Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Piped Zipper Pouch -- Sewing Tutorial

The structure of this pouch is a little different from your typical "stitch some rectangles together and box out the corners" zipper pouch.  I'm a total sucker for piping, so I can foresee making a lot of these as gifts in the future.  It would be great to stuff with some fun lip glosses, some chocolate, and a great smelling bottle of hand lotion.  Instant perfect teacher gift!

Piped Zipper Pouch -- Sewing Tutorial

Materials Needed:

Quilting cotton or lightweight home decor fabric:

  • Exterior -- about one fat quarter
  • Lining -- about one fat quarter

Fusible fleece -- scrap about the size of a fat quarter
Piping -- at least 27 inches
Zipper -- at least 9"long (mine was 12")
D-ring -- 3/4" or 1" (mine was 3/4")
Swivel clasp
Thread to match the piping, lining, and exterior
Small glass or bowl -- 3" in diameter
Zipper foot and piping foot (if desired)

Finished dimensions: 7" wide, 4 1/2" tall, 2 1/2" deep.
All seam allowances 1/4" unless otherwise specified.

STEP ONE: Drawing the pattern and cutting the fabric

On a piece of paper, draw a rectangle 7 1/2" high by 5 1/2" wide.  Take the 3" diameter glass and trace around it to round off the top two corners.  Mark the bottom (the side with the sharp corners) to indicate the edge of the pattern that should be placed against the fold.

Take your exterior fabric and fold it.  Place the pattern piece with the straight edge against the fold and cut around it.  Repeat with the lining fabric and the fusible fleece.  These are your main body pieces.

In addition to those main body pieces, make the following cuts:

From the EXTERIOR fabric:
  • two rectangles 9" wide by 1 1/2" tall (for the top)
  • two rectangles 3" wide by 4" tall (for the side gussets)
  • one rectangle 3" wide by 13" long (for the handle)
  • one rectangle 2" wide by 3" tall (for the tab/loop to hold the d-ring)
From the LINING fabric:
  • two rectangles 9" wide by 1 1/2" tall
  • two rectangles 3" wide by 4" tall

  • two rectangles 9" by 1 1/2"
  • two rectangles 3" by 4"
  • one rectangle 5/8" by 12"
(In the photo below, I had forgotten to include the two long strips of fusible fleece.  You might also notice that the fusible fleece for the main body piece is in two pieces -- I was trying to use up scraps.)

Fuse the fusible fleece to the wrong side of the exterior main body piece, the two 9" by 1 1/2" pieces, and the two 3" by 4" pieces.  Don't worry about the long, skinny strip just yet.

Then, take your 3" diameter glass and use it to round off one end of each of the 3" by 4" pieces.  Do the same thing to the 3" by 4" lining pieces as well.

Gotta love the souvenir Kentucky Derby mint julep glass from 2005 that I used for rounding my corners.  Too bad it rolled off the table and shattered just a few minutes later.  R.I.P.

STEP TWO: Preparing the exterior main body piece

Make sure the thread in your machine matches your piping.  I can't stress this enough.  Because you will essentially be sewing the piping on twice (sewing it to one piece, then sandwiching it between both pieces and stitching again), any slight variance in the stitching can be visible on the outside if the color of the thread is contrasting.  It's better if the stitching just disappears into the piping.

Grab your piping and stitch it all the way around the main body piece (with the raw edge of the piping matched up to the edge of the fabric).  Start near the middle of one of the long sides, and leave an inch or two at the beginning unstitched for joining to the end when you get all the way back around.  I used my piping foot, but using a zipper foot works well too.  I have found that piping works best if you make sure it is nice and taut -- don't stretch it or anything, but give it the gentlest of a pull toward you while stitching to make sure it isn't bunchy on the curves.

Where the ends meet, you can either cross them over or use the technique I love to integrate one end into the other end.  For instructions on how to do that, see my tutorial for the Floating Inset Pocket with Piping.

Back to this project.  Once you have your piping on, it should look like this.  Yes, the corners curve up.

To combat this, make 5 or 6 little snips (close to, but not through, the stitching) around each corner.  This will help it lie flat.

Set this piece aside.

STEP THREE: Creating the gusset

Take your zipper and place it face up on your workspace.  Take one of the 9" by 1 1/2" exterior rectangles, and place it right side down onto the zipper.  Align the top edge of the fabric with the top edge of the zipper.  Pin it in place if you want to.

Make sure your machine now has thread in it that matches your fabric or zipper.  Stitch them together with a 1/4" seam.  Fold back the fabric layer and press it away from the zipper.

Then, grab your other 9" by 1 1/2" exterior piece.  Lay it right side down on top of the zipper, aligning the edge of the fabric with the edge of the zipper (on the side not already sewn to fabric).  Make sure the fabric pieces are lined up together on the sides.  Stitch this piece on with a 1/4" seam as well.

