With a slim silhouette and two deep pockets, this little pouch is a go-to accessory that can go-anywhere. We used two colors of waterproof canvas bound in fold-over elastic, and although you could certainly substitute a different fabric, we recommend staying with a mid-weight substrate, and the waterproof quality does further expand your go-anywhere possibilities.
This is a beginner-friendly project, but one that will add to your set of sewing skills. Because of the multiple layers and the variety of textures, you’ll want to use either a Walking/Even Feed foot or engage your machine’s built-in fabric feeding system. We chose the later option for our sample, stitching the entire thing with our Janome AcuFeed™ Flex fabric feeding system.
If you are new, and still learning the ins-and-outs of your machine, the “feeding system” is comprised of all the precision parts working together to move your fabric across the needle plate as you stitch. If you look directly underneath your presser foot (even easier if you pop off the foot) you’ll see a couple rows of what looks like metal teeth. These are the feed dogs. They rise and fall in time with your stitching, essentially grabbing and sliding the fabric forward. That sounds rather aggressive; in reality this movement is happening so smoothly you barely notice. But sometimes, the layers and/or fabric with which you are working is too tricky for just those lower feed dogs to handle on their own. That’s where a Walking/Even Feed foot or a fabric feeding system comes into play. It adds a set of upper feed dogs that move in unison with the lower feed dogs to increase control. Janome machines are known for their ultimate precision, so this upper/lower combination is flawless and can turn tricky into terrific.
Some of the other tricks you’ll learn include: how important basting is when working with layers, using the marks and guides on a project’s pattern pieces to insure accuracy, turning a clean corner with the fold-over elastic binding, and the value of changing out your thread colors — in both the top and bobbin — to create the best finished look.
There’s no interfacing in this project – another reason to stay with a mid-weight fabric – and we emphasize below how critical it is to keep track of the right side and wrong side of your fabric panels. Some types of fabric look nearly identical front to back. If this is the case with your choice, you may even want to consider placing a small tape dot on the right side to remind yourself which is which.
Although the classic rule of thumb is to, “always start a new project with a new needle in your machine,” it is particularly important when you have thicker layers. We used a new denim/jeans needle, which did a great job of punching through the bound canvas.
One of the things we love about this pouch is its smaller size. As much as we love our big bags and totes with their zippers, straps, pockets, and more; sometimes you just want something fast and fun. Chances are good you may have everything you need in your scrap stash, including the bits of Velcro® and decorative ribbon.
A generous tab on the flap makes it easier to open and close with one hand. And, you can see in the photos below that we’ve sized the biggest pocket to accommodate the largest of today’s smart phones. Use the pouch to hold cash and cards for a quick trip to the store. Load it up with a few power bars for an afternoon hike. We bet you can come up with dozens of uses.
The paracord strap is the last step in the instructions and allows you to adjust the length for your best fit. Keep it long for a crossbody option or shorten the starting length to wear it over the shoulder. Use the upper D-ring and Carabiner to clip keys or hook a pair of sunglasses.
