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   How to sew a button-closure pouch Posted by Chica 
August 10, 2009 
Chica
 

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:

buttoned pouch

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.

buttoned pouchbuttoned pouch

(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.

buttoned pouchbuttoned pouch

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.

buttoned pouchbuttoned pouch

Your two pieces of fabric should have their finished sides touching.

buttoned pouchbuttoned pouch

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.

buttoned pouchbuttoned pouch

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.

buttoned pouchbuttoned pouch

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.

buttoned pouchbuttoned pouch

Use the sewing machine to run a row of top stitching all around the top edge.

buttoned pouch

This will make the opening of the bag more finished looking, and the flap will be much more stable.

buttoned pouchbuttoned pouch

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.

buttoned pouchbuttoned pouch

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.

buttoned pouchbuttoned pouch

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.

buttoned pouchbuttoned pouch

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!

buttoned pouchbuttoned pouch

The bag is now all done except for a button to close it with!

buttoned pouch

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!

buttoned pouch

buttoned pouch

18 comments so far:

  1. Rachel said: (August 10th, 2009 at 5:40 pm)

    Oh yay! These are so cute! Thanks so much for writing this up, I’ll be linking.

  2. Sue said: (December 16th, 2009 at 8:29 pm)

    Thank you I am a beginner sewer and this was great. I did cheat and sewed velcro closures. I have a questions, where did you leave the open hole in order to flip it right side out?

  3. Chica said: (December 17th, 2009 at 7:16 am)

    Hi Sue, and thanks! Velcro isn’t cheating.. it’s just another method that works better for you, and there’s nothing wrong with that :) As for leaving an open hole, the entire bottom of the pouch is left open until the very end, which makes it very easy to flip the whole thing right side out. Then I sew up the bottom at the end with a French seam. Hope that helps!

  4. Sue said: (December 20th, 2009 at 6:19 pm)

    Thanks for clearinf up the seam issue.I now know why your french seam makes sense. I am going to make another one with the french seam. I have already used it to store my chck book, bills, stamps and a pen. It is nice to have everything together in such a cute bag.

  5. Kathryn said: (October 31st, 2010 at 3:45 pm)

    Thanks that was so fun and easy!!

  6. L.A. said: (May 19th, 2011 at 12:17 pm)

    this is such an easy to follow tutorial, I’ve been trying to figure this out on my machine ALL morning!!! I’m so glad I came across your page, I feel so silly now that I realize I was making this project way harder than it actually is!

  7. Chica said: (May 19th, 2011 at 3:57 pm)

    L.A. we’re so glad we could help!

  8. Karen said: (November 11th, 2012 at 6:31 pm)

    In Step 3, did you have the seam allowance pressed open, or to the front or the back?

    Thanks!

  9. Chica said: (November 12th, 2012 at 9:08 am)

    I’ll be honest with ya, Karen… I tend to get pretty lazy when it comes to seam allowances, and let them go where they want. :)

  10. Debbie said: (January 19th, 2013 at 1:27 am)

    You said to add 1″ to the width. That would then make yours 10″ wide, not 10.5. Are they just backwards? I’m pretty sure they are. Also, when you sew the one open side of the rectangle, how does your flap still fold over evenly to match the other side of the rectangle? Your finished product shows perfectly even edges on your flap. Thanks.

  11. Chica said: (January 19th, 2013 at 12:06 pm)

    Debbie, thank you for pointing out that typo in my measurements! You’re right, I had the width and height reversed. I have corrected it in the tutorial above. As for your other question, I’m afraid I’m not sure I understand… can you point me to the photo that shows the step you’re talking about? (Right click on the image, choose “copy image location”, and paste the URL into a comment)

  12. Debbie said: (January 20th, 2013 at 12:18 am)

    http://www.chicaandjo.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/buttoned_pouch_04.jpg
    In step 3 where your pins are you have to stitch that side closed, when you do that you will come up to the envelope flap and your sewing will have taken up some of the fabric on that side but not on the opposite side. Then when you fold your flap over it will not be equal on both sides. I hope this makes sense. I am anxious to get to sewing this. Thanks.

  13. Chica said: (January 20th, 2013 at 5:39 pm)

    Thanks for the clarification, Debbie. I see what you mean now. It has been a few years since I completed this project, so it’s hard for me to remember exactly how it worked out, but I think the key is to not focus on keeping the seam exactly lined up on the side. Rather, focus on keeping the rectangle even so that the flaps are centered and the points line up. That little bit of the flap that gets “used up” by the side seam shouldn’t matter by the time you’re done, because you’ll end up using up some of that flap fabric to your seam allowance anyway. Hopefully you can fiddle with it and get it all lined up. Hope that helps!

  14. Debbie said: (January 24th, 2013 at 12:35 am)

    Chica, I just finished making one for my friends birthday and it turned out sooo cute! I did it exactly like your easy instructions show and I’m so thrilled with how it turned out. I made mine 1″ smaller all around and I did use some interfacing on the liner fabric. It gives it a nice sturdy feel. Thank you for answering both of my replies promptly and thank you for an excellent tutorial. If you have any more simple projects like this one please let me know.

  15. Chica said: (January 24th, 2013 at 7:21 am)

    Congrats, Debbie! I’m happy to help when I can, and glad to hear your pouch came out great. We have lots of fun projects on the site… almost too many to choose from! Some of our popular and easy sewing projects are our drawstring bag, our burp clothes, and our tiered, ruffled skirt. If you’re looking for a particular type of project, use the search feature in the upper right corner of the site to find something you like. If you’re looking for a general category of project (like sewing), click on one of the category images at the top to see a list of projects in that category.

  16. Christina said: (May 27th, 2013 at 7:51 pm)

    Hola Chica, I have been sewing for many many years and every now and then I run into something that baffles me
    As I did when a friend asked me to make a flap bag for her travel pillow and, until I found your easy tutorial I was flummoxed
    Thank you and God bless you
    Christina

  17. Chica said: (May 27th, 2013 at 8:58 pm)

    Christina, I’m so glad we could un-baffle you! If it makes you feel any better, I had to try a few times before I got this one right. Enjoy the tutorial, and thanks for the nice comments :)

  18. Christina said: (May 31st, 2013 at 4:29 pm)

    Just finished the flap pillow case and am loving it

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