Cross-Body Pouch Tutorial

Today I’m going to make a small cross-body pouch. It’s the perfect size to carry your cell phone. I’ve been wanting one of these for a while, so I guess I’ll just make one!

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Gather the supplies you’ll need:

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  • A cutting mat.
  • A rotary cutter or fabric scissors.
  • An X-acto knife and paper scissors.
  • A sheet of poster board (the least expensive kind you can find). The dollar store is a great place to get this.
  • 18″ transparent ruler.
  • A seam ripper (and not just for mistakes!)
  • Fabric for the outside of the pouch, canvas if you like. I’ll use a bottom weight nylon/cotton blend poplin.
  • Fabric for the flap of the pouch. You can, of course, use the same fabric as above. For this project I’m going to use a contrasting fabric in a medium weight cotton.
  • Fabric for the lining of the pouch. A lightweight cotton is perfect.
  • One to three spools of thread to coordinate with the fabric you’re using. I’ll only need two … one that matches the outside and flap, and one to match the lining.
  • Super-heavy interfacing. Pellon 65 works well, as does Pellon 70.
  • Adhesive spray.
  • Masking tape.
  • Pins.
  • 14 mm magnetic snap with washers.
  • A small hammer.
  • Two 1″ D rings.
  • A snap hook (optional)
  • An iron and ironing board.
  • A sewing machine, of course!

Decide how big you want your pouch to be. I am going to go with these measurements: 7″ long X 6″ wide. If you prefer another size, just adjust the pattern accordingly. On the poster board draw a 7″ X 6″ rectangle. Cut out the piece and mark it: “Cross-body Pouch, Heavy Interfacing, Cut 2.” Now take that rectangle and trace around it on the poster board. Line up your ruler on the lines you’ve drawn and add 3/8″ all around, like this:

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Cut out this rectangle along the outer lines. Mark this piece: “Cross-body Pouch, Outer Body Fabric, Cut 2.” Take this rectangle and trace around it and cut out another rectangle. Now trim 1/4″ from one of the short sides and one of the long sides of this rectangle. Mark this pattern piece: “Cross-body Pouch, Lining Fabric, Cut 2.”

I want the flap of my pouch to come down not quite halfway on the body of the bag. That would be about 3″. Now I need to take into account that I need a seam allowance and have to consider the part of the flap that will come across the top of the pouch. So, I am going to make the flap 4 1/2″ long X 6″ wide. On your poster board draw a rectangle with these measurements and cut it out. Mark this pattern piece: “Flap, Heavy Interfacing, Cut 2.” Now take this rectangle and trace around it. Line up your ruler on the lines you’ve drawn and add 3/4″ all around. Cut out this piece and mark it: “Flap, Fabric, Cut 2.”

Since this is a cross-body pouch it will need a really long strap. The easiest way to figure out how long to make the straps is to take a tape measure and drape it across your body exactly the way the straps would be, and check the measurement. For me, that measurement is 54″. Then you need to add 2″ to that measurement.

So, I will need to cut a strip of fabric 56″ long. But how wide? For a small bag like this I like the way a really skinny strap looks. I’m going to make a 1/2″ strap. To cut the pattern for the strap, draw out a strip that’s half as long and four times wider than you want your strap to be. So, my pattern piece is a rectangle that’s 28″ long and 2″ wide. Mark this pattern piece: “Cross-body Pouch, Strap Fabric, Cut 1 On Fold.”

The straps will attach to the pouch with fabric loops holding D rings. I am using 1″ D rings, so I need the fabric loops to be 1″ wide and about 2″ long. Draw a rectangle that’s 4″ wide (4 times wider than your intended loop) X 2″ long. Mark this piece: Cross-body Pouch, Loop Fabric, Cut Two.”

It wouldn’t be much of a cell phone pouch if it didn’t have some kind of a pocket in it, right? Since this is a small bag, I am going to have my pocket be the entire width of the bag. So, grab that pattern piece that’s marked “Cross-body Pouch, Heavy Interfacing,” trace around it on the poster board and cut it out. From one of the short sides trim off an inch. Mark this piece: “Cross-body Pouch Pocket, Medium Interfacing, Cut 1.” Now take this pattern piece and trace around it on the poster board, add one inch to one of the long sides and cut out the piece. Mark this one: “Cross-body Pouch Pocket, Fabric, Cut 2.”

Before we start to cut fabric, I want to make an adjustment to some of my pattern pieces. I’d like this pouch to have a curved bottom. So take the pattern piece marked “Cross-body Pouch Heavy Interfacing.” In the bottom righthand corner, using a jar lid or a stencil, trace a 2″ circle, and trim around the edge.

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Now fold the pattern piece in half vertically and trace that corner onto the opposite corner, and trim the edge. Now using this pattern piece as a template, round the bottom corners of the pattern pieces marked “Cross-body Pouch Fabric,” and “Cross-body Pouch Lining.” Now your pattern is completely cut out. This is what you should have:

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You can start cutting your fabric. I like to start by cutting out all of the pieces from the heavy interfacing. So, take the pieces that are marked “Heavy Interfacing” and trace around them, like this:

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You’ll cut the two pieces for the body of the bag and the pieces for the flap out of the heavy interfacing.

