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Purple combines the calm stability of blue and the fierce energy of red, and is often associated with royalty, luxury, and power. We picked it as the featured color for our long and narrow zipper pouch, using it as a rich background for complimentary accent colors, like tangerine and kiwi, as well as familiar blenders, like pink and navy. One of the best ways to add a splash of multiple colors to a project is with ribbon. This cute pouch has a row of ribbons plus a ribbon wrist loop. Need more convincing on the power of purple? Here are a couple interesting facts to impress your friends: 1) Purple was the color of the first man-made dye. It was formulated in 1856 out of coal tar and called “Mauveine.” 2) Purple is the color of the highest denomination poker chip, worth $5,000. 

If you’re a Sew4Home regular, you may recognize several of the construction steps for this pouch. Zipper pouches are a fan favorite at S4H, and how they go together can be quite similar, which makes them a great basic skill building project.

The ribbons we used are from a recent Renaissance Ribbons Shades of Purple Ribbon Club package. If you would you like to get a stead stream of gorgeous ribbons, as well as fabulous project ideas for how to use them, check out all the Renaissance Ribbons Kit and Club options

One of our favorite ribbon stitching tips is to use invisible thread. There’s no need to re-thread to best match changing ribbon colors, and the finished look is beautifully clean from either side with nothing to distract from the beauty of the ribbons’ motifs.

For best results with an invisible thread, you may need to loosen your upper tension slightly. It’s also a good idea to lengthen your stitch and sew at a slow and even pace. This type of thread does not stretch as well as regular thread and can break more easily under pressure, especially if it accidentally slides off the spool and wraps around the spool pin. Using a spool cap against the spool helps hold it in place on the pin, and again, going slowly and evenly helps the thread to feed correctly off the spool. In addition, always sew in the same direction along both sides of the ribbon. This will help prevent shifting and puckering.

The horizontal format of this zippered pouch makes it perfect for longer items, like make up brushes, knitting needles and sewing tools, or pencils and pens. With a standard 9” zipper, you can fully open from side to side to slip items in and out with ease.

Its narrow footprint is also good for jewelry storage when traveling or as a compact storage solution for tech accessories like jump drives and headphones. 

The handy detachable wrist strap turns the pouch into a mini purse. Grab it when running quick errands or for evenings out when you don’t want to be weighed down with a shoulder bag. Our loop is made from matching ribbons stitched back to back.

The pouch is fully lined, and thanks to the smaller size, both the exterior and lining panels can be cut from leftover fat quarters or other scraps.

Below, we show you all the steps for a tabbed-end zipper. The tabs are completely finished so the zipper can sit slightly above the side seams with a tiny gap at each end. We carefully fussy cut our tabs to center a little eye at either end; our pouch is looking out for us!

The Ribbons in a Row Zippered Pouch finishes at approximately 9½” wide x 3½” high with 1½” box corners and a 5” wrist loop strap.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

  • Fat quarter, scrap or ¼ yard of 44”+ wide quilting weight cotton fabric for the pouch exterior and zipper tabs; we originally used a fat quarter from the Tula Pink De La Luna collection for FreeSpirit Fabrics: I See You in Claire
  • Fat quarter, scrap or ¼ yard of 44”+ wide quilting weight cotton fabric for the pouch lining; we originally used a fat quarter from the V and Co. Ombre Confetti Metallic collection for Moda Fabrics: Metallic Indigo
  • yard EACH of UP TO FOUR ribbons of differing widths for the exterior front and back ribbon rows – the finished width of the ribbon section should measure approximately 3¾” – 4”
  • ½ yard of ONE ” ribbon for the wrist loop and D-ring tab
    NOTE: As mentioned above, we used a selection of ribbons from Renaissance Ribbons. We actually used just THREE ribbons, one at ”, one at ”, and one at 1½”, repeating two of them. We repeated the ” wrist loop ribbon within the ribbon row. And, we repeated the ” ribbon for two of our four rows. You can follow our width pattern or build your own favorite look.
  • yard of 45”+ wide mid-weight fusible interfacing; we used Pellon Décor Bond
  • ONE 9” zipper; we used a standard purple polyester zipper
  • ONE ½” swivel hook and ONE ½” D-ring; we used a Dritz ½” swivel hook and D-ring set in gunmetal
  • All purpose thread to match fabric
  • All purpose thread to match ribbon, or use our favorite option for ribbon stitching: invisible thread
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors and/or rotary cutter and mat
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Straight pins
  • Fusible ¼” seam tape; optional to help position the ribbons prior to stitching
  • Seam sealant; optional for the ribbon ends

