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Poly Pockets (See Through Zipper Pouch Tutorial)

The finished see through zipper pouch made with rainbow polka dot fabric.

Oh the toys in this house. The teeny tiny choking hazards. The drawers full of "stuff" that I did not buy. When there is too much clutter the kids can't even see the toys they have. They become blind from the mess and they bother their mama because they, tragically, cannot figure out how to play. Unacceptable.

The see through zipper pouches in use storing small doll toys

The solution was to surreptitiously take away about 70% of the toys. Anything they hadn't played with in the last 2 weeks, pulled and stored or donated. Instant improvement in both the order and the playing in the house. I also made sure that the toys that remained could be seen, because with little people: out of sight, out of mind. So these little see through zipper pouches were created to contain the sprawling disaster that is Polly Pockets.

Three different see through zipper pouches ready to store some toys.

I was so darn impressed when I made the first one that I did it again and again. And I made a tutorial because I love you and I don't want you stepping on little doll heads in the middle of the night either.

What you need:

  • A quilted piece the size you want your zippered pouch (I quilted a piece about 10 x 10 and cut it to 9 x 9)

  • A zipper wider than your quilted piece

  • A piece of clear vinyl the size of your quilted piece

  • A width-of-fabric strip 2.25" wide for the binding

How you do it:

The first step for the see through zipper pouch is to center the vinyl on the zipper.

Center the zipper face down on the top vinyl edge and sew it on. About sewing with vinyl: Sew with a longer than usual stitch length, keep the vinyl on the bottom where the feed dogs can pull it through, and avoid pressing it onto the machine bed in any way, or it will stick. I guess someone has developed a special presser foot for sewing vinyl. Please. I don't have the money for that. So I sew with the vinyl on the bottom.

Place the zipper face down on what will be the back of your zip bag. Did you read that right? The back. The side you don't want to see. I know you're about to sew it to the side you do want to see (because I almost did that every time) and that's how you make a normal bag but this is a see through bag. Double check. Align with the vinyl and sew it on.

The second step for the see through zipper pouch.

Now you've got this, looking at the underside of the zipper. I trimmed away a bit of batting from the seam allowance and then stitched down the zipper edge to cover that raw batting at the top. Not necessary for a glorified ziplock, but it made me happy.

The third step for the see through zipper pouch is to trim batting and topstitch the zipper to the quilted back.

Fold the vinyl down over the quilted piece. To make binding easier, baste around the sides and bottom of the bag. It doesn't have to go all the way to the zipper. Move the zipper head to the middle of the bag (so you don't cut it off) and trim the zipper ends even with the edge of the bag.

The next step for the see through zipper pouch is to baste the sides of the pouch together.

Finish by binding the three unfinished edges of the bag. Press your binding strip in half lengthwise, wrong sides together. Sew it to the backside of the pouch, wrapping the end of the binding snugly around the top to the front when you start. I advise you eek the binding end out to the side a bit to make it behave when you turn it to the front. Do you see how the raw edge of the binding is sticking out beyond the raw edge of the quilted piece at the end there? That's what I mean by "eek". When you get to the other end, do the same, wrapping the end around the top of the zipper and eeking it out to the side.

Binding instructions for the see through zipper pouch tutorial.

After attaching the binding, the front of the bag should look like this. Trim the corners and the binding that sticks out.

Trim the binding for the see through zipper pouch.

Now flip the binding around to the front and machine stitch at the edge. This is the only time I didn't sew with the vinyl on the bottom, but because the presser foot is really on top of the fabric there wasn't any trouble.

Flip and sew the binding down for the see through zipper pouch.

Check out that corner!

A sharp looking corner for the see through zipper pouch.

These little pouches also work well for wrangling sewing tools to sewing events. But around here there are still plenty of marbles and rock collections and hedgehog families that need containing, so you know what I'll be doing with mine!

The finished see through zipper pouch is ready to contain all sorts of toys.

I hope some of you get some use out of this tutorial. I am getting really excited that my book is about to be released in just a few weeks! More on that soon, I'm sure.

This blog post originally appeared on the A Few Scraps blog on August 7, 2013

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