To My Followers

As many of you know I started blogging almost 9 months ago. Wow, it doesn’t seem like it was that long ago.

I must say that blogging has been a very eye opening and fun experience.

It has allowed me to express myself in a way that I would have never thought possible 9 months ago.

I realize that I still have a lot to learn and a long way to go as a blogger. I just wanted to share with you guys that we’ve finally hit the over 50 (55 to be exact) follower mark!

For those of you that have been blogging for awhile I’m sure this number may seem trivial, but we must learn to appreciate the small things in life.

As I continue to learn more about blogging and become more serious about it I’m sure my numbers will continue to grow.

To all of my current followers I just want to say a huge, “Thank You!” for following me.

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I hope you will continue to follow me on this blogging journey. I am forever grateful to you all!

Until Next Time,

The Crafty Afro

Posted in Crafting Corner, diy, sewing

Super Simple Zipper Pouch Sewing Tutorial for Beginners

stack of zippered pouches with a pink rose

Make up bags. Pencil pouches. Coin purse. Mom first aid kit. What do all these things have in common? Simply put they are all just different variations of a zippered pouch. 

I first started making zippered pouches because I wanted to learn how to sew a zipper. And creating a zippered pouch is a fairly simple and straight forward way to get practice sewing zippers.

I’m relatively new to sewing so I was very excited when I made my first one and it came out better than I could imagine.

It wasn’t too long before I started making all kinds of pouches! You can use them for just about anything and everything.

You need a pouch to carry your essential oils? Pow! Zippered pouch to the rescue!

Your kid has a bunch of small tools laying around house? I got a zippered pouch to put those suckers in!

Another thing that’s great about making your own zippered pouches is that you can make them a small or as large as you want. It’s a very versatile project. 

On top of that they are fairly inexpensive to make. I think I spent about $3 to make the pouch I used for this tutorial.

 As you can tell I’m pretty excited about making zippered pouches. I’m also excited to share with you this easy photo tutorial that I’ve put together to help you make a simple zippered pouch. 

I’m sure once you’ve made your first one you’ll be making many more! So without further ado, let’s get started!

Materials

This post contains affiliate links which means that I may receive a small fee, at no additional cost to you, when you purchase items using the links provided. As an Amazon associate I  earn from qualifying purchases.

Important Sewing terms

  • Zipper foot- type of presser foot that is used to attach zippers.
  • Right Side (rs)- The pretty side of the fabric
  • Wrong Side (wr)- The plain side of the fabric
  • Top stitch- stitches placed on the right side of the fabric for decorative purposes
  • Seam allowance- area between the fabric edge and the line you stitch

Tutorial

1.Prep Materials

Before you start sewing you will want to do the following things:

  • Iron fabric to get out all of the wrinkles. Make sure you iron your fabric on the appropriate setting.
  • Attach your zipper foot to your machine.
  • Thread your bobbin with your coordinating thread colors and thread your machine. Change your needle if you have already used it few times. If you are using thick fabric you may want to use a bigger needle. Check your manual to ensure you are using the proper size needle for the fabric you will be using. 

2. Cut Your Fabric

  • Cut  two 8.5 in x 7.5 in rectangles from your lining fabric and your outer fabric. You should have four rectangles (2 lining and 2 outer fabric pieces). I can’t cut a straight line with scissors to save my life, instead I use the rotary cutter set that my husband brought for me. It’s made my life much easier.

 Tip: If you are using a different size zipper you will want to cut your fabric the same length as your zipper. If you brought a 9 in zipper add 1.5 inches to the length of your fabric.  The 9 inches doesn’t include the material at the end of the zipper. 

3.  Zipper Sandwich

This is one of the most important steps of the process. Take your time and make sure everything is lined up correctly and facing the right direction.

  • Place the lining fabric right side (rs) up on the table.
  • Lining fabric is placed rs up.
  • Place the zipper right side up on top of the lining fabric, line the zipper up with the top edge of the lining fabric.
    Zipper is lined up with lining fabric.
  • Place the outer fabric right side down on top of the zipper and line up the edges.
  • Pin or clip the edges together. (I prefer to use clips because they are easier to manipulate than sewing pins. I brought a pack of cheap binder clips from Walmart for .88, but they have nicersewing clips that you can use.)
    All the pieces clipped together.

    Now you have a zipper sandwich! Well at least one half of it. 🙂

Tip: Before you start sewing take a piece of scrap fabric and sew a few stitches. Check to make sure your tension and stitch length are correct. The thicker the fabric the longer the stitches should be. 

4. Sewing The Pieces Together

Slowly sew everything together.
  • Place your zipper sandwich on your sewing machine  and sew a straight line down the length of the zipper.  Make sure to remove the pin/clips as you sew. Cut your threads.
    Completed zipper sandwich.

Tips: Before you get to the zipper tab,stop sewing and back stitch. Take your fabric off the machine and unzip the zipper. (Or you can leave the needle in the fabric and unzip the zipper. ) Place your fabric back on the machine and continue sewing from where you left off. 

Unzip the zipper and keep sewing.

