Carry your RunDisney Medals without breaking your back — Pocket Tutorial

RunDisney fans can get a bit obsessive. We are diligent about our training, and when race weekend nears we check the website 10 times a day for the Virtual Guide and Corral information. We start to check Weather Underground about 30 days out to stalk race weekend weather. Don’t even get me started on the medals! Wow! It seems the tipping point for registration — what gets people to make a decision to spend thousands of dollars for a racecation — is based on the medal design!

Admittedly, RunDisney medals are quite nice…some of the prettier medals in my collection…very photogenic. Which is why even after dozens of miles of running, we drag our sore feet into the parks with those medals to get those iconic castle pictures.

In any given Rundisney Weekend, we might collect multiple pieces of bling, though, and carrying that bling around the parks can be noisy (just go around Magic Kingdom after Marathon Sunday, and you’ll hear what I mean). The noise created by the clinking of shiny medals creates a problem, though. They scratch and ding each other up, snag your clothing, and after a while carrying those medals around your neck is just tiring! I mean you just ran somewhere between 19.3 and 48.6 miles! Do you really need to put your body through more?

So last year, I designed a pocket system — one in which I could carry all my medals tucked away and neatly organized, protecting them from themselves (and my back from the weight). This design is adaptable depending on the race weekend you are doing and the medals you expect to bring home. This version is recently updated to be more easily accessible.

Quick background, though. I love to quilt, but I’m not great at it, and I don’t do this as much as I would like. I know my way around a sewing machine, and I have lots of stash fabric begging to be used.

If you are headed to a RunDisney weekend soon and doing one or two races, try the 2 pocket version — these are great for kids who may only do one or two races. For 3-4 Medals, such as a full weekend like Princess, Wine and Dine or the Goofy Challenge, try the 4 pocket version. For the Bling Motherlode — the Dopey Challenge or the Star Wars Rival Run/Virtual/Kessel Combo, check out the six pocket version. Instructions for each are below, and check out the video, too!

Materials needed (measurements allow for mistakes and/or multiple pocket projects):

  • 1 yard Outer fabric — I use 100% cotton quilting fabric, you can find fun patterns to match your weekend
  • 1 yard Inner fabric — your best bet is flannel — soft without getting too thick. You might get away with fleece, but that gets very thick, and felt can be a bit more abrasive and stiff.
  • Coordinating thread
  • Sewing Machine
  • Good Fabric Scissors (or a cutting tool and mat, like I used in the video)
  • A Ruler
  • Marking Pencil or Chalk
  • Fabric Pins
  • Iron
  • Adhesive velcro and/or ribbon (optional, but recommended)

Please note: the measurements below are based on the largest medal I have, which is about 6 inches in diameter. You may want to adjust your measurements if you are expecting anything larger than that. I allow 7” for the width of each pocket.

Two Pocket version — all the other versions jump off from this basic design.

STEP 1: Cut the outer fabric and inner fabric 17” long by 7” wide. CUT an inner separator sleeve, 8” by 7 “ using the lining fabric



STEP 2: Place the 17×7 inch pieces right sides together and pin along the 17” sides.



STEP 3: Fold the 8×7 inch piece in half lengthwise to create a piece 4×7”.



STEP 4: SEW the outer and inner fabric together along the long sides, right sides together. Turn right side out and set your seams by pressing with a warm iron.



STEP 5: Sew the flannel piece along the long edge, then turn right side out and set the seam. Set the Pocket separator aside for a moment.



STEP 6: Press both the top and bottom ends of the large unit in toward the inner fabric a ¼ inch, then turn again ¼ inch. SEW this in place.



STEP 7: Mark the lining across the width of the pocket one inch up from the bottom and again 6” up from the bottom.

Pin the bottom edge of the pocket separator along the bottom line and pin into place. Trim to fit if necessary.



STEP 8: Turn up the bottom end to line the bottom edge up with the 6” mark.



STEP 9: Sew both of the sides of the pocket using a zigzag stitch, if possible.



STEP 10: Add adhesive velcro to the inside of the flap and the pocket.

Drop your medals in and close!


For the 4 pocket bi-fold version, the steps are similar, but make the following changes:

  • Your measurements for cutting the outer and inner fabric will be 17” high by 14” wide.
  • Your measurements for the pocket separator are 8” by 14” (still fold in half so you have a 4×14” piece).
  • Everything else is the same until you complete step 8
  • If you want to add a ribbon on the sides, you can do this here. Cut 2 x 12” of ribbon and pin to the insides of the pocket about halfway between the pocket opening and the bottom fold. Pin up both sides. Complete Step 9.
  • To make two sides, measure the pockets width, and mark the halfway point. Sew a straight stitch from the bottom of the pocket to the top. Add Velcro closures as in step 10 above, And done!


For the 6 Pocket tri-fold version, make the following changes.

  • Your measurements for cutting the outer and inner fabric will be 17” high by 21” wide.
  • Your measurements for the pocket separator are 8” by 21” (still fold in half so you have a 4×21” piece.
  • After completing step 9, measure the pocket width and divide that measurement into 3 equal parts. Mark 2 lines and use a straight stitch along them to create 6 pockets.
  • Add velcro closures along the inside of the flap, and one more to keep the tri-fold closed.

So that is it! These are really fun to make, and actually don’t take very long. What I love about these is that I think they would make great gifts for your favorite Rundisney fan! It’s a great way to keep your medals safe and out of the way until you want to get them out for pictures.