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Child's Valentines (& More) Carry Case

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When you're a kid, Valentine's Day is the perfect combination of giving and receiving. It's fun to plan and put together cards and treats for your friends and family; then it's a thrill to see what you get in return. The occasion is certainly auspicious enough to demand its own special carrying case. Ours is super cute thanks to novelty PUL (polyurethane laminate), fold over elastic, and plastic snaps - all from Babyville Boutique. PUL looks great and wipes clean... a bit like kids themselves! The Babyville Boutique elements all coordinate beautifully, so mixing and matching is effortless. The case is stabilized with an inner layer of cardboard - although plastic web, firm foam or flexible template plastic would also work. We designed three generous pockets so little fingers have lots of places to put important stuff. 

The large clear vinyl pocket on one side can display finished valentines. The other side can hold paper, pencils and stickers in the sleeve pocket along with markers, pens and glue sticks in the smaller fold-up pocket. You'll find lots of uses for the case on Valentine's Day and beyond. 

All three pockets snap closed with the adorable imprinted Babyville Boutique plastic snaps. This was a favorite of our little model, who spent her time opening and closing the pockets over and over... and over. When our models have a hard time giving up the samples at the end of the shoot, we know we have a winner on our hands. If you are new to working with these cute snaps, we have a full tutorial

The Babyville Boutique PUL is very nice to work with (as is the craft vinyl), but you do need to remember a few things to make it as frustration-free as possible. Check out our tutorial: Successful Sewing with Laminated Cottons (And Other Sticky Stuff). The Babyville Boutique site also has good hints and tips

The minimum combo for each case is TWO coordinating fabrics, but the Babyville Boutique PUL comes three to a pack, and you could use all THREE fabrics: one for the front panel, a second for the outer pocket panel and a third for the back panel, folded pocket, pocket trim, and handles.

Each case finishes at approximately 9¼" wide x 8¼" high, excluding the handles.

Sewing Tools You Need

  • Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
    NOTE: Make sure you start with a new machine needle to allow you to easily stitch through the PUL and vinyl. We recommend a denim/jeans needle.
  • Teflon® type presser foot, like the Janome Ultra Glide foot (optional); we found the Babyville PUL very cooperative and so used our regular presser foot rather than a specialty foot.

Fabric and Other Supplies


Supplies shown below are for ONE carry case. 

  • ONE Package of Babyville Boutique Assorted PUL fabric or ¼ yard EACH of TWO coordinating 60" wide PUL cuts; we used the following Babyville Boutique options for our two sample cases:
    Dinos and Little Monsters, which includes 21" x 24" cuts of two prints and one solid - we used Little Monsters and Solid Green
    Sassy Cheetah and Sassy Dots, which includes 21" x 24" cuts of two prints and one solid - we used Sassy Cheetah and Sassy Dots
  • ¼ yard medium-weight sew-in interfacing; we used Pellon Sew-In Interfacing
  • ¼ yard of 4-6 gauge clear sewing and craft vinyl
  • ONE Package of Babyville Boutique Fold Over Elastic or 1 yard of 1" fold over elastic; we used the following Babyville Boutique options for our two sample cases:
    Orange with Circles and Solid Turquoise, which includes a 1" x 1 yard length of each; we used Solid Turquoise
    Pink Zebra and Solid Brown, which includes a 1" x 1 yard length of each; we used Pink Zebra
  • ONE package of Babyville Boutique size 20 plastic snaps or SIX size 20 plastic snaps; we used Sweet Stuff Hearts (in all pink for the Sassy Cheetah case) and Playful Pond (four green, one orange and one blue for the Little Monsters case)
  • ONE Babyville Snap Pliers set or snap pliers to fit your chosen snaps; we used the Babyville Boutique Snap Pliers for our Babyville Boutique Snaps
  • ONE 10" x 10" square of medium-weight cardboard or similar stiffener
  • All purpose thread to match fabric and binding
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Clips to hold layers together (instead of pins); we used quilt clips, Wonder Clips are another option
  • Straight pins

