Based on one of our most popular "fanny pack" style pouches, we’ve updated both the sample and the instructions to show you how to use lighter weight fabrics and the proper interfacing to get a stylish yet still stable result. We’ve combined quilting cotton with lightweight denim for the exterior plus a second quilting cotton for the lining. You may have just what you need already in your scrap stash! Add a decorative zipper and paracord pull as the finishing touches. Standard polyester webbing in a fun color is perfect for the belt with a parachute buckle to make it quick to adjust. There’s also a free pattern download so you can get a smooth bottom curve as well as easily slice the front panel into two perfect pieces.
Traditional fanny packs tend to be rather big and bulky, and if you try to wear a jacket over the top of one, it looks like you’re smuggling gerbils. Our design is slimmed down for a sleek look and feel, but it still opens wide and expands to hold a bunch.
Wear the pack at the front or on your hip for safety or simply for easy access. Slide it around to the back if you’re biking or whenever you need it out of the way.
With our classic combo of dark denim and rich fall colors, a brass zipper was a great choice. We simply cut it to fit the horizontal opening. Of course, you could also use a standard plastic zipper.
The front of the Waist Pack is cut into two pieces, which means you can mix and match your fabrics for a variety of looks. We used just one fabric back for the back and one for the front, but it would also be cute to use a bit of the back fabric as a top band accent along the zipper.
We recommend starting with 1½ yards of webbing for the waist strap. This should result in a good adjustable fit for most average adults. If possible, test on the person who will be wearing the pack prior to cutting.
For the easiest construction, the lining seams are exposed. However, the shape of the bag and how it opens across the center keeps the seam allowances tucked out of view. Simply finish the edges with your favorite method. Don’t have a favorite yet? Check out our four-part series on Machine Sewn Seam Finishes.
Need a fast gift idea or a little back-to-school present? You can easily make one, two or even more of these pretty packs in a single afternoon!
We added our Sew4Home label to the front but you could also personalize your pouch with a bit of embroidery, a monogram, appliqué or ready-made patch.
Our Waist Pack finishes at approximately 9" wide x 6½" high.
Sewing Tools You Need
Fabric and Other Supplies
- Scrap or ¼ yard of 44"+ wide quilting weight cotton or similar for the front of the pouch
- Scrap or ¼ yard of 44"+ wide lightweight denim or similar for the back of the pouch
- Scrap or ¼ yard of 44"+ wide quilting weight cotton or similar for the lining
- 1½ yards of 1" poly webbing; we used bright orange
- ONE 1" parachute buckle to coordinate with the webbing; we used black
- Scrap or ¼ yard of 20”+ fusible fleece; we used Pellon Fusible Thermolam Plus
- Scrap of mid-weight interfacing; you only need an approximate 9” x 1½” strip – we used Pellon Décor Bond
- ONE 9"+ zipper; we suggest metal or a fun color to coordinate with, but still stand out against, the fabric – we used a 12” YKK brass zipper, purchased locally, which we cut to size
- Scrap or ⅓ yard or paracord or similar round cording for the zipper pull
- All purpose thread to coordinate with fabrics
- See-through ruler
- Tape measure
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Craft scissors; if you will need to cut your zipper
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
- Download and print TWO COPIES of the Mini Waist Pack pattern.
IMPORTANT: This pattern is ONE 8½" x 11" sheet. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guide line on the page so you can confirm your final printout is to scale.
- From one printout, cut out the pattern along the solid line. From the second printout, cut out the pattern along the dotted seam allowance line.
- From the exterior front fabric, use the full pattern to fussy cut ONE piece.
- From the exterior back fabric, use the full pattern to cut ONE piece.
- From the lining fabric, use the full pattern to cut TWO pieces.
- Place the front exterior and one lining piece wrong sides together.
- Place the full pattern on top of the layered exterior/lining and pin in place.
- Cut through both layers along the horizontal line indicated on the pattern.
- From the fusible fleece, used the full trimmed pattern to cut ONE piece. This piece will be used for the back exterior panel.
- Then, slice the trimmed pattern along the horizontal line and use the bottom half to cut ONE piece. At the top straight edge, cut the fleece using the long dashed stitching line. This piece will be used for the bottom front of the exterior panel.
- Finally, use the top half of the trimmed pattern to cut ONE piece from the mid-weight interfacing. This piece will be used for the top front of the exterior panel.
- As mentioned above, you can work with the full 1½ yards of webbing and fit to your waist and hips at the end of the project. Or you can cut ONE 48" length, which is the length we found allowed a good adjustable fit for most average adults.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- Center the full fleece interfacing panel on the wrong side of the back exterior panel so there is ½” of fabric showing beyond the interfacing on all sides. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse in place.
- Repeat to add the smaller fleece interfacing panel to the wrong side of the bottom front exterior panel. On this panel the top straight edge of the fabric extends beyond the fleece ¼”. Around the remaining curved edge, the fabric should extend ½” beyond the fleece. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse in place.
- Center the mid-weight interfacing strip on the wrong side of the exterior top panel. The fabric should extend ½” beyond the interfacing along both ends and one side. The interfacing and fabric are flush along the opposite side. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse in place.
Prepare the front panel with the zipper
- Place the fused bottom exterior panel right side up on your work surface. Center the zipper upside down (teeth facing down onto the right side of the fabric) across the fabric. The edge of the zipper tape should be even with the fabric's raw edge.
