Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Custom First Aid Kit Tutorial: Inside Pouches

My daughter has gotten involved in the Fire Spinning group at her college. Fortunately for her parents' anxiety levels, she is acting as the on-site medic, rather than handling the fire herself. Still, it means she needs a specialized First Aid Kit. She'll be coming home for her Fall break in a few days, and part of the time will be participating in a Fire Spinning demonstration near where we live. She asked me to put together a Burn First Aid kit for her to have at this demonstration. Naturally, since her mom is a project junkie, I decided to make a special holder for her supplies.

Some First Aid kits are a jumble of supplies, and you're constantly digging through them to find what you want. To make things easier on her, I decided to create a sort of "Binder", with individual pouches for various special needs. One will have gauze pads and bandages; another will have burn gel packets; another will have cotton balls... you get the idea. Of course, I had never seen a pattern for anything like this, but since when did that pose a problem?

I picked up some black cotton canvas at JoAnns, along with black sport mesh and some black double-fold bias tape. After a few hours of fiddling with details, I came up with a design that worked, and decided to share the project with you. The outer binder isn't done yet (that's tomorrow's project), but I've got some inside pouches done, and photographed the progress so I could do it as a tutorial.

For Each Pouch, you will need:
A piece of cotton canvas or duck, 13" x 19"
A piece of sport mesh, 13" x 9.5"
A 1" x 13" piece of fusible craft interfacing (such as Decor Bond)
One nylon zipper, 15" long
About 1 yard Extra-Wide Double-Fold Bias Tape
Three large eyelets (Dritz, 1/4" size)
Hanging File Folder Label Sleeves (optional)

Ready? Let's get started!


Lay your canvas on the table as indicated.

Draw three lines on the fabric to mark off one strip 13" x 2", two strips 13" x 3", and one piece 13" x 11".

Cut the fabric along the lines to make four separate pieces.


Press the strips. Fold each strip in half lengthwise and press. Then fold each raw edge in 1/2". You will be left with one piece about 1/2" wide and two pieces about 1" wide.
On the large piece, fold the top edge under 1/2" and press.

You will apply the DecorBond to one of the wider strips.

Lay the DecorBond inside the folded piece and press.

Now you will need your piece of sport mesh. This stuff is pretty stretchy, so be careful when cutting it so you get close to the right size.

Take the narrow double-folded strip and lay the top long edge of the mesh inside the fold, so the raw edge of the mesh meets the center fold. I like to use a thin line of basting glue to hold this together.

Clips hold the fabric strip in place while the basting glue dries. This only takes a few minutes, and saves the headache of trying to wrestle with the mesh at the sewing machine.


If you're going to use the file folder label holders, now is the time to insert them. While the glue is setting, take a label sleeve and lay it inside the non-interfaced wide strip (Note: if you're making a bunch of these holders, make the strips in a batch so you can position the label sleeves properly). If you're not using a label holder, just edge-stitch the top edge of the strip with a normal stitch length.


Edge-stitch the top edge of the wider strip, using a longer stitch as you cross the plastic of the label sleeve. Edge-stitch the narrow strip to the mesh. You now have two pieces with the folds facing each other.

Now you're going to add the zipper. I use zippers on a roll, and in this case used a white zipper pull because I ran out of black ones to make it stand out. The zipper is cut an inch wider on each side, to make inserting it easier.


Position the two folded edges at the zipper teeth and, using a zipper foot, stitch the strips to the zipper tape.

Flip the piece over and stitch the outside edge of the zipper tape to the fabric strip (just to keep stuff from catching on the zipper tape, and to make it extra-secure). Do this for both zipper tapes.

Line up the bottom edge of the mesh with the bottom edge of the fabric.

Lay the two matched edges inside the interfaced strip, with the raw edges meeting the center fold of the strip.

Again, use some basting glue on the folded lip of the strip to hold it in place while you sew.

Here, the clips help hold the assembly while the basting glue sets.

Stitch the strip down. I like to use two lines of stitching, just to make sure it all holds together.

Turn the piece over. Line up the folded edge of the fabric piece so it is about 1/2" from the top edge of the top strip. Stitch this in place, using two lines of stitching (one line right at the edge of the fold, and another about 1/4" away).

Almost done! Cut two pieces of bias tape so they are about 2" longer than the short sides.

Trim the ends of the zipper tape so they are flush with the edges of the pouch.
Important!! Make sure the zipper pull is away from the edge of the piece before trimming the ends of the zipper tape!!

Encase the raw sides of the pouch in the bias tape. Finish the ends by opening up the first fold of the tape and wrapping it around the corner to conceal all the raw edges. Stitch the bias tape down; again, I use two lines of stitching to make sure it will be sturdy.

Time to add the eyelets! Mark the positions for the eyelets using a chalk pencil. Cut small holes to insert the eyelet pieces, following the directions for your particular eyelet. Note: be very careful not to cut the holes too large, or the eyelets will come loose!

Here I'm ready to attach the eyelet using the tool provided in the Dritz eyelet kit. All it takes is a few whacks of the hammer to set the eyelet.

And here is the completed pouch! You can change the various dimensions of this project to suit your particular binder. In my case, I'm going to make a custom soft-sided binder that will hold about six of these pouches. I hope to have the instructions for that part of the project ready to post by Thursday!

In the meantime, if you have any questions, please feel free to comment. This is the first time I've tried a real tutorial!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for taking the time to post the First Aid Kit tutorial. I'm thinking that with a few tweaks it might make a great circular knitting needle case too!

    A change of subject: I've been wondering something every time I use my wonderful Professional Tote bag. Would it be possible for you to come up with a bag pattern perhaps slightly smaller than the Professional Tote that makes use of your clever separating zipper closure that allows the top to fold to the inside of bag. I've been thinking of a bag with fewer pockets and smaller than the Professional Tote and without the inner zip section that divides the inside of the Professional Tote in half. I would love to make something like that but my pattern making skills aren't up to the job, I'm afraid. I get stuck when I think of sizing down the Professional Tote main bag section and wonder what shorter length of separating zipper I would need. It's just an idea. I would be willing to pay money for a pattern like that..... Thank you. Sue

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