Getting Started

  1. Download and print out the FOUR pattern pieces: Valentine Case Front/Back TOP, Valentine Case Front/Back BOTTOM, Valentine Case Outer Pocket, and Valentine Case Folded Pocket.
    IMPORTANT: Each pattern is ONE 8½" x 11" sheet. You must print the PDF files at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guide line on each page to confirm your printout is the correct size. 
  2. Cut out the pattern pieces along the solid lines.
  3. The base panel of the case is two pieces (Top and Bottom). Butt these pieces together, following the arrows and diagram on the print out, to create the full pattern. Do NOT overlap. Tape in place.
  4. Using the Valentines Case Front/Back pattern piece, cut ONE piece from the front PUL fabric (Little Monsters and Sassy Cheetah in our two samples).
  5. Using the Valentines Case Front/Back pattern piece, cut ONE piece from the back PUL fabric (Solid Green and Sassy Dotsin our two samples).
  6. Using the Valentines Case Folded Pocket pattern piece, cut TWO pieces from the same fabric you used for back of the case (Solid Green and Sassy Dotsin our two samples).
  7. Using the Valentines Case Outer Pocket pattern piece, cut ONE piece from the same fabric you used for front of the case (Little Monsters and Sassy Cheetah in our two samples).
  8. Using the Valentines Case Outer Pocket pattern piece, cut ONE piece from the craft vinyl.
    NOTE: To get the neatest wrap for the binding, it's important the cut edges of the vinyl are straight. It's easier to see and cut if you leave the vinyl's protective paper in place.
  9. From the same fabric you used for the back of the case (Solid Green and Sassy Dotsin our two samples), cut the following:
    TWO 4" x 15" strips for the handles
    TWO 2½" x 9" strips for the outer pocket binding 
  10. Using the Valentines Case Folded Pocket pattern piece, cut ONE piece from the interfacing.
  11. Here are all the cut fabric pieces ready to go for our Sassy Cheetah sample.
  12. Trim away the seam allowance from the Valentines Case Front/Back pattern piece (cut along the inner line). Use this trimmed piece to cut ONE piece from the medium weight cardboard (or similar stiffener). 

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Outer pocket binding

  1. Thread the machine with thread to match the pocket binding in the top and bobbin. 
  2. Find the two 2½" x 9" pocket binding strips.
  3. Place each strip wrong side up on your work surface.
  4. Using your ruler, measure ½" in from each 9" raw edge, and draw two parallel lines the length of the strip.
  5. Fold in each raw edge to its nearest drawn line. Machine baste both folds in place. 
    NOTE: PUL doesn't press well, so it's harder to get it to hold a folded measurement than a normal cotton. Basting in place produces the same result.
  6. Using your ruler, draw a line down the center of the strip (on the wrong side of the PUL).
  7. Find the PUL outer pocket piece. Place the upper edge of the pocket (the straight edge) along the drawn center line.
  8. Fold the binding down over the top of the pocket and secure in place with clips. Be extra careful to make sure the bottom folded edges of the pocket binding are flush front to back so your stitching will accurately capture both in one seam.
  9. Lengthen your stitch setting.
  10. Edgestitch along the bottom of the binding through all the layers, removing the clips as you approach each one.
  11. Remove the basting stitches.
  12. Repeat to attach the remaining binding strip to the clear vinyl outer pocket.

Folded pocket

  1. Find the two PUL folded pocket pieces and the one interfacing folded pocket piece.
  2. Place the interfacing piece on your work surface.
  3. Place one PUL pocket piece right side up on the interfacing piece.
  4. Place the second PUL pocket piece right side down, so the two PUL pieces are now right sides together on top of the interfacing. Be sure all three layers are flush all around. Pin in place, leaving a 4" opening along one straight side.
  5. If necessary, re-thread the machine with thread to match the folded pocket PUL in the top and bobbin. 
  6. Using a ¼" seam allowance, stitch around the pocket, pivoting at the corners, going slowly around the curve, and remembering to lock your seam at either side of the 4" opening. 
  7. Trim the corners and clip the curves.
  8. Turn the pocket right side out through the 4" opening. 
  9. It's best to avoid ironing the PUL. Instead, roll the seam with your fingers to create a crisp edge, folding in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam. Place clips around the entire perimeter to hold the seam flat.
  10. Find the folded pocket pattern piece. Place it on top of the pocket and mark the position of the top fold line along both sides. Place a pin or a clip at each point.
  11. Starting at this fold line point on one side, edgestitch up and around the curved pocket top. End at the opposite fold line point.
  12. Edgestitch across the bottom.
  13. Leave the remaining sides un-edgestitched and leave the clips in place.

