Need a last-minute gift and have a couple of hours to spare? In-the-hoop pouches are my new go-to, fast-to-make projects – made even easier with my Viking Designer EPIC.
Let’s say you have a party to go to, or you found out your brother’s dating someone new and she’s not on your holiday list, or you’re meeting a friend for lunch and you totally forgot to get something for them.
Yes, you could stop at the grocery store and pick up flowers and chocolate on your way there, but that means getting dressed way earlier than you need to and making an extra stop. With just a few ingredients from your stash, you can have these super-cute pouches done in no-time.
I used a built-in EPIC design for this project, but changed pretty much everything about it after the zipper insertion. I played with different designs and even tried resizing the pouch, which worked out fairly well. The way we will work on this project is to do enough of it to get the zipper placed, and then skip a bunch of steps to where we have added our own touches.
Admittedly, I’m very, very new to embroidery, and still very nervous about doing embroidery on my own, so I’m thankful my assistant, Sarah, embroiders, and of course being able to reach out to a Viking Owner’s Facebook Group whenever I have questions is a great help.
Note: the steps that follow are specifically for the Designer EPIC. If you have a different machine, I’m sure that there’s a way for you to do this, but I can’t tell you how. 🙂
Materials for Each Pouch
- (2) 7″ x 11″ solid fabric rectangles (I used Kona Robin Egg, Chinese Red, and Snow)
- (2) 7″ x 11″ holiday print rectangles (I used Windham Fabrics Season’s Greetings Red by Whistler Studios)
- 4-6 spools assorted Aurifil 50wt threads (yes! You can embroider with it! I used colors 2310, 1103, 2805, 2425, 4644, and 2847)
- (1) 8″ zipper (keep these on hand! It’s a great size!)
- Mid-weight stabilizer – enough to hoop the 260mm x 200mm hoop
And in case you hadn’t deduced – we’re hooping this in the 260×200 hoop!
Setting Up the Project
There’s an ITH Pouch project already loaded in the EPIC. Say what?!?! YES! If you look in the Sampler book on page 103, you’ll see the pouch and some brief instructions. I’m not going to reinvent the wheel, but I’ll walk you through the steps to change the embroidery on the pouch from what’s in the book to whatever you want it to be.
Go ahead and hoop your stabilizer and get ready to stitch! You’ll be stitching in no time. Also change to the Q foot and your single-hole plate.
On the EPIC screen, switch over to the embroidery setting (top right slider), click the embroidery menu (flower), and navigate to menu G Fantasy Designs, and select design 60. (Hold your finger on the design to pop it onto the screen.)
Make sure you select the 260×200 hoop if you didn’t do that already. (You can go into Settings and tell the machine which hoops you own so they appear at the top.)
You can quickly center this design in the hoop by selecting the design on screen and pressing the center align button below. Easy!
If you want to resize the pouch there are a couple of ways to do it. One way is just to touch one of the corner handles and drag it. The design will give you a red outline when it’s too big for the hoop. The original size pouch is the Kona Snow; the pouch resize I did this way is the Robin Egg. I’ll talk about the resize for the Chinese Red pouch further down.
Note: be careful when resizing ITH projects, especially with zippers or other fasteners. If you do a proportional resize, you’ll change the zipper placement lines and that can get a little dicey. Instead of grabbing a corner, you can grab a side handle and just make the pouch wider.
The way this design is set up, the first 5 steps involve placing the zipper and stitching/stabilizing the outer pouch fabrics, the 6th step has a final step in stabilizing the outer pouch and begins the embroidery of the flower.
Now, in this design, the first 6 steps are shown in white thread, so you can’t see the lines. I like changing these threads to a different color so I can see what’s happening.
To change the colors, click the color palette (below the favorites folder) and select the color you want to change, then click the color wheel. If you want to change all 6 steps to the same color, click the multi-select button, select the colors you want to change, then click the color wheel. (See page 119 of the User Manual.)
