Saturday, February 5, 2011

Tutorial - French Seamed Pencil Pouch

There's a few tutorials like this out there on the interwebs, but these pouches are great and I love to share, so here's mine!

First, gather your materials! You can tell that I do a lot of guesstimating when I cut, very naughty of me!

You will need:
  • 2 fabrics - one for the outside and one for the lining. I've used a cotton print and some calico.
  • 1 zip - longer than your intended pouch width.
  • Optional embellishments - I've pictured 3 fabric covered buttons but only ended up using 2 of them.

You will need fabric rectangles as follows (cut one of each from the lining fabric AND outside fabric): 
  • Back - large rectangle - size that you wish your completed pouch to be plus seam allowance. I made mine approximately A5 size plus a 1 inch seam allowance, since we're doing a French seam.
  • Front Bottom - medium sized rectangle (see diagram below)
  • Front Top - long, skinny rectangle (see diagram below)

This diagram shows how I work out the size for the medium and skinny rectangles when I've decided on the pouch size:

Construct the zippered front
I like to start with the Front Bottom pieces, as they're easier to hold out of the way when adding the smaller Front Top pieces, but it doesn't really matter which order you do it in.

Take your lining and outer fabric pieces for the Front Bottom and sandwich them, wrong sides facing outwards, with the zipper in the middle. See how it's all lined up at the top? Pin it all in place, pinning below the zipper makes it easier to sew.

Now, using a zipper foot on your sewing machine, sew the sandwich of fabrics and zipper together, above the zipper ;)

First bit done!

When you fold it back it should look like this :)

Next, repeat with the Top Front pieces. Sandwich the other side of the zip between the two pieces of fabric and pin it down, like so:

If you're anything like me, it can't hurt to double check that everything is pinned correctly before sewing ;)

Looking good! Sew that bad boy down.

Good-o. When you fold the flap of fabric back, you should now have this:

Starting to look like a pencil pouch already! Top stitch down both sides of the zipper. I like to press the fabric down first to make sure it stays nice and neat. Make sure you backstitch at both ends on both sides.

If you're sloppy like me, it's probably a good idea to trim your fabric so that the lining and the outer fabrics are the same size! Don't cut through your zip yet though. If you have to do this step, you'll end up with something like this:

Embellish it, baby!
If you haven't already, now is the time to embellish your pencil pouch. I added a few buttons in the bottom left corner. Right at the end I decided I didn't like the green button and I took it off! I'm a dork like that 0_o

Put it all together
Sandwich the sewn front section and the lining and outer fabrics for the back together. Make sure the fabrics are facing the way you want them to be on the finished pouch, i.e. printed side of the outer fabric facing out, and lining facing in! Pin it all together.

Yes, I really do mean to have the right sides facing out! We're doing a French seam, so these messy raw edges will be hidden inside very soon!

It's very important that you open the zip up slightly before you sew! Sew right around the outside, backstitching over the zip at both ends for added strength. See how the zip pull is inside the line of stitching? ;) Good work!

Trim off the ends of the zip and trim the fabric as close to the stitching as you dare ;) It should look like this:

Now, clip those corners (I forgot to take a photo, sorry!). Cut each corner diagonally, being careful not to snip your stitching. This leaves less material to bunch up in the corners of your French seams. 

Turn your pouch inside out. Now it's time to hide those raw edges!

Optional step! Add a pull tab
If you want to add a tab to your pencil pouch, get a strip of coordinating fabric, fold it in half and sew it into a tube, open at both ends is fine.

Turn it right side out.

Now fold it in half and tuck it into the side of your inside-out pouch. Butt the raw end of your tab as close to the edge as you can, and pin it in place, like so:

Finish the French Seam
With your pouch inside out, top stitch around the entire edge. You want to stitch far enough in from the edge so that the raw edges on the other side are caught inside the newly sewn seam and the tab is sewn into place. You will probably find this easiest if you press everything before you sew.

When it's done, unpin the tab, turn it right side out again and it should look like this on the inside...

... and this on the outside! Whoo! Go you clever thing! It looks fab :D

If you like this one, it's in my MadeIt store :)


Anonymous said...

Great tutorial. My daughter would love one of these.

Jessica @ My World ~ Made By Hand

Rissa said...

Thanks Jessica! I'm glad you like it!

Suzanne said...

I'm so intimidated by zippers but you make it look easy. Thanks!

Rissa @ Hazel and Honeysuckle said...

I was too at first, but they're not so bad! The best tip I was given was to actually use the zipper foot on the sewing machine ;) What a radical idea, hehe!

Macey at Olivia Renn said...

Thanks so much for linking up on Olivia Renn!
If you ever want to guest post or do a giveaway (you have some great things in your shop!) let me know! Hope to see you again next week!

Rissa @ Hazel and Honeysuckle said...

Thanks Olivia! I have a few things in the works for the store, I might have to contact you to work something out when I've done that!

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