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Zippered Pouch

Pattern: Twelve 22's Zippered Pouch tutorial
Fabric: crewel embroidered cotton
Cost: $6

Spring cleaning has begun! I got myself a new purse, a new wallet, and a pledge to have a super clean bag. In order to clear the clutter, I sewed some zippered pouches to store all my goods.

Even though I've sewn hundreds of things (OK, maybe just tens of things, but that sounds awkward), I've never sewn the quintessential zippered pouch before. Using Twelve 22's easy tutorial and my mom's Bernina, they took no time. The fabric is an amazing cotton with crewel embroidery that I got for a great deal at Crossroads Fabrics.

I made this little tutorial for myself to help me remember, but be sure to check out Twelve 22 for the full scoop:

Figure out how big your pouch should be. I used the zipper and some of the contents to help me decide. I then cut a rectangle long enough to fit my stuff (including a seam allowance at the bottom), and as wide as the zipper.
I then cut three more rectangles the same size: another from coordinating fabric and two more from the lining.

For one of the outer sides, I decided to make a label. I made some for "Medicine" and "Cosmetics," and used the embroidery function on my mom's Bernina. To do this, I cut two rectangles, the first slightly smaller than the second, and placed them on one of my outer rectangles (without sewing them down). I left the edges of the tag unfinished because I like the effect. When placing the tag, make sure to no do it too closely to the edge (i.e. leave a seam allowance).

I then embroidered my message on top. The embroidery will hold the "tag" to the pouch, no need for additional stitiching. As an alternative, you can use Skip to My Lou's tag idea.

If need be, trim the ends of the tag so that the embroidery is centered.

To make the pouch, lay one of the lining rectangles face up, and place the zipper along the top, also face up.
Place the outer rectangle on top, face down. Use a zipper foot to stitch along the top close to the zipper.

Flip the fabric over so that wrong sides are together.

Topstitch along the side of the zipper.
Place lining rectangle #2 on the table, face up.

Place the piece you just sewed (zipper with lining and outer fabric attached) face up on the lining rectangle so that the top edge of the zipper lines up with the lining rectangle #2.

Place outer rectangle #2 on top face down so that the top edge also lines up with the top edge of the zipper and lining rectangle #2. Stitch as before using a zipper foot.

Lay the pouch out so that the outer rectangles are facing each other, right sides together, and the lining rectangles are facing each, other right sides together.
Pin down both sides and along the bottom of the outer rectangles. Do not pin/sew along the bottom of the lining.

Pin so that the zipper is pressed towards the lining. Unzip the zipper before sewing.

Sew in a U-shape without sewing along the bottom of the lining.

Trim the seam allowances all the way along the sides (I even snipped some of the zipper) and along the bottom of the outer fabric. Trim the corners of the outer fabric.

Press the seam allowance of the bottom of the lining in.

Sew along the pressed edge. Turn the lining in to the bag.

Ms. Frizzle Binder Paper Blouse

Pattern: Burda Style's JJ Blouse #6009
Fabric: cotton
Cost: $20

I have a confession to make: I want to be the modern-day Ms. Frizzle. The fictitious elementary school teacher not only inspires her young students with trips on the Magic School Bus, but is also a fashion icon! Dressed in solar-system dresses (complete with star-studded shoes) and igneous rock jumpsuits, she inspires her students through her lessons AND her fashion. In my continued quest for work-appropriate clothes, I have decided to launch my Ms.  Frizzle collection. While my mom has recently made a solar-system cape for her third-grade space unit, I'm taking my mission a little less literally with classic work pieces in fun prints. My first piece was my Glasses and Gold Blazer, a clean-cut linen jacket in an amazingly fun Echino print.

In this blouse, I was inspired by an awesome fabric with a lined-paper print, complete with red guide line running up the side. I've been wanting to try the JJ Blouse for a while, and knew this would be the perfect piece: serious and seriously playful. I also bought a math fabric, blouse TBD.

Once I had made up the blouse, I decided to forgo the ruffles. I also took the pattern in significantly--this blouse is huge!

