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!
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)
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.
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”.
Press along the fold to form a neat, crisp edge, then top stitch along this fold, approximately 1/8” in from the edge.
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.
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.
Pin in place and sew onto the lining fabric with a 1/4” seam allowance.
Flip the pockets up toward the top of the lining and press towards the top of the lining.
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.
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.
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.
Turn the pocket flap right side out through the gap you left, and push the corners out.
Fold the fabric at the gap under 1/4”, and press the flap flat.
Top stitch along each side and along the bottom edge of the flap; this will close the gap.
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.
Add a popper (or other closure) to the pocket flap.
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
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!
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.
Fold the pouch up
With pocket side up, fold the bottom pocket up to meet the middle pocket, then fold up again twice.
Add a popper to secure the front flap to the rest of the pouch, and add a decorative button if desired.
Fill pockets with useful things and admire your handiwork!
As you can see, I made several!
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)…
… or piecing the pockets (I fussy cut my scraps of this glorious Tula Pink octopus fabric to do this)
Make one without any pocket flaps inside (like my Tula Pink one above), or with several, or change the shape of the flap.
The sky’s the limit, so why not get creating?!