Hello there!  Today I’m excited to share about what I’m calling a ripstop pouch parade.  I love ripstop fabric and appreciate that Minerva carries multiple colors and fabric base options within the ripstop category.  

I have to confess that the initial inspiration was finding ways to enjoy my leftover fabrics from the reversible ripstop vest that I made with Minerva in February.   

In case you’re not familiar with ripstop fabric, I thought I’d share a definition from Wikipedia:

“Ripstop fabrics are woven fabrics, often made of nylon, using a special reinforcing technique that makes them resistant to tearing and ripping. During weaving, (thick) reinforcement yarns are interwoven at regular intervals in a crosshatch pattern. 

Advantages of ripstop are the favorable strength-to-weight ratio and that small tears can not easily spread. Fibers used to make ripstop include cotton, silk, polyester, and polypropylene, with nylon content limited to the crosshatched threads that make it tear-resistant.”

The ripstop that I used for these projects also includes a water resistant layer added to the fabric.

Another inspiration for this project was from hiking, boating, and camping gear.  I love items that have a dual purpose.  I enjoy pouches and bags and find them handy to use and also to give as gifts.  I love that ripstop is lightweight and also sturdy.  One example of a dual purpose feature is with a roll-top dry bag.  It can hold clothing and the bag also be used as a pillow when camping.  Although I’m not an avid hiker, boater, or camper I appreciate the dual purpose details in their gear.

In today’s post, I’ve made four projects that I’ll be sharing about: 

  1. Drawstring Stuff Sack

  2. Patchwork Stowe Bag

  3. Roll-Top Dry Bag

  4. Water Bottle Carrier

For reference, I used the following sewing machines for the projects:

I used a walking foot, buttonhole foot and zipper foot with the machines mentioned above.

Supplies (for all four projects)

  • 70/10 Microtex needles

  • Ripstop fabric - 1m Red, 0.6m Navy, 0.6m Black

  • (0.5m+ ) cording

  • Fabric clips 

  • Pinking shears

  • Spray bottle (filled with water)

  • Small Towel

  • Batting

  • Walking foot

  • Safety pin 3/16” wide

  • Navy all purpose sewing thread

  • Awl

  • (2) Cord toggles

  • (4) cones navy serger thread

Before sewing each of the four projects, I tested the right and wrong sides of the ripstop.  The fabric base includes a water resistant layer.  The right side of the fabric has a spherical water beading action that occurs when you spray water on it.  I prefer to test both sides of the fabric to easily see which is the right side.  Reference the photo below to see the water bead profile on both the right and wrong sides of the fabric.  The fabric in the lower right corner is the right side of the fabric (with the spherical beads).

After I sprayed water on each side of the fabric, I used a small towel (mentioned in the supply list) to wipe off the fabric. 

Drawstring Stuff Sack

I call this first project a stuff sack (referencing the camping term) but it’s really just a drawstring bag.  This bag is quick to sew and handy to have in multiple sizes.  I utilized french seams as the seam finish.

I wanted to mention that I loved the cording that I used for this project (and the water bottle carrier).  As a knitter I appreciated the construction is a tiny i-cord (a knit tube).  I’d love to use this cording for more projects, it’s really nice and very inexpensive.   

Directions:

  1. Cut two pieces of ripstop at 8.5” wide x 15” tall.

  2. Lay the fabrics with the wrong sides together.

  3. With a ¼” seam allowance, stitch along the right side, bottom and left side of the fabric.

  4. Using pinking shears, trim the three seams down to 1/8”.

  5. Turn the pouch inside out (the wrong side will be facing).

  6. Pushing the corners out and flattening the seams, stitch around the same three sides at a 3/8” seam allowance.

  1. To the pouch right side out.

  2. Using a buttonhole sewing foot and buttonhole stitch, sew two buttonholes spaced between a side seam.  For this pouch, I utilized an oblong default buttonhole (shown in the photo below).  If you don’t have this same buttonhole on your machine, any size buttonhole will do: 

  1. Using an awl, poke into the center of the buttonholes to open up the fabric.

  2. Fold the top of the pouch to the inside at approximately ½” wide.  Stitch around this fold at a 3/8” seam allowance.

  1. Fold the top of the pouch in again 1”.  Stitch a seam around the top of the pouch at ¾” seam allowance (making the drawstring channel).  This step also encloses the raw edge along the top of the fabric.

