Sew the bag
Unzip and start sewing the lining
The most important step: Unzip the zipper! If you don’t, you can’t turn the bag. Well, you will, eventually, but it’ll be frustrating. Just unzip the bag.
Fold the fabric out flat so that the right sides of the lining match to each other. The right sides of the outer fabric should match too.
Sew around the perimeter of the bag with a 1/2″ seam allowance starting in the middle of the bottom of the lining. Sew to the corner, then leave your needle in the fabric. Next lift the presser foot and pivot the fabric so that you’re ready to go up one of the sides with the zipper.
Feel with your fingers where the zipper is. Depending on the make of your zipper, it’s probably more than 1/2″ from the side. Wherever the end is, draw a straight line with your chalk and ruler on the side of your bag just past where the zipper is.
Sewing the first side with the zipper
Lower your presser foot and keep sewing up the side on your chalk line. When you get to the zipper, stop and do two things: pinch the zipper ends together and fold them towards the lining. This is how to sew a zipper pouch without dented corners.
If you’ve ever tried to sew a zipper bag before and had problem with the corners of the zipper looking lumpy, this will fix the problem.
Also, it’s a good idea to go really slowly when you get close to the zipper end. You may even want to use the fly wheel to work the needle. If you go slowly here, you won’t break a needle on the zipper.
Keep sewing until you get to the corner on the outer fabric. Pivot again here, leaving the needle down, lifting the presser foot, and turning the fabric so that you’re looking at the bottom edge of the outer fabric.
Finish sewing the bag
Sew the bottom edge of the outer fabric, pivot, then sew up the second zipper side. Make sure you fold the ends of the zipper towards the lining again and draw a straight line to stitch on.
Pivot again at the corner of the lining and finish up by sewing the bottom of the lining. Don’t sew the lining’s bottom up completely. Leave about a 3-4″ hole so that you can turn the bag out in the next step.
Turn the bag right side out
First cut the corners at an angle.
Next, reach inside the hole in the lining and pull the bag right side out through the hole. I find it the easiest to grab the zipper to do this.
Grab a chopstick and gently poke out the corners. Now it’s pressing time.
Press the bag
Keeping the bag flat, press all the edges. Make the the seam allowance is folded towards the inside on the hole in the lining. We’ll close that up in the next step.
Also press the bag where the zipper is sewn to the fabric. Use only the tip of the iron and keep it away from the zipper teeth. Nylon teeth will melt if they touch the iron!
Sew up the hole in the lining
There’s a hole in the bottom of your bag! This is our last bit of sewing to close it up.
Take the bag back to your sewing machine and stitch close to the edge through both layers of the lining. Start a little before the hole starts, and end a few stitches beyond the hole. Make sure to backstitch at the start and the end of this stitching to lock that stitching in place.
Press the bag again, then slip the lining inside the outer bag. Tug on the ends of the zipper so that the ends sit on the top of the bag.
You can add a charm or tie a piece of ribbon through the zipper slider to fancy it up. Tie it or sew it like I did with this one.
Zip it up and you’re done!
Just like potato chips, you can’t sew just one!
See, I told you these DIY zipper bags were super easy! So the next time you have some weird fabric scraps, grab a zipper and sew up a little collection of these easy zipper pouches. I didn’t mention it before, but the 7 minute DIY zipper bag can make an instant sewing party too. You can cut up a ton and get a group of friends together and sew up a whole stack over cake and coffee. I did this for my birthday and it was the perfect way to spend the day!
Now that you know the basics, here’s some of how to sew a zipper pouch, here are some variations of the 7 minute DIY zipper bag to try out:
Make a DIY wristlet purse
A simple bag gets fancy with yoyos
Waterproof your zip bag
A roomy variation with DIY laminated fabric that’s perfect for a little makeup bag
How to make pleated trim
Make your own trim and add it to your next 7 minute zip bag
So go make your own zipper bag collection. And if you make some zipper bags, I’d love to see them! You can always tag me @elizabethmadethis on Instagram and give it the hashtag #sewsomethingcreative.
Elizabeth Farr is the writer behind the Elizabeth Made This blog where she shares helpful sewing tips, step by step sewing tutorials and videos to help you explore your creativity through sewing. She has written sewing Eguides and patterns, been a featured teacher at Rebecca Page’s Sewing Summit and Jennifer Maker’s Holiday Maker Fest and her work has appeared in Seamwork and Altered Couture magazines. She also created a line of refashioned garments for SEWN Denver. When her sewing macchine isn’t humming, she’s playing and teaching violin, and hanging around a good strategic board game with her husband and 4 kids.