Vinyl Project Pouch- Free Hand Bird
Project by Sally Boylett
Disclaimer!! These pouches are really addictive once you start making them!! I hope you love making them as much as I do.
I have about 8 now, and it’s still not enough! They are very simple to make, so easy to adapt to whatever size or shape you need and are REALLY useful for embroidery hoops, English paper piecing projects, small foundation paper piecing pattern pieces etc. I have one in my car with me, with a project inside for whenever I’m going to have to wait (watching the kids playing football, at the doctors’ surgery for example) so that I can use that time to craft!
Here’s how to make them :
Large pouch : 14” wide x 14” tall
Small pouch : 11½” wide x 11½”
(The pouches can be made to the size you want)
You will need
Wadding cut to the 1” bigger than the size pouch you want.
Fabric – for the front and for the top and bottom of the zippers.
Fabric for the back which should be cut to the same size as your wadding.
Fabric – for the binding. Because they are all straight sides, this does not need to be on the bias, so you can use the same fabric as you are using for your pouch, cut into 2.5” strips and joined together (as shown).
Zipper – at least 2” longer than the width of your wadding
Vinyl – cut to approx. 3” – 4” shorter than your wadding height – but I suggest cutting this once you’ve made your front/back panel.
For both of my pouches, I decided that I wanted to use bits of all the fabrics I had from the co-ordinating range of Craft Cotton Co fabrics. These ones are Freehand Bird.
1. Iron your fabric – I always use starch when ironing fabric which I’m going to cut. I find it gives a crisper finish (and it’s the way my Nan taught me, and who wouldn’t do what their Nan teaches them!).
2. I then cut my fabric into 2½ “ strips x WOF (width of fabric) I cut one strip from each fabric I had (5 different patterns).
3. I then cut the strips into 2½” squares and laid them out on the table how in the order I wanted them.
4. I sewed the squares together using a scant ¼” seam into rows.
5. On each row, I made sure to press the seams in opposite direction to the previous row (i.e top row seams to the left, second row seams to the right, third row to the left and so on). This helps the rows to “nest” together when you sew them.
6. I clip the rows together, nesting the seams – they feel like they slot together. This means that you should end up with straight squares and not wonky lines. (However, this is timely moment to remind you there is no such thing as the Quilt Police (!) so if your seams don’t match exactly, does it really matter!) Mine have mostly lined up, but a few are a couple of mm’s off – and I’m honestly not going to lose any sleep over it.
7. Continue sewing the rows together until you have your quilted piece.
8. As you can see on the back of this piece – the seams going in alternate directions helps it to lay flat.
9. Put the patchwork fabric onto your wadding – there should be excess wadding around the edges to allow for the movement of the fabric as you are quilting it, and also because you are going to put the backing fabric on at the same time, (which is cut the same size as your wadding) to definitely line up with the front piece.
10. You are quilting your front and back panels at the same time.
11. Start quilting your panel however you like. On the smaller one of mine, I sewed along every seam, ¼” in, creating a chequered quilting effect. On the larger one, I quilted diagonally, corner to corner and measured over 2½” for the next row of quilting.
12. Trim up the panel, cutting off any excess wadding.
13. Then increase your stitch length (I did mine to 3.0) and sew 1/8” in from the edge. This is called stay stitch and it will ensure that the edge of your fabric do not roll.
Preparing the Zip:
1. Do not be worried about this at all. I promise it’s very easy. This is why we have a longer zip than the width of our panel.
2. Cut your zip covering fabric at 3 ½” wide by the length of your zip (For the eagle eyed amongst you, you’ll see that mine is slightly narrower – I should have cut it wider, but for some reason didn’t!).
3. Mark the centre of one strip of your fabric and the centre of your zip. I do this by folding in half and pushing a pin in (as per photo).
4. Line up the fabric and zip with the right side of the fabric facing down, and your zipper pull to the left. Pin/clip in place.
5. Using a zipper foot, sew the zipper down one side – moving the pull to start and then when you get close to the puller, with your needle in the down position, lift your foot up and slide the zipper pull to the top. This helps to get straight seams on the zip.
6. Iron the zip on the front – then top stitch along the very edge of the fabric to secure.
The second part of the zipper is done slightly differently.
1. Get your other piece of fabric, and fold the long edges in a very scant ¼” along both sides.
2. Fold this piece in half and place the vinyl into this piece, ensuring that the top of the vinyl is at the top of the fabric, in the crease. Clip in place. NB. Do NOT use pins on the vinyl! It will make holes and they will not go away (I’ve placed tissue behind this, just to show this step clearly).
