Custom Sizing Your Zip Pouch

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.

Once you know the basic zip pouch pattern, you can make a custom pouch in any style, length, width, and depth that you’d like! This post will give you the tools to figure what dimensions you’ll need to cut your fabric. The easiest way to do this is by working backwards from what size you’d like your final pouch to be to what fabric sizes you’ll need to cut.

Note: If you’d rather not do the number crunching yourself, this post has a printable with common zip pouch dimensions already “mathed out” for you!

1. What height and width do you want the final pouch to have?

First, decide what size zip pouch you’d like to end up with. One way to do this is to measure the objects you’re planning on storing in the pouch.

For example, I’d like to make a zip pouch to carry my phone, driver’s license, and some cash/credit cards. First I’m going to measure my phone. It’s 7″ x 3″, but I’m going to add 1/2″ to each side to ensure that my phone will be able to slip easily in and out of the finished pouch. I end up wanting a pouch that’s 8″ wide and 4″ high.

2. Are you adding any depth to the base (i.e. boxed corners)?

If the contents of your pouch are on the slim side or you’re looking to keep things simple, you won’t need this step to add depth. Instead, you’ll finish with the standard 90 degree corners or rounded ones.

If you do want depth, you’ll need to adjust your dimensions accordingly. This post covers boxed corner basics, but I’ll give a quick overview below too.

When you box a bottom corner of a zip pouch, you’ll be taking away some of the height and width of the pouch in the process. For example, if you sew a 1″ wide boxed corner, you’ll create 1″ in depth for your pouch. This will cause the bottom of your pouch to be 1″ shorter in width and 1/2″ shorter in height. Account for this difference in your cut measurements by adding 1/2″ in height to each lining and exterior piece and 1″ in width.

I would like 1/2″ of depth at the bottom of my pouch. To achieve this, I’ll add 1/4″ in height to each piece and 1/2″ of width, bringing my cut pieces to 8 1/2″ wide and 4 1/4″ high.

3. Add seam allowances.

Before you head off to cut your custom dimensions, don’t forget to add in seam allowances!

Don’t worry if you can’t find a zipper in just the right length for your custom dimensions, you can always cut down a longer zipper!

I usually sew zip pouches with a standard 1/4″ seam allowance, bringing my final cut pieces to 9″ across and 4 3/4″ high.

Here are my custom sized pieces with the zipper inserted.

4. Assemble with preferred method.

Once you’ve done all the math, you’re ready to sew using your favorite method. Check out the Basic Zip Pouch if you need a straightforward tutorial!

I chose to topstitch just the lining of my custom sized pouch, then follow the Basic Zip Pouch assembly (without sewing down the zipper ends), and box my corners. My final results are below.

I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Ready to be put to use!

Together we can find more ways to reclaim fabric
and breathe meaning, joy, and life into our days.

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