Sewing tutorial

Mini Portfolio Tutorial

Apps can be handy for scheduling and note taking, but sometimes you want to use a pen (or pencil) and paper. If you’re going to carry a physical agenda or notebook then you’ll also need to carry a physical writing instrument. My agenda and notepad are both ~3.5” by 5.5” (8.9 cm x 14.0 cm) and my favorite pens and pencils are just under 6” (15 cm) long. I decided to sew a Mini Portfolio to hold my agenda, notebook, pen and a few business cards. In this post I show you how I sewed a Mini Portfolio.

Black agenda with elastic band on the cover, pen, black notebook with white business cards on the cover and another pen
Items to store in my portfolio

This Sewn By Tanya project is for personal use only.

Materials
  • Exterior fabric: 9.4” x 7.1” (24 cm x 18 cm) or 1 fat eighth of quilting weight cotton
  • Interior fabric: 9.4” x 7.1” (24 cm x 18 cm) or 1 fat eighth of quilting weight cotton
  • Contrasting fabrics: 9” by 22” (23 cm x 55cm) or 1 fat eighth of quilting weight cotton
  • Fuse-able Interfacing: 8.5” x 8.5” (21.5 cm x 21.5 cm)
  • 1, 10 mm halo snap, 1 small sew on snap, or 1 1/2” long piece of Velcro
  • 3” long piece of 1/2” wide elastic (7.62 cm of 1.2. cm wide)

I selected my fabrics to match the color scheme of my Sewing Machine Cover, Sewing Caddy, Thread Catcher, and Weighted Ruler Holder, The exterior and Agenda Pocket fabrics match the main fabrics in all of these projects. The Notepad Pocket fabric matches the inner pocket fabric of my Sewing Caddy. The Corner Pocket fabric matches the main fabric of my Weighted Ruler Holder, is the trim fabric for my sewing Machine Color and both main fabric of my Sewing Caddy.

Tools
  • fabric marking pens/chalks
  • scissors or rotary cutter
  • ruler
  • iron & ironing board
  • sewing machine
  • hand needle (optional)

Seam allowance: 1/4” unless specified.

Step 1 Cut materials

Cut the following pieces from your front fabric (all pieces width x height):

  • Exterior piece: 9.4“ x 7.1” (24 cm x 18 cm)
  • Interior piece: 9.4” x 7.1” (24 cm x 18 cm)
  • Agenda pocket: 7.6” x 7.1” (22 cm x 18 cm)
  • Notebook pocket: 8.6” x 6.5” (22 cm x 16 cm)
  • Corner pocket: isosceles triangle with a base of 9.4” (24 cm), height of 4.8” (12.3 cm) and sides of 6.9” (17.5 cm)

    Black isosoles triangle in a white background
    Corner pocket sketch
  • Closure Strap: 1.5” x 6.3” (3.81 cm x 16.0 cm)
  • Exterior fusible fleece: 8.5” x 5.3” (21.5 x16 cm)
  • Closure strap fusible fleece: 1.3” x 2.8” (3 cm x 7 cm)
Pile of multicoloured fabrics and notions to make a Mini Portfolio
Materials for Mini Portfolio
Step 2 Closure Strap

Take your small piece of fusible fleece and round the corners on one short side if desired.

Take your Closure Strip piece and draw a 1.5” (3.8 cm) long line on the wrong side, midway between the two short ends. This line marks the top edge of your Closure Strap. The strap will be folded in half along this line and the interfacing should be placed on the half of the closure strap that you plan to make your strap exterior. Center the small piece of fusible fleece on one half of the strip with the curved edge close to the center line and fuse in place.

Wrong side of closure strap iwth fusible fleece in position
Position fusible fleece on closure strap piece

Fold the strap in half along the center line and stitch 1/4” (0.6 cm) from the edge, following the curve. Clip the corners, turn and press.

Inside out Closure Strap with stitches highlighted (left) and right side out Closure Strap (right)
Step 3 Exterior panel

Fuse the 8.5″ x 6.3″ (21.5 x16 cm) piece of interfacing to the center of the wrong side of the exterior panel.

Fuse interfacing to wrong side of exterior piece

Draw a 9.4″ (24 cm) long chalk line across the middle of the right side of the exterior panel. Draw a 7.1″(18 cm) long chalk line 1.2″ (3 cm) from one short end. Install half of your snap or velcro at the intersection of these two lines.

