Sewing is a passion of mine. Looking over my blog one might not know that as I don’t share many of my projects. I don’t consider myself to be a great sewer and feel a bit apprehensive sharing my stuff. During my high school and college years, I sewed almost all of my clothes. Later I sewed for my children until they reached an age when they did not want to be seen in ‘homemade’ clothes anymore-instead striving to be just like everyone else. In the past few years I have rekindled my love of sewing but now focus more on home décor and craft items.
One of my most popular posts, surprisingly, is my Fabric Origami Bag which is one of my favorite crafts to sew. It is easy and would be perfect for kids, simple projects, or beginning sewers. Last year I began sewing zippered pouches. I make cosmetic bags, coin purses, and pencil cases. These are fun (and easy) projects too! I enjoy putting together color combinations and adding the little extras. Selecting fabrics, cutting, and picking embellishments takes more time than the actual sewing. Since we live in an instant gratification world, these bags are perfect! You have a finished piece in a very short amount of time. Like most sewers, I have a stash of fabric around as well as extra zippers…
…which I order in bulk on Amazon.
(Much cheaper that way!)
I have decided to try another sewing tutorial (and you will need a sewing machine for this)
2 small pieces of fabric (cotton or cotton blend)
a 10 inch or longer (longer is better) nylon zipper (you will be cutting the zipper so nylon is a must)
some type of craft interfacing or stabilizer. I use a medium weight stabilizer. It can be an fusible but I prefer to just use a glue stick appropriate for fabric)
pinking shears (not required but nice)
craft or fabric glue
First select 2 contrasting fabrics.
For this purpose I am making a pencil type bag which will be longer and more narrow
Approx. 8 inches wide x 10 inches wide
These measurements do not need to be exact and I seldom measure (instead just using whatever I have lying around)
Next cut a piece of stabilizer, the same size.
Glue fabric to each side of stabilizer so you now have a two-sided piece to work with.
That means you have the stabilizer sandwiched between 2 pieces of contrasting fabric.
(not the same bag but to give you a different look at your glued rectangle)
Using pinking shears, cut the edges around the outside of the rectangle.
Next lay you zipper across the widest side of your finished piece-zipper facing down.
If you lay the zipper on the shorter side, you will end of with something more of a glasses case or (or what they used to call a cigarette case). This is ok too but for this tutorial we will stick with the pencil bag size. You can use your glue stick to lightly glue your zipper into place or pin. I like to sew it with just the pinked edges poking out for a more decorative look even though this will be on the inside of the bag, This bag is not lined so you will get an occasional glimpse of this when opening and closing your bag.
Machine stitch and if you need to-use a zipper foot attachment to get close. Unless I am working with a very small bag, I don’t usually switch to my zipper foot.
Using your fingers, smooth the zipper up so that it is now facing up as it should be in the finished bag.
Topstitch the to keep it in place and to avoid snagging when open and closing your bag. Keep the topstitch 1/8 inch or so from the edge and to catch the pinked edge underneath.
Now fold the bag so that is inside out. The next step is to stitch the zipper to the other side of your piece. Again, allow the pinked edge to peak out ever so slightly. Sew into place and again top stitch. If you use to small of a zipper, it makes top stitching this side more difficult.
You will now have an inside out bag, top stitched on both sides and believe it or not we are almost done!
The next step is sew up the sides. If you would like to have a little handle now is the time to get that ready. You can either use a piece of ribbon, cord, or create your own using the same or contracting fabric. I usually use the same fabric as the outside of the bag. Take a piece of fabric approx. 8 inches in length. Fold in half and stitch up the side. Turn using a safety-pin (or a fancy turning gadget) so that you now have a neat little strip. Press, Fold in half.
I always take a moment to look over my project at this point, double check to see my zipper moves smoothly and check for any mistakes. If I am going to catch a mistake now is the time to do so! Turn you bag inside out and we will now stitch up the sides. The zipper will fall onto the front of the bag-not on the top. Depending on the size of the bag, I like to fold over about 1-2 inches.
Anything less than an inch will allow too much of the unlined bag to show when opening and closing. If you have decided to use the strap/handle, now is the time to insert. Place strap inside the bag so it will be laying against the outside fabric with the edges matched up to the edge of the bag.
See the ribbon on the inside?
Or if you are using a matching fabric strap.
You can pin into place. These bags are so small that it is not difficult to hold in place but pinning is a good idea. Now stitch up that side. Don’t forget to leave the zipper open so you can turn you bag and make sure your zipper pull is within the area of the bag.
Be certain the zipper teeth are held/pinned together when sewing. Yes, you can sew right over the zipper! I like to go over the strap and zipper several times to make sure it will hold. Don’t worry about the excess zipper hanging out at this point.
Flip your bag around and stitch up the other side taking care that the zipper is centered evenly on both sides so you do not get a crooked bag. This is one of the few time I actually do measure!
Taking your pinking shears, trim off the zipper on each side.
It is now a good time to use those shears to tidy up the sides of your bag.
Now turn you bag right side out.
(with a fabric strap)
(with a ribbon strap)
Now I love embellishments so I usually add a zipper pull using a length of ribbon with beads attached.
It just depends on how long you want your zipper pull.
I like to use a variety of beads and ribbon or cord.
This is a great way to use up small pieces of fabric and leftover ribbon. My bags are always different sizes depending on which scraps of fabric I have lying around. I keep a few bags around for birthdays or hostess gifts.
They are also good as a gift card holder!
Beads, ribbon, and strap are optional.