When the loom hands you lemons…

…make zippered pencil pouches!


I finished a weaving project with some Tencel blend yarn that I had been holding onto for a while. The colorway as it was woven looks beautiful, but I had some tension problems with this yarn on my loom. 😦



The scarf was not to be a scarf for long. I decided to cut it up and make it into three little zippered pencil pouches for no particular reason except that I figured it was better than throwing the scarf into the reject pile.

Of course, considering this is only the second time I’ve used my sewing machine (thanks goes to Dina who inherited a much more complex one and gave me hers). The time before that, I used a sewing machine in junior high school sewing class.  So, I was going to make ZIPPERED pouches…with lining…with interfacing…with woven fabric times THREE. And did I mention ZIPPERS???


Most folks don’t want to deal with zippers. Since I had to practically re-learn EVERYTHING about using a sewing machine, adding a zipper really didn’t stress me out. I had sooooo many other things going on so I figured it was par for the course.

Luckily, I happened upon this very nicely done video by Melanie Ham illustrating how to make zippered pencil pouches. I, of course, had to up the ante and make it more difficult because I was dealing with woven fabric that was wonky. I zig zag stitched the edges after cutting so they wouldn’t fray (as badly).


This was such a fabulous opportunity for me to learn how to use my sewing machine because I had to re-learn how to do things like: wind a bobbin, figure out why the tension was messed up on my bobbin,  figure out how to switch to a zig zag stitch on the machine, replace the needle when it broke and managed to get both pieces into the garbage and not in my finger or my foot. I changed thread colors across all three bags, so I learned how to use the needle threader that was built in to the machine–an invention of pure genius!

It took me two solid evenings, maybe 13 hours total, to figure out how to do everything right, make the right settings on the machine, how to shorten a zipper, make sure to open the zipper BEFORE sewing the bag closed so I could pull it right side out. Stuff like that.


Overall, it was a good first attempt. The zippers work great and they should hold up fairly well, I think. They’re nice, soft and pretty. I will probably keep them because they’re not perfect, using them for knitting notions or whatnot.

This little project came out of recycling a messed up project. BUT I think I’m on to something. I may just weave another fabric and make an envelope style pillow cover!

Or I may just cut to the chase and get some pretty fabric and sew one. I think I like batiks. I did enjoy sewing with the machine, but I discovered why sewists have sewing rooms…all the stuff gets spread out everywhere! I have to put my sewing stuff away because I use the dining room table. That entails putting away the sewing machine, my sewing box of notions and threads, the manual for the sewing machine that I consulted quite a lot, the cutting mat and cutter, the bits of thread and fabric that get all over the place, on the floor, table, on my clothes. You get the gist.


So, this was a happy little accident that turned out some practical little zippered pouches. I am not afraid of making something with zippers, cutting my weaving, rethreading my machine 200 million times. A good lesson, I think. My project details are here if you’re so inclined. 🙂

What happy accidents have you had that opened your eyes to new creative possibilities?


15 thoughts on “When the loom hands you lemons…

  1. hecate0lionhart says:

    Bobbins are my mortal enemy. Every time I break out my sewing machine again I end up breaking several needles because while I thought the bobbin was correctly placed it turns out I was wrongedy wrong, wrong, wrong and it takes a lot of fiddling to correct. Those came out super cute though!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Orange Smoothie says:

      LOL! I never broke a needle before so that was slightly scary. And figuring out I had to tighten the screw on the bobbin holder was strangely satisfying that I could figure it out. Sewing machines look so easy but are so very, very complicated.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. polwygle says:

    I hope you enjoy your new hobby. 🙂 I love how you can make the fabric you are sewing. I always like making things entirely from scratch. Once I even planted flax in an attempt to spin my own linen. Well, that was a failed attempt, but someday.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. fromthiscloth says:

    I have to say that one of the nice things about weaving “disasters” is that you can recycle the cloth into so many things… Well done on a great choice for this (which wasn’t really a disaster I’d say, as still would have been a nice scarf) because you got to sew stuff too! Sewing is fun (mostly) once you get to know your machine.

    Liked by 1 person

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