How to Make a Simple Zipper Pouch
Zipper pouches are fun and easy projects that are not only useful, but they are cute and make great gifts too!
If you are intimidated by sewing a zipper, don’t worry! We will walk through everything step by step!
For this project, you have three size/style options:
- small zipper pouch (pencil bag size)
- large zipper pouch
- large zipper pouch with boxed corners (so that it can stand upright)
Let’s get started!!!
- 1/4 yard outer fabric (*note: you will have extra fabric leftover – you only need two pieces that are either 6″ x 10″ (small pouch) or 8″ x 10″ (large pouch), so you can definitely use smaller remnants, but in case you are getting new fabric cut, you can ask for that amount)
- 1/4 yard inner fabric for lining (see above note)
- 1/4 yard fusible fleece interfacing (see above note)
- 9 inch zipper
Step 1: Download the Zipper Pouch Pattern PDF
Step 2: Cut and assemble the paper pattern.
Cut out the pattern for the size pouch you would like to make. Connect the two sides of the pattern at the dotted line and tape together.
Step 3: Cut your fabric.
Referring to the cutting instructions on the paper pattern, trace and cut 2 of your outer fabric, 2 of your inner fabric you will use for the lining, and 2 of the fusible fleece.
Step 4: Apply fusible fleece to outer fabric.
Place the fusible fleece with the bumpy glue dots facing up. Then place your outer fabric piece right side up on top of that. Iron the pieces together using manufacturer’s instructions – hold the iron in one place for a few seconds to allow the fusible fleece to adhere to the fabric, then move over a little for a few seconds, and so on until the fusible fleece and the outer fabric piece are stuck together. If parts of it aren’t sticking well to your fabric, that is ok, it will all be sewn down in later steps.
Step 5: Get your machine ready to sew a zipper.
There are two things you need to do in order to sew a zipper properly:
- change your presser foot to a zipper foot
- change the needle alignment (if necessary) so that the needle is closer to the zipper foot
If you have never used a zipper foot before, it looks like this:
To change the presser foot, first we need to get the regular one off. On my machine, all you have to do is press the little black button in the back and it drops right off.
To put the zipper foot on, line up the little bar on the left side of the foot under the hook and lower your presser foot down to snap it in place (if it doesn’t snap in, make sure the bar is aligned under the hook and you can push the black button in back to help it snap in.
The next thing we need to do is change the needle alignment to the center if it is not already there. Most machines allow you to either have the needle left aligned or center aligned. On my machine the Brother CS6000i, normal sewing is left aligned on the setting “00”. To change it to center alignment, you simply need to change the stitch setting to “01”.
Now we are ready to finally start sewing! 🙂
Step 6: Sew one side of the zipper.
Place your lining piece right side face up, then line up your zipper as shown in the picture below with the top edges even and the zipper centered. (I like to flip the little zipper tab down and line it up with the right edge of my fabric.)
Next place one of your outside pieces right side face down. (If your fabric has a pattern that goes in a particular direction, the top of the piece of fabric is the edge you are lining up with the zipper and the lining.)
You can see in the picture the zipper is “sandwiched” between the two layers of fabric.
Pin across the top making sure to keep the edges of the lining, zipper, and outer fabric even.
Sew the side that you have pinned. Line up the right edge of the zipper foot on the edge of your fabric. Sew almost all the way down, but stop before you get to your last pin. Leave your needle down in the fabric, but lift your presser foot.
Now we are going to reach between the layers and zip the zipper past the presser foot to get it out of the way. This helps to keep your seam straight rather than trying to go around the big bulky zipper head! Quick note that sometimes it is hard to get the zipper past the zipper foot if you got a little close – if you have to you can lift the needle up, but just make sure to line it back up and start back where you left off!
You can now put your presser foot back down and finish sewing the rest of the way down to the end!
Press with your fingers both pieces of fabric over to one side, and you have completed the first side! I always recommend checking to make sure your zipper zips up and down, because it would be sad to finish the whole thing and realize the zipper doesn’t work because your stitches got too close to the zipper and it could have been fixed at this stage! (If that does happen to you, no problem! Just whip out you seam ripper and take out your stitches and try again, making sure to really keep the edge of the zipper foot lined up with the edge of your fabric.)
Step 7: Sew the other side of the zipper.
The process for this side is almost exactly the same. Place your remaining lining piece right side face up, then the zipper face up, then the remaining outer fabric piece face down, lining up the edges and pinning in place.
Before you start sewing on this side, we need to move the zipper head out of the way (so we are kind of doing what you did on the other side, except in reverse).
Move the zipper head, sew down a little bit, but not too close to the zipper head, then stop, lift you presser foot and zip the zipper back up all the way, put your presser foot down and continue sewing all the way down to the end.
Again, check your zipper to make sure it zips!
Now if you open it up, it should look like this!
Step 8: Topstitch both sides along the zipper.
The purpose of doing this is to hold the fabric down so that it doesn’t get stuck in your zipper later when you use the pouch!
Before we do this, we need to put the needle position back to normal and put our regular presser foot back on.
Change the needle position back to left aligned (on my machine, I bring it back to “00”).
Then press the black button on the back to release the zipper foot.
To put your original presser foot back on, line up the bar on the presser foot underneath the little hook and lower your presser foot down until it snaps in place (you may have to push the black button to get it to click back in).
Now lay your project flat – make sure you have a lining piece on each side and a outer fabric piece on each side. To keep everything flat and together you can stick a couple of pins in the sides – the main goal is we just don’t want fabric bunched up by the zipper, but flat and away from it.
Sew close to the edge of your outer fabric (topstitch) all the way down.
Do the same thing for the opposite side.
Step 9: Sew the pouch together.
First, unzip the zipper about halfway. If you don’t do this, you won’t be able to flip everything right side around!
Then put the two outside pieces together (right sides together) and the two lining pieces together so that it is laying flat.
We are going to mark with chalk a 3 – 4 inch opening on the edge of the lining. We are not going to sew between these two chalk lines so that we can flip everything around later.
Now we need to pin all the sides together, trying to line up the edges as best you can. (If it doesn’t line up well that’s ok, try to get the outside fabric to line up exactly, and then if the lining fabric is a little off, you can trim any of the extra little bits off after pinning in place.)
You will be sewing all the way around with a 1/2′ seam allowance, starting at the lower chalk mark, going around all sides and ending on the upper chalk mark.
In order to keep your 1/2″ seam allowance even all the way around, use your seam gauge to measure 1/2″ once you get close to the bottom edge. When your needle is about 1/2″ away from the edge, leave your needle down but lift your presser foot and pivot to go down the next side.
Be very careful as you approach the seam with the zipper. Try to check to make sure your needle won’t hit the little metal piece at the end of the zipper (you can feel it through the fabric). If the needle does hit it and your machine freaks out and locks up, just lift the needle up with the hand wheel, turn the machine off and back on again to clear the error message, and then move your fabric over just a little so that the needle will not hit the metal piece again, and continue sewing.
Finish sewing around all the sides, ending at the upper chalk mark.
OPTIONAL STEP: If you are sewing the large zipper pouch and would like the pouch to have boxed corners and stand up like the pouch in the picture below, follow these instructions. If not, skip to Step 10.
To make the boxed corners, pull apart the two layers as in the picture below and squish flat so that the corner of your stitching is at the top of the point. (You will be doing this for both of the lining corners and both of the outer fabric corners.) Measure 1 1/2″ from that point and draw a line straight across.
Sew all the way across your drawn line.
Clip the extra off the top.
Repeat for all four corners so that they look like this:
You can now continue with Step 10 and flipping the pouch right side out.
Step 10: Clip your corners and flip right side around.
Trim each of the four corners being sure to not cut too close to your stitching. This reduces the bulk of fabric so that when you flip it right side around the corners turn nicely.
Flip right side around through the opening you left in the lining. Once you are able to, you can unzip the pouch the rest of the way, and that will help you to flip it. You can use a chopstick or other pointy object to really poke out those corners.
Step 11: Sew the opening in the lining closed.
Fold the raw edges of the lining to the inside and pin.
Sew close to the edge to close up the opening.
Tuck the lining inside, and your zipper pouch is now complete!!!