5. Create Another Zipper Sandwich & 6. Sew The Pieces Together

At this point you should have one side of the pouch attached to the zipper. You are going to repeat steps 3 and 4. 

Completed zipper sandwich.

Lining fabric is rs up.
  • Place the lining fabric rs up and line the zipper up with the fabric.
Rs of the outer fabric should be facing each other.

Place outer fabric rs down on top of zipper. Line everything up and pin/clip in place. Sew it together.

Your finished product should look like this:

7. Press Your Fabric

  • Press your fabric. Make sure that you are pressing away from the zipper on each side.

Note: If you are using a metal zipper be very careful because the teeth will get hot and burn you. 

  • Press fabric away from the zipper.

8. Top stitching

  • Take your fabric back to the machine and place a straight top stitch on each side of the zipper.
    Top stitch on both sides of the zipper.

9. Match Up Sides

  • Fold the fabric so that the right sides of the fabric are facing each other. Do the same thing with the outer fabric. Pin or clip the sides together.
  • Fold the ends of the zipper so that they are facing the lining of the fabric and pin/clip each side together.  Unzip the zipper halfway before clipping both ends together.

*All you should see at this point are the wrong sides of the fabric. 

All clipped together.

10. Sew It Together

  • Starting at the top  middle of the lining fabric using a .5 in seam allowance sew around the perimeter of the fabric.
    Sew along the perimeter with .5 in seam allowance
  • You will need to leave a gap at the top of the lining fabric large enough to stick your hand through.  DO NOT  SEW CLOSED.
    3 finger width gap in fabric

 Tips:

  • go slow when you get to the zipper area you may need to use the hand wheel to sew through this area because it will be thicker than the rest of the fabric. You do not want to hit the metal part of the zipper. 
  • Leave your needle in the fabric when you are turning the corners. 

11. Trim

  • Trim off the excess fabric and an excess bulk from the zipper area. Be careful not to cut the thread. Also trim all loose threads if you haven’t already.

Tip- cut your corners at an angle, this will help when you have to turn the bag right side out. 

Clip the edges at an angle

12. Time To Flip Out (The Fun Part)

  • Put your hand inside the hole you left in the lining fabric and gently pull the outer fabric through the zipper. You may need to unzip the zipper more to flip the bag completely out.

Pulling the outer fabric through.

Viola! You have a cute little zippered bag to use however you wish! But before we can use it we have to do one more thing.

Completed zipper pouch

If you did not place your fabric right when making the zipper fabric your bag will look like this:

Outer fabric is showing the ws of the fabric.

13. Sew the Lining Closed

  • Tuck the raw edges of the lining fabric together and sew it shut either by hand or using your sewing machine.

14. Finishing touches

  • Using a pencil or another blunt object push out the corners of your bag.
  • Zip the top closed and press your bag to give it that professional touch. 
Finished product.

Congratulations you have made your first zippered pouch! These are great to give as gifts and are pretty easy to put together once you get the hang of it.Not to mention there are so many other different bag styles that you can make once you get the basics down.

If you have any questions or need clarification please don’t hesitate to leave me a message in the comments area.

If you found this tutorial helpful please feel free to share it. I hop you enjoy making many more pouches!

Until next time,

The Crafty Afro

Posted in Crafting Corner

5 Things You Need To Do Before You Start Sewing

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This post contains affiliate links which means that I may receive a small fee, at no additional cost to you, when you purchase items using the links provided. As an Amazon associate I  earn from qualifying purchases.

Ever since I was a little girl I have always wanted to learn how to sew. I’m not sure why. Maybe it was the thought of making my own clothes (fashion designer EJ) or maybe it was just the thought of doing something creative.

I’m not sure. Either way, I never got the chance to learn how to sew in my childhood. It was something that I always regretted.

Not to mention the fact that my husband knows how to use a sewing machine and how to sew by hand. Talk about feeling like a slacker!

Then one day, last summer, fortune smiled on me. My sister in law gave me the sewing machine that she didn’t use. Talk about being super excited!

It was an older sewing machine that she had gotten from my mother in law. (A Singer Millenium Series.)

Singer Sewing Machine

It was a bit big and bulky, but that was alright with me. I cleared off some space in the kids’ playroom, plugged up my machine and dived right into my sewing journey.

Needless to say, I made a lot of mistakes those first few weeks. But you don’t have to make the same mistakes I did.

1.Read the Manual

Bobbin, presser foot, seam guide, handle wheel, oh my?! When I got my sewing machine I had no idea what any of those knobs and dials on my machine were for or what they were called.

And since it was a hand me down a manual did not come with it. Luckily, we live in the digital age and I was able to find a copy of the original manual online.

If you’ve read my crochet posts you know that I don’t like following directions, but I highly recommend reading your manual.

The manual that comes with your sewing machine is a very important resource don’t throw it away.

Not only does it tell you how to properly use your machine. You will find diagrams showing you all the different parts of the machine and their functions.

It will also give you information on how to use the different stitches, what tension should be used for certain stitches, what kind of needle you should use for different kinds of fabric (Yes, there are different kinds of sewing needles!)

It also has a section that details common issues that you may have with your machine and how to fix them.

