lil' Cutie, I'll definitely be pinning that one.

  5. Your bags look great and I particularly like the open wide one. Have also been sewing a few zippered purses this year. I'm still not 100% sure my zips are perfect but I decided it was time to overcome my fear of them and just get on with it. I figure if I make them they can sit in the 'present box' or the dreaded 'fete box' and yes, I have a heap of scrap so it's good to put that to some use.

  6. All your zippered pouches look great - and what a great way to use up scraps! I may have made one or two zippered pouches in my life...

  7. Yes! I love zippered pouches, and funny enough, they were a veeery early project for me, one of my first actually. Making lots of those really gave me "zipper confidence" too, so that I wasn't trembling when I came across zippers with garments. :) Love Noodlehead's tutorials!

  8. I love these, they're all so cute! The fabrics you've used are all awesome, I particularly like the one you've got your crochet hooks in. I haven't made anything like this, although they're on my list of things to sew. For some reason they never seem to make it up the queue past garments. I really should have a go though, I've just realised they would be the perfect use for zips of unusual colours that I've picked up from op shops that are otherwise going to sit in a shoebox for ever more.

  9. I like this a lot:
    what is easy for one person can be confounding for another!

    Your bags are real cute! I love making bags, though I haven't made any zippered pouches (not yet ... *ominous music*), and they don't scare me at all. But dresses! eek! dresses! (I am overcoming this fear!)

    I especially love your velvet one!

    1. "what is easy for one person can be confounding for another!" - this is something I really focused on when I was teaching. We tend to compare ourselves to others, often to our own detriment. But I think it's more beneficial to realize we all have both strengths and weaknesses, and to appreciate our strengths and work on our weaknesses.

      *stepping off soapbox!*

    2. Hmmmmmmm,
      Gail, what you say has me thinking. . . .
      What I say or think - compare my capabilities
      Do do so with the thought that I am not the smarter or the more creative/talented of people
      That my range is about average
      So when I can accomplish a particular task
      Most everyone else would also.
      And I'd like to believe that I work on my weaknesses


    3. I agree: I think most of us are average! We just all have different ways of thinking.

      I used to run into this a lot with the children: a child would be upset, e.g. thinking they "couldn't do" math when it was so easy for another, but forgetting that they may be great at writing, when the math-oriented child found writing to be difficult!

    4. I suppose accentuating the positive does go a long way,
      Perhaps that's what spurs us on to do more, learn more.

      Thanks for the come back


  10. oh my gosh - i can't resist a bag, let alone a little zipped one. Stop me NOW!
    I love that wide open one - it is fantastic! And the Velvet one - I adore that fabric. I must get some.

  11. I love your fabric choices for these bags - they're all so pretty!! Must make some :)

  12. your bags are really cute!! this is typically the kind of project I mean to undertake all the time but it keeps being removed for the top of the list by garment sewing! which is slightly stupid because these little bags can be very useful and are rewarding..

  13. These bags are excellent! You used cute fabric for each one. Are these more intermediate projects?

    1. No, I'd call this a beginner project. Even though there's a zipper, it's not hard to install, and the instructions make everything really clear.


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