3. Using a non-stick foot (if you have one) or your zipper foot, carefully sew along the bottom edge of the fabric, thereby securing it to the vinyl.
NOTE: as you can see, my vinyl is very wavy – please do NOT be tempted to iron it! It will melt and create one heck of a mess on your ironing board and the soleplate of your iron! It will flatten out, in the final part of the project.
4. Using the same method as above, get your zipper and sew it to the fabric/vinyl panel.
5. Now place the zipper/vinyl panel onto your quilted panel with the top of the fabric/zip lined up to the top of the quilted panel.
NOTE: as you can see, my zipper fabric and the vinyl is much bigger than the quilted panel. This is done on purpose so that I can cut off the excess of both to get a much better fit.
6. Clip (do not pin) all the way around your panel as best you can. If you can only do it at the top and on one side, that’s fine (mine is done only on two sides). Flip the panel over, press down on it using your hands and trim up the excess. Then clip the rest of the way round.
7. Again using a non-stick foot (or by putting a very thing piece of tissue paper over the top of the vinyl) sew all the way around the pouch. I used a ¼” seam. You will find that the vinyl moves and seems to grow bigger, all I do is very firmly push the vinyl flat as I am sewing it – even if it goes over the edge of the panel, to ensure it’s flat. Remember at the beginning I said my vinyl was wavy – it’s at this stage, sewing it on to the quilted panel, that we make it as flat as we can.
8. Your pouch is nearly finished.
As the project pouch is square, it only has straight sides. Therefore it is not necessary to use bias binding. We can use binding which we cut from our fabric.
Please note, that there loads and loads of ways of attaching binding. I prefer to machine sew mine on the front of the pouch and then hand sew it at the back. But if you want to machine sew it both sides, of course, that’s perfectly fine too. (Again, it’s my Nan …!)
Measure around all 4 edges of your finished pouch. This is important as you need to know what length of binding you will need. When you have measured it (mine were : large 60” and small 48”) you need to add a minimum of 10” of fabric. I made mine at 70” and 58” long.
I always cut mine at 2½” wide by the WOF (width of fabric).Again, because we are only sewing it on to straight edges, we can literally sew the strips together by placing right sides together and using a ¼” seam, sewing them together (it does not need to be done diagonally).
I do not iron my binding. This was a trick I learned from a tutorial by Annie Unrein, who learned it from a student of hers! If you iron it, and then it goes wonky as you’re sewing it on, you will always see it’s wonky because of the ironed in crease in the fabric! So I just don’t bother now – and it always “Looks” perfect!! (It probably isn’t … but it looks it!).
I fold my binding in half (not ironed) and put it at the bottom middle of the pouch.
I leave about an 8” tail and begin sewing at a scant ¼” around.
Just before I get to the corner, (about ¼” before) I stop, sew a couple of back stitches and cut my thread.
I then remove my project from the machine and fold the long length of remaining binding up at to 12 o’clock (the right hand edge of the binding is in line with the right hand edge of the quilted pouch)_ and finger press the resulting diagonal line (ensuring the end of the line of fabric, is directly into the corner of the pouch) You now have a little triangle inside.
I then put my thumb on to that triangle and fold the long length of binding down, to 6 o’clock, making sure that the top of the binding stays directly parallel with the top of the quilted pouch and that the triangle is still in place inside.
Doing this gives you perfect mitred corners.
I begin sewing again at the top of the binding and sew all the way to a ¼” before the next corner and repeat this until the final side.
Once you have done the 4th corner, sew your binding about 2” along and then back stitch. You will have two long tails of binding fabric, and a big gap in the middle.
Line the right hand tail up to a line on your cutting mat and trim it.
Then take the left hand tail and place it over the top of the right hand tail. Measure and draw a line ¼” to the left of the previously cut tail (so that there is an overlap). Check this twice, because if you cut at the wrong place, your binding will be too short.
Once you are sure you have the overlap and the left tail is overlapping the right tail, cut it. You are then going to place right sides of the binding together and sew the edge (like you did when joining your binding strips) to make a continuous strip.
Once the two ends are joined, fold it back and it will almost “snap” to fit the binding. Then you can either do as I do, which is hand sew the binding on the back – or you could machine sew it from the front. (I never find the machine look is anywhere as good as the hand sewn look).
And that’s it! You’re done. Enjoy and I hope you make many, many more.
To see more from Sally follow her on Instagram @bsallyb.
Made by Sally Boylett for The Craft Cotton Co 2022.