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We round out our collection of projects in Melissa White’s Amelie’s Attic collection with a two-for-one day: two pretty organizers for your favorite bag or tote (perhaps the Country Fresh Carryall from this very series!). Our zippered pouch features a striking pleated panel. With its wraparound bottom, we show you a fun new way to create this clever lined bag. And, our little tissue cover is about as cute as they come. Wouldn’t it make a perfect stocking stuffer? We love to take non-traditional fabrics and show you how beautiful they can be when incorporated into holiday projects. Amelie’s Attic is perfect for holiday giving and decorating, yet has a country fresh beauty that will last year ’round. Melissa’s designs are based on her fifteen years of research into rare Elizabethan wall paintings in Tudor houses across Britain. The result is a fabric collection with a modern style softened by patina of history. We especially loved the crackled finish that overlays her vintage florals.

A GIANT Sew4Home shout out to everyone at Westminster Fibers Lifestyle Fabrics for sponsoring four amazing weeks of holiday happiness. Although we say goodbye today to Melissa White of Rowan Fabrics, coming up next week is a vibrant collection from Ty Pennington. And Verna Mosquera‘s Pirouette for FreeSpirit and Amy Butler‘s Alchemy for Rowan are right around the corner. 

All the tutorials in the Happy Holidays with FreeSpirit & Rowan series are designed specifically for this busy time of year. They’re fast and easy, “do-it-in-a-day” projects. Simple yet classic creations executed in gorgeous fabrics – perfect for holiday giving and decorating, with a beauty that will last year ’round. For the highest quality materials, cutting-edge creativity, and diversity of design; you can always depend on FreeSprit and Rowan

Amelie’s Attic will begin appearing this month, November 2012, at participating online and in-store retailers.

In addition, for all of the projects in our series, Westminster helped us put together a handy Where to Buy Retailer Locator, giving you a fast and easy way to source the fabrics we are featuring from both brick and mortar stores in your area (the page is broken out by state) as well as online options. 

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

Pocket Tissue Cover

Zippered Pouch

Fabric yardage shown allows for the specific fussy cutting required for the pleated panel. 

Supplies for both projects

  • ½ yard of medium-weight fusible interfacing; such as Heat ‘n’ Bond fusible interfacing
  • ½ yard of ½” twill tape for the finger loops; we used a natural cotton  
  • All purpose thread to coordinate with fabrics
  • See-through ruler
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Straight pins

Getting Started

Pocket Tissue Cover

  1. Cut ONE 6 ½” x 6 ½ square from each of the following: the exterior fabric (Daisy Mesh in Tea-stained in our sample) the lining (Meadow in Sun-bleached in our sample) and the interfacing.

Zippered Pouch

  1. From the fabric for the pleated bottom panel (Daisy Mesh in Tea-stained in our sample):
    Fussy cut ONE 9″ x width of fabric (45″) strip carefully centering the motif within the strip
    Cut ONE 9″ x 12″ panel as a backing for the pleated panel (does not have to be fussy cut; it will be covered by the lining).
  2. From the fabric for the upper bands (Meadow in Tea-stained in our sample), cut TWO 10″ x 3″ strips. 
  3. From the fabric for the lining (Meadow in Sun-bleached in our sample), cut TWO 10″ x 7″ rectangles.
  4. From the interfacing, cut TWO 9″ x 2″ strips.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board 

Pocket Tissue Cover

  1. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse the interfacing the wrong side of the exterior fabric. 
  2. Place the lining square right side down on your work surface. Place the fused exterior fabric on top of it, right side up. 
  3. Orient this fabric “sandwich” on your work surface so the SIDES of the motif are actually to the left and right. If your print is not directional and there is not clear side, simply pick an orientation to designate the sides. 
  4. Machine baste the layers together along the two sides only, staying as close to the raw edges as possible. This basting needs to be able to be covered by the narrow bias binding
  5. Open up your package of bias tape binding. You’ll notice the binding is folded so one edge is slightly longer than the other. For this project, you will encase the raw edges of the flap with the shorter fold on the front and the longer fold wrapped around to the back. This way, when you stitch down the binding, you are more assured of catching the back completely.
  6. Cut two 7½” lengths of bias binding.
  7. Slip the bias tape over the each side of the basted panel. Pin in place. You’ll have about ½” extending beyond the fabric top and bottom.
  8. Cut a 4″ length of the soft twill tape.
  9. Fold the tape in half and pin it to the exact center on the right side of the top of the panel. The raw ends of the tape should be flush with the raw edge of the fabric.
  10. Edgestitch the bias binding in place. 
    NOTE: If available on your machine, instead of a straight stitch to attach the binding, use a decorative stitch in a contrasting thread to make the opening extra pretty.
  11. Machine baste the twill tape in place, staying within the ½” seam allowance.
  12. Place the exterior panel right side up of your work surface. Fold in each bound edge so they meet in the center. Pin in place along both ends, sandwiching the twill tape tab between the layers. 
  13. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch across each end.
  14. Trim the seam and clip the corners.
  15. Turn the cover right side out. 

Zippered Pouch


  1. Knife pleat the entire 9″ x WOF strip. Our finished pleats are ¾” in width. The finished panel should pleat down to approximately 9″ x 12″. 

