Monday, October 31, 2011

Creating A Frame Pouch Template

Frame Pouch Along

Of all of our PAL posts this will be the most technical.  It bear with me.  I have done my best to take lots of photos to walk you through my method of creating a frame template.  In addition to reading through my tutorial it might also be a good idea to visit U-Handbag's Tutorial or doing a Google search to find other methods and suggestions out there.  If you find an awesome tutorial do share with us in the comments!  We are all here to learn...including me.   


  • Pouch Frame you intend to use
  • Paper or Pattern-Making Material (I usually use regular printer paper, nothing fancy)
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • A bit of patience and some creativity are always helpful too

1. Outline Your Frame
Yes, I'm really going to be that basic.  Wink.  See?  Easy peasy.  So, get your handy dandy pencil and outline your frame.  Please mark the end of the frame, where the hinges end, with a horizontal linear mark as I have done below.
Outline Frame

2. Mark the Opening Seam Allowance
The seam allowance on the top of your pouch will a standard 1/4" seam allowance.   

Let's mark that seam and start the first bit of our design by finding the highest point of your frame outline. Using the highest point (if your frame is curved then yes, one portion will be higher) take your ruler and measure 1/4" above the outline.  

Mark 1/4" above highest point of frame outline
Next locate where the curve of your frame begins on each side.  You know, where the frame sides begin to curve down...  Make a small mark on each side for those, a dot or a line parallel to the 1/4" mark will work.  [Don't judge my extra mark, I am using have pencil and can hopefully erase!]

mark where the curves begin on your frame

Then create a straight line using these marks.  This will be the opening for your pouch!      
straight line, this will be top seam and opening for pouch

3. Creating the side seams and hinge portion of template
Still with me?  Good.  Here is the trickier part.  We now need to create the sides of the template and we have to keep in mind that the hinges need some breathing room in order to open without tearing your beautiful fabric.  So...I've seen a few methods on this...most get me lost halfway through...  Let's see if I can walk you through my version.  Here we go...

First, take your frame and place it against your straight line.

frame against straight line

Then, here is where I have gotten lost before, turn your frame so that the corner (where the frame starts curving down) meets the edge of the line...
turning frame so corner meets edge of line

You want your frame to be turned to create an angle of 135 degrees.  Why that angle?  I'm not sure, but it is the one that has worked on past why mess with a good thing?  (If you try other angles do tell I'm curious to know how they work!)

135 degrees
As you can see in my hatched out line sometimes takes maneuvering to figure out 135 degrees.  Again, you should be using pencil for a reason!  If you have one you can also use a gridded ruler and turn it so that your straight horizontal line goes through the squares to create the angle.  If not, don't stress, 135 degrees is a suggestion but nothing that will ruin your pouch just try to get it to look close!

Using a lined ruler to get your 135 degree angle

Once the angle nonsense is figured out you will trace the length of your frame to the end of the hinge.  Like so...


Then, and this is where we want to give our hinges some breathing room, you will add 1/2" in length to that seam line.  See my photo...

add 1/2" line to end of trace

Repeat on the other side.  Your template should now look like this:


Before we move onto designing the body what you want to do is make two horizontal linear marks at the end of your template.  This marks that this is what I like to call the Non-Negotiable Section.  Basically, it reminds me that anything above these marks should not be altered because they are drawn to fit the frame I have chosen.  Anything below the lines can be changed a thousand times as you decide what kind of shape you'd like for your pouch.

mark your non-negotiable section

4. Creating the Body of the Template
This is where you are free to do your thing!  I hope you have had a chance to research the type of shape you'd like for your pouch.  I am going with a coin purse type pouch so I've decided to go round.  A first for me.  

So go ahead...put your frame down on your paper so you can have an idea of what size you are going to want to match your frame and start drawing!  

- Calculate a 1/2" seam allowance for your body.  Anything under the Non-Negotiable Section can be altered along the way.  You can always sew a larger seam, but you cannot uncut fabric.  
- Also, if you want the bottom of your pouch to be squared off then you will want to add more length to your design to make up for the squaring off.

Let me demonstrate a bit...

So I started playing around with my round shape and came up with this idea on the left.  But then I decided it didn't come out enough on the sides.  Instead I liked the puffier look on the right.

DSC_0217      DSC_0218

If you want a squared bottom, a pouch that can stand on its own then you will want a straight line at the end of your template.  By squared bottom I mean this:


The advantage of a squared bottom is that it gives the pouch some depth.  You can fit different shaped items inside because the pouch has some openness to hold them with a squared bottom.  I will demonstrate playing around with what amount of squaring off you may want when we get to sewing.

