Zipper Pouch – Scrap Fabric Project

I love using up scrap fabric as much as I love a zipper pouch, so this project makes me very happy.

On the Bonjour Quilts blog you'll find this yellow, scrappy zipper pouch made with quilted HST patchwork panels. A great way to use up scrap fabric!

My daughter asked me to make her a zipper pencil pouch for the start of the school year. (Let’s pretend that it’s still January, when we start school here in Australia!) She wanted a cute pencil case, but larger than the last one I made her. Design requirements included an internal pocket for her calculator and the colour yellow (her favourite).

Due to time restraints, I suggested that HSTs would be a faster option than English Paper Piecing. I drew a sketch and she gave me the go-ahead.

I’m sure everyone has their own favourite zipper pouch tutorial so I won’t go through the minutia of sewing a lined pouch. But if you like the outer patchwork design, I have outlined my steps for this below.

To help get the project moving faster, my daughter sorted through my yellow scrap fabric and found a good variety of yellow prints in low, mid and saturated value.

The outer panels of the zipper pouch consist of HST units set on point. There was a bit of maths involved as we needed to reverse engineer the HST size required to give the panel size we wanted. I got my daughter to use Pythagoras’ Theorem to work that out for me (my tax dollars finally bearing fruit!)

Sewing the HST panels

To form the two panels I cut 45 squares 2-1/2″ x 2-1/2″. From these squares I sewed 90 HST units, which were trimmed to 2″ squares.

I wanted to create a bit of a colour gradation across the zipper pouch. I made sure there was a good mix of light/light, light/mid, mid/dark, etc fabrics across all of the HSTs.

For the top and bottom edges of the panels I used plain 2″ squares (they are lopped off when squaring the panels). You’ll need 28 of the 2″ squares in total.

Shown below is the layout for the two panels. The HST units have dotted triangle lines, the plain 2″ squares are in yellow.

How to sew your HSTs together to get a patchwork panel

Once you’ve laid out your HSTs and squares in your preferred colour order, you can sew them together. Sew the diagonal rows together first and be sure to press rows in alternating directions so that the seams will nest.

Sew the fabric squares together to form a patchwork panel

With the patchwork panels sewn together it’s now time to quilt them. This is a great way to use up batting offcuts.

Quilting HST patchwork panels before turning them into a zipper pouch.

I like to quilt them fairly densely as it adds strength to your patchwork seams and also gives the pouch some body. I did a simple crosshatch quilting design, using the seams as a guide for my walking foot.

Quilted HST patchwork panels

Once you’ve quilted both panels you can trim them back to give two identical rectangle pieces.

Quilted patchwork panels cut down to size to make a zipper pouch

My two panels ended up being 8-3/4″ high by 13-1/2″ long.

The zipper pouch lining

As well as the two outer panels, you’ll need two fabric pieces for the lining. My daughter chose this cute birdy fabric from which I cut two rectangles 8-3/4″ x 13-1/4″.

Bird fabric used to line a zipper pouch

With quilted pouches I like to reduce the lining panel width by a quarter inch to accommodate the bulky seam of the outer panels.

You may recall my daughter asked for an internal pocket in the lining to store her calculator. If you can talk your child out of this, do so now. Consider using chocolates, head scratches or a trip to Disneyland. The internal pocket was a pain to put in and you will regret it immensely if you agree to it.

I, unfortunately, did agree to it. Sigh.

I used this Youtube tutorial by Lisa from Andrie Designs to learn the process behind creating such a pocket. She uses a different sized bag for her tutorial so you won’t want to follow her fabric sizes. For my pocket I instead used another 8-3/4″ x 13-1/4″ rectangle as well as an 8″ x 11-1/2″ rectangle (as I didn’t want the pocket to go right to the bottom of the pouch). I used a 10″ zipper for the internal pocket.

Creating an internal zipper pocket in the pouch

I worked nice and slowly and paid extra attention to making sure my birds stayed right side up.

Eventually I had the pocket formed and was able to sew the lining and outer panels to the zipper. I used a 10″ zip here as well as it was all I had on hand, but I would have liked a 12″ or 14″ if given the choice.

Zipper for a sewn zip pouch

And remember to always open the zipper before you sew around the edges of the lining and the outer panels. Otherwise it’s a nightmare trying to turn the thing right-sides-out again!

