The Labor and Delivery Survival Kits that Jo created this spring for our pregnant friends come in a cute little buttoned pouch. These kits are great because we’ve done all the legwork for you and gathered all the supplies together in an affordable bundle, which you can purchase in our store. However, the buttoned pouches themselves are useful for much more than just these kits! You can use them for a makeup bag, toiletry bag, craft supply bag, or even a clutch purse. The size is customizable and the fabric is too, giving you a very versatile design. So in case you need a cute little buttoned pouch for any reason, I thought I’d take a few minutes to show you just how easy they are to make!
Step 1: Make a pattern
The most fun and customizable part of this is that you get to decide how big you want your bag to be, so take a moment to figure out the length and width you want. For example, the finished bag I’m illustrating for you here is 6 inches tall and 9 inches wide. Once you’ve got the size in mind, add 1 inch to the height and 1.5 inches to the width to account for seam allowances, to get your base rectangle size. For my bag, that’s 7″ x 10.5″.
Now transfer those measurements to a piece of paper or cardstock (I drew a 7″ x 10.5″ rectangle). Next, draw a triangle right above it that has a height that’s 2 inches less than the height of your bag (in my case, my triangle was 5″ tall at the peak). Finally, draw another rectangle the same size as the first one, right next to it. It can be on either the left or right, it doesn’t matter. (Note that as you do this, if your paper isn’t big enough, feel free to tape a few sheets together, like I did. It’s just a pattern; who cares how good it looks!) Now cut the whole thing out, and you should have something that looks like this:
Step 2: Cut the fabric
Use your new pattern to cut out two pieces of fabric, both the same size. If you want the inside and outside of the bag to be different patterns, you can use two different fabrics, like I did. When you cut the pieces, it doesn’t matter which side the extra hanging rectangle is on.
(At this point, you can optionally apply a fusible interfacing to one of the fabric pieces, if you want it to be a little stiffer.)
Step 3: Attach the two pieces
Start by folding each piece of fabric in half, crosswise, with the right sides touching (in other words, inside out). Pin along the side where the two ends meet, and sew in place.
Now take whichever piece of fabric you want to be in the inside of the bag (for me, it was the yellow one) and turn it right side out, so that the finished side of the fabric is on the outside. Then stuff it down inside the other piece and line it up.
Your two pieces of fabric should have their finished sides touching.
Pin along the triangle and the top of the rectangle, pinning the two fabrics together along the edges, but be careful not to pin the front and back of the bag together. The pinned bag should be able to stand up on its own, sort of like a tube.
Sew along the pinned lines, and trim the very tip of the fabric off at the peak of the triangle, being careful not to cut the stitches. This will help in a minute when we flip it inside out.
Step 4: Finish the top
Flip the bag right side out, so that the outer fabric (for me, it was the striped one) is on the outside, and the liner fabric (yellow) is on the inside. Poke a pencil inside the peak of the triangle to shape it, if needed. Lay the bag out nice and flat and smooth out the edges.
Use the sewing machine to run a row of top stitching all around the top edge.
This will make the opening of the bag more finished looking, and the flap will be much more stable.
Step 5: Sew the bottom
With the bag right side out, pin along the bottom edge and use the sewing machine to sew it in place. It may seem wrong to have the bag right side out, but we’re going to do a French seam, which will make sense in just a minute.
Use a pair of scissors to trim the bottom of the bag as close as you can get to the row of stitches, but be careful not to cut them. Then flip the bag inside out, so that the lining (yellow in my case) is on the outside.
Sew along the bottom edge of the bag, coming up enough to encase the row of stitches you made a minute ago, which are now on the inside.
Turn the bag right side out again, and notice how nice the seam looks on the bottom of the bag, with no stitches showing. And if you look inside the bag, you’ll see a nice, clean, sewn edge inside, with no frayed edges showing. That’s the French seam!
The bag is now all done except for a button to close it with!
Step 6: Add the closure
Most sewing machines these days have a buttonhole feature, so if you’ve got one, use it to add a buttonhole to the point of your bag’s flap. Then sew a button in place and you’re set.
If you don’t have a buttonhole feature, or are afraid to deal with buttonholes, you can cheat a little — just sew a button on the flap and add some sew-on Velcro circles or a snap underneath.
The finished bag
Isn’t this the cutest thing ever? And it was so easy to make!