Pattern Review: Boxy Pouches FTW

I have a well documented (on Instagram) love of all things with zippers – pouches, cases, zippy bags, purses, etc.  One of the first pouches I made after I got back into sewing was the Boxy Pouch by Pink Stitches.  I first tried this pattern/tutorial for Christmas presents for family in late 2014.  I found it on Pinterest and it had been on my to-do list for a while.

I love this pattern and tutorial.  It is really easy to follow and has repeatable, lovely results. I would say it is best for an advanced beginner or intermediate sewist since some techniques will be easier if you have some experience with zipper insertion and other construction techniques.  I’ve used fusible fleece or ByAnnie’s Soft and Stable for the structure of the bag with great results.  The pattern is also easily scale-able if you have a particular size in mind.

I first made two medium and two large pouches for my aunts using Garden Bouquet by Patty Sloniger for Michael Miller.  I used long-handled purse zippers from Zipit on Etsy.

Boxy Pouches in Garden Bouquet (Patty Sloniger)

Medium and large boxy pouch made in Garden Bouquet in Violet (Patty Sloniger, Michael Miller)

Boxy Pouches in Garden Bouquet (Patty Sloniger)

Medium and Large boxy pouches in Garden Bouquet in Burgandy (Patty Sloniger, Michael Miller)

These pouches were well-received by their recipients, so I continued to make a few more for myself and other friends.  I made two for my gym bag using the two colorways of Rashida Coleman-Hale’s Gamaguchi print from Mochi (Cotton + Steel).  The fabric was perfect for my make-up, hair products, and other accouterments for early morning workouts.

Boxy Pouches in Gamaguchi (Rashida Coleman-Hale)

Medium and large boxy pouch for my gym bag

Definitely give this pattern and tutorial a try if you haven’t yet.  It’s easy to follow and an excellent project for an advanced beginner sewist.

-Stephanie, HoustonDIY

Pattern Review: Easy Toddler Girl Dresses (Simplicity 2377)

I thought I’d post a pattern review for some toddler girl dresses I made recently using Simplicity 2377 (from the easy-to-sew collection).  This was a pretty great pattern and perfect for using some Tutti Frutti fabric I had recently procured.

This pattern is for six different variations of the same basic peasant dress with gathered sleeves or flutter sleeves.  I ended up making 4 dresses, 2 each for my adorable nieces.  Each girl got a gathered sleeve and a flutter sleeve.  They are 3 and 5 years old, but tall as beanpoles so I made a few adjustments and ended up making sizes 6, 7, 7-long, and 8.  I made different sizes since sewing long distance doesn’t allow for any fitting.  I had their measurements to go off of, but I thought variety was best.

First two dresses ready for the girls

First two dresses ready for the girls

Overall, the pattern was very easy to understand and follow and had minimal steps.  The gathered neck and sleeves were really easy to do and would allow for easy adjustments if needed.  All the dresses had ties at the empire waist to also help with the fit and the flutter sleeves has enclosed nice bias tape edges.

I followed the advice of a few bloggers I’ve seen (I can’t find any useful pins to share!) to press on the top thread of your machine to create additional tension to produce the gathering as you go.  This is a primo method to make easy gathers and you can adjust the gathering as you go based on how much you press down.  I’ve never been good at gathers with just a large basting stitch and this technique (in repetition) made me very comfortable with gathering using this technique in the future.

Second two dresses - pink, pink, pink!

Second two dresses – pink, pink, pink!

Modifications I made:
—  I made a 7-long for my 5-year old niece that is 33 inches tall.  I used all the size 7 pieces, but cut the skirt to the size 8 length – basically adding about 2 inches.  This is straightforward to do and could be done to shorten the dress into a tunic.

—  I added more flutter to my flutter sleeves. The project was inspired by a pin my sister sent me of an adorable flutter sleeve dress (that I hope to still replicate someday) that had full flutters (It’s Always Autumn’s Simple Girl’s Sundress).  I added about 2 inches at the widest point to the patterns flutter sleeves to get a fuller look.

—  I added buttons as an embellishment on the chest of one of the dresses (not shown in pictures)

– Stephanie, HoustonDIY