Category Archives: Tutorials

Handy Little Fold-Up Pouch Tutorial

(I originally wrote this tutorial for the 2014 Q3 Finish-Along link-up, hosted by Katy over at The Littlest Thistle)

I’ve had a little fold-up sewing pouch for donkeys’ years, but I’ve rarely used it. I found it hiding away in a drawer in my sewing room a month or two ago, and when I pulled it out, it occurred to me that the reason it was languishing unloved in a drawer was because it wasn’t the right size for what I needed.

So I decided to make my own version that ticked all my boxes.

Initially I thought I’d use it as a take-along pouch for when I wanted to sew some hexies on-the-go, but I soon realised I could also use it as a little clutch for a night out, to hold travel documents and the like – well, you get the idea! I fiddled and faffed with the idea until I found something I was happy with. It fits my travel hexie kit, my iPhone and also my passport.

May I present to you a very handy little fold-up pouch!

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You will need:

  • 1 FQ main fabric for the outside of your pouch and the pockets
  • 1 FQ lining fabric for the lining and binding
  • Scrap of batting or fusible fleece 6 1/2” x 18”
  • 2 poppers (or magnetic clasps, as preferred)
  • 1 button, for decoration (optional)

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Cutting instructions

From main fabric cut:

  • 1 rectangle 6 1/2” x 18” for the outside of the pouch (if you will be quilting the exterior densely, I would cut it slightly bigger – say 7″ x 18 1/2″ –  and then trim it down to size after you’ve quilted it)
  • 3 rectangles 6 1/2” x 8” for the interior pockets
  • 1 square 6” x 6” for the interior pocket flap

From lining fabric cut:

  • 1 rectangle 6 1/2” x 18” for the pouch lining
  • 3 strips 18” x 2 1/4” for binding

Prepare the outside of your pouch.

Fuse fleece to the wrong side of your main fabric 6 1/2” x 18” rectangle, or baste the fabric to your batting. Quilt as desired – I quilted random wavy lines about 1” apart diagonally across the fabric.

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Prepare the pockets

With wrong sides together, fold each of the 6 1/2” x 8” rectangles in half along the 6 1/2” length to make 3 rectangles that each measure 6 1/2” x 4”.

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Press along the fold to form a neat, crisp edge, then top stitch along this fold, approximately 1/8” in from the edge.

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Attach the pockets to the lining fabric

Using a ruler, measure and draw 2 lines on the right side of the lining fabric, one 5” up from the bottom and the second one 9 3/4” up from the bottom. These lines will be covered by the pockets, so use a Frixion pen, regular pencil, whatever you have to hand.

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Take 2 of your prepared pockets and place them on the lining fabric, with the raw edges aligned along the lines you just drew, and the topstitched edges pointing down to the bottom of the lining.

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Pin in place and sew onto the lining fabric with a 1/4” seam allowance.

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Flip the pockets up toward the top of the lining and press towards the top of the lining.

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Take the third pocket and place it at the very bottom of the lining, aligning all 3 raw edges of the pocket with the raw edges at the bottom of the lining. Pin in place. Then align the sides of the other 2 pockets with the raw long edge of the lining and pin in place.

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Use a seam allowance of about 1/8” and a basting stitch of about 4.0 to secure the edges of all three pockets to the lining.

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Prepare and attach the pocket flap

Take the 6” square and fold it in half lengthways with right sides together. Pin the raw edges. Mark a gap about 2 1/2” wide in the middle of the long edge, which will be left unsewn for turning.

Sew both short edges and up to either side of the gap you marked, using a 1/4” seam allowance, and backstitching at each end. Trim the corners.

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Turn the pocket flap right side out through the gap you left, and push the corners out.

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Fold the fabric at the gap under 1/4”, and press the flap flat.

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Top stitch along each side and along the bottom edge of the flap; this will close the gap.

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Centre the pocket flap approximately 1/4” above the top of the pocket you want to have a flap. Pin in place and top stitch along the top of the flap to secure it to the lining. Pull the threads through to the back of the lining and tie them off.

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Add a popper (or other closure) to the pocket flap.

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Attach magnetic clasp (if using – if you’re planning on using a regular popper, skip this step)

On the outside,  measure up and mark a point 6 1/2″ from the bottom of the pouch, and  3 1/4″ in from either side.

On the lining, measure down and mark a point 1 1/4″ from the top of the lining, and 3 1/4″ in from either side.

These mark where the centre of each piece of the magnetic clasp should be placed.

Attach your magnetic clasp according to the instructions which came with it.

Assemble the Pouch

Place the batting side of the quilted outer fabric to the wrong side of the lining, and pin in place

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NB – if you are using a directional fabric, you need to line the top of the lining with the bottom of the outside of the pouch, so that when you fold it up, the fabric at the front will be the right way up. I found this out the hard way 😉

Baste around all four sides with a stitch length of around 4.0 and a seam allowance of around 1/8”, like you did with the edges of the pockets. I used a walking foot because of all the layers. It will look like a complete mess, but the edges are about to be covered up with binding, so it doesn’t matter!

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Attach the binding

Sew the 3 strips of 18” x 2 1/4” lining fabric together end to end and press to create a single fold binding.

Attach the binding to the front of the pouch using a 1/4” seam allowance, then fold the binding over and sew to the back of the pouch either by hand or by machine.

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Fold the pouch up

With pocket side up, fold the bottom pocket up to meet the middle pocket, then fold up again twice.

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Add a popper to secure the front flap to the rest of the pouch, and add a decorative button if desired.

