There never seems to be enough space to put everything where you can find it—ever. Disappearing hair elastics when you’re headed to the gym, pencils before a math test or just a deck of cards when you’re hanging out with friends. The solution? Compact, zipped cases to corral all your easy-to-lose items.
Zippered, square-bottom pouches keep tiny things secure and organized. With only a few simple sewing skills needed, you can quickly and easily make enough pouches for almost anything, especially at about $4 each.
The instructions for the pouches are listed in three different sizes. Makeup cases are at 7 inches by 6 inches, a 14-inch by 12-inch pouch can hold a curling iron and brushes and a 21-inch by 18-inch is big enough to stash a pair of flat shoes on days when wearing heels might not have been a good idea.
The fabric for this project is a quilting cotton fat quarter—a precut 18-inch by 21-inch rectangle. This will make two of the smallest size, or one of the largest size will use the entire piece with no waste.
Other fabrics can be used in place of the fat quarter; buy 1/4 yard for the small size and 1/3 yard for the bigger ones. Use burlap or wool for a sturdy, rustic case good for small tools like scissors and staplers, or try fancy brocade to store jewelry.
Zippers are fun and easy closures to make any project more professional and functional. Contrasting or coordinating colors work well, but also try checking out resale and thrift shops for edgy vintage metal ones (just zip them up and down a few times to make sure they work).
For an extra sturdy case, try making a simple lining. Cut a second pouch from a different fabric and stack it with the first, wrong sides facing together. Continue with the zipper, being careful to get all the layers. Using a thicker fabric for the outside layer and a thinner one on the inside works best so things don’t get bulky.
A pouch filled with little presents makes a great gift. Try filling one with chocolates, fancy teas, nail polish or even sewing supplies. Fabric paint, sequins, patches or stick-on embellishments like metal studs and crystals make cases unique and personal.
The lower corners are turned in and stitched to “box out” the
bottom so the pouch can sit upright. This step can be skipped to get a completely functional square, flat case if desired.
For a tutorial on basic sewing, visit www.coatsandclark.com/Crafts/Sewing/Howtos/Hand Sewing.htm
1 fabric fat quarter
Zipper (7 inches for small, 14 inches for medium or 21 inches for large)
Thread to match
1. For a small pouch, cut fabric in an 8-inch by 7-inch square. For a medium pouch, cut fabric in a 15-inch by 13-inch square.
2. For all sizes—fold down 1/2 inch from each wide end (8-inch end, 15-inch end, etc). Crease the fold with your fingernail or a ruler, going over the fold several times to make a crisp crease.
3. Unzip zipper. Line up one of the folded ends to the zipper, holding the fold right beneath the zipper teeth. Stitch zipper in place, sewing through the fold and the zipper edging.
4. Bring up other folded edge and stitch to the second side of the zipper. Zip it up to be sure it’s spaced correctly, then unzip it halfway. Turn case inside out so the right sides face in.
5. Sew open sides together. At this point, you have a basic square case. Turn inside out so right sides are facing out.
6. Using your fingers, tuck lower corners inside case and flat against the bottom, adjusting as needed so both sides are even. Stitch across folds to secure.
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