Adding More Designs
This is going to look a little strange, but if you don’t want to take this design into software to modify it, you can do some basic things on screen.
I’m going to add three more designs to this pouch: loopy stitching, a snowflake, and some text.
The loopy design is G39 and the snowflake is H004.
G39 needs to be rotated; that’s on page 113 of the manual. I rotated this and resized it, then moved it so that the top of the design wouldn’t hit the zipper. You can see the outside shape of the pouch which gives you some guidelines for resizing. Repeat this step for the snowflake.
The loopy design can be added twice (once for the front, once for the back), or you can hold your finger on the design and select the Duplicate button.
For the text, I used the built-in font Mesa 30, which is a great size for this pouch. You can check page 120 of the manual for text editing instructions.
Once you get everything moved to where you want it, the next step is to make sure the designs stitch out in roughly the correct order.
Click the Toolbox and then the earlier/later buttons to move designs around. You want the pouch to stitch first, then the loops, then the text, then the snowflake.
Starting the Stitch Out
You’re ready to stitch! Press the GO button and confirm all the options on the screen.
Note: Color Block Sort is NOT a good idea,so make sure it’s not selected. ITH projects need to stitch out in their original order. We will play with the other steps as they stitch out. Press continue, then let the embroidery arm move to the starting position.
Do you have a full bobbin? It’s a good idea to check the bobbin before you start. Insert your hoop and make sure you hear the click! Thread your needle with something that matches your zipper.
Press the start/stop button. (Funny story: when my Sapphire was my primary machine, I used to press this button by accident and it scared me so much I tried to forget it ever existed. I can’t tell you how long I sat there the first time I tried to embroider and looked for the “Start” button on the screen!
C0lor 1 is the zipper placement. I just think this is so cool!
The machine will stitch these lines, and if you have mySewMonitor on your phone, you’ll get a notification when the machine is ready for the next step. The touch screen will tell you too.
Lay your zipper on the hoop, aligning it between the placement lines. It’s going to be bigger than the hoop, and that’s okay. You could probably get away with a 7″ zipper, but after doing a couple of these, I don’t mind using a longer zipper, because you can completely avoid the metal stop tab and resize the zipper after everything is stitched.
Oh! I got nervous about the zipper moving, so I used some washi tape to hold it in place.
Press the start/stop button to embroider Color #2, which stitches down the zipper. Don’t worry about the pull tab; we will relocate it just fine. The stitch you see across the zipper is just a jump stitch.
Place the back outer fabric of the pouch right side down, covering the zipper, and aligned with the upper edge. Stitch Color #3.
Flip the outer fabric toward the back of the hoop. If you want to outline the shape of the pouch, stitch Color #4. If you want a larger pouch, skip to the next step. You can use more washi tape to hold the fabric in place if you want.
Place the back outer fabric of the pouch right side down, covering the zipper, and aligned with the lower edge. On the touch screen, tap Color #5. This will skip #4 and start stitching from this point.
Flip the outer fabric toward the front of the hoop. If you want to outline the shape of the pouch, stitch Color #6. If you want a larger pouch, skip to the next step. You can use washi tape to hold the fabric in place if you want.
If you’re planning to stitch Color #6, you need to stay at the machine so you can interrupt this step right after it finishes the outline, to prevent it from starting to stitch the flower. Get ready to hit the stop button as soon as you hear it cut the threads and move to the flower position.
You’re going to skip the remaining Colors 1:7-17 – that gets you past all the original colors on the pouch. Starting with Colors 2:1 will be your loopy design. (Oh, I should mention I was playing with grouping and such so your loopy designs will probably show as 2:1-3 and 3:1-3 instead of 2:1-6.) The important thing is to understand what each color does. Color 2:1 (and Color 3:1 or 2:4 in mine) are tacking stitches. Color 2:2 (and 3:2 or 2:5) is the dark brown loop, and Color 2:3 (and Color 3:3 or 2:6) is the light brown loop.