Attach the folded pocket to the PUL outer pocket

  1. Find the bound outer pocket in PUL and the outer pocket pattern piece. 
  2. Fold the folded pocket (that sounds funny, but we have been calling it the folded pocket!) along the two fold lines, forming the bottom pocket and the top pocket flap.
  3. Using the outer pocket pattern piece as your guide, place the folded pocket on PUL outer pocket. Pin in place along the upper folded edge only.
  4. Edgestitch straight across the upper folded edge through all the layers. This secures the folded flap in position.
  5. Open the top flap. Remove the clips and pin the pocket's sides in position. 
  6. Edgestitch along both sides and across the bottom. Remember to pivot at the corners.
  7. Find the folded pocket pattern piece. Transfer the pattern's four circle marks for the snap positions. 
  8. Following manufacturer's instructions, or our own handy tutorial, insert the top of the snaps on the flap. When these two snap halves are in place, double check the positioning marks on the bottom of the pocket to insure they align with snap tops. Insert the base of the snaps. 

Assemble the front and back panels and add the handles

  1. Find the two PUL front/back panels. 
  2. Place the outer PUL pocket with the folded pocket in place on the BACK panel (Solid Green and Sassy Dots in our two samples). Align the outer and bottom edges of the two layers and pin or clip in place.
  3. Using a ¼" seam allowance, machine baste the two layers together.
  4. In the same manner, place the outer vinyl pocket on the FRONT panel (Little Monsters and Sassy Cheetahin our two samples). Align the outer and bottom edges of these two layers and pin or clip in place. 
  5. Using a ¼" seam allowance, machine baste the two layers together.
  6. Find the outer pocket pattern piece. Place it over the BACK panel and mark the position of the snap bases within the pocket's binding.
  7. Following manufacturer's instructions, or our handy tutorial, insert a snap base at each mark within the pocket binding. 
  8. Repeat to insert snap bases within the pocket binding of the vinyl pocket on the FRONT panel.
    NOTE: We used all pink snaps for our Sassy Cheetah case but a variety of snap colors for our Little Monsters case.
  9. Find the two 4" x 15" handle strips. Place each strip wrong side up and flat on your work surface. Use your ruler to draw a line down the exact center of each strip.
  10. If necessary, re-thread the machine with thread to match the handle PUL in the top and bobbin.
  11. Similar to how you handled the pocket trim above, fold in each raw edge to meet at the center line. Machine baste both folds in place, approximately ½" from each folded edge.
  12. Fold back each end of the basted strip ¼", then fold the entire strip in half. Clip in place. 
  13. Edgestitch around the entire perimeter of the handle, pivoting at all four corners. 
  14. Make sure the beginning and end of your seam come together in a perfect match, and if possible, use a locking stitch to secure rather than overlapping the seam - it will look more like a continuous, uninterrupted seam. If your machine doesn't have a lock stitch, leave the thread tails long and knot to secure. 
  15. Remove the basting stitches.
  16. Repeat to create the second handle.
  17. Measure ½" up from each end of each handle and place a positioning dot centered within the width of the handle. This marks where the remaining snap tops will be inserted.
  18. Following manufacturer's instructions, or our handy tutorial, insert the top half of each pocket binding base snap into position. 
  19. Snap the handle into position onto the top of the pocket. The bottom edge of the handle should align with the bottom of the pocket binding.
  20. Making sure the handle is perpendicular to the trim, pin the handle to the base panel 1" down from the top raw edge of the panel.
  21. At this 1" point make an "X-box" to secure each side of the handle. The width of the box should should be in line with the existing edgestitching on the handle. The height should be approximately ¾", making the bottom of the X-box about ¼" above the pocket trim.  
  22. Repeat to attach the remaining handle and snaps to the opposite side over the vinyl pocket.

Final binding

  1. Place the completed front and back panels wrong sides together. Pin or clip together.
  2. Find the yard of fold over elastic. 
  3. Starting along one side at the top of the pocket binding, wrap the fold over elastic around the raw edges of the panels. 
  4. Stitch in place. We used a small zag zag stitch (3.0 mm in width and 2.0 mm in length).
  5. Wrap and stitch down the first side, around the curved bottom, and back up the opposite side, stopping at the top of the pocket binding. 
    NOTE: It helps to stretch the elastic slightly as you go around the corners to maintain a smooth curve.
  6. Lock your seam and remove the case from under the needle. Do not trim the fold over elastic.
  7. Find the cardboard insert. Slip it between the panels. 
  8. Place the panel layers back into position.
  9. Continue wrapping and stitching the fold over elastic until you are back at your starting point. 
  10. Overlap the head of the elastic about ½" to finish. 
  11. Lock the seam and trim away the excess elastic. 
    NOTE: The Babyville Boutique FOE does not ravel so you do not have to finish the ends. 


