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Peek-a-Boo Ribbon Zipper Pouch
This adorable zipper pouch is all about the ribbon. If you’re a S4H regular, you know we’re fans of Renaissance Ribbons as well as fans of Tula Pink. Put them together and you have a winning way to embellish – or in this case, a winning way to create an all-ribbon-all-the-time pouch. There’s a peek-a-boo vinyl insert through the center so you can see what’s inside your pretty pouch.
We selected one of Tula’s newest ribbon collections: LineWork, which is a striking combination of black and white illustrations interrupted by pops of brilliant color. We’re using four of the six items in the collection. If you love the look as much as we do, check out the opportunity at Renaissance Ribbons to sign up for their Three Month LineWork Kit Club for more great projects that use both the LineWork ribbon as well as the coordinating LineWork fabric.
These Tula Pink ribbons are just one example of the breathtaking Jacquard ribbons for which Renaissance Ribbons is famous. They’re intricately woven with brilliant color. Because of this detail in the weaving, the ribbons have wonderful substance that makes them easy to work with.
We’ve come up with a unique way to create what we call “ribbon fabric,” which allows you to work with multiple individual ribbons as single units. As you’ll see in the instructions below, the ribbons are stitched to the non-fusible side of a layer of fusible interfacing. When the front and lining are assembled and pressed, it activates the fusing and creates a tight, smooth bond.
With the cute peek-a-boo center panels, this pouch makes a great gift idea. You can fill it with whatever goodies you like, allowing the recipient to get a little glimpse of what’s inside. When using it everyday, having a way to quickly spot what’s in the pouch is always a handy feature. “Where did I put my gum? Ohhhh, there it is!” We show our sample pouch filled with sewing notions, makeup, and writing tools. What will you put inside?
We like to use invisible thread for our ribbon stitching. This is not mandatory, but is a nicer look against the ribbon, especially when working with multi-colored ribbons. For the best results, you may need to loosen your upper tension slightly. It’s also a good idea to lengthen your stitch and sew at a slow and even pace. This type of thread does not stretch as well as regular thread and can break more easily under pressure, especially if it accidentally slides off the spool and wraps around the spool pin. Using a spool cap against the spool helps hold it in place on the pin, and again, going slowly and evenly helps the thread to feed correctly off the spool. Always sew in the same direction along both sides of the ribbon. This will help prevent any shifting and puckering. If you’d prefer not to use invisible thread, choose colors that very closely match your ribbon, and take the time to re-thread as often as needed to maintain a perfect match.
You’ll notice we used pins to hold our ribbons in place. Another option would be to apply a little basting glue or strips of lightweight fusible seam tape to the wrong side of the ribbon. Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions and test to make sure the ribbon can be easily stitched without the adhesive gumming up the needle. Some adhesives are not meant to be sewn through.
Our zipper pouch finishes at approximately 8” wide x 7⅜” high. All sizing and placement notes are based on our chosen ribbon. If you select a different combination of ribbons, for the best result, make sure your ribbon stacks match ours as closely or possible in order for everything to come together correctly to match the zipper and the non-ribbon cuts.
To recreate our “op art feel,” the key is to alternate the ray-burst pattern surrounding each dot in the side-by-side “ribbon fabric” of the base panels. As you can see in our illustrations and photos, the black and white rays that surround each of the bright dots have both an overlapping and underlapping pattern. An overlapping ray-burst should be positioned next to an underlapping ray-burst to create the op art vibe. The start and stop sequence of your dots may vary from what we used, so purchase enough ribbon to insure you have plenty from which to fussy cut.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
- Walking or Even Feed foot; optional, but can helpful when working with the layers of varying substrates; you could also engage your machine’s built-in fabric feeding system, such as the Janome AcuFeed™ Flex system we love to use on many of our Janome studio machines — we used this option throughout our sample construction
Fabric and Other Supplies
- FOUR ribbons of varying widths: our recommended widths and lengths are based on the gorgeous LineWork ribbon collection by Tula Pink for Renaissance Ribbons. Should you decide on a different set of ribbons, we suggest staying with the same widths or at least the same finished dimensions when stacked side by side as shown below. We’ve included some extra length in our supply list to allow for precise fussy cutting, however, we always recommend having even more than you think you might need as motifs can vary length to length, which means when using these specific ribbons, your dot pattern may need to be different from ours. If possible, purchase extra yardage. You can always find uses for beautiful leftover ribbon.
