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Jan 4 / Jamie

Boxed Pouch Tutorial

Two Patchwork Boxed Pouches

This pouch has been getting a lot of attention on Flickr, especially after Jeni featured it on her blog during one of her Friday Favorites posts.  I thought it might be fun to try to make a tutorial so that others can make one as well!  This is my first official tutorial, and I would love some feedback.  Please let me know if you find any errors or if there is something I can describe better.  I am an organic sewer,and tend to follow basic rules as opposed to specific instructions, so this was a new way of thinking through things for me.  As anyone who has written a tutorial will tell you, they are not as easy to write as they might seem ;)

Materials Needed

  • (20) 2.5″ squares (this is a nice way to use scraps up) in this example, I cut up a pack of (20) Echo by Lotta Jansdotter charm squares and had enough squares to make two boxed pouches plus an iPad case (!!)
  • (2) pieces of solid fabric 1.5″ by 10″ for border
  • (2) pieces of solid fabric 1.5″ by 12″ for border
  • (1) zipper at least 10″
  • (1) piece of batting 12″ by 14″
  • (1) piece of fabric 12″ by 14″ for the interior

Now, here is the same info in Jamie-speak.  Use what you have on hand.  That random charm pack you only got one of?  Chop up the pieces into quarters.  Scrap bucket over flowing?  Dig into it.  Pick a contrasting strip of solid for the border (I had leftover Kona Espresso from a quilt border and I just ripped 1.5″ strips to get my border pieces).  Pick out a cool zipper and as long as it is longer than your fabric piece, you are fine.  I only buy 14″ long zippers.  I can use them in garments and also in pouches.  I love to buy assorted packs from Zipit on Etsy that way I always have tons of colors on hand.

There are four basic steps to this project.  I will give you a basic outline and then if you want the full-on 46 picture annotated series, then please click here for my tutorial.

First, you make your patchwork grid by sewing your squares together and adding the border.

Echo 2.5" squares

Second, you add batting and backing and quilt your piece using 1/4″ straight line quilting. Once trimmed, your piece should be 9.5″ by 11.5″.

Quilted patchwork

Third, you decide whether your want a narrow or wide pouch and attach your zipper accordingly.

Pouch zipper

Finally, you stitch together your sides seams and box your corners.  It really is that simple!

Pouch corners

When you are finished, simply turn your pouch right side out and enjoy. I find having pouches this size to be very useful. I use one to keep my hand-sewing supplies with me at all times. I also use one to hold phones chargers and other small electronic gear. The narrow pouch would be great for some knitting needles or as a pen or marker case.

The narrow pouch is 9″ x 3″ x 1.5″.  The wide pouch is 7″ x 4.5″ x 2″.

Patchwork Boxed pouch

Here is the set of pouches I made from just the one charm pack and some scraps, and a few zippers. iPad case tutorial from Amber at One Shabby Chick.

Echo patchwork pouches

Please let me know what you think of the tutorial.  It is the first one I have ever written, so feedback would be great!  I feel like I could have spent hours agonizing over how to write each step, but in the end, I thought I would just put it out there and let it evolve and grow as needed.

Note: The full-on 46 picture annotated tutorial is available here.

This tutorial is being featured on Sew Can She. A FANTASTIC sewing site featuring daily tutorials. What a great concept and cure for “I don’t know what to sew-itis”

One new sewing tutorial every day.

79 Comments

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  1. 1
    Jenny / Jan 4 2012

    jamie these are super great! thank you for all 46 pictures! really…this seems like the next best thing to having someone physically show me how to do these dang zippers! i love what you did with your Echo charm pack!

    • 1.1
      Jamie / Jan 5 2012

      Jenny,

      You Can Do It! I have a few friends who have been wanting to try these, so I thought why not make this tutorial. I was thinking of making a zipper video as well, if you run into trouble, just let me know!!

  2. 2
    Maz / Jan 5 2012

    Let’s make one on Saturday!… and some potholders for the sister!

    • 2.1
      Jamie / Jan 5 2012

      Love it! I can’t wait, we are going to have some serious scrappy good times!

  3. Nicely done! I like how you included a basic and detailed version. That’s a great idea!

    • 3.1
      Jamie / Jan 5 2012

      Thanks, Rachel. I have some friends who are very visual learners and others who are experienced sewists and just needed the bare bones. I hope this works for everyone!