For more information about how a Janome machine can make your new or continued sewing adventures more fun – and frustration free – visit the Janome America website or contact your local Janome America dealer.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing machine and standard presser foot
- Walking or Even Feed foot; optional, but makes handling the multiple layers easier – you could also engage your machine’s built-in fabric feeding system, such as the AcuFeed™ Flex system we love to use on many of our Janome studio machines; it was our choice for this project
- NEW size 16 jeans/denim needle; you need extra penetration power for the thicker layers and the variety of substrates
Fabric and Other Supplies
- Scrap or ¼ yard of 45”+ mid-weight fabric, such as canvas, cotton duck or similar in a solid color for Layer ONE; we used a 61” waterproof canvas in sunflower yellow to make our pouch even more handy for outdoor/year-round use
- Scrap or ¼ yard of 45”+ mid-weight fabric, such as canvas, cotton duck or similar in a coordinating solid color for Layers TWO and THREE; we used a 61” waterproof canvas in hot pink to make our pouch even more handy for outdoor/year-round use
- 2 yards of ⅝” fold-over elastic; we used black
- Scrap or ¼ yard if ⅞” – 1” decorative ribbon – you need just 5”; we used a ⅞” Jacquard ribbon from Renaissance Ribbons
- Scrap or ½ yard if ⅞” – 1” solid color grosgrain ribbon or similar; we used black
- Scrap or ¼ yard of ½” – ¾” Velcro® – you need just 4¾”; we used ¾” in black
- ONE 1” D-ring; we used and recommend plastic – a lightweight ring is best; we used black
- ONE small, lightweight Carabiner (just large enough to fit the ⅞” ribbon); we used black
- 2 yards of colorful paracord – the regular type, not the stretchy type; we used used hot pink with black accents
- All purpose thread to match fabric, Velcro®, elastic, and ribbon
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Pressing cloth; optional but helpful when pressing the polyester ribbon, elastic, and even the canvas – if not used, watch your iron’s temperature; you don’t want it too hot or things could melt
- Scissors and/or rotary cutter and mat
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
- Mini sewing clips; optional, but handy when working with the fold-over elastic
- Lighter or matches to melt the ends of the paracord and polyester ribbon; optional, but the easiest way to quickly melt polyester ribbon and cord for a neat finish and prevent raveling
Getting Started and Pattern Download
- Download and print the three elements that make up the pouch: Layer One, Layer Two, and Layer Three. These pattern pieces cover two pages and have been bundled into ONE PDF to make the download easier.
IMPORTANT: You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There are guide rules on each page to confirm your print out is to size.
- Cut out each of the pattern pieces along the solid lines.
- For Layer One, aligning the printed arrows, assemble Part A and Part B into the complete main body pattern.
- From the fabric for Layer One (the waterproof canvas in sunflower yellow in our sample), cut ONE using the assembled pattern.
- From the fabric for Layer Two (the waterproof canvas in hot pink in our sample), cut ONE using the pattern.
- From the fabric for Layer Three (also the waterproof canvas in hot pink in our sample), cut ONE using the pattern.
- From the grosgrain ribbon, cut the following lengths:
ONE at 4” for the front tab loop
TWO at 2½” for the back D-Ring and Carabiner loops
ONE at 4¾” (the width of the pattern) for the back “securing” ribbon
- From the Velcro®, cut ONE length at 4¾” (the width of the pattern).
- From the decorative ribbon, cut ONE at 5” – it will be positioned on the diagonal as shown on the pattern.
- Leave the fold-over elastic as a continuous length. It will be cut to fit within the instructions.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- Find the Layer One panel. Flip it over to the BACK side.
NOTE: Depending on your fabric choice, the back and front of your panel may be identical. Ours was just slightly different front to back, and canvas is often very similar in that way. The key to this project’s layering is to keep track of which side is the front and which side is the back.
- Find the four lengths of grosgrain ribbon, the loop side (the soft side) of the Velcro®, the D-ring, and the Carabiner.
- Find the original paper pattern for Layer One, which has several handy positioning marks to correctly place all the items.
- Find the 4¾” length of ribbon. Position it (as indicated on the paper pattern) on the BACK of Layer One.
- The top of the ribbon should sit approximately 6½” up from the bottom raw edge of the panel. Lightly pin the ribbon in place.
- Find the two 2½” lengths of ribbon. Loop one through the D-ring and one through the Carabiner. On each, pull the ribbon all the way through, so the two raw ends are flush.
- Again using the markings on the paper pattern as your reference, slip the looped D-ring into position near the left edge of the panel, and slip the looped Carabiner into position near the right edge of the panel. Both loops are behind the horizontal ribbon and facing up towards the top raw edge of the panel. The outer edge of each ribbon loop should sit about ½” in from the raw side edge of the panel. Securely pin through all the layers.
- Thread the machine with thread to best match the ribbon in the top and thread to best match the panel fabric in the bobbin. We also recommend switching to a Walking/Even Feed foot, or, as we did, engaging your built-in fabric feeding system.