When I trace a pattern onto this heavy interfacing, I find that using a regular ballpoint pen works best. If there are any errant pen marks, no one will ever see them!.. When cutting the interfacing, usually a pair of scissors works better than an X-acto knife.

Now let’s cut out the fabric for the body of the pouch. I’m using the same fabric for the straps and the loops, so I’ll lay out those pieces too. Because my fabric is 45″ wide, not the usual 60″, I’m going to cut out 2 pieces for the strap and I will splice them together later.

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Next I am going to cut out the lining fabric. Out of this same fabric I will cut out one of the two pieces for my pocket.

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Then I will cut out the pieces for my flap. And along with them, I will cut out the other pocket piece.

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The last piece to cut out is the mid-weight interfacing piece for the pocket.

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Okay, all the bits and pieces are cut out. We’ll begin assembling the pouch. Let’s start with the flap. Center one of the heavy interfacing flap pieces on the wrong side of one of the flap fabric pieces. Wrap the fabric around the interfacing, pinning as you go, like this:

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Fold in the corners in such a way that there are no raw fabric edges that extend to the side of the flap:

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Now repeat this process with the other flap pieces. When both are pinned bring them to your sewing machine. Using the zipper foot and a top and bobbin thread that match the flap fabric, sew all the way around the flap, keeping the edge of your piece lined up with the edge of the presser foot. Do the same with the other flap piece.

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When the fabric is sewn all around on both pieces, take them back to your work table. Take one of the flap pieces, right side up, and with a fabric pencil mark the center of one of the long edges. Draw a vertical line down the center, extending about two inches. With your ruler measure a line parallel to that same edge, 3/4″ in, and draw a horizontal line across.

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The point where these two lines intersect is where you will place your snap (the top half of the snap, the “male” part, if you will). Take the washer from the snap. You can use this as a template for where to cut your holes. Place the hole in the middle of the washer on the point where your two lines intersect. Mark the lines on each side of the hole with a fabric pencil (you can even use a ball point pen for this too, again..no one will see it).

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With the point of your seam ripper punch a hole at the bottom of the line. Push the seam ripper up gently to create a small slit. Do the same on the other line.

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Now you have two small, parallel slits. Take the snap piece (again, the “boy” snap piece), push the prongs through the slits. Place the washer over the prongs. Now, if you read the directions on the back of your package of magnetic snaps, they will tell you to bend the prongs outward. DO NOT FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS ON THE BACK OF YOUR PACKAGE OF MAGNETIC SNAPS! There, was that emphatic enough? Really though, I know whereof I speak! If you bend the prongs inward, toward each other, the snap will be much more stable and it won’t start to pull out after you’ve used your pouch for a week (and it definitely WILL if you do it the way the magnetic-snap-people tell you to do it).

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So bend them in and use a little hammer to pound the prongs down securely. Once the snap is in place, line up the two flap pieces, wrong sides together and pin them in place. Using the standard presser foot, sew all the way around the piece, lining up the edge of the flap with the edge of your presser foot.

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The flap is finished!

Next we’ll start to assemble the outer bag body. Take the two fabric pieces and lay them wrong side up on your work table. Now take the two pieces of heavy interfacing and take them out to your yard or some well-ventilated area. Lay the two interfacing pieces on a sheet of plastic or newspaper. Spray them with spray adhesive. Make sure to cover the whole area, but you don’t need to coat them too heavily. Carry the pieces (by their edges) back to your work table. Center each piece on one of the fabric pieces and press it into place.

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Turn them over and smooth down the fabric, making sure there are no bubbles or wrinkles. Now we’ll set those pieces aside for a while and let them dry thoroughly.  While we wait, we’ll work on the pocket. Take the pocket piece that matches the flap fabric and put it, right side up, on your work table. Put the other pocket piece on top of it with the right sides together. Center the interfacing piece on top of fabric pieces.

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Along one of the long sides draw a line one inch in from the edge.

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Pin the three pieces together, and take them to your sewing machine. Put the standard presser foot and a spool of thread to match the lining fabric on your machine. First sew the edge that’s opposite of the line you drew. Keep the edge of the presser foot lined up with the edge of the fabric and make a seam all the way across. Now line up your needle right over the line that you drew. Sew a seam all the way down on top of the line.

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You’ve essentially created a fabric tube, with two open ends. Turn it right side out. Now, because of that 1″ seam on the one side, your piece will naturally want to lay like this:

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See? Because of that one inch seam, you’ll have a nifty sort of cuff on the top of your pocket. Because the interfacing was 1/2″ narrower than the fabric, it’ll naturally fold in on the edges. Put your index fingers on either side of the opening and pull gently. The fabric will fold in and you can pin it shut. Do the same on the other side. Now you have a pocket that you can sew into your lining. Take one of the two pieces of lining fabric, lay it on your work table right side up. With your ruler parallel to the bottom edge draw a line with a fabric pencil 1-1/2″ in, like this:

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Center the bottom of your pocket along this line and pin it into place.