Getting Started

  1. From the fabric for the exterior and the zipper tabs, fussy cut the following:
    TWO 5¼” high x 11¼” wide rectangles for the main panels, fussy cutting to center your motif, and if using a directional motif as we did with our I See You eyes, make sure the motif is right side up on both panels
    TWO 2” high x 2” wide squares for the zipper tabs; we very carefully fussy cut in order to center an eye within the final folded size of ½” high x 1” wide
    NOTE: Our tab size was based on the width of our standard polyester zipper. Measure your zipper’s width and adjust as necessary.
  2. From the fabric for the lining, fussy cut TWO 5¼” high x 11¼” wide rectangles for the main panels.
  3. From the interfacing, cut FOUR 4¼” x 10¼” panels.
  4. For the ribbon rows, cut EIGHT 5¼” lengths – four lengths for the front and four for the back.
    NOTE: As described above, you may have slightly more or fewer ribbons in your ribbon section; just make sure you cut 5¼” lengths and that your front section and back section are an exact match.
  5. From the ribbon for the wrist loop, cut ONE 14” length.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Create the main front and back exterior ribbon panels

  1. Find the two exterior panels, the two lining panels, and the four interfacing panels.
  2. Place an interfacing panel on the wrong side of all four cotton panels. The interfacing should be centered so there is ½” of fabric showing beyond the interfacing on all four sides. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse in place.
  3. Set aside the lining panels.
  4. Flip the two exterior panels right side up. Select the one that will become the front panel.
  5. Using your fabric pen and ruler, measure 1¼” in from the left raw side edge of the panel and draw a vertical line. This is where you will align the outer edge of the first ribbon in your ribbon row.

    NOTE: Remember, any time you are working on the right side of your fabric, make sure your marking tool is one that will easily wipe away or will vanish with exposure to the air or the heat of an iron.
  6. Find the fusible seam tape. Place a length of seam tape just to the left of your drawn line. The job of the seam tape is to hold the ribbon in place while stitching. You want to place the seam tape so it will be centered behind each ribbon as best you can – it’s not crucial the tape be exactly centered.
  7. Lightly press to adhere the back of the fusible tape to the fabric.
  8. Peel away the paper tape to reveal the second side of the fusible.
  9. Find your first 5¼” ribbon length. Align the outer left edge with the drawn line, centering the ribbon over the fusible seam tape. Lightly press to fully adhere the ribbon in place.
    NOTE: When working with Jacquard ribbon, we like to use a pressing cloth.
  10. Place the next strip of fusible seam tape for the next ribbon in the row.
  11. Continue in this manner until you’ve placed all ribbons in your ribbon section. We used four ribbons to create our approximately 3¾” wide ribbon panel. The ribbons should be butted together side to side
  12. Thread the machine with thread to best match the ribbon in the top and bobbin or use our favorite option, invisible thread in the top and bobbin. Slightly lengthen the stitch.
  13. Edgestitch along both sides of each ribbon.
  14. Repeat to create the back panel. Remember, the ribbon panels align front to back when assembled. This means if you are using a directional fabric as we did ,your ribbon panel should be built on the right side of the back panel. In other words, your initial drawn line should be 1¼” in from the right raw side edge.

