This tutorial is part of the “Build a Zip Pouch Series“, giving you the skills you need to sew custom zip pouches in a variety of styles and sizes. Links will be added to the series homepage (here!) as new tutorials go live.
A basic zip pouch pattern is great to master then use as a springboard into other custom pouches. At 8″ x 4.5″, this one is the perfect size for pencils, makeup brushes, or to organize smaller objects slipped into your purse. For a sturdy pouch, choose a midweight fabric for the exterior or quilting cotton weight fabric interfaced with a woven interfacing such as Pelon SF 101 (or another brand of a similar weight). Quilting cotton works well for the lining fabric.
Let’s get sewing.
Finished size: 8″ wide x 4.5″ tall
Exterior: (2) 9.25″ x 5″ pieces of midweight fabric (or lightweight fabric interfaced with Pelon SF101 if necessary)
Lining: (2) 9.25″ x 5″ pieces of light to midweight fabric
Zipper: 8″ zipper (zipper teeth will be 8″, but the full zipper tape should be approximately 9.25″ long)
Note: The goal is for the length of the zipper tape to be the same as the width of the fabric. If you have a different size zipper, simply cut your fabric pieces to be as wide as the zipper is long.
Fold back all four ends of the zipper tape at approximately a 45 degree angle. Use your machine to sew in place with a few stitches close to the edge of the tape (you may also hand baste). *Note, you can choose to skip this step and leave the zipper full length, sewing the zipper ends into the pouch itself (see this post!). However, I find that adding this step only makes for a cleaner corner after turning the zip pouch right side out at the end.
Here’s how I set up to sew this fiddly stitch to sew the ends down with my machine.
The zipper will now be shorter than the exterior panel by approximately ¾”. This leaves room to sew around the zip pouch later without having to sew over the zipper tapes ends!
Place your front exterior piece right side up on your cutting surface. Lay the zipper, pull to the left, right side down and centered on top of the fabric. Baste in place, ⅛” away from the edge if desired.
Lay one of the lining pieces right side down on top of the zipper (this makes the lining and exterior pieces right sides together). **I have the lining folded back here to show you how the layers should line up along the top edge.
Here’s how the “zipper sandwich” should look.
Pin or clip in place along the edge.
Using a zipper foot, sew through all three layers with a ¼” seam allowance.
You will need to pause when you reach the zipper pull, lift up the presser foot, push the zipper pull back to open the zipper, then continue sewing to the end of the fabric.
Open the fabric so both the right side of the lining and the right side of the exterior are face up. With a hot iron, press the lining fabric down along the edge of the zipper tape.
Fold the lining piece to the back side of the exterior so the wrong sides are together and the zipper tape pokes out the top. Using a hot iron, press along the top/folded edge of the exterior panel. Make sure not to touch and melt the zipper with the iron!
Open the fabric zipper sandwich again (as in Step 8). Top stitch along the lining fabric, ⅛” away from the zipper tape.
Note: I top stitch only the lining when sewing zip pouches with quilted exteriors as the exterior fabric is too bulky for a decent top stitch. Stitching the lining down keeps it from getting caught in the zipper.
This is what the lining should look like after being top stitched into place. Fold the exterior panel so lining and exterior are wrong sides together, as they appeared in Step 9.
Lay your back exterior piece right side up on the cutting surface. Place your previously sewn zipper sandwich, zipper right side down on top. Your exterior pieces will be right sides together at this point.
Place your lining fabric right side down on top and pin or clip into place.
Sew through all three layers with a ¼” seam allowance as you did in Step 6 with the opposite side.
Press the newly sewn lining piece into place and top stitch, as you did with the opposite side in Step 10.
Open the zipper halfway before continuing on the the next step!
Place both exterior pieces right sides together and both lining pieces right sides together, zipper teeth towards the exterior fabric. Line up the seams at the zipper.
Pin or clip in place where the seams meet.
Continue clipping around all four sides.
Starting halfway along the bottom edge of the lining, backstitch, then continue sewing around the entire perimeter with a liberal ¼” seam allowance. Stop stitching 2-3” from your starting point, leaving a hole for turning at the bottom edge of the lining.
Trim your corners and seam allowance.
Pull the zip pouch right side out through the lining hole. Poke each corner out with a turning tool (or chopstick). You can stick your hand into the lining to make this part easier.
Pin or clip the turning hole closed and press into place.
Sew the turning hole closed by stitching ⅛” away from the edge.
Tuck the lining inside the zip pouch. You’re all done!