A zipper pouch is an easy beginner sewing project and a great introduction to sewing with zippers! This tutorial will walk you through all the steps of how to sew a zipper pouch with a lining. I also share how I made a patchwork quilted zipper pouch using scrap fabric that I cut and sewed into triangles. This is a great way to practice patchwork or quilting since you’re working on smaller scale!
I chose to make a quilted zipper pouch that has a layer of batting sewn to the outer layer to give it some squishy structure. You could easily make a zipper pouch with a single layer of fabric for the outside, add fusible interfacing or keep it simple and unstructured with no interfacing at all.
If you’ve never quilted with triangles before and want to see how I pieced triangles together to make the outer layer, the head over to my tutorial How to Cut and Sew Triangles. Or if you wanted to make a quilted zipper pouch with squares instead, then my tutorials How to Cut Squares for Quilting and How to Sew Squares Together walk you through the steps of quilting with squares.
Lets get started!
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Some things you’ll need
- Fabric Scissors
- Ruler – I use this quilting ruler all the time!
- Rotary cutter
- Pins or clips
- Zipper – I’m using a 7″ zipper in my example, but you can easily adjust the bag measurements for any length of zipper
- Zipper foot
- Fusible Interfacing (optional)
- Batting (optional)
- Fabric – Quilting cotton, linen or really any woven fabric works great
Cut out your fabric
The first step is to cut out your fabric! I’ve already pieced together my triangles to make my outer layer and cut it to the dimensions I need.
Cut Out 2 Main and 2 Lining
The width of your rectangle needs to be at least the total length of the zipper you’re using. I’m using a 7″ zipper (zippers are always measured between the metal stoppers) and the total length of the zipper is about 8.5″ so that’s what I cut the width of my fabric (actually it ended up a tiny bit longer).
The length is up to you! Don’t forget to include seam allowance at the bottom and the top. For reference, my finished rectangle ended up being 8 5/8″ wide and 7 1/4″ ( 21.9 cm x 18.4 cm) tall.
Quilt or add interfacing
If you’re going to use fusible interfacing or quilt a layer of batting, then you need to do that now before sewing the zipper. Cut two pieces of batting the same size as your outer piece – I just laid it on top of the batting and cut around. Pin, or use safety pins to keep the layers together while you sew.
Using a walking foot, “stitch in the ditch” along the seam lines of the patchwork pattern. Since this is a small project, you don’t have to go around every triangle but just enough to keep the batting in place.
Make zipper sandwich
Here’s how to make your zipper sandwich:
- Lining right side up
- Zipper right side up
- Outer right side down
Make sure all the layers are lined up evenly along the top edge and at each end and pin or clips all the layers together.
With a zipper foot, sew along the top edge making sure to catch all 3 layers (main, zipper and lining). I’m using a 3/8″ (1 cm) seam allowance but depending on the width of your zipper this might be a little more or less. I like to sew with the lining side up when my outer fabric is a little bulkier to make sure there isn’t any puckering.
Depending on the bulk of the fabric I’m sewing with, sometimes I have trouble feeding the layers under the zipper foot without puckers. So what I will do is grab a pointy tool, like a seam ripper or these small scissors to help guide the fabric through more smoothly (see photo above, from my tutorial How to Sew an Open End Recessed Zipper).
Make another zipper sandwich for the other side of the zipper:
- Lining right side up
- Zipper right side up (the other lining and outer fabric is attached so move them down out of the way)
- Outer right side down
Like before, line up all the layers at the top edge and both ends and pin or use clips to secure.
Sew along the top edge close to the zipper with a 3/8″ (1 cm) seam allowance making sure to catch all three layers.
Topstitch Alongside Zipper
Press open the layers, making sure not to iron directly onto the zipper, by gently pulling the fabric away from the zipper and pressing along the seam. Press on both the outer and lining sides to ensure that the zipper isn’t going to catch any fabric when opening/closing.
*Now is a good time to double check that the layers were sewn correctly – The right side of the outer fabric should showing along with the right side of the zipper. When turned over, the right side of the lining should be showing with the wrong side of the zipper.
With a zipper foot, topstitch along both sides of the zipper about 1/8″ (0.3 cm) to 1/4″ (0.6 cm) away from the edge.
Make sure to have the zipper half way or all the way open before this next part!
Sew Side and Bottom Seams
Arrange the bag with the lining right sides together and the outer right sides together. Pin all around but make sure to leave an opening in the lining, about 4″ (10.2 cm).
Starting at the opening in the lining, sew around the edges with a 1/4″ (0.6 cm) seam allowance making sure to backstitch at the beginning and end. When sewing over the zipper tape, point the seam allowances and zipper tape down towards the lining – this ensures the zipper is laying correctly when turned right side out.
Turn the zipper pouch right side out through the opening in the lining and then through the zipper opening (this is when it’s important to have the zipper already open!).
The final step is closing up the opening in the lining with an edgestitch or slip stitch. I like to pre-press the seam allowance to make the sewing easier.
Slip stitches are a great option if you want an invisible finish at the bottom of the bag. See the video below if you want to learn how or need a refresher :). (The video is from my DIY Fabric Tree Ornament tutorial).
Either option works great, it just depends on if you’re in the mood for hand stitching or you want to use your sewing machine! To show the difference, I sewed both methods on the two zipper pouches I made (see photo below).
And that’s it – your zipper pouch is done!
I made two of these as gifts for my kids’ teachers (literal angels) and I love how quick these are to make. It takes even less time if you skip the quilting!
If you need some other quick sewing projects, my Edgewood Sling Bag is a beginner friendly pattern and a great introduction to bag making. Or depending on the season, these fabric pumpkins and tree ornaments are fun DIY decor projects. Of course I have to mention my scrunchie tutorial which is an easy and functional way to use up leftover fabric.