Create the wrist strap and D-ring tab

  1. Find the two 14” lengths of ” ribbon. Please them wrong sides together so all edges of both layers are flush.
  2. The machine should still be threaded with thread to best match the ribbon in the top and bobbin or with our favorite option, invisible thread in the top and bobbin. The stitch should still be slightly lengthened.
  3. Edgestitch along both sides of the layered ribbon. The ends remain raw.
  4. Cut 2” from one end of the sewn ribbon. This will become the D-ring tab.
  5. Find the ½” swivel hook. Slip the now 12” length of ribbon through the swivel hook. Fold the ribbon length in half, forming a loop.
  6. Slide the swivel hook down to the folded end of the loop. At the opposite side, pin or clip together the raw ends of the ribbon.
  7. Stitch across the raw ends with an approximate seam allowance. Double stitch for extra security.
  8. Trim the raw ends close to the seam. Use a drop of seam sealant along the raw edges to help control the fraying.
  9. Slide the loop around so the tiny seam aligns with the swivel hook.
  10. The seam allowance should be facing in so when the loop is flattened, this seam allowance is hidden between the layers. Pin together the layers close to the swivel hook.
  11. Stitch across the ribbon, through all the layers, running the seam as close to the swivel hook as possible. We moved our needle position all the way to left to get in as tight as we could.
  12. Find the front exterior pouch panel, which should have the ribbons already sewn in place at the left of the panel.
  13. Find the 2” ribbon length and the ½” D-ring.
  14. Slip the ribbon through the D-ring, aligning the raw ends. As above, you can use a drop of seam sealant on the ribbon ends to control raveling.
  15. Pin the D-ring on the front panel, 1” down the top raw edge of the panel. The raw ends of the folded ribbon length should be flush with the raw edge of the fabric panel.
  16. Re-thread the machine with regular thread to best match the fabric and ribbon in the top and bobbin.
  17. Machine baste in place.

Prepare and attach the zipper tabs

  1. Find the zipper and the zipper tabs.
  2. Fold each zipper tab in half, wrong sides together. Press to set a center crease line.
  3. Flip wrong side up so the crease line is visible. Fold in each raw edge ½” so they meet at the crease line.
  4. Press, then fold in half again along the original crease line and press once more. Your finished piece should now be ½” x 2”. And, if you’ve fussy cut a motif as we did, it should be centered.
  5. Centering your motif, trim the tab down to ½” x 1”.
  6. Open up the zipper halfway. Center the zipper along the top raw edge of the front exterior panel. The top and bottom metal stop ends of the zipper should each sit ½” in from the raw edges of the fabric panel. Pin the folded/trimmed tabs on top of the zipper so the folds of the tab are just above the metal zipper stops. Remove the zipper and trim away any excess zipper tape.
  7. Open up one tab along the center crease line.
  8. Slip the tail end of the zipper into the tab. The ends of the zipper should sit flush against the center crease line of the tab.
  9. Fold the tab along the original crease line, wrapping the end of the zipper. Pin in place; the folds should be flush on either side of the zipper.
  10. The machine should be threaded thread to best match the fabric in the top and bobbin. The stitch length should be normal.
  11. Stitch across through all the layers, close to the folds. This stitching should be as neat as possible as it will be visible.
  12. Repeat to wrap the top end of the zipper in the same manner.
    NOTE: If you are a S4H regular, you may notice that we reduced our tab steps slightly for this project. This is because we are dealing with thinner layers and did not feel the need to double stitch the tabs. However, you can always follow the traditional two-step process. To do this: once the ends are wrapped and pinned with any excess zipper tape trimmed away, unfold each tab, but keep the zipper ends pinned in place. You are simply revealing the zipper ends. Stitch across to hold the zipper ends in place. It’s okay if this stitching is messy, it will be covered within the folds of the tab. Once the ends are stitched in place, re-fold/re-wrap with the tab and stitch across through all the layers. As mentioned above, this final line of stitching should be as neat as possible as it will be visible. Do this at both the top and bottom ends of the zipper. See our Classic Zipper Pouch for more details

Insert the zipper between the exterior and the lining

  1. Find the front exterior panel. Place it right side up on your work surface.
  2. Place the zipper right side down on the front panel. The zipper should be centered side to side and the zipper’s insertion tape should be flush with the top raw edge of the fabric panel.
  3. The tabs should be approximately ½” – ” in from each raw edge. Open the zipper about half way. Pin in place.
  4. Find one lining panel. Place the lining panel right side down on top of the front panel, sandwiching the zipper between the layers. The top raw edge of the lining panel should be aligned with the other layers. Pin across.
  5. Attach a Zipper foot. Stitch across the top through all the layers, using an approximate ¼” seam.

