Sewing Blog

Neat and Tidy: How to Cover the Zipper End

Covering the ends of a zipper is a super quick way to instantly make your zipper look a bit more polished. I’m demonstrating the technique on a simple zippered pouch, but it’s easily adaptable to many situations, such as when you design your own handbag, clutch or even pockets.

You can also only cover the bottom end of the zipper on garments, like a half-zip pullover. Basically, any time you don’t need the zipper to separate completely at the bottom, just add the tab at the bottom of the zipper before sewing it in place.

It’s a straightforward process, but I always like to test out new techniques on something basic before going to town on something I really don’t want to mess up.

Don’t be intimidated by zippers! In the FREE Craftsy class Mastering Zipper Techniques, Sunni Standing shares lots of helpful tips and tricks for sewing with them, from how to choose the best zipper type for your project to applying them to a wide range of garments.

Floral Clutch: Zipper with covered ends

Covered zipper end tutorial

To make the zippered pouch, you’ll need:

  • Two pieces of exterior fabric, 8 1/2″ by 6 1/2″
  • One piece of fabric to make the zipper tabs, 2” x 4” (I used the same fabric as I did for the exterior)
  • Two pieces of lining fabric, 8 1/2″ by 6 1/2″
  • One 7” zipper
  • Optional: interfacing (depending on the weight of your outer fabric, you might want to apply interfacing to give your pouch more structure; mine was pretty sturdy, so I skipped this step)


Zipper on Gridded Surface

Step 1:

Trim the ends of the zipper tape back to the metal stoppers on either end.

Two Floral Pattered Zipper Tabs

Step 2:

Fold the 2” by 4” piece of fabric in half lengthwise and press. Open it up and fold in one side to the center crease and press. Repeat for the other side. Fold again along the original center crease and press.

Folded up, the piece should now measure 1/2” by 4”. Cut this in half so you have two tabs measuring 1/2” by 2”.

Adding Zipper Tabs to Zipper: Covering Ends

Step 3:

Open up one of the tabs and tuck the end of the zipper inside. Topstitch close to the zipper edge. For the zipper pull end, you’ll need to slightly unzip the zipper. Make sure the two sides of the zipper are as close together as possible when topstitching the tab on. Trim away any excess fabric on the raw edges of the zipper tab so that the tab is flush with the side of the zipper tape.

Pinned fabric on Gridded Surface

Step 4:

With one of your lining pieces right side up, center the zipper (also right side up) along the top edge. Place one piece of outer fabric right side down on top of the lining, with the zipper sandwiched in between.

Step 5:

With your zipper foot attachment, sew along the top edge with a 1/4” seam allowance.

Installing Zipper into Fabric

Step 6:

Press the lining and the outer fabric away from the zipper. Topstitch the lining and the outer fabric together by sewing along the edge of the zipper with a 1/8” seam allowance.

Step 7:

Repeat Steps 4-6 with the other piece of lining and exterior fabric.

Installing Zipper into Fabric: Top View of Fabric

Step 8:

Unzip the zipper about 1 ½”. Pin the lining pieces, right sides together. Pin the outer pieces, right sides together. Starting with the lining side, sew with a 1/2” seam allowance. Don’t forget to leave around a 2” gap for turning in the lining. When you reach the zipper tabs, sew as close as you can next to them without sewing through them. If you pull back the seam allowances of the lining, you should be able to see where the zipper tabs are.

Step 9:

Clip corners to reduce bulk and turn the pouch right side out through the gap left in the lining. Whip stitch the gap closed. Press.

Finished Clutch: Zipper with covered ends

It might go without saying, but the zipper tabs don’t need to match the exterior fabric of your garment or handbag. Use the covered zipper ends as an opportunity to add a bit of an accent. Scraps of leather or suede, or fabric in a contrasting color would work nicely, too.

If you’re ready to use this technique on a sewing project, take a look at Design Your Own Handbag with Brett Bara.

What projects would you use this technique on?



I simply LOVE this!

Haseena merchant

It was amazing


Very timely tutorial as I was just sitting down with a pattern I made for a bridle bag and thought how I would like to add zipper tabs! Thank you!


Love this tutorial. Have a question though and hoping someone can answer. Can this zipper tutorial be applied to internal zipper pockets on bags and purses?


Dianne, I haven’t tried it but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. You should be able to use this technique any time you don’t need the zipper to separate completely at the top or bottom.


I’m confused. Help! When you trim the ends of the zipper tape (the picture shows that it’s just by the metal stopper and zipper head) how do you top stitch the tabs close to zipper edge without sewing over the metal stopper and zipper head? There’s barely any zipper tape to sew on? Sorry i’m very beginner! Thanks in advance!


Hate to be critical- but this would have been so much more helpful if there were a few photos that show how you sewed the outer and inner pieces at the part where the seam meets the zipper ends. I didn’t fully understand your direction about sewing as close to the tabs but not thru them. Seems this would result in an opening at each end??


Same here, I don’t fully understand that bit. I would need more details, and photos would be great 🙂 Many thanks!

Mrs Susanne Mcvay

do you have a tutorial to apply metal tab ends on zips ?

Mrs Susanne Mcvay

do you do a tutorial of inserting metal tab ends on the zip?


I also don’t understand how to sew/not sew the zipper tabs. I just made a bag and the corner seams are all tucked in weirdly. Are you saying that we should not sew the tab at all? Very lost.

Sue Kinzelman

“Topstitch close to the zipper edge. ”
In step 3.
What does that mean? Do you sew the little fabric tabs on to the ends of the zipper?

Sue Kinzelman

I’ve tried this about 2 dozen times over the years and I still can’t quite get it.
1) How do you determine how long to make a zipper for a particular width pouch
2) How do you determine how much to cover the zipper ends?


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