After re-reading this, I've decided to simplify it by assuming you all know how to make a zip sandwich and a box pouch already. If you don't, check out this excellent tutorial on zipper sandwiches and this one on Box Pouches.
- This pouch was made using 6.5" X 4.5" or 16.5 X 11.45cm rectangles. Don't make your first pouch much smaller than this, it becomes way too fiddly.
- If you are putting a label inside the pouch, either stitch it to your lining fabric before you stitch anything to anything else, or after you've attached your lining and focus fabric to your zip, otherwise you'll have to do it by hand through the hole in the lining!
- I always use iron-on interfacing on my focus fabric, it helps to maintain the shape and makes it easier to work with.
- Make it easy on yourself by using a much bigger zipper than you need, 9"/22cm zippers are great for 6.5" pouches, that way you can gnore the zipper pull altogether. Leave it at the top of the zip and start stitching below it.
- When you put your zipper in, make sure the cut-out bit of your zip foot is resting on top of the zip. That's what it's for, to help you get as close as possible to your zip.
- If you are putting pull tabs or ribbon at the ends of your pouch to make it easy to open and close, stitch them to the right side edges of the focus fabric after sewing up the bottom seam. They go at the point where the side seam and bottom seam meet, right on top of the zipper. It's much easier than trying to hold it all together when you come to stitch the side seams. Make sure the tabs have enough length in case you have to trim the side seams to straighten the pouch out.
- If you want to top-stitch or decorate the bottom of your pouch, first stitch the seam, then do the decoration before you stitch the lining seam. It's much easier to do this way because you don't have to try and avoid the zipper, and the space is much larger. Try it the other way and you'll see what I mean!
- I recommend at least a 90/14 needle to help you sew over the zipper comfortably. Anything smaller will probably break.
- If you're making a bigger bag, use bigger corner angles. Remember that whatever size corner angles you use will effectively be doubled once you form your corners. If you have a 1/2" cutout, you will get 1" corners. If you use a 1" cutout, you will get 2" corners. It's the old "sum of the square of the hypotenuse" thing from school (half plus half equals one, one plus one equals two etc)
- Be careful! If you make a 6.5" bag and use 1" corner angles, your pouch will be square, not a rectangle. It will still be cute though.
- If your side seams start to open where you have cut the corner angles out, it's okay to stitch over them again.
We have assumed here that you have already stitched your focus, zip and lining together to make a zipper sandwich, and that you've top-stitched the zip to make it look nice and to stop the fabric from getting caught in the zipper.
Okay, now the fiddly bit. You need to take the angles and bring them round, or open them out, so that the 90° angles you had are now gone, and you have a nicely horizontal edge. Some of you older people may remember the "sides to middle" repair we used to do on sheets that had torn - it's the same principle. You are pushing the sideseam towards the middle of the bag, wrapping the corners round. These are your perpendicular corners.
The edges should match up, but it doesn't matter too much if they're not 100%, 95% is fine. It is fiddly, and I find that a bit of spit on my fingers helps to make the fabric move more easily. See here:
You should be able to see your magic half-inch slice has turned into a magic inch seam.
Once you've got it all okay, turn it back inside out again and zigzag over the seams. This way you won't be unpicking the zigzag if it isn't right.
Okay, so now it should be perfect. Turn it right-sides out again but don't press yet, because you still need to stitch up the hole in your lining. You can either handstitch it invisibly, leaving no clue as to how you made this excellent pouch, or you can be lazy like I am and machine stitch it closed:
The finished pouch should look something like this:
Now go and press it and go and have a glass of excellent Hunter Valley Semillon and a good lie down! Phew!
Thanks are due to the following excellent tutorials for leading me to the water jump, and stimulating my brain on how to get over it without flinching:
Firstly, twelve22 - her no-fuss approach to zips in pouches helped me with the zipper sandwich - love it.
Secondly, three bears showed me how to get the box shape, and how fiddly it was to get those corners perpendicular without using a ruler, or something else, which led me to...
Twenty Acres and no sheep - she provided me with the excellent idea of using a quilting ruler to get the corners right.
The rest of it I came up with on my own. Please feel free to use this, and spread it around. If you have any questions, please post and I will try to answer them. Or, if you think it isn't clear enough, especially round what to do with the corners, please let me know. I may have to go to YouTube. Scary.