    NOTE: All with all zipper insertions, when you feel you are approaching the zipper pull, stop with your needle in the down position. Raise the presser foot and twist the layers slightly so you can access the pull and move it out of the way of the presser foot. Once clear, drop the presser foot, re-position the layers, and finish the seam.
  6. Fold the lining back so the front panel and the lining are now wrong sides together and the remaining free side of the zipper tape is sticking up. Press, being careful to keep the heat of the iron away from the plastic zipper teeth.
  7. Pin the layers together.
  8. Lengthen the stitch. Edgestitch along the zipper teeth to hold the layers together.
  9. Remember, your panels extend ½” to either end of the zipper; your edgestitching should go to the very end of the panels at either end.
  10. Find the back exterior panel and the remaining lining panel. You are going to make a second sandwich similar to the first one. To start, place the back exterior panel right sides together with the front exterior panel. Remember, your ribbon sections should match up front to back. Double check they are layered on the same side and that the outer edges of the sections are flush.
  11. When you are looking at your new “sandwich” – as in the photo below – the exterior back panel is on the very bottom, right sides together with the front exterior panel, and the sewn-in-place lining panel is facing right side up.
  12. Place the remaining lining panel right sides together with the sewn-in-place lining panel. The top raw edge of the lining panel should also be flush with the free edge of the zipper tape. As with the first sandwich, the remaining free edge of the zipper is between the back exterior panel and the remaining lining panel. Pin in place through all the layers.
  13. Still using a Zipper foot, stitch through all the layers along this second side of the zipper, again using an approximate ¼” seam.
  14. As you did above, fold the exterior back and lining wrong sides together and press. Then, edgestitch, using a lengthened stitch matching what you used above, along the zipper teeth.

Complete the pouch

  1. Make sure the zipper is open all the way.
  2. Flatten the pouch so that the exterior panels are right sides together to one side of the zipper and the lining panels are right sides together to the other side of the zipper. The raw edges of the fabric panels should be flush all around. Pin in place, leaving an approximate 3” opening along the bottom edge of the lining for turning.
  3. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch around the entire perimeter. We recommend stating at one side of the 3” opening along the bottom edge of the lining layers. Stitch up to the corner, pivot, then stitch all the way along side edge of the lining layers. As you cross over to the exterior layers, remember that you are stitching right next to, but not on, the zipper tab.
  4. Continue stitching along the side edge of the exterior layers, pivot at the upper corner, continue across the top and down the sides, and end at the opposite side of the 3” opening along the bottom edge of the lining.
  5. With the pouch wrong side out still, the next step is to box the bottom corners. 
  6. Our pouch is designed to have 1½” corners.
  7. Cut a 1” box from each bottom corner of the exterior layers. Yes, you are cutting through the seams. That’s okay; they’ll be secured in the corner seam.
  8. Pinch one corner so the side and bottom seams align. Pin in place.
  9. Stitch across the corner with a ½” seam allowance. Double stitch for extra security.
  10. Trim back the seam allowance to ¼”.
  11. Repeat for the remaining corner in the exterior layers.
  12. Then repeat to create boxes in the two bottom corners of the lining.

    NOTE: If you are brand new to boxing corners, take a look at our full step-by-step tutorial prior to starting this project. We outline this cut out method as well as a second method to create a classic corner.
  13. Carefully turn the pouch right side out through the opening in the lining.
  14. Push the lining down into the exterior so the boxed corners of the two layers align. Free up the zipper tab at each end.
  15. Pull out the lining and pin together the opening used for turning. The raw edges of the opening should be pressed in so they are flush with the sewn seam.
  16. With thread to best match the lining fabric, either machine stitch or hand stitch the opening closed. We opted to machine stitch.
  17. Push the lining back down inside the exterior and clip the wrist loop to the D-ring.


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

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