How to Sew an Armband Pouch for a Cell Phone

Have you ever been listening to something on your headphones, and you’re trying to do something with your hands – sewing, washing dishes, jogging – and you go to put your phone in your pocket only to realize you don’t HAVE a pocket? So then you try to wedge it in your bra or your waistband…

No? Never?

Me neither.


This step-by-step tutorial is the perfect way to go hands-free with your phone. Whether you’re walking, jogging, or going to town on a half-gallon of ice cream, I’m not judging. (Especially not if you share some of that ice cream with me.)

Check out the video and follow along with the text/photo instructions below!


Trouble with the video player?
Click here to watch the video on Youtube.


First things first: this tutorial requires that you use spandex fabric. Yes, spandex. Also known as lycra.

Because I know people will ask, the answer is: YES. I really must *insist* that you use a spandex/lycra fabric. Other knit/stretch fabrics lose some of their elasticity after wearing, and that will lead to Droopy Phone Pouch Syndrome. You don’t want a droopy phone pouch, believe me.

The spandex should be cut into two rectangles. The size of the rectangles is really going to correspond to the size of your arm and the size of the phone.

The first thing you need to do is measure your bicep. Midway between the crook of your elbow and your armpit. For the sake of having an example, my upper arm measures 12 inches.

The width of both rectangles will be half of your arm measurement, so in the case of my example: 6″ in width.

(You’ll note in the video that I say to subtract 2″ from your upper arm measurement… then I have you add 2″ for seam allowances. Kind of pointless since adding and subtracting 2″ puts us right back to where we started! So I’ve skipped that unnecessary step here.)

The length of the smaller rectangle (the back) is twice the length of the phone, plus seam allowances. For the phone in this example, that gives us 11.2″ in length plus 1″ for seam allowances. So our Back rectangle should be 12.2″ long.

(Please note that I’m using different “example” measurements in this photo/text version of the tutorial than I did in the video. Hopefully it won’t cause too much confusion, since you should be using your own custom measurements anyway.)

Rectangles o’ spandex

The Front rectangle is almost the same size as the back, but it has an extra 2″ in length.


Step 1
Take the smaller rectangle (the Back), and fold it in half, hamburger style, with the right sides together. Line up the raw edges and pin.

Step 1

Step 2
Sew using a 1/2” seam allowance. Use a zig-zag stitch if you’re using a standard sewing machine. Or if you have a serger, you can use that instead.

Step 2

I like to sew a line of straight stitches before I do the zig-zag sometimes, because sometimes it’s hard to know where that 1/2” seam line is.

Trim the seam allowance and set aside.

Step 3
Moving over to the big rectangle, fold the raw edges of the shorter ends in 1/2″ and pin.

Step 4
Hem with a zig-zag stitch.

Step 4

Step 5
Now that we have both rectangles prepped, we sally forth!

Turn the Back piece right sides out, and center the seam. Going forward, the side with the seam will be the Wrong side. The side without the seam will be the Right side.

Pin the sides to hold it all in place.

Step 5

Step 6
Lay the Front and Back pieces side by side.

Step 6

Take the Front piece, and fold up the bottom so that it matches the height of the Back piece.

Step 6b

When you’re satisfied, fold the top down so it overlaps.

Step 6c

Pin the layers in place.

Step 6d

Step 7
Lay the two pieces Right sides together- and in this case the Right side of the Front is the side with the overlap. And remember that the Right side of the back is the side without the seam.

Step 7

Pin the two pieces together. (If you have any problems with keeping all the layers together, you could baste each piece before this step. I don’t know why didn’t baste first. Oh wait… I’m lazy.)

Step 8
Sew (or serge) using a 1/2” seam allowance.

Step 8

Trim up the seam allowances, and you’re done.

Turn it right side out, and wonder at your cleverness.

The phone goes in and the top folds down, and you’re ready to go hands-free.


Let me know how your armband turned out in the comments!

10 thoughts on “How to Sew an Armband Pouch for a Cell Phone

  1. Can I ask what percentage of lycra/spandex would be best? I’ve never used stretchy fabric before so I’m a bit in the dark!

    1. The safest bet is to go with stretch percentage over fabric content. Something in the range of 50% stretch (or more), which means that a 10″ piece of fabric can stretch up to 15″. Unfortunately, many online fabric stores don’t list the stretch percentage.
      Most lycra/spandex fabrics that would be suitable are 10-20% lycra spandex mixed with either polyester or nylon. There are cotton blends, but they don’t always have the same recovery, especially if they get wet, so I’d avoid cotton for this project specifically.

  2. What kind of thread do you use so that the stitches don’t snap when the armband is stretched/ put on / taken off?

    1. I use all-purpose polyester thread – but it’s not the thread itself that allows for stretch, but the zig-zag stitching.
      If the stitches are still breaking despite using a zig-zag stitch, you could try a few things:
      1. Set the zigzag setting to a shorter stitch width (meaning the zig-zags will be closer together).
      2. Stretch the fabric a bit as you sew (the stitches will end up slightly looser, and this will add additional give to the stitching).
      3. Add perhaps half an inch to the armband itself so the fabric (and thus stitching along with it) doesn’t have to stretch as much.

  3. Hi Lex this is a great tutorial….only confusion is that in your video you indicate take measurement of bicep – substract 2 inches and then divide in half. In the written version you do not subtract 2 inches. Which one gives better fit? thanks

    1. This ended up being confusing because I did the math slightly out of order in the video vs. the text. The steps in the video are to take the bicep measurement, subtract 2″, divide in half… and then *add width for the seam allowances* (which is 1/2″ on each edge). We end up with each half being 6″.

      That puts us back at 12″ of total width (the same as the original measurement), making the initial 2″ subtraction unnecessary. I was basically saying to subtract 2″ from the total width to account for negative ease and then add 2″ to the total width for seam allowances. I realized this as I wrote up the text version and decided to omit that little bit of pointless math.

      If for some reason you want to do a different seam allowance width, then you should measure your bicep, subtract 2″, add the custom seam allowance width to each edge, then divide by 2.

  4. thank you for your tutorial, I like your idea. I think this would also work as an ankle band and could also be good for money, keys, etc., and be out of sight when wearing pants.

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