Travel Jewelry Pouch

Floral Bliss Jewelry Pouch Folded by Brenda Zapotosky with Words

Several years ago my sister gave me a lovely travel jewelry pouch as a present.  She mentioned loving it so much she wanted one for herself too, but when she tried to find another one they no longer made them.  Knowing that she was so fond of mine I thought it would be the perfect gift to make for her.  Shouldn’t be too hard, right?  It only required sewing 3 zippers on one item, binding multiple layers of interfacing and materials (a skill I have NOT mastered), and sewing VINYL (for the first time).  But whatever, I could handle it… I thought.

I found a pattern/tutorial online that was similar to my pouch, (and it seemed a little easier to make), so I went with that.  It is officially called the Mini Jewelry Roll by Haberdashery Fun.  You can also download a pdf version of the tutorial at the Pellon website.  I used the pdf since I prefer looking off of a piece of paper rather than a device when I am sewing.  I decided to make mine a little less mini, and it folds over itself rather than rolls, thus I am calling mine a pouch.  But that really isn’t important.  🙂

Onto the sewing!

I asked my sister to give me a list of some of her current favorite fabrics in my Spoonflower Shop and I would pick from that list for her gift. (The actual fabric I went with remained a surprise, as did the gift itself, she did not know what I would be making when she made her list).  Of her picks, I thought the Floral Bliss Coral and Mint (small scale) design would work well for this project.  Since it did not have any coordinating prints I whipped up a simple matching polka-dot for the inside of the pouch.  I chose black zippers and bias tape for the trimmings and really love how they pop against the prints.

Since I had enough length with my fabric and I know that my sister has a preference towards chunky jewelry, I decided to make my pouch a few inches longer than the instructions suggested, I THINK I added 4″ total in length (I should have written it down), giving each pouch section an extra inch in depth and the pouch itself an extra inch.  The pouch is still nice and compact, but I think the extra room makes it a little bit more versatile.

Sewing the vinyl was much less difficult than I expected!  For my first attempt, I followed the directions and sewed with the vinyl on top of the zipper edge (with no pins, etc. to hold it down).  The results were not good.  It was VERY wavy and did not lie flat.  So I removed the zipper and came up with a new method instead.  I decided to put the zipper on top as the finished “edge”.  I liked the fabric of the zipper being the exposed piece instead of the vinyl edge and because the solid black was now on top, I could use Wash-Away Wonder Tape to hold it in place and it would not be seen.  Normally I would not worry about the tape showing since as its name suggests it dissolves away when you wash it, but not knowing if this pouch would be washed I wanted to keep it hidden. Other than that change I pretty much followed the directions for the rest of it (with one other exception as you will see). Along the lines of the cotton ball suggestion, I did put a folded up wad of scraps in all of the pouches before sewing them down to help ensure they would not be too tight to hold chunky jewelry.

As hinted at above, sewing on the bias tape binding was my failure of the project.  I need to blame this partially on the fact that I did not follow the instructions and sew it to the inside first before folding over to enclose the edge and top stitch on the outside.  My mind got a little jumbled about whether bias tape (instead of classic quilt-style binding) could still work like this.  And I didn’t think it was really necessary.  (And maybe I was a bit impatient too…) I really, really, REALLY wish I would have done it.  My single stitching along the binding did not catch all the edges on the inside and I ended up having to do a second line of stitching in places to catch it all. Had I done the inside stitch first, even though the top-stitching would have missed in places, it would have still had that first stitch to hold it down.  The end result is quite ugly and definitely not up to my personal standards (especially for a gift).  But if I had pulled it all out and started over it would have left a line of holes in the vinyl and I wasn’t sure if that would compromise the integrity of the piece.  So, despite my disappointment, I left it.  AND it doesn’t effect the function of the pouch at all.  Yay for that!

Floral Bliss Jewelry Pouch Flat by Brenda Zapotosky

Besides the ugly binding I am very happy with the end result.  If I was to make one again (and I don’t see that happening anytime soon) I would want to have the zipper width better span the width of the pouch.  Right now there are gaps on each side. (I kept the zipper and width exactly as instructed in the tutorial)  Next time I would use the next size up from  7″ to 9″ zippers but only increase the width of the pouch by an inch.  This would eliminate the gap.  Otherwise it is a great tutorial.  And despite the binding flaws, my sister LOVES it!  And that is really all that matters.

