Sewing tutorial-zippered pouches

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…

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…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)

Supplies needed:

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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)

matching thread

scissors

pinking shears (not required but nice)

craft or fabric glue

First select 2 contrasting fabrics.

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For this purpose I am making a pencil type bag which will be longer and more narrow

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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)

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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.

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 (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.

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Next lay you zipper across the widest side of your finished piece-zipper facing down.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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You will now have an inside out bag, top stitched on both sides and believe it or not we are almost done!

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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.

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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.

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See the ribbon on the inside?

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Taking your pinking shears, trim off the zipper on each side.

Really-go ahead!

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It is now a good time to use those shears to tidy up the sides of your bag.

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Now turn you bag right side out.

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Yes…finished!

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(with a fabric strap)

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(with a ribbon strap)

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Now I love embellishments so I usually add a zipper pull using a length of ribbon with beads attached.

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It just depends on how long you want your zipper pull.

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I like to use a variety of beads and ribbon or cord.

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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!

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Beads, ribbon, and strap are optional.

Happy sewing!

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26 thoughts on “Sewing tutorial-zippered pouches

  1. Thanks, Mrs T. I appreciate you stopping by. Yes, these zippers are so easy because they all in the middle part of the bag. I’ve tried making cosmetic bags with a zipper at the top and they never come out quite as good. I guess that’s why I love this simple project because it is almost impossible to go wrong!

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  2. These are so cute! I have resisted making zipper pouches for a long time because I have always detested putting in zippers and using zipper foots. (When my girls were young and I made many, many dresses from the toddler years right through the teens, I learned to put zippers in by hand because it was the only way for me to do it right the first time!)

    But these look quite easy and your tutorial is great. I will be giving these a try. Thanks for sharing!

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  3. I checked out Professor Pincushion! I never got as far as the sewing tips. I was too busy cracking up about the fabric stash video. The trip to the fabric store was pretty funny too! 😅 I’ll have to go back later. Thanks. Made my day.

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  4. A perfect project to get back into the swing of things! Have missed seeing you around, Nancy. Hope you’ll be back on the blogging scene real soon.

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  5. Hi Jan,
    I never took home ec in school, and so missed out on knowing how to sew. But my youngest daughter did a few years ago, so Santa brought a sewing machine last year. We both went out and bought patterns for dresses. She helped me a lot, and although I have not made anything since, it was a lot of fun. This is a great post, I am lately looking for little projects to do, so will give this a shot!! xx Nancy

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  6. Thanks! I like this project because for some reason the zipper in the middle of the bag is so much simpler than at the top of the bag. I used to make quilted cosmetic bags but was always frustrated that the zipper didn’t look just perfect. Hard to imagine back in the day we actually used to put zippers and our dresses! They were always just off ever so slightly or something was wrong. Someday I will get up the nerve to tackle a buttonhole. I am looking forward to pursuing the crocheting now that I found an avenue for that at the Senior Center.

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  7. I am so surprised that you under rate your sewing capacity. I’ve seen it and it’s professional grade. As a quilter and sewer, I don’t think I’ve ever sewn a perfectly straight line. 😦 Your stitching is perfect. Loved the tutorial Always hated zippers as I had such a hard time with them. Now you make them look so easy. I taught myself to sew later after I had my second child. Out of necessity of course. Just read the directions and try to follow them. Mother sewed like a professional with no classes so why not me. 😦 Never quite got there. I’m going back to see if I can find your other projects. You’ll do well with the crochet too. It’s not hard, the books print some incorrect directions. I took a class on crochet and we spent the whole first class fixing the directions in the book we bought. Let me know how it goes. 🙂

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  8. What a great offer! Thank you. I emailed you and perhaps we can meet up. I love crafting and have many ideas but implementing them is another thing! ! Always nice to have support and company along the journey. I crochet-somewhat- but I say that with no confidence at all! I look forward to hearing back from you.

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  9. Great tutorial! These bags are so adorable and I love that you embellish the zipper pull how cute is that 🙂

    PS We are very close to each other geographically I think? And I do knitting lessons, beginners, intermediate and advanced. If your interested just give me a holler nicole.grigor@gmail.com Plus it is so hard to find people here in So Cal that do these crafts? Isn’t it ? I went onto MeetUp.com to find crafty groups that did sewing or knitting and guess what……no groups exist, I was going to start one but you have to pay money every month to keep your listing on that web site. I use to meet people for coffee in the Burgh and go to these knitting groups. It is great fun! So if you want to meet up for a coffee and grab a ball of yarn with some needles I will teach you for free 🙂 We can start our own little knitting group 🙂

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  10. That is so true, memarose! I know I love receiving hand crafted items. That labor of love means so much to me. I guess we tend to be harder and more critical of ourselves. Thanks for the reminder.

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  11. Never feel home projects don’t measure up – they carry an “ingredient” that makes them perfect – love. Nothing else can compare or measure up to that which springs from the heart.

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  12. Awww how sweet of you. I consider myself the forever. Learning more and more with each project. You did an a great job. That zipper was put in perfectly and the pouch is sooo cute!!!

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  13. I doubt I will ever get to the level of expertise that you have! That scarf you made was absolutely incredible. However, I do think it is worth trying-again! !

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  14. Don’t feel bad! I didn’t know you could cut a zipper either until recently. I think you’re pretty busy with your beautiful artwork, crocheting, and (or) knitting I only wish I could be so talented as to be able to do any of that! Actually, I just stopped by the Senior Center today to investigate a knitting and crocheting class. I would love to be able to do something when I’m just kicking back or in the car.

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  15. Your colourful bags are eye candy Jan! I never realised we can just cut through a zipper like that – I always hunt around to find one just the right size! Silly me!! 😀 I rarely sew much any more, but feel quite tempted …….

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