Created by: Lillyella Stitchery
It’s time to get organized for back to school! Flex frame pouches are quick and easy to construct with no zippers required! This pattern uses a 3.5” flex frame, and is just the right size for eyeglasses or a cell phone, but also makes a great pencil pouch or carrying case for your rotary cutter. With a few simple adjustments, you can make a smaller version perfect for lunch money, loose change or small supplies of any kind.
(for tall pouch finished size 3.5” wide by 7.5” high)
- 10" square quilting cotton for outer top (or patchwork/pieced variation, see options at end of pattern) (we used the Anna Maria Horner Loominous Collection for the regular pouch and Designer Essentials Solids 5" Charm Pack for the paper pieced pouch)
- 5” x 8” faux leather for outer bottom
- 10” square quilting cotton for lining
- 10" square cotton batting
- 10" Square Pellon Interfacing (we used Pellon SF 101 Shape Flex)
- One 3.5" flex frame
- Flex Frame Pattern Download
- Pencil Pouch Pattern Download
- General Sewing Supplies
** If not using Shape Flex, only substitute a feather weight interfacing. Other interfacings will add too much bulk to the top and affect the functionality of the frame.
Cutting your Materials
- From the outer top fabric, cut two pieces 4” wide by 6.5” high. The top will be folded over about 1.25” so place any focal images below 1.5” down from the top.
- From the Pellon Shape Flex interfacing, cut two pieces 4” wide by 6.5” high. Fuse to the wrong side of the outer top pieces.
- From the outer bottom material, cut two pieces 4” wide by 3.5” high.
- From the lining material, cut two pieces 4” wide by 9.5” high.
- From the batting, cut two pieces 3.5” wide by 9” high.
Assembling the Pouch
Begin by piecing the outer top and bottom pieces together. Line one outer top and one outer bottom piece up along the bottom 4” edge of the outer top fabric, right sides together. Sew using a 1/4” seam. Repeat for second set of outer fabrics. You may need to use a leather/denim needle depending on the thickness of your material.
Press the outer top fabric up and top stitch along the seamed edge (Fig A). Be careful when pressing not to hit the leather/vinyl with your iron. Set your outer pieces aside.
Next, center your batting pieces on the wrong side of your lining pieces and spray baste or pin in place (the batting will be 1/4” smaller on all sides). Quilt a few lines to secure the batting to the lining (Fig A). This will not be visible as it’s inside the pouch, but helps prevent bunching when turning the piece later.
NOTE: If you do not want/need your pouch padded (such as if you will be using it for pencils vs. eyeglasses), you can eliminate the batting and instead use Shape Flex interfacing on the lining pieces.
After the outer and lining pieces are prepared, take one of each and, on the wrong side of the fabric, mark lines 2.25” down from the top on all pieces (Fig B).
Place your two outer pieces right sides together and sew using a scant 1/4” seam starting at one marked line stitching down around the bottom and back up to the other marked line (Fig B left). Be sure to back stitch very well at the start and stop as there will be some tension on this area. Go slowly through the seam where the top and bottom sections are pieced to ensure your tension is tight. Hand crank through or stitch over twice if needed.
Next, place your two lining pieces right sides together and sew in the same manner using a heavy 1/4” seam, leaving a large gap in the bottom for turning the piece later (Fig B right). Leave most of the bottom open, just turn each corner and sew a few stitches, back stitching well each time you start and stop.
Now it’s time to sew the outer pieces and lining together. Place the two pieces with the top openings towards each other and line up the top flaps as shown in Figure C (both will be wrong side out). You will match one outer piece to one lining piece on each side. Pin securely to keep them lined up and in place.
One at a time, sew around the edge using a 1/4” seam beginning just above your previously marked line and ending just above the other, once again back stitching well at the beginning and end (Fig D left). Repeat on the other set of flaps.
You are now ready to turn your entire piece through the gap left in the bottom of the lining. Begin by carefully rolling down your lining piece until you are able to start pulling the outer piece through the opening. Work slowly and carefully and don’t forget about the flaps. Use a thin blunt tool to help with all the corners. Keep working until your outer and lining are both right side out as shown in Figure E (center).
The next step is to stitch up the opening in the bottom of your lining. Tuck the raw edges inside and pin to secure. Stitch close to the edge by machine or hand. You can now turn the lining into the pouch. Start by turning the bottom in and slowly continue to roll the lining into itself. A package of bias tape happens to be the perfect size to help push it all the way down inside (Fig E right).
One more step and you’re all done! Give the piece a good press, avoiding the bottom leather and making sure to press the top flaps nice and flat. Pull one flap back and pin to keep it out of the way. Fold the other flap down to where the side seams start, and pin to hold in place. Hand stitch the flap to the lining along the inside bottom edge of the flap. Be sure your needle is only going through the lining fabric and not through the outer fabric (Fig F).
Once both flaps are stitched down, you are ready to insert your frame. Slide both sides in at the same time, pushing slowly and adjusting the fabric as needed if the ends catch a bit. Once through, push the fabric back a bit so you can easily close the frame ends together and insert the provided pin (Fig F). Press the metal flaps down over the ends using a pair of pliers or flat head screwdriver and you’re finished!
If preferred, you can use just one fabric for the outside of your pouch, instead of adding a bottom accent, or you can create a patchwork design. If using one solid fabric, cut two pieces 4” wide x 9.5” high of your outer fabric and the Shape Flex interfacing. If using a canvas or heavy fabric, you do not need the interfacing. If creating a patchwork design for the exterior, fuse a piece of Shape Flex interfacing to the back after piecing and then trim to size. Trim to 4” wide x 6.5” high if piecing with a bottom accent, or trim to 4” x 9.5” if creating one solid patchwork exterior.
To create the Pencils Pattern pouch shown, download the free pattern above and follow the directions included in the PDF. The height of this pouch can also easily be modified by adding to or subtracting from the height of your pieces. Just be sure to add or subtract equal amounts to the outer, lining, interfacing and batting pieces.
To create the smaller coin pouch shown above (finished size 3.5" x 3.5"), cut your pieces as follows:
* Outer top fabric and Shape Flex: 4” wide x 3.5” high * Outer bottom accent: 4” wide by 2” high * Lining Fabric and Shape Flex: 4” wide by 5” high
Follow all the same assembly instructions provided above. Regardless of the height of your pieces, the cutting width will always be 4” when using a 3.5” frame and the same construction method will apply.