Friday, 9 November 2012

Sewing Case Tutorial

I was recently honoured to be chosen to take part in the Totally Tutorials Exchange Program. In return for a yard of beautiful fabrics from Jenean Morrison's Silent Cinema fabric line (which was provided by Fabric Fascination), I was asked to create a tutorial.

Oh what fun!!!

Much as I loved the fabrics, I was initially at a bit of a loss as to what to make with them, but after a bit of brainstorming session with friends, I came up with a plan.

Regular readers of my blog must promise not to laugh. You see I seem to have been on somewhat of a campaign of making sewing cases recently.

Although I have loved each and every one that I have made so far, most of them have a fatal flaw. They don't have zips so there is a distinct possibility that they will tip up in your bag and everything will fall out- not good!

Sewing case tutorial zip
 I hope you like the Zipped Sewing Case that I designed to cope with this problem.

If you do, here are some instructions on how to make it:

zipper sewing case tutorial

For the outer you will need:

  • The pattern (consisting of two pages- template A and template B) When printing the pattern ensure that you print it "actual size". You can download the pattern HERE
  • 2 strips of quilting weight fabric measuring 3" x 12"
  • 2 strips of strip Essex Linen measuring 1.5" x 12"
  • 1 piece quilting weight fabric 7.5x 12"
  • (If you prefer a plain outer, feel free to cut a single piece of fabric to template A)
  • fusible fleece cut using template A
  • heavy weight iron-on interfacing cut 1/4" smaller than template A on all sides

For the inner you will need:

  • Lining fabric cut using template A
  • Iron-on interfacing cut using template A
  • 1 piece contrasting fabric (I used Essex linen) cut using template B
  • 1 piece contrasting fabric measuring 4.5" x 6.5"
  • 1 piece contrasting fabric measuring 7.5" x 6.5"

You will also need:

  • A zip (I used a 55cm zip, but would STRONGLY recommend using a zip at least 5 cm longer)
  • 2 pieces quilting weight fabric 2.5" x 3"
  • 2 short pieces of binding


Cut all your fabrics (Remember to place the fabric on the fold when using template A)
These are the fabrics for the inner of the case
Start with the outer fabrics. Using a 1/4" seam allowance, piece the fabrics in the following order:
3" strip then 1.5" strip then 7.5" strip then 1.5" strip then 3" strip.
Once you have done this, press the seams open and then iron the fusible fleece onto the back of the pieced fabrics.

Now iron the stiff interfacing onto the back of the fusible fleece.

At this point I did a little bit of quilting. To be honest, part of the reason for this was that I didn't trust the stiff iron-on interfacing that I had to stick, but I like the effect that it gave and would not hesitate to do it again.

Once you have done this, cut the outer fabric to the same shape and size as the fusible fleece. 

Your outer fabrics are now ready, so lets turn our attention to the lining.

Iron the interfacing onto the back of the lining fabric.

Fold the scissor holder in half lengthways. Sew around the edge, leaving a 2" opening on one of the longer sides. Clip the corners.
Turn the right way out. Make sure that you poke the corners out properly and then iron. If you like, you can do decorative stitching along the top.

Repeat these last steps to create the other two pockets. The smaller pocket should be folded in half creating a piece 4.5" x 3.25". The larger pocket should be folded in half making a piece 7.5" x 3.25".

Position the pockets carefully on the lining fabric. Make sure that you take the contours of the pouch into account and don't place any pockets in positions where the will cross a fold (see diagram below where the red lines represent folds). Note that the lines that I have drawn onto the photo are all approximately a 1/4" away from the obvious joins. This takes seam allowances into account.

When sewing the pockets in place  like to sew small triangles at the top, to strengthen them. Then pull the ends to the back and tie them neatly.
Take your zip and place it around the edges of the outer piece.
Ensuring that you have at least 2 or 3cm left at either end of the zip, make a mark on the closed end of the zip. This mark will help you to ensure that the zip is sewn evenly onto both sides of the pouch. Ideally the mark wants to be further away from the end than shown in this photo.
Now open the zip and starting from your mark begin to pin the zip in position. Place the zip and outer right sides together (see the following two photos to help understand what I mean).

When you get to the corners you will need to make three or four short snips in the zip at roughly 1cm intervals. This will help you to ease the zip round the corner.
 I tend to pin and then sew one half of the zip first, check it and then sew the other half. Mostly this is personal choice, but it was essential this time as my zip was a bit on the short side which would have made it a bit more awkward to sew.

Once you have pinned the zip to the outer, place the inner on top of it, right side down. This creates a sandwich with the outer layer, then the zip, then the inner layer. Carefully pin again, ensuring that the zip does not move in the process.
Put a zipper foot on your machine and carefully sew around the zip. Do not sew any further than the zip ends, the rectangular indentations need to be left open in order to turn the case the right side out.

Repeat the same steps for the other side of the case and then turn the case the right way out.
 Once you have turned the case the right way out, finger press the edges and then top stitch around the zip.

Create two small tabs for at the zip ends. Fold the 2.5" x 3" pieces of fabric in half so that they measure 1.25" x 3". Then fold in the two sides in to the centre again creating a thin strip of fabric. Sew along the long edges.

Fold the zip tab in half lengthways.

Turn the case inside out. Pinch the ends of the case together so the raw edges of all the layers line up at right angles to the zip. Place the folded zip tab in the middle of this bundle (you can just see it poking out of the bottom view photo).

Note: For the closed end of the zip, you can do this step BEFORE you turn the case the right way out. I did, and this is why my case only has binding at one end of the zip. (Refer back to the first photo to see what I mean)
Sew the end of the pouch closed. I like to sew back and forwards a few times to ensure that I have secured the zip properly.

Trim the ends of the zip 
Bind the raw edges.
Turn your case the right way out and smile at what you have just created.
I hope these instructions are clear. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask...

If you decide to give this a go, I'd love to hear how you get on and to see the results.
Good luck!

(Oh, and I know that I've said it before, but this sewing case is definitely MINE all mine!!!- Now to make a mini needlebook to match- essential don't you think!?!)

As a final note I'd just like to say thanks again to Kym of Fabric Fascination for this fun opportunity. I have loved being part of your exchange!

EDITED TO ADD: So so sorry everyone, I made a mistake when uploading the pattern and it came out very small. The problem has now been rectified and the pattern should print out at the correct size. I recommend that you download the pattern first and then print it. Ensure that your printer is set to print "actual size" and NOT "shrink to fit"


  1. looks amazing!! Congrats for being chosen too

  2. Great tutorial Juliet! I totally agree though that sewing cases definitely need a zip

  3. This looks great! The zip is perfect - lovely, tidy sewing case!

  4. Oh, this is so lovely! thanks for a great tutorial!

  5. Love it with the zip.... definitely needs a needle case to match :)

  6. I NEED me one of these - I'm totally pinning it! I think seeing your hexies poking out from one of the pockets is what convinced me - I have been taking my portable crafting out and about a bit recently and have had a bit of the spillage that you speak of - this is a perfect solution! Thank you!

  7. You are just a legend really... Great tut that i'll be coming back to use! Go you! xx

  8. I love how the zip goes all the way to the bottom, making a fabulous sewing case. Thanks for the great tutorial, Juliet. I've pinned for future reference.

  9. This is great, thank you very much. I will make this as a christmas gift for a ten year old girl who has just learnd how to handle the sewing machine.

    Elisabeth, Norway

  10. I love it. I'm sure I'll do it.

  11. Wonderful little gift this can be. Thanks for sharing

  12. Love this! I need one! Thanks for the lesson on how to make one...

  13. Thanks for your great tutorial and for sharing

  14. Hi Juliet, I've featured your sewing case tutorial today...

  15. I love this pouch! Your tutorial is so easy to follow. I must admit sewing a zipper in the round seemed a little intimidating and you make it look so easy. I will surely try it!