To minimize the color changes, I manually skip around the steps to stitch them in the order I want. At this point I want to change my thread color to what I want for the dark loop. The machine doesn’t know what thread you have in! Just pick a color you want. On my pouches, the dark loops were:
- Chinese Red pouch: 4644
- Robin Egg pouch: 1103
- Snow pouch: 2805
The light loops were:
- Chinese Red pouch: 2847
- Robin Egg pouch: 2425
- Snow pouch: 2847
The machine is going to stop at each color change, so you can decide to skip to a different step and change or not change depending on what you’re doing. If you outlined the pouch in steps 1:4 and 1:6, you can skip steps 2:1 and 3:1 (or 2:1 and 2:4) as your top fabric is stabilized already. If you need the tacking stitches, I suggest the following order:
- Change thread for dark loops
- 3:1 (or 2:4)
- 3:2 (or 2:5)
- Change thread for light loops
- 3:3 (or 2:6)
Stitching the Text
Change your thread to the color you want for your text. The colors I used for my pouches were:
- Chinese Red pouch: 2805
- Robin Egg pouch: 4644
- Snow pouch: 1103
As you start to stitch the lettering, assuming you want it all to be the same color, press the Stop button (the one at the top) and that will enable the machine to continue stitching with the same thread without prompting you to change colors. You’ll see your design on the screen go to one color, although the color palette will not.
Stay nearby, because when you get to the last letter you want to press this button again to let you change colors for the snowflake (if you want.)
When you get to the last letter, press the stop button so the blue light comes on to prompt a thread change notice.
The last design is the snowflake. You can change colors here if you want or keep going in the same color. I used:
- Chinese Red pouch: 2310
- Robin Egg pouch: 2310
- Snow pouch: 4644
When your embroidery is done, you’ll get a phone notice (if you’re using the mySewMonitor) or the machine will tell you.
Now you can remove the hoop and unhoop your project. To make another pouch exactly like this one, hoop a new stabilizer, go back to Color #1, and begin again. If you want to change something, press the return arrow on the screen and edit whatever you like.
Finishing the Pouch
Remove as much of the stabilizer as you can (I’m lazy, so I left a lot of it in.)
Lay one of the lining pieces right side down on top of the zipper, aligning the top edge of the lining with the zipper.
Change your machine to sewing mode; then switch to the wide stitch plate and left-edge topstitch foot. Stitch the lining to the zipper, close to the edge of the outer fabric. You may need to adjust your needle position to the left (hence, the wide plate.)
Note: if you’re changing the size of the pouch, you should topstitch along the top edge of the outer pouch fabric, so you can catch the outer fabric and the lining at the same time.
Flip the lining so wrong sides are together.
Add the opposite lining fabric, repeating the steps for the first lining.
Flip the lining to the other side. Now you are very close to being done!
Let’s address the size of the zipper. From the front side, stitch a wide zigzag across the teeth of the zipper about 1/4″ away from the outline of your pouch, or wherever it will be within the seam allowance of your pouch. Move the zipper tab on the opposite end so that it’s within your pouch size, and do the same thing on the other side.
With the pouch laying flat with the linings in place, cut around the outline of your pouch, leaving approximately 3/8″ outside of these lines.
If you’re changing the size of your pouch, a rotary ruler and cutter will help you cut them to the same size.
Yay for pouch shapes! Now… OPEN YOUR ZIPPER.
Match the right sides of the pouch and the right sides of the lining together. Pin these in place, leaving a hole for turning in the lining.
Stitch around the pouch with a 1/2″ seam allowance. This will catch the pouch outline so it doesn’t show on the front side.
Turn the pouch inside out through the zipper. You did open the zipper, didn’t you?
Get everything pushed and flattened out, then pin the opening closed. Stitch it by hand or by machine.
Finished! I made one pouch that says “Cheer,” another is “Jolly,” and the last is “Merry.” So much fun!
Inside of the pouch:
Aren’t they fun! Once you learn how to do this, you can change the pouch designs for every season! Have fun, and Happy Holidays!