Friday, April 19, 2013

Equilateral Triangles Tote-orial: Boxed Bottom Zippered Pouch

Hi! This is Ebony, and I'm here with my first official post as a member of the Sizzix Design Team!

Amy Friend and I are holding down the fort in the quilting area, but instead of making a quilt this time, I thought I'd show you how to incorporate dies into other types of sewing projects by bringing you a great tote-orial.

What's a Tote-orial? Well, I'm going to choose a die or several, and show you how to make some sort of bag, carryall, pouch, or tote with it! It's a tote tutorial, or rather a tote-orial!

This first tote-orial is this fabulous boxed-bottom zippered pouch made from hand-dyed fabric and a funky cotton print. The pouch measures 10" wide x 7" tall x 2-1/2" deep.


Stack the five fat eighths on the equilateral die, aligning the fabric over the die as shown. You should get 12 sets of triangles for a total of 60.

die cutting

You only need 60 triangles to make the pouch shown, but you can get another 60 triangles from this fat eighth! Just trim the waste off the top and move your stack of fabric up so it covers the same shapes and cut again.

Hand dyed fabric is such fun to work with! Here are the stacks of triangles!

From the lining fabric, cut a 12" x WOF strip. Cut two 3-1/2" strips, two 2-1/2" strips, and three 2" strips using your strip dies. From the remaining fabric, cut two 9" x 12" rectangles.

From the interfacing, cut two 9" x 12" rectangles.


Pouch Exterior

With right sides together (with hand dyes there shouldn't be much difference in the sides) stitch triangles together in pairs using a 1/4" seam allowance.

Press seams open or to the side, according to your preference. You need to create six rows of ten triangles each. I assembled these pretty randomly, but if you want more of a pattern, lay them out before you stitch. I created staggered rows so that I didn't have to worry about matching seams.

Stitch three rows of triangles together. Square up the panel to 12" wide before stitching a 2-1/2" x 12" strip to the bottom.

Now square up the panel to 9" tall, trimming any excess from the top row of triangles. Fuse the 9" x 12" piece of interfacing to the wrong side of the panel.

Repeat the steps above for the remaining triangles and strip.
With right sides together, layer and pin the two exterior fabrics , matching the seams between rows. Stitch around 3 sides, leaving the top edge unstitched. Press seams open.

To box the bottom, fold the pouch at the bottom corner so the side seam meets the bottom seam and forms a triangle. Align the corner with the 1" mark on your ruler and cut off the triangle. Match your seams and stitch across this raw edge using a 1/4" seam allowance. Repeat for the other corner. Turn your pouch right side out and press the bottom so it forms a box.

Repeat the sewing & boxing instructions above for the lining, except leave the lining wrong side out and omit the pressing along the bottom.

Insert the lining into the pouch, matching the side seams. Pin and baste the lining to the pouch exterior.

Installing the Zipper

I was really proud of myself for devising this method of inserting a zipper, although I'm sure it could use some refining. I love coming up with clever ways to use my dies whenever I can!

For the actual zipper tutorial, I'd like to refer you to the Dropped Zipper Tutorial over on my blog. You may see this way of making and installing zippers in future Tote-orials, so it's good to have that in its own post!

Once you're done installing the zipper, you'll have a great looking zipper that's 1-1/2" below the top of the pouch. (I used contrasting thread so you can see it in the photos, but matching thread is better!)

Finishing the Pouch

To create the binding for the top edge, take the 2" strips and stitch them end to end using a 1/4" seam allowance. Press the seams open.

Next, press the long strip in half lengthwise, and then press the raw edges to the center.

Fold the strip in half again and press flat.

Pin the binding around the top edge of your pouch. Overlap the ends 1" and cut off the excess. Fold under one raw edge of binding 1/4" and cover the remaining raw edge of binding.

For a fast finish, stitch the binding to the top of the pouch by machine. The top corners are a little tight, so matching thread and a steady pace are your friends here.

For a neater finish, stitch the binding to the top of the pouch by hand using embroidery floss. I divided the floss into three-strand lengths so the stitching would stand out more. I also added a little tassel by tying some of the leftover floss to the zipper pull.

To tie in the hand stitching in the binding, embroider a couple of triangles using a simple running stitch. Make sure not to catch the lining in your stitches!

Did you like this tote-orial? Would you like to see more? I would love to share all sorts of ideas with you on making different types of bags, using and installing different closures, and showing how to use your dies in creative ways. Let me know what you think by posting a comment! And if you make your own pouch using this tote-orial, please share your project on the Sizzix Facebook page.

The quilting page has helpful videos, tips, and project ideas that can help you incorporate die cutting into your quilting and sewing projects. To learn more, visit the Sizzix Quilting page at:
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  1. I know this is probably asking to much but anyway you could do a print friendly version when you have patterns so we don't have to print all of the adds.
    Thanks Paula in La.

    1. I'm sorry you're having trouble, Paula! You should be able to make them print-friendly yourself. Just highlight the text and images, and copy/paste them into the word-processing program of your choice.

      Speaking only for myself, what allows me to be able to do free tutorials is not having to put in extra work on them, so that I have more time to create!

  2. Great job Ebony! I love a dropped zip--I've only done it once myself and this was a good reminder to use it again!

    1. Thanks Amy! I think a lot of dropped zipper tutes make you take the zipper apart, but I found a way around that. :)

  3. Wonderful tutorial! I love a drop zipper on my bag but haven't seen many tutorials for them. I tend to toss my bags around so a zip top is very important. I plan on giving this a try on my next bag.

  4. Woot woot Ebony! Love this bag - it's so bold and the colors are so vibrant! - Vivian

  5. Great tutorial. It is neat to see the Big Shot and dies being used for sewing projects as well as paper projects. Thanks for taking the time and effort to post the project.

  6. Love this little tote-orial. Can hardly wait to see more.


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