The Zipper Pouch Tutorial

The Zipper Pouch: An Easy Quilting Project Tutorial by Jenny Doan of Missouri Star Quilt Co. MSQC’s Jenny shows us how to make a super cute pouch with a zipper.

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Transcript (Downloadable PDF):

Hi, it’s Jenny from the MSQC. Tons of you have been asking me how to put a zipper in a pouch. So today what we’re going to do is we’re going to make a little pouch. And I’m going to show you how to put a zipper in. And it’s so much easier than you think. So to make this project, what you’re going to need is a zipper. And your zipper needs to be a little bit longer than the pouch you’re making. And then you’re going to need scraps, and you’re going to need a piece of fusible fleece. And fusible fleece is soft on one side and bumpy on the other because it irons to your fabric. And you’re going to need one solid piece that is the, the size you want, twice the size you want your pouch to be. So I’ve cut this one, this is about 9 by 20. I just cut a half of a width of fabric, just a little strip. And then for the top, we’re just going to use scraps. And we’re going to make these darling pouches. You can see, I’ve got several here. And they’re all different sizes. You make it for the size you need. And I mean they’re just so fun and quick. I think you’re going to get really addicted to these once you get going.

So what I’ve done here is I’ve taken my fleece and I’ve laid it on top of the wrong side so I’m fusing my fusible fleece, with the bumps, to the wrong side of my fabric. And we’re going to go over to the iron to do that. And this really just takes a minute. You just run your iron across it nice and slow. You want to make sure probably that your fabric is a little bit bigger than your fleece because you don’t want to stick it to your ironing board. So you just watch your edges and make sure that it’s, it’s not hanging over or you’ll be stuck to something you don’t want to be stuck to. So we’re just going to slowly go. And then I like to kind of turn this over and do it from the other side as well. You just want it to stick on there really good. These pouches are so much fun. I actually, when I started making them to show you this tutorial on how to put the zipper in, I actually got kind of addicted to making pouches. And I made several. And it’s just really fun and quick, I think you’re going to love it.

Alright so now we have to make the top of our pouch. And what I’ve done here is I’m going to take this little scrap right here. We might as well iron the wrinkles out of that. And I’m going to lay it right down the middle of my, my piece of fabric. And then I have this 2 ½ inch strip that I’m going to put on, right on the sides. And we’re going to sew this down like this. On either side, we’re going to sew a strip. And so we’re going to head over to the sewing machine and do that right now. So I’m going to lay this right sides together on here. Now what’s going to be cool about doing this is that this will be completely quilted all the way through as we, as we finish it. I’ll sew right along here but I’m sewing through all three layers so it’s going to be quilted as we go. So let’s come over here and see if we can get this going.

Alright. Now I’m just using my regular quarter inch foot. And you just make sure they’re lined up. And you, you saw, I really didn’t even measure it when I put them on. It, it just doesn’t really matter. These are such quick fun projects. So now I’ve sewn this side on, I’m going to go ahead and sew this side on. And really what I’m doing is I’m just making a little decorative top for my pouch. The pouch can actually be one solid piece of fabric. Alright now we’re coming up to the end of this second strip and I’m just going to sew right off the edge. Alright now let’s go press these back right over here. So I just lay them on the top right here and I just roll them back, press them back. So you can see now really the top really is pretty much done as it is. You can see that the quilting has shown right through here. But I like the look of topstitching so I’m going to go back and I’m going to topstitch right along these edges. So let’s do that. Now when I topstitch, what I’m going to do is I’m going to put the edge of my foot right along the fold here. And that will be my guide for topstitching all the way down. I think the topstitching just kind of dresses up a little pouch. One of the things that’s fun about these pouches is that I’m not organized by nature, I’m just not. And so pouches help me organize things. I have one that put all my cell phone cords in when I travel. You know, I mean, I use them for everything.

So now we have this little finished topstitched piece and we, we get to decide how big we want our pouch. So what I’m going to do is I’m going to trim off my, my selvedge edges and my uneven edges. I’m going to trim this side. We’re going to trim it to match the top of our piece here. So now see how this fabric sticks out on this side. We’re going to go ahead and trim that even with our, our edges. And what I do because sometimes my strips aren’t, you know, I mean, this one I can see it’s curved in here. So it’s, it’s not exactly 2 ½, so I’m going to measure from this line here out so to make sure it’s even all the way down. And we’re just going to cut it right there at that point. This is just so much fun because you can, I mean, you can any size, any fabric. You can personalize them for anybody, you know, you know who might want one that’s a, like this one has bicycles on it. I mean it’s just really fun.

