Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Zipped Up

I made these easy-peasy to make zip pouches this past weekend--one for my colored pencils in this adorable little train pattern on cotton canvas and... ...one for my sketch book and Beeper Bebe idea and other scribblings book in this lovely little french landscape and black cat print (have I mentioned how much I LOVE all things french?)...you see, I travel lots for my corporate, straight-girl job and I was tired of carrying this stuff around in a gallon-size zip-lock plastic bag, looking all trashy and stuff. It would just bum me out everytime I pulled out the plastic bag--I am weird and sensitive to that stuff and like things to have an aesthetic appeal. And those little Eiffel Towers on my sketch book bag and the cute little trains on the pencil bag just make me feel all happy inside everytime I see them.

These are so super duper simple to make--and I had never ever sewn a zipper into anything before and did it on the first try. I used all cotton canvas to make these--and just all purpose zippers you can find at any old fabric store. Here's what to do:
  1. Just cut out your fabric to the size you want your bag to be, including a 1/2 inch seam allowance (so you can trim with pinking shears later)--make sure you cut out two pieces so you have a front and back (you could use two different fabrics for front and back if you wanted to radical like that).
  2. Now, if your zipper is just the right size-fab--but if not, measure it to be about the length you want your finished pouch to be--then add 1/2 an inch onto this and cut off the excess. 1/2 inch from the end you just trimmed, you should whipstitch tightly across the zipper several times (this just helps to keep the zipper from seperating later on)
  3. Now, fold over 1/2 inch on the top of your fabric/pouch (iron it down if you want--I didn't--I just eyeballed, folded and pinned as I went), then pin your zipper to the fabric so the fabric meets up fairly closely to the teeth of the zipper (you should have about 1/2 inch of unpinned fabric at each end of the zipper--so the zipper is centered in the fabric), repeat on the other side with your other piece of fabric. Now, with the right sides of the fabric facing up, sew the zipper onto the fabric (both pieces of fabric), sewing close to the edge of the fold of the fabric--MAKE SURE YOU USE THE ZIPPER FOOT ON YOUR MACHINE OR YOU WILL BE SORRY. Really. (again, I'd never used my zipper foot before and had to get out the manual to identify it, but it worked like a charm).
  4. Now unzip your zipper at least half way down, and pin your two pieces of fabric together with the wrong sides of the fabric facing out. Sew the two pieces together around the remaining 3 sides, leaving about 1/2 inch inseam, then trim the inseam with pinking shears so you don't get lots of annoying unraveling threads inside your pouch.
  5. Turn your pouch right side out and VOILA! Instant zip pouch happiness.

I also made some for my neices for Christmas, stuffed full of art supplies from Stubby Pencil Studio which has THE BEST eco-friendly art supplies and fantastic customer service (if you ever require it)...

This one was for Sarah and contained Smencils (pencils with a scent that are made from recycled newspapers--so reminds me of scratch n'sniff stickers), watercolor crayons, a sketchbook made from recycled paper, and the Doodles at Dinner coloring book that is all paper placements meant to be torn out and drawn upon at will...And this one was for Hannah: soy-based crayons, a little sack of crayon rocks, natural playdough, and some little tools to go with it, and the Doodle All Year coloring book (that is so cool that I could hardly give it up--but it helped that I bought one for Beeper too so at least I can draw in his if I get too desperate).

And all of the lovely cotton canvas fabrics I used to make these came from Crafty Planet in NE Minneapolis--but they also have an on-line shop you can find here if you do not live here and are desperate for some of their fabric-y goodness.

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