  4. 4
    Virginia Lindsay / Jan 5 2012

    very cute. love the quilted part! Hope to try this one day :) thanks for sharing!

    • 4.1
      Jamie / Jan 6 2012

      Thanks, Virginia! I made the first of these ouches a few months ago. I had been trying to try the 1/4″ quilting and this seemed like a perfect project to do so.

  5. 5
    Emily / Jan 6 2012

    Awesome! Thanks for the tutorial! While I”m sure I could have figured it out on my own, this tutorial makes it 10 times more likely that I’ll actually make one! :)

    • 5.1
      Jamie / Jan 6 2012

      Emily, thanks that is really sweet of you to say. I feel so lucky to have had so many great tutorials to work from, I think this was my way of giving back!

  6. 6
    Amber / Jan 6 2012

    Just came over form Pinterest as I LOVE the box bags…and LOVE the ipad case you made – thanks for the shout-out…cannot wait to make a zip pouch now!

    • 6.1
      Jamie / Jan 6 2012

      Amber, thanks so much!! I LOVE your iPad cover tutorial, it is the best. I really cheated this time, though, using and elastic and button instead of the velcro closure. And you are welcome!

  7. 7
    Patchworknotes / Jan 6 2012

    I’m surpised you don’t have more comments because not only is this an awesome tutorial (!) they are SO rad in the fabric you chose! Thanks for sharing – it’s on my list!

    • 7.1
      Jamie / Jan 6 2012

      Tamiko, thanks for the VERY kind words. I only published this tutorial this week and I have an *itty bitty baby* blog with <100 followers. I have put some pics up on Flickr, so hopefully more people will come on over and check it out. I am not sure if you remember me, but I took some of the FFA I off your hands when you had the sale to raise funds for the earthquake in Japan. I made my daughter a dress with the yard of blue unicorns and it is still her very favorite. I never would have been able to get that fabric otherwise, so THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

  8. 8
    beth lehman / Jan 6 2012

    Thanks for writing this up! The bags are so great! I made a lot of pouches, but hadn’t ever veered into the “quilted” bag arena. I have TONS of batting scraps, though and love the look of the straight line quilting!!!

    • 8.1
      Jamie / Jan 9 2012

      Thanks so much! It is a super fun and easy project. I think it is great for items that need a bit more strength. Like I said, I use mine as a pouch for my hand sewing items and another for electronic bits and bobs. Have fun making it!!!

  9. 9
    mo / Jan 7 2012

    I love these bags- they are beautiful! I am goin g to put them on my short list of things to make!

    • 9.1
      Jamie / Jan 9 2012

      Thanks, Mo! I think that you could easily make this into a “masculine” project depending on your fabric choice. I imagine you have some really cute things around your house ;)

  10. 10
    Jo @ The Hungry Crafter / Jan 8 2012

    Great tutorial — thanks! I happen to be going a little pouch crazy recently, so the timing is great ;)

    • 10.1
      Jamie / Jan 9 2012

      Seriously, you can never have TOO many pouches. Good luck and feel free to message me if you have any problems.

  11. 11
    kathyh / Jan 9 2012

    I think it is especially difficult to say in english what might be called instinctive sewing.
    I love that you made two tutes – one fast one and one more-in-depth. Great idea!

    • 11.1
      Jamie / Jan 9 2012

      Thank you! I am glad that you appreciated my attempt at making this project something that would appeal to those of all skill levels.

  12. 12
    KeriDK / Jan 9 2012

    This is really a basic question but what do you use to cut such perfect squares? I am such an amateur I generally sew crooked lines, never mind the cutting.

    • 12.1
      Jamie / Jan 10 2012

      Keri,

      Thanks for stopping by, no question is too basic. I use a rotary cutter, cutting mat, and plastic ruler to cut my squares. The mat is about 18″ x 23″ so a little bigger than a fat quarter. The ruler is 6″ x 23″, so fits the length of the mat. They were well worth the investment, and you can often find them on sale at Joanns. If you don’t have those tools, what I would do is cut a precise 2.5″ square out of paper or card stock. Then, use this as a template and pin it to each scrap the get an exact square. Or, you can embrace your curvy sewing a make a “wonky” pouch. Sew your squares and border and after quilting them, cut them using some nice straight lines and it will all come together.

