How to draft a pleated boxy pouch with a zipper in any size

Hello, my crafty friends!!! How is your week so far?

If you are anything like me, you probably enjoy making cute zipper pouches in any shape and size. They can be used to store a variety of items and are a great travel companion.

Today, I will show you how to draft a pleated boxy pouch in any size you want, so grab a pen, ruler, some paper, and let’s get started! As a bonus, I will also give you a few ideas on how to “hack” the pattern so you can have fun making different variations. Use colour blocking or fabric with a different texture to create interesting designs. There are no limits here!

This type of pouch features adorable side pleats that help to create a boxy shape. The main compartment is fully lined, with no raw edges on the show, and secured with a zipper. You will also find small zipper tabs on each side of the zipper. Depending on the size, it requires a small amount of fabric and is suitable for any beginner.

Pattern drafting

To draft the pattern you will need the width and height of the pouch you want to make. Keep in mind that the depth of the pouch will be more or less the same as the height because of the boxy shape on the sides.

For the purpose of this tutorial I will use my middle size pouch as an example. The finished dimensions are:

Width / Height / Depth

20 cm / 7 cm / 7cm

Draw a rectangle 20 cm / 7 cm (grey rectangle), plus a vertical and horizontal line to find the middle points. This rectangle is the base of the pouch. If you want to make your pouch smaller or larger, simply change the dimension of the rectangle.

Measure 1/2 of the height and draw three narrower rectangles above and below the main one (pink rectangles). So if the height of my pouch is 7 cm, I need to draw six rectangles 20 cm / 3.5 cm ( three on each side). This will be the front, back, and top of the pouch (including the allowance for the pleats and the zipper). My outer rectangle is 20 cm long and 28 cm tall.

Next, you will create the pleated sides of the pouch. To do so, draw a (yellow) rectangle on each side, that measures 1/2 the height of the base (3.5 cm for me) by the total height of the outer rectangle ( 28 cm for me). Following by an additional (green) rectangle that is 1 cm wide for the seam allowance.

This is the pattern for the external main panel.

To create the pattern for the lining, you need to draw an additional smaller (red) rectangle at the centre of each side, which is 3 cm wide and 1 x height +3 cm tall (7 cm + 3 cm for me).

I know math is not the easiest of subjects, so to simplify the process you can follow this diagram instead.

Similarly, you begin by drawing a rectangle of the desired size = the base of the pouch, then draw 3 (pink) rectangles of the same size above it. Then draw one (yellow) rectangle using the full width of the base and add 2 x seam allowance (so 2 cm). Finish drafting the lining pattern by adding the red rectangles on each side.

There is no real need to draft a pattern piece, however, you need to remember to cut an additional 6 cm / 10 cm rectangle (from external fabric) if you want to add zipper tabs on each end of the zipper. I like to add a note to my pattern label, just in case I forget.

The zipper length will be determined by the size of your pouch, so after you draft the pattern, measure the straight edge of the lining pattern piece to find the correct length.

Once drafted, you can trace the external main panel on a separate piece of paper and cut them out. Remember to transfer all your middle points and name your pattern pieces, so you know what it is in the future. The external main panel is a simple rectangle, so I prefer to only cut out the lining pattern piece and label it as follows:

This pattern is suitable for plain fabric, or non-directional prints because as you can imagine, half of the design will end up upside down. However, there is a simple solution to this issue.

Simple pattern variations

To avoid the unwanted problem of having fabric print upside down on half of the pouch, draw a line in the middle which runs parallel to the straight edge (Photo: version 2). Take a separate piece of paper and trace half of the external panel, then add a 1 cm seam allowance along the center edge. Cut it out and remember to label the new pattern. It will create a seam in the center of the base, but this way you will be able to orient the fabric print in the same direction on both sides of the pouch. Cut it twice from the external fabric, but for the lining use the original pattern.

If you want to create a pouch with horizontal panels along the zipper, draw a line in the centre at 90 degrees from the straight edge. Again, remember to add extra seam allowance, label the pattern and cut it out. Cut 2 x from external fabric.

To assemble the external panel (for versions 2 & 3), place both external pieces with right sides facing each other, line up on all sides and stitch along the edge where you’ve added seam allowance. Press the seam allowance open or in either direction then you can topstitch along the seam. I am making version 2 in the video tutorial, so you can check it out in case I confused you a little 🙂

Version 2
Version 3

If you want to experiment, even more, try to draw a line at an angle. If you draw a line in the center but at the angle, you will create two symmetrical pieces, so again trace only half of the pattern, add the seam allowance, label your pattern as usual and cut it out. Cut 2 x from external fabric and 1 x lining from the original pattern.

Before you stitch both pieces together, ensure to line them up correctly. It is very easy to make the mistake of lining up all edges (as before) because the pieces are the same after all. Instead, place them next to each other, with right sides facing up, the way they should be once assembled. Next, take one piece and flip it over the other one so the right sides are facing together now. Line up the angled edges (see photo below) and sew the seam.

Version 4
How to line up the pieces correctly.

How does it work for the pieces that are not symmetrical you ask?

To be honest it is exactly the same process, with only one small adjustment. If your pieces aren’t symmetrical, you will need to trace two individual pattern pieces and add seam allowance to both of them. You might want to label your pieces differently, such as 1 of 2, 2 of 2, etc. so you know they belong together.

To assemble non-symmetrical pieces follow the steps in previous version.

Version 5
How to line up the pieces correctly.

These are just basic suggestions on how to adapt the pattern, but you can go even further and divide the main panel into multiply pieces. Always remember to add the seam allowance and line up the pieces in the correct order.

Hope you will find this tutorial helpful. If you have any questions, just write them in the comments section below.

I would love to see your creations so please tag me on Instagram @allsewpetite and join my Facebook group, where you can find inspiration, share your makes and meet like-minded people.

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