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Mother's Day: Pretty Pleated Travel Pouch

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Mom's have stuff. Lots of stuff. It's a rule. Sometimes, we need to take our stuff from one place to another, in which case, we need a stuff-carrier... and we do not want to use a plastic baggie. This lovely pleated travel pouch is an elegant answer to a pressing need. It uses just tiny bits of fabric, so it's a great project to try out little fabric cuts or perhaps use up some scraps. Our design has an easy-to-insert top zipper, generous pleats on both sides and a luxurious satin charmeuse lining. I'm thinking... perhaps one for you AND one for Mom. I bet you have a bit o' stuff, too.

If you love this design, you might also want to check out our two wristlet tutorials on which the Mother's day Travel Pouch is based: Wristlet and Embroidered Wristlet.

Our thanks to Michael Miller Fabrics for providing the brand new Black Dandy Damask and Black Lolli Dot for this project. And, to our friend Jona at Fabritopia for the amazing ribbon. Jona carries a wonderful selection of the Renaissance Ribbons. We were very impressed with the quality; they are so beautifully woven, they look almost as gorgeous on the back as from the front. Fabritopia also has lace, novelty trim and appliques... and fabric, of course.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

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  • ¼ yard 44-45” main fabric: we used Black Lolli Dot from Michael Miller Fabrics
  • ¼ yard 44-45” feature fabric: we used Black Dandy Damask from Michael Miller Fabrics
  • ½ yard 52-56” lining fabric: we used baby pink charmeuse satin
  • 1 yard of 1” wide fancy ribbon (includes extra to allow exact design placement): we used Renaissance Ribbons’ Black on Pink Fleur de Lis from Fabritopia
  • ¼ yard light-weight fusible interfacing
  • 1 package of extra wide double fold bias tape: we used light pink
  • 9" zipper
  • All purpose thread to match your fabric
  • All purpose thread to match your ribbon
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pencil
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Straight pins

Getting Started

  1. From the main fabric (Black Loli Dot in our sample) cut:
    Two pieces 10" wide x 2½" high
    Four pieces 5" wide x 6½" high
  2. From the lining fabric (Pink charmeuse satin in our sample) cut:
    Two pieces 10" wide x 2½" high
    Two pieces 6½" high x 19" wide
  3. From the accent fabric (Black Dandy Damask) cut:
    Two pieces 6" wide x 6½" high, fussy cut to feature the Fleur de Lis in the center.
  4. From the interfacing cut:
    Two pieces 10" wide x 2½" high

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Zippered top of the bag

  1. Following manufacturer's directions, use your iron to fuse the two 10” x 2½” pieces of interfacing to the wrong side of the two 10” x 2½” pieces of main fabric (Black Loli Dot in our sample).
  2. Lay one fused main fabric piece, right side up on your work surface. Place the closed zipper face down along one raw edge. Pin and stitch the zipper with a 3/8” seam allowance.
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  3. Place one 10” x 2½” piece of lining right side down on top of the zipper, aligning it along the same edge you just stitched. You are sandwiching the zipper, which is still face down, between the main fabric and the lining. Pin and stitch, this time using a full ½” seam.
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  4. Press both the main fabric and the lining away from the zipper, matching the remaining raw edges. Your fabric will be wrong sides together.
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  5. Pin along these matched raw edges. Set your machine for a long basting stitch, and machine baste these three edges.
  6. Repeat steps 2-5 to create a 'zipper sandwich' on the opposite side. Set aside.
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Body of the bag – front and back