  1. Cut a piece of cord 22” long.

  2. Using a small safety pin, attach the safety pin into one of the cord ends.

  3. Carefully feed the safety pin through one of the button holes, around the channel and out the other button hole.

  1. Thread the cord ends into the cord toggle and then knot the ends.  

After this project was complete I decided to store small wool balls from my crafting stash inside the pouch.  

I have plans to make some Christmas gifts with these wool balls.

Patchwork Stowe Bag

The inspiration for this project was a patchwork reusable bag that I saw online (linked to reference the image source).  The style of this bag reminded me of the Stowe bag sewing pattern (I made the Large version of this pattern in this post). 

I loved the idea of utilizing scraps of ripstop fabric for this project (that might otherwise be too small to sew).  I wanted to sew the Small version of the pattern for this project.  I started out by laying out scraps of fabric under the pattern piece.

I serged the scraps of fabric together.  I decided to keep the serged seams on the outside of the bag for a fun decorative element.  I kept the thread navy for all of the seams (to save time not changing out threads). 

I serged around the curves at the top edges of the bag to finish the fabric.  The final piece of fabric (pieced together was 17” wide and 18” tall.

To reinforce the seams, I stitched each of the serged seams flat (with a straight stitch on a standard sewing machine).  I ironed the fabric on a dry, nylon setting prior to sewing each seam.  

For one of the side pieces I found I was slightly too small with the pieced fabric.  I decided to add two small scraps from the red fabric to cut out the handles.

I omitted the inside pockets included in the pattern.  I felt that pockets would make the sides of the bag droop.  I love the bag construction in this pattern with the boxed bottom and folded handles:

I’m planning to keep this little bag in my purse for a reusable shopping bag.  I love how small and lightweight it is.  It stands up nicely when filled with yarn or wool balls.

Roll-Top Dry Bag

A roll-top dry bag is a simple bag that is rolled at the top and then snapped for the closure.  Rolling the top allows the air to be squeezed out for a compression option to save space.  The top can be rolled more or less times depending on how much is included inside the bag.

I used yarn to store inside the bag in the photos.  For reference, I rolled the top down six times (so clearly I could fit more yarn inside this bag).

For this project I followed the following free tutorial: https://youtu.be/eceP-Lbgt-0

Supplies I used for this project:

  • 1 square ripstop fabric piece 27” x 27”

  • One 1” Strap Buckle Fastener

  • 2x webbing 9.5” long

  • 1x webbing 12.5” long

I did not use seam tape for my project (as suggested in the video).  I utilized french seams for this project as well (as mentioned in the stuff sack project above).  I left the side seam extending from the outside of the fabric.  I forgot to put the wrong sides together at the first sewing step (so I left the french seam on the outside to keep the right side out).

For the step where the buckles are sewn to the webbing, I like to use a zipper foot.  I also shift the sewing needle to be closer to the edge for a closer seam.

I know one application I will enjoy using this bag with is traveling.  I can have one bag to hold clean clothes and a second bag to hold dirty laundry.  The compression element with rolling down the top is great to save space with travel (and I love the idea of also using this as a pillow for the car or while camping).

Water Bottle Carrier

This last project is one that I’ve been wanting to make for a long time.  The water bottle pictured is one that I use a lot.  A lot of times people loop the connector on the lid around a bag and then screw the lid on top (to carry the bottle hands free).  The plastic loop holds the bottle to a backpack.  My problem has been how to carry this bottle hands free when I won’t have a bag with me.  I have wanted to make a lightweight bag to hold this bottle and I wanted to wear this bag cross bodied.