Read the review of this pattern at
And check it out at BurdaStyle!

Thinking About Wardrobe

It's no secret I love making dresses. But I don't always wear dresses. At work I don't want to show too much leg, it's not always ideal dress weather here, and sometimes you just want to spread out on the weekends in some stretchy pants.

As I continue to make more and more pieces, I wanted to pause and think about what I really do wear.

For work: I love tailored pieces, inspired by menswear. Occasionally I like to throw in a girly ruffled piece. I work at a school, so it also has to be fun and functional. No stilettos for me, but tons of boots and flats.


embroidered cape

printed tops
tie-front blouse

thick sweaters
sweaters and jeans
dark jeans
quirky prints

On the weekends I like to have fun. I don't have to pretend I'm a seasoned professional any more (who am I kidding anyway). I sometimes just dress like a boy in my flannel and boyfriend jeans, because, let's face it, guys hold the monopoly on comfort. Otherwise, this is when I can flaunt that new dress I just finished.

boyfriend jeans and hat

oversized jacket and jeans
casual striped dress
floral dress

my casual striped dress
short dress and tights
going out clothes
comfy sweater

Printed Drape Top

Pattern: Burda Style Magazine Dress 01/2011 #125
Fabric: wool blend knit
Cost: $11.25

This is one of those pieces that took on a life of its own as I made it. Because the pattern is so unusual, it was almost impossible to plan out how the print would work, so the design came together only as I sewed up the final seams. It turned out to be a very busy print, so I decided to leave off the skirt and just wear it as a top.

The fabric itself is soft and warm, and the top is perfectly comfortable. I wouldn't, however, try reaching your hands anywhere above your bellybutton; it is not a very practical piece. Fun nevertheless.

The challenge of this garment is following the pattern. In classic Burda style, there are no pictures to accompany the always vague instructions, and because it is not a very traditional construction (e.g. sew side seams of skirt together, attach waistband), it was pretty hard to figure out. I had to use every bit of information out there: the Burda picture of the finished garment, the line drawing, and cooi’s Jersey Drape Dress (and how I wish Burda would stop putting necklaces and belts on models to disguise problematic lines). For those about to brave this pattern--it is fairly simple if you know what you're doing--I documented the steps I followed, complete with pictures. Who knows, I might even make it up again as a dress.

Read my review of this pattern at and check it out at BurdaStyle!


Sew the skirt back to the skirt fronts, right sides together. Don't sew the front seam of skirt fronts together quite yet (or do like I would have done and eliminate the front seam on the skirt all together by making the skirt front all one piece).

Making sure to transfer all the markings to the pattern pieces (most importantly numbers 4 and 5), lay the top pieces out as shown (one of two sides is pictured).

Fold the bottom/side part up so that the "5s" are touching.
Fold the top down so that the "4s" are touching and the two folded pieces lie flush, creating the center front seam. The opening below the "5" will become the sleeve opening. The side with the "4" becomes the vertical front seam.
Each piece should now look something like this:

Sew the center back seam of the top pieces together and sew the top pieces together again at the vertical front seam. As far as I can tell, the center back seam runs from the bottom all the way up the back to the top, and the vertical front seam is located between the two notch markings on the front (although I found it necessary to sew down a little farther). According to the instructions, the vertical front seam should be sewn together with the front seam on the skirt so that it is all one seam down the front.

Once the front and back seams have been sewn, you will want to finish the raw edge of the neck by folding it under. This is what the neck looks like before it is sewn under (for illustration purposes the garment is pictured without the center back seam sewn).

As far as I can tell, the neck is done by folding the angled tab at the top down, wrong sides together, so that the sides lie flush. With the center back seam already sewn, fold the tab down so that the seam on the tab lines up with the seam on the garment. I continued to fold the edge under, leaving less and less allowance as I got towards the front of the garment. It worked well enough. Stitch with a twin needle and trim the excess fabric.

To finish, sew the top of the skirt to the bottom of the top, or leave the skirt off to to make a top. I left the sleeves and hem unfinished, because knits don't ravel.

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