A zippered pouch is our favorite carryall when little things need to travel. Today we’ve mixed Dritz® elastic with cotton and pet screen to create a sporty pouch you can take across the country on vacation or across town to the gym. The open mesh of the pet screen allows you to see what’s inside; it’s also great when you need to sift out sand after a day at the beach or shake out crumbs from on-the-go snacks. We used two different Dritz® elastics for heft and flexibility rather than stretch. Our bold fabric is from Denyse Schmidt’s Florence collection for FreeSpirit Fabrics, brand new this month.

Dritz® Fold-Over Elastic along the sides provides a soft bound edge for the screen, which does have rough edges when cut. The FOE is substantial enough to provide a generous binding, keeping the pouch soft to the touch on all sides. We also used the new Dritz® 1″ Colored Knit Elastic on either side of the zipper, adding stability and a bit of extra give along the top opening. 

All these new elastics can be machine washed and dried, plus they’re fade resistant and color fast. If you’ve been hiding your elastic inside a casing all these years, it’s time to let it burst to the surface. With bright patterns, bold colors and a soft stretchiness you’ll want to touch, Dritz® elastic deserves a featured role on the outside of your next project. 

The supply list below gives you click-to-buy links for each elastic available at You’ll find a great variety of all the Dritz® Fashion Elastics (and more) both online and in store at Jo-Ann Stores as well as your other favorite fabric retailers. Dritz® is the Sew4Home go-to brand for sewing notions and tools: easy to find, easy to use, always economical. 

The pouches finish at approximately 6″ tall x 7½” wide.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies


Supplies listed below are for ONE pouch.

  • ONE package of Dritz® Fold-Over Elastic for the key ring tab and the side binding; we used Navy/Blue Foulard and Brown/Tan Skin
  • ONE package of Dritz® 1″ Knit Elastic; we used 1″ Blue and 1″ Brown
  • ¼ yard of Pet Screen Mesh or similar for the body of the bag; we used black for both pouches
  • Scrap or ⅛ yard of TWO coordinating 44-45″ wide cotton fabrics for the exterior and interior highlight bands; we used the following combinations from Denyse Schmidt’s Florence collection for FreeSpirit Fabrics:
    Brown Pouch:
    PWDS057 in Carne for the exterior
    PWDS054 in Taupe for the interior
    Blue Pouch:
    PWDS055 in Malac for the exterior
    PWDS052 in Malac for the interior
  • ONE 7″ zipper to coordinate with the fabric and elastic; we used black for both pouches
  • ONE 1½” diameter round key ring
  • All-purpose thread to match the fabric and elastic
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Straight pins

Getting Started 

  1. From the Fold-Over Elastic cut the following:
    TWO 15″ lengths for the side binding
    ONE 4″ length for the key ring tab
  2. From the 1″ Knit Elastic, cut TWO 8″ lengths.
  3. From the fabric for highlight bands, cut TWO 8″ wide x 2¾” high rectangles from each.
  4. From the Pet Screen, cut ONE 8″ x 12½” rectangle.
    NOTE: The Pet Screen is much easier to cut with a rotary cutter. And, measure with your ruler; don’t be fooled by the weave of the screen – it’s not always square.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Top zipper with elastic and fabric

  1. Find the exterior and interior fabric highlight bands and the zipper.
  2. Place the interior highlight band right side up and flat on your work surface.
  3. Place the zipper, right side up, across the top edge of the fabric. The raw edge of the fabric and the edge of the zipper insertion tape should be flush.
  4. Place the exterior highlight band right side down over the top, aligning its top raw edge with the top edges of the other layers, sandwiching the zipper in between the two pieces of fabric.
  5. Attach your Zipper foot
  6. Stitch across the panel through all the layers. You should be stitching right along the zipper teeth.
  7. Fold the exterior and interior pieces wrong sides together so the zipper stands straight up. Press up each remaining 8″ raw edge ½”.
  8. Repeat to attach the remaining two highlight bands to the opposite side of the zipper
  9. Find the Pet Screen rectangle, the two lengths of Knit Elastic, the 4″ length of Fold-Over Elastic, and the key ring.
  10. Insert one 8″ edge of the Pet Screen in between the two front fabric layers. Push the screen all the way up against the zipper seam. Fold the fabric layers down into place and pin to secure.
  11. Re-attach your regular presser foot. Set up your machine for a wide zig zag
  12. Zig zag across the width of the Pet Screen, staying close to the bottom folded edges of the fabric.
  13. NOTE: Opening the zipper will allow you to more easily insert the Pet Screen under the presser foot. 
  14. Place one 8″ length of the 1″ Knit Elastic across the top of the front panel approximately ⅛” below the zipper teeth. Pin in place. Remember, we’re using the elastic in this project for heft and flexibility rather than stretch.
  15. Find the 4″ length of FOE. Slip it through the key ring, aligning the raw ends so the finished tab is now 2″. Hand baste the ends to secure.
  16. Slip the raw edges of the tab under the 1″ Knit Elastic. The outside edge of the FOE should be 1″ in from the zipper end of the panel. Re-pin the knit band in place.
  17. Re-attach the Zipper foot.
  18. Edgestitch the elastic in place along both sides through all the layers. 
  19. Repeat to attach the elastic and insert the Pet Screen on the back of the pouch, except there is no ring on the back.


  1. Zip the zipper closed, creating a loop with raw edges. 
  2. Find the two 15″ lengths of Dritz® Fold-Over Elastic. Starting at bottom of the pouch, approximately 1″ around to the back, wrap and pin the FOE over the raw edge of the Pet Screen, using the center line woven into the FOE as your folding guide line. Continue to wrap and pin around the entire loop. When you come back around to your starting point (at the bottom/back) overlap about 1″. Trim away any excess if needed. 
  3. If possible, set up your machine to use its free arm. If you do not have a free arm, you will need to do some serious twisting and turning to make everything work.
  4. Slip the loop over the free arm and drop your needle at the starting point at the bottom/back. Stitch around the loop, staying as close as possible to the edge of the FOE but still making sure you are still catching both sides. As mentioned above, the elastic’s stretchiness is not our focus here; we’re using it instead as a soft and flexible binding alternative.
  5. When done, slip the loop off the machine, and repeat to bind and stitch the opposite raw edge.
  6. When both edges are bound, flatten the pouch so the zipper is at the exact top, the bottom is a clean folded edge, and the binding overlap is positioned at the bottom/back of the pouch. The edges of the FOE should be flush with one another. When aligned, you’ll be looking at the center woven lines side by side, so the edge will appear as a solid color… cool!
  7. Slip the the pouch back under the presser foot, and edgestitch through ALL the layers along the outer edges of the elastic. You are stitching through a lot of layers here, but the Dritz® Fold-Over Elastic is nice and soft, which makes needle penetration easier. Go slowly, and if you need to stop to adjust, make sure the needle is in the down position. 
    NOTE: In our sample photos above, you’ll see a zig zag stitch on the 1″ Knit Elastic in the brown pouch version. This was our first assembly theory, but we decided it was too difficult to get in close without a specialty presser foot, and so went with a straight stitch for our instructions. The zig zag is a cool look though, and if you’re feelin’ the spirit and the skill level… go for it.


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

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