Monday, September 7, 2009

Not Sew Scary: Easy peasy zipper pouch

Sewing with zippers can be daunting.

I know this, because every single one of my early projects was chosen and created simply because there was no need for a zipper. If I needed a method of closure? Iron-on velcro to the rescue.

It didn't take long, though, for me to make friends with the zipper. And once I did, I learned they're pretty fun! not so bad after all.

There are a few different ways to sew a zipper in your project, but the centered zipper is east peasy and ready for a beginner to take on. By the time you finish with this tutorial, you'll have a great looking zippered pouch.

1. Gather your supplies. For this project I ran around a grabbed:
A rotary cutter
Cutting mat
Scrap fabric (make sure you've got enough for two good sized pieces, mine were 9" X 6ish")
8" zipper (that looks neato with your fabric, also, get a zipper that's longer or shorter if you use a different size fabric)
Zipper foot (I'll get busted in the photos, and totally did not use a zipper foot. Mine was in the basement and I caught a case of the lazy. I'd recommed you use yours.)
Seam ripper

2. Cut your fabric to the size you want. Again, I cut mine about 9" X 6". I was using an odd shaped scrap and the biggest part of the scrap dictated the size of the pouch sides. Use a ruler of something stiff to guide your cutter. You'll see I used an advanced sewing tool called "American Girl Magazine"
3. Put the two pieces of fabric, with the edges lined up, right sides together (the pretty sides in), and baste (I use the longest straight stitch setting on my machine).  No need to backstich here, we'll rip them out in a minute.
4. Press the seam open

5. Center your zipper FACE DOWN on the seam that you just made, and pin it in place, or baste the short sides of the zipper to keep it in place.  I guess I forgot to take a picture of this step, but as long as you have the zipper snug on the fabric, you'll do fine!

6. Sew around the four sides of your zipper. With the needle down, pivot the fabric at each corner to make sure your stitches line up. Backstitch to make sure that zipper stays on!

P.S. THIS IS WHEN YOU WANT TO USE YOUR ZIPPER FOOT. Do as I say and not as I do, and all that jazz.

7. Right now, your zipper is covered by fabric and the basting stitches. Using your seam ripper, rip out the basting and the zipper will make an appearance.

8. Unzip the zipper about two or so inches. Really, do it. It won't be pretty to forget this step.

9. Make sure the zipper is unzipped about two or so inches.

10. Turn the fabric back out, so that the right sides are facing. Line up the sides and get the zipper to lay as neatly as possible. Pin the sides and sew the three sides of the pouch that don't have the zipper attached. Guide your seam allowance by the end of the zipper. You want to sew about 1/4" inside of the end of the zipper. My seam allowance was 1/4". Don't forget to backstitch to secure it!

11. Clip any fabric bulk that's hanging around after you sew up the sides. Be careful not to cut your stitches. Cutting the leftover fabric will leave your pouch smoother inside.

12. Turn the pouch right side out (see why you opened the zipper?), and push out the corners (with your finger, a pen bottom, chopstick...something thin but not too sharp). Press again if you want your pouch really polished. (You'll notice I skipped the press.)

13. Admire! You totally sewed up a zippered pouch! Throw in pencils, change, bobbins, WHATEVER! (Oh, and if some fuzzies from your basting reappear, just brush them off.)


  1. Oh that's cute. I should make one to put all my hair elastics and bobby pins in!

  2. Great idea! If you're like me, NOTHING gets lost like hair accessories!

  3. I just made a purple leather (bought leather skirt at second hand store for $1.75) pencil pouch for my granddaughter Maddy for her birthday. I am intimidated by zippers, but your tutorial for this pouch was really easy. I made it in less than a half hour. Used rotary cutter to cut two layers of leather. Made fast work of the cutting. Thank you for posting this tutorial. Deara

  4. I'm so glad it worked for you Deara. I like the idea of a thrifted leather skirt, too. That hadn't occured to me before!


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