I promised we would get started with our first project this week and here it is! We are going to learn the very basics of sewing by making a cute little pouch.

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These pouches were the first thing that I ever learned how to make, they are very useful and even more so they teach a lot of really useful sewing skills in a way which isn’t too complicated or overwhelming. So let’s get started!

You need:

  • Scissors
  • Fabric
  • Pins
  • Thread
  • Sewing machine

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Cut two rectangles of fabric. You will need to make them around 4cm longer and wider than you want the finished bag to be. This is called leaving a seam allowance.  Because we need room for the stitches to make seams we need to cut all of the pieces larger so it ends up the right size. It doesn’t matter too much with small things like this but seam allowances become very important when you are making clothing that needs to actually fit you 😉

Most fabrics have a “good side” and a “bad side”. The good side just means the side you want to be on the outside when the project is finished. It’s obviously easier to see which side needs to go out on printed fabrics but you can generally tell on most fabrics if you look closely. I am using polar fleece for this project because it’s a good beginners fabric, it doesn’t stretch much and it doesn’t warp easily.

In most sewing projects you will work with the “good sides” facing inside so at the end when we turn everything the right way out you won’t see all of the seams.

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Decide which edge of the fabric will be the top of your pouch and fold over around 1cm of the edge.

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Fold it down again. Now the raw edge is encased inside the fold completely and you won’t need to worry about it fraying later.

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Pin in place and repeat on the other piece of fabric.

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Now let’s sew it in place!

We will be using a straight stitch to begin with so set your machine accordingly.

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Thread your machine. Ideally you should use thread which is the same colour as your fabric. Here I’m using purple thread so you can see what’s going on. If you are a beginner you might find it easy to use bright contrasting thread so you can see what you are doing.

With the needle and the foot up place the edge of fold under the foot.

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Now lower the foot.

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You need to make sure the stitches aren’t going to come undone later so you should begin and end every line of stitch with an anchor.

To create the anchor we stitch overlapping forwards and backwards at the edge of the fabric.

Press the foot pedal gently (or use the hand reel on the side) and sew around 1cm forward.

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Then hold down the reverse button and gently stitch backwards to where you started.

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Now go forwards again and this time continue stitching to the end of the fabric. When you get to the end, secure the stitches by going backwards 1cm and then forwards again.

Sew right off the edge of the piece of fabric.

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When you are sewing for the most part you should have both hands guiding the fabric and one foot on the pedal.

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Lift the machine foot and pull your piece of fabric off to the side so you get a trail of thread. Cut that off.

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Repeat this on the other rectangle. You should now have two rectangles with the ends folded and stitched.

You can see below where I’ve drawn to represent the stitches and the anchors.

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Now we need to put the two pieces together and sew them in place.

Stack the rectangles with the good sides together. The sides with the fold should be on the outside.

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Pin them in place. You can see below where we are going to be stitching.

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Begin on the right side at the folds, lower the foot and anchor the stitches by going forwards/backwards.

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Stitch in a straight line down the side of the rectangles. You want to leave around 1cm between your line of stitches and the edge of the fabric. I find it’s much easier to get a straight line of stitches if I don’t look at the needle, instead try looking where the fabric enters the foot and make sure it’s straight as you go. There are also lines on the machine which can help you line things up well.

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Once you get around 1cm from the edge of the fabric we need to turn the corner. Lower the needle into the fabric, you will probably find this easier by using the hand wheel.

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Lift up the foot with the needle still down through the fabric.

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Rotate the fabric 90 degrees so the machine is now pointing in the next direction you want to sew.

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Put the foot down again and start sewing along the new line.

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Continue until you reach the next corner then repeat the process to turn again. Sew up the last side and anchor at the end.

You should have something along these lines:

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Now we just need to seal the edges so they don’t fray. To do this you could use an overlocker or just zigzag stitch with your machine.

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This time you will need to line up the piece of fabric so that the machine stitches the left side of the zigzag into the fabric and the right side over the edge of the fabric. What this will do is completely encase all of the raw edges and prevent them from fraying or coming unravelled later.

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Begin with anchoring as usual.

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Turn the corner in the same way that you did with the straight stitch.

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Continue around the 3 edges

Remember that this is your first project so don’t stress too much if everything isn’t perfect, you will slowly get a feel for things over time 🙂 I did this pouch while I was crouching balanced on one leg in front of a stool so we could get the photos XD

So you should have something along the lines of this:

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Snip off the extra dangly threads.

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Turn the whole thing inside out.

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Easy!

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That didn’t take too long and is a very handy little pouch to have.

So what sewing techniques did you learn making this?

  • Straight stitch
  • Zigzag stitch
  • Sealing edges
  • Turning corners while sewing
  • Hemming
  • Anchoring

Not bad for a first project!

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What do you guys want to learn in the next project?

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Did you enjoy learning techniques while actually making something or do you prefer to learn each technique individually.

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Let me know what you think and see you next week for more Sew Fun!