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Quilted Accordion Pouch
This unique expandable pouch is based on a vintage silk stockings holder. Yep! But, since most of us are a little low on silk stockings we need to store, its five pockets are also excellent for jewelry, small lingerie items, makeup or other special trinkets. Accordion out to drop things into the pockets; accordion in, and snap closed. Okay, admit it, you just made a little opening-and-closing sound effect when you read that, didn’t you? And maybe a little wavy motion in and out with your hands? It’s alright; I did too. Accccccoooordion!
The outside of our pouch is a pretty quilting weight cotton. We chose a pale pink with a delicate motif to underscore its original vintage history. The inside is polyurethane laminate (PUL), which has a handy, wipe-clean surface. A lighter color for this PUL lining is best to make it easy to see all the way down to the bottom of each pocket. We chose a mint green.
The exact fabric we originally used is from the Berries & Blossoms collection by Maywood Studios, an older collection that is no longer readily available. Any petite print would work well.
All the edges are bound for a smooth finish. We used a pre-made satin binding, but any traditional binding could work. You could even make your own to create a perfect color match. The edges are all straight, so a true bias cut binding isn’t mandatory.
A layer of batting between the inner and outer fabrics pads the pockets so you can keep delicate items safe. We show you how to pre-quilt your layered fabrics prior to precisely cutting all the panels. This way, the diamond quilting lines will match up as the pockets accordion open and closed (… there’s that sound effect again).
The flap is secured with a pretty snap, which is our recommended closure. Another option would be a button and buttonhole. We don’t recommend Velcro® as it could snag any delicate fabrics stored within the pockets.
This pouch is excellent for travel since it keeps items tangle-free in their own compartments, but closes up into a space saving 7” x 5” size to more easily pack in a suitcase or carry-on.
Although we purchased new yardage for our sample, the cuts are small enough to make this project a good ScrapBusters option. Whip up one or more as beautiful gifts.
When closed, our Accordion Pouch finishes at approximately 7” wide x 5” high with five pockets. The cuts are all simple rectangles, so you can re-size up or down should you want a mini or a maxi version…. maybe you have a lot of silk stockings!
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
- Quilting Guide Bar; optional but helpful for the diamond quilting
- Walking or Even Feed foot; optional but best for thicker layers – or use your machine’s built-in fabric feeding system, such as the Janome AcuFeed Flex™ system
Fabric and Other Supplies
- ½ yard of 44″+ wide quilting weight cotton or similar for the exterior
NOTE: As shown in the diagram below, our cuts were lined up side by side across the width of the fabric. This worked well for efficiency of cutting since our fabric was non-directional. You may need more yardage if you choose a print with a strong vertical motif.
- ½ yard of 44″+ wide polyurethane laminate (PUL) or similar for the lining; we used a mint green polyurethane laminate (PUL)
- ½ yard of 45”+ low loft batting
- 4½ yards of ½” (finished width) binding; we used a pre-made satin binding, purchased locally – any ½” packaged binding could work or you could make your own binding for a perfect match
- ONE decorative snap and snap setting tools; we used a pearl snap and the SnapSetter tools
- All-purpose thread to match exterior fabric, lining, and binding
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Iron and ironing board
- Straight pins and/or clips
- Small hammer to set snap
NOTE: Normally, our Getting Started section is just about cutting, but for this project, you will create a layered and pre-quilted panel from which your cuts will be made.
- From each of your fabrics and the batting, cut ONE 35” wide x 18” high rectangle. If you’re working with half yard cuts as described above, your height should already be at 18”.
- Create a sandwich from your three substrates. To do this, place the PUL wrong side up and flat on your work surface. Layer the batting on top of the PUL. Finally, layer the exterior cotton fabric right side up. All sides of all the layers should be flush.
- Pin all around the outer edges through all the layers.
- Using a fabric pen or pencil, draw in at least the first few center diagonal guide lines for the diamond quilting. Remember, you are working on the right side of the fabric, so make sure you choose a marking tool that will easily wipe away or that will vanish with exposure to the air or the heat of an iron.
- Our recommended diamond quilting pattern is on the true 45˚ diagonal both directions and ¾” apart. You should start at the middle of the panel and work outwards. We drew in just a few lines in each direction to give us a starting point, then set our Quilting Guide Bar at ¾” to create the remaining lines.
