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Whenever we design a little zippered bag here on Sew4Home, we get a huge response. Everyone loves cute little bags. And who can blame us? We all have stuff that needs to live in its own carrying case: make-up stuff, sewing stuff, snack stuff, money stuff, even secret stuff. Today’s winning bags feature amazing zippers in rainbow colors (yes – we have a link to where we found them) and a luxurious tri-color tassel you can make yourself. But, what really makes these pretty pouches pop are the bold colors and patterns of Ty Pennington’s 2012 Fall Collection. Finishing at just 6″ x 7½”, the bags are the perfect size to drop into a larger tote, but the fabric combinations are so beautiful, they really deserve to be out in the open and on their own! To add a subtle dash of handmade style, we used the same thick floss running stitch across the bottom panel of the bag as we featured on our Ty Pennington Holiday Placemats.

If you are wondering if this is the same Ty Pennington you know from Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, the answer is,Yes! His creativity and coordination has helped transform the lives of thousands and inspired millions of DIYers around the world. This latest collection from Ty Pennington Impressions is drop dead gorgeous. 

Since our theme of this series is making the holidays happier with handmade items, we asked Ty if he had a favorite story about handmade winners (or losers) he’d given out over the years. In true Ty fashion, his response was very funny.

“One year, I got creative and made everyone in my family wallets out of rubber inner tubes. There was no cash inside, but they made great stocking stuffers. Another round of presents I made that was really cool was candle holders out of old piano parts. They were handy gifts to use during the holidays. Then, there was one year when I gave everyone tie-dye t-shirts. The first batch I did as reverse tie-dye, using bleach. Since the bleach continued to destroy the shirts, even after rinsing several times, I believe everyone ended up turning them into cleaning rags. Haaaaa! The next batch was regular tie-dye, and they were a big hit. But, my reverse tie-dye was a big miss!”

We’re so glad you’ve joined us for these four weeks of holiday happiness! Each week we bring you a new collection from a different designer. Last week, you met Melissa White of Rowan Fabrics. Today we come to the end of our week with Ty Pennington. Next week, we bring you the delicate loveliness of Verna Mosquera‘s Pirouette for FreeSpirit Fabrics, and later this month, Amy Butler‘s newest: Alchemy for Rowan Fabrics gets the S4H treatment.

All our Happy Holidays projects are specifically designed to be fast and easy – perfect for holiday giving and decorating, with a beauty that will last year ’round. 

Ty’s new collection will be available in-store and online in December 2012. The fabric swatches have not yet been added to the official Ty Pennington Impressions website, but we expect them to be loaded soon. We’ll let everyone know when that happens, and will update all our links. 

In addition, for all of the projects in our series, we’ve 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

The ingredients shown below are for ONE zippered pouch. There is a bit of extra yardage figured in to allow for fussy cutting. If you are new to fussy cutting, check out our handy step-by-step tutorial.

  • ⅓ yard of 44-45″ wide cotton fabric for the top panels and interior pocket; we used Finch in Event colorway and Indo in the Sunse colorway, both from Ty Pennington’s Fall 2012 collection 
  • ⅓ yard of 44-45″ wide cotton fabric for the bottom panels, zipper tabs and lining; we used Lima in Event colorway and Hive in the Sunse colorway, both from Ty Pennington’s Fall 2012 collection
  • One 7″ plastic zipper; we used an Excella Rainbow Teeth Zipper in White
  • All purpose thread to match fabric
  • 1 yard of pearl cotton needlecraft floss to coordinate with your fabric for the horizontal hand stitching accents; we used Anchor Pearl Cotton in a size 8
  • Tapestry needle – with a large eye and a sharp point
  • See through ruler
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Fabric pencil, pen or chalk
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Straight pins
  • Hand sewing needle

Getting Started

  1. From the fabric for the top panels and interior pocket (Finch in Event and Indo in Sunse in our samples), fussy cut the following:
    TWO 5″ high x 8½” wide rectangles 
    ONE 9″ high x 5½” wide rectangle
  2. From the fabric for the bottom panels and interior pocket (Lima in Event and Hive in Sunse in our samples), fussy cut the following:
    TWO 3″ high x 8½” wide rectangles 
    TWO 7″ high x 8½” wide rectangles
    TWO 1″ x 2″ strips

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Exterior panels

  1. With right sides of fabric together, pin each top panel to a bottom panel.  
  2. If you have a directional fabric, such as our beautiful Ty Pennington fabrics, make sure everything is facing the right direction. You are pinning along the bottom edge of the top and the top edge of the bottom. Pin first, then gently open up the piece to check that everything is facing the right way. 
  3. Stitch together, using a ½” seam allowance
  4. Press the seam allowance down towards the bottom panel. 
  5. Find the tapestry needle and pearl cotton floss. 
  6. Cut an approximate 36″ length of pearl cotton; the hand stitching needs to be done with ONE continuous length. Double the floss and knot the end. You want a nice, chunky weight so the hand stitching is visible.
  7. Hand stitch, using a simple running stitch, across both sewn pairs within the bottom panel, staying ⅛” approximately from the seam
  8. The stitches themselves should be about ¼” with approximately ⅛” between each stitch. 