- 1½ yards of ⅜” wide ribbon for the horizontal ribbons front and back; we used Hexy Rainbow from the LineWork collection by Tula Pink for Renaissance Ribbons
- ⅝ yard of 1½” wide ribbon for the horizontal upper feature ribbon front and back; we used Panda Lovers from the LineWork collection by Tula Pink for Renaissance Ribbons
- 1 yard of ⅞” wide ribbon for the narrow vertical bottom ribbons front and back and the split ring loop; we used Narrow Multi Dots from the LineWork collection by Tula Pink for Renaissance Ribbons
- 1 yard of 1½” wide ribbon for the wide vertical bottom ribbons front and back and the zipper end tabs; we used Wide Multi Dots from the LineWork collection by Tula Pink for Renaissance Ribbons
- Scraps or ⅛ yard of 44”+ wide solid quilting cotton for the lining; we used a solid light green
- Scraps or ⅛ yard of 44”+ wide clear vinyl; we used a 12 gauge clear vinyl
- Scraps or ⅛ yard of 44”+ wide mid-weight fusible interfacing; we used Pellon Décor Bond
- ONE 7” zipper; we used a YKK zipper with metal rainbow teeth
- One ¾” spilt ring or D-ring; we used a lightweight split ring in red
- Fusible seam tape or small strips of fusible interfacing; to use as fussy-cutting guides for the ribbons
- All purpose thread to coordinate with fabrics
- Transparent thread for sewing the ribbons; this is our choice, you can also stitch with standard thread, but make sure the thread it a perfect match to the ribbon – we used Aurifil Smoke Monofilament Thread
- See-through ruler
- Iron and ironing board
- Pressing cloth
- Rotary cutter and mat
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
- Wonder Clips or similar to help hold the vinyl; optional
- Seam sealant; optional for cut ends of ribbons
NOTE: Use the drawing above to help guide your fussy cutting to get our exact look. We also include notes below about how to use fusible seam tape to help center the motifs. As we mentioned above, the start and stop sequence of your dots may vary from what we used. The key to getting the cool “pop art feel” of our sample is to alternate the ray-burst pattern surrounding each dot in the side-by-side “ribbon fabric” of the base panels: the overlapping ray-burst should be positioned next to an underlapping ray-burst as shown in our drawing.
- From the ⅜” ribbon for the horizontal ribbons front and back (Hexy Rainbow in our sample); fussy cut SIX 8½” lengths.
- From the 1½” wide ribbon for the horizontal upper feature ribbon front and back (Panda Lovers in our sample), fussy cut TWO 8½” lengths.
- From the ⅞” wide ribbon for the small vertical bottom ribbons front and back and the split ring loop (Narrow Multi Dots in our sample), fussy cut the following:
EIGHT 3½” lengths for the base
ONE 1⅞” length for the split ring tab
- From the 1.5” wide ribbon for the large vertical bottom ribbons front and back and the zipper end tabs (Wide Multi Dots in our sample), fussy cut the following:
SIX 3½” lengths for the base
TWO 1½” lengths for the zipper end tabs, centering a dot
NOTE: With the pretty Tula Pink ribbons, especially the Multi Dot ribbons, we found it helpful to cut 3½” strips of either fusible seam tape or just strips from the leftover fusible interfacing to create little templates to precisely center our cuts. Make a mark at the exact center of the strip and place that mark over the chosen dot color you wish to center. Pin and cut to length. This also helps you pre-plan all your cuts to make sure you have enough of the exact color combinations you want.