- Thread the machine with thread to best match the exterior fabric in the top and to best match the PUL in the bobbin. Slightly lengthen the stitch.
- Again working from the center out to each side, stitch all the lines in one direction…
- … then re-set and stitch all the lines in the other direction (again from the center out to each side).
- When finished, you’ll cut your main flap panel and all the pocket panels, taking care to line up the quilting lines from panel to panel. Taking the time to precisely fussy cut the panels in this manner is what allows a perfect match of all the quilting as the pockets open and close.
- Wipe away (or otherwise remove) any visible remnants of your guide lines.
- The drawing below shows you how to set up to cut the four 7” x 10” pocket panels and the one 7” x 14” flap pocket panel. As mentioned above, our cuts are set up for a non-directional printed fabric. If you have a strong vertical motif, you may need to refigure your starting cuts and the amount of pre-quilting needed.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Bind the top and bottom of all the panels
- From the binding, cut TEN 7” lengths.
NOTE: As mentioned above, you can use the purchased ½” binding of your choice or make your own custom binding to best match your fabric from cotton or satin.
- Find one of the five pocket panels (four at 7” x 10” and one at 7” x 14”). Place it right side up and flat on your work surface.
- Open up one of the folds on one of the 7” lengths of binding. Place the binding right sides together with the pocket panel, aligning the raw edge of the unfolded side of the binding with the top raw edge of the pocket panel. Pin in place.
- Re-thread the machine with thread to best match the binding in the top and bobbin. Re-set the stitch length to normal
- Stitch through all the layers, running your seam along the binding’s visible fold line.
- Bring the folded edge of the binding up and over to the back of the panel. The folded edge should just cover the initial stitch line. Pin in place.
- Flip over the panel and stitch in place, running your seam just inside the edge of the binding. Go slowly and carefully to insure you are catching and securing the binding along the back.
- Repeat to bind the bottom of the panel in the same manner.
- Then repeat to bind the top and bottom of the remaining four panels.
Fold and bind the sides of the panels
- Set aside the one 7” x 14” panel; you’ll first work with the four 7” x 10” panels.
- Fold the 10” panels in half, aligning the top and bottom binding.
- Cut two lengths of binding to fit along the raw side edges of each folded panel. You want the binding approximately 1” longer at each end, which means an approximate 7” length for each side.
- As you did above with the top and bottom binding, open up one side of the binding and align the raw edge of the binding with the raw side edges of the folded panel. Remember to center the binding strip so approximately 1” extends top and bottom. Pin in place.
- Wrap those extending ends around to the back of the panel and pin in place.
- Here’s a view from the back with the ends pinned in place.
- Stitch along in the visible fold line of the binding from end to end.
- You’ve secured the flat binding as well as the folded back ends in this one seam.
- Fold up the binding along the seam line.
- Bring down the folded edge of the binding so it covers the seam line, just as you did above for the top and bottom bindings. You may want to also add a pin to help hold each folded-back end in place. The top and bottom ends will be tucked in and neatly finished.
- Pin from top to bottom being especially careful to keep the side binding as flush as possible with the top/bottom bindings at the corner.
- Working from the front, again similarly to the binding steps above for the top and bottom, stitch in place through all the layers, running your seam just inside the edge of the binding.
- Repeat to bind the opposite raw side edges of this first folded panel. Then to bind each side of the remaining three folded pocket panels.
- Find the 7” x 14” panel. Fold up the bottom edge 5” so the depth matches the individual pockets.
- The raw sides should now be 9” so you’ll need to cut two 11” lengths of binding, centering one length along each side. For this pocket panel, we recommend centering the binding first along the back…
- … then wrapping the ends around to the front.
- Stitch along the fold line through all the layers.
- Wrap up and over, covering the seam line, and stitch in place to secure.
- Again, this is the same method as you used above for the individual pockets, you are simply wrapping from the back around to the front, and you will be stitching through the single layer of quilting at the top and a double layer of pocket at the bottom.
Marking and stitching together the pockets and adding the snap base
- Find one individual pocket. Find the center point along the pocket’s back binding.
