How to make a zipper pouch with zipper tabs
A woman can never have enough zipper pouches. They are great for travelling, organizing and are perfect to keep cosmetic, toiletries, craft supplies, pens, phone, cards, change etc. The list is endless. The best thing is, you can create them easily by yourself and in every size you want.
This step-by-step tutorial shows you how you can easily sew a lined zipper pouch by yourself. The zipper tabs will give your pouch a more professional look and the interfacing makes it sturdy and soft at once.
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Supplies you need to make a zipper pouch:
- fabric and interfacing of your choice (the size depends on your needs, please read below “Cutting the fabric pieces”)
- zipper (e.g. nylon coil closed-end zippersl)
- ruler, fabric marker pen, and fabric scissors to cut the fabric pieces
- some pins or clips (e.g. Wonder Clips)
- color matching thread
- your iron and ironing board
- “Wash Away Wonder Tape” (to keep fabric and zipper in place before sewing both into place)
- pinking shears (to prevent raw edges from fraying)
- ruler, rotary cutter and cutting mat (especially if you plan to make more pouches)
- fabric glue stick (to keep the zipper or a label in place before sewing it to the fabric)
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Preparing the zipper tabs:
Before cutting your fabric and interfacing, please read and follow our quick & easy zipper tabs tutorial to prepare the zipper for your pouch.
Please keep in mind that the length of your prepared zipper (including the tabs) will be the finished width of your pouch.
Some words to interfacing:
The way you interface your bag affects how sturdy and/or soft your bag will be. We usually use two kinds of fusible interfacing:
- at first a layer of Pellon Shape-Flex SF101: it makes the fabric more firm and removes any creases
- and above a layer of Pellon 987F Fusible Fleece: it gives the pouch some body and softness
Feel free to do the same, or interface the bag to your wish.
Cutting the fabric pieces:
When measuring and cutting the fabric for the exterior and lining, please consider the following:
Cut the fabric pieces 1 ¼” (3cm) wider than your zipper with tabs is long and 1” (2.5cm) higher than your finished pouch should be.
With these numbers in mind, you can adjust the size to your needs. For example: For a finished pouch of about 7” x 4” (18cm x 10cm), cut 8 1/4” x 5” (20.5cm x 12cm)
- (2x) from your exterior fabric
- (2x) from your lining fabric
- (2x) from your lightweight interfacing
Cut 7” x 4” (18cm x 10cm)
- (2) from your fusible fleece
In this case your zipper (incl. tabs) should be 7″ long.
Making the zipper pouch:
Fuse the lightweight interfacing to the wrong side of each exterior and lining fabric piece according to manufacturer instructions (the bumpy side of the interfacing is the fusible one, which faces the wrong side of the fabric). Optional: To reduce bulk you can cut the interfacing a bit shorter on each side before fusing it on.
Place an exterior fabric piece in front of you with right side up. Place the prepared zipper with right side down on top of the exterior fabric. Align the long top edge of the zipper with the long top edge of the exterior fabric. Center the zipper from the short fabric sides.
Place one lining piece with wrong side up (the side with the interfacing shows up) on top of the zipper. Align the long top edge of the lining with the long top edges of the zipper and the exterior fabric. Both fabric pieces (right sides) are now facing each other with the zipper sandwiched in between. Pin or clip the long top side.
Use your zipper foot and sew all three pieces into place with 1/4” seam allowance.
Tip: This step could be a bit tricky when you make it for the very first time. 1/4” (6.4mm) Wash Away Wonder Tape can help here. It is a double-sided transparent tape that keeps all layers in place while stitching.
When you reach the zipper pull, raise your zipper foot with the needle down and move the pull to the other side.
Finger-press the seam away from the zipper teeth.
Place the second exterior fabric piece in front of you with right side up.
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Place the zipper (with the attached exterior and lining fabric) with right side down on top of the second exterior fabric. Align the raw top edge of the zipper with the top edge of the second exterior fabric. Center the zipper from the short fabric sides.
Place the second lining piece with wrong side up (the side with the interfacing shows up) on top of the zipper. Align the long top edge of the lining with the long top edges of the zipper and the exterior fabric. Pin / clip the long top side in place.
Sew all three pieces into place with ¼” seam allowance.
Press all fabric layers away from the zipper teeth.
Fuse the two fleece interfacing pieces to each wrong side of the exterior fabric (on top of the lightweight interfacing). Align the long side of the interfacing with the stitched line of the exterior fabric. Center the interfacing from both short fabric sides.
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Top-stitch on either side close to the zipper. You can either top-stitch only through the lining piece (so the lining fabric will be out of way while opening and closing the pouch later). Or you can also top-stitch through the exterior and the lining fabric pieces together – whatever you prefer.
If you want to attach a label, you can do it now either on the exterior or on the lining fabric.
Tip: Use fabric glue here to hold the label in place before sewing it on.
Make sure that you sew on the label only through one fabric layer!
Open the zipper about two thirds.
On one side of the zipper, match both exterior fabrics with right sides together. On the other side of the zipper, match both lining fabrics with right sides together. Pin or clip in place. Leave/mark a 3” long gap for turning in the center of the long lining edge!
Sew along the rectangle with 1/2” (1cm) seam allowance. Start sewing on one side of the gap and end sewing on the other side of the gap. Make sure to stitch very close next to the zipper taps, don’t stitch through the zipper taps.
Trim all corners close to the seam diagonally. If necessary, trim away any fleece interfacing in the seam allowance to reduce balk.
Optional: Trim seam allowance with pinking shears to prevent raw edges from fraying or secure the seam with a zigzag-stitch. Don’t trim or zigzag-stitch the edge of the opening in the lining.
Pull the bag right side out though the opening in the lining. Work carefully into all corners (using a stick or a pen).
Press everything nice and flat. Fold and press the seam of the opening at the bottom 1/2” (1cm) inwards to the wrong side of the fabric.
Pin and close the opening in the lining with your sewing machine or by hand with a slip-stitch. If a slip-stitch is new for you, there is a great online-video from “Professor Pincushion”, that you can watch here.
Tuck the lining inside the exterior and you are done. Congratulations to your new pouch! 🙂
There are endless variations to create zipper pouches:
Make a set of different sizes. Use two or more fabrics for the exterior or make a whole patchwork. Decorate with trim, ribbon or a bow. You can even personalize your pouch with embroideries or appliqués. And by the way, handmade pouches are always wonderful gifts for family members and friends! 🙂
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