Quilted Zippered Bag




Introduction: Quilted Zippered Bag

About: Enthusiastic hiker, quilter and creator with a passion for making the most of every situation and finding the best and easiest way to do anything!

I wanted to make a zippered pouch to carry around small hand quilting or sewing projects, like the paper pieced hexagons on the front of the blue pouch.

I decided to quilt the fabric. This gives the bag texture and creates opportunities for surface design. It also makes the bag sturdy enough to stand up on its own if you "box" the bottom. A quilt is 3 layers - the quilt top, a middle batting layer, and a lining - all held together by hand or machine stitching.

This instructable shows you how to make a beautiful quilted zippered bag using 2 different quilting techniques: appliqueing on the quilt top and free motion quilting around the applique, OR quilting along the lines of a printed fabric. You can change the dimensions of the bag to make it whatever size suits your needs. For example, I've made these bags in different sizes to carry headphones, art supplies, makeup and travel toiletries. You can put an applique on the bag that tells you what goes in it, as I have with the hexagon pouch which contains my paper pieced hexies.

If you like bags, check out my other bag instructables!

Step 1: What You Need to Make This:

In addition to a sewing machine and iron, you will need:

  • one 9" zipper
  • one 14" X 9" piece of fabric for the outside
  • one 14" X 9" piece of batting
  • one 14" X 9" piece of lining fabric
  • one 2 1/2" X 18" strip of fabric for the binding

These are the requirements for the light blue bag with the hexagon applique, which I made first and will call Bag One. It was a bit challenging to insert the zipper when the bag was made from one single rectangle, so for the 2nd bag made from the purple floral print, I used 2 separate pieces for the front and back of the bag, and made the pieces longer in order to allow for the "boxed" bottom.

The floral printed bag, which I will call Bag Two, was cut with separate pieces for front and back, has a "boxed" bottom, and was made from:

  • one 9" zipper
  • two 9" X 9" pieces of fabric for the outside
  • two 9" X 9" pieces of batting
  • two 9" X 9" pieces of lining fabric
  • one 2 1/2" X 18" strip of fabric for the binding

Step 2: Optional Supplies

Applying zippers is much easier if you baste them in place with Wash Away Wonder Tape prior to sewing.

For a straightforward zipper project like this, you can also just baste the zipper to the fabric with pins, or hand baste it with large stitches to hold the zipper to the fabric before sewing by machine.

If you are making Bag One, you will also need an item to applique onto your fabric. This can be as simple as something you've cut out from another piece of fabric, or as complex as the hand pieced hexagons which I've appliqued onto the light blue bag.

If you are attaching an applique piece to your fabric, it is easiest to use an iron-on fusible to attach the applique piece before sewing it on. Double sided fusibles like Steam-a-Seam or Wonder Under make this easy.

Step 3: For Appliqued Bag One, Attach Applique Piece

I used the English paper piecing technique described in this instructable to make the hexagons and joined 7 of them together to form a pleasing shape to create the applique patch. You can use a much simpler applique piece - for example, you can cut out a shape or a motif from a printed fabric to applique to your outer bag fabric. The last photo shows this - I simply cut a circle out from a print to applique to the back of the bag.

Once you have your applique piece:

  • Trace the outline of the applique piece onto the "paper" side of an iron-on fusible (examples in previous step)
  • Cut out the fusible piece and iron it onto the applique patch - the iron touches the paper side, not the sticky side!
  • Remove the paper (easiest if you cut an X in the centre of the paper and peel back)
  • Iron the applique patch on to your outside fabric
  • Use a machine blanket stitch or zigag stitch to stitch around the applique piece, enclosing the raw edge in your stitching

Step 4: Quilt the 3 Layers Together

Layer your fabric pieces with the batting as follows:

  • outer fabric, good side up
  • batting
  • lining fabric, good side down

In other words, the wrong side of both fabrics is facing inward towards the batting.

Baste the 3 layers together with pins, or use a fusible batting and iron the 3 pieces together to baste in place.

If you have one, put an even feed foot on your sewing machine and lower the pressure foot pressure.

For Bag One with the applique, I quilted flower petal shapes inside the hexagons, and free motion quilted in a random stipple pattern around the applique. If you are free motion quilting, you need to lower the feed dogs on your sewing machine first so the fabric can move freely. For the circle on the back, I stitched lines following the shape of the circle. This is called "echo quilting".

For Bag Two, I stitched along some of the lines which were on the print. The last photo shows the inside and outside of the Bag Two pieces - you can see the quilting lines most clearly on the plain lining fabric.

Once you've finished the quilting, sew around the edge of the bag piece(s) so that all 3 layers are secured together at the outside edges.

