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ScrapBusters: Mini Waist Pack

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The "fanny pack" is back. It's showing up alongside other flashback fashions from the seventies and eighties at Forever 21, Old Navy, and H&M. Of course, we felt a slightly new spin was in order for this favorite on-the-go storage solution. Our Mini Waist Pack version has been jazzed up with cool colors and a contrasting zipper, and it's slimmed down for a sleek look and feel. We offer a pattern download so you can get the perfect bottom curve. 

We like our flat design better than the traditionally bulky fanny back because it hugs your body more sensibly and makes it easier to slip a jacket over the top. 

You can still load it up with plenty of items for a quick trip out and about. Our model took these two samples on an urban hike. 

With a new zipper and some strapping and buckles, it's a great ScrapBusters project to give each pack its own personality.

The front of the Waist Pack is cut into two pieces, which means you could even mix and match three fabrics for the bottom front, top front, and back.

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. The webbing is attached as a single length left to right with a parachute buckle as the closure. 

The pouch finishes at approximately 9" wide x 6½" high.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

The photo above shows everything we used for both of our samples, but the quantities listed below are for ONE mini waist pack.

  • Scrap or ¼ yard of 44"+ wide, medium to heavy-weight fabric for the pouch; we used Udder Madness Faux Cowhide in Milk (an upholstery weight) and Four Corners in Cove by Waverly Fabric (a home décor weight)
  • Scrap or ¼ yard of 44"+ wide, quilting weight fabric or similar for the lining; we used two coordinating fabrics from our stash: a turquoise linen and a small neutral print in a standard quilting weight cotton
  • 1½ yards of 1" poly webbing; we used black
  • ONE 1" parachute buckle to coordinate with webbing; we used black
  • ONE 9" zipper; we suggest a fun color to coordinate with, but still stand out against, the fabric – we used turquoise for both of our samples
  • All purpose thread to coordinate with fabrics
  • See-through ruler
  • Tape measure
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Straight pins

Getting Started

  1. Download and print 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.
  2. Cut out the pattern along the solid line. 
  3. From the exterior fabric, use the pattern to fussy cut TWO pieces. 
  4. From the lining fabric, use the pattern to cut TWO pieces.
  5. Place the front exterior and one lining piece wrong sides together. 
    NOTE: Either piece can be the "front," simply choose the piece that has the best fussy cut.
  6. Place the pattern on top of the layered exterior/lining and pin in place. 
  7. Cut along the indicated line on the pattern.
  8. 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

Prepare the front panel with the zipper

  1. Place the bottom exterior panel right side up on your work surface. Center the zipper upside down (teeth facing down on the right side of the fabric) across the fabric. The edge of the zipper tape should be even with the fabric's raw edge.
  2. 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. 
  3. 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.
  4. Open the zipper about half way prior to starting your seam. 
  5. Stitch a ¼" seam through all the layers. Go slowly. 
  6. 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.
  7. When finished and open, your lining piece should be on one side of the zipper and your front piece on the other.
  8. Fold the exterior away from the zipper and press. 
  9. Then fold the lining into place (wrong side together with the exterior) and press flat again. The remaining raw edge of the zipper tape is standing straight up between the two layers. 
  10. Repeat these steps to attach the two top front 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.
  11. Then pin the top lining piece in place – right sides together with the lining panel so the the zipper is sandwiched between the layers. 
  12. Stitch in place, then 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. 
  13. Trim away any excess zipper tape from either end. 
  14. Edgestitch along both sides of the zipper through all layers.
  15. We added our Sew4Home label in the bottom right corner, stitching through both layers. 

Prepare the back panel with the strap

  1. Find the back exterior and the back lining. Place them wrong sides together.
  2. Machine baste the layers together around the full perimeter.
  3. Place the basted layers right side up on your work surface.
  4. Find the length of webbing.
  5. Place the webbing across the top of the fabric. The webbing should sit ¾" down from the top raw edge of the fabric.
  6. The left end of the webbing should extend 8½" beyond the left raw edge of the fabric. 