- Using a slightly lengthened straight stitch , edgestitch along the top and bottom of the horizontal ribbon. Go slowly and carefully as you are stitching through several layers, and make sure your D-ring and Carabiner loops are flat and out of the way of your stitching.
- Referring once again to your paper pattern, look for the upper dashed fold line. Flip over your Layer One panel to its front side and draw in this guide line.
- Fold forward along your guide line (which means the back of the panel is folding over the front). Finger press to set a crease line.
- Flip over the panel so it is once again back side facing up.
- Find the loop side (the soft side) of the Velcro®. Place it across the top raw edge of the panel, just above the crease line. The edge of the Velcro® should be flush with the raw edge of the fabric.
- Find the remaining length of ribbon, the 4” length. Fold it in half, to create a loop with the raw ends of the ribbon flush. Slip the loop under the bottom edge of the Velcro® at the exact center point. Pin in place through all the layers, but just along the bottom edge of the Velcro®.
- Make sure the machine is threaded with thread to best match the Velcro® in the top and to match the fabric in the bobbin. We continued to use our built-in fabric feeding system.
- With a slightly lengthened straight stitch, edgestitch along the bottom edge of the Velcro® only.
- Fold along the crease line as you did originally. This means the Velcro® is now sitting against the front side of the panel and the loop is extending up and away from the fold. Double and triple check that your fold is straight and even along the original crease line. Lightly pin or clip in place.
- Flip the panel so it is back side up.
- Re-thread with thread to best match the fabric in the top and thread to best match the Velcro® in the bobbin. This seam will show when the flap is folded down into position, so we wanted the stitch line to be as clean as possible, which is why we suggest changing thread. This way, it is the upper thread stitching (traditionally the neatest side of the seam line) that shows not the bobbin stitching.
NOTE: Our overall goal was to minimize the amount of stitching that shows on the pouch when it is folded into its final position. This is why we are giving such detailed instructions about when/where to stitch and how to thread the machine. When complete, only one seam line will be visible.
- Stitch across through all the layers, securing the remaining free edge (the top edge) of the Velcro®.
NOTE: You will be able to “feel” the edge of the Velcro® through the fabric, which should be enough to allow you to stitch a straight line, but you could also choose to draw in a guide line to stitch along. Remember to use a marking tool that will easily wipe away or will vanish with exposure to the air or the heat of an iron. This guide line should be approximately 1¼” down from the folded edge, but do double check this measurement on your project as your Velcro® width may be slightly different than ours.
Yes – we know two comes after one, but this panel has a few more steps to complete. Roll with it.
- Find Layer Three, the fold over elastic, the hook side (the scratchy side) of the Velcro®, and the length of decorative ribbon.
- Place the Layer Three panel front side up and flat on your work surface.
- The paper pattern for Layer Three shows you the position of the Velcro®. Use this to place the hook side of the Velcro® across the top of the panel. We suggest checking with your see-through ruler to insure the strip is perfectly parallel to the upper edge. The top of the Velcro® sits ⅝” down from the top raw edge. Pin in place.
NOTE: You can also fold down the flap, using the “Fold Line” shown near the middle on the paper pattern for Layer One, to triple check the two strips of Velcro® align well.
- Re-thread the machine with thread to best match the Velcro® in the top and to best match the fabric panel in the bobbin. As you can see in the photo below, we are continuing to use our built-in fabric feeding system.
- Using a sightly lengthened straight stitch, edgestitch across the top and bottom of the Velcro®.
- Again using the paper pattern markings as your guide, place the decorative ribbon across the front of the panel on the diagonal.
- Pin the ribbon in place. Trim the ends of the ribbon so they are flush with the sides of the panel.
- Re-thread the upper path with thread to best match the ribbon. Keep the bobbin thread as-is. Keep the slightly lengthened straight stitch.
- Stitch across the top and bottom edge of the ribbon. We also opted to stitch across the ends of the ribbon to eliminate any problems with the ribbon fraying during the remainder of the construction. Jacquard ribbon is known to love to fray.