  1. Match up two 5” x 6½” pieces of main fabric (Black Lolli Dot in our sample) with one 6” wide x 6½” piece of accent fabric (Black Dandy Damask) in our sample. Arrange them so the two pieces of main fabric are on either side of the accent fabric piece. Match up the 6½” sides, right sides together, and pin in place.
  2. Stitch the two 6½” seams, using a ½” seam allowance.
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  3. Take this stitched panel to your ironing board. Lay it right side down on the ironing board. Fold in the seam allowances to the center of the accent panel to form a 3” pleat.
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  4. Press pleats firmly in place with steam.
  5. Repeat steps 1-4 to create the other side of the bag body with the two remaining 5” x 6½” pieces of main fabric (Black Lolli Dot in our sample) and the one remaining piece of 6” wide x 6½” piece of accent fabric (Black Dandy Damask in our sample).
  6. Optional: as an added accent, you can carefully fold the main fabric away from the accent fabric, and edgestitch along both folds of the pleat.
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  7. Find your two 6½” x 19” pieces of lining (Pink charmeuse satin in our sample).
  8. Take one 6½” x 19” piece of lining and lay it, WRONG sides together, on one pleated bag body panel. Fold the lining around both pleats, adjusting so the lining completely wraps the pleats and the outside raw edges of both lining and fabric are flush Press the entire unit firmly with steam and pin the pleat flat at the top and the bottom edges.
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  9. Carefully carry this over to your machine, and using a 3/8” seam allowance, stitch across both the top and bottom of the panel securing the pleats.
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Assembling the bag and adding the ribbon

  1. Align the top raw edge of each pleated body panel with either side of the zippered top panel. If you used a directional design for your accent fabric, make sure it’s running the right direction on both panels. Pin in place, lining sides together.
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    NOTE: Yes, this will create a seam on the outside of the bag. Yikes?? No. Hang in there with me.
  2. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch carefully through all the layers to attach both panels to the zippered top. Press the seams open on the outside of the bag. Trim off approximately 1/8” of the seam allowance’s raw edges to clean off any wayward threads.
  3. Find your fancy ribbon (Renaissance Ribbons’ Black on Pink Fleur de Lis in our sample).
  4. Center the ribbon over the open seam allowances.
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    NOTE: On our sample, we were careful to place the ribbon so it started with a full square on the seam line.
  5. Re-thread your machine with thread to match your ribbon.
  6. Edgestitch along both edges of the ribbon.
    NOTE: It is critical that your ribbon covers the raw edges of the seam allowance AND that the top of the ribbon is exactly the same distance from the zipper on both panels... so they match up perfectly when you sew everything together.
  7. Cut a piece of ribbon approximately 7-8” in length for the handle loop.
    NOTE: On our sample, we wanted four full squares of our Fluer de Lis design to show on each side of the loop, so we cut the ribbon to include 8 squares to show plus one square for a seam allowance. With our ribbon, we also needed to keep in mind the color pattern. We cut our ribbon to retain the light pink/dark pink color repeat.
  8. Fold your ribbon loop in half and pin it to the ribbon trim along one edge (We preferred the hanging tab be on the same same as the zipper pull when the zipper is closed). Line up the raw edges of the ribbon loop in the raw edge of the panel so the ribbon loop is facing in to the middle of the bag.
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  9. Fold the bag right sides together and pin all around the three raw edges, matching the ribbon trim, enclosing the little ribbon tab, and matching the pleats at the bottom.
  10. Open the zipper about half way, and stitch all around the pinned edges TWICE... because you want the seam to be secure enough to handle lots of reaching in and out and searching around. Back tack carefully at the zipper tape ends, and go slowly over the places where the project is several layers thick.
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    NOTE: One trick to making sure the ribbon matches up at the seam line is to START your stitching with the needle down through all the layers at the thickest part. You can then go back up to the top and finish the seam, there’s no law that says you always have to start at the topmost edge.
  11. Clip off the bottom inside corners.
  12. Cut two lengths of bias tape about 8” and one length about 9”.
  13. Wrap the bias tape to enclose the inside raw edges of your lining. Pin in place, tucking under the raw ends of the tape at the beginning and end of each side
    NOTE: We’re doing this as three separate pieces rather than one continuous piece because we didn’t want the bulk in the corners.
  14. Edgestitch the three pieces of bias tape in place.
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  15. Turn the bag right sides out through the open zipper.

