Thursday, May 3, 2012

Summertime Sewing Adventures

I'm posting today as a part of Clover & Violet's Summertime Sewing Adventures Series. I'm really excited to be a part of this series! This week's theme is travel sewing. So what better than a little sewing bag to keep  the essentials at hand? Summertime for me means trips to visit family from out of town, so I've designed this sewing bag with an outside pocket - perfect for slipping your scissors in, or for tossing your thimble when someone in the back seat needs your attention! 

Travel sewing bag tutorial
Finished size: 7.5" x 4" x 3" x 4"

Cutting instructions:
From main outer fabric (shown in tan):
2.5" x 12"
4.5" x 12"
7" x 8.5" (pocket)

Lining (shown in green floral):
8.5" x 12" 

8.5" x 12" (pouch body)
7" x 8.5" (pocket)

10" or larger zipper
Scrap for zip tabs 2.5" x5
Scraps for patchwork strip - free pieced into a 2.5" x 12" strip

Start by piecing together a strip of patchwork that measures 2.5" x 12" I did this by grabbing a handful of similar colored scraps and sewing two together, trim at an angle, add another piece and so on... until it's to size. Alternatively you could piece a tiny strip of traditional blocks.

Sew the main body pieces to the patchwork strip in this order: main fabric, patchwork strip, main fabric. Press.

Fuse main body section to interfacing. Add hand stitching or quilting as desired. 

Cut the main body and lining in half leaving you two 6" x 8.5" pieces of each. 

Mark line, then sew a short distance away from it. 
Trim zipper to 1" shorter than your patchwork main fabric - so 7.5" long. 
To trim the zipper first mark 7.5" from the metal stopper. Stitch about 1/8" or so shorter than that line, backstitching and forwardstitching several times to secure. Cut zipper excess off at the marked line (don't use your fabric scissors!).

Prep your zip tab fabric by pressing it in half 1.25" x 5" open it up and fold the two edges in and press to make a binding strip (or just use some leftover binding from another project!). Cut piece in half so you have two folded pieces of binding tape that are 2.5" long each.

Remember: this entire zipper unit should be 1" shorter than the top of your outer fabric.
Attach tab to zipper by sandwiching the zipper ends inside of the fold and top stitch in place 1/4" from the zipper side fold. Repeat for the other side. Trim binding tape so it is even with the long edges of the zipper.

Attach outer fabric and lining to zipper by stacking fabrics in this order: outer fabric right side up, zipper right side down, lining right side down.

Use your zipper foot to sew 1/4" from the long edge along the zipper. Press open and topstitch leaving 1/2" open on either end. (image)

Repeat for the other side.

Prep pocket. Fuse 7" x 8.5" fabric to interfacing. Fold in half wrong sides together (3.5" x 8.5") and press. Top stitch along the folded edge 1/8" and 1/4" away from edge. Set aside.

Baste pocket to outer fabric (or inside if you prefer) by sewing a scant 1/8" around the three sides (sewing through the pocket and one layer of outer fabric only).

Topstitch pocket division as desired (I merely folowed the line of the patchwork panel.

Open zipper halfway!!!

Open up the two layers on either side and pin the outer layers together and the lining layers together.

Baste fabric at the zipper ends close to the covered zip ends, but without stitching over them (about 1/2" from edge).

Sew around all four sides leaving a 3" gap for turning in the bottom of the lining. Clip the corners close to the stitches.

Press the 3" turning gap open in line with the stitch line (this will make it easier to stitch this closed later).

Box corners by pinching side seam against the bottom seam to form a triangle with the stitch line down the middle of the triangle. With a fabric pen mark the 2" line (about 1" away from the point if measured from point along the stitched line). Pin in place and stitch on the marked line back stitching at beginning and end. Trim the point 1/4" away from seam. Repeat for the other three corners.

Turn right side out through the 3" gap. Sew the gap closed by hand or machine.

Stuff the lining inside the bag, fill it with your favorite sewing stuff and admire your work!

Find tutorials for the needle book and pincushion here and here

Thanks for sewing along with me! I hope this travel sewing bag is helpful for sewing during your summer travels!


  1. So very cute and practical too! Thank you so much for sharing. :)

  2. Love your zipper bag - especially the pockets and the patchwork aspect - I've pinned this so I can keep track of it and try it out :)

  3. Oh.. I love this, so practical to keep all my hexies. Thanks for sharing!!

  4. Very cool, thanks for sharing!

  5. Thank you for sharing this! Very creative! Love It!

  6. Sweet ~ thanks for the Tut!

  7. Thank you so much for this tutorial. i have to make block first when I get my machine back but this will be number two. This will be my second time of trying to put in a zipper. I tried once around 50 years ago, couldn't do it and I've never tried again. So this tells you I'm old(ish).
    Patti xxx

  8. It's so great Emily! Thanks! I think I'll be making one too {one can never have too many pouches!}

  9. This is just what I was looking for, but I was wondering what the finished size was? I want to tote around my 6" hoop and want to be sure it will fit or size up if it won't.

    1. Nm. Saw it up top when I read it through again!!

  10. Thank you for the cute tute. I needed an idea for Christmas sewing this year, and your little pocketed bag is perfect. Thank you for sharing your talent. Best Wishes, Granny B

  11. Love cute!! Thanks for sharing.

  12. This is simply FABULOUS!
    Thanks for the wonderful tutorial!

  13. What a great tutorial - can't wait to start it!