Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Vinyl Pouch Tutorial

We have a lot of puzzles and board games and other things that live in cardboard boxes around here. The problem is that after some hard playing the boxes tend to pop their corners and get all ratty. Not to mention it gets hard to find places to store all those bulky containers.

I got tired of sticking all the boxes back together

So one day I decided to make some pouches to keep the puzzles in, which greatly reduced the amount of storage space needed on our shelves. I made them from clear vinyl so that the kids could easily see which was which.

These are super quick and easy to make - the hardest part is having to use three different feet.

The best part is matching your fabric and zippers:

All these fabrics were a gift from Krista. Merci cherie!

You can estimate how big the pouch needs to be by looking at how much you need to put in it.

(I bought this vinyl on a roll in France - it was actually sold as plastic to cover text books with during the back-to-school sales. It was cheaper than buying it at a fabric shop.)

Cut two identical pieces of vinyl for each side of your pouch and then cut two pieces of fabric the same width as your vinyl.


How long you make your fabric depends on how much of a fabric accent you'd like.

Iron the top edge of your fabric over 1/2 an inch. (What you decide is the "top" edge is important if you have directional fabrics - you want them facing the same way each side of the pouch. As you can see below, I wanted to make sure my elephants weren't standing on their heads.)


Sew your two fabric pieces to your zipper with a zipper foot.


Then you need to sew the vinyl pieces to the fabric. Here are my tips for sewing fabric to vinyl:

I switched to a 90/14 needle
I increased my stitch length to 3 (my standard stitch being 2.5)
I used my walking foot
I slightly decreased my upper thread tension (it's normally at 2 and I reduced it to 1.5)

Most importantly: sew a test line with some scrap fabric and vinyl. Then you'll know if you need to fix your tension at all.

Once you've done your test line you can sew the real thing. I pressed my seam to the fabric side with a not-too-hot iron, under a cloth (to avoid melting the vinyl). I then topstitched the seam to the fabric so it wouldn't show through the plastic.


Then match your two wrong sides together and sew around the outside edge of your pouch (choose a pretty, matching thread as you'll be able to see it). Don't forget to open your zipper to about half way so you can turn it right-side out again!

Sewing plastic layers together without them sliding all over the place requires a few quick changes.

Tips for sewing vinyl to vinyl:

Stay with the 90/14 needle
Go back to your regular foot (I used my quarter inch foot)
Put a patch of masking tape or matte (not shiny/slippery) sticky tape on the bottom of your foot, as below (this helps with grip).
Increase your stitch length to 4
Go back to your regular tension.

Poke a little hole so your needle doesn't get caught up in the tape

Again, a quick test on scraps is recommended.  Once you sew the vinyl it is perforated forever, so you can't really unpick and sew again.

You can't pin the vinyl but a few pins in the fabric helps hold it all still

Once you've sewn all around the edge (I used the above foot setup on the fabric part too, no probs) you can clip your vinyl corners a little.


Then turn inside out and you're done!

Another quick press under a cloth sets the seams

Fill 'er up with all those puzzles.


You could use these pouches for tons of things: pencil cases, school or craft supplies, hand-sewing projects or as a toiletries bag:

Any gift, no matter how small, looks extra classy when in a custom-made pouch. 

Yay for pouches!


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