In an attempt to raise funds for our second adoption (we’re going with an agency this time around that costs about $30,000), I’ve been crafting up a storm for a boutique bazaar at my parent’s church.
I felt inspired to make something new and practical – zippered pencil pouches. Maybe because I have a five year old now and know how valuable it is to have a zippered pouch to organize art supplies or snacks or small toys on the go.
Many were made with upcycled zippers that my grandmother had gleaned from old clothes, likely. I’ve had them for ages, I mean she passed away more than 10 years ago! Unfortunately, the metal teeth are not as forgiving on a sewing machine as the modern plastic ones are, so I broke a couple of sewing needles – oops! I also didn’t quite follow the original instructions, but I was really happy with the way they turned out.
I started with this Instructables tutorial for a zippered pencil case but realized a little too late, that you end up with unfinished ends inside the case. I tried serging the ends, but broke my serger needle on the metal zipper (after breaking my sewing needle sewing across the other end) – oops! I ultimately zigzagged the raw edges, but I didn’t feel like I could charge as much for this one.
Since I was selling these, I wanted a more finished look. So I switched over to this DIY Zippered Box Pouch Tutorial on the Seasoned Homemaker’s website. The seams are all enclosed between the layers of fabric. Perfect!
However, I was feeling rushed, so I just dug in and started cutting and sewing. And because I tend to get lost in long blog tutorials, I skipped a few steps. I rushed the process and sewed all the ends together before turning right side out and then I couldn’t box them. OOPS! You’ll notice, I’m saying oops a lot, because that’s the kind of sewer I can be. I’m human, what can I say?
It turns out, I really loved these little “mistake” pouches. I thought they were really cute and the zippers opened pretty wide so you could see all your markers or whatnot. I just made more and more and more. I did make a few boxed ones using The Seasoned Homemaker’s actual instructions (see above), and they were nice, but they end up being shorter than the flat pouches.
I also made a travel bag from a pattern in Weekend Quilting magazine. I love the two tones of fabric on the outside. These are much bigger and take a little more time to complete. It’s also a different method for boxing the corners – instead of folding the corner into a triangle, you cut out a square and then pull the ends open to line the two sides up and then sew. It reverses the order of sewing and trimming. These are more practical for the ladies – they can be used for make-up, hygiene products, or storing your underwear while travelling! But they definitely took more work than the pencil pouches.
I really enjoyed making these pouches and they seem very practical to me. Two of the instructions called for interfacing. I used interfacing for several of the flat pouches, but they turned out to be unnecessary. Surprisingly I could have but didn’t use interfacing on the boxed pouches. I think they would have benefited greatly from some interfacing. I had intended on the flat ones with interfacing to become boxed, alas, you can’t always get what you want. Next time, I’ll be sure to use interfacing on the boxed ones so they have more structural support.
If you undertake this project on your own, be sure to buy plastic toothed zippers and if I were to change anything, it’d be using longer zippers than the fabric I cut. Modern zippers are easy to sew over and cut after the fact and would give the ends a cleaner look.