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


Comments (16)

Tasha said:
Tasha's picture

These are super cute.  I am thinking about making them in regular (interfaced of course) cotton.  Is there any reason this wouldn't work?  (I am new to this site and just read the Sewing Misdemeanors post, so I am following the suggestion of not being afraid to ask a question!)

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:

@Tasha - Good on you for asking a question!! We didn't test with standard quilting weight cotton, and so can't give you a 100% guarantee of the results, but the printed PUL we used is on the lightweight side - not quite as lightweight as the cotton would be, but close enough to think it could work for this project. Since it's a cotton, you could try a fusible rather than a sew-in interfacing, perhaps Pellon Decor Bond. Let us know how it turns out for you. 

Teri W said:
Teri W's picture

I just made this cute little tote!  I do have to comment that the elastic tape was difficult for me to put on and was wondering if there were little tricks in working with this elastic tape?

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:

@ Teri - So glad you made our little tote! Did you use the actual fold-over elastic? It's much easier than regular elastic because its very soft and meant to fold. The number one tip is to go slowly, stretching the elastic slightly. We didn't pin, but that doesn't mean you can't pin! In fact, don't be afraid to use a lot of pins/clips if it keeps things more secure for you. Finally, you could try switching to a Walking foot or similar even feed foot, which will give you feed dogs on the top and the bottom to help keep everything feeding smoothly. 

SMS-SD said:
SMS-SD's picture

I've only just printed off the patterns and am getting ready to start this project. The scale line on the Valentine Case Folded Pocket says 8 inches but I think it should be 6 inches. Can you let me know which it should be for sure?

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:

SMS-SD - You are correct - thanks for the heads-up. We have corrected and re-uploaded that piece. Our scale lines are traditionally 8" and horizontal along the top of the page. We had to move the guide line to fit this pattern piece onto an 8.5 x 11 paper. In making it vertical, it had to be reduced to 6". The length changed, but the copy identifying the line wasn't changed. Sorry for your confusion. 

SMS-SD said:
SMS-SD's picture

I also have a question about Step 6 under Folded Pocket. The directions state to sew a 1/2" seam allowance but the pattern looks like it is showing 1/4" instead. I did the 1/2" as I didn't notice the narrower one on the pattern piece until I was done, but I think it made my folded pocket smaller than its supposed to be.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:

@ SMS-SD - We re-checked the seamstress' notes and it does state 1/2", however the line on the pattern is smaller. I wouldn't worry too much about that slight difference in the pocket, especially since it is all once piece.

Pam S. said:
Pam S.'s picture

Cute idea!! When I try to go to the print friendly version, nothing happens!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:

@ Pam - So sorry you're having a problem.It appears to be working fine in most browsers, but there is an issue right at the moment with Chrome. Perhaps you could use the PDF option for the time being. 

Nancy Harris said:
Nancy Harris's picture

It would be nice if you didn't make references to specific fabrics in your instructions. It would be easier to state that you need to cut out 1 pattern piece from fabric #1 and cut two out of fabric #2, etc.  Also the use of acronyms is confusing. 

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:

@ Nancy - thanks for letting us know where you got confused. We always reference specific fabric because people traditionally want to know exactly what we used. It also makes it a bit easier to follow along with the pictures. We do spell out any acronym the first time we use it, such as PUL (polyurethane laminate). Was there another one we overlooked that you needed explained?

Rosemary Bolton said:
Rosemary Bolton's picture

this is a really cute bag. I think I like the blue one the best. It is great to see them in two completely different styles though

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:

@ Rosemary - thanks! Changing the fabric makes all the difference - the same project can look totally different in new colors and patterns. 

Sally M. said:
Sally M.'s picture

Such a cute tote bag for kids.  You're absolutely right, Valentine's Day is a wonderful day for the little ones.  When I was a kid, you know, back in the dinosaur ages (LOL), our only tote was the elicit brown paper bag, two of them.  One to bring the Valentine's in and the other was put on your desk for your classmates to put your Valentine in.  Today, those vintage Valentine's are worth some good money on the market.  Wish I would have saved them.  

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:

@ Sally - such great memories, right? Those were some very special paper bags!

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