Along with coats, Kielo dresses and Scout Tees, another one of my little sewing obsessions is things that hold things. Pouches, bags, organisers – I love ’em.
I went large and made myself a Noodlehead Makers Tote a while back (and the second one of those will be hitting the blog soon!) but I also have a fair few smaller things kicking around, which I haven’t yet photographed but will do as soon as I’m allowed to go to the park to take the pictures 📸 Remember that bag I embellished with a gold mandala? That’s currently holding my first stranded colourwork effort, the Dipyramid hat and mitts.
I’ve also got this bad boy which needs to be blogged, that’s currently holding a couple of sock projects:
And there are also some drawstring bags which atm are holding yarn for various projects. Yeah, there’s a fair few of these pouches kicking around the living room!
One of my fave designers of pouches is Aneela Hoey – honestly, just browsing the patterns on her website makes me want to make ALL THE THINGS.
A while back, I bought some fat quarters of Libs Elliot fabric in the Sew Hot sale, with the intention of them becoming the Make and Go Pouch. I even cut out all the pieces and bought the zips in preparation as well. Then, the day before we were flying to NYC at the start of March, I began gathering my crafting supplies to put into my hand luggage. I was planning on taking my stranded colourwork set of hat and mitts, which needed a couple of circular needles each, plus a couple of sets of DPNS for the fingers. Along with yarn needles, scissors, stitch holders and all that jazz, I realised that I couldn’t fit it all in my trusty notions pouch. It was fit to burst.
This is how it looks at a normal level of stuffage:
There was No Way Jose that it was gonna hold all the extras as well. What was I to do? We were flying the following day 😩
Then… I remembered that I’d cut out all those pieces for the much bigger (and much more spacious) Make and Go pouch… but with just one day to go, was it too last minute? Nahhhhh 😂
It only took me a couple of hours from start to finish to make the pouch (even after I went wrong… more about that in a bit 🤦🏻♀️).
You start with the clear vinyl pockets – now, don’t be shy with the vinyl. Yes, it’s a bit special in that you can’t iron it (because it goes all melty, obvs), and once you’ve stitched it there ain’t no unpicking it because those needle holes are now there for-EV-ahhhhhh, *and* also it sticks to the bed of your machine, which makes the actual sewing part a bit tricksy.
There’s nothing you can really do about the melting or the holes (well, the melting you could try using a thick pressing cloth maybe), but I do have some tricks to help the sewing go a bit more smoothly.
Actually, before you get to the sewing – I want to share something with you: I’ve recently discovered a helping hand for the fiddly bits, in the form of Pellon EZ-Steam II Lite Tape.
It’s kinda like double-sided sticky tape, but for fabric. You peel off a strip and it’ll help keep fabric in the right place while you stitch it, so that you don’t have to worry about pins and whatnot. Which is perfect for vinyl, because you can’t use pins on it anyway!
It says ‘fusible’, but I usually find that it’s sticky enough without any heat 🔥
It helped keep my clear vinyl (which you can’t actually see in the photo above… because surprise surprise it’s clear, obvs 😂) tucked nicely in the fold of the bias tape while I sewed it.
Now, back to those sewing tips!
Firstly, you’re gonna want to layer something between the sticky vinyl and your machine bed – I tend to use a sheet of paper (just your regular A4 printer paper will do, or some old junk mail if like me you don’t actually have a printer!) but you could use pretty much anything. You want to push this layer as close as you feel comfortable towards your needle and stitching line, but not close enough so that you’re stitching through that extra layer. I mean, even if you do accidentally stitch through it, it’s not so much of a problem if you’re using paper because you can just tear it but I’ve been there before and it ain’t fun picking out tiny flecks of paper from your stitching. You *could* use fabric as the under-layer, but you’d have to make sure that you leave a big enough gap between the edge of the fabric and the needle, because cutting stray fabric that you’ve caught in your stitching is a much bigger ballache than tearing the paper.