Use chalk lines to position closure

Pin the Closure Strap to the opposite short end of the exterior panel with raw edges aligned. Center the closure strap along the centered chalk line you drew earlier. Baste in place with a 1/4” (0.6 cm) seam allowance. Set aside.

Step 4 Corner Pocket

Fold your Corner Pocket piece in half with wrong sides together to create a right angle triangle that is 4.7″ (12.0 cm) tall by by 4.7″ (12.0 cm) wide, with a 6.8″ (17.5 cm) hypotenuse.

Sew along the hypotenuse with a 1/4” (0.6 cm) seam allowance. Clip the corners, turn, press and top-stitch 1/8” (0.3 cm) from the long edge.

Corner pocket
Step 5 Agenda Pocket

I used the same fabric for my Agenda Pocket as for my exterior. Feel free to match or coordinate as per the contents of your fabric stash.

Fold the Agenda Pocket piece in half with wrong sides together to create a 4.3″ x 7.1″ (11 cm x 18 cm) rectangle. Top-stitch 1/8” (0.3 cm) from the folded long edge. Baste the other three edges if desired.

Agenda Pocket
Step 6 Notebook Pocket

I used the same fabric from my Notebook Pocket as for my interior.

Fold the Notebook Pocket piece in half with the  wrong sides together to create a 4.3″ x 6.3″ (11 cm x 16 cm) rectangle. Sew along one short end with a 1/4” (0.6 cm) seam allowance. Clip the corners, turn and press. Top-stitch 1/8” (0.3 cm) from the seam. Baste the raw edges if desired.

Notebook Pocket
Step 7 Pen Loop

Wrap your elastic around your pen(s) and pin in place. Remove the pens. Mark your elastic along the pin and then sew along this mark to form a loop. Turn the loop so that the raw edges are inside.

Stitch the pen loop long the marked line
Step 8 Assembly

Mark the middle of your interior panel with chalk lines. Stitch your elastic to the center of the interior panel. I used a handle needle and thread.

Sew pen loop to the middle of the interior panel

Stack the Notebook Pocket on the interior piece with raw edges aligned. The folded edge will be toward the center of the mini portfolio and the top-stitched edge will be toward the top edge of the portfolio. Pin in place. Top-stitch 1/8” (0.3 cm)  from the folded edge. Baste 1/8” (0.6 cm) from the raw edges.

I sewed my Notepad Pocket to the right side

Stack the Agenda Pocket on the other side of the interior piece with raw edges aligned. Stack the Corner Pocket on the Agenda Pocket with the raw edge aligned with the bottom raw edges. Pin the 3 pieces together. Baste 1/8” (0.3 cm) from the raw edges of the Agenda Pocket.

I sewed my Agenda Pocket and Corner Pocket to the left side

Pin the exterior piece and interior piece right sides together. Sew with a 1/4” (0.6 cm) seam allowance, leaving a turning gap along the top on the Notepad Pocket side. Clip the corners, turn and press.

Exterior and interior pinned wrong sides together (red-headed pins mark turning cap)
Step 9 Finishing

Hand stitch the turning gap closed. Install the other half of your snap or velcro on the closure strap.

Your Mini Portfolio is now ready to use.

Here are some photos of my finished Mini Portfolio:

Mini Portfolio with Agenda, Notebook, 2 pens and some business cards
Closed Mini Portfolio in use
Mini Portfolio Notebook Pocket also holds a smartphone
Conclusion

I really enjoy using my Mini Portfolio. It’s more convenient than having my agenda, notepad, pens and business cards lose in my bag. My agenda fits perfectly in the Agenda Pocket and both the back cover of my notepad and it’s cleaning cloth fit well inside the Notebook Pocket. I sized my pen loop to hold 2 pens: a skinny one and an average diameter one. Closing my Mini Portfolio with 2 pens inside is a little difficult so I recommend sizing your pen loop for 1 pen only.

This is a fun and practical sewing project to use up some of your scrap fabric and fusible fleece. Using this Mini Portfolio with s smartphone and a physical agenda or notebook is another option. The Notebook Pocket easily holds a 5.5” (14.0″) smartphone. Larger phones may fit better in the Agenda Pocket. This project is  a great way to use up some of your coordinating fabric scraps and has the potential to make a great gift.

Tanya

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Sewn By Tanya Sewing Tutorial: Mini Portfolio

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