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Monday, January 23, 2017

Panda Face Zipper Pouch Purse Tutorial

Recently, I was commissioned to create some fun zipper pouches using Ann Kelle's Urban Zoologie in Spring panel fabric. I had never attempted a project quite like this before, so at first, there was a little trial and error in figuring out the best way to make these tiny animal face bags. I think the end result works wonderfully.

The following Panda Face Zipper Pouch Purse Tutorial gives specific instructions for using the Panda fabric panel to create this purse; however, the same steps and methods apply for using any of the animal face panels to create a simple zipper pouch, wristlet, or purse the perfect size for a child. The fabric panels that will work for this tutorial include a fox, panda, lamb, two dogs, and a cat. My daughter loves the fox coin pouch I let her keep!

Keep reading for a list of supplies and step-by-step instructions to create this precious Panda Face Zipper Pouch Purse!


  • Urban Zoologie in Spring by Ann Kelle for Robert Kaufman
  • 7" x 7" square of Black Kona Cotton for pouch back
  • 2" x Width of Fabric Black Kona Cotton for pouch strap (to make a wristlet, cut a piece only 2" x 16")
  • 2 - 7" x 7" squares of Urban Zoologie Minis in Pink by Ann Kelle for Robert Kaufman for pouch lining
  • 2 - 7" x 7" squares of Pellon Shape Flex SF101
  • 5" zipper or longer
  • Thread
  • Glue stick (or Wonder Tape)
  • Ruler
  • Fabric marking pen
  • Wooden chopstick for turning
  • Iron
  • Sewing Machine
  • Scissors
  • Pinking Shears
  • 1 piece of card stock paper
  • Pen or pencil
Begin by fusing one square of Pellon Shape Flex to the wrong side of the panda panel being sure to center the interfacing over the face. Use the fabric marking pen to trace the outline of the panda face. Using a small ruler, measure 1/2" from the first outline and draw a second outline.

Cut out the panda face along the outer line drawn in the previous step. On a piece of card stock paper, trace around the face cut out with a pen or pencil. Cut out the shape to use as a pattern piece for the pouch back and the lining.

Fuse the second piece of Pellon Shape Flex to the wrong side of the black Kona Cotton (this step not shown in a photo). Use the pattern piece created in the previous step to cut out the pouch back and lining pieces as shown below.

On the wrong side of one lining piece, use a ruler to measure 2 3/8" down from the top and draw with the fabric marking pen a horizontal line that begins and ends 1" from the sides. From this line, measure down 3/8" and draw another line parallel to the first. Connect the two lines on either end with a vertical line to create a rectangle. Draw another horizontal line down the center of that box. This is shown in green below.

Next, place this lining piece on top of the pouch back piece with right sides together. Pin together if desired.

Carefully sew along the outer lines of the box. When you reach a corner, place your machine needle in the down position, lift the sewing machine foot, rotate the fabric, lower the foot, and sew the perpendicular line.

Once the box is sewn, use sharp embroidery scissors to cut along the center line (the center of the sewn box) through both layers of fabric. Stop approximately 3/8" from each end and then clip toward the corner of the box without clipping the threads. This forms a V on each end of the line as shown in yellow below.

Now push the lining fabric through the opening (A). Use your fingers first to smooth out the seams and corners.

Once you have it nice and even, use an iron to press the seam in place (B).

Flip the fabric over to the lining side, and press again, especially on the corners (C). Make sure the edges of the back and lining fabrics line up as close as possible.

Use a washable glue stick to place glue along the right side of the zipper tape. Position the opening in the pouch over the zipper with the zipper pull on the left. The back of the pouch should be facing up (D). Press the fabric onto the zipper to set the glue.

Sew around the opening of the box to secure the zipper in place. If using a regular sewing machine foot, it may be necessary to open the zipper to move the zipper pull out of the way for the foot. Cut off the excess zipper on each end.

Turn the pouch over and place the remaining lining piece on top of the lining piece with the zipper, right sides together. Pin just the lining pieces together (A).

Using a 1/2" seam allowance, sew the lining pieces together but leave a 2 to 2 1/2" opening at the bottom (B). ONLY sew the lining pieces together! I find it helpful to fold the back piece in half and pin it to itself. Also, it may be a bit tricky sewing near the ends of the zipper. If you find this too difficult to do with your regular sewing machine foot, try using the zipper foot instead.

Trim the seam allowance to 1/4" using pinking shears, or use regular scissors and then clip all the curves (C).

View (D) shows how the lining is sewn together without sewing into the back piece at all.

Prepare the purse strap using the 2" wide x width of fabric piece of black Kona Cotton. Adjust the length of this strap by cutting off some length or adding additional length. Fold the fabric in half with wrong sides together along the length and press. Open up the seam and fold each long edge in toward the center (wrong sides together) and press again. Fold along the original center line again and press. This is the same as making binding or double fold bias tape.

TIP: You can always leave the strap long and tie a knot in the top of the strap to adjust the length later.

Pin each end of the strap to the right side of the pouch back by lining up the outer edge of the strap with where the panda ear begins. Make sure the raw edge of the strap is lined up with the raw edge of the pouch back (A). If you prefer, baste in place, but be sure to only sew them onto the pouch back!

If sewing a wristlet strap instead, attach both ends of the strap on the outside edge of one ear.

Unzip the zipper and stuff the rest of the strap into the lining (B). Fold the lining pieces in half and pin together to keep them out of the way.

Place the panda face piece (front of the pouch) on top of the pouch back with right sides together. Pin the two pieces together (C).

The lining and the outer pouch should NOT be pinned together! They should only be connected by the zipper. (D)

Sew around the panda face using the inner line as the sewing guideline. Sew very slowly to make sure you stay on this line and as close to the corners near the ears. If you aren't careful, you will have a lot of the blue fabric outside of the face showing once you turn the pouch right side out. Use pinking shears to trim the seam allowance to 1/4" and use embroidery scissors to clip excess fabric from the corners near the ears (E). Do not clip through the seam!

Turn the pouch right side out through the opening in the lining. Use a wooden chopstick to carefully work out and smooth the curves of the ears and the face. Once you are satisfied with the shape, sew the opening in the lining closed and push the lining into the zipper (F).

Press the Panda Face Zipper Pouch Purse well from both sides! Enjoy!

Be creative and use the panels to make appliques for shirts, skirts, and totes, or sew a pillow.

Have FUN sewing!

1 comment:

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