Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Leather Accent Zipper Pouch

This post originally appeared on The Sewing Rabbit. If you need a good makeup pouch, or even a trendy pouch for pencils and other school supplies, this is the tutorial for you!

I found a bag filled with leather scraps for under $5 at an estate sale a couple years ago and snapped it up as quickly as I could. It was like finding hidden treasure! Inside, there were several large strips of leather, leather lacing, and leather dye. Most of the leather strips were covered in chalk markings, and I've always wondered what those leather strips were meant for. Maybe a pair of men's shoes? Some belts maybe? Whatever the case, I'm sure the former owner never thought his leather collection would eventually find its way into my hands to be turned into necklaces, riding pants, purses, and now a zipper pouch!

I love sewing with leather. There's just something about adding leather to a project that gives it a little edge and chicness. With the simple addition of a few leather triangles, this simple zipper pouch becomes a stylish bag perfect for makeup or odds and ends.

SUPPLIES: two 8"wide x 6" tall pieces sewable interfacing, two 8" wide x 6" tall main fabric pieces, two 8" wide x 6" tall lining pieces, one 7" zipper, one 2" wide x 3" tall piece of fabric for zipper tag, four thin leather triangles approximately 4" long and 2" tall, iron and ironing board, zipper foot, sewing machine and basic sewing supplies.

Note about working with leather: when selecting your leather to use for this pouch you want 7-9 oz. leather that is soft and easily pliable (not the stiff kind typically used for belts.) You can find bags of thin scrap leather at many hobby stores. Also, if you're using thin leather as suggested, a universal sewing needle will work fine.

Attaching The Leather Triangles

ONE: first (not pictured), iron your interfacing to the back of your two main fabric pieces. Then, measure the 6" sides of your main pieces to determine where to place your leather pieces.
TWO: I didn't pin my leather down because I didn't want to poke holes in it. Instead, I held the leather in place with my fingers and slowly (and very carefully!) sewed in a continuous triangle until I got to the middle. You could always try a small amount of spray adhesive to help keep your leather in place, but I didn't have a problem with my leather moving around.

Attaching the Zipper

ONE: take your 3x2 scrap of fabric and iron the long sides over to meet in the middle.
TWO: next, fold each end to meet the middle and press, then fold once more in half and press so that the raw edges are encased inside of your fabric tab.
THREE: sandwich the end of your zipper in the fabric tab you just made, and sew straight across to secure. On the opposite end of your zipper where the zipper pull is, trim off approximately 1/2 inch.
FOUR: Place one piece of your main fabric face up on the table, then place your zipper face down as shown above with your zipper pull face down on the left side. Make sure the top edge of your zipper is lined up with the raw edge of the fabric.
FIVE: place a piece of your lining fabric face down, sandwiching the zipper inside. Your fabrics will now be facing right sides together (RST.) Pin along the top edge to secure.


ONE: using your zipper foot, sew along the edge of your fabric close to your zipper teeth.
TWO: when you unfold your fabric pieces, it should look like this with your main and lining fabric wrong sides together (WST). Repeat the steps above to attach your main fabric and lining pieces to the other side of your zipper.
THREE: Your pouch should now look like this, with one main piece and one lining piece on either side of the zipper facing WST.
FOUR: to give the pouch a more finished look, you can go back with your zipper foot and top stitch along each side of the zipper.

FIVE: unzip your zipper halfway (don't skip this step!) and fold your pouch so that the two main pieces are facing each other and the lining pieces are facing each other RST. With your regular sewing foot, sew around the perimeter of your pouch, but leave a 2-3 inch opening in your lining pieces for turning as shown in the picture above.
SIX: pull your pouch right side out through the opening you left, and then tuck the raw edge of your lining fabric inside and hand stitch the opening closed. Push your lining inside your pouch, zip and you're done!

Now you have a beautiful finished pouch!

I love the polka dot lining fabric inside of my pouch. It's like a little surprise each time I open the bag :)

I hope you enjoy your new zipper pouch, and if you're looking for a few more ideas to incorporate leather into your projects, here are some past projects to try:

Monday, March 2, 2015

Macarons & Springtime In Paris Challenge

Macarons.  Those amazing pastries we all know and love. They're beautiful, mysterious, and tantalizing.  They are also a pain in the butt to make.  Fortunately, Michael's carries a line of goodies specifically for those of us with enough bravery to give these babies a shot ourselves.  Mastrad Paris offers a nifty silicon baking sheet with templates and guides for piping your meringue, and a cookbook with incredibly detailed instructions.  

When we were challenged with creating something Parisian themed this month, our minds immediately snapped to macarons.  We are fortunate enough to have sever french patisseries nearby in Pittsburgh with unbelievably divine macarons, but, of course, they are quite costly.  Why not try to get the goodness on our own?

I won't be posting a recipe here because, honestly, it's entirely too complex and you really do need the entire book to  help you.  I used cocoa powder to flavor the meringues and a Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel Sauce for the filling.  It was heavenly!  I took a few photos of the process... which take a lot of patience and a lot of focus.    

My macarons did not turn out perfect by any means, but at least my meringues didn't crack!  I did a little happy dance when I opened the oven and saw these tiny little beautiful pastries.  I definitely recommend giving these products a shot.  But, beware, practice makes perfect!  You most likely will not get it totally right on the first try.  Hang in there, though.  When you do get it right, it feels SO good!

Now it’s your turn!  That’s right, you can enter to win the trip of a lifetime to Paris too. How? By creating your own Parisian-inspired art, floral, baking or paper crafting project and uploading a photo to through March 31. You can also share your project on social using #SpringtimeInParis #Contest.

What do you win? A four-night trip for two to Paris, 1,000 euros, a VIP tour of the Louvre, private classes including sketching, floral arranging, baking and more!

If you need a little Paris inspiration to get you started, take a look at some of the Springtime in Paris projects on

Good luck!!

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