Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Handmade Holidays - a simple pouch

This year, I will be putting three little gadgets into a stocking, and needed a way to package them up. Something the gadgets could be kept in all the time, something handy, so I decided to make these little drawstring pouches, with a tab on the side (for a caribeener)  to clip onto a belt.

Originally, I wasn't going to share this little tutorial, thinking it was just too basic.  Then I thought that maybe some of my readers don't have experience sewing and a tutorial for an easy peasy and basically free project might be just the ticket to get someone started, so here we go.  
You could use any fabric you want for this, but if you are a beginner, and don't want to start a fabric stash right away, consider this:  I cut the legs off of a pair of outgrown toddler pants that were too worn out to donate to the thrift store.  The back side of the leg was still in great condition (after all, how often do you wear out the back of the pant leg?) and just the size I needed for one pouch.
I used a rotary cutter, a straight edge, and a cutting matt.  These are great investment if you plan on doing more and more of your own sewing, but a pencil and ruler with a pair of scissors will do the job as well.
I cut a rectangle from the fabric: 5" x 11" for mine but you can aIf you don't have a serger, you can zig zag stitch the edges, or leave them plain if you are not terribly concerned about your fabric fraying (jersey knit, wool, fleece, faux suede etc).
This will give you nice neat tidy edges on the inside.  If you are a beginner, you may scoff at the idea of putting in an extra step before you even start sewing, but the longer your pieces last, the more inclined you will be to actually stick with it.
 I also cut a piece for a tab.  You can omit this entirely, or use a piece of ribbon for your tab instead if you choose.  That's the beauty of using what you have on hand, right?  If you are not going to serge the ends, sew along the long side and one short side of the tab (my piece was about 2 1/2" x 4", and then folded in half).  Then turn it inside out.  If you are are going to serge the ends, you can just sew along the long side, turn it inside out, and then serge the ends afterwards.
 To turn it inside out, you need to fold the open end over the rest of your "tube" and pull bit by bit until the inside works its way out.
 Sometimes near the end it helps to stick something in there to poke your corners out.  A crochet hook, a dull pencil, a bamboo skewer, whatever fits.

Ok, now to assemble the bag.  Fold your rectangle in half, right sides together, lining up the edges neatly.  You can pin it in place  if you want.  Sew along one side of the bag only, leaving a 1/4" seam allowance.  Because I expect these bags to get very heavy use, I decided to put in a double seam - along the red lines in the picture above.
 Fold down the top edge of your bag to determine how much space you are going to need for your drawstring.  I used a shoelace, so 1/2" opening is ample in my case.
Sometimes it is helpful to mark your spacing with a pen.  In this case, it will also help you with the positioning for your tab, if you are putting one in.
Slide your tab in between the two right sides of the fabric, facing into the bag.  Once you are done and turn the bag right side out, the tab will be on the outside.
 Now, sew up the second side of the bag, leaving an opening where you marked your space for the drawstring.  You can't see the tab here, but it is just to the right of the opening.
When you roll over your top edge, the opening should be just inside your hem.  Sew around the top, being sure to sew below your opening, but above your tab.  
 Turn your bag right side out.  To put the drawstring through, I always find it much easier to insert if I attach a safety pin to the lace/ribbon/elastic.
Insert the drawstring through the opening, and guess what - you are done!  That wasn't so overwhelming now was it?
Pat yourself on the back.  

How is your handmade holiday making coming along?  Anything you would like to share?

                         needle and Thread at in the Heart of my Home
                         Fiber Arts Friday at Wisdom Begins in Wonder
                         Creative Friday at Natural Suburbia
                         Make it Monday at Brassy Apple
                         The Backyard Farming Connection's permanent link-up 


  1. Nice tutorial, thank you! I plan to have as much of a handmade holiday as possible - so far, I've made some dishcloths and winter wear. Homemade gifts are the best, I think! :)

  2. What a great idea for an old pair of pants. Well done. :)

  3. It's a great tutorial...especially the little tab...genius! XXO-

  4. That tutorial is great! Now, to learn how to sew in a straight line ;-)

  5. What a great idea! I wish I wanted to haul out my machine to make one, but, no. LOL

  6. Great tutorial. That would be very helpful to new sewers! Thank you for joining the Stash Bash