- Cut a length of fold-over elastic just a bit wider than the width of the panel
- Place the elastic along the top raw edge of the panel. As its name implies, you are folding-over the elastic on the raw edge, evenly wrapping it front to back. Pin or clip in place.
- Re-thread the top and bobbin with thread to best match the elastic. Keep the slightly lengthened stitch.
- Edgestitch along the bottom of the elastic. Sew slowly and carefully, removing the pins/clips as you go, to insure you are catching both the front and back of the fold-over elastic in this one seam.
- Cut and attach a length of fold-over elastic across the top of this panel in the same way you did Panel Three.
- Your three panels are now ready to layer.
Laying and binding to finish
- Place Layer One front side up and flat on your work surface, which means the Velcro® is facing up and the D-ring and Carabiner are underneath.
- Place Layer Two, also front side up and flat, on top of Layer One. The bottom and side raw edges of both layers should be flush.
- Place Layer Three, also front side up and flat, on top of Layer Two. Once again, the bottom and side raw edges of all layers should be flush.
- Pin or clip along both sides and across the bottom. We found the mini clips worked quite well.
- Machine baste along both sides and across the bottom. This will help keep the layers from shifting when you are attaching the binding.
- You start and stop the basting at the top of Layer Two. There’s no need to stitch up onto the top of Layer One.
- Find the fold-over elastic and cut a length to go around the entire perimeter of the pouch plus enough for an overlap of about 1”. Always err on the side of too much; it’s sad if there’s too little!
- Place the elastic over the raw edges, evenly wrapping it front to back just as you did above when finishing the tops of Layers Two and Three.
- We started/ended near the middle along one side. Trim any excess as needed to give yourself about 1” of overlap. Pin or clip in place. Once again, we liked using the mini clips.
- However, we did use pins at the corners for a tidier turn. At each corner, open up your fold just a bit and insert a pin into the point of the corner.
- Fold down the opposite side, creating a neat diagonal line – kind of a faux mitered corner – and add a couple more pins to hold everything in place.
- As mentioned, at your start/stop point, make sure you have about 1” of overlap. We like to trim each end at a diagonal for a smoother finish.
- Make sure your machine is threaded to best match the fold-over elastic in both the top and bobbin. And, we continued to use our built-in fabric feeding system.
- Using a slightly lengthened straight stitch, edgestitch around the entire perimeter.
- At each corner, stop with your needle in the down position and sharply pivot.
Along the top folded edge, you’ll need to fold the flap loop out of the way to pass by.
- Go slowly and carefully across your start/stop joint so everything lays flat.
- Be the turtle!! Slow and steady wins the race when working with the narrow fold-over elastic. Your goal is to stitch as close to the edge of the elastic as possible white still insuring you are catching both the front and back of the binding in the one seam. This straight edgestitching will keep the elastic from curling along the edge, but wait… there’s one more seam.
- Re-set for a medium width zig zag and go around the entire perimeter one more time. This insures the binding is truly secure front to back and is especially helpful to keep all the corners flat.
Attach the crossbody strap
- Cut a length of paracord for your best fit. For a standard adult, 58” is a good place to start.
- Lightly melt each end to seal. It’s important to melt the ends first. Paracord loves to ravel, and the act of tying a knot with definitely fray the ends and make they awkward to work with. It’s much easier to tie with melted ends.
- Knot one end through the D-ring, the other end through the narrow side of the Carabiner. The type of knot is your choice.
- If possible, first do a simple granny knot and try the pouch on the intended wearer. Adjust the length as needed as well the size of the “loop” you want to use to attach the paracord through the D-ring and Carabiner.
- Remove from the wearer, trim any excess as needed, and securely knot to finish.
- Another shortening trick once knotted in place would be to add a knot at the top of the strap, cinching it up for someone smaller and/or to wear over-the-should instead of crossbody.
- As a final touch, we added a S4H label to our front flap, centering it over the one visible seam line.
Project Design: Anne Adams
Sample Creation: Debbie Guild