zip pouch

Aug 032017

Recall how I said I’d be working on the latest quilt over the weekend to get it done?
Remember when I explained that I had enough fabric to last decades?


When I went to bed on Friday night, I had the perfect vision of a zip pouch made of a fabric, the print of the fabric was a bit grunky, the background was a deep, sweet red. The zipper on the pouch was black. I was enamoured.

So, instead of doing what I said I would, I spent the weekend making this fabric design.

The red I wanted doesn’t exist in Kona cotton, so I took three yards the darkest hot pink that does exist and overdyed it with cherry red. It took a lot of time, but the color was perfect. Meanwhile, I drew the design, scanned, printed, exposed screens and mixed up printing inks.
Making fabric
It took another day to get the printing done, there was a lot of mess. It is excellent! Just what I envisioned.

Making fabric
This is the first layer alone, in a silver-glitter white combo.

Used my handmade fabric to make a pencil case.
Then, using my max-visibility zip pouch method (calling it a pattern seems wrong, since it can be made in any size instead of a limited pattern) I made a zip pouch from my new fabric. It is EXACTLY like I saw it and wanted it.

Used my handmade fabric to make a pencil case.
The start tab has a cheeky eyelet for hanging.

Used my handmade fabric to make a pencil case.
The interior lining is a thick, silver glitter star print.

Now I have in my possession the precise thing I saw in my head. I don’t think I can appropriately convey how happy, satisfied, and generally blissed-out this makes me. I swear I get a warm feeling in my chest when I see it and hold it. As well, I have somewhere to corral my drawing pencils for my latest drawing sketchbook. To maximize chances of success, I made two in one go; the second is listed in my Etsy shop, if this is somehow your dream, too.

After all that, I did finish the quilt; although, it is awaiting the final de-lint and de-thread session before photography.

Aaaah. Excellent.

Jun 142017

I didn’t feel like working on the quilt last night, so I pulled out one of my many unfinished projects and got it done.

This is the largest of my fabric shag pieces. Now it is a clutch, or very large zip pouch. I love this shag!

A teal lining with a little pocket for chapstick or whatever small item.

An almost full sized back pocket. I find these types of pockets useful on bags; they’re handy for flat things you get handed, like receipts, flyers, business cards, coupons, restraining orders, whatever.

Leaning for the dimensional view. It is interfaced fully so that it will hold its shape.

I put it in my Etsy shop, too. My Etsy gets used as an available item show room. I don’t worry about not selling many things; I like the idea that some of my work is able to be seen and purchased, if someone wants it. The possibility exists, and that is my level of “selling” commitment. Sort of a personal gallery.

Tangent, someone thought I was making a full size quilt when they first saw a picture of my fabric shag. My reaction was No, no way. It would be an insane amount of work and result in a shortened-life item since the shaggy bits would continue to unravel over time. That idea has stayed with me, though. I like the idea, crazy though it might be. The big pouch is fun to pet and a quilt would be even better for the tactile satisfaction. Now I am considering it.

May 232017

Made this zip pouch a few weeks back. In case you’ve noticed the number of zip pouches this year, that is my fallback. Last year was quilts. This year is zip pouches. I still make quilts … and everything .. but if I want a project, this year I’m aiming towards zip pouches.

I have a nice, wide format printer dedicated to artwork. However, you have to print something once or twice a week to keep the heads clear (less ink than cleaning cycles), so I printed out this watercolor of mine onto cotton, then heat set it and bathed it in fixative. Then made a zip pouch from it. All about these little opportunities.

The finished product. 8″x 7.5″ flat.

Fully lined in matching cotton and has an interior pocket for small bits.

Attached a bead to the zip pull for ease of grabbing. Loop on the side for attaching.

The creature.

This item has been listed in my Etsy shop, if you want it for yourself.

Sometimes I ride the wave of creativity and throw paint on a page as it speaks to me and move on. Then, hours, days, months later I’ll go back and see more to be had with it. This is such. I like his fuzzy, amorphous existence.

Apr 062017

I’ve been making a number of zip pouches this year.

This is the first. Had some scraps laying about, so I turned them into a wide mouth pouch. This is a side view, with its ample bottom folded.

And open. This is another pouch that would be good for items which require a lot of visibility.

