This is a repost of a tutorial I wrote up a few years ago for zippered pouches on my previous blog. As written, this size is perfect for notions or other crafty bits and pieces, but alter the size to suit and you have a perfect project bag!
Enjoy making one of your own if you are keen on sewing, and if not – no worries because there are plenty of talented sewists out there who specialise in project bags – take a look on Etsy!
I’ve made many zippered pouches over the years, and especially lately! Once you’ve conquered a fear of zips, they seem pretty straight forward to make, right? Until the point you need to turn the whole thing inside out – only to find puckered ends, and a lining that doesn’t seem to fit inside nicely.
Here are some I’ve made recently, preparing for my Easter market.
I decided it was time to share a few extra hints and tips to give you a perfect zippered pouch – every time! No more holding your breath as you turn the pouch inside out
If you’ve made one of these before, or you have a favourite tutorial you use and would just like to read my hints and tips – see below! If you’ve never made one, or would like to try again, just read on for my tutorial.
5 Tips for a Perfect Zippered Pouch
Tip 1: If you are using fusible interfacing (highly recommended!), apply to exterior fabrics only, and cut it to size minus the seam allowances. This will reduce bulk in your seams.
Tip 2: Sew zipper ‘tabs’ to your zipper. Notice the little pieces of fabric on either end of the zip? These are the tabs, and they help to create neat edges. It also means there’s zero chance of sewing over the metal ends of the zip.
Tip 3: When preparing to sew around the lining and the exterior, you’ll notice that the zip wants to ‘fold’. Make sure this ‘fold’ is sandwiched on the lining side of your pouch. Scroll down to Step 10 for a visual as it’s a bit hard to explain!
Tip 4: When sewing around the outside of the lining and exterior, increase your seam allowance slightly when sewing around the lining part. This will make your lining slightly smaller, and result in a neater fit when you place it inside the finished pouch.
Tip 5: Just as you trim corners to get a neat finish when turning something inside out, trim the seam allowance on each side of the zip before turning out. Scroll down to Step 12 for a visual.
And a bonus tip: Press, press, press! Pressing always results in a much neater finish, don’t skip these steps – even if you really hate ironing
Now for the tutorial:
Perfect Zippered Pouch Tutorial with Boxed Corners
As with most of my sewing tutorials, even though I’m from Australia, my measurements are in inches as I use a rotary cutter and board for cutting fabrics!
Finished size: Approx 8 x 5″
One 7″ zip
Two 9 x 7″ exterior pieces (you could also patchwork an exterior, or mix and match fabrics like my linen pouches, just trim to a finished size of 9 x 7″)
Two 2 x 1″ zipper tab pieces (in same fabric as exterior)
Two 9 x 7″ lining pieces
Two 8 x 6″ fusible interfacing
Step 1: Fuse interfacing to wrong side of exterior pieces, leaving a 1/2″ gap around the outside. This is to reduce bulk in your seams later on (TIP 1)
Step 2: (TIP 2) Place one of the zipper tabs right side down on the zip as shown. Using a 1/4″ seam allowance, sew along the short edge. I like to sew this seam twice for extra strength.
Repeat on the other side, opening the zip first. Press both tabs away from the zipper ends
After pressing, trim the entire zip and tabs back to 9″
Step 3: Lay the exterior piece right side up. Unzip the zip halfway and then lay right side down on top of the exterior piece aligning the long edge of the zipper tape. Place a few pins along the length to secure
Lay the lining right side down on top of the piece you’ve just pinned, aligning all edges. Pin along length, and as you go remove the pins previously placed. Your zipper should be nicely sandwiched between the two layers of fabric
Step 4: Using a zipper foot, sew along the length where you’ve pinned, as close to the zipper teeth as possible – approx. 1/8″. Don’t be scared – your zipper foot will stop you from sewing on the teeth!
When you approach the zipper pull (around halfway), stop with your needle down and lift your presser foot. Reach under the layers, and gently pull the zip closed. The zipper pull should now be out of the way and you can continue sewing. This keeps your stitching line nice and straight!
Step 5: Fold both the exterior and lining away from the zipper, bringing the wrong sides of the fabrics together. Press well
Step 6: Place the second exterior piece right side up. Place the piece you’ve just sewn right side down on top – aligning the edges as before. Your zipper pull should now be on the right hand side. Pin a few times along the edge to secure.
Lay the second lining piece right side down as before – aligning all edges. Pin along the edge, removing previous pins as you go.
Step 7: Again, using an approx 1/8″ seam allowance, sew down the length of the layers. Stop just before the zipper pull at the end, and with your needle down, lift the presser foot and pull the zip open. Continue sewing until end.
Step 8: Fold the exterior and lining away from the zipper, as in Step 5. Press well.
Step 9: Top stitch both sides of the zip, as shown in the photo. This is to secure the lining, and stop it getting caught in the zipper teeth when opening and closing. And it looks great too!
You may need to move the zipper pull again at certain points to keep a straight line.
Step 10: OPEN ZIP around 3/4 of the way (very important!). Open the fabric pieces and match the right sides of the linings and the exterior
Fold the tabs and zip, so that it’s sandwiched between the lining – see below. It may automatically fold this way (TIP 3)
Pin well around the perimeter, leaving a 4″ gap in the bottom of the lining for turning out (gap is shown below between the pink ‘bow’ pins)
Step 11: Using a 1/2″ seam allowance, sew around the outside, beginning at the bottom of the lining and continuing all the way around, leaving the gap open.
When sewing the lining section, increase your seam allowance a little. This will make the lining fit inside the pouch a little better (TIP 4)
Step 12: Trim seam allowances on both sides of the zipper as shown. This will reduce bulk when you turn your pouch out (Tip 5)
Step 13: Now it’s time to box the corners. This will make the pouch stand up, and give it a professional looking finish!
Place your hand through the opening of the lining, and ‘squish’ the exterior fabrics together as shown. You can also peek into the opening to make sure the seams are aligned so that your ‘box’ will be square. Mark a line 1.5″ from the point and pin
Repeat for other exterior corner – and also the two lining corners. For the lining corners, I like to open the seam as shown below, and mark the line a little more than 1.5″.
Step 14: Sew along the lines marked, and trim back the excess fabric to around 1/4″
Step 15: Pull the pouch right side out, through the opening in the lining. This is why you need to have your zip open
Using your finger, push out the tabs next to the zipper so they are nice and square. You may also need to use something blunt but pointy (knitting needles are perfect) to neaten
Step 16: Before pushing the lining into the pouch, sew the hole closed using a very small seam allowance.
Of course, you could also hand sew it closed if you want an invisible finish!
Press well and you’re done!
Admire your pretty pouch! Now go and choose some more fabric for the next one, or four….