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Looking for a lovely way to store your essential oils, tarot cards, or other ritual objects? Spruce up your vanity or altar with these simple fabric pouches that can be whipped up in no time at all. Step into the stitching parlor, grab some wine, and let’s get started.

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Left: Black fabric pouches embroidered with sigils. Right: The same pouches made to look like medieval manuscripts.

Essential Oil Pouch

This little pouch holds up to eight 5 ml bottles of essential oil and still has room for small vials in the center. It might also be used to hold jewelry, crystals, amulets, ashes of dead lovers…or what have you. Some of you might recognize this design from your grandmother’s dresser drawer. The pattern is indeed old. I have modified it, using cotton batting to make it hold its shape better.

Perhaps the most difficult part of this project is choosing your fabric. Good quilting shops carry Halloween fabrics all year. You can likewise find high-quality cotton fabrics with occult themes online. Etsy is a great source, with shops like Two Tangled Threads offering prints like Timeless Treasures Black Ouija and Zombie Love Letter. Behold the dark beauty! Alexander Henry and Michael Miller likewise have stunning darkling designs.

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Quilting cottons from Timeless Treasures. Your new shopping compulsion awaits.

For this project, you will need two different fabric designs and natural cotton batting. Iron your fabric. Using a dinner plate and a dessert plate as templates, cutting an 11” and a 9” circle from each piece of fabric as well as from natural cotton batting. If your plates are slightly larger or smaller, no worries. As long as the two circles are roughly 2” in difference, your pouch will be perfect.

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Left: Speaking of plates, this custom set by Angioletti Designs is lovely. Right: fabric and batting circles, ready for stitching.

If you are planning on embroidering your pouch, now is the time. Grab some embroidery thread and another glass of wine. Why not?

With the right side up, pin the 11” circle that will be the outside of your pouch to the 11” quilt batting. I decided to embroider a pentagram on my medieval manuscript pouch using a simple split stitch. Just remember to end your design at least ½” away from the circle’s edge to allow for your seam.

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Split-stitching the pentagram pouch.
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Embroidery complete!

When your embroidery is complete, pin the 11” liner circle to the pouch exterior, right sides facing. (If you have not embroidered your pouch, be sure to pin the quilt batting to the wrong side of the exterior pouch circle.)

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Circle sandwiches assembled and ready for stitching.

On a machine or by hand, stitch around the perimeter of the circle, leaving a ½” seam allowance and a 2” opening for turning your piece right-side out.

Now, trim the seam as close as possible to the stitching. Flip that sucker right-side out and press it. Using tiny stitches, whip stitch the opening shut with a needle and matching thread. You should have a beautiful fabric pancake. Repeat this entire process for the smaller circle. When it is complete, center the smaller circle on the larger circle and pin in place. Using chalk, draw a 1 ½ to 2” circle in the center of the smaller circle and sew on the line. Next, stitch a seam roughly 1/2″ from the larger circle’s finished edge. This will become the casing for your ribbon.

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The circle pancakes stacked and the center circle stitched. Here, I have stitched through all three layers, using the circumference of my embroidered sigil as a pattern. Also note the seam 1/2″ from the larger circle’s outer edge. This will become casing for the ribbon.

Are you dizzy yet?

Using a ruler, draw four lines across the diameter of the inner circle, like this:

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Each of the small white lines stops at the perimeter of the circle that has been stitched around the sigil.

Sew on the lines. Use a brush to remove the chalk lines. You are almost done!

Carefully make a small incision on the inside of the largest circle’s seam. Using tiny stitches, hem the opening, being careful not to catch any of the batting or the outside fabric. Attach a safety pin to a length of ribbon and thread it through the outside seam until it emerges from whence it came.

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Above: The ribbon goes in. Below: The ribbon comes out.

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Draw the ribbon until the pouch is the desired shape and then tie it in a bow. If you are worried about it coming undone, tack a couple of stitches through the center. Fluff your inner compartments and fill them with your essential oils.

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Pour yourself another glass of wine. You deserve it, dear Darkling.

The Book Pouch

Now that you are relaxed (hic!) and experienced at sewing, you can tackle the second pouch. This one is in the shape of a spell book or medieval manuscript. It is far easier to make—which is good because it’s getting warm in here.

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The trickiest part of this pouch is making sure that you cut an exact rectangle. To be certain that my pattern is perfect, I use graph paper and a ruler to ensure that lines are parallel and corners are 90˚. The size is up to you! Just be sure that it is long enough to fold roughly into thirds to arrive at your desired book size. Once you have your pattern, cut three pieces: one for the outside or “cover” of your book, one for the inside liner, and one from natural cotton batting.

If you are going to embroider your book cover, place the fabric right side up on the batting and have at it. I used a white gel pen to draw my designs. If you are less sure of your drawing skills, use chalk for outlining. You can always find fun embroidery patterns online.

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Left: Embroidery patterns drawn with white gel pen. I’ve also positioned my trim in the center. Right: Embroidery complete and trim stitched in place by hand.

Once your embroidery is complete, stitch your “book strap” trim in place. Carefully pin your fabric sandwich together, right sides facing. Stitch ½” from the edge, leaving an opening for turning. Clip the corners so that they will be good and pointy when you turn your piece right side out.

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Fabric sandwich stitched, corners trimmed.
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The completed rectangle, whip stitched, pressed, and ready for folding.

Once it is flipped, iron the piece so it is perfectly square and whip stitch the opening shut. Now fold your rectangle roughly into thirds, leaving an inch or so along the edge (depending on the size of your buckle).

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Once you are pleased with the arrangement, flip open the cover and pin the edges of the pouch. With needle and thread, use tiny whip stitches to carefully join outer fabric to outer fabric, creating an invisible seam. Fold your cover over, attach your buckle, add any other embellishments, and your pouch is complete. Place on a mantel, an altar, or a vanity; your book pouch is a perfect place to store love notes, intentions, spells, tarot cards, or other wondrous objects—dust free and safe from the light.

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Nota Bene: If you want to travel with this pouch, you will need to add ribbon closures or snaps to the opening to make sure your items stay safe inside.

Once you make one set, you will soon find yourself planning another! With so many wonderful fabrics and embellishments available, your only limit is your imagination. And because you are the one making them, they are not only unique but imbued with your loving intentions. What an excellent gift for yourself or those you love. Happy tipsy witch-crafting, Dear Darklings!

Brenda S G Walter

Brenda S G Walter

By day, Brenda poisons young minds as a college professor.  When she is not teaching classes such as Science and the Supernatural, she is writing about monsters, witchcraft, horror films, heavy metal, and gothic culture.  She might also be drawing apocalyptic landscapes or haunted houses while watching Creature Double Feature.  You can find her on Facebook and Instagram as Elderdark Nightmoth.

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