Another thing that the vinyl will stick to is your machine foot (yep, it sticks to everything.) A lot of people recommend Teflon feet instead of metal feet for sewing vinyl – well, I tried that, and it did naff all. (Another recommendation I see is to stick scotch tape on the bottom of metal feet to help them glide over the vinyl – this did precisely nothing as well). The best thing I’ve found builds on that Teflon recommendation – not just a Teflon foot, but a Teflon roller foot. Unsurprisingly, the foot has a little roller on it, to reduce drag and help the vinyl pass under the foot easier. While it sometimes does still need a little persuasion, it’s the best thing I’ve found for the job.
Mine looks just like this:
With the roller foot, my vinyl pockets went on without drama. At this point, I was wondering how exactly these pockets were sealed so that stuff didn’t fall out of them, but it became clear a bit later. Sort of 🤔
When it came to adding the central pocket, in my haste I made a mistake. I missed the bit in the instructions that had me enclose the raw edges of the side of the pocket before attaching it to the body of the bag, and I even sewed the thing down (plus another pocket!) before I realised. Out came the seam ripper 😩 Not what you need when you’re on a deadline!
I mean, how did I not even notice I had exposed raw edges going on. HOW.
There we go. Much better.
Once everything is in place, the outer fabric gets sandwiched on top (right sides together), you go all the way around the edge apart from a few inches, and turn the whole thing right side out.
I left off the pincushion and needle keeper, because I didn’t think I would ever have a use for them. I also left off the tie, because from the pictures on the pattern instructions it looked like that tie was about as much use as a chocolate fireplace – loosely tied around the pouch, more to look pretty than actually hold the thing securely closed in my opinion. I did think about a snap closure, or a button, but I didn’t think they had enough give in them to accommodate a fully stuffed pouch. Having now used the pouch for a bit, I don’t think it ever would be used to carry so much stuff, so I think it would have been okay. But I left it off completely, and just fold it closed. It works fine – even if it does somehow unfold itself in my bag, nothing spills out. It’s usually tucked up against the side of a bigger bag though, so it very rarely unfolds.
My little pouch got through airport security with no issues (scissor blades have to be less than 5cm long, but other than that I think you’re pretty much fine to take what you need), but one thing I found is that there’s a small gap between the zipper stop at either end and the edge of the pouch, which I’ve had a yarn needle slip out of maybe twice. But, I think this could happen with any pouch, so it’s not really a design fault. Perhaps I should sew up the two sides of the zipper tape.
I’m really pleased with the pouch and it’s in full-on use already. My only thing is the centre pocket not being see-through – I forget what I’ve put in there! Clear vinyl is definitely the way to go with these sorts of things that are used to hold notions, I think, and I’ll look for clear pockets from now on.
I want to make the Pop Open Pouch next – I think this would be a really good knitting bag! I’ve also got fabric cut for two Inside Outside pouches, one for me and one for the husbeast. He’s gathering a fair few beading supplies for embroidering a bomber jacket I’m sewing for him, and they’re currently all over the show, so hopefully, the pouch will help him keep everything together!
On another exciting note, I’ve made it to the final four choices for the #SewApril2020 ‘Handknit’ competition with my Volt Sweater! Most likes wins, so if you’re on the ‘gram and want to show some love for my knitting, you can head over to Ryliss Bod’s Instagram post here and cast your vote by liking it ♥️
I hope you are all keeping safe and well in what feels like our millionth week of lockdown. My skin seems to have forgotten what natural light is, and now I’ve got a tan (or maybe more of a burn…) from sitting out in the garden for about twenty minutes a day 🔥 And it’s only – apparently, according to my weather app – twenty-ish degrees. What will I do when it gets hotter? Burn to a crisp, likely. Factor 50 has been ordered from Amazon.
My sewing motivation is still low, but I’m doing bits and pieces here and there. It’s been in my mind for a while now to start my Skyline Quilt Kit that I bought in NYC – perhaps this weekend is the time to get going with that 🤔 How are you guys doing with your crafting?
Well, that’s all from me for now – I’ll finish by saying big up to this rock in Central Park which posed as such an excellent backdrop for my photographs of this pouch, and that park kept us sane for our last two days in NYC when all the shops and restaurants were shut.
Happy Sunday ✌🏻
Next week on the blog – I’m continuing my leisurewear journey with the Wardrobe By Me Boxy Raglan sweatshirt and comparing it to the Linden 🤓 Subscribe below to have the post drop straight into your inbox 🙌🏻