Look Mom! No Zippers!

     Individual characters (letters, numbers and punctuation marks) from my alphabets and
individual designs can be found on my Stock Design Page.  My designs are also available in
packs, as described in this blog.  Those can be found here.  For designs and packs available
in multiple sizes, choose the size you want in the drop down menu box.

     A member of my American Sewing Guild Neighborhood Group brought an interesting pouch
for Show and Tell.  (You know how much I like pouches!)  This one had pieces of metal
measuring tape in the opening.  The metal flexes and bends, allowing the pouch to open
and then snap shut.  Hex frames will do the same thing, but cost a lot more than metal
measuring tapes, especially if you buy the tapes at a dollar store.  I found a 16 foot
long tape at a dollar store near me.  This is enough for quite a few pouches.

     I made a pouch with the instructions provided, but didn't like the result:  French
seams hid the raw edges, but added a lot of bulk.  Also, the pouch would not close all
the way.  Here are pictures of that first pouch.

clicker pouch closed

clicker pouch open

     I went back to the drawing board, and my next effort worked much better.  The pouch
snaps closed now.  I used a double layer of metal tape in each casing to give the
opening a lot more strength.  The pouch doesn't want to "park" in the open position, but
it is easy enough to pull open the pouch with the aid of the triangular tabs.  (If your metal
tape is stronger than the dollar store kind, you may be able to get by with a single

click pouch 20

     Now that I was satisfied with the construction of the pouch, I wanted to try a new
size.  I made this snap portfolio to hold my notebook for sewing guild meetings. 

snap folio front

I arranged the lettering with Contour Print 20 and then framed it with
paisley_ABu_frame_200x260.  I cut a piece of fabric slightly bigger in both
dimensions than the outer pouch needed to be.  The outer pouch was 13 1/2" x 19", so
I cut my fabric 14" x 20".  I marked a vertical centering line down the middle of the
fabric, 7" from one side edge.  I marked my horizontal centering line 1/4 of the way
down that 20".  That turned out to be 5" down.  When I trimmed the fabric to size,
I allowed 1/4 of the 19" height (4 3/4") above the horizontal centering line.  There
will be a seam allowance at the top, but I find that designs look more balanced when
slightly closer to the top than to the bottom.  Here is a picture of how the
embroidery fits on the fabric.  The inner outline shows where I trimmed the fabric.

embroidery position

     I added a double pocket to the back for pens and other small things I might want
to keep handy.  I didn't embroider on the pocket this time, but the instructions to do
so can be found in my Embroidered Double Pocket blog.  The pocket is double because
the space behind the zipper pocket is also a pocket.  Nice?

snap folio back

     I made one more pouch so that I could try my construction method with a single
layer of metal measuring tape in each casing.  It closes better than the first pouch
but is not quite as tight as with the double layer of tape.  You can decide whether
to use a single or double layer for your own pouch, depending on the width and
weight of the tape and on the use for your pouch.  I used V_18_6-color_96, available
in a set of designs for the 100 x 100 mm hoop and also in the complete set of swirls.

swirl snap pouch front

     Click here to download the instructions for my version of a snap closure pouch.
The PDF includes fabric sizes for a 6 1/2" x 6 3/4" pouch.  It also includes guidelines
for planning pouches in other sizes.  The measurements for the portfolio can be
found in that section of the PDF.

     Please do be careful, as the cut ends of the metal measuring tape are VERY sharp.
Be sure you follow the instructions for rounding the ends of the tape, covering them with
duct tape, and discarding the trimmed bits safely.

     I also recommend that you cut the entire length of measuring tape free of the housing.
If you cut off only the pieces you need, there will be no metal lip on the end of the
tape to keep the tape from retracting into the housing.  I cut the tape where it was
attached to the housing.  I rolled it up and tied it with a metal twist tie.  The metal
wants to spring free but the twist tie holds the tape together.  I also keep my tape in
a plastic container.  When I want to cut more tape off, I unroll as much as I need, cut
off the pieces, and retie the remaining tape immediately.

Comments (9) -

gardentilly 5/13/2011 8:37:59 PM

Thank you for the clear directions.  I made one like this but I didn't like how it turned out.  This looks more professional looking.  


You are very welcome.  Have fun making your new pouches.


Love the pouches. I made book covers with the metal tape measures. They are self closing and stay open while you are reading a book. I never thought of using it for pouches. Thanks.

Thank you, cme.

Your book cover sounds interesting, too.  Are the metal ruler strips at the top and bottom of the book?


The metal strips are across the back of the book cover, spanning the front and back cover as the "book" is open. You put a clear vinyl strip on one side, sewn in. It should be long enough to go around the book when it is closed, held closed with a snap and the metal tape. When the book is open, the metal tape holds it open and the clear vinyl holds the pages down.

As I read this I see it is hard to understand. I gave/sold all my book covers so I don't have a picture to post. Sorry

I am interested in using the metal measuring tape.  Not quite sure how to do it.  Can you give me more info please.  How do you keep the ends together after inserting into your project?  Thanks for any help.


I am picturing the book placed between the cover and the vinyl strip.  The vinyl would let you see the pages and also keep the book from snapping shut when you are trying to read.  Is that correct?  Do you have to remove the book to turn the pages?


Click the underlined word "here" in the paragraph following the picture of the pouch with a Fancy Swirl design.  You will be able to download the instructions for making the pouch.

You will see that each piece of metal tape measure is sewn into its own casing.  The ends of the metal are not connected but are very near each other.  The lesson has a lot of photographs so you should be able to follow the process.  If you have problems after reading the instructions, please write again.  I will try to help.


Hi Carol

No, you do not have to remove the book to turn the pages (too inconvenient, ;) ). You make a "regular" book cover. Before sewing the cover to the lining, you place the tape, with the edges covered in tape, between the two, crosswise, ie. left to right. The cover needs a "lining" and that is where the tape goes. Now you add the fabric that the front and back of the book fits into, but before sewing this together you add a half inch wide clear vinyl, the length varies. This is sewn in while you are sewing those above mentioned "flaps" You need to be able to wrap it around the book when closed.  Add a snap to the end of the vinyl and the other side of the snap goes on the other side of the book. (if the vinyl is sewed into the back cover of the book, the snap is on the front cover) . Now the book stays open because of the tape, the vinyl holds the pages open. You partially close the book to have a bit of slack in the vinyl, turn the page, then open the book again to hold the pages open. Done reading? Unsnap the vinyl, close your book, wrap the vinyl around the book and resnap.

I know this sounds hard, but it really is not. I will be going home soon, and hope to post a picture of the one book cover I have left.


When you post a picture of your book picture, please leave a message for me here.  I have a better idea of what you mean but a picture is worth a thousand words.


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