    NOTE: If you are new to pleating, check out our tutorial, aptly named: How To Make Knife Pleats.
  2. Place the pleated panel wrong sides together with the 9″ x 12″ backing panel. Generously pin in place. 
  3. Our pleating stitch lines are spaced specifically for the Amelie’s Attic fabric. We stitched five horizontal lines through the pleats to hold them in place, each running in between the circular motifs. In general, in order for the stitching to fall at the bottom of the pouch and through the center of each pleated panel, you need one line through the exact center of the panel, one line 2″ to the right of center, and a second line 2″ to the right of that; one line 2″ to the left of center, and a second line 2″ to the left of that.
  4. Place the the ½” line on a clear ruler on top of both outermost stitched lines. Draw a line across the entire panel at this measurement (top and bottom). Cut along the drawn line with your scissors, or cut along the ruler in just one step with a rotary cutter. The pleated panel now has a marked ½” seam allowance both top and bottom. These stitch lines will be the guides for the seam allowance of the pleated panel to each top band.
  5. Set the pleated panel aside.

Add the zipper to the top bands and lining

  1. The process outlined below is very similar to how we inserted the zipper in our wristlet tutorial and well as our pencil case tutorial. If you are new to inserting zippers, you might want to review one or both of these tutorials; there are several additional photos, which may help you walk through the process.
  2. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse the 9″ x 2″ strips of interfacing to the wrong side of the two 10″ x 3″ top band fabric strips. Center the interfacing on the fabric.
  3. Place one 10″ x 7″ lining piece right side up on your work surface.
  4. Lay your zipper right side up on top of it (teeth facing up). The edge of the zipper tape should be even with the fabric’s raw edge.
  5. Lay an interfaced top band, right side down, on top of the lining, sandwiching the zipper in between the two layers of fabric. As above, line up the top raw edge with the edge of the zipper tape. 
  6. Pin all three layers together, being careful to pin through just the top of the zipper. You need to be able to open and close the zipper; you can’t do that if you’ve pinned through the whole thing. 
  7. Fold back the band to reveal the zipper, and zip it open about half way.
  8. Fold the band back down into position and take the assembled layers to your machine. Attach your zipper foot. Your needle should be in the left-most position.
  9. Stitch as close to the zipper as the foot will allow, removing the pins as you sew.
  10. Go slowly. When you get to the middle, where you can start to feel you’re approaching the zipper pull, stop with your needle in the down position. Twist your fabric around slightly and open up the layers so you can access the zipper. Be gentle! Carefully close the zipper. Re-position your fabric and finish sewing to the end.
  11. When finished, your lining piece should be on one side of the zipper and the band on the other. The opposite side of the zipper is still free.
  12. Fold the lining and band wrong sides together, so the zipper stands straight up, and press
  13. Place the remaining 10″ x 7″ lining piece right side up on your work surface.
  14. Place the sewn lining/band/zipper panel on top of it, right sides together.  As above, line up the top raw edge with the raw edge of the zipper tape.
  15. Place the remaining top band right sides together on top of the other two layers. Again, line up the top raw edge with the raw edge of the zipper tape. Pin in place.
  16. Following the same steps as above, still using your zipper foot, stitch through all the layers.
  17. When opened up, you now have a zipper inserted between the two band pieces on the top side and between the two lining pieces on the bottom.
  18. Fold the lining down so the two pieces are right sides together and the top band is laying free of the lining.
  19. Cut a 4″ length of the soft twill tape.
  20. Fold the tape in half and pin it to the left edge of the top band approximately ½” up from the zipper. The raw ends of the tape should be flush with the raw edge of the fabric. Hand or machine baste the tape in place.

Seaming the pleated panel into place

  1. With the zipper panel still in the same position (the one band free), flip the panel over so the wrong side is now facing up. 
  2. Find the pleated panel. Place the pleated panel right side up on your work surface. Place the zipper panel on top, aligning the top and left sides. Pin in place across the top. The pleated panel will extend beyond the zipper panel to the right.
  3. Trim the pleated panel to match the zipper panel.
  4. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch across the panels along the top edge only.
  5. Fold flat and press, pressing the seam allowance up towards the band.
  6. Fold up the pleated panel so its bottom edge meets the remaining raw edge of the opposite top band. Pin the pleated panel and band together. The lining pieces are still hanging free.
  7. You now have a loop of fabric with a zipper inside.
  8. Turn the whole thing wrong side out. Press the seam allowances up towards the band. Pull the lining pieces out flat to the right. 
  9. To make sure the lining sits nice and flat inside the pouch, you are going to remeasure and trim as necessary to fit.
  10. Measure from the lining/band seam allowance to the bottom fold of the pleated panel, then add ½” for a seam allowance. Our pouch measured 5¼” from the seam to the bottom, so we added ½” for a total measurement of 5¾”
  11. Measure from the same lining band seam allowance outwards across the lining. Drawn a horizontal line across the panel at this measurement and trim away the excess. We drew a line at 5¾” and trimmed away the excess. 
  12. Pin the lining pieces back together along the new bottom edge. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch across the bottom edge.

Final French seams along the side to finish

  1. Turn the entire pouch right side out and push the lining down into place.
  2. Align the raw edges of the sides, all layers, and pin in place.
  3. Using a ¼” seam allowance, stitch down both sides.
  4. Trim the seam allowance back very close to your stitching – to about ⅛”.
  5. Turn wrong side out through the zippered opening.You’ll need to carefully poke out the bottom corners with a blunt tool, like a large knitting needle or a chopstick, but don’t be rough or you’ll poke right through the seam.
  6. Using a ⅜” seam allowance, stitch AGAIN down both sides, being careful to start each seam as close as possible to the head/tail of your zipper. 
  7. Turn the case right side out again through the zippered opening. Poke out those bottom corners again… carefully. And you have a lovely French seam for a clean inside finish


Project Design: Alicia Thommas  
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Kathy Andrews of What Sew Ever

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