Turning the zipper pouch out the right way after sewing.

Phew, it was quite a journey, but I got there in the end.

A scrappy patchwork zipper pouch in yellow.

I even learned a new skill.

The internal lined pocket in the zipper pouch

I missed the start of school by over a month, but my daughter was very gracious as she knew I was sweating over that pocket. Best of all she loves her new cute pencil case, which has a spot for all her bits and pieces.

A zipper pouch with internal pocket in use.

Thank goodness for that!

Yellow zipper pouch made from scrap fabric
A zipper pouch sewn from scrap yellow fabrics.

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23 thoughts on “Zipper Pouch – Scrap Fabric Project”

  1. As a true “yellow” person, your bag really hit home. I made a yellow brick road quilt as I called it and have plenty of leftover strips. Yours will be next on my list when I finish the quilt I am working on. I made the YBR quilt it honor of my sister I lost way to young. She was my best friend. The sewing did truly help!!!

  2. What a neat idea to use up scraps! Love the inside pocket.
    In the process of sewing again (in my retirement), and learning to quilt and applique, I find that I have become a “bag lady”. Presently, I am ready to machine quilt a couple of extra large zip up totes that were pieced together with old upholstery sample pieces (from my mom’s handed down fabric stash).
    Rosemary and Suzanne, I am so sorry for the losses of your family members. I sincerely hope that the pain lessens as time passes.

  3. Cute pouch! I love the baby quilt too. I can’t wait to see the scrappy version unfurled! I’m glad you and your family are all ok. Are the fires finally out? We were supposed to go to Alaska on a cruise tour in May into June. The cruise line just offered a complete credit to reschedule it for next year. Not sure what kind of vacation we’ll have now! I’m trying to get my sewing mojo back after a 2 week home brown out from a power surge frying our main panel. Anyways, love your patterns!

  4. Such a great pencil pouch! And thank you for the link to the zip pocket tutorial. I’ve watched many tutorials for this technique, and this one is by far the best. I think the pocket you made in this pouch with serve well and keep the phone screen from getting scratched.

    • It’s a good one, isn’t it? It’s a bit like FPP in that you have to think the process through in reverse to make sure it’s all in the right place (and the right way around).

  5. I am a bag person. Just something about it. From 4-1/2” to BIG ones!! I also like that baby quilt and would make. I am in stitching slump as well. Moved and a loss of two sons in 8 mos kind of did me in. Showing has always been my salvation but really having a problem this time. Just too much. I would make that baby quilt for a brand new great grandchild. It’s very cute. And very different for a baby. I like it

    • Dear Rosemary,

      Your comment almost broke my heart. It must be devastating to lose children, regardless of age. No one can possibly understand how you feel. We just know that you do and those feelings are deep.
      I lost a grandson at age 3 and was heartsick beyond words but even that doesn’t give me an insight into your grief.
      So all I can offer is a tiny sort of kinship (for lack of a better word) and my prayers that God will bless you with his unending comfort and compassion.


    • Oh Rosemary, I’m so sorry for your loss and to hear of your grief. I can’t imagine what you’re going through, coupled with the extra pain of sewing no longer bringing you peace. I hope that sewing will bring you some solace again one day soon. Sending love and virtual hugs x x

  6. Adorable! I don’t do small stuff like that anymore and no bags or purses, but I love them! as for the Corona virus I am with you, no panic. Stupid. I know it is highly contagious but I hate the political involvement. And yes, the big box stores sold out of TP around here too! It never crossed my mind.

  7. Your hard work paid off! The zipper pocket turned out great, and I love the combination of the patchwork, color gradation, and quilting. Now all of your daughter’s friends will want one. With a pocket!! Better stock up on chocolate.

  8. This is very adorable and I understand the inner zipper situation as I have done this several times groaning the entire time. But your lining fabric is just too cute! I love the entire pouch whether it’s for pencils or something else!

  9. It’s so neat! I really enjoy your tutorials. I’m glad your daughter appreciates your sweat effort!
    I love the baby quilt (and the tiny view of the scrappy version) in your newsletter and would love to see a pattern developed. :)

  10. You can be proud, it’s looking fantastic. I’ ll certainly keep it in mind. My daughter wants a zipperpouch for her laptop. Maybe I’ll try to do this pattern with bigger HSt s. Some maths has to be done before.????????


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