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I Added an Exterior Pocket to Iolite!(pattern hack)

Hey all! I have my first ever TSM Patterns hack to share today! Before we get started, I do want to give the disclaimer that I am not a designer, nor a professional bag-maker, so my techniques used could absolutely be improved upon, but this is where my imagination, and emerging bag-making skills took me! A little Pinterest browsing, a little coffee, a confidence boost, and my outer access zipper pocket hack was born! So, let's get started, because I am so excited about this!

I got the idea to hack Iolite with an outer zipper pocket from a bag I had seen on Pinterest. I loved the idea of an outside access pocket. Maybe you wanted a space closer to your person for your wallet (I plan to wear mine with the outside access zipper facing me), or a secret space to keep snacks that your kiddos wouldn't easily find, or a space dedicated to diapers, or whatever best suits your current needs! This pocket really has so many uses and possibilities!

First, cut out Iolite as instructed in the pattern. We will be modifying the Side Panel, but all pieces will remain as designed until after we have added our interfacing. Create both front panels, as instructed, as well.

Next, determine the height of your zipper. I wanted a 9" opening, so I cut my zipper at just slightly over 10". I then cut my pocket pieces to be 7"x10" (cut 2). Interface both pocket pieces with SF101 woven interfacing. If you would like a firmer lining on the inner side that faces the inside lining, you could use flex foam as an option.

Lay your zipper, wrong side down, on top of one pocket piece, right side up. Sew at 1/4" seam allowance. Repeat with other pocket piece. Set aside.

We will now cut out our zipper opening on the side panel. I used TSM vinyl for this Iolite, so I simply added a sealant to my raw edge after cutting, but if using a woven material, such as canvas, you will want to create a facing piece. (A helpful link to how to do this can be found in your Iolite pattern on page 13.) (It is important to note, that when marking your zipper opening, you are careful to put it on the correct side of your Side Panel piece. If you have a designated front and back panel, and wish for your zipper to be to your front or back while wearing, you will need to take extra care when drawing your zipper opening.) Measure up from the bottom of your side panel piece 1.5" and mark near the outer edge. Carefully mark 1/2" in from outer edge and 9" up from starting point you marked earlier. Then mark an additional 1/2" out from your outer edge markings. (Your starting and stopping points may differ based on the height of the zipper you want.) Draw your rectangle on your stabilizer, connecting all dots, and cut out. Prior to cutting out, you may want to add a strip of SF101 to add a little extra stability to the edge strip that will be left in place. This is a step I did not do, and did not experience problems with my vinyl stretching, but in thinking later on, I realized it would have been a good idea.

You now have your zipper opening (side note, I really like using a seam ripper to cut my zipper openings. I am able to get clean lines and corners by doing this). Add your sealant, if using, to your raw edge, and allow to dry. Once your zipper opening is ready, add a bit of wash away, double-sided sticky tape to the sides of your zipper, and with your pocket pieces fully open, center your zipper into the opening. Press into place. (Note, make sure your zipper pull is at the top or bottom of your panel piece, depending on how you want your pocket to open. I have my pull resting at the top end of my panel while zipped closed) Sew around the zipper opening. Your zipper should now be set in place. Finish your pocket by gently pulling the pocket edges away from the zipper opening on the back side and sew around the pocket piece.

Now it's time to add our side panel to the back panel! We need to be mindful not to stretch that delicate strip out; we want everything to still fit as it should. To help this, I clipped one clip at the top, one clip at the bottom, then continued up and down until I reached the center. Sew both panels together as instructed in the Iolite tutorial. The only thing to be mindful of, is to go slow at the zipper as to catch that thin strip within the seam allowance. From the outside we only want to see the zipper coming from the main panel and side panel seam. No vinyl should be seen sticking out.

Before moving on to the rest of the rest of the Iolite tutorial, I gently finger-pressed my seam open, and trimmed out bulk from between the panel pieces, and then flipped the seam toward the center panel, pressed again with my fingers, and topstitched from the outside. This helped to keep my zipper pocket opening clean.

Finally, sew the rest of Iolite and voila! Your modified Iolite is complete!

I love that this hack is a simple add-on, and really does not impede on the rest of Iolite. It easily stays out of the way as you sew the pieces together, and the pocket is completely independent to your lining. It does not encroach on the room given in the inner lining. I am so excited to see this in use, and start working on my next! I hope this hack inspires you, and cannot wait to see what y'all do with it!

Thank you so much for following along with me, and for sharing in my love of Iolite and Pinspirations!

Please be sure to share you Iolites and Iolite outer pocket hacks in our Facebook group! We are so inspired by you!


(Fabrics used: TSM Vinyl in Wild Wildflower Small Scale from PAP for exterior, and Aqua Faux Linen on Luxury Cotton for interior.

Hardware: Idleblooms, rivets from Bedazzled on Etsy)

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