Step 5: Attach Binding to Top Edges of Bag

  • Take the strip of 2 1/2" wide fabric and cut it in half so you have two 9" strips
  • Fold these strips in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, and iron. You now have 1 1/4" wide folded strips which are the binding
  • Pin one of the binding strips to the top edge of your bag, with the raw edges together
  • Sew the binding to the edge, using a 1/4" seam allowance
  • Fold the strip over to the front, and top stitch it down, close to the folded edge
  • Repeat for the other top edge of the bag
  • You now have two neatly bound edges at the top of your bag pieces which form a finished decorative frame for your zipper

Step 6: Attach the Zipper

  • If using Wash Away Wonder Tape, attach the tape to each side of the zipper by pressing the sticky side of the tape onto the zipper
  • Once tape is attached, peel off the paper that is attached to the tape. The second photo shows the zipper with the paper peeled off one side, leaving the sticky side exposed.
  • Remove paper from both sides of zipper, and position the 2 bound edges of the bag on either side of the zipper. Press down, and the tape will hold the zipper to the bag. See 3rd photo - you want the bound fabric edges to be very close to the zipper teeth, but not overlapping the zipper teeth.
  • If you aren't using the Wonder Tape, use pins to hold the zipper in place, or hand baste
  • Sew the zipper to both sides of the bag, using a zipper foot if possible
  • The last photo shows the zipper being sewn to Bag One, which was made from a single piece of fabric. It's a bit awkward to attach the second side of the zipper to the bag when it is all one piece, but it can be done.

Step 7: Sew Edges of Bag Together

  • With right sides together, sew the side and bottom edges of the bag together with a 1/4" seam allowance. It's best to start sewing about an inch below the top of the bag, backstitch to the top, and then continue sewing down around the bag. The backstitching secures the thread ends, and by starting part way down the bag, you avoid having any loose thread ends near the top of the bag. Once you've finished going around all three sides, backstitch to secure the seam.
  • Make sure the zipper is OPEN when you sew around the bag! Otherwise (as I learned from experience - see fourth photo), it is impossible to open the zipper and you have to rip out your stitches, open the zipper and resew.
  • Check to make sure you are happy with your stitching. The seam should be about 1/4" to 3/8" from each end of the zipper (see 3rd photo).
  • Trim seam allowance so it is a neat 1/4" and zigzag around all three sides to finish the raw edge.

Step 8: Turn Bag Right Side Out

Your bag is now finished and ready to use!

However, if you would like to "box" the bottom of the bag so that it has a flat bottom and can stand up on its own, go to the next step.

Step 9: Box the Bottom of Your Bag - Optional

By folding, sewing and removing a triangular piece from both sides of the bottom, you can create a box shape at the bottom of the bag. The larger the piece you cut away, the wider the box at the bottom will be. Decide how wide you want the box to be. In this example, the flat "box" at the bottom of the bag ends up about 2 1/4" wide.

  • Turn the bag inside out. On one side seam, measure 1 1/2" from the bottom corner and put a pin precisely through the side seam at this point. Flatten this corner of the bag so that this side seam lies against the bottom seam, and push the pin so that it goes through the bag, and exits out through the bottom seam stitching (2nd photo). The pin helps you to align the side seam exactly with the bottom seam.
  • Take another pin and pin the side seam to the bottom seam as shown in the third photo. Draw a horizontal line at the 1 1/2" mark. Make sure each side of the line is an equal distance away from the point. Stitch along this line.
  • Trim the excess fabric (the triangle) so that only a 1/4" seam allowance remains.
  • Finish the raw edge with a zigzag stitch.
  • Repeat on the other side of the bag.
  • Turn the bag right side out.

Step 10: Enjoy Your Bag!

Ta da! Your stand up bag is now ready to use.


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    1 year ago

    Neat work. Simple and nice!


    Reply 1 year ago

    Thank you for this nice feedback! I hope you make one of these bags. I can see from your instructables that you are very creative and enjoy textile arts - I think you would have fun with this bag! You could use hand embroidery as the quilting stitch - rather than machine quilting, you could use an embroidery stitch that goes through all 3 layers of fabric and batting, and have a really unique bag.


    Reply 1 year ago

    Thanks for your reply. Appreciate it. Creativity resonates with you as well. Honestly, I have made plenty of these bags, but it did not strike to me to submit it to this contest :-) The usage of zip was so simple that I thought it may not be unique in that sense.


    1 year ago

    Very pretty!


    Reply 1 year ago

    Thank you! I really appreciate this feedback.


    1 year ago

    Nice! Love the colors 😻


    Reply 1 year ago

    Thank you so much! I'm glad you like the project and colors.