    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 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. 
  7. Pin the webbing in place against the layered fabric, stopping 1⅛" from either raw edge. This will be the stopping point at either side when stitching the webbing in place.
  8. Re-thread the machine with thread to best match the webbing in the top and bobbin and lengthen your stitch.
  9. 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

  1. Re-thread the machine with thread to match the fabric in the top and bobbin and re-set the stitch length to normal. 
  2. 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. 
  3. Find the front panel. Open the zipper half way. 
  4. Place the front and back panels right sides together, aligning all the edges. Pin in place all around. 

    If it feels too bulky to you to have the webbing gathered up in between the layers, you could feed the ends of the webbing out through the open zipper. You'll just need to keep them out of the way as you make the final seam. 
  5. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch around the entire perimeter through all the layers. 
  6. Press open the seam allowance all around. 
  7. Trim back both sides of the seam allowance to ¼", trim the corners and clip the curves. You can also finish the seam allowance all around, using your favorite option. We finished our seams with a simple small zig zag.
    NOTE: If you'd like more information on Machine Sewn Seam Finishes, check out our four-part series.

  8. Turn the pouch right side out through the open zipper. Use a long, blunt tool, such as a knitting needle, chopstick or point turning to gently push out the corners and round the curves.
  9. Find the parachute buckle. 
  10. 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". 
  11. 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" box. 
  12. 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. 

Project Design: Alicia Thommas   
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild



Comments (17)

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

@icebeauty - You're welcom -- let us know how yours turns out!

Rosemary Withers said:
Rosemary Withers's picture

Love your pattern very easy to follow instructions. I made mine from scraps of cotton fabric but I interfaced it. I also used velcro on the strap, as my daughter works with people with dementia and in case it was pulled off her no one would get hurt. I printed my pattern in portrait accidently but I made a small one too. Its great. Thanks very much for sharing your skill.

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

@Rosemary - Thank you so much. Your alterations sound super interesting. Sorry you had a little misstep with the printout - but I bet the tiny version was cute!

Lanae d said:
Lanae d's picture

This is a wonderful pattern! I just finished mine and both my boys asked for a pouch of their own. For mine, I used waterproof utility fabric (like backpack material) and I serged the inside edges. It finished the inside nicely and cut down on the bulk. Thanks for a perfect free pattern!

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

@Lanae - Thanks for letting us know about your project success. A waterproof option sounds like a great idea! 

Anonymous said:
Anonymous's picture

Made mine out of recycled jeans! I even reused the zipper. Loved the pattern and how simple it was.

Sue G said:
Sue G 's picture

I made one and used it for my cash/ cards at a big quilt show. It was great, handy to access and no big purse to lug around! I trimmed my seams and topstitched about 3/8 " around the edges to finish.

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

@Sue - That's great news! And, thanks for weighing-in on your finishing choice. 

Tulip2Many said:
Tulip2Many's picture

I've made one of these before and they are great.  It fits nicely under a jacket and fits close to the body, so no bulk.  To the reader worried about inside seams - they're not a bother.  I did a simple zig zag around my seams and when the back is turned the right way round you can't see or feel them anyway!  Thanks Sew4Home for all the brilliant and practical projects - keep them coming!

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

@Tuplip2Many - Thanks for letting us know that yours worked out just as promised! The seam allowances really do disappear inside. 

RH said:
RH's picture

I made one of these as a treat pouch for dog training. It's perfect! (And I've bought a lot of doggie treat pouches.) I finished the inside seams with my machine's overcast stitch and that's working fine. It's also washable!

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

@RH - It would be a perfect treat pouch - thanks for the idea!

Dagmar Eu said:
Dagmar Eu's picture

I would love to make one of these but would like not to have exposed seams on the inside. Could you perhaps in a future article show how to achieve this? For now I will make one and just cover the raw seam allowances with bias binding. Thank you for another great scrap busting idea.

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

@Dagmar - This type of pouch design, with a zipper across the front of the panel as opposed to along the top, traditionally does have raw seams since with that center opening, the seam allowances are tucked back from view. But, as we suggest, you can certainly the seam allowance with your favorite method (bias binding is always a great option). We'll put your suggestion for a more complex, fully lined option on your You Asked 4 It list.