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Fill pockets with useful things and admire your handiwork!

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As you can see, I made several!

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So why not make it your own? Use up your scraps by piecing the outside (I made this one with leftover bits of a jelly roll)…

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… or piecing the pockets (I fussy cut my scraps of this glorious Tula Pink octopus fabric to do this)

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Make one without any pocket flaps inside (like my Tula Pink one above), or with several, or change the shape of the flap.

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The sky’s the limit, so why not get creating?!

LPC

Thanksgiving Squirrel Placemats Tutorial

In 6 days, RR and I are off to New York. We’ll be spending Thanksgiving with friends, visiting old haunts out on Long Island and then spending 5 days in the city for some sightseeing and shopping. I’ve not been back for 18 months, so to say I’m excited would be a bit of an understatement!

Now, I may be English, and we Brits don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, but since our time living in the USA it has been my favourite holiday. It’s a chance to spend some quality time with friends and family, enjoy good things to eat, and take a moment to pause and reflect before the craziness of the holiday season descends upon us. To me, it’s like Christmas without all the stress and hassle. I love it! So we’re really looking forward to spending Thanksgiving this year with our dear friends Mr and Ms S, and their lovely kiddos, Master C and Miss S.

In preparation for Thanksgiving 2013, I have been making Mr and Ms S some special placemats. Some special squirrel placemats. Red squirrel placemats, in fact. Oh yes!

Why squirrels, you may ask?

Well, for years now we have been engaged in on-going banter with Mr and Ms S about the superiority of our beautiful British Red Squirrels over the American Grey. Never a chance is missed to remind them of the evils that befell our beautiful native reds after the arrival on British soil of their dastardly American cousins. The near-wholesale annihilation of our lovely ickle Nutkins, pushed to the fringes of the UK by the big, bad greys, who now spend their days scampering round parks in gangs and trying to steal sandwiches from innocent picnickers…

But I digress. I have been making squirrel placemats. And while the internet is probably awash with tutorials showing you how to make placemats, I was rather pleased with the ones I have made and thought it might be fun to share.

So, without further ado, here is how to make my official 2013 Thanksgiving Squirrel Placemat…

To make 6 placemats, 12″ x 9″ finished size, you’ll need the following:

  • Squirrel fabric (I used this one from Tula Pink’s The Birds and the Bees collection) – ½ yard or so – it’s hard to be exact because it depends how many squirrel repeats you get on your fabric cut, but ½ yard should be plenty.
  • Matching border fabric (I used Tangier Ikat Orange Diamonds by Dena Designs) – 12″.
  • Backing fabric (a pink Bella solid which was lurking in my stash) – 19″
  • Batting and spray glue, or fusible fleece – I just used batting remnants, but it would probably be easier with fusible fleece if you have any.

Here are my fabrics:

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Cutting

  • Cut 6 rectangles from your squirrel fabric, each measuring 9 ½” x 6 ½”. I fussy-cut mine so I got a pair of squirrels in the centre of each placemat. Like this… It looks like they’re having a good old natter, doesn’t it?!

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  • Cut 6 x 2” strips from your border fabric; sub-cut each of these strips into 4 rectangles measuring 9 ½” x 2”
  • Cut 2 x 9 ½” strips from your backing fabric; sub-cut both of these strips into 6 rectangles measuring 12 ½” x 9 ½”
  • Cut 6 rectangles from your batting or fusible fleece, each measuring 12” x 9”

Sew your placemats

Start off by sewing a border strip to the bottom and top of each fussy cut squirrel rectangle, using a ¼” seam. Pin if you like; personally, I’m too lazy, I just line it up as I go 🙂

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Press towards the border fabric. The mat should now measure 9 ½” x 9 ½”.

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Now sew the side borders on, again with a ¼” seam, and again press towards the border fabric. The placemat top is now finished, and should measure 12 ½” x 9 ½”. Square up if necessary.

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Make the quilt sandwich

Put your placemat top, wrong side up, onto a cleanable surface, and spray lightly with basting glue (I used the kitchen floor…) On top of this, centre your batting rectangle. There should be a ¼” around the edge of the placemat that isn’t covered by batting.

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(If you’re using fusible fleece, centre this on the wrong side of the placemat as above and iron in place as per the product instructions.)

Then, put the placemat top and batting/fleece right sides together with a rectangle of backing fabric. Pin in place.

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Sew around the edge of the placemat with a ¼” seam allowance, leaving a 4” gap at the bottom, so you can turn it right sides out. I marked this with red pins so I wouldn’t forget! Backstitch at the start and the end of your sewing line.

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Clip across all four corners diagonally, being really careful not to cut your stitches. This is to reduce bulk in the corners when you turn your placemat right side out.

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Finish your placemats

Pull the placemat through the gap you’ve left so it’s now right side out. Using a knitting needle or something similar, push out the corners so they’re nice and pointy.

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Turn in the raw edges of the gap on your placemat ¼”. Press the placemat well.

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Top stitch all the way round the edge of the placemat, about 1/8” in. This will close your turning gap without you having to hand-stitch it closed. I use a stitch length of 2.7 for this.

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Then quilt the rest of the mat however you like. I topstitched the other side of the border, then I echo quilted the squirrel shapes at ½” intervals, because I really wanted them to stand out. But it occurred to me that this would be a great time to practice free motion quilting…

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Et voilà! Squirrel placemats finished! Happy early Thanksgiving, everyone!!!!

Linking up, as ever, to Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday