Melissa Mortenson from Polka Dot Chair is author of Project Teen: Handmade Gifts your Teens will Actually Love. The book is full of projects you can sew for your tween or teen, because Melissa strongly feels you don’t need to stop sewing for your children just because they are getting older! Find more about the book and see additional project photos on the Polka Dot Chair blog,

Melissa shows you how to make a Monogram Zip Pouch below, perfect for nail polish, lip gloss or to use for pencils and other supplies. All of the projects in Melissa’s book are great for a variety of ages. There are lots of accessories, quilts, a full chapter for teen boys and much more.

Melissa has a giveaway over at Polka Dot Chair for a copy of the book and a selection of her fabric for Riley Blake Designs. Hop over to enter, and find Melissa on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

My name is Melissa Mortenson and I am the girl behind the Polka Dot Chair Blog. I am also a fabric designer for Riley Blake Designs and the author of Project Teen: Handmade Gifts your Teens will Actually Love.

I’m the mom of three teenagers and will readily admit that the day they didn’t want me to make them dresses for church anymore was a sad one for me. I’ve always adored sewing for my children; I loved to make Halloween costumes, Easter dresses, twirly skirts and pretty much anything else that I thought they would like. As they grew they suddenly didn’t want twirly skirts anymore and I found myself at a bit of a crossroads when it came to sewing for them. I wasn’t quite ready to stop making things for them and soon realized that instead of not sewing for them anymore I just needed to alter what I was making. Now I feel pretty passionate about the subject… Why just give that newborn baby a handmade quilt? The teenagers in our life need our love just as much as that new baby.

On my blog (and in my book) I love to share the items that I’ve sewn for my kids in hopes that I’ll help others who are also trying to sew for older kids and teens. My 13-year-old daughter is obsessed with nail polish right now and I thought it would be fun to stitch up a little pouch to hold some of her supplies.

We live in the south and monograms are a big deal here. I don’t have an embroidery sewing machine so I decided to hand stitch a monogram for the front of the case.

If you’d like to make one too, here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1/2 yard of fabric for the pouch outside
  • 1/2 yard of fabric for the pouch lining
  • 14″ zipper
  • 1/2 yard of Pellon Flex Foam
  • 6″ x 6″ or larger square of cross stitch fabric
  • Cotton Embroidery Floss
  • Cross Stitch Needle
  • Embroidery Hoop
  • Package of Jumbo Ric Rack
  • Fabric Safe Pen
  • Pattern piece for pouch

All seam allowances are 1/2″ unless other wise noted.

Step One: Create your Monogram
I chose to create a circle monogram for my zip pouch. I used a circle monogram font (you can find them for free online) and printed it out so it was 3″ x 3″. I then placed the placed out monogram and cross stitch fabric on a light box (you can also use a window) and traced the monogram onto the fabric with a fabric pen (the ink disappears with heat).

After you have created your monogram, stitch the outline. I did not use a cross stitch, but rather a simple back-stitch. I also tried to stay within the “holes” on the fabric as much as possible. On the curves I was not able to do this, and just stitched where I needed to.

A few things to note: You don’t have to use cross stitch fabric. You can use regular cotton fabric, but I liked the texture that the cross stitch fabric added to the project. You also don’t need as large of a piece of fabric as I used. I only had one embroidery hoop and had to cut the fabric to fit inside of it. If you buy a smaller hoop you can use less fabric.

After you have finished your monogram, cut it out in a circle shape leaving a 3/4″ border around all of the stitches. I think it’s best to find a circle at your house that you can trace for this step. Make sure you keep the monogram in the center of the circle, trace a larger circle around it and cut it out.

Next, take your ric rack and pin it to the exterior of the circle. The center of the ric rack will touch the raw edge of the monogram (as shown below).

Stitch the ric rack to the monogram by stitching right down the center of the ric rack. Pivot frequently and go slowly so that you get a nice circle as you stitch.

Fold the ric rack to the back and press. Set aside.

From your pattern piece cut out:

  • From fabric, two pieces for the pouch outside
  • From fabric, two pieces for the pouch lining
  • From foam, two pieces for the pouch interfacing

Stitch the monogram to the center front of one of your pouch outside pieces approx 2″ down from the top of the arch.

Place the cut foam piece behind the cut pouch outside piece. Pin the right side of the zipper to the right side of the pouch along the top arch. The zipper is longer than the pouch and that is okay.

Next place the pouch lining piece on top so that the right side of the lining is facing the wrong side of the zipper. Pin in place. (You’ll have lots of pins.)

Next, stitch through all the layers using your zipper foot. Use the width of your zipper foot as a guide; your seam allowance should be between 1/4″ – 3/8″. Stitch with the foam side up so that the feed dogs on your machine will help to feed the lining piece through evenly.

Clip the curve.

Repeat for the other side of the zipper.

When you’re done you’ll have a piece that looks like this. Top stitch along both sides of the zipper.

Take a second and zip it up to make sure that you’ve inserted the zipper correctly.

Unzip the zipper half way.

Pin the right sides of the pouch outside piece together (including the foam) and pin the right sides of the pouch lining together.

Stitch around the perimeter of the pouch leaving a 3″ opening in the lining piece so that you can turn the pouch right side out. Leave the cut out square shapes in the corners unstitched.

Pinch all four corners of the pouch and stitch 1″ up from the cut raw edges. Cut off the extra part of the zipper.

Turn the pouch right side out. Stitch the opening in the lining closed and you’re done!

If you’d like to make the pom pom to attach to the zipper you can find a tutorial on my blog to make one.

I mentioned before that I’ve written a book and designed a line of fabric. I’m giving away a copy of my book and a selection of my fabric on my blog today. Stop by to enter!