/ / The Pillbox Pouch {free sewing pattern for a cute zipper pouch}

The Pillbox Pouch {free sewing pattern for a cute zipper pouch}

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Is there anything cuter than a little handmade pouch? I have a hard time saying there is… I just love little pouches so much! Besides using them to organize my sewing supplies, makeup, pencils and pens, my purse, office, and even my kitchen (lol), I love giving them away as gifts with a little surprise tucked inside.

UPDATE: This blog post has been converted to an optional PDF that’s optimized for printing. Find it here. The blog post below is totally free to read, print, and sew! Just hit CTRL +P on your computer to print. The PDF download for $2 is totally optional.


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The Pillbox Pouch has a boxy and flat shape, but don’t let it’s 1” depth fool you… it can hold a lot of stuff! In this one I stuffed a bunch of small wooden Aurifloss spools,


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And in this one I easily fit four full-sized Aurifil thread spools.


You can also fit over 100 Wonderclips in a Pillbox Pouch!


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You may have noticed that these three pouches look slightly different. In order to give you flexibility to use whatever materials you have on hand, I tested the pattern using three different materials to stabilize it.

The first one above (with diagonal lines of quilting) was made with a scrap of Warm & Natural quilt batting on the inside. The second one (with straight horizontal lines) has ByAnnie’s Soft and Stable inside. And the third pouch (with no quilting at all) was made with fusible fleece. I love them all and can’t pick a favorite – so I’ll let you choose which material you want to use. It will turn out great no matter what, I promise!


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Pillbox Pouch Sewing Pattern

Finished dimensions: approximately 4” x 6” (not including the handle). 

Use a 1/4” seam allowance.

You will need:

  • 2 rectangles of fabric 10” x 9 1/2” for the exterior and lining

  • 1 rectangle of batting, Soft & Stable, or Fusible Fleece for the stabilizer

  • 1 strip of fabric 3” x 8” for the handle and tab (I matched my lining for this)

  • 1 strip of light or medium weight fusible interfacing 3” x 8” (I used Pellon SF101)

  • 4 squares 1 1/2” x 1 1/2” to enclose the zipper ends

  • 1 zipper, 6” or longer

  • SpraynBond or other basting spray (optional)

Preparation:

1. Cut your fabric and batting or other stabilizer pieces to the dimensions stated above.


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2. Sandwich the batting, Soft & Stable, or fusible fleece in between the two pieces of fabric (with the right sides of the fabric facing out. 

Use quilt basting spray to hold the layers together. If you are using fusible fleece, you can press to fuse it to one of the fabrics and use basting spray on the other side.

The basting spray is very helpful, but optional. If you don’t want to use it, you could simply pin the layers together before quilting or (if you won’t be quilting them), baste around the edges 1/8” from the edge after trimming to the right shape (see below).


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3. If you like, quilt the layers together with any design. In the example seen here, I was using Soft & Stable in between the fabric, and it makes lots of definition in the quilting.

When I used fusible fleece on the inside, I didn’t quilt my layers at all. It turned out adorable! It’s totally up to you whether you quilt your pouch or not.


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4. Trim the rectangle down to 9” x 8 1/2”. Then cut 1” x 2 1/2” pieces from each corner as shown in the diagram above right. Here is a printable copy of the cutting diagram to help, if you wish.


Make the Handle and Tab:

1. Fuse the 3” x 8” strip of fusible interfacing to the 3” x 8” strip of fabric.

2. Fold the strip in half lengthwise, press. Fold the long edges to the center, press. Then fold in half again and press as seen above.



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3. Stitch along both long edges of the strip, 1/8” from the edge. Tip: a walking foot will help if you have trouble keeping it straight. 

4. Cut the strip into two pieces, one 5” long, and the other 3” long. Set these aside for later.


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Prepare the Zipper:

1. Draw lines on the zipper tape 5 1/2” apart. make sure the lines are at least 1/4” away from the stoppers at either end so you will be able to cut them off (and not break your needle on them later).


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2. Cut off the bottom end of the zipper 1/4” past the line.

3. Sandwich the end of the zipper between two 1 1/2” squares of fabric (fabric right sides together).

Stitch across the end (1/4” seam allowance).


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4. Gently press the fabric pieces away from the zipper.

5. Move the slider to the middle of the zipper. Cut off the top end 1/4” from the drawn line. Sandwich the zipper tapes between the remaining 1 1/2” squares and pin (as seen above left). Stitch, just like the other end of the zipper.