- From the solid quilting weight cotton for the lining, cut the following:
TWO 8½” wide x 2¾” high rectangles for the upper lining
TWO 8½” wide x 3⅞” high rectangles for the lower lining
- From the mid-weight fusible interfacing, cut the following:
TWO 8½” wide x 2¾” high rectangles for the upper base layer
TWO 8½” wide x 3⅞” high rectangles for the lower base layer
- From the clear vinyl, cut TWO 8½” wide x 2¼” high rectangles for the center peek-a-boo panel.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Create the upper “ribbon fabric” panels
- Find one of the two 8½” x 2¾” interfacing rectangles for the upper base layer. Place it non-fusible side up on your work surface.
- Draw in the placement guide lines: one vertical line down the exact center, one horizontal line ¼” down from the top edge and one horizontal line ¼” up from the bottom edge.
- Find one of the six 8½” lengths of ⅜” ribbon. Place the ribbon along the upper drawn guideline. Pin in place.
NOTE: As mentioned above, we prefer to pin our ribbons. Another option is to use a fusible seam tape on the back to help hold the ribbon in place.
- Re-thread the machine with thread to best match the ribbon in the top and bobbin – or use our choice, thread both the top and bobbin with monofilament thread.
- Edgestitch along the outer edge of the ⅜” ribbon.
- Re-set and edgestitch along the inner edge of the ⅜” ribbon.
- Find one of the two 1½” upper accent ribbons. Butt this ribbon up against the sewn ⅜” ribbon. You are butting the ribbons edge to edge; do not overlap. Pin the ribbon in place.
- As you did above with the first ⅜” ribbon, edgestitch along both the outer and inner edges of the ribbon.
- Repeat to place, pin, and stitch the final ⅜” ribbon in place, butting it up against the 1½” ribbon.
- Repeat the entire process to create a matching panel for the pouch back.
NOTE: As you move through all the steps of placing and stitching the ribbons, take note that these finely woven jacquard ribbons do fray. Using a bit of seam sealant across all the cut ends can help control this.
Create the lower “ribbon fabric” panels
- Find one of the two 8½” x 3⅞” interfacing rectangles for the lower base layer. Place it non-fusible side up on your work surface.
- Draw in the outer edge placement guide lines: one vertical line ¼” in from the left side edge, one vertical line ¼” in from the right side edge, and one horizontal line ¼” down from the top edge.
- Next, draw in the ribbon guide lines. Following the illustration above, draw parallel lines across the interfacing panel starting at the left drawn ¼” line and moving to the right each time: ⅞”, 1½”, ⅞”, 1½”, ⅞”, 1½”. At this final point, you are now looking at the ¼” drawn line along the right edge, which should be ⅞” from your last drawn ribbon line. There are EIGHT drawn vertical lines total and one drawn horizontal line along the top.
- Collect four of 3½” lengths of ⅞” base ribbons and three of the 3½” lengths of the 1½” base ribbons.
- Pin the wide center ribbon in place first. The top edge of the ribbon is positioned slightly below the drawn horizontal ¼” line along the top of the interfacing. The bottom the ribbon is flush with the bottom edge of the interfacing panel.
- As you did above with the top “ribbon fabric,” edgestitch along both edges of the ribbon.
- With the center 1½” ribbon in position, place a ⅞” ribbon to either side. As above, butt together the ribbons – do not overlap. We
- Edgestitch along both edges of both new ribbons.
- Find the remaining two 1½” ribbons for this panel and place them to either side of your stitched ribbon trio. As above, we are placing and stitching both at once to keep our bright colored dots perfectly centered.
- Finally, add the remaining two ⅞” ribbons to the outer left and right edges following the same process as above.
- Find another 8½” length of ⅜” ribbon. Place this ribbon horizontally across the top of the vertical ribbons, covering their raw edges. The top side edge of this ⅜” ribbon should be exactly aligned along the drawn ¼” horizontal line along the top of the interfacing. Pin the ribbon in place.
- Edgestitch the ⅜” ribbon in place along both long sides.
- Repeat the entire process to create a matching panel for the pouch back.
Add vinyl to the upper “ribbon fabric” panels
- Find one of the two 8½” x 2¼” rectangles of vinyl. Find one of the upper “ribbon fabric” panels. There should be ½” of interfacing showing along both the top and the bottom of the panel.
