The favorite bag I've owned was a zipper messenger bag made by Zip It. I've had it for many many years and it's finally starting to get a little tired, so I thought why not make one myself?
This design is definitely inspired by the Zip It look, but is not made to unravel in a continuous way... aside from the cool factor when you first get the fully unravelable bag, I found that I never ever unraveled it once. By sewing in the straps onto the bag, it actually makes it stronger and more balanced in my opinion.
Zipper bags are super fun, cute, strong and you can adjust the dimensions as you wish. Hope you have fun with this one!
Step 1: You Will Need:
- For a 14"x9" bag, approximately 9 yards of continuous zipper.
- 15"-18" closing colorful zipper (I like to use a different color for kicks).
- rotary cutter (or scissors)
- liquid seam sealant like Fray Check
- a sewing machine.
Step 2: Make the Base
- Cut 4 strips of 15" long zipper.
- Pin one overlapping on another one and sew.
- Repeat with the other two.
You should end up with a nice flat rectangle of the 4 zippers sewn together. That's your base.
Step 3: Sew the First Round on the Base
First tricky part...
- Pin the end of your long continuous zipper onto one of the long sides of your base, right sides facing in.
- Sew the long side.
- When approaching the corner, pin the short side to crate your corner and carefully sew it down. I tend to slow way down for that part. These 1st corners will set the mood for the rest of your bag.
- Continue your way around, until you complete your first full round.
Step 4: Begin the Zipper Madness
Once you're done with your first round, we will want the rest of the spiral to be sew on the exterior of the bag.
- We're starting round 2.
- Secure your first corner to overlap round 1 on the outside.
- Pin the rest of the long side in order for the overlap to end up being positioned the way you want it for the rest of the bag, meaning the flat parts of the zipper overlapping, not the actual zipper part. Your first long side of round 2 will then look a little diagonal, which it totally fine. (It makes more sense on the photos.)
- Continue to sew your zipper round and round, trying to keep the tension between the main body and the new zipper even throughout the spiral.
- Sew sew sew go go go.
Step 5: Finish the Zipper Madness
- Once you've reached the desired bag height, finish on one of the sides of the bag where you will later attach the strap.
- Cut the zipper and fold it over the edge. Pin it down.
Step 6: Make the Strap
Because of the size of this bag, I decided to make a strap of 2 zippers to make it stronger, but you can definitely get by with a single zipper.
- Measure and cut 2 zippers. Mine were 48" long.
- Pin then together wit the same style of overlap as the back.
- Sew them.
Step 7: Attach One End of the Strap to the Closing Zipper
- Take your color zipper and pin one end of it to the end of the strap, right sides in.
- Sew them together (I find that this little step secures the zipper a little better).
Step 8: Sew One End of the Strap Onto the Bag
- Flip your bag inside out.
- Pin your strap/color zipper to the side of the bag where you ended the bag body.
- Sew the strap onto the body, making sure it's nice and perpendicular to the top edge of the bag. I actually made 2 seams.
Step 9: Sew Once Side of the Color Zipper
- Flip the bag right side out.
- Pin one side of the color zipper onto the edge of the bag.
Step 10: Attach the Other End of the Strap
- I don't attach the zipper to the strap on the other side to give it a little it of slack.
- Pin the strap and sew it with a seam or two. I prefer two.
Step 11: Sew the Other Side of the Zipper
- Pin and sew the other side of the color zipper, being careful that it will align nicely when closed.
Step 12: Almost Done!
Your bag is pretty much done, but we want to make sure the cut zippers won't fray.
Apply a healthy dose of the liquid seam sealant on each cut zipper ends inside the bag.
Step 13: You Have a Bag! It's Made of Zippers!
Congratulations! Now go show it off!