Anna from Noodlehead did a pattern review for us earlier in the year (here’s her introduction). We are so excited to have her back here today, sharing her Binder Pouch Tutorial for our month of Back to School fun! Anna has lots of great tutorials on her blog so be sure to visit and enjoy (we love the Bicycle Bucket!).

From Anna: I had this project saved on my to-do list for a looong time… I’m so glad Sew,Mama,Sew! is doing a Back to School month! I love this project because of course I love zippers, but I think this will be a great project to send to school with your kiddos. You can even make it super-personalized by having your kids pick out the fabrics, or adding an initial, or you could even embroider a favorite animal— Go crazy! Extra bonus: when you make it yourself you know it’ll hold up to a lot of wear and tear.


  • Scraps of fabric (or 1/4 yard or even a fat quarter of the main print will work)
  • 10″ Zipper or larger (you can shorten any regular zipper, just follow the directions on the package)
  • Scrap of see-through vinyl, available at your local sewing store
  • 3 (3/8″) Grommets
  • Scrap of interfacing
  • Optional: Bias tape to cover the seams (store bought or make your own)
  • Sewing machine, thread, etc.
    {All seam allowances 1/2″ unless otherwise noted.}

Cut Fabrics:

  • From one scrap cut a piece 6.5″ tall by 4″ wide, from another scrap cut two pieces: one 6.5″ tall by 6″ wide and the other piece will be the back, so cut it 6.5″ tall by 11″ wide.
  • From the vinyl cut one piece 6.5″ tall by 3″ wide.
  • For the grommet tab cut a piece of fabric 3.5″ tall by 11″ wide and fuse your scrap of interfacing to the wrong side.
    {This is just a cautionary statement, sewing through the vinyl isn’t easy breezy so if you don’t feel up to it, skip the vinyl, and just make that piece fabric. It’ll still turn out super cool.}

Make Front Exterior of Pouch:

First, grab your small fabric piece and vinyl piece and line up the 6.5″ sides wrong sides facing. Sew together.

Take the larger fabric piece, wrong sides together aligning the 6.5″ side. Sew together, press both seam toward fabric.

Topstitch on either side of the vinyl patch (on the fabric).

Assemble the Three Ring Binder Grommet Tab:

Fold the grommet tab in half the long way, wrong sides facing.

Sew using a 5/8″ seam allowance on both of the short edges. Clip corners. Turn right side out.

Topstitch along both short edges and the sewn long edge (the open edge will be enclosed once you go to sew the pouch together).

Assemble Pouch:

Fold both the front and the back pieces down by 1/2″ toward the wrong side and press. The vinyl won’t fold as well, but just try and make it do the best you can. Place your zipper right side up (with teeth and pull tab facing you).

Pin the back of the pouch in place along the zipper teeth. Topstitch in place close to the zipper teeth.

This next step is where a Teflon foot (although I’m not sure they make a zipper Teflon foot?) would come in handy, otherwise you can make do with a piece of scotch tape placed on the bottom side of your sewing machine’s foot. The tape will help the zipper foot slide across the vinyl.

Next, take the front of the pouch, pin it in place along the zipper teeth and topstitch in place close to the zipper teeth.

Now take the pouch and fold it so the RIGHT sides are together. Along the bottom edge of the pouch (opposite site to the zipper), slip the grommet tab into place along the edge aligning the raw edges of the grommet tab with the raw edges of the pouch.

Pin along all edges. Make sure zipper is open about half way. Sew along all three sides, making sure not the sew through the grommet tab. I found it easier to sew with the vinyl window section facing up (although my picture shows me doing it differently), also using the scotch tape trick at this point.

Finishing Seams:

You could just leave the pouch as is at this point, zig-zag, or serge the edges. As another option, you could use binding to cover up the raw edges as well.

I serged my seams and then clipped the corners with my pinking shears.

Flip right side out and press!
Insert Grommets:

Using a water soluble pen (or regular pen for that matter), make a dot on the grommet tab in the center of the tab at the 0″, 4.25″, and 8.5″ marks. Now here’s where you may want to just grab the binder you’ll be using with the pouch and make sure everything aligns right before you install the grommets. It’ll be much easier to make slight adjustments now rather than have a non-functioning pencil pouch just because the grommets don’t align with the binder rings. Install the grommets using the directions on the packaging.

Fill with some pencils and pens or markers, snap it into your binder and you’re all set!

Win a free pattern. Every day this month you have a chance to win our Back to School Featured Pattern!

WIN A SERGER! Enter our contest for your chance to win a Husqvarna Viking s21 Serger (retail value $1199)!