Making a handmade zip bag sounds complicated, doesn't it? Sure, you can buy zip pouches. But handmade pouches are affordable, simple, and easy easier than you might imagine. (Yes, even with a lining and a zipper!) While at first glance a pouch of this style seem like complicated sewing projects, put in truth they are quite simple to do.
I created this lined zippered gift pouch using a contrasting zipper and some scraps of fabric from my stash. I chose polka dots for the outside and lined my bag with a piece of vintage bedsheet. (If you've been coming here for a long time you might recognize the lining fabric from my duvet cover tutorial from a while back.)
I originally wrote this tutorial for a professional soapmaker's publication, the Saponifier, so pardon the shameless self-promotion of my organic baby care products. Put what ever you want in your pouch. LuSa or otherwise!
I will provide instructions for a 6”x7” pouch here but the variations are limitless. Once you have the hang of it, modify to any size you wish.
Gather Your Supplies
7” x 8” fabric rectangles: two in outer fabric, two in liner fabric
Coordinating 7” zipper
Cutting mat and rotary cutter (optional)
Sharp sewing shears
The first lined zip pouch I made (last winter) ended up – after three tries – with the lining on the outside and the main fabric inside. I threw up my hands and pretended that it was supposed to look like that. To save you that frustration I promise to make this simple and easy to understand. We’ll take it one step at a time and soon you’ll be making them by the dozens. Okay. Maybe not, but you could if you had enough zippers.
Step 1: Make a zipper sandwich.
Lay one piece of your exterior fabric right side up.
On top of it lay your closed zipper wrong side up (you will see the bottom of the zipper pull).
On top of the zipper lay one piece of lining fabric wrong side up.
Align top edges and pin in place.
Open zipper three inches or so.
Step 2: Sew your first seam.
Move to your sewing machine. Using your zipper foot (check your machine’s manual if you aren’t sure which foot that is or how to use it) sew beginning at the top (open portion) of the zipper. Sew two inches. With the needle in fabric, raise presser foot and zip the zipper closed. (This will prevent your seam from having a burble in it from your presser foot wiggling around the zipper pull.) Jostle it about until you talk it into closing. You’ll get it. Now put your presser foot back down and complete your seam.
Your off to a great start. Your project should look like this:
Step 3: Repeat.
Repeat steps 1 and 2 with your remaining two pieces of fabric and the other side of the zipper. Now if I’ve been clear and you’ve been paying attention you should have something like this:
Edited to add Step 3b: Topstitch
Sew a seam along each side of your zipper to hold down the fabric and to prevent it from becoming stuck in the zipper. I did not do that on this bag, but now (late 2012) I always do. It's easy and makes the bag even more of a joy to use.
With your zipper foot still on just add a seam that sews through your lining, your zipper material, and your outer fabric. (Confused? Feel free to skip this step and move on to 4.)
Step 4: Clear your mind.
This is the part where if I think too hard about it I confuse myself. Just focus on the steps and let the bag sew itself. When we’re done it’ll be a little bit of magic as you turn your bag right side out and it all works perfectly. Trust me. It’ll be a good time.
Ready? Fantastic. Here we go.
Step 5: Sew the main seam.
Flip your fabric so that the main fabric pieces are right sides together on your left, the zipper is in the middle, and the lining fabric is right sides together on your right. Unzip your zipper ⅔ of its length. Really. I mean it. Unzip the zipper or your bag will not be a bag at all because you’ll be unable to turn it right side out.
Peek inside to make sure you have your pieces in the right place. Your bag should look something like this:
Pin around the edges if you are into precision. (I am not but you bag will probably be prettier than mine if you pin.) Sew a seam around the entire bag in one swoop (the lining and outer layer in one long seam). Leave a 3” opening in the center bottom of the lining, back-stitching at both ends. Sew right over the non-toothed ends of the zipper close to each end.
Clip all four corners close to the seam. This will give you more crisp square corners when your turn the bag right-side out.
Step 5: Turn your bag.
I love this part. Reach in through the opening in the lining and pull the entire bag right side out. You will end up with something like this:
With a point turner, crochet hook, or chopstick reach in through the opening and poke the corners out on the lining and the outer bag. Using a blindstitch (or any discreet stitch that works for you) sew the opening in the lining closed. Now push the lining down into the bag and marvel at your skills.
That wasn’t so bad, was it? And how cute is that bag? Success!