Here are some instructions for how to sew in a zipper and make a pouch. Little zipper pouches come in so handy for holding any and everything and they make great gifts. Trust me- you can sew this! You can customize these instructions for making any size that you need. Just take the zipper size you have (metal stop to metal stop) +1” total seam allowance on the sides. It is also good to personalize or show off a nice patchwork design. I like to use the exact size zipper that I need because I like the little metal stops that are included.
Ingredients: 1 zipper, 2 outside pieces, 2 lining pieces & 2 Bones ( sew-in interfacing for structure) all the same size
This is a 6” zipper and these pieces are about 7”x4”. I will sew a half inch in all around so that extra inch is necessary seam allowance. I like to order zippers in bulk online from Zipper Stop, but for a one-off project you can get zippers from any sewing/craft store or out of some old jeans, etc. If you buy the kind that are annoyingly folded and stapled to fit into a small envelope than you will more than likely want to iron the tape flat first while being careful not to iron over the teeth.
FIRST- get the 1st lining piece and 1 piece interfacing. Place the zipper right side up along the top edge, I like to pin parallel to the zipper under the teeth to keep the zipper from shifting away. I am mostly concerned with keeping the metal stoppers a half inch away from the sides and don’t pay attention to the amount of tape hanging off the side.
I have the interfacing bones under this lining piece since my outside fabric is a heavier linen already, but you can put the bones under either piece or both if you want a really sturdy pouch. Duck Canvas works really well too and for a soft touch try adding quilt batting or a layer of flannel too. Bones make a big difference.
The bunnies go face down and make sure they are looking up at the zipper and not down. The big secret to sewing is that everything is made inside out!
Sew along the top line as close as you can to the zipper, backstich a half inch in where the metal stoppers are since you might be trimming off the ends later.
Stop and straighten the zipper tape with your fingers towards the end
Fold back the fabric and finger press it away. I like to really smooth this down. It can help to give the fabric a tug from the left
Take the pins out and fold back the interfacing and the lining and finger press some more. You can use an iron if the fabric is being too difficult.
Topstitch through all layers along the edge of the fabric near the zipper. This will keep the lining from getting stuck in the zipper, secure the seams and stitch the layers together and looks nice. I like to stay near the edge, but be careful not to jump off onto the zipper tape.
Here is one side all stitched together. That bunny looks proud!
Now you are repeating the same steps, but this time the zipper has one side sewn on.
Interfacing, lining right side up, zipper right side up, new bunnies face down.
Pin again parallel with the zipper
The zipper pull can sometimes be in the way, if it is too bulky for you start sewing below it and come back to that point from a different angle. Another option is to unzip it and sew half, stopping to zip it up and sew the last half. Your pinning might need to change to do it that way, pin on the tape you are sewing, perpendicular to your stitch.
Here I sewed the line starting after the zipper pull
Then I flipped it over to sew only the end from the other side
Get a few stitches and leave your needle down and straighten up the zipper tape and all layers
Finger press away from the zipper again. Front & lining.
Top stitch the edge as before and unzip the zipper half way, you are about to fold these two sides together like a taco.
Now flip the bunnies up to face each and then also the lining and pin together. I am more interested in matching up the seams from the zipper rather than the bottom so that is where I pin.
Here is how I add my tag which is folded in half. This is also how you would add a strap if you wanted one. You can also add an inside pocket to your lining up until this point. You can see my tag is a little too short, but I have it lined up under the tiny metal stop that will eventually be the edge of the pouch.
Stitch around all sides with a 1/4” seam allowance leaving a few inches gap at the bottom of the lining pieces. Backstitch on all corners and at the ends of the gaps to lock the stitch.
Stitch another 1/4” in from the first line, getting closer to the metal stops in the zipper. You want to be as close as you can to these stops, but do not sew directly over one because that will break a needle! You can mark the zipper stops on this wrong side before you have it all pinned up or you can feel the bump with your fingers. I reinforced the bottom, but did not take it in another 1/4” as I did with the sides.
Trim around the whole thing getting close to the outside stitch line and clipping off extra around the corners so that you can flip it inside out and poke out the corners. Do not cut off any backstitches! Those will keep the stitches sturdy. I like to seal the part of the zipper tape that I cut with a lighter to keep fray away, but that is not completely necessary.
Fold back the edge of the lining pieces in the gap that you left and finger press both sides, this will make it easier later. Reach in and unzip the zipper all the way. Turn the whole thing inside out through that gap. However generous you were with your gap will mean how easy it is to cram everything through.
Halfway out! Such a shame to wrinkle it so, but you can iron it when you’re done. Get a chopstitck and push out every corner, even the lining pieces. Poke the corners and side hard to make sure it is sturdy, if not turn it back inside out and re-stitch a little bit further in.
Here are the pieces you pressed back earlier. Now they are neatly folded in and ready for the last stitch!
Inspect all outside seams well! Up until this point you can turn it back inside out and fix anything that might need fixing.
If all is well topstitch the edge of the lining piece sealing off all raw edges inside. Again get as close to the edge as you can without going over the side. Shove the lining inside, poke at the corners and smooth it all out.
A small moment of silence for the bunnies that were harmed in the making of this pouch.
I hope this tutorial is helpful for you! If something doesn’t make sense or if you have any questions let me know! Happy stitching.