- Place the vinyl against the right side of the “ribbon fabric” panel, aligning one cut edge of the vinyl with the bottom interfacing reveal. Pin or clip in place.
- Re-thread the machine with standard thread in the top and bobbin. We used an off white.
- Using a ¼” seam allowance, stitch across through both the vinyl and the upper panel. This means you are stitching along, but not on, the lower ⅜” ribbon on the panel.
- Fold the vinyl down and away from the upper panel, finger pressing it into position. Grade the seam allowance, trimming away the vinyl close to the seam.
- Repeat to stitch the remaining vinyl panel to the remaining upper panel in the same manner.
Attach the zipper end tabs
- Find the two 1½” lengths of 1½” accent ribbon. We cut ours to center an orange dot.
- Fold back one end ¼”.
- Slip the bottom end of the zipper into the tab. The ends of the zipper tape should be flush with the folded-in side of the tab.
- Stitch across the ends of the zipper tape. It’s okay if this stitching is messy, it will be covered within the folds of the tab.
- Fold the remaining raw edge of the tab down so it aligns with the ends of the zipper tape.
- Fold down again, fully wrapping the end of the zipper and sandwiching the stitched zipper ends between the layers.
- Edgestitch in place, close to the inner folds. This edgestitching should be as neat as possible as it will be visible.
- With the bottom end tab in place, center the zipper on one of the upper panels. This is the panel that will be considered the “front” of the pouch, however, both sides are identical so you get to choose which is which. The bottom end tab should sit ¼” in from the left side edge. At the right side edge, make marks across the top zipper tape ends at ¼” in.
- Trim away the excess top zipper tape ends along your drawn lines. This positioning insures the zipper will be centered across the top with ¼” of the panel reveled at either side.
- Find the remaining tab. Fold in the tab ¼” as above and slide in the top cut ends of the zipper. Pin in place and then stitch across as above.
- Fold down the top raw edge then fold again to fully wrap the end of the zipper and pin in place.
- Stitch across through all the layers to finish.
Insert the zipper between the exterior and the lining
- Place the “front” exterior upper panel right side up and flat on your work surface.
- Place the zipper right side down on the exterior panel. The tabbed ends should align with the marked ¼” lines at each side edge, which means the zipper is centered side to side. Open the zipper about half way. Pin in place across the top edge. The bottom vinyl section should be folded down and out of the way.
- Find one of the upper lining panels. Place the lining panel right side down on top of the exterior panel, sandwiching the zipper between the layers. The top raw edge of the lining panel should be aligned with the other layers. Re-pin well through all the layers.
- Stitch across the top through all three layers, using a ¼” seam. We used our Janome AcuFeed™ Flex built-in fabric feeding system throughout the project, but found it especially useful here.
NOTE: All with all zipper insertions, when you feel you are approaching the zipper pull, stop with your needle in the down position. Raise the presser foot, twist the layers slightly so you can access the pull, move the pull out of the way of the presser foot. Once clear, drop the presser foot, re-position the layers, and finish the seam.
- Fold the lining back and down so the exterior panel and the lining will now be wrong sides together and the remaining free side of the zipper tape is sticking up.
- Find the back upper exterior panel and the remaining lining panel. Make a second sandwich similar to the first one. Place the back exterior panel right sides together with the front exterior panel, aligning its top raw edge with the free edge of the zipper tape. Lightly pin in place.
- Place the remaining lining panel right sides together with the in-place lining panel. The top raw edge of the lining panel should also be flush with the free edge of the zipper tape. As with the first sandwich, you have sandwiched the remaining free edge of the zipper between the back exterior panel and the remaining lining panel. The two exterior panels are right sides together and the two lining panels are right sides together. Pin in place through all three layers and stitch across through all the layers.
- Open up both sides of the upper zipper unit so you are working with just the lining panels. Fold up the bottom raw edge of each lining panel ¼”.
- Fold the exterior and lining panels wrong sides together again. The bottom folded edge of each lining panel should now just cover each top/bottom exterior panel seam. Re-fold this edge as needed to insure it is super straight all the way across and that it is NOT visible through the vinyl from the front of the panel. Press, being careful to keep the iron away from the bottom vinyl panel. We recommend a pressing cloth.
