There are about 1,200 different ways to make a zip pouch. The one I’m sharing here is as simple as you can get for a lined pouch. Plus, it’s a great way to use a single piece of special fabric for the exterior.
For this tutorial, I used fabric that my kiddos did block printing on during a history lesson about “The Golden Age of China”. Check out this post to see how we used simple block printing to design our own fabric!
I’ll be showing you two sizes here, but you can make this zip pouch your own by changing the dimensions to any size you’d like. In the “Make It Your Own” section at the end of the tutorial, I’ll give you instructions on how to change the sizing to meet your own needs. To make this zip pouch even faster, simply omit the lining!
Okay, on to the “Easiest Lined Zip Pouch”.
Large zip pouch (8.5″ x 4.75″):
One 9 1/4″ x 10″ piece of exterior fabric
One 9 1/4″ x 10″ piece of lining fabric
One nylon zipper 9 1/4″ or longer
Small zip pouch (5.5″ x 3.75″):
One 6 1/4″ x 8″ piece of exterior fabric
One 6 1/4″ x 8″ piece of lining fabric
One nylon zipper 6 1/4″ or longer
If your zipper is longer than the width of your fabric, trim it down to size.
*The easiest way to do this is to close the zipper completely and line up the end with the zipper pull with the edge of your fabric (note, this should be the shorter edge of your fabric). Trim off the overhang on the opposite side. Make sure not to cut off the zipper pull! You may stitch back and forth over the new end of the zipper if desired.
Exterior fabric right side up, place your zipper right side down along the top edge of the fabric. Zipper pull to the left. Pin or clip in place.
Baste zipper in place, 1/8″ away from the edge.
*Basting means using a very long stitch length to hold the zipper and fabric in place. Basting stitches will not be seen in the final product, they simply add stability to make the next step easier.
With the exterior fabric right side up, place your lining fabric right side down on top. Line the edges of your fabric up along the basted zipper edge. Pin or clip in place.
*If you are using a directional print for the lining, place the fabric upside down so when the zip pouch is opened, the fabric will be seen in the correct direction from the front of the zip pouch.
With the zipper foot on your sewing machine, stitch through your zipper sandwich 1/4″ away from the edge, using a regular stitch length.
Open what you just sewed to reveal the zipper.
Fold the fabrics back so the lining and exterior fabrics are wrong sides together, with the zipper showing at the top.
*If you’ve never sewn a zipper before, here’s a view from the side of what it should look like at this point.
Press along the top edge of the fabric, being careful not to accidently iron (and melt!) the zipper. Top stitch through all fabric layers, 1/8″ away from the zipper.
*Here’s what it looks like from the lining side after top stitching.
Place your fabric exterior side up, zipper at the top. Treating the lining and exterior fabrics as one unit, fold the bottom short edge up to top along the unsewn edge of the zipper. Pin or clip in place.
Sew along the clipped edge with a 1/4″ seam allowance.
Here’s what it looks like from the other side.
Neaten up the unsewn edges on the zip pouch by trimming off any fabric that’s not lined up.
*Note- I changed pouches here to work on the small one.
Here’s the ONE kind of tricky part of this zip pouch. Shift the zipper back on the sewn fabric so that the fabric at the top of the zip pouch folds accordion style. Do this on both unsewn sides.
See the step by step photos in the grid below if this looks confusing!
Pin or clip the unsewn edges in place. Make sure your zipper is at least halfway open before clipping!
Using your regular stitch length, stitch along the unsewn edges with a 1/4″ seam allowance.
Sew along the raw edges with a zig zag stitch to prevent fraying.
*If you have a serger, you can use it to combine steps 13 and 14.
Turn the zip pouch right side out, using your finger to push out all of the corners. Clip the top edge of the fabric along the zipper. Make sure it’s lined up nicely, as you’ll be sewing along that top edge.
Top stitch along the top edge of the zipper. The corners will be a bit bulky, so make sure to use a sharp needle and go slowly. You don’t need to sew the bulky areas completely if it’s hard for your machine, rather leave an unsewn 1/4″ on each side.
*Start sewing 1/2″ in from the side and then backstitch. This will help feed the fabric through nicely and allow you to adjust to the bulky edge.
Trim any loose threads and you’re all done!
*Here’s what the large pouch looks like on the inside. The directional print is right side up when opening from the front. The front edge (not shown) will be upside down.
Make It Your Own
There are several ways you can use this tutorial to make a zip pouch with your own special flair. Also, check out the free Stand Firm Zip Pouch for a different twist on this tutorial!
Change up the materials:
- Design your own fabric with acrylic paint following our block printing tutorial.
- Sew a quilt block to use for the exterior.
- Use a meaningful fabric, such as an old shirt. If you want to use a stretchy fabric, interface with Pelon SF101 or a similar interfacing before sewing.
- You can make this zip pouch any size you’d like! Just make sure the width of your fabric is the same as your zipper length. See “Materials” for how to cut down a zipper to the size you need.
- Keep in mind that your zip pouch will end up approximately 3/4″ smaller in width than your original fabric piece, and a little less than half as tall. For example, if you start with a fabric piece that is 10″ across and 10″ tall, you will end up with a zip pouch that is 9.25″ across and 4.75″ tall.