Whilst preparing for a large project of zip pouches, I made this to test out a zipper idea. It failed! That zipper edge is nasty! Anybody want a pigeon zipper pouch? It is about 3.5×5.5″ (9x14cm) or so and I’m going to throw the damned thing away because I cannot stand that failed zipper end. I mean, it is functional, but ugh!

Finally, a better zip pouch project preparation test. After reading a few different “sworn-by” suggestions on how to get the best zip pouch corners, I put them all to the test. After five variations, I found that the way I’d always done it was the best bet. Now I know. I might throw these into the Etsy shop for a very low price, since they were testers. They’re again completely functional, but some of those corners look like hot dogs wearing turtlenecks, if you know what I mean. Still, they’ll hold cards and coins and such.

Coming up soon on the crafty side – the actual large project of zip pouches! Plus, screenprinting! Exciting!

Jan 052017

The prize bag has been delivered, so I can share the contents now!

The goods. Clockwise, starting at upper left, the 2017 daily planner, 2017 year of the rooster card pack, Ghosts in Space zip pouch, some multicolor cats (a custom sticker of my artwork), a green custom Sharpie, a badge stating that AmyKatt is the second 5th time winner, and another badge with my blog icon on it.

I made the simple zip pouch with ghost fabric lining and starry space fabric outside, so I named it Ghosts in Space. Hah. Thought it could be handy to have a pouch to hold pens or whatnot alongside the planner. Or not – zip pouches always end up being useful in some way.

The stars glow, although it is difficult to tell in this photo.

Congratulations, AmyKatt! Everyone else, make sure you play next time for you own chance at neat things like this! I have to make sure to do more prizebag giveaways this year. It seems like something I shouldn’t let slip away.

Oct 122016

Recently, I ended up with a new set of colored pencils. While I already have a surplus, I thought it would be nice to carry this set around with my daily sketchbook. However, the tin this set came in, while protecting it nicely, did not include a sharpener and tended to make small rattling noises which most people wouldn’t notice, but would irritate me. A zip pouch is the obvious answer, but when I selected an extra zip pouch from my stash, it wouldn’t do. It was your typical, unlined, flat zip pouch with no dimension, from the dollar bin.

For colored pencils, my first priority (after the basics like protection, silence, etc. are met) is access – visible and physical. I hate having to push through pencils to find the right color, then pull it out at an angle to escape the zip opening, hoping not to snag the teeth with the sharpened tip. Also, I don’t like to keep accessories like erasers and sharpeners in the same compartment with the pencils – I end up digging through all the pencils that way and they never seem to want to fit in compactly. With these things in mind, I drew up a zip pouch that would open up completely on the top for maximum reasonable visibility and ease of access. It would also have a side compartment for small accessories, be easy to open, and fit exactly the items it was meant for.

After my last zip pouch making play session back in June, I was confident I could execute my design needs and got to work immediately. I was prepared to make a number of these, since that is the best way to improve a design; make one, critique it, make another incorporating those improvements, and so on until you have the design closest to perfect that you can get. That is what I did.

Zip pouch efforts.
The first zip pouch. This is actually pretty close to the final design.
* The biggest problem was that I made the bottom too big for the number of pencils it was meant for.
* Second, I put a tab on the zipper on one end for ease of opening, but not the other. Turns out it feels better with tabs on both ends.
* The lining fabric is directional, but I cut it in one piece meaning half of the cat characters on the lining were upside down when you look inside the pouch.
Other that that, there were a couple sewing mistakes or imperfections and I thought of a way to improve one construction method.

Zip pouch efforts.
The first pouch, open. It may be too big for my desires, but I have LOTS of other art supplies that need homes and this is my new living room art-spot pouch. Those things fit well. The design works.

Zip pouch efforts.
This is the second pouch. It is almost perfect. There are only two problems.
* The side zip pocket goes down too far. You can’t tell because it is all internal, but if you had something very small, like a dime, it could slide down to the bottom of the pocket which would put it below the pencil compartment. It would be slightly more difficult to retrieve.
* I wanted an attachment option on the first zip tab so I added a swivel clip. That didn’t work and I removed it later, but you can see the shiny edges of it in the photo. It was too heavy and not suited for this design. I didn’t need it anyway, but it would be a nice option to have.

