Monday, February 9, 2015

Zip Pouch Tutorial Roundup

There are so many great tutorials online for how to sew a simple zip pouch, and today I'm going to share a few of my favorite ones with you. Once you get the hang of them, zip pouches are pretty easy and very satisfying to whip up. Sometimes when I'm feeling a little stuck in my studio, I make a bunch of pouches just to get things moving along. If I cut up the fabric assembly line style I can crank out quite a few in a morning or afternoon, and feel like I've accomplished something. They're very handy to have around as last minute gifts. (The pouches pictured here were made with wool remnants I bought on my trip to Cotswold Woolen Weavers back in the fall.)
If you've never worked with a zipper before, I have a tutorial on this blog for making a very simple felt zip pouch which is good for beginners because it's unlined and uses felt which doesn't have a right or wrong side. That means you can focus mainly on learning how to sew the zipper in rather than worry about what layer of fabric goes where and which way it faces.

Once you're confident with that process, you can move on to a making a lined zip bag from the always excellent Purl Bee blog. This photo below is a simple lined bag I made using one of my precious Liberty fat quarters. It's lined with a lovely cream raw silk, not pictured.
Adding a lining to your zip pouch really bumps things up a notch, as seen below. My advice is to be very careful that lining and outer fabric sizes match perfectly, or else you'll wind up with a rather wrinkly, beginner's looking lining. You can see what I mean in the photo of the blue and white lined pouch two photos down on the right.

Another very well photographed and clearly written tutorial, which throws a zip cover embellishment into the mix, comes from Flossie Teacakes. This one took me a bit of practice to tackle; it's important to pay attention to the bit at the end of the tutorial about the "zip ends pointing into the lining side and not the outer fabric side"; failure to heed this instruction results in a wonky zipper.
These box zip bags above were the ones I mentioned in an earlier post having made my boys for Christmas. The first one I made was the plaid one on the top right; I botched the placement of the lining and outer fabrics so that half of each were on both the inside and outside. But Michael didn't mind, so I kept it and learned from my mistake and was more successful with subsequent bags.
And here is Henry's bag, for which I used this very manly grey tweed. Below you can see a shot of the slightly more whimsical lining I used. These were all made using the box bag tutorial from the Say Yes blog. The only downside of this one was that is doesn't hide the edges on the lining of the bag, though I tidied them up as best I could by trimming the seam allowance with pinking shears.
For a tutorial that shows a box bag in which the seams of the lining are hidden in between the layers, you can check out Truly Myrtle's tutorial. This one also includes a handle on the edge of the bag, so is the most advanced of all the ones included here. My eyes started to glaze over a little bit as I scrolled through the instructions; they are clear, there are just a lot of steps.

If you've tried zip pouches using other tutorials not mentioned, or have other useful tips for working with zippers, feel free to share in the comments section below.


  1. Leslie!
    Something made me think of you the other day, and I just had a free moment so Google and I tracked you down. And here you are on this lovely blog! Have read the first few posts and just love it. Looks like you and Henry and the boys are very settled into your UK farm life. All is well here in Brooklyn: house renovating, Tim is starting a marina and sailing school in Brooklyn Bridge Park and I get to take a little break from teaching art as we just had our second - a little peanut named George. Will be checking in often to continue enjoying your well crafted life.
    Christie (Phillips) O'Brien

    1. Hi Christie!
      Congrats on your new arrival-love his name. So great to hear your news from BK and good luck to Tim with his new sailing school. Too bad we don't live there anymore to take advantage of it! Lots of love to you all and thanks for checking in to say hello. Do keep in touch, and send our love to all.