Monday, November 7, 2011

A Pouch Full of Beakers

After my break-from-complicated-sewing-that-wasn't-actually-a-break messenger bag, I figured I need to make something that was actually simple. You know, something really inane, like a zippered pouch to go in said bag. But in classic me style, I had to complicate even that. I'd already made a half-dozen zippered pouches when I first started sewing; I wanted to try something new. I also wanted some kind of design detail that wasn't cutesy patchwork, plus I had all these fabric prints sitting around. So I made this reverse applique-d, lined, zippered pouch.

But wait! That little cut-out window showing a beaker seems to imply that this is a pouch full of beakers!

Allow me to take a meandering tangent to explain. As a chemistry teacher, you quickly learn that unlabeled containers are The Worst. It's bad enough when students leave unlabeled solutions after labs (although you can usually figure it out, and chances are they're not too dangerous anyway), but the true nightmare is when you start at a new school and inherit all of the previous teacher's unlabeled mysteries. You truly have no idea what that murky brownish-purplish goop is; all you know is that it was too hazardous to be disposed of according to Flinn Scientific's method #26b, i.e. flush down the drain with lots and lots of water. The best you can do is test if it's acidic or alkaline and neutralize it, and possibly evaporate the water and save the precipitate. And let it take up valuable storage space until your principal decides that it's worth paying someone to come and pick it up and dispose of it properly. And why is it that those mystery solutions are always stored in the giant 2-L flasks that you wanted to use to make solution for your next lab?

Is it copper sulfate? Methylene blue-dyed something? A toxic cobalt compound? Food coloring? Kool-Aid?! Who knows?

But I digress. Suffice it to say, well-labeled containers make me happy. It at least gives the illusion of organization, although somehow my woodburning drawer inevitably manages to also accumulate twine, eyelets, and leftover glass bits. Anyway, since this pouch is apparently advertising beakers inside, I figured I better put beakers in it. Good thing I have some!
This pouch fits two 250-mL beakers.
It'll even zip closed!
I probably won't (okay, definitely won't) be using this pouch to store beakers, but it was still a fun way to use a little swatch of my printed fabric and dress up a utilitarian pouch. I'd love to do this one day on an actual garment to showcase some other cute print in an otherwise plain fabric. How awesome would this be with a little animal head or something to make a cameo-type look? Anyway, here's how I did it:

Step 1: Use tailor's chalk or a dressmaker's pencil to sketch a rough oval on the wrong side of the lining fabric.

Step 2: Put the lining fabric and actual pouch fabric right sides together and stitch the oval, following your lines.

Step 3: Carefully cut out the middle fabric and trim as close to the stitching as you can get without cutting through it, about 1/8" or so.

Step 4: Flip the lining fabric through the hole to the other side.

This leaves a nice little window in your pouch.

Step 5: Position your showcase fabric in the window and top-stitch all the way around. Go slow, so you don't get a wonky oval like I did.

Step 6: Turn it over and trim off the extra fabric on the back. I ended up trimming to about 1/4" or so.

Use this fabric to continue making a pouch. I found this tutorial very helpful.
And there you have it! A pouch full of beakers! I was originally going to use the leftover giraffe-print from my messenger bag in the little window, but then I would've had to fill my bag with giraffes.

Not giraffes.
Linked here.

In other news, I've finished my pin-up dress, and it's looking quite nice, although not quite pin-uppy. You'll see what I mean when I've taken pictures of it.


  1. Love it! The fabric you used for the applique is amazing!

  2. This is so cute! Also, I'm dying to see your pin-up dress! I have been in suspense!!

  3. That is such a cute idea! Love the little beaker. I am a new follower from Hope Studios. Vicky from Mess For Less

  4. omg! I just saw that you were featured on CRAFT! congratulations!! <3 <3


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