Alright. So now I have this long piece and I can decide if I want short pouches like this or if I want one big long pouch. I think what we’re going to do today is I’m going to make a couple of six inch pouches here. And, let’s see, I think what I’ll do is use my mat to make sure I’ve got the right, the right lengths here. And I actually think I’m going to do a nine inch. I’ve got enough here, I’m pretty sure. Always fold over to check to make sure. You don’t want to cut and have one bigger. So there’s a nine inch piece and I’m going to cut another nine inch piece right here. We’re going to lay this on here, trim this off. Now I could have gone ahead and made it a little bigger and used that whole piece. It’s really whatever you want to do. This is your pouch.

So now we have our top finished and it’s already lined which is really cool. You can see how fast that went. And it’s time to prepare our zipper. So what you want to do with your zipper, we have these 14 inch zippers. And they come in all kinds of colors and you know, they’re just amazing. They’re nylon. And so the cool thing about this is that you can, you can cut these any length. You don’t, You’re not stuck by head and the little staple down here. You can cut them any length. And you want to cut your zipper one inch shorter than your pouch. So the first thing we have to do is prepare our zipper. Now to do that, I’ve cut a 1 ½ inch piece of fabric, just a little piece right here, I think this is four or five inches long right here. So 1 ½ you know by about five. And we’re going to come over here and we’re going to iron this together. So what I’m going to do. Let me show you real quick here. Is I’m going to fold this in half right here. And then I’m going to fold these pieces into the center like this, and iron, iron the whole thing down like this. This is going to be the beginning and ending piece of our, on our zipper. So this is kind of important. So let’s go ahead and iron this down. And iron this down. This is like a tab. We’re making a tab I guess. Make sure it stays nice and flat. A little shot of steam. I’m going to fold that over. And then you get a piece that looks like this. So it’s just kind of, it’s ironed together and together again. And this is going to be our ending piece on our zipper. So here comes where you have to be a little bit brave. We’re going to take this first zipper part here and where this staple is right here, we’re going to go ahead and cut that off like this. And you want to make sure that your zipper head is the other side of that. Then we’re going to put this little piece of our little folded tab right here over the end like this. And we are going to topstitch right along this edge right here. Just a tiny little topstitch and sew that down. So that now makes our end. So I’m going to come over here and sew this little piece down, right here. And I like to sew across and I like to sew back. And I try to hit it right on that same line. There we go. And then, we’re just going to trim this off. Uh, oh, see here, look it, both of my sides didn’t catch. You must make sure both of your sides catch. So let’s go back and make sure those catch. That could have been dangerous. So let’s make sure these catch. I’m always really glad actually when something like that happens because you guys need to know that, not, I mean not everything we do works, just like that. I mean we, we work at making sure these things work but you know, every once in a while something like that happens. And it happens to all of us.

So now we’ve got this tab end of our zipper finished. And we’re going to lay our zipper along the edge of our bag. And we want to cut our zipper one inch shorter than the bag. So I’m going to put my bag right along this line. And I’m going to match up my zipper to the end. And then I’m going to come here and I’m going to move in one inch. Now this is critical, really, really important. This zipper head right here needs to be on this side. If you cut it off, you need to get a new zipper. So we’re going to move this zipper head way down here so it’s safe. We’re going to line these up. And then we’re going to cut one inch in. So here we go, one inch in, we’re cutting across. And we’re going to do the same thing. So we’re going to lay this, put this our little tab over the, over the ends of the zipper. And hopefully we’ll catch both sides this time. This would be a great place to use a zig zag or a, you know, a decorative stitch. So just make sure that they’re lined up like this. And you’re just going to lay them in this fabric and sew them down. So let’s go over here and do that. It’s a little easier when your two little tails are apart. It’s a little easier to lay them together when you’re sitting at the sewing machine. Less chance for movement. And then we’re going to just come along. Here we go. And over and back. Alright. Check the other side–ha! Success! That one went very nicely. Then I’m, what I’m going to do now is I’m just trimming these edges even with my zipper like that. So now we have this little zipper that’s all prepared and ready to go. I like to zip it and make sure that it works. And now comes the installing the zipper part. You’re going to love this. It is so, so easy.

So what we’re going to do is we’re going to take our zipper and we’re going to put it face down on our fabric just like this. We’re going to move it so that it’s like a half an inch in on either end. And I’m going to start this way. It doesn’t matter which way you start. It just, my left-handed brain sees things differently. So what I’m going to do now is I’m going to come in and I’m going to stitch right along the side of this zipper. So your zipper is once again, face down on the right side of your fabric and we’re just going to stitch a little seam across here. Get, you know, you can, I mean I would stay a little bit away. See how you can see these zippers a little bit. The zipper actually adds to the design of the bag. So I don’t, I don’t sew all the way in but just kind of in between the zipper and the edge. You want to make sure it catches good. And, and so you do that.

