Hello from Australia! I’m so excited to be here to share my very first tutorial as a Fabric Project Designer. I’m Lauren from Molly and Mama and I LOVE designing pretty and practical fabric projects. As part of the Sea Life theme, I’ve created a cute little appliqué pouch that features different sea animal appliqués, a lace zipper opening, and bound edges. It’s large enough to hold a couple of your favourite novels, your weekend trip sewing notions or art supplies too. Reinforced with fusible fleece, it’s also sturdy. Perfect for scraps, this design is fat quarter friendly too. Read on to find out how to put this cute project together.

Sea Life Applique Pouch

FINISHED SIZE: approximately 11.5″ wide and 14″ high

NOTES: Please read through all the instructions before beginning the project. A 1/4″ seam allowance is used (unless stated otherwise). The finish of your project will also benefit from the use of a 1/4″ sewing machine foot, a zipper foot and a clear open-mouthed appliqué foot.

Pouch Materials Required

  • 6 fat quarters of printed quilting fabric (5 for the pouch and 1 for the binding)
  • 11.5″ x 9.5″ rectangle of white quilting fabric for the appliqué
  • Fabric scraps for the appliqué (I used 8 different coordinating prints, the largest being 9″ tall and 4″ wide)
  • 13.5″ lace zipper (1″ wide, measured from end to end)
  • Heat’n’Bond Fusible Fleece
  • Heat’n’Bond EZ Print Lite
  • Spray’n’Bond Basting Spray
  • Saved template files
  • Various shades of thread (to complement your fabric selection)
  • General sewing supplies, including a rotary cutter, acrylic ruler and self-healing cutting mat

Cutting Guide

  • From the white quilting fabric, cut an 11.5″ x 9.5″ rectangle.
  • From Fabric One, cut an 11.5″ x 2.5″ rectangle and cut an 11.5″ x 5″ rectangle.
  • From Fabric Two, cut an 11.5″ square.
  • From the Heat’n’Bond Fusible Fleece cut an 11.5″ square, cut an 11.5″ x 2.5″ rectangle and cut an 11.5″ x 14″ rectangle.
  • From Fabric Three and Fabric Four, cut an 11.5″ x 14″ rectangle.
  • From Fabric Five, cut strips of fabric measuring 2″ wide, to make 60″ of continuous binding.

Sea Life Applique Pouch Instructions

Sew the Pouch Front

Print the two template pages onto the Heat’n’Bond EZ Print Lite paper, following the instructions on the pack. You can access a copy of the templates HERE. Please note that all shapes on both templates have already been reversed for use.

Roughly cut around the outline of each shape leaving a small 1/4″ border.

TIP: Save your off-cuts to use for future small appliqué projects.

Press each shape onto the wrong side of your chosen fabrics, following the package instructions. I used a different print for each shape, with two green shades for the seaweed shapes.

Cut out each shape on the line and peel off the backing paper.

Position the seaweed shapes on the rectangle of white quilting fabric. Place the shape ends along the base of the fabric width (no closer than 1/4″ from the fabric edge) and fuse in place by following the package instructions.

Machine appliqué the raw fabric edges using your preferred stitch type and complementary thread colours. I used a blanket stitch for the tall seaweed on the left and a straight stitch for the right-hand seaweed.

Position the 11.5″ x 2.5″ rectangle of Fabric One along the base of the white appliqué rectangle with right sides facing and sew together. Press the seam down towards the print fabric.

Using the photo as a guide, position the fish shapes on the white fabric. Remember to leave at least 1/4″ seam allowance from the fabric edge and 1″ of space from the fabric top (for the zipper). Press in place.

Position the starfish under the tall seaweed and the shell to the left of the right-hand seaweed, so that they overlap the print fabric on the base. Press in place.

Appliqué all shapes using coordinating thread colours and your preferred stitch type. Set panel aside.

Use the package instructions to fuse the 11.5″ square of fusible fleece to the wrong side of the 11.5″ square of Fabric Two.

Place the Appliqué Panel and Fabric Two square together with right sides facing and sew together along the top edge. Fold Fabric Two behind the panel and press the top seam flat. To help secure the Appliqué Panel to the fusible fleece behind it, you may wish to use the Spray’n’Bond Basting Spray.

Fold the 11.5″ x 5″ Fabric Two rectangle in half (so that it is 2.5″ wide) and press to create a fold line. On one half of the fabric, secure the 11.5″ x 2.5″ rectangle of Fusible Fleece to the wrong side. Fold back over and secure the other side with Basting Spray if you wish. This forms the top of the pouch front.

Install the Zipper

Place the Appliqué Panel face up on a flat surface. Position the folded fabric panel (you just created) above the Appliqué Panel, so that the folded edge is at the base and the sides of both panels align.

Position the lace zipper over both fabric edges. My zip opens on the right as I am left-handed. Be sure the length of the zip is centered and the metal ends of the zip are not over the fabric. Ensure the zip is closed before pinning in place.

Using a zipper foot, stitch the base of the zip in place along the lace edge, about 1/8” (3mm) below the zip teeth. Be sure to catch the Appliqué Panel fabric edge in this stitching.

Use the same method to sew the top of the zip in place over the folded edge of Fabric 2. You may need to change the zipper foot to the opposite side. Check that the zipper opens and closes freely.

With the zip open halfway, trim the extra length of the zip away and secure the ends with a few small back stitches. This forms the front of the pouch.

Here’s a view of the back, after the zipper has been installed.

Assemble the Pouch

Now that the front of the pouch is complete, it’s time to create a quilted piece for the back of the pouch. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, press the 11.5″ x 14″ rectangle of Fusible Fleece to the wrong side of the 11.5″ x 14″ rectangle of Fabric Three. Use basting spray to secure the 11.5″ x 14″ rectangle of Fabric Four to the other side. Quilt using your preferred method (I stitched diagonal lines in the panel).

Place this completed panel on a flat surface with the outside or back of the pouch facing down. Position the pouch front face up on top of it. Pin the layers together.

From the Fabric Five fat quarter, cut four 2″ strips from the width. Join them on the diagonal to create one long fabric strip. Press it in half lengthways to create a 1″ wide binding strip.

Bind the outside of the pouch using your preferred method.

Your pouch is now complete!

Here’s a view of the back.

MODIFICATIONS: This project can also use a plain zipper if you prefer. You can rearrange the appliqué designs, create new designs of your own, or use the project instructions to feature your favourite fabrics instead.

Happy Stitching!

I hope you’ve found this project straight forward and fun. If you’ve enjoyed it, you might like to stop by my blog and check out the other simple tutorials I have there. You’ll find tips for appliqué, working with wool felt, English paper piecing and more.

If you make the Sea Life Pouch be sure to share it with me. I get such a buzz out of seeing my designs in the wild! Visit me on Facebook or share it on Instagram and tag @mollyandmama. Use the hashtags #thermoweb #heatnbond  and #mollyandmama.

Happy stitching, Lauren x