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  • Irina

Made simple: a scrappy patchwork zipper pouch

Scraps... This is something that always inspires me and gives satisfaction to sew. My scrap basket is just like a magic pot - the more I use it the more scraps I end up with. Last summer I made a promise - to sew as much as I can from my scraps. I have made many different things - potholders, placemats, coasters, mug rugs, face wipes, bags. But zipper pouch is something I keep making over and over and never get tired of. I made my own pattern and I am glad to share it with you in this tutorial.

This is a perfect scrap busting project, I used scraps of fabric, batting and even scrappy binding.

What you need

- assorted scraps of quilting cotton

- 2 pieces of batting - approx. 11 1 /2" x 9 1 /2" (29.2 x 24.1 cm)

- a piece of quilting cotton for lining - 10 1/2" x 17 1/2" (26,7 x 44.5 cm)

Cut out the lining as 1 piece (fold the short sides of fabric right sides together and place the bottom of the template on the fold)

- 2 strips for binding 2" x 17" (5,1 x 43,2 cm), preferably cut on bias since the template has curves

- 2 pieces for closing strips 2’’ x 4 1 /2’’ (5,1 x 11,4 cm)

- an18 inch zipper. It is possible to use a 14 inch zipper but you would need to add 2 tabs to both ends of the zipper (cut 2 pieces for the tabs 4" x width of the zipper). Shorter zipper option might be too difficult to attach for beginners (see notes in the text below).

- Stitch in the ditch foot for sewing machine (optional)

*All seam allowances are 1/4”, unless otherwise noted.

The template includes seam allowances.

Please, read all the instructions before you start sewing.

1. Draw the template

Drawing the template is extremely easy, so easy that It will take only 5 minutes.

Fold a piece of paper in half lengthwise. Mark the first line 1/4 inch from the bottom and mark lines at 2 1/2", 5" and 8" from the bottom. If you are using A4 paper the 8 inch line should be right at the top.

Mark reference points on 5" line - 4" from central fold, on 2 1/2" line - 5" from central fold and draw a line through reference points from 2 1/2" line to 8" line.

Mark the cut outs (I marked them in red) - draw a vertical line between bottom line and the line at 2 1/2" at 5" mark from the fold, measure 1 1/4"to the left and draw a 1 1/2" high line, then connect it with 5" mark on 2 1/2" line.

Now take any round household object (I used a glass) to draw a curve at the top.

Simply cut the template along the lines with center on fold and your template is ready!

2. Making patchwork exterior

Piece your batting scraps together using zig zag to make 2 panels (11 1 /2" x 9 1 /2"). If you don´t want to use batting scraps then simply cut 2 batting panels to size.

Trace the template on the batting.

I have made many pouches and I learnt that randomly scrappy layout does not work for me. I call my method for picking scraps "controlled scrappy". First I pick an inspirational scrap - the one that I want my color palette to be based on. Then I simply pick scraps that work well with that piece. I have them in a pile on the table on the left from my sewing machine, so I can easily pick them and cut to size.

For this pouch, I chose a scrap of Lappuliisa fabric by Marimekko and I decided to use mainly scraps in shades of blue.

Place the first scrap right above the cut out on the template on the right that will form bottom of the pouch (I traced the template in black so you can see). Quilt in straight lines.

Align the next scrap (wrong side up) with the right edge of the first scrap and stitch them together with 1/4 inch seam allowance. This is a well known Quilt As You Go (QAYG) method.

Fold the second scrap to the right, finger press the seam and quilt with straight lines in the opposite direction. When I quilt, I don´t have the needle in the down position as it is easier just to stitch one line, then lift the foot, turn the piece around and go the opposite way. I don´t even cut the thread off between the lines, just lift the piece so the thread is kind of loose before I start the next line.

Add the next scrap to the bottom, then to the left edge, then to the top. Just add scraps like in the log cabin block going counterclockwise. Keep adding the pieces until you have all the template covered. If your scraps are not big enough you can piece a few scraps together to get the desired size.

Make another patchwork panel in the same way. It is possible to make the patchwork exterior as 1 piece, but in my opinion when you make 2 pieces you can have more options for arranging your scraps so you can make a really fun patchwork combinations.

Pin the template and add 1/4 inch seam allowance to the bottom only (cut with the ruler). You can trace the template with water soluble marker first or cut out with scissors without tracing using the template as a guide.