Press the fabric pieces away from the zipper. Trim the fabric flush with the sides of the zipper (not shown here).


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Sew on the Zipper:

1. Pin or clip the zipper to one 6 1/2” edge of the pouch, with the right side of the zipper against the exterior of the pouch piece.

Stitch the zipper to the pouch piece with a 1/4” seam allowance. Use a zipper foot if available.


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2. Finger press the zipper tape against the interior side of the pouch.

From the right side, topstitch on the fabric 1/8” from the zipper.


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Tip: for a neater finish, trim the fabric and batting layers under to the zipper tape to 1/8”, so when you topstitch, they are hidden. I was too lazy to do this for the blue and green example shown above.


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3. Fold the pouch in half and clip the other side of the zipper to the opposite 6 1/2” edge. Stitch in place.


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4. Topstitching the other side of the zipper is tricky – but you can do it! I figured out two ways:

The first way is to leave the pouch wrong side out. Open the zipper. Move your presser foot in through the zipper and back it up to the beginning so you can topstitch across the entire zipper..


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The second way is to start topstitching through the opening at one end and sew half way. Cut threads and start topstitching through the opening at the other end. When you reach the middle (where you stopped topstitching before), neatly backstitch and cut threads.


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5. Turn the pouch right side out to check your work. Trim away the fabric that sticks out past the ends.


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Finish the Pouch:

1. Fold the 3” long tab strip in half and pin or clip it over the bottom end of the zipper. The ends should be even with the edge of the pouch. Stitch in place, 1/8” from the edge. (above left)

2. Turn the pouch over. At the opposite end of the zipper tab, sew the handle strap to the 4” end that sticks out by 1”. Place the handle strap 1/4” away from the end. It should just fit against the cut out corners. Stitch the ends of the handle in place 1/8” from the edges. The handle with puff up slightly since it is longer than the end of the pouch. (above right)


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3. Pin or clip one corner of the pouch together. Place the 1” edge against the adjacent side, exterior fabrics together. (above left)

Stitch, starting at the corner. Stop sewing 1/4” from the end of the 1” piece. Backstitch. (above middle)

The photo above right shows how it should look.


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4. Turn the piece over. Clip to the stitching on the side closest to the zipper. This will make a corner.

Repeat Steps 3 and 4 above for the rest of the corners.


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5. Flatten one end of the pouch with the raw edges together. It should fit nicely since you clipped to the stitching at the corners.

Stitch across the edge from one clip to the other with a 1/4” seam allowance.


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Turn the pouch right side out to check that the end is nice and square. Make sure the zipper is at least 1/2 way open before turning the pouch inside out again and stitching the remaining end.


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6. Finish the raw edges with a zig zag stitch or with bias binding. I was in a hurry and no one will ever see these edges so I used my zig zag stitch. 🙂


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Now use up your stash making lots more. If you share yours on Instagram, make sure you tag #sewcanshe so I can find it and see! 

I added this Pillbox Pouch Sewing Pattern to my Ultimate List of Crafty Little Things to Sew. Make sure you check it out!

Happy Sewing!


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8 Comments

  1. Thanks Caroline! These will be cute Christmas gifts.

  2. Melissa Greenfield says:

    Thanks! Love it. My first one is a little wonky. But these will make great teacher gifts. Fill them with mini lotions, anti bacterial even candy!

  3. Christine says:

    Very cute pattern, I had to make one right away. Some parts were a little fussy to get just right. But it was worth it, it turned out nice.

  4. Such a cute little pouch! Thanks for sharing this – I will have to give it a try!

  5. Pam Frederick says:

    I’m making my first one tonight. Did fine till I got to sewing the corners. Not exactly sure what I am looking at in the photos. I stopped for now and will try to figure it out in the morning. The little pouch is very cute and I would like to be able to master the technique so I can make several. Thanks for sharing the tutorial.

  6. These would be great for leftover layer cake squares! One for the "main" fabric, one for the lining, and one could be for the handles/tabs for 3 different pouches. Or if not quilting, there is room from the original squares for the tabs and handle

  7. Patricia Fountaine says:

    These are darling! I love mine! Thank you so much for doing this tutorial.

  8. This is amazing! It’s a little hard to understand, but you get the hang of it! I made mine a bigger pouch (14 1/2 by 15 in) so that I could make mine a pencil pouch for my kiddos 😉

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