Learn Zipper Sewing Basics With This Easy Pouch Tutorial

This zipper pouch tutorial is for anyone who wants to learn some sewing basic techniques — like shortening and attaching a zipper — while creating a super-easy flat pouch with a zipper. Your final project will be perfect to organize sewing supplies or to gift to your friends.

Super-easy flat zipper pouch tutorial

I’ve included dimensions for a medium-sized pouch, but you can create any size pouches with this easy tutorial by adjusting the measurements.

Materials you need:

  • Lining: Cut two pieces 9″ x 7¾” (23 cm x 20.5 cm)
  • Outer fabric: Cut one piece 9″ x 15″ (23 cm x 38 cm)
  • Zipper tabs: Cut 1 piece 3½” x 2″ (8 cm x 5 cm) 
  • 1 nylon-teeth zipper: 8″ (20 cm) or longer 
  • Regular sewing supplies, including scissors, pins, sewing machine, thread, measuring tape and marking tools
  • Zipper foot
  • Clear, matte tape

Note: ½” seam allowances are included in the measurements.

A bit about using zipper feet…

Not all zipper feet are created equal. It is way easier to use a universal zipper foot than a regular one. This is because the first one has virtually no bulk, so you can go as near as you want to the zipper teeth and zipper pull. That said, if you have the regular one that came with your machine, you can still attach zippers, it’s just a little bit fussier!

Step 1: Creating the zipper tabs

First, press the zipper tab fabric in half lengthwise, matching the 3½” raw edges, wrong sides together.

Open the fold, then fold the fabric so that the same raw edges almost meet at the middle crease you’ve just made. With the edges folded in, fold again along the first crease. You’ll end up with a 3½” x ½” rectangle. Press to crease.

Cut the tab in half lengthwise, so you have one tab piece for each zipper end.

Step 2: Shortening the zipper

Lay the outer fabric pieces on your workspace, wrong side up. Then mark ½” seam allowances on each end of its shorter side (9″ in my example).

Cut the zipper to 7-7/8″ (or just 1/8″ less than the opening you’ve just marked). Tip: Don’t use your good scissors to cut zippers — they might get dull! Then open up the zipper halfway. Don’t open it all the way, or you might end with two half zippers.

Step 3: Attach the zipper tabs

Place a zipper tab on each zipper end, sandwiching the zipper inside the tab’s “lips.” Pin or baste the two tabs in place on each side of the zipper to hold them in place.

Using a short straight stitch (length between 1 and 2), topstitch the tabs in place. I’m using a contrasting thread in this tutorial, so you can better see it. You can do the same as a design feature, or go for a more forgiving matching thread color.

Tip: Sew slowly (even using the hand wheel) when sewing on top of the nylon teeth. This helps you sew a perfect straight topstitch, catching the fabric layer underneath and not ruining your sewing machine timing.

Step 4: Sew the zipper onto the pouch fabric

Mark the middle point onto:

  • The longer side of the lining fabric (9″ in my example)
  • The shorter side of the outer fabric (9″ in my example)
  • The zipper
To find the center, you can measure the length, divide it by two and mark that measurement… or you can just fold it in half and mark the center point (if you are lazy like me!).

Lay the outer fabric right side up. Place the zipper on top of it, right side down, aligned with the top; hold it in place using a few strips of clear tape.

Using a zipper foot, baste the zipper to the outer fabric. No need to go too close to the zipper teeth this round.

Pull the basting tape off.

Step 5: Add the lining fabric

Now, put one of the lining pieces on top of the zipper and outer fabric, with the right side down. Hold it all together (or pin it if you like) before turning it.

Sew the lining fabric onto the outer fabric, using the previous seam as a guide.

Feeling the zipper bulk under the fabric, with your hands, guide the zipper feet as close as you can to the zipper teeth.  When you reach the zipper pull, carefully slow down to make sure you’re still sewing straight handwheel is your BFF).

Press the fabric away from the zipper teeth, using a warm iron. Remember not to put your iron directly on top of the nylon teeth — they can melt!. Topstitch along the fold, to make it crisper.

Step 6: Repeat on the other side of the zipper

Repeat the process for the other tape of the zipper: baste the zipper on top of the outer fabric, right sides together.

Sew the second lining piece on top of them, right side down.

Press and topstitch like you did on the other side.

Tip: Make sure you’re not sewing onto the outer fabric when it’s time to topstitch. You’ll find it easier if you proceed carefully sewing one inch, stopping with the needle down, repositioning the fabric and sewing another inch.

Step 7: Close the side seams of the zipper pouch

Open up the almost-done zipper pouch so the lining pieces are facing right sides together and the outer fabrics are right sides together.

Align the sides and pin perpendicularly along the sides and the bottom of the lining. Leaving a 3″ opening in the middle to turn the zipper pouch right side out, once it’s completed.

Tip: Make sure the seams that join the outer fabric to the lining, at the zipper level (asterisks below) are perfectly aligned for a sharper finish.

Starting from the outer fabric at the bottom fold, stitch along the side until you reach the opening on the bottom of the lining. Don’t forget to backstitch at the beginning and end. Repeat this on the other side. 

Make sure you don’t catch the zipper tab in the seam. Feel for it with your fingers and guide the fabric under the presser foot.

This is a good moment to give everything a nice steam press. Then clip the corners.

Step 8: Turn it right-side out.

Carefully reach the outer fabric from the lining’s opening and turn the whole thing right side out.

Press the side seams well to define the crease. Then press the seam allowances on the lining’s opening, so they perfectly lay one on top of the other. This will help later on when you topstitch them closed.

Put the lining into the zipper pouch. Step back and admire your beautifully lined zipper pouch!

And now, it’s time for you to fill it with all your sewing goodies!

Want to save this tutorial for later? Pin it so that you can find it whenever you need it.

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