When you make a squared bottom you can have whatever type of sides you'd like.  Straight...or round...

DSC_0223      DSC_0224

Just keep in mind.  Your bottom will be shortened by the squaring off.  So...if you'd like your bottom to be a certain length from your frame I suggest drawing that out in your template and then adding some fabric at the bottom.  I did so here with the red lines to demonstrate.  As I said in the tips above -- you can always change your seams while you sew but you cannot uncut your fabric!

add some length to your bottom if you would like a large squared off bottom
If you have any doubts about the size of your pouch...better to err on the side of caution and add more.  We can always take fabric off later when we sew.  


5. Cutting Out the Template
If you are anything like me you are probably wondering how you are going to even off your design.  If you freehand drew then it is unlikely your design is perfect and even if you used a ruler unless you have graph paper it isn't going to be exact.  So, here is my answer to that...

Start by cutting One Side of your non-negotiable section.  


Then cut the top horizontal line.  Your opening seam.  Once those two sides are cut...fold your paper and do your best to match the corner of your cut seam to the drawn corner of your uncut seam.  You know, even it out.  Wink!


Once your paper is folded start by cutting the 2nd non-negotiable portion.  Then...flip the paper over and see which half of your drawn design you prefer.  When you've chosen, simply keep your paper folded and cut along that line.  This will ensure that your sides match!


The finished template should look like so...


Did this make sense or was it all blahdety blah blah to you?  I hope I was clear and if you have any magical methods of your own do share.  I love improving my techniques with your help!

Tomorrow we will cut fabric and interfacing using your template.  If you'd like to embellish your pouch with embroidery, buttons, pockets or the like think about that now.  You will need to fit that in before we start placing all the pieces together!

Let me know how it is going!  If you have any questions please leave a comment or email me directly!  

- rebecca lynne


Pat Merkle said...

Cool! I don't have time to do this now, but I'm going to try this after Christmas! Thanks for sharing how to do this.

Archie the wonder dog said...

Great tutorial - looking forward to seeing how all the pouches turn out!

Annabella said...

Oh it`s all blahdety blah blah to me Becca...just kidding, I love your tutorial which is lovely and clear and I only wish I was joining in. When I have supplies I`ll make a Becca Pouch and let you know how I get on.

Nikki said...

I've drawn my template yay!

Unknown said...

Rebecca -- This is wonderful! Thank you very much for taking time to put this tutorial for us. It will be very useful for me..the one I can always refer back to.

Katie said...

Awesome directions! I am hoping that the registered package that I missed at home is my supplies. I will find out tomorrow when I go pick it up!

PS, I missed your posts over the weekend. I hope you training went well and can't wait to see your finished quilt!

Pam @Threading My Way said...

Now that's a detailed tutorial!!! I thought I was going to have to find my old protractor from High School for the angles, but then you showed a picture of a gridded ruler. I have never noticed the angle lines on mine before... LOL!!!

Janine @ Rainbow Hare said...

Like Pat, I don't think I can fit this in right now but you've made a great tutorial and I'll certainly give it a try when I have time. Can't wait to see everyone's pouches :)

Bree said...

I've recently become absolutely hooked on using purse frames, so I'm curious to see how you make yours. I like to draw my patterns on freezer paper so I can iron it onto my paper instead of having to pin.

Debra said...

Perfect - I've been looking for a tutorial like this. Thanks for all the details.

Kirsten said...

Thank you so much for this tuutorial - I have made a couple of purses but they turned out to flat so I was wondering how to make them with a flat bottom to make them wider.

Concha de Aromadetela said...

Muchas gracias por el tutorial, todas las ayudas enriquecen los trabajos. Esperare el próximo Gracias.

Unknown said...

many thanks to you,once i do it i will get back to u

Anonymous said...

Finally I get a very useful tutorial. This converts a new idea for me Frame Minimalis

Benta AtSLIKstitches said...

Having messed up version 1 it's great to have this ready for v2! Thanks

flyinDance said...

Hello! Thanks for the tutorial. I tink i got wat u mean, however, how do i draw the non-nego portion if my frame is round? Because every part will be the "turning point". Maybe u can have a tutorial on that? Haha. Thanks for reading!

Unknown said...

Thanks a lot for your tips !
Last year I made a bead crochet bag, and I didn't take account of the opening allowance... I can barely insert my hand in that bag !
All those things are so empirical !!!