Friday 3 November 2023

Free Pattern Friday: Zipped Pouch AKA Pipa The Pouch!

Welcome to my monthly 'Free Pattern Friday' feature, where I road test a free sewing pattern or tutorial: sometimes a children's one, sometimes an adult's one. I publish these posts every first Friday of the month, timed to provide inspiration for those who plan to get their sew on over the weekend. I firmly believe that, if you pick your projects carefully, sewing doesn't have to be a crazy-expensive way to clothe yourself and your family. Thanks to all the amazing pattern designers who have offered up their hard work for us to enjoy for free.

No prizes for guessing why I'm posting about this particular free pattern at the beginning of November (hint: it begins with C). If you're scrabbling around for cute gift ideas for someone who appreciates handmade things, but won't take up a lot of your making time and fabric stash, Pipa The Pouch by Sewing Patterns by Masin is a great option. You can easily personalise them to the recipient and they have a variety of potential uses (make up, jewellery, toiletries, pencil case, small craft equipment, chess pieces, tampons, headphones, the random items that lurk at the bottom of your bag, snacks, I could go on.....). The pattern is accessible when you sign up for the free and not-at-all-spammy Sewing Patterns by Masin newsletter. Shortly after signing up, you will receive an email that includes a link to access the pattern. You can, of course, then choose to unsubscribe to the newsletter at a later date if you with. Big thanks to Jasmin from Sewing Patterns by Masin for sharing this pattern for free. 

Pattern type:

The website states that Pipa the Pouch is a little quilted pouch with a long rounded zipper allowing the pouch to open nice and wide. 

Sizing info: 

The download includes the patterns for two sizes of pouch. The larger results in a pouch that is approx. 21cm across and 12cm high. I didn't measure the smaller one before I sent it off to my mum, however measuring the pattern piece, it would end up approx. 15cm across and 8cm high. You could also adjust the settings of your printer if you wished to make a custom larger or small sized pouch.

(image source: Sewing Patterns by Masin)

Fabric info:

The pattern suggests that Pipa the Pouch will look pretty in any woven, non-stretch fabric. Jasmin's favourite Pipa is made with linen fabric, heavy weight fusible interfacing, and a light weight cotton fabric with flower print for the lining. This pattern gave me the opportunity to dig out some small but very precious scraps of fabric that have been dwelling in my stash for wayyyyyy too long.

The green and white fabric is some 1950s vintage fabric (possibly barkcloth), the last bit leftover from when I used to make bags about twenty years ago. It makes my heart sing and that pouch is for me. The darker, geometric fabric was a scrap that I bought from a screenprinter/lampshade maker over ten years ago. That pouch was sent to my good friends Lee & Jiang in advance of a big trip they're about to make to the US. The floral print vintage cotton was a small hanky-sized piece that I picked up at a charity shop about five years ago. That pouch is also for a friend. And lastly, the small pouch made with a scrap of heart brocade that I found in the scrap bin at work has been sent off to my mum who really liked it when she came to visit.

Because of the limited size of most of the pieces I was using, I had to make a seam along the bottom, rather than cutting the pieces on the fold.

For all the larger pouches, I actually decided to avoid fusible interfacing. Instead, I cut an additional layer of thicker fabric from my stash, which I stitched to the main outer piece around the edge within the seam allowance. There was three reasons for this: 1) I'm trying to use less fusible interfacing in my sewing because I'm worried about the environmental impact of it, so I'm experimenting with replacing it with an alternative when I think that might be an option, 2) I don't have much interfacing left and can't buy more at the moment due to my participation in the Last Sewist Standing challenge, so I want to retain what I have for projects that really do need it, and 3) I wanted to bust more scraps from my stash!

All of them are lined with scraps of cotton lawn or viscose from my stash, and all the zips are also from my stash. I had to use an invisible zip for the small one because I'm running very low on regular closed end zips now too. When I didn't have enough of the outer fabric to make the tabs, I used some grosgrain ribbon that I once harvested from a box of chocolates instead!


As you can see, I went on quite the Pipa the Pouch making spree! It was a much needed palette cleanser between garment projects and allowed me FINALLY find uses for some very old but very loved textiles. They're not super quick, but easy enough for a confident sewer to complete one in an afternoon. 

The pattern and instructions are very clear, with helpful diagrams illustrating the construction. The literal only thing I would say that could be improved or updated is the page numbering. The pages of the document are numbered, but the numbering excludes the cover page. So according to the page numbers, the pages with the pattern pieces are 3 & 4. However, because of the cover page, you actually need to print pages 4 & 5. But that's it. 

As you can see, I didn't actually add the row of 'quilting' stitching to my pouches. I tried it on one of them, but I found it distracted from the print too much and ended up unpicking it. It might be a nice addition on solid fabrics however.  

Would I make it again?

Absolutely! This pattern is such a great canvas for small but special pieces of fabric, and the usefulness of this items means you will get a lot of enjoyment from those fabrics. 

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