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With your zipper foot and thread to matching your lining fabric on your machine, sew the pocket along the three sides. When the pocket’s sewn in, take this piece of lining to your work table, lay it pocket side up. Take the other piece of lining fabric and lay it on top of it (so right sides are together). Along the bottom edge of the lining piece mark a dot with a fabric pencil or chalk just past the curve on both sides, like this:

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Pin the the pieces together and take them to your machine.  Change to the standard presser foot. Start at the top righthand corner, sew down the edge with your presser foot lined up to the edge of the fabric. Slow down when you reach the curve. If you keep the righthand corner of your presserfoot always in contact with the edge of your fabric, you’ll sew a perfect curve. When you reach the dot on your fabric, reverse to lock your stitches. Cut the thread. Move the fabric forward to the second dot, sew a few stitches, reverse to lock the stitches and resume sewing. Sew around the second curve and up the lefthand side of the lining pieces. Stop at the top, lefthand corner.

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Now we’ll finish the body of the bag. Take one of the two pieces with the glued in interfacing. Measure across the top of the interfacing. Mark a dot at the center point. Draw a perpendicular line down 3 inches and draw another dot.

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This will be the placement for the other half of your snap. Again, using the washer as a template, mark the slit lines with a fabric pencil or chalk. Cut the slits open with your seam ripper, apply the snap as before.

With right sides together, pin the other outside body fabric piece to the one to which you’ve just applied the snap. Change the thread in your machine to match the color of the pouch body fabric.  Line up your fabric so that the needle is just to the right of the interfacing.  Start sewing at the top, righthand corner, sew slowly through the curves, up the left side, always keeping the needle abutting the edge of the interfacing. Stop at the top, lefthand corner.

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Snip notches in the curves, about 1/4″, being careful not to cut into your stitches.

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Turn the body of the bag right side out. It will look like this:

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Take the two pieces you’ve cut for the strap. Line up the ends evenly, right sides together. Pin them in place. Using the standard pressure foot sew them together, locking your stitches at both ends. Take this strap piece as well as the two pieces that you’ve cut for the fabric loops, bring them to your ironing board, and bring your pincushion too. With your iron set on high heat, first press open the seam that splices together the strap.

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Next, on both of the two short ends, turn the fabric under about 1/4″ and press a crease.

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Now fold the strap fabric in half the long way and press a crease. With such a long strap, the easiest way to do this is in increments of about ten or twelve inches at a time, folding and pressing as you go.   When the entire strip is folded, open up the crease. Now fold the raw edges in toward the center crease.

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Again, it’s easier if you work in smaller increments, folding and pressing as you go. When this is done, fold the piece in half again, this time as you press, begin to pin it into place.

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When you’re done you’ll have a strap that’s 1/2″ wide.

Now do the same with the small pieces for the fabric loops. Fold them in half, and press. Open the fold, press the raw edges in toward the center crease, and fold in half again.

Bring the pieces to the machine. Change to the zipper foot, sew down the length of the strap, across the end, and up the other edge.

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Do the same with the loop pieces.

Now all the pieces and parts of your pouch are completed, all that remains is to assemble them.

Take the body piece and lay it on you work table, snap side down. Along the top edge measure in 1/2″ on each side and make two marks with fabric pencil. These are the marks for your loop placement. Take your loop pieces and thread each through a D ring. Align the bottom edges of the loops along the top of the pouch with the outside edges of the loops at the marks that you’ve made. This is a bit unorthodox, but at this point I prefer to use masking tape in lieu of pins to secure the loops in place. Do so like this:

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Now take your flap, snap side out and lay it on top of the body (and the loops). Again, secure it with masking tape, like this:

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Take your lining piece and put the pouch body piece inside it, so that the side of the lining piece with the pocket is against the front side of the pouch (the side with the snap). This will be a VERY tight fit, and will take quite a bit of manouvering, but it can be done. Line up the seams and pin it in place. Don’t worry about pinning through all those layers, just secure it in place. Besides, it will be such a tight fit that it won’t move much.

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Take it to your machine. This is a difficult step because it’s pretty awkward with all those layers. Line up the edge of the fabric at the inside top of the bag with the edge of the standard presser foot. You’ll need to go slowly, stopping often to adjust the fabric. Sew along the top until your seam meets where you started, reverse-lock your stitches.

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Pull the pouch body through the gap in the bottom of the lining. When you have pulled it all the way through, it will look like this:

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Sew up the gap in the bottom of the lining. Put an index finger in either side of the gap, pull gently. The fabric will fold in. Pin it closed, and sew a seam as close as you can to the edge.

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Now fold the lining fabric into the bag and …voila!

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Your cross body pouch is completed … almost! You still need to attach the strap.

Thread about an inch of the strap through one of the pouch’s D rings. With the zipper foot, sew across the strap as close to the ring as you can get.

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When you reach the end of the strap, with your needle down, pivot your strap 90 degrees, continue sewing until you reach the end of your strap piece, turn 90 degrees again and sew across the bottom of the strap, turn once more, continue sewing until you reach your original stitch line. You can repeat this process with the other strap end, attaching it to the other D ring. I’ve decided to use a snap hook on the other end of my strap. Now, your pouch is completed!

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