I received a beautiful new book making bag from Search Press last autumn called Sew Beautiful Quilted Bags by Japanese author Akemi Shibata. It is full of gorgeous bags, so many I want to make. Most of them are fairly time consuming so I decided to start with a pouch called the village pouch for my first project.

The little village on the front is meant to be needle turn applique, but I wanted something a little faster so I decided to use Wool Felt and machine sew the applique instead.

I changed the colour scheme a little to use my favourite colour, blue. I opted for a lovely Robert Kaufman Yarn Dyed Linen Fabric for my background fabric as it as a nice rustic feel. I used a leftover bit of Navy Fabric from my previous project, the padded lightbox case for the lining of the pouch.

One thing that took me a bit of getting used was the fact the templates in the book don’t include the seam allowance. I traced off the templates from the back of the book using Patterntrace, and the first time I cut the exterior fabrics I forgot to add on the seam allowance, so I had to re-cut it. Luckily because I was doing felt applique I didn’t have to add a seam allowance to the smaller templates for the applique.

The templates for the applique, and the wool felt pieces once cut were tiny. I had to try very hard not to lose any bits before I had chance to stitch them on. If you breathed to hard, or put anything down quickly on the cutting table the templates would flutter away! After I used them I stored them all in an envelope to keep them together in case I want to make the project again.

I used a Hera Marker to make a line so I could line my felt pieces up neatly on the front of the pouch. I decided to use a Glue Pen to temporarily stick the felt into place because I didn’t want bits falling off as I was sewing.

I very slowly stitched them into place.

The construction of the pouch was different to any I’ve made before. After the applique you add a top and bottom border to the front piece. After making the front, you then make the back panel the same way, and add a base piece between the two. Then you add the wadding and lining behind, with some extra lining fabric on the sides.

I quilted the full panel with a cross hatch design, using my hera marker to mark the quilting lines. You then fold the 2 sides of the panel right sides together and sew.

The excess lining fabric is used to wrap around the raw edges like binding, and then hand sew into place.

The top edge gets bound too, to hide the raw edge. Then the zip is hand sewn into place. If I had hand sewn the applique on the front too it would have been a really time-consuming project so I’m glad I switched it to felt.

I split the project over a long weekend doing up to an hour a day so it didn’t feel like it took too long and I was pleased with the result, it’s a really cute pouch. I’m looking forward to making other projects from the book, and I liked it so much I went and bought her first book too.