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Saturday, 29 April 2017

Free Pattern/Tutorial: Portable Pocket Pouch

Portable Pocket Pouch by eSheep Designs
A multi-purpose Portable Pocket Pouch done up in red & white ribbon...
We are now approximately two months out from Canada's 150th and today I am presenting my third Canada Day project: a multi-purpose hanging pouch that can be made with ribbon or fabric. You can dangle this on the inside of your front door to store your keys or mail, put it on a wall in your office to hold small stationery items (stamps, receipts) or travel with it to keep from losing your hotel key card!

I came across a similar item recently and was intrigued by the possibility of — once again — putting my own spin on it.

The original was made out of fabric and meant to be reversible, but it hung via a large vertical slit cut into the back. The opening is meant to allow it to hang from a traditional door knob. The look of this huge "buttonhole" didn't appeal to me, however; and in any case, I'm willing to bet most doors these days are installed with levers. So I opted for a grommet, from which a variety of other hanging solutions can be employed (such as my choice of hair elastics).

An added bonus is that my pouch can hold taller items since there isn't a doorknob in the way!

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When I was at Michaels making my scrapbooking paper purchases for my designer paper flowers, I also picked up several rolls of 2.5" wide ribbon from their clearance bins for $2 each.

ribbon from Michaels
Red & white ribbon...
Given that these were red and white, I set them aside for a Canada Day project, although I wasn't quite sure just exactly what that was going to be at the time. I knew I would be joining the ribbon to create a "fabric" in the same way as I've done previously. In this particular application, the scale is larger than I've attempted in the past, but this ribbon is also wider, so it actually wasn't a hassle to join them together.

The only thing I did differently was to sew the ribbon onto the fusible side of the Decor Bond rather than the non-fusible. Since the ribbon is wide, I wanted the finished result to be smoothly fused onto the interfacing rather than potentially bunching up in unsightly ways.

Portable Pocket Pouch by eSheep Designs
Portable Pouch holding some mail...

This means that the lining is not fused onto the interfacing as it normally is using this technique, but I don't think the result suffers.

Portable Pocket Pouch by eSheep Designs
A look inside at a garage door remote and a set of keys...

Also, while I'm all for reversibility, this doesn't need to be reversible, since I don't want to hide the striking effect of the ribbon.

Portable Pocket Pouch by eSheep Designs
Back view of the Portable Pocket Pouch...

I estimated the size of the original that I saw and used the good old pythagorean theorem to come up with the dimensions for this. Before it's folded into a pocket, it's merely one half of a square, cut on the diagonal. Therefore, depending on how large you want your finished pouch to be, you can go with anything from a 16" to an 18" square (or in metric terms, a 41cm to 46cm square).

Mine was 16"; it produces a finished result about 7" wide by 10.5" high (or approximately 18cm by 26.5cm), depending on seam allowance.

Portable Pocket Pouch by eSheep Designs
Make a paper template...

To accomplish this, I taped together several pieces of scrap paper and measured out an equilateral triangle where the two short sides are 16" long.

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Using this template, the first step is to arrange and cut the strips of ribbon required. (Tape comes in handy to keep the pieces of ribbon lined up.)

Portable Pocket Pouch by eSheep Designs
Use template to lay out strips of ribbon...

Align the first strip of ribbon along one of the short sides and proceed from there. As you can see in the above picture, the far right corner is still missing a teeny bit of ribbon; I eventually used the triangular overhanging bit from the first strip of ribbon to fill this space.

The next thing is to cut a piece of medium weight fusible interfacing (I used Decor Bond) using the template. Once you have that, pin the strips of ribbon onto the fusible side of the interfacing.

Portable Pocket Pouch by eSheep Designs
Pin strips of ribbon onto fusible side of interfacing...

Now it's time to sew. Put down rows of satin stitching between each pair of ribbons to secure them to the interfacing. (I also sewed along the open edge of the first ribbon; it's not required since the ribbon will eventually be fused.)

Portable Pocket Pouch by eSheep Designs
Close-up of the satin stitching...

As I anticipated, merely sewing on the ribbons results in a rippled effect that's not ideal... but that'll soon be fixed.

Portable Pocket Pouch by eSheep Designs
Satin stitch the ribbon onto the interfacing...

Trim away the overhanging bits of ribbon so that the piece is now the correct size.

Portable Pocket Pouch by eSheep Designs
Ribbon is trimmed and ready to be fused...

