Saturday, January 29, 2011

Notebook Tool Pouch

I started with a pattern made from 2 sheets of legal-sized paper to get the dimensions I needed...Large enough for new pencils, but short enough to fit inside a 3-ring binder.  I settled on 12" x 14".                                       

  • Fabric cut 12" x 14" (placed with the grain, not diagonally or crooked), preferably sport-weight/bottom-weight (like for shorts/skirt/light pants) for a bit of strength and stiffness
  • Interfacing or an extra piece of fabric cut 2" x 12"
  • Zipper (in contrasting color for fun), 14" or longer
  • Thread to match zipper or coordinate with fabric

Open zipper and sew down the center of the zipper tape, right sides together (zipper face down), along each 12" side of the fabric....Teeth facing in.                                                                                   

Close the zipper, and turn right side out.  Press the fabric back along each side of the zipper, being careful not to overheat the zipper teeth, because they could melt.                                                                                                                                                              
I didn't do this on the first (flowered) version, but decided it would have been better than reinforcing the outside with bias tape at the end...
Lay the pouch so that the closed zipper is an inch or two from the right with the zipper pull at the top. Lightly press the lefthand fold as a marker.  
Open up the pouch and center the 2" strip of fabric or interfacing over that fold on the inside and stitch down each side, or press if using fusible interfacing, as shown here on the red pouch.  This will strengthen the area in which you need to place holes so the pouch will fit on the rings of a notebook.                                                                                                                                                                        
Rezip the pouch and turn inside out, folded flat as it will be when finished.  (The strip you've just ironed or sewn on should be folded in half down the center.)                                                                                                

Stitch each open end of the pouch, approximately 1/2" from the edges. Leaving the zipper open 2 or 3 inches will keep the pull from getting in the way while stitching, and help later when you turn it right side out.  Be sure you sew above the top edge of the zipper (tape only), not across the teeth.

Do a 2nd line of stitching in the seam allowance...I used a zig zag stitch.  Trim the zipper and clip the corners of the seam allowance so it won't be so bulky when turned inside.

Turn right side out, press, and top stitch around all 4 edges, just 1/8" or so from the edge...Again being careful to sew above the top of the zipper teeth when you get to that point.  
When I made mine, I didn't think to pay attention to the
direction of the zipper.  It should zip from bottom to top
to avoid the possibility of dumping the contents
Using a 3-ring binder or piece of notebook paper to guide, mark the 3 spots where the pouch needs holes to fit in a 3-ring binder.  Use purchased eyelets (installed per package instructions), or sew small, wide buttonholes (per your machine instructions) to finish the holes.  For an easier but less nicely finished method, stitch 1/2" square shapes in the 3 locations to help support each spot, cut small holes inside those squares, and finish the holes' edges with Fray Check or other washable fabric sealer.                                                                                                                           
I finished it off by stitching one last line of stitching about an inch from the left folded edge, centering the ring holes, and further stabilizing that area, and allowing it to stay empty and flat for better fit in the notebook.

When everyone gets theirs finished, I'll buy a new supply
of pencils and pens to fill them!

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