Learn how to make a lined zipper pouch with zipper tabs with these foolproof instructions for beginners. Zipper pouches are fun and practical and they’re so easy to make. After finishing this quick project, you’ll no longer be afraid of sewing zippers.
This lined zipper pouch tutorial is great for beginners. You’ll learn the best tips and tricks to make zipper pouches that you can be proud of.
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DIY lined zipper pouch – how to prepare your zipper
I rarely have the right zipper in the right size and color when I need it, so this time I used zippers by the yard.
To give room for error, I cut my zippers 2 inches bigger than the size I needed. First, I attached the zipper pulls (here’s a great tutorial on Youtube if you’ve never done this before) and after that, I measured and marked exactly 6” on the zipper tape (that’s the length needed for my zipper pouches).
You’ll need to create zipper stops out of thread, so sew a few stitches and backstitch over the zipper at both ends.
If you’re using a metal zipper, it’s important to never hit the zipper teeth with your needle, so just slowly sew through the zipper teeth moving the hand wheel (do not use the foot pedal).
Related: Drawstring dice bag (free pattern) / Mini zipper pouch
When you’re done with the thread stoppers, use regular scissors to cut your zipper on the marking lines.
For this project, I did not switch out my sewing machine’s foot to a zipper foot. My straight stitch foot is slim enough and these zippers have slightly wider zipper tapes than others.
Anyway, if you’re using regular zippers (aka non-invisible zippers) there’s no need to sew too close to the zipper’s teeth when making these pouches. When I say this, I specifically have in mind the beginner that I was not so long ago.
Sewing supplies – lined zipper pouch
- Woven fabric of your choice – cotton, denim, canvas
- Matching thread
- Sewing pins or sewing clips
- Universal sewing machine needle
- Sewing machine
How to make a basic zipper pouch tutorial: 5 steps
Step 1 – prepare your fabric pieces
You need two fabric rectangles for the outer layer and two for the lining.
Also, you need two small rectangles measuring 1 1/2” x 2” for the zipper tabs, and a zipper that is 1” shorter than the top edge of your main fabric piece.
My fabric pieces are 6” wide x 5” tall, and my zipper measures exactly 5”.
Using these measurements, my finished zipper pouch is 5 1/4″ wide and 4 3/4″ tall.
You can use the abovesaid as a reference frame to make your zipper pouch in any size you want. Just cut your fabric pieces approx. 3/4″ wider and 1/4″ taller than your desired finished measurements.
Step 2 – prepare and attach the zipper tabs
Take one of the small rectangles and fold it in half along the 2” edge. Then you’ll fold in both short edges to meet the center fold, as shown in the picture below. Press well.
Place the zipper tabs over both ends of the zipper and stitch them in place to close the fold.
Step 3 – sew the zipper to the fabric panels (1 front piece and 1 lining)
Center the zipper along the top edge of the main fabric piece, right sides together. There should be the same distance from each side of the zipper to the fabric’s edge – approx. 3/8” or 1/2”.
Stitch the zipper to the main fabric piece with a small 1/8” seam allowance.
Please note: Whenever you get close to the zipper pull, stop with your needle down, lift the presser foot and move the zipper pull behind your presser foot, then continue sewing.
Take the lining and pin it to the wrong side of the zipper, facing the right side of the main fabric piece. You’re now going to sew with a larger 1/4” seam allowance.
This little trick guarantees your zipper pouch will always look as good on the inside as it does on the outside.
Your zipper is now sandwiched between the main fabric piece and the lining.
Now, take the lining out of the way and topstitch along the top edge of the main fabric piece, about 1/8” away from the zipper. This line of stitching will hold the fabric in place to prevent it from getting stuck in the zipper. Do not topstitch the lining.
Step 4 – sew the second side of the zipper to the fabric panels (1 front piece and 1 lining)
Repeat Step 3 for the remaining main fabric and lining pieces.
This is what your zipper pouch should now look like. The main fabric pieces are topstitched, the lining pieces are not.
Step 5 – sew around the zipper pouch
At this point, you should unzip the zipper at least halfway, so you can turn the pouch right side out when you finish.
Now fold the pouch and pin back and front pieces right sides together and lining pieces right sides together, aligning all edges as closely as possible.
The most important part here is to match the main fabrics at the zipper seam, like so.
The zipper tabs should be pointing towards the lining.
Here’s a foolproof method to sew around the rectangle and keep all edges aligned: stitch first along the zipper seam to secure it in that position, using a small 1/4” seam allowance.
Then you have to sew all around the zipper pouch with a 3/8” seam allowance, leaving a 2-3” opening in the middle of the lining section for turning.
You’ll know where the zipper tabs are since you can feel them with your fingers. You’re not supposed to sew over them, but do try to sew as close as possible.
Finally, turn the pouch right sides out and push all the corners out. Stitch the small opening closed, get the lining to the inside, and you are done!
That was easy and fun, right?
I hope you enjoyed this basic zipper pouch tutorial. If you make a pouch using these instructions, I’d love to hear from you!
Share your finished version on my Facebook page or tag me on Instagram @icansewthis.
10 thoughts on “How to make a simple zipper pouch. My foolproof method”
An excellent tutorial with clear pictures and descriptions! I am starting to sew again and this is all helpful. The tabs are perfect to get a refined finish. Thank you!
I’m so glad to hear that! Thank you, Patty!
I’ve only been sewing for six months on a machine and this description was easy to follow and produced a great little gift for a friend of mine. Thank you!
Your comment makes me so happy, Sonia! Thank you! You’re on the right track, best wishes to you!
Great tutorial. One question…why doesn’t one top stitch the lining?
Thanks for this pattern, I love the tabs idea! I prefer this look than the sad “zipper fabric scrunched up in a corner” look I usually end up with 🙂 However, I don’t understand why you sew the outer and lining fabric to the zip separately in step 3? Is this just to make it easier to get good alignment when you do them one at a time? Or am I missing something about the final construction?
Thank you so much Jo, really kind words of you! I also ended up with weird looking zipper pouches many times before – I think it’s plain hard to make them look good if you have to use a shortened zipper.
To answer your question – no, you’re not missing anything. :)) It’s just that I personally thought that it’s easier and safer for a beginner to sew the layers separately. A little bit of prudence helps, sometimes. If you find that the opposite is even more true, you can go ahead with it. Thank you again for taking the time to write this comment. Best wishes to you!
I always have a hard time at the edges where the zippers are. Are you saying that regardless of if you are using tabs or not, you aren’t supposed to sew the ends?!? I have been doing that, and it’s so difficult
I like your method. I had been adding tabs, but not setting them away from the edge. Your method is better. Thank you.
Love how you use the tabs! This is a much more polished look than those I’ve seen (and made) without the tabs. I’ll be making some of these today for sure! Thank you for the great tutorial.