NOTE: If you use a longer zipper, as we did, that needs to be cut to size, place the top end (the zipper pull end) so it extends just a fraction of an inch beyond the side edge of the fabric panel. The bottom end (the zipper stop end) will be the long end that extends far beyond the fabric’s edge.
- Place the bottom lining piece right side down, on top of the exterior, sandwiching the zipper between the two layers of fabric. As above, align the top raw edge of the lining fabric with the edge of the zipper tape. Pin all three layers together, being careful to pin through just the top of the zipper so the zipper is still operable.
- Attach a Zipper foot.
NOTE: In order to stay as close to the zipper as possible, if your machine has the ability to adjust needle position (as our Janome machines do), move the needle all the way to the left.
- Open the zipper about half way prior to starting your seam.
- Stitch a ¼" seam through all the layers. Go slowly, you want your seam nice and straight.
- 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. Carefully close the zipper. Re-position your fabric and finish sewing to the end.
- Fold the exterior and the lining away from the zipper and press. The two fabric panels are now wrong sides together and the remaining raw edge of the zipper tape is standing straight up between the two layers. Press flat.
- Repeat these steps to attach the top front and top lining pieces. First pin the top exterior piece in place along the remaining raw edge of the zipper tape – right sides together with the exterior front.
- Flip over and pin the top lining piece in place – right sides together with the lining panel.
- Stitch in place, still using the Zipper foot and a ¼" seam allowance.
- As above, the zipper is sandwiched between the layers.
- Press both the exterior and the lining up and away from the zipper. As with the bottom exterior panel and lining, the top exterior panel and lining are now also wrong sides together. Press flat.
- Trim away the excess zipper tape from the top end.
- If you wish to add a personalization element to the front, now it a good time to add a label, appliqué, patch or decorative stitching as the multiple layers will provide a stable surface. If you wish to add embroidery, it would be best to do that prior to assembly. We added our Sew4Home label in the upper right corner of the bottom front section, changing out our thread and stitching through all the layers.
- If necessary, re-thread the machine with thread to best match the exterior front fabric in the top and to best match the lining fabric in the bottom. Slightly lengthen the stitch. Edgestitch along both sides of the zipper through all layers. Make sure your stitching is the same distance from the zipper teeth along both the top and bottom.
Prepare the back panel with the strap
- Find the back exterior and the back lining. Place them wrong sides together.
- Re-thread the machine if necessary with matching thread. Fully lengthen the stitch for basting.
- Machine baste the layers together around the full perimeter.
- Place the basted layers right side up on your work surface.
- Find the length of webbing.
- Place the webbing across the top of the fabric. The webbing should sit ¾" down from the top raw edge of the fabric.
- The left end of the webbing should extend 8½" beyond the left raw edge of the fabric.
NOTE: The right end of the webbing extends by a variable length based on your starting measurement. As we mentioned above, we started with 48" as a good length for an average adult. Only the left end is secured; the right end is simply looped through the buckle and can be adjusted and cut even shorter if need be. Of course, it can't be made longer, so start with enough webbing for your wearer.
- Pin the webbing in place against the layered fabric, stopping 1⅛" in from each raw edge. This will be the stopping point at either side when stitching the webbing in place.
- Re-thread the machine with thread to best match the webbing in the top and bobbin. Go back to a slightly lengthened stitch.
- Edgestitch the webbing in place with a long rectangular box.
- Remember to start and stop your stitching at the 1⅛" measurements marked above.
Stitch front to back to finish
- Re-thread the machine with thread to match the fabric in the top and bobbin and re-set the stitch length to normal.
- Gather up the ends of the webbing to the center of the back panel. Pin or tape them in place so they stay out of the way of the perimeter stitching.
- Find the front panel. Open the zipper half way.
- Place the front and back panels right sides together, aligning all the edges. Pin in place all around.
NOTE: If it feels too bulky to have the webbing gathered up in between the layers, you can feed the ends of the webbing out through the open zipper. You'll just need to remember to keep them out of the way as you make the final seam.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch around the entire perimeter through all the layers. Pivot at the corners and go slowly around the bottom to maintain an even curve.
- Trim away the bottom end of zipper as needed so it is flush with fabric. Remember, don’t use your good sewing scissors when cutting around metal.
- Press open the seam allowance all around. Trim the corners and clip the curves as necessary. You can even grade the seam allowance if need be, however, with the lighter weight fabrics, this is probably not necessary in most cases.
- Finish the seam allowance all around, using your favorite option. We finished our seams with a simple small zig zag.
NOTE: As mentioned above, if you'd like more information on Machine Sewn Seam Finishes, check out our four-part series.
- Turn the pouch right side out through the open zipper. Use a long, blunt tool, such as a knitting needle, chopstick or point turner to gently push out the corners and round the curves. Press flat.
- Find the parachute buckle.
- Loop the short end (the left end) of the webbing through the female end of the buckle. Pull the end of the webbing through and back against itself by about 2".
- Re-thread the machine with thread to match the webbing in the top and bobbin and stitch the end in place with an approximate 1½" X Box stitch.
NOTE: Check out our full step-by-step tutorial if you are new to the X Box technique.
- Thread the opposite long end of the webbing through the male end of the buckle.
- As mentioned above, this end simply loops through and is not secured. Try the pouch on its intended wearer and trim to fit as needed. If you used polyester webbing, you can lightly melt the cut end with a lighter if desired for a smoother finish.
- Slip the paracord through the zipper pull and knot to secure. As above with the polyester webbing, you can lightly melt the cut ends to prevent any raveling.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild