52 zippers project: All the zips!
In 2017 I undertook a project I called “52 zippers”: I will sew 52 different zipper pouches or bags and post about them. I have kind of the perfect storm of reasons for doing this–I have too many zippers, too many cute fabrics that I’m not using because I don’t want to cut them up, lots of ideas that I want to try out on a small scale, and of course a shortage of cute pouches and bags to organize things!
My other thought is that while I know many people have mastered zipper pouches, I think it is a common thing to fear the zipper. I’ve written up a set of basic lined zipper pouch instructions, which you can download for free!
I found this pouch in a book by Yoko Saito and immediately knew I wanted to make it. I love love love this pouch, even though this is totally not my normal color palette. The instructions were in the Japanese style (almost no words—just brief illustrations, no seam allowances on pattern pieces, and all measurements in metric), so there was a bit of puzzling, but I managed to muddle through!
If you're new to my 52 zippers project, you can read the backstory, see all the zipper pouches, and download basic zipper pouch instructions here. When I was browsing for boxy pouches, I came across these All bottled up boxy pouches and thought they looked...
So I’d been admiring the Craft Passion Wide open pencil case for awhile, but the thought of doing piping on the outside of a bag around curves was making me hesitate (for good reason, apparently!). I finally decided to just try it and hope for the best!
I’ve been resisting making these macaron zipper pouches I’ve seen all over the internet because they looked really putzy and their small size didn’t look super useful. But I finally broke down (the cuteness won me over). I’m glad I did!
Ok, less than a minute after I found the Devon pouch pattern it was in my cart and on my list for this project. It just looked so stylish and well-crafted! I was so right to pull the trigger on this one—it is definitely one of my top five favorites of the whole series, and will feature in many teacher’s gifts in the future.
I’ve been wanting to make a little boxy pouch in this series, but I had so much trouble finding a free tutorial for one I liked and hadn’t made before! Finding a good boxy pouch pattern isn’t easy—so many have raw edges inside, which kind of drives me a little crazy.
I came across these little Lilly cosmetic bags by Lala Fab when browsing zipper pouch ideas and had to make them! The pattern is free, but it’s in German. My German is not good and I still managed to muddle through, so if you have some experience with zippers I think you can handle it.
So this time I wanted to make something smaller that would both stand up on its own and open wide enough that I easily reach inside. I came across the Open Wide pouch and thought I’d give it a shot! I made the smallest size in the pattern.
For this pouch, I wanted to make something that would be like a pencil case that would hold some pens and markers separately from a notebook or sketchbook. I came across this Close at Hand case and thought it looked super cute!
Several years ago I came across a super cute pattern for this apple or orange-shaped sewing kit. I started the apple immediately but it wasn’t turning out as I wanted so I abandoned it. Fast-forward to this year and I decided to give it another try, though this time I thought I’d do the orange instead of the apple.
So I decided to make another doctor-style bag. This one is by the same designer as The Cube bag that I made earlier; it is a much larger version. The idea was that it would hold a lot of my misc. stuff for retreats and sew days as it looked pretty big!
Before I left on my big trip, I had a request from my middle son and my husband to make very simple, plain pencil pouches. I know that getting the size for these “just right” can be tricky based on previous attempts at such things–there is a pretty narrow margin of good sizes for pencil pouches!
Last year I finished the small size of Noodlehead’s Maker’s Tote and I totally loved it. I wanted to make one in the large size as well, for times when I needed to carry even more things!
If you're new to my 52 zippers project, you can read the backstory, see all the zipper pouches, and download basic zipper pouch instructions here. For retreats and such, I wanted to organize my lesser-used little tools and notions that I didn't want mixed in with my...
So I’ve already made the Creative Maker case by Sew Sweetness in “small” and “medium” sizes. It was time to make the large! I made one large case for each of my three kids for travel.
For this zipper bag, I was hoping to make a new toiletries bag for traveling. The Double zip gear bag by Annie’s looked perfect and I was super excited to make it!
So in the Spring and Summer, I like having a small purse that holds only my phone, wallet, keys, and a couple other small things when I need to run out for errands and such. I had a bag like this a few years ago (a Goodwill find), but it disintegrated and I hadn’t managed to find one I like since.
In the past year or so, I have spent a lot of time browsing different zip pouches and have seen so many creative ideas. When I came across this series of photos, I absolutely had to make it as a coin pouch for my youngest son, who is cat-crazy.
So this week I made the Brigitte needles & notions pouch using the free tutorial by Very Shannon. It’s a very cute little bag that I thought would be perfect to hold my two Addi-click interchangeable circular knitting needle sets. The cases that the sets come with are super bulky and I don’t really like them. They definitely are too big to travel with.
So this week I made a zipper pouch for my youngest son to hold his colored pencils. I wanted something that would open wide enough to expose all of the pencils so he could see and choose colors easily instead of rooting around in a dark pouch.
So I’m about to start another quilt with Quilter’s grid interfacing, but before I start I wanted to do a test run of the two different brands of gridded interfacing–Pellon and Bosal. Quilter’s grid interfacing is a fantastic product that is a lightweight fusible interfacing with a very light grid pre-printed on it.
So I thought I’d try the Rounded Reno makeup bag. it looked super small and cute in the photo! When I made it, it came out bigger than I was expecting, but I think the bigger size is probably more useful anyway.
So this week I came across this cute little zipped bowl that is meant to hold Wonder clips. Yes, please! This is perfect for taking with me to retreat and for sitting on my sewing table and as a bonus is ridiculously cute. It has a circle bottom so it stands up and opens into a bowl, with super easy access to the contents.
I’ve been wanting a larger tote to carry around my larger knitting or other projects. I’m testing a few different ones to see which is going to be the perfect one, though the reality is that I always have multiple projects on the go so this will let me have one bag for each.
This pouch is my second run through a Creative Maker case, a pattern by Sew Sweetness. Last time I made three of the Small size for teacher’s gifts. This time I made one of the Medium size for myself!
I have a Quilting retreat coming up and I thought, what better time than to make these Scissors cozies that I’ve been eyeing over at Sotak handmade… Only problem was that I have different scissors, so her templates didn’t work for mine. I decided to just wing it…
So this week I made the “Set to go” cosmetic case I found on Craftsy by Uniquely Michelle. I thought it had a super cute shape and I’ve been wanting to make more boxy bags.
One of my favorite blocks is the Raspberry kiss block by Wooden Spoon quilts. Of course, the original size is way too big to make more than a few for a zip pouch, so I googled and found Michael Ann Made had made some much smaller ones, but they still weren’t quite small enough. I had to minify them even more… These tiny blocks finish at 1.25″—the width of the Xs are only 0.25″.
So I decided to make a little pouch to hold my in-progress Sashiko embroidery project. I bought a pre-printed Sashiko panel years ago but never got to it and then this year at QuiltCon they had so many lovely ones in one booth that I was inspired to try again (and it helped that the friends I went with all got at least one too!).
This bag is called simply “The Cube”, by Penny Sturges at Quilts Illustrated. I’m on a mission to find the perfect doctor-style bag that has internal metal bars at the top opening (they’re called “stays”). This pattern came with one pair of the metal stays included, and you can also buy refills of the metal stays separately.
These pouches are Creative Maker cases, a pattern by Sew Sweetness. These were my teacher’s gifts this year, and I got them done at 4am on the last day of school. Phew! The covers are Essex linen in Natural, with a band of the lining fabric stitched on for an accent.
So this week I wanted to play with an extremely small amount of my completely out of control selvage collection. I sewed two sets of strips onto 6″ fabric foundations at a 30 degree angle, making one the mirror image of the other, and with a matching rainbow gradation on each side.
So this week I wanted to try something a little more graphic. I decided to try a freezer paper stencil of a Boston Terrier as a panel on the front of a pouch. I did the stencil on Essex Linen in Flax using Jacquard fabric paint.
So this week I decided to use a small scrap of this beautiful black/white/color speck fabric that I got at the Textile Center garage sale a few weeks ago. I think it was only $1-2. Based on how ridiculously soft it is I’m guessing it’s silk. I combined it with some black linen from a thrifted shirt.
So this week I thought I’d try making some Becca Bags by Lazy Girl designs. My daughter needed a toiletry bag big enough to hold a hairbrush and a bottle of spray detangler, and then I thought making a tiny matching bag to hold her hair ties and barrettes would be super cute.
So the Minneapolis Modern Quilt Guild had a crayon challenge that was due last week. The colors I drew were really not my thing but I figured I shouldn’t bail, so I made a zipper pouch with my colors, killing two birds with one stone. 🙂 We were allowed to add one additional fabric and I chose Essex yarn-dyed linen in Flax.
For this week’s zipper pouch, I wanted to do something to really stretch out of my comfort zone, color-wise. I am a huge fan of Gwen Marston (who isn’t, really?) but her color palette mystifies me. Her pieces all look fantastic but almost every individual color she uses is one I rarely reach for.
For this week’s zipper pouch, I wanted to do something really cute and fun! I had seen the Tiny Toffee paper pieced patterns before, but I don’t do a lot of hexies so I hadn’t tried them out yet. This week when I was browsing Etsy for a paper piecing pattern I came across them again and when I saw the tiny pineapple I squealed!
For this week’s zipper pouch, I decided I wanted to try some peek-a-boo pleats again. I wasn’t super pleased with last week’s attempt so I tried again today! I think I need maybe another iteration before I’m satisfied, but this week’s is better than last…
For this week’s zipper pouch, I decided I wanted to try some peek-a-boo pleats. I can’t say I’m pleased at all with the results, but because I left making the pouch until the last day of the week I don’t have time to remake it today…
For this week’s zipper pouch, I wanted to play with vinyl. I have a bunch of vinyl that isn’t doing anything but being in the way so I want to use most of it up! I also have a bunch of 6″ zippers that I want to use up because they’re too short to do much of anything.
For this week’s zipper pouch, I wanted to find a use for a miniature log cabin block I made last week. This was my first attempt at a micro log cabin and I tried not squaring up the block after each round. While the block is charming in its wonkiness, it was not the effect I was going for…
For this week’s zipper pouch, I wanted to make something very quick and easy again. I took a week-long workshop with Gwen Marston on Madeline Island last October and in the past week or so I’ve been working on finishing up the things I started in class. There was one mini that I really didn’t ever like from the start…
For this week’s zipper pouches, I wanted to make something very quick and easy. I’m leaving for QuiltCon suuuuper early tomorrow so I had to make these up before I left! Last week I made a dumpling bag…
For this week’s zipper pouch, I wanted to make something very quick and easy. I’m headed to QuiltCon next week and I haven’t started getting ready yet. Eeek! So I chose something easy from my zipper pouch Pinterest board, a dumpling bag.
For this week’s zipper pouch, I wanted to make a mini first aid pouch that I can throw in my everyday bag. Of course my mind first went to a plus quilt. I decided to do all low volume fabrics with just one red plus on each side…
For this week’s zipper pouch, I wanted to make a small pouch that my daughter could use for her money. She (and I) love bunnies so I included a fussy-cut strip of Mochi by Rashida Coleman-Hale/Cotton + Steel.
For this week’s zipper pouch, I wanted to make something fancy, but my parents are in town and I totally ran out of time. So, instead I sewed a snack bag with Cotton + Steel/Rashida Coleman-Hale’s “Petite Plus” fabric on the outside…
For this week’s zipper pouch, I wanted to make a pouch out of Liberty Tana Lawn. I also have been wanting to make a mini pouch to hold a few tea bags in my handbag. I love having a few packets of peppermint tea with me…
For this week’s zipper pouch, I decided to use this super cute cat print that I’ve been seeing everywhere lately. I bought it months ago, but I obviously couldn’t cut it up into small pieces! It’s Sushi’s Antiques in Navy. The line is From Porto with Love by Sarah Watts/Cotton + Steel.
In 2017 I have a few lofty goals. One of the bigger ones is to undertake a project I'm calling "52 zippers": this year, every week I will sew a new zipper pouch and post about it. I have kind of the perfect storm of reasons for doing this--I have too many zippers, too...