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Have you heard the phrase, “you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear”? This idiom basically says that you can’t make high quality stuff out of bad materials, but I like the idea of turning something bland and boring into something fabulous. And how? By lining a plain pouch with a splash of colour.

Here is another of our pouch tutorials (the last ones showed how to add a different coloured and curved bottom to a pouch and adding a belt loop) which will cover adding a lining to a pouch.

For more tutorials and walkthroughs, go to Tutorials.

Coloured lining

“Why line a pouch?” I hear you cry. “We like them just as they are”. Well, I find lining a pouch allows the inclusion of a splash of colour, allows the addition of a secure inner pocket (for important things like phones or keys or ooc money) or hide fraying seams quickly. It can require a little more thought and work, but I think the end results are worth the effort.

You might be just able to see in the pouches above a thin green edge to the lip of the left hand pouch. Both these pouches are lined (one in green taffeta and one in black cotton).

Throughout this tutorial you may see one of two pouches I made at the same time. Just in case you’re confused.



Pouch Materials

  • Outer cloth – ideally something hard wearing
  • Lining cloth – something light, though using some of your outer cloth is good too
  • Ribbon or cord – for tie closure
  • Thread and needle, pins, safety pin, chalk, sewing machine (optional)
  • Seam ripper and scissors
  • Iron – for pressing seams (optional)
  • Paper template for body and strap

I made a rounded bottom pouch in a similar manner to the last one I showed you with a belt strap, however by making it in one colour I only needed to prepare pattern pieces for the body and belt strap. Should you want to line a pouch with a different coloured bottom you will need to prepare a pattern piece for each of your separate outer parts (including seam allowance on the join between the top and bottom), belt strap and lining. Your lining should be shorter than your outer pattern pieces because it does not need to include the seam allowance of a join.

Mark out your pattern piece

Mark out your pattern pieces onto your cloth and cut out all the bits of the outer and lining. Mark one of your front pieces with the places your button holes will be, leaving space for the seam at the top.

All pretty

As you can see all the bits are cut out and ready for sewing for both pouches! *Ahem* moving on …

Making the pouch

The Belt Strap

sew the belt strap

Pin down your side seam allowance on your belt straps and press. Sew down the edge so that the raw edges will be concealed on the inside of the loop when worn on your belt. Do the same with the bottoms of the strap.

All prepared

Prepare the front pieces of your pouch by sewing the button holes. You can either sew these using your sewing machine’s special setting (and button hole foot) or by hand. You could also use metal eyelets that you punch through the cloth or sew eyelets by hand – whatever detail you want. Make sure you make the holes big enough to accommodate your ribbon later!

Pin strap

Pin your strap onto the back of the pouch so that it will be securely held but not interfere with the seam at the top.

X marks the spot

I reinforced my strap by sewing the strap onto the bag in a rectangle, then sewed from one corner of the rectangle to the bottom corner to form an X. I think the detail is pretty and unlikely to rip away from the cloth when the pouch is overfilled.

The Body and Lining

Sew front to back

Sew the front to the back of the pouch with RIGHT sides together. Press and trim your seams to reduce bulk, clipping the curves along the bottom if you’re concerned about bulk.

The linings

Sew the two lining pieces together with RIGHT sides together in a similar manner. Press and trim.

Lining the Pouch

Sew lining to inner

Turn your pouch so that it is inside out, and the lining so that it’s outside out. This should result in the outer having the seams visible but the lining looking like a proper pouch. Tuck the strap to the inside between the outer and the lining so that you don’t sew it in place, securing it with a pin if needed.

Can you tell what it is yet?

Slip the lining inside your pouch so that the RIGHT sides of the outer layer and lining are touching. Pin around the upper edge and sew the seam, leaving a 2″ hole to turn the bag out.

Pulling the bag

Pull the lining and pouch the right way round through the hole you left. The side seams  of both lining and outer layer should be neat and tidy, with no raw edges. If there are raw edges you’ll need to stop turning the pouch, turn it back, rip the top seam you’ve just sewn apart and make sure the RIGHT sides of the pouch and lining are touching when you sew.

What do do?

You will now have two “sides” to a pouch lying flat on your table with a hole somewhere in the connecting seam. You can either slip stitch the hole or top stitch the whole opening of the pouch. Having made a Cooper Satchel for my OH recently I have developed a love of top stitched detail, which I will go through below.

Top stitching

Using a colour similar to your lining for your lower thread on your sewing machine and a complementary colour for the outer cloth, set up your sewing machine.

Turn your pouch so that the lining is tucked inside the body of the pouch and press the top edge. Pin the top edge together and sew a straight stitch along the top of the pouch as close to the edge as your dare. Be careful not to sew your belt strap into the top.

Top stitching

You will be left with a neat line of stitches along the top of the pouch. If you’ve chosen your thread colours carefully the stitches should be almost invisible against the cloth.

Adding the cord closure and finishing the pouch

Sew the channel

Once you have put the lining inside the pouch you’ll need to sew the channel for your ribbon. Press the pouch lightly and sew a straight stitch line through the outer and lining of the front and back of the pouch, being careful to not sew the front of the pouch to the back …


You have now made a tube through which your ribbon can run without risking it disappearing between the layers of your pouch.
Threading the pinTake your pouch and your ribbon. Fold one end and thread it onto a safety pin to pass it through the hole. I usually don’t cut the ribbon until after I’ve threaded it through the neck of the pouch, but you could choose to cut a length that encircles the open neck of the pouch with a little extra for knots in the ends.

The pouch

Finish your cord – either by knotting each end of the ribbon to stop the end passing through the holes or by tying the two ends together so that the ribbon cannot be pulled into the pouch.

FInished pouches

Enjoy your new lined pouch. Fill it with shiny things and hang it from your belt.


  • Use a different coloured thread to make a feature statement of your top stitching. Match it with a colour used to make the button holes or eyelets, and stitching up the edge of the belt strap and the X reinforcing the back.
  • Use a contrasting cord to close the pouch.
  • Add beads to the ribbon end.
  • Add applique details to the pouch.
  • Make a pouch with a different coloured bottom or quartered for heraldic means. Line the pouch with a plain colour for contrast.