The small pouch – it’s one of our most popular project categories! This slim design is meant to be worn either over or under a jacket or other outerwear, across the front or back. We used colorful 1″ Belting to create a fully adjustable strap, so the pouch can be shortened to fit snuggly against your side.
Loosen the Belting to wear the pouch crossbody over a jacket or activewear top. Position the pouch to rest either across the front or out of the way across the back. Again, its slim profile allows it to comfortably mold against your body.
Slip both arms through and it can even be slung around the waist like a fanny pack. The length of the strap means that, on most people, it will sit a bit below the natural waistline when cinched all the way up.
We picked a royal purple belting, coordinating the zippers, zipper pulls, and piping to match. We then chose a classic nickel finish for the slide adjuster and rectangle ring that work together to create the adjustable strap.
The main pouch is lined with wipe-clean ripstop nylon – always a plus with anything meant to be used outdoors. For the exterior we recommend a standard cotton twill. Although you could launder the pouch on a delicate setting inside a mesh bag or similar, we recommend spot cleaning over the the agitation of a washing machine. In either case, allow the case the air dry rather than tumble drying. You could also protect the finished pouch with Scotchgard or similar.
There are two, full-width pockets on the front of the pouch. The upper zipper opens to the main ripstop lined interior and is the full 8” in depth. The lower zipper is unlined and includes an inverted box pleat that allows the pocket to expand to hold dimensional items, like keys, a small flashlight, personal alarm, or garage door opener.
An extra large eyelet at the center top of the back panel allows you to snake out earbud wires without opening either zipper. Simply drop in the phone jack end up, then feed the adapter through the grommet into the jack and zip closed. Pop in your earbuds and rock on. Of course, if you’re all cutting edge with your bluetooth buds, the grommet can be skipped and the back panel left completely solid.
At just 4½” wide, the two polyester zippers will need to be cut to size, We show you the easy steps. The good news with our process: you can stitch the zipper in place without opening and closing the zipper!
We personalized our pouch with a Sew4Home label. Add your own label or consider machine or hand embroidery to customize with initials.
Sewing Tools You Need
Fabric and Other Supplies
- ¼ yard of 45”+ wide twill or similar; we originally used a sportswear stretch twill in sunflower yellow
- ¼ yard of 45”+ wide ripstop nylon or similar; we originally used ripstop nylon in gray
- ¼ yard of 20”+ wide lightweight fusible interfacing; we used Pellon Shape-Flex
- 2 yards of 1” Belting; we used purple
- ONE 1″ Slide Adjuster; we used nickel
- ONE 1″ Rectangle Ring; we used nickel
- ONE Extra Large (7/16″) Metal Eyelet with Setting Tools; we used nickel
- TWO 7”+ standard zippers in a color to match the belting; we used purple
NOTE: As you’ll see in the instructional photos below, we started with a much longer zipper, cutting it to fit. This is easy with a polyester zipper and is a helpful option when it’s hard to find short zippers.
- 1 yard of packaged piping in a color to match the belting; we used Wrights Bias Tape Maxi Piping in Purple
- Thin cotton cording for the zipper pulls in a color to match the belting; optional – we used purple cotton jewelry cord
- Small scrap of felt or fusible fleece; optional for eyelet insertion – you need just a 2” square
- All-purpose thread to match fabric
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Pressing cloth
- Rotary cutter and mat
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
- Small hammer to set eyelet; we suggest a ball peen hammer or leather mallet
- Heavy metal, stone or wooden block to use as a cutting and hammering surface; we like to use a small granite block
Getting Started and Pattern Downloads
- Download and print out our TWO pattern sheets: Pouch Body, Pouch Pocket, and Pocket Top Band, which have been bundled into one PDF to make the download easier. The Pocket and Pocket Top Band are combined onto one sheet.
IMPORTANT: Each pattern page 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 rule on each page so you can confirm your final printout is to scale.
- Cut out all three pattern pieces along the solid line.
NOTE: When you have a distinct front and back to any of your fabrics (this includes the fusible interfacing) and an asymmetrical shape, such as our Pouch Body pattern, you need to remember that the two pieces must be mirror images of one another so they will layer together correctly when seaming to finish. The easiest way to accommodate this is to fold your fabric/interfacing and use the pattern to cut two Pouch Body panels at one time.
- From the exterior fabric, cut the following:
Using the pattern, cut TWO Pouch Body panels
Using the pattern cut ONE Pouch Pocket panel
Using the pattern, cut ONE Pocket Top Band
- From the lining fabric, using the pattern, cut TWO Pouch Body panels.
- From the fusible interfacing, using the pattern, cut TWO Pouch Body panels.
- The image below shows all the panels required for one pouch.
- From the Belting, cut ONE 60” length and ONE 2” length.
- The piping will be cut to length during construction.
