How to Sew a Zipper Pouch




Introduction: How to Sew a Zipper Pouch

About: Hey there! I'm recent graduate of Carnegie Mellon University's Industrial Design program and a former Instructables intern. When I'm not working in a studio I enjoy exploring cities by bike and brainstorming n…

In this instructable we will create a simple zipper pencil pouch. We will assume that this is your first sewing project and you know nothing about machine sewing.

The skills this instructable covers extend beyond simply making a pencil pouch and will help prepare you for more complex sewing projects.

This instructable will include the following information:

  • Creating a sketch
  • Choosing and identifying materials
  • Creating a pattern
  • Installing the correct presser foot
  • Instructions on assembling a zipper pouch

Step 1: Sketching Your Pencil Pouch

The first step to bringing this project to life is creating a sketch! We will be making a simple zipper pencil pouch. A sketch is important to help visualize your idea, record dimensions, and create a pattern.

You might find it helpful to draw the project from multiple views depending on complexity

  • front
  • back
  • side
  • bottom
  • details
  • flat net shape

I wanted my zipper pouch to hold a few of my favorite drawing supplies, so I designed it to be slightly longer than the biggest pen. For me this happened to be 7.5 inches long and 4 inches tall. If you'd like your pouch to be a different size you can adjust the dimensions to suit your needs. Try to keep the shape a rectangle so you can follow along on how to sew it together in the next few steps. Remember to purchase a zipper that is the correct size for your design.

When sketching my idea I first drew it from a three quarter perspective view to get the general idea of what I'd be making onto paper.

I then drew it from a front view so I could easily mark relevant dimensions.

Finally I drew out what I thought the net (or flat) shape of the pouch might look like and transferred the dimensions from my front view drawing to the net shape drawing.

Step 2: Materials We Will Use

To create the pencil pouch the materials we will use are...

  • Mid-weight denim (or any similar weight woven fabric)
  • paper
  • fabric shears
  • fabric chalk
  • 7" zipper closed end
  • All-Purpose thread
  • marker
  • ruler

A mid-weight denim woven fabric and all-purpose thread will be durable enough to contain any pointy pencils and withstand wear and tear but light enough to go through a consumer sewing machine.

If you'd like to know more about sewing material selection check out my other instructableabout picking and identifying threads and fabrics.

Step 3: Creating and Using a Basic Pattern

First start by translating the sketches and dimensions created in step one into a paper pattern.

According to the dimensions listed in my sketch and the net shape drawn, the pattern will be a 7.5" x 8" rectangle with .5" seam allowance on all sides. Giving an overall 8.5" x 9" rectangle.

**Seam allowances are extra fabric built into a pattern to allow room for a seam. The size of the seam allowance does not affect the size of the final product. When you're beginning it's best to leave larger seam allowances (.5" or greater) to give yourself room for error and adjustment. As you become more comfortable with sewing these seam allowances may be reduced.**

You can always cut off extra fabric after but you can't add it on if you've cut it too short to begin with.

Do not create a pattern that is the exact size of the final product! you won't have any room for the stitches that hold it together D:

For this pattern, we will create a 8.5" x 9" rectangle and mark lines .5" in from each edge for the seam allowance.

cut out the pattern and trace it onto the wrong side of your fabric using the fabric chalk.

Be sure to mark the seam allowance points on each edge and connect them using a ruler.

once your pattern has been transferred to the fabric it's time to cut it out.

If you want more information on creating complex patterns check out this Instructable.

Step 4: Installing a Zipper

Before you start sewing make sure you have the right equipment in place on your sewing machine.

**if you've never used a sewing machine before or need a refresher on the basics be sure to check out This Instructable and This Instructable.**

Since we'll be installing a zipper in this project make sure the zipper foot is installed on your machine.

A zipper foot is easy to identify because it is thinner than a regular presser foot.

(if your machine does not have a zipper foot don't worry, you can still create this project! you just won't be able to sew as closely to the zipper)

Once your zipper foot is installed it's time to start pinning the fabric.

Begin by flipping the fabric so the wrong side is facing up and folding one of the 8.5" edges along the seam allowance line. Then lay the zipper over that folded edge wrong side up.

Pin the pieces in place and sew as close to the zipper as possible without hitting the teeth.

Be sure to start and end each stitch by running the needle back and forth over the beginning of your stitch (this will lock the stitch and act as a knot.)

Also don't run over the pins with your needle take them out as you reach them. As you become more comfortable with sewing you may not even need pins!

Step 5: Installing a Zipper Continued

To install the other side, unzip the zipper, fold the other 8.5" edge along the seam allowance and pin it on top of the zipper ribbon.

Sew as close to the zipper as possible. This side will be more difficult to sew as you reach the closed end of the zipper. Be careful and watch what parts of the fabric you're sewing.

Step 6: Finishing the Sides

Turn the fabric inside out and zip it almost closed (leave about 1" of the zipper open so you can turn it right side out later.

Pin both sides and sew along the seam allowance lines.

Trim excess seam allowance fabric about .25" away from seam.

Step 7: Optional Edge Reinforcement

Unzip and turn the pouch right side out.

You've just completed the pencil pouch and, your first sewing project!

If you'd like to reinforce the corners of your zipper you can add extra stitches there either with the machine or by hand.

Get ready for more sewing adventures!

This instructable is open to community feedback, let me know how I can make it even better!

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    5 years ago

    I have a small very soft leather coin purse. The leather is not thick, and it has a nylon lining, it also has a smaller zipper pocket on the side. The top zipper needs replacing, I hate to just pitch it, I cannot find another like it but mostly I am not buying into the throwaway mentality the world has adopted! Do you think your project could work for this? I’m a rank newbie! Thanks.


    7 years ago

    Loved making this. I added belt loops for a festival pouch!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I made iiiittttt!

    It was so fun!

    I even added some designs to the front.

    I gave it away though...


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Expertly crafted instructable. The devil is in the details and you covered them thoroughly.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Very nice and detailed instructions!

    I especially like the design of the instructable :) - How did you manage to place pictures outside the "picture box" ?


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks I'm glad you enjoyed it!

    You can place media outside the "picture box" by editing the html.

    There's a button that looks like this: </> in the top left hand corner of the instructable editing window. It will allow you to insert media directly to the text field.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Ah, I see.

    Unfortunately I'm not familiar with html...

    If there was a "Inserting pictures in html for beginners"- instructable I'd definitely read it... hint hint ;)