Thursday, July 5, 2012

Scratching the Itch: Zippered Pouches

Do you ever get it into your head to make something in particular, and then there's just no getting it out of your head until you do? Some time last week I decided I wanted to make little zippered pouches, to have on hand for gift-giving or just plain spontaneous generosity, not to mention I'd like a new one too. I'm not sure exactly where this idea came from. It might have been while I was trying to jam everything back into the small zippered pouch I use as a wallet. It's only a tad bit bigger than the size of a credit card, and I have so many cards that size stuck in there. It's fine to slip one or two out, but if I have to take them all out to look for something, it's really hard to get them all back in again.

Geez, I thought, I should just make my own. I might have had that idea while flipping through my copy of Sew What! Bags for fun one night (you do that too, right? just look through project books for fun?). There's a recipe in there for a wristlet, with the idea of modifying it to make a small zippered pouch. But where to get short zippers? I don't remember seeing them in Joann's. Etsy to the rescue! I ordered ten 5-inch zippers from zipit. With shipping I think they cost about sixty cents each. While I waited for them to arrive I cut 6.5" by 4.5" pieces from scraps, enough to make four pockets to start with. I chose plain outer fabrics (linen and scraps from an old, soft button-down shirt) so I could stamp them.

Clockwise from top left: Birch leaf; Irish moss; winter tree; summer tree.
A bit wonky in places, but cute! So cute!! They are just under 4x6 inches, and they are lined, of course. (They all have the same lining.)

So, I am still not great at zippers. My side seams don't line up exactly, and I don't seem to understand how the zipper foot helps anything, really, and I feel like I am actually sewing too close to the zipper, so the lining fabric tends to get stuck--especially in the one with the seaweed print (top right), where it really does get too close to the teeth in one spot. But yet, it also feels like too small of a seam allowance with the fabric. Maybe I shouldn't line the top of the zipper up exactly with the top of the fabric before sewing. If I position it down just a little bit so the stitching isn't so close to the top edge of the fabric, would that be a bad thing? Anyone have zipper-sewing tips to share?

Luckily, I have six more little zippers with which to experiment, and I know where to get more--in so many sizes and so many colors! Is it weird to feel like a kid in a toy store when faced with all those zippers?

Any creative urges just been nagging at you lately?

Linking up with my creative space...


Jen said...

These are so cute! I haven't been brave enough to try a zipper yet. Nor button holes. I taught myself how to crochet a few weeks ago. I've been wanting to make a granny square afghan for a few years now and finally couldn't put it off any longer!

Sketched Soul said...

They turned out awesome.. and if there is any flaws.. I don't see it :)

... zippers do get frustrating to sew on some projects. Sometimes I actually glue stick the zipper on first (I know, it sounds weird)..but it keeps the zipper in place without having pins to worry about, and makes it easier to sew... at least for me it does.

Take care

lamina@do a bit said...

Ha ha ha... glad you scratched that pouch itch... it is addictive... hey! They look great! :)

Karen Isaacson said...

there is no greater fun than reading project books. I wish I didn't like it so much, because it makes me buy too many project books. and I hardly ever get around to doing the projects. I used to be that way with cookbooks. just reading them. not actually cooking from them. super cute lining fabric on your sweet pouches.

Rose Red said...

Sadly all of my creative urges involve knitting or crocheting new projects - RIGHT NOW! Sadly, time does not permit more new projects! But they are all added to the one day list.

Great little pouches. I wish I could offer zipper advice, but they scare me just a little!

Amy said...

I caught the zippered pouch fever a few years ago too. I couldn't stop making them and gave them to everyone I knew/know. But I wasn't so clever to hand-print on the ones I made. Yours look lovely.

For me, the more zippers I inserted, the better I got at it. And, yes, it does feel as though I'm stitching too close, but that's better since it helps prevent the lining from catching. The zipper foot lets you get your stitches as close to the teeth as possible without trying to push the teeth between a presser foot and the feed dogs.

When I put in a zipper and the lining is catching, I topstitch the lining clear of the teeth. I often use embroidery thread and do it by hand so my quick fix becomes a "decorative element".

Also, you can shorten nylon zippers quite easily. Just fyi. Knowing this trick means that I snatch up all the zippers I find while at thrift shops, et al. It's handy to know. Here's the tutorial I used when I first learned it.

I don't hand sew the new end the way she does in the video though. I use my machine's bar tack stitch (like the short ends of a button hole).

Debra said...

YOur hand printing is beautiful, lvoe the idea of these as little Christmas tokens for all the women and children. Good inspiration.

Donna Lee said...

I really like your leaf/tree stamped prints. They make me think of my favorite wooded places, although around here the trees are likely to be pines or oaks (and some maples).

I second the idea of using plastic zippers and then making them the length you want. You can hand sew the end wherever you need it to be or use the machine. That way you can pick them up on sale.

No creative itches lately although I am thinking of taking out the cross stitch and doing some stitching for a bit. Maybe after the tour de fleece.

Naomi said...

I love the look of your prints. Really cute! I have trouble putting zips in purses too and then I found this awesome tutorial - saved me a lot of trouble!
Also this is a good one on shortening zippers if you need to use up older zips:

Michelle said...

Oh Amy they came out great! Now i need to find some linen. I'll have to order i guess since i can't seem to find any locally. Zippers stink.