- Measure 1” to the right of center and mark with a pin. Measure 1” to the left of center and mark with a pin. Repeat to make identical marks along the pocket’s front binding.
- Repeat to make identical marks on the other three individual pockets.
- On the larger pocket with the flap, it’s easier to simply mark with a ruler. And, on this pocket, you are marking and measuring along the pocket’s front binding only.
- Pick one individual pocket to be your front-most pocket. You will add the snap base to this pocket.
- The snap base should be centered side to side and sit 1¼” down from the top bound edge. Measure and mark this point with a pin.
- Push the pin all the way through so you can see it on the lining side. Insert the snap’s ring from back to front.
- Place the snap stud over the ring’s prong and seal to finish.
NOTE: We used the SnapSetter snap and tool set for this project, which comes with easy instructions. If you’re brand new to inserting snaps or wish to use a different style of snap, take a look at our general tutorial on Inserting Metal Snaps.
- Attach an individual pocket to the pocket with the flap, aligning the marking pins on the front binding of the pocket with the flap to the marking pins on the back binding of the individual pocket.
- Stitch together between the two outer pins through the bindings. You are just stitching this short 2” seam. Your new seam should run directly on top of the existing stitching on the binding.
- Add the remaining individual pockets in the same manner working from the back of the pouch to the front. The final pocket should be the one with the snap base in place.
Add the snap top to finish
- With all the pockets stitched in place, collapse them together so they lay flat against one another. Bring the flap down over the top to mark the position for the top half of the snap. Don’t tug it down too tightly, you want it to just gently fold over, even arching it a bit above the pockets to give you a bit more flexibility with how the pockets close together. Mark the position with a pin when you are directly above the snap stud.
- Push all the way through to the lining and mark the snap top position.
- Insert the snap ring from back to front. Then, put the pretty snap top into place and seal together. Again, if you are brand new to snaps, take a look at our full tutorial.
Project Concept: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Debbie Guild
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Can you use fabric that is already quilted fabric and still make it the same ? I have quilted place mats i would love to use. thanks
@Denise – pre-quilted fabric is likely to be too thick and a bit too bulky to allow you to get the nice folds. However, I say that without trying; so if you have a thinner placemat you’d like to sacrifice as a prototype, give it a try 🙂
I loved making this, but …
I loved making this, but … Neither my local quilt shop or Joann’s heard of polyurethane laminate. I used iron-on fleece which worked, but I bet my binding corners would have been easier with something thinner. What would be comparable in an iron-on material? Thanks
@phattie – PUL is pretty
@phattie – PUL is pretty common so I’m not sure why they’d never heard of it. It’s especially popular with folks making baby items, like diaper covers. The idea when using it is to have a wipe-clean surface, which means it is like a vinyl or film. Because of that, there really aren’t options that are iron-on since ironing tends to melt this type of substrate. Fairfield makes a product called Shield — again, not a fusible, but it is an alternative to PUL and maybe easier to find in your local area.
I received something that looked exactly like this years ago from a dear friend of my mother’s. I absolutely cherished it and somehow it got lost. I have looked everywhere for something similar I could never find it and this looks exactly like what she gave to me. I will be making this and making others for gifts because I know how much this one meant to me. I wasn’t even sewing back in those days and I just remember how much I loved it. Thank you for this tutorial.
@Anglea – Thank you so much! As we mentioned in the intro for the article, our little pouch was based on a vintage one that belonged to our mother! Have fun, we’d love to see a picture of your finished project.
A very nice design of the bag
A very nice design of the bag, it makes my belongings very neat!
@Rochelle – Thanks! Yes this
@Rochelle – Thanks! Yes this is a S4H Classic. Fun to make, fun to use.
A lovely blast from the past,
A lovely blast from the past, and a belated thanks to Alicia for thinking up this one. I made one a little over a year ago and the project has been accessed and pinned a great many times. Clearly, this versatile little pouch appeals to many people. Thanks for the reminder of how inspired this was/is!
Does anyone have the pattern for the accordion pouch . Could you send it to me.E Green Box 3o64 Lloydminster Sask. S9v lp9 Canada . I will send you back a surprise lve made.
Hi Elaine – There is not a separate paper pattern needed for this project. All the cutting and construction steps are right here on the project page.