- Using the guide lines of the pattern pieces, make small snip into the seam allowance of each panel to mark the placement of the straps, zippers, and pleats.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Create the pleated pocket
- Find the exterior pocket panel. As noted above, you should have made five little snips marking the pleats within both the upper and lower seam allowances. Fold the outer lines toward the center line and pin in place at both the upper and lower edges of the pocket. This creates an inverted box pleat. Pin in place. If you are brand new to pleating, take a look at our full Box Pleat Tutorial.
- Machine baste in place within the seam allowance.
- Press to set the pleats.
- Find one of the two zippers and the Top Pocket Band.
- Place the pleated pocket right side up and flat on your work surface. Place the zipper right side down along the upper edge of the pocket. The zipper stop should be ½” in from the left raw edge of the pocket. The upper edge of the zipper tape should be ¼” down from the upper raw edge of the pocket. If your zipper is longer than necessary as ours was, concentrate on the position of the zipper stop; the zipper should be closed and completely out of the way to the right at this point. Pin in place.
- Attach a Zipper foot.
- Thread the machine with thread to best match the exterior fabric in the top and bobbin.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch across the zipper.
- Remove the pocket from the machine.
- Trim the fabric back so it is flush with the zipper tape.
- Re-attach a standard presser foot.
- Finish the edge of the zipper tape/fabric with your favorite machine finish. We used a simple zig zag.
NOTE: This finishing step is recommended because the front pocket is designed without a lining and so we wanted a clean finish inside the pocket.
- Finger press the zipper up and away from the pocket.
- Slightly lengthen the stitch.
- Edgestitch along the zipper within the pocket fabric.
- Find the Pocket Top Band.
- Place it right sides together with the remaining side of the zipper tape. The seam allowance for the Pocket Top Band is ¼”, so for this layering, the edge of the zipper tape should be flush with the the edge of the fabric. Pin in place.
- Re-set the stitch length to normal.
- Similar to how you attached the opposite side of the zipper, but using a ¼” seam allowance, stitch across and then finish the edge.
- Finger press the band up and away from the zipper.
- Edgestitch along this side of the zipper, using the same slightly lengthened stitch as above.
- Flip over the pocket. Press back the upper raw edge of the top band ¼”, which means the raw edge should end up aligned with the zipper tape.
Interface the main panels and attach the front pocket
- Find the two Pouch Body panels and the two matching pieces of interfacing. Place the interfacing on the wrong side of each fabric panel. All edges should be flush. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse in place.
- Place the two interfaced exterior panels right side up and flat on your work surface. As mentioned above, these two panels should be mirror images of one another.
- Place the pleated pocket on top of one panel, aligning the side and bottom raw edges of the two pieces.
- Pin the pocket to the pouch along the top of the pocket band.
- Using the same slightly lengthened stitch, edgestitch the band in place along this upper folded edge.
- Slide the zipper pull down toward the zipper stop, stopping in the middle of the pocket at the pleat.
- Machine baste the zipper to the pouch along each side of the pouch within the seam allowance. At the bottom of the zipper, this means you are stitching just to the left of the metal stop. At the opposite end, simply baste within the ½” seam allowance.
- Trim the zipper tape even with the right side edge of the pouch.
Attach the upper zipper
- You should have made small snips in the seam allowance to mark the ends of the upper cutting line on the main exterior panel as well as the lining. If you did not, do this now. Use a ruler to draw in a horizontal line connecting the snips on both the exterior front panel and one of the lining panels. The remaining exterior panel and lining panel remain un-marked and un-cut.
- Cut along the drawn lines.
- Find the second zipper.
- Find the sliced front panel. Set the smaller upper section off to the side.
- Place the zipper right side down along the top raw edge of the larger lower section. As above, the zipper stop should be ½” in from the left raw side edge of the fabric panel and the excess zipper should extend, closed, off the right edge of the panel. For this second zipper placement, the top zipper tape should be flush with the fabric panel. Pin in place.
- Find the larger lower section of the lining. Place it right sides together with the exterior panel, sandwiching the zipper between the layers. Re-pin through all three layers, make sure all the layers stay flush.
- Re-set the stitch length to normal. Using a ¼” seam allowance, stitch across through all the layers.
- Fold the lining and the exterior panels down and away from the zipper so the two panels are now wrong sides together and the remaining edge of the zipper tape is sticking up.
- Slightly lengthen the stitch to match your previous edgestitching and edgestitch along the bottom of the zipper within the exterior panel.
- Find the two smaller upper sections: the exterior piece and the lining piece.
- Place the lower exterior panel right side up and flat on your work surface.
- Place the upper exterior piece right sides together along the top of the lower exterior panel. Pin in place.
- Flip over the panel and place the upper lining piece right sides together along the top of the lower lining panel.
- The zipper tape is now sandwiched between two layers on the front and two layers on the lining. Re-pin through all the layers.
- Re-set the stitch length to normal. Using a ¼” seam allowance, stitch across.
- Fold the small lining and the exterior panels up and away from the zipper so they are now wrong sides together.
- Slightly lengthen the stitch to match your previous edgestitching and edgestitch along the top of the zipper within the fabric panel through all the layers.
