Your favorite shiny beads and baubles deserve to come along on vacation too. But figuring out how to pack them, without opening your suitcase upon arrival to find a tangled mess, is always a challenge. Our traveling jewelry pouch is up to the task. It has eight, wedge-shaped pockets to hold necklaces, earrings, rings, and watches. The pouch gathers up with a drawstring, safely enclosing the pockets in an upright position.
The gathered circle reminds us of those classic round baby bonnets. Tie the bundle closed and toss it into your bag so you can sparkle upon arrival at your destination.
We offer a free pattern download below to help you create a perfect circle and provide you with handy stitching guidelines. Or, create your own circle should you wish to have a slightly smaller or larger pouch. Check out our tutorial on How to Make and Measure a Circle Without a Pattern.
Our pouch originally used the Loulouthi collection by Anna Maria Horner for FreeSpirit Fabrics. This in an older collection that is no longer readily available, but you’re sure to find something wonderful from new collections – of even hiding in your current stash.
If you cut carefully, ½ yard each of two cotton prints will yield TWO matching pouches – one for you and one for a friend.
When flat, the pouch is an approximately 12″ diameter circle. When cinched up tightly, it fits in the palm of your hand.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
- Quarter Inch foot; optional but helpful for maintaining a precise seam around the edge
Fabric and Other Supplies
- ½ yard EACH of TWO 44″+ wide quilting weight cotton fabrics in coordinating prints
NOTE: As mentioned above, if you cut carefully, ½ yard of each print will yield TWO matching pouches.
- Scrap of lightweight batting for center circle
- 2 yards of ⅛” satin rattail cording; this is available in a rainbow of colors
- All purpose thread to match fabric
- See-through ruler
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Fabric marker, pen, or tailor’s chalk
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Straight pins
- Hand sewing needle
- Small safety pin
Getting Started and Pattern Download
- Download and print FOUR copies of the 8½” x 11″ pattern sheet: Pouch Template.
IMPORTANT: This pattern is ONE 8½” x 11″ sheet. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guide rule on the page so you can confirm your final printout is to scale.
- Cut out all four wedge pieces along the solid lines. Following the diagram on the sheet, tape the four wedges together to form a circle. Butt together your cut pieces and tape; do NOT overlap.
- The solid outside line is your cut line for the large circles. The solid inner line is the cut line for the smaller circles. And, the assembly diagram circle itself should be cut out and used as a pattern to cut the batting circle.
NOTE: If you want, you could print EIGHT copies of the template, tape them together into two circle patterns, use one at full size and cut the other one down to the smaller size. Then you could retain both patterns (along with one small circle pattern) in your files for later use.
- Use the full circle pattern to cut ONE large circle from EACH of the two print fabrics.
- Use the trimmed, smaller circle pattern to cut ONE smaller circle from EACH of the two print fabrics.
- Use the small assembly diagram to cut ONE circle from the scrap of lightweight batting.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- Following the manual for your sewing machine, make a small buttonhole on the right side of the large “exterior” circle. The TOP of the buttonhole should be approximately 1½” from the top raw edge of the circle.
NOTE: The Janome machine used for this project had an automatic buttonhole feature. We found a little button and used it to make the smallest buttonhole possible with the automatic feature: ⅜”.
- Carefully open up the buttonhole with your seam ripper.
- Find the small circle that will form the interior of your pockets. Place it wrong side up on your work surface and center the batting circle on it.
- Pin the batting circle in place, then machine baste it in place, staying as close to the edge of the batting as possible.
- Pin the two large circles and the two small circles right sides together.
- Using a ¼” seam allowance, stitch both circle-pairs together, leaving a 1-2″ opening for turning.
NOTE: When stitching in a circle, it can be a bit of a challenge to keep your seam allowance even and your curve smooth. Our best tips are to go slowly and to stop now and then, with your needle in the down position, lift up the presser foot, and slightly adjust your fabric to keep your seam allowance true. The smaller the circle, the more often you may need to stop and adjust. We also used a Janome Quarter Inch foot to help keep the seam allowance on track. Shortening the stitch length slightly can also help keep curves smooth.
- Make small clips about every 1″ – 2″ around the seam allowances of each sewn circle, being careful to not cut into the seam itself. Don’t clip the seam allowance at the openings left for turning. This clipping allows the fabric to ease or give slightly when turned right side out so your curve will look nice and smooth. For more about sewing and cutting curves, check out our full tutorial.
- Turn both sewn circles right side out through the opening. Use a long blunt-end tool, such as a chopstick, long knitting needle or point turner, to help round out the pieces.
- Press well, folding in and pressing the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam.
- Pin this opening closed. Thread a hand sewing needle with thread to match the fabric and slip stitch to close.
Mark and make the interior pockets
- Following the marks on the original pattern pieces, use a fabric pen or pencil to divide your interior pocket circle into eight wedges. Your marks should be made on the side of pocket circle that will be face up on the inside. And, the marks should start at the outside edge of the circle and end at the inner basting circle seam you made originally to hold the batting in place.
NOTE: You are working on the right side of the fabric; make sure your marking tool is one that will easily wipe away or will vanish with exposure to the air or the heat of an iron.
- Place your large circle exterior side down on your work surface. Place the smaller pocket circle interior side up (so you can see your markings) centered and on top of the first circle. Pin in place through both layers.
- Stitch the two circles together just at the center, following the original center basting circle seam line.
- Remove the sewn circles from the machine, press to insure both layers remain nice and flat, and adjust the pins as necessary to hold the layers together. Remove any visible basting stitches.
- Return to your machine and follow your marked wedge lines, stitching eight seams to create the eight pocket wedge divisions on the interior circle. Remember to back stitch or lock stitch at the start and the finish, and do NOT stitch into the batting circle at the center.
Create the drawstring channel
- You need to create two circular seams for your drawstring channel. These two seams should align top and bottom with the original buttonhole you made way back at the beginning.
- The first seam should be as close as possible to the interior pocket circle but should NOT stitch into that circle at all. Use the edge of the pocket circle as your guide to stitch just outside of it all the way around.
- To stitch the second circular seam, flip over the pouch so you are working from the exterior side. You can use one of two methods to align this seam line. Start at the buttonhole and line up your needle drop with the top of the buttonhole. Check your distance with a seam gauge; it should be approximately ½”. Pick spots on your presser foot and the bed of your machine to follow and stitch while you turn in a circle.
- Or, again using a seam gauge, mark a dashed line ½” from the original circular seam all the way around. Then, stitch the second circular seam by following this dashed line.
NOTE: You could also use the Janome Circular Sewing Attachment.
- Here’s what the pouch should look like from the exterior side with all the stitch lines in place.
- And, here’s a look at the drawstring channel from both sides.
- Attach a small safety pin to one end of the rattail satin cord.
- Insert it through the buttonhole and work it through the drawstring channel until it comes out the other end.
- Make sure your cord tails are long enough to warp around the pouch several times and make a generous bow. Trim away any excess, then make a small knot at the end of each tail.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Liz Johnson