Insert the zipper

  1. Find the 7″ zipper and the two 1″ x 2″ strips.
  2. Place one strip on each end of the zipper. The strip and the zipper are right sides together and the raw ends are flush. Pin in place.

    NOTE: We based the width of these strips on our zipper, which was just a bit larger than 1″. Cut your zipper as needed to best fit your zipper; you want the strip to fit within the zipper tape
  3. Stitch the zipper tabs in place, running your seam just below the top and bottom zipper stops.
  4. Press the zipper tabs away from the zipper on each end. Open the zipper about half way. Find the front and back exterior panels. 
  5. Place the finished front panel of the bag right side up on your work surface.
    NOTE: The front and back panels are essentially the same. However, if you fussy cut one set differently or feel one pair is better looking than the other… that should be the front.
  6. Lay your zipper upside down on top of the top edge of the front panel (ie. rights sides together with the zipper teeth facing down on the right side of the fabric). The edge of the zipper tape should be even with the fabric’s raw horizontal edge. Make sure the zipper is centered between the left and right sides of the panel. The zipper tabs will extend beyond the raw edges of the panel. 
  7. Pin the zipper to the panel, 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. 
  8. 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 carefully close the zipper. Re-position your fabric and finish sewing to the end. Be very careful and go slowly; you want your seam line to be super-duper straight.
  11. Press the panel away from the zipper. 
  12. Repeat to attach the other side of the zipper to the other exterior panel. 
  13. Topstitch along each side, running your stitching as close to the edge of the fabric as possible. 
  14. You now have panels stitched in place on either side of the zipper and the excess width is neatly filled in with the zipper tabs.

    NOTE: If you are new to working with zippers, check out our newly updated tutorial on regular zippers. The process for this little bag is also somewhat similar to how we inserted the zipper in our Zippered Pencil Case. There are several additional photos within this project’s instructions, which may help you walk through the process.

Complete the exterior bag

  1. Unzip the zipper about half way again. 
  2. Fold the two panels right sides together, aligning the raw edges along both sides and across the bottom. Pin in place.
  3. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch along both sides and across the bottom, pivoting at the bottom corners. Use a substantials backstitch at both the beginning and end of your seam to reinforce these stress points at either end of the zipper.
  4. Clip the corners at a diagonal and trim away the excess zipper tab fabric.
  5. Turn right side out through the zipper opening and press flat.

Create and insert the lining

  1. Find the 9″ x 5½” pocket piece.
  2. Fold in half, right sides together, making it 4½” x 5½”.
  3. Using a ¼” seam allowance, stitch around all sides, pivoting at the corners. Leave an approximate 2″-3″ opening along the bottom for turning.
  4. Clip corners. Turn right side out. Push out the corners so they are nice and sharp. A chopstick or long knitting needle works well for this.
  5. Fold in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam. Press well.
  6. Find the two 7″ x 8½” lining pieces.
  7. Pin the pocket in place on the right side of one 7″ x 8½” lining piece. The pocket should be centered side to side and top to bottom.
  8. Edgestitch the pocket in place along both sides and across the bottom, pivoting at the corners and with a generous backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam, ie. at the pocket top. This is a stress point for the pocket and it’s smart to secure the seam well.
  9. Place the two lining pieces right sides together, sandwiching the pocket between the layers. Pin in place along both sides and across the bottom.
  10. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch along both sides and across the bottom, pivoting at the corners. 
  11. Clip the corners at a diagonal and turn the lining right side out. Gently push out the corners so they are nice and square. Press flat.
  12. Turn under the top raw edge of the lining ½” all around.
  13. Find the exterior bag. Turn it wrong side out. 
  14. With lining still right side out, slip the exterior bag inside the lining so the two bags are now wrong sides together.
  15. Align the bottom and side seams. The top folded edge of the bag should fall below the zipper teeth by about ⅛”. If it doesn’t, adjust the fold to fit and gently re-press.
  16. Pin the layers together. 
  17. Thread the hand sewing needle.
  18. Slip stitch the lining to the bag, using very small stitches. Stitch along the front and the back, but leave the lining loose where it wraps over the side seams. This allows some “give” in the lining so it folds smoothly as you zip the bag open and shut.
  19. Turn the bag right side out through the zippered opening. 

Optional tri-color tassels

  1. We have a full, step-by-step tutorial on how to make a single color tassel. The tri-color variety follows the same steps. We used 30 wraps per color. Wrap the colors side by side on a cardboard “holder.”
  2. Our finished tassels are 2½” in length and attach to the zipper pull with a standard monk’s head knot. 
  3. The rainbow zipper pulls did not come with a hole, so we made our own, using a ⅛” drill bit. 


Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Michele Mishler

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