Place the patchwork panels right sides together and stitch the bottom with 1/4 inch seam allowance. Iron or finger press the seam open and stitch on both sides 1/8" from the seam so it lays flat..

Place the lining wrong side to the batting and pin it to the exterior in few places, so it does not shift. Then stitch around the patchwork panel with 1/8" seam allowance to secure your quilting and attach the lining

2. Attaching the zipper

First, we are going to attach the binding to the pouch body. Preferably, binding should be cut on bias so it can stretch and wrap nicely around the curves. I also tested binding that was not cut on bias and it worked ok but it requires you to be more careful with ironing it once it is attached.

Place the binding on the curved part of the exterior and align the raw edges. You can use clips to hold the binding in place but I prefer to pin only at the beginning and sew without clips but having needle in the down position all the time and adjust the binding placement if needed as I go. Attach the binding to another side of the pouch.

Iron the binding towards the lining (the same way you do on your quilts).

Stitch the binding by hand to the lining.

If you are using an 18 inch zipper, skip this part!

If you are using 14 inch zipper, cut 2 zipper tabs to size, iron 3/8 inches from the top and bottom of the long side. Then iron the tab in half.

Attach the tabs to both ends of the zipper.

To attach zipper I use clear Stitch-in-the-ditch foot. You can see where you are going and the guide at the bottom helps you to stitch as close to the binding as possible.

Open the zipper all the way to the end. Place the end of the zipper tab to the end of binding and align the bottom of zipper teeth right above the binding. Pin it in place.

If you are using 18 inch zipper, then place the end of the zipper teeth 1/2" from the end of the binding (the photo shows 16 inch zipper as I did not have a longer one).

Attach the zipper to one side of the exterior using Stitch in the ditch foot and secure the stitches at the beginning and the end. I pin the zipper just in few places. When I stitch, I go slowly and make sure that the bottom of zipper teeth is right above the binding and it is easy to re-adjust if necessary if the clips are not too close to each other.

Look how neat and close to the binding the stitching is.

Keep the zipper open and attach it to the other side in the same way if you are using 18 inch zipper (start from the open end ). Close the zipper 1/4 way from the bottom and trim the excess.

If you are using 14 inch zipper with tabs, keep the zipper open and pin it to the other side of the pouch. Here is the tricky part. We will start stitching from the middle of the top and go all the way down to one side first. Go really slow, especially when you come closer to the tabs . There is no way to pin them in place with clips. The only way you can pin them is with pins only. It is kind of uncomfortable to sew, but doable and at least you can see how you need to position the teeth. Then attach the other half of the zipper.

3. Finishing the pouch

Turn the pouch inside out. Close the zipper 1/4 way. On both sides align the center of pouch bottom with the center of the zipper part and pin. Stitch 1/4 inch from the edge.

Take the closing strip piece and mark the center on the long side by folding it in half.

If you hold the pouch as in the photo above, place the strip under the pouch bottom (wrong side of the strip faces cutting mat and raw edges aligned) matching the middle mark with the middle of the zipper. Stitch 3/8 inches from the edge securing your stitches in the beginning and at the end). Fold the short sides first then the long side to close the raw edges and pin.

Top stitch 1/4 inch from the fold securing the stitches in the beginning and at the end.

Turn the pouch right side out. It is ready! The finished size is 6" tall x 7 3/4" wide at the bottom x 4" inches deep.

I think this is a great and rather simple way to use the scraps. You can add a small patchwork panel or an orphan block instead of inspirational scrap. In the pouch pictured below I used 2 small patchwork panels in rainbow colors, one of them I placed on point.

Or you can attach 2 D-rings to the front (before adding the lining) with pieces of upcycled leather, add a strap and turn your pouch into a small cross body bag.

I hope you get inspired to start using your scraps and sew something beautiful! If you you make a pouch using this tutorial, please, tag me @nordiccrafter on IG and use hashtag #nordiccrafterpatterns, so I can admire your work! And just one note - this pattern is for personal use only.

Happy stitching!

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Jun 02, 2023

I'm absolutely loving your sewing tutorial! In fact, I loved it so much that I couldn't resist featuring it (with proper credit) on Crafts on Display, a thriving community of fellow crafting enthusiasts. You can check it out right here - I hope you enjoy it, and please keep up the amazing work!

Irina Malyukova
Irina Malyukova
Aug 03, 2023
Replying to

Thank you so much for sharing and your kind words about my work!

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