Quilt & go: how to sew a travel pouch

How to make a travel pouch sewing tutorial

Grab your quilting supplies and get moving with this fun tutorial by Jo Carter, as she shows us how to sew a stylish travel pouch. This project is one of a pair – you can find a boxed twist on this design in issue 40 of Love Patchwork & Quilting magazine, in shops in the UK next week.

We love love love this cute zip-up pouch as it’s a great stash-buster for using up those smaller pieces of fabric in your collection which aren’t big enough to form a substantial part of a full-sized quilt, plus who doesn’t love to show off their quilting skills on their travels? Read on for Jo’s free how to sew a travel pouch tutorial! She shows you what to do step-by-step and we’ve even provided free downloadable templates so you can make sure your pouch measures up.

You will need…

Finished size

9in x 7in x 3in approx


  • Seam allowances are ½in, unless otherwise noted.
  • Wash and press all fabrics well before cutting.
  • RST = right sides together.
  • WST = wrong sides together.
  • Templates include seam allowances, where necessary
  • Fractions: We love our website but it has a few font restraints when it comes to showing you fractions. To make sure all is clear, if we feature a fraction we will always list it with a gap to make it clear – as follows 12 ½in = 12 and a half inches

Fabrics used

  • Print fabrics are from the Euclid collection and the Doe collection, both by Carolyn Friedlander for Robert Kaufman
  • Solid fabrics are Jade Green, Cactus, Azure and Silver from the Kona Cotton Solids collection by Robert Kaufman

Cutting out

  1. From Fabric A, using the free template (above), cut two (2) exterior centre panels and two (2) zip end covers.
  2. From Fabric B, using the free template (above), cut two (2) exterior side panels and two (2) reverse exterior side panels.
  3. From Fabric C, using the free template (above), cut two (2) exterior end panels and two (2) reverse exterior end panels.
  4. From lining fabric, using the free template (above), cut two (2) linings.
  5. From the batting, using the free template (above), cut two (2) linings.

How to sew a travel pouch patchwork detail

How to sew a box-bottomed travel pouch tutorial

Making the exterior panels

Step one: Take one exterior centre side panel, one exterior side panel, one exterior end panel, one reverse exterior side panel and one reverse exterior end panel. Arrange the pieces as shown. Join the pieces on each side of the exterior centre side panel and then join these units to the exterior centre side panel. Press.
How to sew a quilted travel pouch step 1

Step two: Place the exterior panel right side up on top of one of the batting pieces. Baste the layers together using your preferred method.

Step three: Quilt as desired. Jo quilted a concentric circle pattern. She also quilted in the ditch where the exterior side panel meets the exterior end panel to provide a guide when forming the box corners.

Step four: Repeat steps 8 and 9 to make a second quilted exterior panel.

How to sew a travel pouch zip detail

How to attach the zip

Step five: Take the zip end covers and, WST, fold in half widthways, then press. Open out and, WST, fold each short end over so the raw edges just meet at the centre crease. Fold in half again along the original fold and press.

how to sew a quilted travel pouch fig 2


Step six: Trim the ends of the zip so that it is exactly 9in long. Fit one end of the zip inside the fold of one of the zip end covers so that the end of the zip meets the centre fold. Sew across the open end of the zip end cover, just inside the fold, to seal in the end of the zip.

Step seven: Repeat step six for the other end of the zip.

how to sew a quilted travel pouch fig 3

Step eight: Take one exterior panel and place it right side up. Matching up the raw edges, position the zip on top, right side down, along the top edge, ½in in at either end. Take one lining piece and, matching up the raw edges, place it on top, right side down. Pin the layers together along the top edge.

Step nine: Using a zipper foot and a ¼in seam allowance, sew along the top edge. One side of the zip will now be trapped between an exterior and lining. Flip the lining so that the exterior and lining are now wrong sides together.

Step ten: Repeat steps 8–9 for the other edge of the zip with the remaining exterior panel and lining.

Step 11: Press the seams on both sides of the zip, then topstitch from the exterior side along both sides of the zip. There will now be an exterior/lining panel on each side of the zip.

how to sew a quilted travel pouch fig 4

Joining the pouch

Step 12 Open out the exterior and lining pieces so that the exteriors are RST and the linings are RST. Pin. Push the zip end covers up and away from the exterior pieces and sew around the outside of the exteriors. Re-position the zip end covers and then sew the linings together in the same way, but this time leaving an opening of approx 5in in the centre bottom.

how to sew a quilted travel pouch fig 5

Step 13: With the whole pouch still wrong sides out, re-position one of the bottom corners of the exterior by folding one of the side seams towards the bottom seam. Line up the two seams to form a triangle and pin together.

How to sew a travel pouch base detail

Step 14: Measure and mark 2 ½in from the corner along each folded edge, then join these points to mark your sewing line – the seams in the exterior side panel fall at these points so you can use these as a guide. Sew along the marked line across the corner and then trim away the excess fabric using a ½in seam allowance.

Step 15: Repeat step 14 for the opposite exterior corner. Then repeat for the lining corners, but this time without trimming away the excess fabric.


how to sew a quilted travel pouch fig 6

Finishing the pouch

Step 16: Carefully turn the pouch right side out through the gap in the lining. Hand stitch the gap in the lining closed and press. Push the lining neatly down inside the pouch.

Step 17: If you want to add a tie-pull on the zip, cut one (1) 8in x 1in strip of fabric and fold it in half WST lengthways, then press. Open out and, WST, fold each long side over so the raw edges just meet at the centre crease. Then fold in half again along the original fold and press.

Step 18: Topstitch down the long edge where the folds meet to secure. Trim one end diagonally and feed it through the zip pull. Knot the two ends together and then trim both ends diagonally to finish.

Hooray! You’ve made your very own quilted travel pouch! Not only do you get to show off your quilty skills everywhere you go from now on, but you’ll have the most stylishly-sewn travel gear in town! If you like this tutorial, don’t miss issue 40 of Love Patchwork & Quilting magazine to see Jo’s boxy twist on this travel bag design (below) and check out Jo’s blog, www.twoowls.typepad.co.uk to see what she’s making at the mo.

Jo Carter travel pouch