Floral Bliss Jewelry Pouch Inside  by Brenda Zapotosky

Floral Bliss Jewelry Pouch Close Up 2  by Brenda Zapotosky
Check out that custom designed label!

Floral Bliss Jewelry Pouch Close Up 1 by Brenda Zapotosky

 

The Not-So-Knotted Tote

04 Tents Purse Brenda Zapotosky with Logo

Is it a purse?  Is it a tote?  Not sure.  What I do know: It is fantastic!  My newest make might just be my favorite so far this year!  I present to you the “Not-So-Knotted” Tote!  This bag began with a cool free pattern by the Sewing Rabbit for the Knot Tote.  But as you can see, there are no knots on my bag.  While I intended to make the bag as instructed, I discovered that I had made a major sewing fail which required a change of plans!  The bag is supposed to be constructed with the bag and straps cut as one whole piece.  To fit the pattern onto my 42″ wide fabric I would have had to flip the pattern piece so that on one side the triangles would be pointing in the opposite direction of the other. (Oops, didn’t think about that when I chose this particular fabric design).  As I did not want upside-down triangles on one side of my bag I needed to come up with a new plan.  I wasn’t crazy about the knot at the top of the strap anyways (not sure how comfortable that would be on my shoulder when wearing it), so I decided to cut my straps out separately.  I also re-shaped the bag portion: I eliminated the tabs (the second knotted portion of the pattern), raised the height of the opening scoop, and added a straight portion where the straps would attach.  I made the straps slightly wider than the original and also made them much longer:  2 1/2″ wide, 30″ long, with a layer of fusible fleece added to the main fabric.

For this bag I chose a design from my Spoonflower shop, Tent Triangles in the Earth color-way printed on Basic Cotton Ultra.  (Part of the Woodland Delights Collection) Since this fabric is lighter weight than some of the other recommended fabrics I also added a layer of super lightweight interfacing to it (as suggested in the directions).  The lining fabric is a premium quality solid quilting fabric I bought at Joann’s.  It is a couple dollars more than their basic cottons but worth every penny!

Since I was already making so many changes I also decided to add a magnetic clasp to the inside of the bag.  It was my first time using one and it was SO EASY to install and it is such a nice extra touch!  (I did add a tiny piece of interfacing behind each clasp as well).

03 Tents Purse Open Brenda Zapotosky

Overall this bag was a DREAM to sew!  I have had my fair share of sewing difficulties with almost every project I have sewn this year, so it was so nice to have one that had practically not problems at all!  My biggest snafu was when ironing on the fusible fleece to one of the straps, I ended up with some ripples and had to redo the piece.  This was a bummer since I would have enough leftover fabric to make a second identical bag if I hadn’t need to cut an extra strap.  Now if I want to make another bag (to gift to someone) I will have to either make shorter or skinnier straps.  Still, I love how my “hacked” method of construction means that I can make two projects with my yardage!  I might try a different style bag for the leftovers, I am still deciding.

I did play with the strap to bag connection a bit.  I tried adding squares of the green and doing a decorative top-stitch to conceal my utilitarian rows of stitching that I used to attach the strap. I tried two different styles, but didn’t like either of them so I ended up removing them.  I think my triple line of stitching looks decent enough, and probably most people won’t get close enough to scrutinize it (you can see it in the close-up below).

If I change anything with the next one, I might add a little space to the outside edge of each strap so that they aren’t quite as close to the side seams.  The connection there is a little tight.  Not a big deal, but a little more openness would be nice. UPDATE:  After using this bag I have now decided that I will DEFINITELY add an 1 – 1 1/2″ open space on each side to allow the bag to open more fully and give the straps some wiggle room.  I also plan on making it about 1″ deeper, this isn’t functionally necessary but more of a personal preference (I carry a lot of stuff 🙂 ). Going to make a second one with this fabric for myself to give these changes a try!

My favorite part of this bag is that very identity crisis I joked about at the beginning of this post.  This bag has the style and cuteness of a purse with all the practically of a tote, which for me is perfection!  I am already dreaming up a second version using some fabric in my stash (pending I have enough to complete it).

05 Tents Purse Brenda Zapotosky