Sewing Blog

Simple Sewing Techniques: How to Sew a Zippered Pocket

A zippered pocket on a bag is something that is incredibly handy; this space is perfect for a cell phone, wallet, or other item that you need to have within easy reach, yet still be a safe place in your bag. There are several different ways to add a zipper pocket onto any bag, but this method is the best.

Learn a quick, easy to implement technique for sewing a zippered pocket!

Zippered pocket on the back of a bag (Lilium Laptop Bag).

Materials:

First, you will need a piece of fabric that you would like to be the pocket. This fabric needs to be at least 1-1/2″ smaller in width (if not more) than the piece of the bag that you will be installing the pocket into, and the fabric should be double the size of the finished pocket.

I most commonly use 10″ x 20″ pockets in my bags (I make a lot of medium-large sized bags), and this can be adjusted for a small bag. For my examples, I will be using a 10″ x 20″ piece of pocket fabric.

Draw a line that is 10-1/2" down from the top short edge.

Step 1:

Place the pocket piece, wrong side up, with the short 10″ edge at the top. Draw a horizontal line that is 10-1/2″ down from the top edge. If you are using a custom size of fabric, you will be measuring halfway down from the top edge, plus an extra 1/2″. I like to draw a little ‘T’ at the top of my pocket fabric, so that I don’t get mixed up later on.

Draw another line that is 1/2" below the line that you first drew.

Step 2:

Draw another horizontal line that is 1/2” down from the line that you drew in the previous step.

 Draw vertical lines that are in 1" from each side edge.Step 3:

Draw a vertical line that is 1” in from both sides.

Finger press the pocket and the interfaced piece of fabric that the zippered pocket will be installed into.

Step 4:

Finger press the pocket and the interfaced fabric piece that you will be installing the zippered pocket into, to find the center of each. Place the pocket directly on top of the bag fabric, right sides together, at that center crease.

The bottom of the pocket should be at least 1/2” higher than the bottom of the bag fabric (depending on where you want the pocket placed on the bag). Pin a few times to hold the layers in place.

Stitch along the rectangle that you drew.

Step 5:

Sew directly on top of the lines that you drew on the pocket; you will end up sewing a long, thin rectangular box.

Draw a line down the middle of the box, then cut small v's 1/4" away from each end.

Step 6:

Draw, then cut a slit in the center of the box (through all layers of fabric), starting and stopping approximately 1/4″ from the edges of the box. Draw and cut a small ‘v’ at each end, making sure not to cut into your stitching. It is helpful to use your seam ripper to get the cut started.

Push the pocket to the wrong side of the bag fabric and press.

Step 7:

Push the pocket to the wrong side of the bag fabric and press.

Center the zipper underneath the window.

Step 8:

With the right side of the bag fabric facing you, center the an appropriate-length zipper, right side facing you, underneath the opening and pin in place. Make sure that the pocket fabric is lying flat and away from the opening. You can either pin the zipper in place, or instead use a washable glue stick or wash away adhesive tape.

Make sure that the zipper pull is in the opening. Using the zipper foot, stitch along the opening, 1/8″ from the edge of the fabric. The pocket fabric should be spread open.

Sew the raw edges of the pocket.

Step 9:

Fold your pocket in half, long edges together and right sides together; match up the corners. Sew along the side and bottom edges. Do not sew on top of the bag fabric by accident!

Tudor Bag sewing pattern.

This is what the finished pocket will look like on your bag. This is my Tudor Bag sewing pattern, which is available here on Craftsy. Get more resources on making bags, purses and more here.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! What bag will you install a zippered pocket in next?

Mastering in Minutes: Zippers

Intimidated by zippers? Don’t be!

Craftsy expert Callie Works-Leary takes you step by step through 3 zipper insertions so you can properly prepare the seam, place the zipper and stitch it for a professional appearance. Get the Tutorial

10 Comments

msrobin

Great tutorial! Thanks for the detailed photos and instructions. I will give this a try.

Reply
Gail McFadden

I think this tutorial is rather confusing! The tutorial describes the method for creating the zipper pocket on the blue purse, but shows a zipper pocket which has a another piece of fabric between the face fabric and the lining fabric. This addition piece of fabric creates the band around the zipper opening. I think the instructions and the pictures in the tutorial should match.

Reply
Diann C

Absolutely agree with your comment Gail. Very confusing instructions!

Reply
Tonya

I found this tutorial to be a bit confusing as well. I will just try following the pictures.

Reply
Belinda

Thanks for this tutorial…I love the idea of constructing a large bound “buttonhole” and inserting the zipper. Very smart and professional look. Definately am going to try this technique. PS I also “pinned” your tutorial link on Pinterest.

Reply
Judy Stroup

I agree that the instructions are confusing. Where are the instructions on how to add that extra piece of dark pink fabric to the outside of the zipper? Disappointed that those steps were omitted because it really looks nice with that addition. Otherwise, this type of zipper pocket is nothing new.

Reply
Sharon R

The instructions are in the pattern she is selling through Craftsy. I think she showed the first purse as an example of what her method would look like on a finished purse, then proceeded to show the steps for her modified purse. The results are the same, it’s the steps before doing the zipper pocket that give you the buttonhole look.
It might be slightly deceiving, but bloggers do it all the time, except they usually tell you the pictures don’t match.

Reply
Judy Stroup

Thanks for your clarification–it makes sense. Love the button-hole look!

Reply
Zipper Tips for Bag-Making - Sew Sweetness

[…] How to Insert a Zippered Pocket – I wrote this tutorial for the Craftsy blog on how to insert a zippered pocket into any bag. Here, I have the back of my Lilium Laptop Bag, in which I’ve inserted that white zippered pocket. […]

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