- As you did with the lower zipper, move the zipper pull to the center of the panel and machine baste across both ends, then trim away the excess zipper so the zipper is flush with the side of the panel.
Attach the Belting and Rectangle Ring
- Find the 60” and 2” lengths of Belting along with the one Rectangle Ring.
- Fold the 2” section around the Rectangle Ring so the raw ends are flush.
- Place the front panel right side up and flat on your work surface.
- You should have made small snips in the seam allowance of the exterior front panel to mark the position of the belting ends. If you did not, do this now.
- Pin the Rectangle Ring Belting loop to the pouch front along the lower right side, between the small snips. Pin in place.
- Pin the 60” length of Belting to the upper edge of the pouch between the small snips near the left corner. Pin in place.
- Machine baste the 60” length of Belting in place within the ½” seam allowance.
- Machine baste the Rectangle Ring Belting loop in place within the ½” seam allowance.
Assemble the back panel with piping and grommet
- Find the exterior back panel and lining back panel. Place the two panels wrong sides together.
- Pin together the layers all around.
- Find the piping. Starting at the lower square corner, place the piping against the exterior side of the back panel. The stitching on the piping insertion tape should sit at the ½” seam line, which means the edge of the insertion tape will sit slightly in from the raw edge of the fabric panel. Pin the piping in place.
- Attach a Piping foot if possible. This foot rides over the piping cord and produces a straight, tight stitch. If you don’t have this specialty foot, a Zipper foot is another good option that allows you to get as close as possible to the piping cord.
- Re-thread the machine with thread to best match the piping in the top and bobbin.
- Starting the stitching ⅝” in from the corner, machine baste the piping around the entire perimeter of the back panel.
- Clip into the piping to fit the upper and lower curves.
- Also clip into the remaining upper square corner.
- This clipping helps produce a much more precise seam allowance for a much more consistent reveal when turned right side out.
- Stop the stitching when you return to the first corner.
- Trim away the excess piping. Position the ends of the piping side by side and stitch across the corner diagonal just within the seam allowance. With a thin, flat pouch like this, we feel this is a better finish to the piping than a more traditional butt-and-wrap finish. The flattened piping will disappear into the bottom corner.
NOTE: If you are brand new to working with piping, check out our full tutorial on making your own and finishing options.
- Place the piped exterior back panel right side up and flat on your work surface.
- Find the paper pattern, which has a placement marking for the one eyelet. Using sharp small scissors, trim away the small inner circle on the paper pattern.
NOTE: Remember, the eyelet if optional. If you use wireless ear buds, you can skip this step.
- Place the pattern over the pouch back, matching the corners and the curves, and mark the placement circle onto the pouch back.
- Following manufacturer’s instructions or our own great step-by-step tutorial on installing metal grommets and eyelets, add the one Extra Large Eyelet at the marked point.
NOTE: The Dritz Extra Large Eyelet we used is meant for multiple layers of mid to heavyweight fabric. If your layers are not thick enough to properly fill the eyelet, it can be hard to join the two halves without damaging the hardware. In this case, we recommend adding an extra layer of felt or fusible fleece between the exterior and lining prior to pinning together those back panel layers. Then apply the eyelet.
Layer front to back to finish and finish adjustable strap
- Open the upper zipper about half way. Pass the end of the Belting through the zipper opening.
- Place the pouch front to pouch back right sides together; all edges should be flush all around. The Rectangle Ring Belting loop will be sandwiched between the layers, and as noted above, the long length of Belting will extend outside the pouch through the front zipper. Pin together all around.
- Place the layers under the presser foot with the back panel facing up so you can see the machine basting seam of the piping. Using this seam as your guide line, stitch all the way around the perimeter of the pouch through all the layers. Remember to pivot at the corners and firmly backstitch at the end of the seam.
- Trim back the seam allowance to approximately ¼” and clip the curves, but do not trim the ends of the piping.
- Turn the pouch right side out through the zipper opening. Gently pulling on the Belting will help you turn. Use a long, blunt tool to square the corners and smooth the curves. Press flat.
- If necessary, re-thread the machine with thread to best match the Belting in the top and bobbin. Slightly lengthen the stitch.
- Find the Slide Adjuster. Thread the raw end of the Belting up and over the center bar of the Slide Adjuster.
- Next, feed the raw end of the Belting through the Rectangle Ring from front to back.
- Finally, insert the raw end of the Belting back through the center bar of the Slide Adjuster. You are again inserting up and over the bar but are now working beneath the first layer of Belting. Bring the raw end back on itself about 1”. Turn under the raw end ¼” and stitch in place through all the layers.
- If adding the optional zipper pull, cut two 7” lengths of cord. Fold the cord in half and insert the loop through the zipper pull. Thread the ends of the cord through the loop and pull tight. This is just how you would attach a price or gift tag. Knot the ends together and trim to an even length.
NOTE: The photo below is slightly “out of order” in that you can see that we have yet to finish creating the adjustable strap – its raw end is still loose.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Notes: Michele Mishler