Simple Zip Pouch Tutorial

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Somewhere between sewing fancy dresses and quilts, small, compact and practical projects became my favorite things to sew. Little pouches and bags have seemingly endless uses, but mostly they’re (almost) instant gratification made  up in pretty printed cottons. The fabric is inexpensive, any size is possible, and did I mention the fabric is fun to pick out? you get to pick TWO prints (as this bag is lined) or a print and a solid, or two solids, whatever you want. I was feeling inspired by Downton Abbey when I picked these two fabrics from my local quilt shop. I loved the charming, old-fashioned floral against the intricate mint damask.

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This variation on a basic lined pouch is the simplest of all, just a rectangle with a zipper. I’m not going to lie– the technique I used here is a bit tricky to get the hang of, but once you do it’s the only way to conveniently create a lined zip-up bag. Just keep calm and follow each step–I promise once you “get” how it goes together, you’ll never want to use any other method. Make one for yourself, make one for a friend and fill with little gifts for a sweet present.

I apologize for the rapidly lower-and-lower quality photos– sun was going down, folks!

Note on sizing: I wanted a roughly 7″ by 6″ bag, but you can make any size you wish; just be sure your width is always 1″ longer than your zipper (for example, buy a 10″ zipper and cut 11″ wide rectangles out of fabric.)

Materials

-2 rectangles 8″ by 7″ outside fabric

-2 rectangles 8″ by 7″ lining fabric

-1 coordinating colored 7″ zipper

Seam allowance: roughly 3/8″, though 1/2″ could be used to no great harm

step1

1. Lie one rectangle of outside fabric face up on table; lay zipper upside down on top of it, aligning zipper’s upper edge with top edge of fabric.

2. Lay one rectangle of lining fabric face down on top of outside fabric, aligning top edge of lining fabric with the top edge of the zipper. You now have 3 layers, outside fabric/zipper/lining fabric, all 3 aligned at the top. Pin and sew along the top edge, using a zipper foot and unzipping the zipper if needed to avoid the pull disorienting the seam.

3. Unfold fabric; you now have an outside piece and a lining piece wrong sides together (shown here unfolded just so you can see the orientation) and zipper sandwiched in the middle on one side. Use an iron to press right up against the zipper’s edge, pressing the two halves together to make a nice flat seam.

step2

4. Repeat step 3 on the opposite side of the zipper. After this step, you’ll have 2 layers of fabric on each half of the zipper.

step 3

5. Unfold both halves and orient as so: outside layer to outside layer, lining layer to lining layer, right sides together and zipper in the center. Use your fingers to push zipper so the pull is between the outside layers; pinch the lining layers below it together and pin along the length of the zipper to keep that pull in between the outside layers. Unzip the zipper halfway.

6. Sew around the entire perimeter of the piece, leaving a 3″ gap in the middle of the bottom of the lining, and making sure zipper is pinched between the outside layers as you sew over it. NOTE: I left my gap in the corner of the piece, which is ok, but leaving a gap the center is much easier I’ve since discovered.

step4

7. Turn the piece inside-out through the gap and halfway undone zipper (if you didn’t unzip it, like I didn’t the first time I made this project, may the odds ever be in your favor.)

8. Use a hand sewing needle and thread to stitch up the gap, turning the edges in and making tiny mattress stitches. Tuck the lining back inside and press the whole thing. Fill with stuff and never lose another lip balm again. Who am I kidding? it’s a zip pouch, not a miracle worker.

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