This is a nice, quick tutorial for beginners and pros alike! Not only are zipper pouches easy to make, but they’re practical as well. They make great little clutch purses, or make up bags, or storage for art supplies (or whatever else you want to use them for)!
Click below to watch a video version of the tutorial, or keep scrolling for a photo/text tutorial.
Here we go!
Collect your materials. You’ll need an outer fabric and a lining fabric, plus a zipper. I’m also adding a wristlet strap, but you could customize yours in lots of ways. You could add a keyring or swivel hook on the end of the strap, or you could skip the strap. Add a pocket or handles. Go crazy! You can also play with the size and dimensions.
The dimensions I used are as follows (and incidentally fit my Nook quite nicely):
- cut two outer fabric rectangles 9.5″ wide and 6.5″ long
- cut two lining fabric rectangles 9.5″ wide and 6.5″ long
- cut one outer fabric strap rectangle 12″ wide and 3″ long
- the zipper should be at least 3 inches longer than the width of the bag (so in my case, 13″ or longer)
I have interfaced my outer fabric, but only because it’s a stretch fabric, and I really don’t want it to stretch. Otherwise, interfacing is optional!
Fold the strap in half, wrong sides together (hot dog style!).
Press along the fold.
Now you have a nice crisp line running down the center of the strap piece.
Fold both raw edges to the center line.
Press it like you mean it!
Fold the strap in half again, along the original fold line. The raw edges should be completely encapsulated.
Pin in place.
Topstitch the strap about 1/8″ from the edge. Set the strap aside.
Now we’re going to make a sammich.
The first layer of the sammich is the lining fabric. It should be Right Side Up. (My bad for using a lining fabric that doesn’t really have a Right Side and Wrong Side. Dumb for tutorial purposes.)
The middle of the sammich is the zipper, also Right Side Up.
The top of the sammich is the outer fabric, Right Side Down. In other words, the fabrics are Right Sides Together, with the zipper sandwiched in between.
Our tasty sammich.
Line up the top edges of the fabrics with the edge of the zipper tape and pin.
Stitch where you’ve pinned, using a zipper foot.
Open it up and admire your handiwork!
Fold both layers away from the zipper and press.
Make a small mark on the other side of the zipper tape, indicating where the fabric starts and stops.
Repeat the sandwich method, using the marks on the zipper tape to line up the fabric.
Remember, lining fabric, Right Side Up.
Zipper (with the other fabrics stitched to it already), Right Side Up.
Outer fabric, Right Side Down.
Pin everything together and sew with your zipper foot.
Now you can see we’re starting to get somewhere! Press with the iron again.
Topstitch both sides. You should be stitching through all three layers- outer, zipper, and lining.
This step is optional, really. I prefer the way it looks topstitched.
You can’t see this in my photo, but it’s very important that you open the zipper at this point. Not all the way- you want the pull somewhere in the middle of all that fabric.
Then pin the two lining pieces Right Sides Together. And the same with the outer fabric.
Say hello to the strap again. Hello, strap!
Pin the strap in a loop, like so. It would be wise to baste the strap after pinning, but sometimes I like to live dangerously, so I didn’t.
Slide the strap in between the two outer layers. (You can go ahead and ignore the stitching you see in the photos. I may or may not have forgotten to put the strap in before I started sewing the pouch together. *cough*)
Pin the strap in place. An inch or two below the zipper is just about right.
Alright, now that we’ve got everything all pinned together, let’s focus on the zipper. You want the teeth of the zipper to be facing the lining fabric. This will make everything lay nicely when we’re finished, so this is key.
This is the other end. Again, teeth towards the lining!
Starting right at the edge of the zipper, sew around the outer fabric using a 3/8″ seam allowance.
Note how my stitching does not encroach upon the zipper’s territory. You don’t want to catch the zipper in the stitching at all.
Sew around the lining fabric using a 3/8″ seam allowance, but this time, leave a nice big gap on the bottom (back stitching on either side).
Again, do not stitch over the zipper. Give it an especially wide berth in this case, as you don’t want to sew over the teeth and break a needle.
Remove the excess zipper.
Trim your corners.
Now the fun part. Open up the gap you left in the lining, and pull the outer fabric through, turning the whole thing Right Side Out.
Use something poky to get your corners nice and crisp (excluding the corners touching the zipper).
Mind the gap! And by that, I mean fold the raw edges under and press it closed.
You can press it with an iron, but I find that just mashing it down with my hand usually does the trick.
Pin the gap closed.
Sew the gap using a 1/8″ seam allowance. I stitched mine in pink thread so it would be visible for the purposes of the tutorial. You can certainly use matching thread.
Tuck the lining inside.
I just want to point out why we went to all that trouble to A. make sure the zipper teeth were facing a certain direction and B. did not sew the zipper into the seams, and it is those nice diagonal folds indicated by the red arrows above. If you don’t pay attention to the zipper, things get real wonky in that area.