Honestly swaps make me a bit nervous, what if the recipient judges my sewing or worse doesn't like what I've made for them. There have been occasions where I haven't taken part in swaps because of time constraints but then I feel left out. Knowing I could focus on one small make, I jumped in to join the pouch swap for the Purple Stitches Sewcial Retreat which was this past weekend. 
Despite the worries, it's actually made easy when you join a swap as very often you are asked what you like / dislike and you are given those responses for your partner. It is lovely to swap handmade and I like to create something for a specific person - partly because I enjoy the challenge of picking out fabrics, sort of like a stylist! 
As an aside, helping people chose fabrics was one of my favourite parts about working in a quilt shop. It's interesting not choosing what you might pick but what you think that person would like. When making this pouch it was a bit of both, in a swap it is nice for the make to have a little bit of your style in it too. 

My swap partner was lovely Liz, who had Anna Maria Horner fabrics as one of her likes. I raided my stash and picked out fabrics in Liz's favourite colours. I decided to make the Lola Pouch by Sotak Handmade because it's such a lovely pattern and very easy to adapt to include patchwork. 

It's also a good pattern if you don't like the whole zip ends / no zip ends / finishing zip ends malarkey that happens with a usual pouch construction. The zip end is neatly finished with a square of fabric and drawn into the pouch itself. Then the top is finished nicely with binding, I really love how it looks from above.

I pieced strips of fabric, using pleasing stripes - Headlines from the Loominous collection - at either end on both sides. The base and binding fabric is Balboa by Erin Dollar, it's nice using an Essex that isn't plain and I wasn't sure whether Liz would like (my hoarded) Essex metallics. The cool grey/blue colour plays well with the purples in the prints too. The lining fabric is Bright Heart by Amy Butler.

To add a bit more structure I quilted straight horizontal lines on the patchwork panel using Aurifil 50 weight thread in #2566. I haven't used this Wisteria shade much but it's very pretty and complimented the fabrics perfectly. It came in the Alison Glass Essential Aurifil collection box and overall the shades have proven incredibly useful as they seem to go with everything. I'm not usually drawn to purple but I will be using this colour again.

Due to a severe lack of anything cute I could use as a pull and the fact that this zip head had a very small hole, I cut some mini ric rac to use as a pull. It's sweet and adds a frivolous touch! I did that old trick of burning the cut ends to stop it from fraying.

I bundled up some fabric scraps and this fabulous sewing machine pin from Samantha Claridge as extras.
Happily Liz liked it all and wasn't even sad that I hadn't included chocolate! 

I'm hoping to be back tomorrow with a post about the whole Sewcial Retreat so stay tuned for that!