Zip pouch efforts.
The other side, where you can see the outside zip welt pocket for accessories. I love these skele-cats! And skele-mice, too, of course.

Zip pouch efforts.
Side pocket open. I lined it with a vibrant blue for fun.

Zip pouch efforts.
It opens up perfectly! It is the right size for the pencil set, I can see about half of them at a time, a small sharpener and eraser fit in the side pocket. After I removed the swivel clip, this was perfect for my needs and I could have quit at this point with the desired end product. I already had it in mind to make a few, so I kept on.

Zip pouch efforts.
The third pouch. Having satisfied my original need, I made a different size. Again, this one was almost perfect. The only flaw is minor, and shown below. Oh, this Halloween paisley!! I have such good fabric.

Zip pouch efforts.
The other side, showing the outside zip welt pocket.

Zip pouch efforts.
This opens up, wide and boxy. While this design is ideal for some things, it is not the answer to every zip pouch need I’ll have.
The attachement thing I talked about on the second pouch – while I didn’t need it for this design goal, I wanted to have it sorted for the day I do need it. I figured my press eyelets would be both tough and light enough to offer the best option. I made the first zip tab twice as big as needed to accommodate it, as well as to provide an instant tactile indication of which side of the zipper you were on. You know, in case you are getting into your colored pencil set in the dark. (!!!)

Zip pouch efforts.
Here is the imperfection – in the eyelet I installed on the start zip tab – I put it in upside down. The fat, tube part of the eyelet ends up the prettiest, but that part is on the bottom of the press dies. I forgot this when I pressed it in, but did leave myself a note for the next time I use the eyelet press. Really, you probably couldn’t tell. I showed it to Slick, who thought it was fine. Then I pointed out the pretty side and the slightly less pretty side of the eyelet so he could see what I was talking about. He grudgingly agreed that one side was slightly less pretty than the other.

Zip pouch efforts.
And this side pocket got lined with a striking red. Love that pop of color.

I did make one more zip pouch, a custom design for Slick. I’m not showing pictures of it because it was structurally perfect and there were zero design improvements. Also, I found his fabric choices dead boring, so just imagine a happy Slick, with his precisely designed and created zip pouch, and feel warm and fuzzy about it. He does, so it was a success.

There were two things I splurged on which made my project easier. First, a roll of zipper tape, 30 yards, in black, size 3, which is most accessory zippers, or pants zippers. Now I can simply cut off as much zipper as I need with nary a care. No more hunting through the stash for the size closest to my needs or making a trip to the store. I measure, cut, and pop a zip head on it. Truthfully though, I don’t even measure! I lay the zipper from the roll atop the thing I’m installing it in and that’s it. Buying zipper in bulk is WAY cheaper, too, especially since I got my roll on sale. Given how cheap and easy it is, I think this goes on my list of things I should have bought many years ago. It is a short list.
Second, a bolt of fusible interfacing. As a general sewist, I don’t use interfacing often. Usually, I would purchase a piece to fit my needs, plus the common extra to account for my human mistakes. This meant if I wanted to make a spur of the moment idea-something late at night and it needed interfacing, I was at the mercy of whatever offcuts and scraps I had from my last project. Not good. When I was in the store to buy interfacing for this very project, I saw a brand new bolt sitting there in plastic wrap and realized I could use my coupon on the whole thing. Sure, it was expensive, but it is now very possible I won’t need to buy interfacing again in my life. Plus, when I come up with some idea-something that needs interfacing and the stores are closed – IT WON’T FUCKING MATTER because I have an entire bolt of it! This won’t go on my “should have done this years ago” list, but it is a luxury worth mentioning to my past self.

On that note, when I talk about the short list of things I wish I’d known or done years ago and that I’m going to tell my past self, I am (of course) not being serious, nor am I regretful of my past. I put it this way to indicate the level of usefulness this new knowledge holds so that it can be appropriately gauged. It is easy to dismiss the impact of better tools or advancements when you’ve already enjoyed those benefits for so long that they are common, or when you don’t have them at all and therefore have no scale to consider them by.

I will probably make one more zip pouch in this style, now that a couple weeks have passed, to be sure I have my methods ingrained. I don’t need a pouch like this for anything offhand – maybe I’ll go looking around the workshop for things that need to be contained and then measure them.

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