How to make an in-the-hoop pouch on your embroidery machine

By on July 17th, 2020
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how to make an in the hoop pouch on your embroidery machine
free machine embroidery designs

In-the-hoop machine embroidery projects are pretty remarkable. All you have to do is lay pieces of fabric and zippers on top of floated stabilizer, following the directions of the pattern designer. Then, when you’ve made it through the steps, remarkably, you have a finished project! I love in-the-hoop projects. In fact – I’m a member of the “Totally Addicted to In-the-hoop Projects” Facebook group.  That’s just how big of a nerd I am. Anyway – one of my favorite things to do on my embroidery machine is to make an in-the-hoop pouch for my friends and kids.

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What is an in-the-hoop pouch?

An in the hoop Pouch is just a simple clutch like bag with a zipper closure that can be attached to anything. You can make one several different sizes but even if you have a small hoop A small and are limited to making a smaller pouch it’s still quite functional. In fact I made a few new a little pouches that I made in a 5 x 7 hoop and my daughter explained that they would be perfect for all of her gift cards.

How to make an in-the-hoop pouch on your embroidery machine

To show you how to make an in-the-hoop pouch, I created a very simple and straight-forward in-the-hoop design that you can purchase and download. This pouch can be made in a 5″ x 7″ hoop or stitched out at a larger size.

Supplies needed

Steps to take

Tip: Slow down your machine when you assemble this project. It’s easy for an embroidery machine to get hung up on all these layers you are putting together. And if it does, it’s a lot easier to prevent a disaster if your machine is running a slowly. 

Step 1

Prepare your two fabric pieces for the front of your pouch.  These are the pieces that are 7.5″ x 3″ and 7.5″ x 5″  Fold over 1/2″ of fabric along the long edge, then press.  You will not need to press the back piece of your pouch.

Step 2

Hoop a piece of sticky back stabilizer, making sure it is taut.  Then score the inside edge of the stabilizer around the hoop to make a light tear so that you can peel back the paper and expose the sticky surface.

hooped adhesive backed stabilizer

Step 3

Start the first round of stitching.  This will be a placement line for your zipper.

zipper placement lines for ITH pouch

Step 4

When the stitching is done, stick your zipper onto the stabilizer.  Make sure that the zipper pull is outside of the parallel lines of stitching. Also make sure that the metal end piece is away from the end of the parallel lines. Your zipper should obscure the two parallel lines.

Step 5

Start your next round of stitching. This will attach your zipper to the stabilizer

ITH pouch - zipper stitched down

Step 6

Stick the two front pieces of fabric to your stabilizer. The smaller piece should cover the smaller area above the zipper and the larger piece should cover the larger area below the zipper. The folds that you pressed into these two pieces of fabric should line up over the center of the zipper.  Tape in place, then start the next round of stitching.  This stitching will attach the fabric to the zipper.

in the hoop pouch - placing front pieces of fabric

fabric stitched down ITH pouch
Step 7 (optional)

If you want to add a name or a monogram to the front of the pouch, then exit the design and stitch it out on the large panel you just stitched down.

Step 8

VERY IMPORTANT! Move the zipper pull to the center of the zipper.  You are going to be stitching the pouch together and you don’t want the zipper pull to be left out of the pouch.

Step 9

Tape down the fabric to the stabilizer there the folded edges come together. It’s easy for your embroidery machine to get hung up on the fold so you want to tape these openings down so that your presser foot doesn’t get stuck.

Step 10

Now start the next round of stitching. It is a placement line to show you where you should place your back piece of your pouch.

placement stitching for back piece

Step 11

Start your next round of stitching. This is a placement line for your ribbon loop attachment.

Step 12

Fold your ribbon in half along the short edge. Tape it down to the fabric so that the two raw edges overlap the stitch line you just created. The folded end of the ribbon should be on the inside of the pouch. Tape it in place, then start stitching.

top part of pouch done - ITH project

Step 13

Now, lay your back piece down (right side of fabric down) on top of the placement stitching. Tape it in place in a few spots and start the next round of stitching.

laying down back piece of ITH pouch

Step 14

You are all done! Simply tear the pouch out of the stabilizer. Trim off the excess fabric to leave about 1/4″ seam allowances.   You will need to access the zipper to be able to open it and turn the pouch inside out.  Carefully scrape away a bit of the tear away stabilizer and open the zipper and turn the pouch right side out.

You will likely need to scrape off some tape and cut some strings but the pouch should clean up quite nicely.

in the hoop pouch - done
My finished pouches for my girls.

Other interesting and unique in-the-hoop pouch designs that look like fun to make

Once you are feeling confident making my basic in-the-hoop pouch, you may want to try some of these more elaborate and complex in-the-hoop designs. Here are a few of my favorites.

Double zipper cosmetic bag from Pixie Willow Patterns

in-the-hoop pouch from Pixie Willow patterns
Photo provided by Pixie Willow Patterns and used with their permission.

This in-the-hoop pouch from Pixie Willow Patterns offers two zippered areas. What a great way to protect your technology, glasses, etc. within a larger bag. This simple design calls for a fun and bold fabric.

In-the-hoop jeep pouch from Phantom DesignZ

Jeep in-the-hoop pouch
Photo provided by Phantom DesignZ and used with their permission.

How crazy awesome is this in-the-hoop pouch Jeep design from Phantom Designz? As a Jeep drive, I may just have to make one for myself.

High Top In-the-hoop Pouch

in-the-hoop high top pouch
Photo provided by Disorderly Threads and used with their permission.

This adorable in-the-hoop high top pouch from Disorderly Threads may be the perfect gift for a sassy teen or tween.

“Bee Happy” In-the-hoop Pouch

Photo provided by Drop Dead Threads and used with their permission.

I am a big fan of bees which is why I love this cute “bee happy” clutch by Drop Dead Threads. Also, just a great reminder, don’t you think?

Drop Dead Threads owner, Jade, says:

These types of bags are great scrap busters and work well with most fabrics, I used a scrap piece of upholstery weight fabric for my example and it worked really well. I also made the largest size with some PLU fabric and it made a great wet pouch to keep in my baby’s changing bag.

So there you have it?  Get rid of some random fabric scraps and make something useful? Ready to make an in-the-hoop pouch?  Or are do you still have questions? If so…

Check out my video tutorial that shows how I made this in-the-hoop pouch

And if you like the video please give me a thumbs up on YouTube and subscribe to the channel.


Happy stitching.



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