  16. Hi - I just printed this - "Actual size" and it prints on A4 and Pattern A is then about 8" wide....yours looks to be 11". Do I need A3?

    1. Oh gosh! There is a mistake in the pattern. I have worked out where the problem has occurred and will sort it as soon as possible. Will email you when it is fixed.
      So so sorry and thank you for drawing my attention to this!!!

  17. Thanks for sharing your tutorial...I have added it to Freebies for Crafters.
    Hugs Khris

  18. Hi Juliet... i love it !!! i just want to try for myself.. but how to download this pattern?? i couldn't find the link.. thank you so much

    1. Hi Christine.

      If you go to the section "For the outer you will need", the first line says "the pattern" Click on the word "Pattern" and it will take you to a copy of the pattern in google documents.

      In the top lefthand corner you will see a small downward pointing arrow. Click on that to download the pattern.

      Make sure that you have your printer set to print original size. You do NOT want it to "shrink to fit"

      Good luck!

  19. Thanks Juliet for a great tutorial. I used your tutorial to create a bag for my cross stitch snap frame, I adjusted the measurements to suit and added handles on the outside. The instructions were really clear and easy to follow! You can see the results of my efforts on my blog -
    Thanks again!

  20. Oh, my goodness, you are a genius! This bag is delicious! Can't wait to give it a try!

  21. I think this looks like a fabulous pattern! I think I may modify the pockets a bit and use it for a makeup bag!! Thanks for all your work!

  22. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, I recently made a small Very Organized purse, like one that I purchased and Loved but wanted it a Little bit larger. I had a diffulcult time with the zipper (didn't think about clipping the corners And I will use your method to put the inside and outside together then No raw edges to sew seam binding All the way Around. JHolliman.

  23. So where are templates a & B? I like this bag.

    1. If you go to the section "For the outer you will need", the first line says "the pattern" Click on the word "Pattern" and it will take you to a copy of the pattern in google documents.

      In the top lefthand corner you will see a small downward pointing arrow. Click on that to download the pattern.

      Make sure that you have your printer set to print original size. You do NOT want it to "shrink to fit"

      Good luck!

  24. FYI: for those in the US the zipper should be about 24 inches. Can't wait to make this.
    Thanks for the tutorial.

    1. Thank you, I do not know how to convert cm's to inches.

  25. Love this pattern. Could you please advise the finished dimensions? Thanks

    1. Hi 2kids, you are a no-reply blogger so this is the only way that I can reply to your question. The case measures approximately 8' x 5" x 3".

  26. I made this for my "secret sister" at quilt guild this year and she loved it ! I personalized it with
    a little hand embroidery to make it extra special. Thanks for the great tutorial...very easy to

  27. I am attempting to make this case but I confused on a couple of parts. At the spot where you state that you can do this before you turn the case out, how do you close it? In the same way by pinching and sewing down?
    Also at the part where it states bind raw edges how do you do that?
    Thank you!

  28. It's about 3 years since I wrote this tutorial and I haven't sewn one since then, but from what I remember, yes, you just pinch and sew the layers in the same way whether you do it before or after you turn the case out. Be mindful that you can only do the closed end of the zip while the case is still inside out.
    As for binding, you don't need fancy bias binding, just bind as you would a quilt. google is a great source of advice on applying binding :-)

  29. Fantastic tutorial Juliet and I love your case. Thanks for the tip with the curved zipper - really useful. Congratulations. I love submitting to Totally Tutorial.

  30. I made one today and now I want to make several more out of different fabrics. Thanks for the wonderful tutorial! coser guía definitiva

  31. Ooooooooo! I LOVE your Zebra pillow!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Any chance you've a pattern for it??? Your eye for color is spectacular, too!


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