Zipper Pouch Tutorial
Updated: Oct 20, 2022
You can never have enough zipper pouches in my opinion, the more the merrier! There are so many different ones to make, each with their own methods of construction and tips to help you get it right, different shapes and sizes, different closures - the list goes on and I actively encourage you to try them all!
But if you're new to sewing pouches and zippers in particular it can be quite daunting, I'm here to tell you it doesn't have to be and you can still have a super pouch without all the stress! One thing that really stressed me out when I was starting on my zipper pouch journey was how to 'tuck the zipper ends in' without it being wonky and bulky and how to make it wide and flat at the bottom - I'm no expert, but this method has served me well over the years so I thought I'd share it with you.
It's not a pattern or particular method of construction, more a mish mash of different things to get an end result I was happy with.
The pouch pictured above and made for the purpose of this tutorial is 8.5" wide x 5.5" high x approx 4" deep - you can easily change the size to whatever you want, the method of construction will be exactly the same. Just remember that your lining pieces need to be the same as your outer pieces and the length of your zipper will also need to increase if you're making a bigger size pouch.
2x Outer fabric pieces 13.5" x 9.5"
2x Lining pieces 13.5" x 9.5"
2x Wadding pieces 13.5" x 9.5"
2x Zipper end pieces 2" x 3"
1x Zipper 16" in length
** Optional** 2x Stabiliser 13" x 9"
Step 1 Prepare and Cut Pieces
You can either create fabric sandwiches/panels from scraps as I have here and cut them down to the above sizes OR simply cut your chosen fabric to the sizes above.
I did not use a stabiliser this time, but if you choose to use one please note the slightly smaller size which is to reduce bulk at the zipper and in the side seams.
I use 'zipper by the yard' so I just cut off the length needed, you can buy/use any zipper you prefer, again just make sure it's the correct length you need.
I did use 2 layers of wadding in this one, because I wanted it to be a bit puffy but not as rigid as a stabiliser would make it, I used R80 by Vlieseline.
Step 2 Mark and Prepare Pieces
On both the outer panels and lining pieces you need to cut out a 2" square from both bottom corners, this is going to help create the flat bottom and give the pouch its wideness.
Step 3 Attach Zipper Ends
Starting with the 2" ends fold over 1/4" on each side and finger press firmly, repeat on the remaining 3" sides
Insert one end of the zipper into one of the folded zipper tabs, stopping at the half way point. I find it much easier to apply a little bit of glue to the zipper to hold it in place before folding over the zipper tab.
The glue helps to hold everything in place and keep it flat for sewing. I find that when I've tried to use pins it bumps up and I couldn't get a very neat finish.
Sew a box approx 1/8" from the outer edges all the way around to secure the zipper tab in place.
Repeat for the second tab on the other end of the zipper.
Step 4 Attach the Zipper
Place one lining piece right side up (RS) on your work surface, centring the zipper place it on top of the lining piece taking care to line it up along the top edge. Your zipper pull should be on the left, unless you have 2 like I do for this pouch (entirely your choice).
Place your outer piece wrong side up (WS) matching up all three layers along the top edge. For this step I find it much easier to use Clover Clips to keep all my layers together rather than pins, but you can use whichever method you prefer.
If you have a zipper foot and prefer to use it, then change over to that and use it from now on. I personally used my standard 1/4" foot to make the pouch in its entirety without any issues.
Start in the middle along the top edge and sew with a 1/4" inch seam allowance, stopping roughly 1" from the end (you can backstitch a few stitches if you wish) make sure to keep your needle DOWN, keeping the pouch pieces where they are and not removing them from your machine.
Lift up your presser foot and using your left hand, take hold of the zipper end and move it over to the left so it is out of the seam completely. It's much easier if you do this at an angle and almost fold it out the way.
Holding the zipper over to the left with your left hand and the pouch piece ends together flat with your right hand, lower your presser foot and sew to the end. Backstitch a couple of stitches for extra strength.
Turn the unit over and starting in the middle where you first stitched, complete the steps above to finish off this section in the exact same way.
Pull the outer panel and the lining out and away from the zipper, finger pressing the seam along it.
You are going to attach the remaining outer panel and lining pieces to the other side of the zipper in the exact same way.
Place the remaining lining piece right side up (RS) on your work surface, centre the unit you've just sewn on top of it making sure the zipper is facing upwards (the zipper pull should also now be to the right). Place the remaining outer panel on top of all pieces WRONG SIDE UP, taking care to match everything along the top edge and clip in place as before.
Repeat all other steps to attach the other half of your pouch.
Step 5 Assemble the Pouch
OPEN your zipper!
Lay both lining pieces flat on top of each other and both outer panels flat on top of each other - all pieces will be Right Sides Together (RS), taking care to move the zipper ends towards the centre of the pouch so your seams lay flat. Pin or clip the edges together but NOT the open edges of your cut corners.
Using a 1/4" seam allowance sew along the short edge of the outer (main) panel and both of the longer side edges, taking care to avoid sewing over the zipper ends. DO NOT sew the edges of your cut out squares.
You will need to leave a 4" gap along the bottom edge of the lining in order to turn the bag through.
Step 6 Box the Corners
Pull open the cut squares at the corners so that the side and bottom seams are together, I like to nest these seams so it lays flatter but as long as they match up it doesn't really matter.
Put a pin through the centre of the seams so they stay aligned.
Pulling out the corners/edges as necessary to make sure both layers are flat, sew a 1/4" seam along the edge to close. I sew over the stitched seam twice just to make sure it's extra strong and won't come undone.
Repeat on the 3 remaining corners/cut squares
Step 7 Turn the Pouch
Turn the pouch through so the right sides/outer panels are on the outside and the lining is on the inside.
You're going to do this by pulling all the layers through the gap you left in the lining - my top tip is just to go slowly and don't yank it in excitement! It can be a little fiddly but it doesn't take long at all with some gentle persuasion.
Step 8 Finishing the Pouch
Smooth out the layers so that the lining and the outer panels are flat and flush with each other and not 'bunched up' over the zipper tape. Stitch a row of top stitching 1/8" along both sides of the pouch. I use my 1/4" foot as a guide - hopefully you can see that in the image above.
Hand stitch the whole in the lining shut (you can do this by machine if you prefer) and fill your pouch with happy treats!
I love to see your makes and hear about your sewing adventures, top tips and must have makes! If you use this tutorial please tag me @thatssewkerry so I can see what you've made, comment below if you give it a try!