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!


  1. Kirsty, this is just AMAZING. Thanks for the tutorial, great idea these vinyl pouches.

  2. Great tute... these look amazing. Back into the swing? Hows the new machine?

  3. Love this, great idea !
    Thanks for the tutorial !!

  4. I love this idea. I have some vinyl and will have to get busy making some pouches.

  5. These are fabulous Kirsty! Functional and stylish at the same time! Thanks for sharing your expertise!

  6. These are great...love the clear view and splash of colour

  7. Fantastic! I can see some of these in my future for sure-esp with the tried and tested tips

  8. Cute idea! I keep meaning to make myself a toilet bag like this

  9. Great tutorial, will have to make some for my grandchildren. Thank you.

  10. You're such a smarty pants! Great idea!

  11. Love this. I have been thinking I needed something like this in our house and now I know how! Very clever idea to add the fabric at the top.

  12. Looks great , but when you turn it inside out isn't there a chance the tread will rip out of the vinyl?
    Maybe i should just try one, thank you for sharing

    1. If you are really rough while you turn it it's probably possible to rip the vinyl. I just took my time and it came out fine.

  13. ¡Que buen tutorial! Y el resultado de esta buena idea es perfecto...¡felicidades!

  14. Fabulous idea Kirsty. Very chic!

  15. That's awesome Kirsty!! Love the pretty pieces of fabric at the tops. The idea of toilet bags is brilliant.

  16. Kirsty, where were you when my house was littered with toys through all those years of raising my four?!

    Lovely tutorial m'dear :)

  17. I love the idea of putting gifts in them! Thanks. :-)

  18. Hello, thanks for the tutorial and the tip about text book cover plastic. Beatrice (from France!)

  19. Hi there, I am new on your blog. The vinyl pouches are such a great idea. Must put on my to do list! Thanks for sharing. Cheers!

  20. Really great idea! You are right, the perfect thing for gifts, as well! I'm already thinking about Christmas present making, let's see what I can realistically make! :-)

  21. Great sacks. Thanks for the tip on using masking tape. I usually use tissue paper as a buffer when sewing Vinyl and then you just tear it away once you are finished. You could use binder clips to keep the vinyl in place when sewing two pieces together. I plan on making a few of these!

  22. Great sacks. Thanks for the tip on using masking tape. I usually use tissue paper as a buffer when sewing Vinyl and then you just tear it away once you are finished. You could use binder clips to keep the vinyl in place when sewing two pieces together. I plan on making a few of these!


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