Saturday Series: Holiday gifts -- zip pouches

Zip pouches aren't quilting per se, but you can patchwork-piece the outer fabric, embellish with english paper piecing, or just use leftover fabric from quilts. I've made zip pouches for stocking-stuffers, and as packaging/wrapping for smaller gifts like lipgloss sets or pencil sets. As an added bonus, they're quick to whip up and easy to personalize.

There are a lot of fantastic tutorials out there. My favorites are:
Simple zippered pouch from our own Punkin Patterns
Open-wide zippered pouch from Noodlehead
Dumplings from Michelle Patterns
Patchwork pencil case from Little Big Girl Studio
Zippered box pouch from Pretty Modern Life

My husband’s family does a large handmade gift exchange every year - 15 people participate. We each choose a handmade project, make 15 of them, and swap. This year, I've decided to make 15 of the dumplings from Michelle Patterns. 

When I’m making one or two zip pouches I don’t worry about efficiency - I just follow the pattern from start to finish twice. But with 15 to make, I’ve been thinking about the quickest way to get them all done. Here’s my strategy:

  1. I’ve already made this pattern three times. If the pattern was new to me, I would make a prototype.
  2. Select outer and lining fabrics from my stash that coordinate with the 15 assorted zippers I bought. Iron all fabric.
  3. Cut all the pieces. I use one template for fabric and a smaller template for interfacing, so I don’t have to trim down the interfacing after I cut it.
  4. Iron the interfacing to all fabric pieces
  5. Clip all the zippers.
  6. Pin all zippers to outer fabric.
  7. Baste all zippers.
  8. Group pouches by thread color. For each thread color:
    1. Sew the lining and outer fabric to the zippers with a zipper foot.
    2. Clip all seams.
    3. Turn all pouches right side out and press.
    4. Switch to a heavier needle, top-stitch all pouches.
    5. Switch to regular foot, sew the corners.
  9. Cover the raw edges with binding. I’ll probably do this by hand.
With this strategy I won't have to switch the iron temp or change thread colors often, and I'll have a minimum of presser foot and needle changes. Hopefully this means less mistakes, fewer melted zippers, and an overall quicker process. So far, so good. Here's my progress up through step 7 -all basted and ready to sew!



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  2. Those look really great! I love the 'assembly line' style--- Thanks!


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