  13. 13
    HoneyB / Jan 13 2012

    My eyes went crossed as I read the dimensions of the fabric, lol. I never measure or even sketch my designs first (something all my art teachers hated, lol) . I just go for what I know. Thus… LOVED the “organic” instructions! These would make great lightweight travel pouches. I took a Caboodles on my last flight and went over the max weight by 7.5 lbs! lol. This is a grand idea, and I thoroughly appreciate this! If my sewing machine doesn’t magically start working tonight, I will be stitching by hand. What fun! =) Thanks again!!!

    • 13.1
      Jamie / Jan 15 2012

      HoneyB-

      I am an organic sewer as well. I appreciate that you liked this tutorial, I was trying really hard to make it appealing to those who like to just wing it with some basic instructions and also those who want detailed instructions at every step. I think you can make it as big as you want, granted you have a big enough sipper. Good luck!

  14. 14
    jennifer / Jan 14 2012

    excellent tutorial! i can’t wait to try it, and i want to find some of that beautiful fabric too! thanks!

    • 14.1
      Jamie / Jan 15 2012

      Thanks, Jennifer. It is Echo by Lotta Jansdotter. There are tons of online shops selling it. I got my charm pack from the Missouri Quilt company. It was a little spend for 20 charms, but I really wanted to see each fabric in person before I bought yardage, and this was the best way to do it. Besides, what a way to turn an $7 charm pack into three great projects with the addition of some zippers and scraps!

  15. 15
    Laurel / Jan 19 2012

    Thanks for the tutorial!! Adding it to my list! I love your fabric choices and zipper color choices! What a perfect set of pouches you got there…

    • 15.1
      Jamie / Jan 23 2012

      Thank you so much. I almost felt like this was “cheating” the Echo line is so perfect in the way it combines scale and color!

  16. 16
    Suzanne / Jan 20 2012

    This tutorial looks so manageable. I definitely want to give this pouch a try. Thank you!

    • 16.1
      Jamie / Jan 23 2012

      Thanks, just go for it!

  17. 17
    Sylke / Jan 20 2012

    Thank you for your nice words at my blog! It was inspiring to see your pouches, and I liked the fabrics you used :) My english is not so good, I understand – but it is not so easy to find the words ;)

    • 17.1
      Jamie / Jan 23 2012

      You are welcome, and thanks again for making this and posting it on your website, it looked so great!

  18. 18
    Anita / Jan 22 2012

    Thank you so much! Boxed corners have always eluded me, but you make it so simple. Anita (from a very hot Melbourne)

    • 18.1
      Jamie / Jan 23 2012

      Anita, I always thought so, too, but once you figure it out, they are pretty simple! Happy summer to you down under!!!

  19. 19
    lorena / Jan 22 2012

    This is a great tutorial and I love the end result! I am hosting a swap using your tutorial on swap-bot: http://www.swap-bot.com/swap/show/110293 . ;)

    • 19.1
      Jamie / Jan 23 2012

      WOW!!! I am so flattered. What a great concept, I have never been to that website before, but it looks like such a great forum for swaps. Can’t wait to spend more time checking it out. Good luck with the swap!!!

  20. 20
    Sharon Griffith / Jan 31 2012

    This is a wonderful tutorial thank you so much I cannot wait to decide on fabric and then go for it….thanks so much

    • 20.1
      Jamie / Feb 12 2012

      Thanks, good luck with it! Would love to see pics when you finish it!

  21. 21
    cathy / Jan 31 2012

    Love this! Thank you SO much!!!!

    • 21.1
      Jamie / Feb 12 2012

      You are very welcome!

  22. 22
    elsa / Jan 31 2012

    Jamie, it’s a great tutorial! thanks so much ~ you made it very easy to understand. I’m making one today!

    • 22.1
      Jamie / Feb 12 2012

      Thank you for the kind words, I hope it turned out great!

  23. 23
    Alison O'Grady / Jan 31 2012

    You did a terrific job with your first tute! Congrats!

    • 23.1
      Jamie / Feb 12 2012

      Thank you very much! Glad you liked it.

  24. 24
    Susan / Jan 31 2012

    You made that so easy! All your tutorials are making Christmas Through the Year really easy, too!

    • 24.1
      Jamie / Feb 12 2012

      These would make perfect gifts!

  25. 25
    Karen Buck / Jan 31 2012

    LOVE this! Will be making one soon because I know I already have some leftover 2.5″ squares from another project. I was able to follow your short version tutorial because I’m an experienced seamstress, but I’ll read the longer one to see if an inexperienced person can get it. Thanks for the great idea. Maybe I’ll send you a picture when I get mine done. Also I might adapt this to a larger version for a washable makeup pouch. Mine always seems to get something spilled in it.