So come with me over here and we’re going to sew this zipper down. So the zipper is a half an inch in on either end. And easy way to do this really is to, if you have where you can move your needle, you can leave your quarter inch foot on and just scoot your needle over a little bit which is what I’ve done. So now I’m just sewing straight down. And when you get to the part where the head is you’re going to slide that head beyond the needle. So I’m going to lift up my, my foot and just zip past that. And keep sewing it on. And just sew right off the end. Alright. So we’ve actually installed one side of our zipper. Let me get these threads out of the way. And so now what I like to do is I like to go back and I’m going to fold this down like this. And now I’m going to topstitch it. Because again, I like the look of the topstitch. And so we just lay this back and let me zip this closed. Lay this back and we’re going to topstitch this right along this edge and that’s going to hold this down.

It sounds like a little more work going through there. Alright, I’m to the head, I need to slide that under. The zipper head, go, go, go. And I don’t know if you know this but on, when you lift your foot up, if you push that lever a little further the foot goes even higher. So you can lift that foot a little bit higher and slide that foot back. Alright. So now we have one half of our zipper in. And it’s topstitched and it’s ready to go. Now we need to add it to the other side. And we’re going to do the same thing. So we’re going to lay our zipper on, let me see which side I have here, on the top side of our fabric, just like this starting a half an inch in. And we’re going to sew all the way along this edge. And I’m going to go ahead and pull this zipper down to give me a little bit of room to start with. So again, just to make sure we’re clear. We’ve got the zipper facing down on the top side of our fabric. And we’re going to sew right along that edge. So again, we place it a half an inch along the top of our bag, a half an inch in. And we’re just going to sew along here. Now I’ve come to the zipper so I’m going to lift my foot up, slide the zipper head past my foot. Oh, there we go. Sometimes that’s a little bit of work. Oop, foot down. Alright. And then we’re going to come back and topstitch this side. Alright.

So now you have actually installed a zipper in the top of your zipper bag. And it looks great. Now this is important, too. Make sure your zipper is open because now we’re going to close our bag which means we’re just going to put the right sides together, sew all the way around it like this, and that will close our bag up. But if you leave your zipper closed, you have no way to turn your bag. And so this, the zipper leaves us a hole to open our bag. So leave your zipper open and we’re going to sew all the way around our little pouch. So we’re going to line up our pieces up here. We’re going to come in, on that, just on the outside of that half inch mark. And we are going to sew all the way around it.

Now I like to go, because this is a raw edge, one of the things I like to do is I like to go back and I like to zig zag around the side of my bag just to make sure that things are, things are all, all in and good. Let me get my zig zag ready here. Alrighty.

Now we have a nice, flat, finished pouch. Now if any of you have watched any of the bag tutorials, you know that if you want to square up the bottom of your bag, what you’re going to do is you’re going to go in here and you’re just going to pull these apart right here like this. And sew straight across. And that will give us a flat bottom on our bag. And I think we should go ahead and do that on this one. We’re going to, we’re just going to pull this out. We make sure these seams line up here, top and bottom seam. And we’re just going to sew straight across. Remember however wide, however far you come in from the point, if you come in one inch then your. Oops, got to change my stitch back. Then your, if you come in one inch from the point, then it’s going to be one inch out from each side. Alright, so now I’m going to do this side. Pull it apart. I like to stick my hand in there. Line my seams up. And then we’re going to stitch it across the bottom. You can leave it flat. I did several that were flat. They’re darling. But this is a bigger pouch so I think it needs to be able to, to stand up. So now I have these two little bunny ears which I can choose to clip or to leave. I think I will just leave them. And now we get to turn our bag. This is when the, the magic happens. This is when the fun part for me. So I’m just going to push my bottom corners out. And we have a little pouch here. We’re going to push out up here the ends of our zipper. And I just like the way, you know when you put a little tab on a zipper it just makes it, it’s just a prettier closure. It just makes it nicer. So here’s our little bag with our little zipper. Look at that. And you can see how clean these ends look. I mean, I just, I really like the little tabs on the zippers. You can actually sew the zipper right into the seam but I just like the look of these, these little tabs. You know there’s lots of ways to do things. Now we have this darling little zipper pouch. And now you know how to put a zipper in a bag or a pouch or anything else you need. And we hope you enjoyed this tutorial from the MSQC.

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  • Ginger Bartholomew

    Question Jenny, I have been making the pouchs and was wondering, can you somehow add a strap to make it a small purse? I don’t know how to add one and our quilting guld is having a Quilters Boutique and Quilt shop. I thonught it would be nice to make some with straps. Thanks

  • Mary B

    this is a great little project for making zipper pouches. The first one I made came out ok/fine, but I didn’t like it. The one I just finished came out really nice. I HAVE A SUGGESTION FOR YOU ON THE ZIPPER PART. You take and put a large safety pin in the little end hole of the zipper pull and it will make it much easier for you to move your zipper when you are trying to sew past it. I gives you a little more leverage to grasp the zipper pull and move it . You will be amazed if you try this.