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Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Kathy Andrews, What Sew Ever



Comments (25)

fabriclover said:
fabriclover's picture

woohoo! the stupids have left me! well at least for now! ha! With much trial it finally worked out, hopefully I will remember what I did when I want to make another one!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ fabriclover -- I love it when things work out on their own, because... honestly, I wasn't sure what to tell you was wrong 

fabriclover said:
fabriclover's picture

ok, I am officially stumped. I consider myself a better than average sewer, but can not seem to get the lining to fit the main body fabric....Even with wrapping around the pleat, I still have way too much lining fabric.  I have checked and rechecked my measurements a dozen times, but still no luck. I know it must be me cause everyone is saying how easy it went for them. Any suggestions? Does the lining fir tight or is there a pleat beyond the original main one? I can't believe I can't get this....must be having the stupids today. 

Anonymous said:
Anonymous's picture

Olá moro no Brasil, em Arapongas?Pr, gostei da idéia mais acho que poderia ser uma montagem mais simpliicDA OU SEJA EMENDAR OS TECIDOS EM PRIMEIRO , PARA DEPOIS COLOCAR ZÍPER E FORRAR , BEIJOS .E OBRIGADO, TANKS.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Embellishbya - thank you for your comment. Republishing of content is not allowed, but we do allow people to pick up a photo or two from our articles to use along with credit and a link back to our site. We appreciate this outreach. Thanks!

Erica said:
Erica's picture

There is an error in the supply list.  You can't cut 2 - 6" x 6 1/2" pieces out of an 1/8 yard of feature fabric, since an 1/8 yard is only 4 1/2" wide!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Erica -- right you are. Thanks for the catch. We have corrected the supply list to 1/4 yard.

Daniela valenzuela said:
Daniela valenzuela's picture

hi there! 

i love this! but i have a question.

i saw on the website of the fabric that is cotton, but what other kind of fabriccan i use to do this project? 

greetings from mexico 

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Daniela Valenzuela -- the fabrics are cotton and satin - plus the ribbon accents. You can really use any fabric; I'd only suggest that you not use two fabrics that are heavier weight, such as two canvas fabrics. You could use something as thick as a cotton canvas for the outside, but then I would use a lighter weight cotton, polyester lining fabric or satin for the lining.

Laura B. said:
Laura B.'s picture

I have just made it for my mum's birthday. It was easy to follow and I love the result very much! Thank you so much!

Liana Spotorno, Rio Grande,RS,BR said:
Liana  Spotorno, Rio Grande,RS,BR's picture
Adorei.............vou curtir um monte este blog
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
@ Liana Ueti - Thank you for your nice post about our Mother's Day pouch.

We have many Sew4Home friends in Brazil :-).

All of our projects and patterns are copyrighted. I am afraid this means we cannot let you translate and re-post the project on your blog.

We have gotten similar requests from others and had to turn them down as well. What we can offer instead is the suggestion to use a picture of the project from our site along with a link back to Sew4Home. Then you can explain to them how to use Google Translate to translate any page in the site from English to Portuguese. I know this isn't perfect, but along with the photos, it has seemed to be a good solution.

Thanks for your understanding and for asking about the proper way to handle the request. We are glad to have you as a Sew4Home fan.
Liana Ueti said:
Liana Ueti's picture
I just love this project! So simple, easy and pretty! I have many friends here in Brazil, that will love knowing how to make it. With your permission, I would like to make the translation to portuguese on my blog, linking it to yours. I'm sorry if my english is not as good as it should be.
Thanks for sharing!


edelzia said:
edelzia's picture
smilies/grin.gif moro no brasil nao falo ingles eu adorei essa bolsinha lindaaaaaaaaaaaaa, moro na cidade de piracicaba sp e vc queria entrar em contato com vc quem sabe ter mais uma amiga bjus meu email
Linnsw said:
Linnsw's picture
This is so cute. I just need to find some pretty fabric like you have! smilies/smiley.gif
Liz Johnson, Editor, Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson, Editor, Sew4Home's picture
Thanks, Meredith P ... maybe if you start right now you COULD make them all. Just like that movie Julie & Julia where she made all the recipes! smilies/grin.gif
Meredith P said:
Meredith P's picture
So pretty. And thanks for reminding me about the wristlets. There are so many great projects on this site, I wish I had time to do them all