2. Start with the Basic Sewing Supplies

When I started sewing I didn’t have everything I needed. Which meant I had to make several trips to the store to pick up various supplies.

So before you get all sew happy like I did, you’re going to need some basic sewing supplies. Besides your sewing machine you are going to need the following:

Thread

white and blue thread

I started with an all-purpose thread from Walmart. It’s tempting to buy multiple colors, but I would recommend only buying two colors of thread to start with.

Preferably two contrasting colors. Using two contrasting colors makes it easier to learn how to thread your bobbin. It can also help you identify any issues you might have with your stitches.

Trust me your stash of thread will grow as you begin to sew more items.

Scissors

Fiskars Scissors

Invest in a good pair of scissors. I was using my kid’s scissors from school for a little while. Then my husband brought me a pair of Fiskars scissors (angels singing)…let’s just say I will never use those kiddie scissors to cut fabric ever again!

It’s important that people in the house know that these scissors are off limits and are only to be used for cutting fabric. Using them on other types of material can dull the blades.

Seam Ripper

seam ripper

If you’re like me you will make a lot of mistakes when you first start sewing. (You won’t believe how difficult it is for me to sew a straight line, but more on that later.)

The seam ripper helps to remove the stitches you’ve created without destroying your fabric. Some machines will come with a small seam ripper, but I had to buy a bigger one.

Pins

Sewing Pins

Pins are important for holding your patterns pieces in place or when you need to cut fabric. Like thread, there are several different types of pins to choose from and they all serve their own purposes.

Ruler

tailors ruler

Sewing requires you to take a lot of measurements. You will need a decent straight edge ruler to make sure your cuts are perfect and/or you can use a soft flexible tailors ruler like the one pictured.

If your not making clothing then you probably won’t need the soft ruler. However, when it comes to sewing you will always want to measure twice and cut once.

Tailors Chalk/Fabric Pencils

tailors chalk

Tailor’s chalk is often used to trace out patterns onto your fabric. The chalk will wash off easily and not leave stains on your fabric.

Fabric pencils serve the same function and can be sharpened when the tip becomes dull.

Fabric

Brightly Colored Fabric

As a newbie, it can be tempting to buy all those cute fabrics that we see in the store. Your best bet is to hold off on the cute stuff.

Instead, buy some cheap cotton fabric for you to practice on. Goodwill is a great place to buy cheap bed sheets that you can cut up and practice sewing on.

Once you’re confident in using your machine, then you can buy the cute stuff.

Iron (Optional)

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I really dislike ironing. So imagine my surprise when I learned that there was a great deal of pressing involved in sewing. I’m sure it’s my least favorite part of sewing.

Most of us already have an iron in the house. So buying one isn’t necessary, but I find it tedious to have to go from one part of the house to press my fabric in the laundry room and then take it back to my craft room to continue sewing. If you don’t want to travel around the house a mini electric iron will save you some time.

Having a dedicated iron would save me some travel time.

3.Start Simple

Superman Themed Bow-tie

I can be a bit gung- ho at times. Especially, when it comes to things that help me express my creative side. Or starting a new hobby.

I have a tendency to rush through the basics so that I can hurry up and create that masterpiece I see in my head.

I recommend that you don’t do that. Take the time to learn the basics of sewing before you move on to more challenging endeavors.

Amber from Crazy Little Projects has a created an awesome free sewing class for newbies like you and me.

The class also has a dictionary that defines common sewing terms and projects that you can complete after each lesson to hone your skills.

I haven’t mentioned much about patterns, but if you’re going to buy a clothing pattern I would suggest starting with the easiest pattern available and then work your way up to the harder things, like dresses.

4.Youtube Is Your Friend

I’m a hands-on learner and usually, I’m pretty good at following written tutorials, but sometimes I just need to watch a video to figure out what I’m supposed to be doing.

If you’re a visual learner youtube will be your best friend when it comes to learning how to sew or troubleshooting issues with your machine.

I couldn’t figure out how to thread the bobbin in my sewing machine for the longest time. After almost giving up I remembered the wonderful world of youtube.

It was there that I found a video on how to thread the bobbin for my machine and was finally able to get on my way to sewing like a real seamstress. ( I’m not that good yet, but I’m working on it.)

I also had an issue with learning how to read patterns and how to buy fabric. I found a youtube video for that too.

There are also videos on how to sew different types of garments and accessories. I found a video on how to sew women’s underwear (gasp)! I don’t think I’ll be trying that one, but you never know.

Right now I’ve got my eye on a youtube tutorial that shows you how to turn a men’s dress shirt into a toddler dress. But first I need to try to make something a little simpler…like kids pajama pants or something.

5. Have Fun

My final piece of advice is to have fun and enjoy the creative process! Don’t get caught up in the fact that you still can’t sew a straight line to save your life! (They tell me there is a hack to help you with that.)

Like any new task you take on, it will be full of mistakes and frustrations. Seriously, do you know how many tries it took me to make that Superman bow tie?!

But I finally figured it out and it came out better than I could have imagined.

I hope this little bit of advice will help you get started on your own sewing adventure. If I forgot something please let me know in the comments section.

Until Next Time,

The Crafty Afro