    • 25.1
      Jamie / Feb 12 2012

      Thanks so much! I would love to see pics, it is really nice to see how different these all turn out! I think it would make a great makeup case, I have one on the works for myself!

  26. 26
    Sheay / Feb 1 2012

    Thank you so much for this tutorial! I made this today and it turned out great. This is the first time I have ever tried installing a zipper. Thanks to your pictures and instructions it went very smoothly!

    • 26.1
      Jamie / Feb 12 2012

      You are so welcome, I am glad it went so smoothly for you! Zippers can be tricky at first, but once you get the hang of them, they are pretty easy. I would rather install a zipper now, even not things like pillows, than leave an opening, turn, and stitch it closed.

  27. 27
    Deborah / Feb 11 2012

    Found you through pinterest, made two this afternoon! Very cute! I like that it is quilted, I am practicing quilting techniques and then turning the “square” into a pouch. Feels more rewarding than just practicing quilting skills.

    • 27.1
      Jamie / Feb 12 2012

      Thanks, so glad you found us! I agree, it is always nice to be able to turn “practice” into “projects”. I think the quilting gives this pouch just enough structure and form to be it really functional for a number of different projects.

  28. 28
    Chantal / Mar 12 2012

    I was searching for some kind of pattern to make a boxed pouch. ” How About Orange ” was featuring an assortment of bags. It said the instructions were graciously provided. With all the instructions I can take my time and do I good job. Thank you for sharing your knowledge. (French person writting hope I made sense)

    • 28.1
      Jamie / Mar 17 2012

      Thank you for your post, I am really glad you found my blog! I hope you found the instructions helpful and that you love your pouch!!

  29. 29
    Monika / Mar 17 2012

    Thanks for this tute!! You did a pretty good job on showing how to do … I could do one in almost no time for my nephew. I filled it with some chocolates, energie bars,… for his exams next week…
    It looks great! I will definitly do one more!

  30. 30
    Elnora / May 27 2012

    What a lovely, well-written tutorial!

  31. 31
    Sarah Lou / Nov 11 2012

    Thanks for a great tutorial!

  32. 32
    elsa / Nov 21 2012

    I’m here from Sew Mama Sew and this is the best tutorial ever! Love these pouches ~ thanks so much for the tutorial and all those wonderful photos!

  33. 33
    Mina / Dec 18 2012

    I am addicted to making these. What a great simple tutorial!!

    PS. I have never made a pouch or sewn a zipper before

  34. 34
    Pam / Jan 7 2013

    A fabulous boxed pouch and an easy to follow tutorial… both versions!!! These would make excellent pencil cases. I hope you don’t mind, but I’m pinning this. I’d love you to share this at our Ongoing Linky that’s just for Purses and Pouches .

  35. 35
    Sarah Lou / Jan 21 2013

    This is such a great tutorial, thank you!

  36. 36
    Gayner / Feb 21 2013

    What a good first tutorial. I loved your simple version. It just seemed to make total sense. Well done and think of more for us soon.

  37. 37
    Jinja / Mar 19 2013

    https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-frc1/526783_10151404748968425_928498436_n.jpg

    This is the pouch that I made tonight! My first time ever installing a zipper. I found myself to be somewhere in-between the two tutorials. The simple one didn’t have enough detail, and I found the expanded one to have entirely too much detail for the first half! But once I got down to installing the zipper it worked very well since I had never done that before (it’s very easy though!) I would definitely recommend topstitching the zipper to the case as well as zig zagging the raw edges. Just zig zagging isn’t really a substitute for this.

    Anyway, going to make a matching one that’s long and slim tomorrow as the short and fat one just isn’t big enough for my giant crochet hook!

  38. 38
    Jaya / Apr 11 2013

    thank you so much for the very detailed tutorial!

  39. 39
    Chris / May 16 2013

    My daughter just asked me to make her a pouch like this for her make-up brushes. Since I am a new quilter I have a question….She needs her pouch to be at least 12″ long. So how many squares do I need and what length zipp would I use? Did you use a 1/4″ seam” Your help would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks
    CB

  40. 40
    123-Nadelei / Jan 14 2014

    Found you through pinterest, made two this afternoon! Very nice

  41. 41
    Kristen / Aug 14 2014

    What would the measurements be for the narrow one for before you start?

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