Using a pressing cloth, fuse the ribbon to the interfacing to get rid of the ripples!

Next, cut a piece of fabric for the lining (using the paper template) and pin it right sides together with the ribbon piece.

Portable Pocket Pouch by eSheep Designs
I used the white pins to mark a turning gap...

Notice how I've used both clips and pins? The two pins are to remind me to leave a turning gap, which should be located in the middle of the long edge. (It needs to be big enough for your hand to reach into and pull everything right side out; 4" is usually what I use.)

Sew together with a 1/4" seam allowance. Trim the corners as shown to reduce the bulk once it's turned right side out.

Portable Pocket Pouch by eSheep Designs
Trim away excess fabric the corners...

Turn right side out, poking out the corners carefully. Clip all the way around, tucking in and securing the raw edges along the turning gap.

Portable Pocket ouch by eSheep Designs
Pin and prepare for pressing...

Press well.

Portable Pocket Pouch by eSheep Designs
It's almost there!

Fold the piece into its final configuration and clip together for now. (The two matching points of the triangle should extend all the way to the edge both inside and out.)

Portable Pocket Pouch by eSheep Designs
Clip into final pouch configuration...

At this point, you can install a grommet (or make a button hole) if you wish, or you can wait until the very end. Here's how I threaded a couple of hair elastics that were joined together as a mechanism for hanging.

Portable Pocket Pouch by eSheep Designs
Tying two hair ties together...

And now for the finishing part... my machine — or maybe more correctly, my needle — wasn't up to the task of stitching through all those tough layers at the bottom, so I sewed it by hand. (Yes, much as I hate that.) It wasn't horrible, as I chose to sew through the lining fabric for the most part.

Believe it or not, though, I actually broke a needle while sewing by hand; first time that's ever happened!

Portable Pocket Pouch by eSheep Designs
Side view...

I would also recommend that you sew a couple of stitches to secure the middle point where the two side panels overlap, so your pouch contents won't slip out. You could also add a button for decorative purposes, like I did here in this sneak peak at my fabric version of the same pouch.

Portable Pocket Pouch by eSheep Designs
I had just the right button for this...

Last but not least, you can probably hot glue all of these areas if you want to avoid the hand-sewing.

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If you make this with fabric, it's fat quarter friendly. Since it does look nicer with a contrasting lining, I would suggest that you either make two at a time (by cutting two squares of fabric and then slicing them each in half diagonally) or make and use a paper template to cut pieces from two different fabrics. For the fabric option, you'll also want to cut your interfacing a quarter inch smaller all the way around to keep it out of the seam allowance.

Portable Pocket Pouch by eSheep Designs
Fabric version of Portable Pouch...

Whether or not you choose to interface both sides of your fabric is a matter of choice. In the interests of being frugal, I only interfaced one side (the exterior) of this Robert Kaufman version and it seems to be fine that way. If you're not concerned with the cost, interface both pieces.

Portable Pocket Pouch by eSheep Designs
This one is much faster to sew up...

I didn't do this, but you could also run a row of topstitching along the top edge as a finishing touch.

One final advantage of the fabric version... your sewing machine should be able to sew up the bottom seam easily. In fact, the whole project from beginning to end shouldn't take you more than half an hour.

I hope you find this project worthy of your time; I had fun doing it (broken needle aside). The pouch is truly multi-purpose, so let me know what you're going to use yours for!


  1. What a cute hanging pouch! Thanks for the tutorial Rochelle. I like the fabric one and since fabric is what I have the most of I may give this a go when I get the chance. If I had a cell phone, this would be a great idea to hang the pouch next to an outlet for charging the phone with the phone in the pouch, and the cords could stay inside when you are done charging. I have broken many a hand sewing needle, lol! Mostly the finer ones though.

  2. Simple, elegant and so useful, a total winner! These would be great for gifts and to use up small pieces fabric. I'm constantly getting piles of home dec sample books from interior design houses. I will add this pattern to my list of ideas of what to do with those beautiful linens, sateens and silks. Thanks a lot, Rochelle, you have a wonderful, creative imagination!

  3. What a handy little pocket. I could see these being used in a sewing room. Both versions look great, but I especially like the ribbon one. I have never broken a hand sewing needle. Hope you didn't injure yourself.

  4. great tutorial! I think i will make thiw soon as it is super easy!!! Thanks for sharing!


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