- Still using the pressing cloth, firmly press again – both front and back panels – this activates the fusible interfacing so your lining and exterior layers become one. Be careful prior to pressing that the exterior and lining layers are very flat and well aligned.
- Re-thread with thread to best match the ribbon or re-thread with the clear monofilament thread – our choice. Slightly lengthen the stitch. Edgestitch along the inner edge of each ribbon to either side of the zipper teeth.
- With the same lengthened stitch and thread, edgestitch along the outer edge of the bottom ribbon (the ribbon just above the vinyl) to help secure the folded bottom edge of the lining in place. Do this on both the front and back panels.
NOTE: If you are brand new to zipper pouches, you might find our tutorial “The Classic Zipper Pouch” a helpful one to review prior to starting. There are additional photos and instructions of both tabbing the ends of a zipper – even a longer zipper cut to side – as well as laying the exterior and lining panels when inserting the zipper.
Add the base panels to the bottom of the vinyl
- Find one of the two finished “ribbon fabric” base panels and one of the two remaining lining panels.
- Open up the finished top panel so it lays right side up and flat on your work surface and place an exterior base panel and a lining panel right sides together along the bottom free edge of the vinyl, sandwiching the vinyl between the layers. You are pinning the top edges of the exterior base panel and the lining panel to the bottom free edge of the vinyl. The exterior base panel and the lining are right sides together and make sure the exterior is on the top, matching the exterior upper panel.
- As above when stitching the vinyl to the top sections, the exterior base panel also has ¼” of interfacing extending. It is this interfacing that becomes part of the seam so you are once again stitching along, but not on, the ribbon.
- Re-thread the machine with standard matching thread in the top and bobbin and re-set for a standard stitch length.
- Using a ¼” seam allowance, stitch across through all the layers.
- Grade the seam allowance, trimming away the vinyl close to the seam.
- Fold down the layers, away from the vinyl, so they are now wrong sides together. Make sure the layers are super flat against one another and then press well to activate the fusible interfacing and fuse exterior to lining. As above, keep the iron away from the vinyl, using a pressing cloth is best as it also helps protect the ribbons.
- Repeat to stitch the remaining “ribbon fabric” base panel and the remaining lining panel to the remaining free edge of the vinyl on the opposite side of the pouch.
Add the split ring tab
- Find the 1⅞” length of ⅞” ribbon and the split ring.
- Feed the ribbon through the ring, pulling the ribbon back on itself until the raw ends align.
- Pin the loop into position on the right side of one of the upper panels. The raw ends of the loop should be flush with the raw side edge of the upper panel, centered on the 1½” ribbon. The ring should be positioned below the bottom end of the zipper. When the zipper is closed, the pull and the ring should be opposite one another. Pin or machine baste the loop in place.
Complete the pouch
- Make sure the zipper is open all the way.
- Fold the exterior panels right sides together. Align the raw edges along both sides and across the bottom. Be especially careful to line up the horizontal seam lines of the upper and lower “ribbon fabric”sections. The zipper should be straight and centered along the top edge. Pin in place along both sides and across the bottom.
- Using a ¼” seam allowance, stitch around the entire perimeter. Start at one upper edge right next to the zipper tab. You are stitching right next to, but not on, the tab. Stitch across the vinyl along each side. Remember to pivot sharply at each bottom corner.
- Because of the tendency of the ribbon to slightly fray, we stitched around there entire perimeter once again, this time with a zig zag stitch to finish the seam allowance.
- Clip the bottom corners.
- Carefully turn the pouch right side out through the open zipper. Be patient, the vinyl does have a tendency to want to stick to itself, but is still flexible and you can turn it.
- Using a long, blunt tool, gently push out the bottom corners and free up the zipper tabs at each end. Gently pull the split ring out into position.
- Still using a pressing cloth to protect both the vinyl surface as well as the shiny surface of the ribbons, press the pouch nice and flat.
Project Design: Anne Adams
Sample Creation: Debbie Guild
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