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Molly's Sketchbook: Simple Lined Zipper Pouches

Back when I was newer to crafting a wise knitter (it was Joelle!) told me that if you can knit a pair of mittens you can knit anything. Even though mittens are small they require many different skills so their lessons are easy to blow up on a bigger scale. Now that I’m little wiser myself I’ve found that, much like playing scales on the piano or running drills in basketball, there are certain fundamental craft projects that set you up for wider success!

These zipper pouches are just such a fundamental project: a simple pattern that serves to build confidence and competence. Plus the finished pouches are super useful and cute! They’re a perfect project for a new sewist who wants to start working with zippers and edgestitching or for any more experienced sewists out there who might suffer from zipper anxiety!

Our Materials for Simple Lined Zipper Pouches kit contains everything you’ll need to make six pouches in a range of sizes so you’ll be able to get plenty of practice with your new skills! Once you’ve mastered these just think of the places you’ll go!- Molly


Our Materials for Simple Lined Zipper Pouches kit includes…


This pattern explains how to make your own customized pouch, but if you’d like to make the same sizes we did, our finished sizes (width x height, shown from top to bottom) are 11 ½ inches X 16 inches, 11 ½ inches X 10 inches, 11 ½ inches X 6 inches, 9 inches X 6 ½ inches, 6 ½ inches X 5 inches, and 6 ½ inches X 6 ½ inches.


Before you start cutting, decide how long you’d like your pouch to be. Add ¾ inch to your desired finished length; this is your Length Cutting Measurement (LCM). The pouch shown here has a finished length of 6 inches, so its LCM is 6 ¾ inches.

To get your Width Cutting Measurement (WCM) add ½ inch to the length of the zipper you are using. This example uses a 12-inch zipper, so its WCM is 12 ½ inches.

From the Outer Fabric cut two pieces WCM wide by LCM tall.

From the Lining Fabric cut two pieces WCM wide by LCM tall.

Sew in the Zipper

Place one of the Outer Fabric pieces right side up so that the WCM sides are horizontal and the LCM sides are vertical.

Unzip the zipper so that the pull is in the middle and lay the zipper wrong side up along the top horizontal side. Align the top edge of the zipper with the top edge of the fabric. Center the zipper so that its metal ends are ¼ inch from each vertical side.

Place one of the Lining Fabric pieces on top, wrong side up. Pin all three layers together, being careful to keep the zipper centered and straight as you pin. When you get to the zipper pull, zip it over to a section that has already been pinned, so that the fabric of the zipper stays straight and flat.

Using your machine’s zipper foot, sew along the pinned edge with a ¼-inch seam allowance being careful not to sew into the teeth of the zipper. When you reach the zipper pull, leave the needle down and pick up the machine’s foot, then slide the zipper pull to a section that you have already sewn so it doesn’t get in the way as you finish the seam.

Turn both pieces wrong sides together so that the zipper teeth are right above the fold. Press and pin the fabrics together along the edge of the zipper’s teeth.

Using your machine’s zipper foot, edgestitch along the fold, starting and stopping at the zipper’s metal ends.

Repeat for the other side of the zipper using the two remaining pieces of fabric.

You will end up with two identical sides with a zipper in the middle.

Sew the Pouch Together

First, slide the zipper pull to the middle to get it out of the way. Pull the two Lining Fabrics up and out of the way and bring the right sides of the Outer Fabric pieces together. 

Pin the two Outer Fabric pieces together along all three raw edges. Make sure the zipper is folded in such a way that you can pin its two fabric edges together with the teeth of the zipper pointing up and away from the Outer Fabric pieces. 

Using your machine’s presser foot, sew the pinned edges together with a ½-inch seam allowance. Sew just to the horizontal edgestitching seam, being careful not to sew into the loose Lining Fabric. (However, you will be sewing over a small bit of the Lining Fabric’s seam allowance just below the zipper.)

Now pin the Lining Fabric pieces right sides together, leaving the zipper in the same orientation with the teeth pointed up and away from the Outer Fabric pieces.

Sew the pinned sides together with a 1/2-inch seam allowance, leaving a 3-inch gap in the middle of the horizontal side. On the vertical sides, sew only until you reach the teeth of the zipper.

Turn the whole thing right side out through the gap in the horizontal side of the Lining Fabric.

Keep the lining section pulled out of the outer section and press both sections flat. 

Pin the gap closed, tucking the seam allowance inside the lining.

Edgestitch the gap closed. (Since this is the lining, you won’t see this little seam.)

Stuff the lining section inside of the outer section and press the whole pouch flat.

The outer corners of the zipper sides will tuck in to create a tidy angle, as shown above.

Reader Comments (10)

These look great in upholstery weight and I love the color of the zips used.
A printed lining--Liberty or similar--would also make a good lining. As would gingham and stripes. So happy to have some SEWING projects!!!! Keep them coming.
April 18, 2014 | Unregistered Commentersandra woods
Thank you so much, Purl Bee, for this fantastic project. Zips are indeed quite intimidating but thanks to your crystal clear explanations, I am sure even a beginner like me will be able to pull this one off...! PS I am a regular visitor of your site and in absolute AWE of both the quality of your work and tasteful choice of fabric/materials.Thank you so much for sharing all your wonderful ideas with the rest of the world!
April 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCecilia (Europe)
Wonderful presents for loved ones!!!
April 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJane Massey Dionne
Thank you so much for your tutorial,,
if you dont mind,, I would like to re post it on my blog ^_^
even I dont know when, but i will if you dont mind :)
April 21, 2014 | Unregistered Commenteramaawe
Thank you, thank you for this wonderfully clear explanation of how to make these simple bags. Thank you as well for posting it instead of including the instructions as part of the kit so that readers can make their own fabric choices. After I make some for my knitting needles, I think I'll try some with a wipeable lining for the kids snacks and lunches.
April 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLaura
HI Amaawe-

We don't allow for our posts and patterns to be reposted elsewhere but if you'd like to feature it you are welcome to use a photo or two and link directly back here for the pattern and instructions.

Please contact me at molly AT purlsoho DOT com if you have any more questions.

Thank you!

April 21, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
If i may, i have a tip, attach a rubbon with one or more beads in the zipper hole to give a nice finishing touch. That is what i do using my daughter colored wood beads and it makes also zipper more easy to open/close .
Thanks for your blog
April 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSophie
Lovely, simple tutorial, I've already got it memorised and made myself a new purse with some thrifted wool fabric! I'm planning on making up a bunch of these for stocking fillers for Christmas, thank you Purl Bee!

Also, you can check out my blog post about my purse over here >
I made sure to link back to you guys to show my appreciation :-)
July 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

I just made a video tutorial more than two years ago. That is about the same method. :)

All the best

July 17, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermiss Scotty
Awesome! ... made one with booboos but thats ok ... next one will be better ... smiles and thank you!
July 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLouise

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