The first tool I used for this project was an Olfa compass cutter.  

I love this product!  It’s a compass with a built-in cutting blade.  The blade saves you a step so you can cut out a circle at the same time that you trace it.  I really like that it comes with extra blades, a protective rubber pad and a cover that holds them all together.  The ruler markings on the side are easy to measure with cutting various sized circles.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a tutorial online that recommends you cut a 2” circle (and recommends finding a bowl or vase in your house to trace for that dimension).  A lot of times I can’t find a physical object that matches the dimension recommended in the tutorial.  I love that you can measure and draw as many different circles as you’d like with the compass detail.  

I’m going to share how I made a cover for my 32 oz. water bottle.  If your water bottle has different dimensions, feel free to reference your own bottle’s dimensions to customize your own carrier. 

Supplies

  • 20” long cording

  • Olfa Compass cutter

  • 0.5m ripstop nylon

  • 0.25m batting

  • Cord toggle

  • Fabric clips

  • Ruler

I first cut out a circle with a 3” radius.  For the paper, I used a stiff watercolor paper that I had on hand (for a reusable template).

I calculated on this template the batting thickness, seam allowances, and then the outer water bottle dimension.

Ripstop - Cut one piece of fabric from the circle template and one piece 10” wide and 19 3/8” long.  

To calculate the rectangle that goes around the bottle, I used 2r as the circumference of a circle (to determine the length of the rectangle). 

Batting - The batting that I used for my project was repurposed lining material from a Misfits Market box (a blemished organic product subscription box service).  The company lines their boxes with this material to insulate produce during shipping.  The batting material is recycled sewing threads, lint, and small fabric scraps that have been pressed together.  If you don’t have access to this same material, you can use traditional quilting batting or any other material you have on hand to insulate.  The thickness of my material is approximately 1”.  If you don’t have batting this thick, you could layer multiple pieces of batting together to get a 1” width.  If your sewing machine can’t handle sewing this thickness, you could hand sew the batting together.

Cut one piece of batting from the circle template and one piece 7” wide and 19 3/8” long.

I kept the batting separate from the ripstop bag (so the outer bag can be removed and easily washed).

Directions:

For the batting and ripstop, use fabric clips to align the rectangle around the circle.

With a ¼” seam allowance, sew around the circle first (leaving an opening at the side seam) and then sew up the side seam.  I then sewed the side seam to the remaining circle as the last step.  For the side seam, I used a ¾” seam allowance, trimmed the excess fabric and finished the seams with a serger.

I trimmed the excess batting and ripstop along the side seam.

Strap - I used ripstop for the strap to keep the carrier lightweight.  I cut (2) 3” wide and 40.5” wide pieces of ripstop fabric.  I serged these two long pieces of fabric together along one 3” end for one long strap.  I stitched this serged seam flat for added strength.  I folded the long edge of the strap in half (right side facing) and serged along each of the two edges (along the fold and raw edges).

I measured the strap on my body and ended up with a 72” long strap with 5” folded under at each of the two ends of the fabric.  I stitched a box stitch to reinforce the strap ends to the outer bag.

For the drawstring detail I followed the same steps as mentioned in the stuff sack project.

I love this bag and am super excited to use it this fall!  The lightweight and water resistant elements with the fabric are so helpful for this water bottle carrier application.

Final thoughts:

Ripstop is a fun fabric to work with!  It is slippery but if you stitch slowly and use a walking foot (or a teflon foot or add tape under your sewing foot) the process of sewing it is well worth it for the end products.  

You may laugh but I had more pouches planned to make for this post (but I ran out of time).

I plan to get outside this fall and enjoy using these pouches with camping and knitting adventures.

Let me know if you have worked with ripstop before or if you’ve decided to jump in and give it a try!  Thank you so much and happy sewing to you!

Rachel (@oakbluedesigns)