Unfold the second piece away from the zipper and press.  Topstitch close to the edges of the seams.  I was lazy and didn't replace my zipper foot with my regular foot before I did it, which resulted in some wobbly top stitching.  Don't follow my horrible example!

Take a 3" by 4" exterior piece and lay it face down on the side of the zipper away from the zipper pull.  Line the flat side up with the edge of the strips of fabric.  The end of the zipper will stick out.

Stitch them together with a 1/4" seam allowance.

Before you stitch the other side, grab your 2" by 3" square of exterior fabric and fold it in half with the 3" sides meeting and wrong sides facing.  Press.  Open it up and fold the edges in to the middle and press again -- basically like you're making bias tape.

If you unfold it, you should see this:

Refold it and press.  It should now look like this (2" long by 3/4" wide).

Top stitch down both sides (with about a 1/8" seam allowance) and down the center.

Take your d-ring and thread the fabric through.  Fold the fabric tab in half around the d-ring.

Next, make sure the zipper pull is back between the fabric strips you sewed on earlier.

Take the tab with the d-ring and lay it down at the edge, right over the zipper, with the raw edges of the tab extended slightly past the raw edge of the fabric strips on either side of the zipper.  I completely missed taking a photo of this step, so I drew it in with all of my amazing artistic skill for you.  (Yes, my sewing is better than my drawing.)

Keeping the zipper together (as if the zipper was zipped), baste the tab into place with a 1/8" seam allowance.  Then lay the other 3" by 4" exterior piece right side down on top of that, aligning the straight edge with the edge of the fabric strips.  Pin into place.

Stitch with a 1/4" seam.  Snip off the ends of the zipper sticking out on both ends.

Fold both ends of the fabric back and press.  Topstitch each close to the seam.

STEP FOUR: Attaching the gusset to the main body piece

Use pins (or a fabric pen) to mark the center spot on each side of the main body piece and the gusset.  Be sure to do three things now: (1) switch the thread in your machine to match the piping, (2) put your piping foot or zipper foot back on, and (3) unzip the zipper all the way.    (Pretend the tab with the d-ring is in the photo -- I had forgotten it until after this step and had to go back to rip things apart and insert it later.  I don't recommend doing that!)

Pin the tips of the ends of the gusset to the center points of the long sides of the main body piece, right sides together.  (Now you can see that my zipper was completely unzipped.)

Then match the center points of the long sides of the gusset with the center points of the short sides of the main body piece.  Pin into place.

Pin the rest of it together at all the spots in between.  Take special care to secure the curves.

With the main exterior piece facing up, stitch all the way around the main body piece right on top of the line of stitching that secured the piping in the first step.

Flip it right side out, and admire your work!  If you didn't care about raw edges inside, the main body would be done.  But you do, so we should probably get to work on a lining.

STEP FIVE: Assembling the lining

This part goes really fast -- no piping or zipper to mess with.  Switch the thread in your machine to one that matches your lining, if you want.  It's not really as vital since these inside seams won't be very visible.

Grab your two 9" by 1 1/2" strips and press down 1/4" toward the wrong side along the long edge of one side of each strip.

Lay the strips on top of the two rounded 3" by 4" pieces with right sides facing.  The folded edges of the strips should face in toward each other, and face the rounded edges of the 3" by 4" pieces toward each other.  Pin into place.

Here is another photo of the reverse side to explain it a little clearer.

Stitch down both ends with a 1/4" seam allowance.

Unfold the rounded ends away from the strips and press into place (so the seams allowances are toward the outside).  It should look like this from underneath.

It should look like this from above.

Just like you did in the last step, mark the center points on all sides of the main lining piece as well as the lining gusset.  Match those center points as before, pin it all together, and stitch it with a 1/4" seam allowance.  Don't worry about flipping it right side out though -- it will stay like this.  I trimmed the seam edges with pinking shears, but that might have been overkill.

STEP SIX: Attaching the lining to the exterior.

First, change the thread in your machine to that the top thread matches your exterior.  Your bobbin thread should stay the same as your lining.

Slip the lining inside the exterior with the wrong sides matching.  Pin into place, starting at the ends of the zipper.  The lining should cover the underside of the exterior's topstitching lines by a scant 1/8" of an inch.   I also added some pins at the main part of the body to make sure the lining stayed in place.

Stitch all the way around the zipper right on top of the existing topstitching lines.  Go slowly and don't swear too much.  See -- from the inside, the thread matches the lining.

And from the outside, the stitching matches the exterior fabric.  Fancy, huh?

STEP SEVEN: Making the wrist strap

Find the 3" by 13" strip of exterior fabric, the 5/8" by 12" strip of interfacing, and the swivel clasp.  Switch your thread in the machine so both the top thread and the bobbin thread match the exterior fabric.

As with the tab piece in step three, press the strip of exterior fabric in half lengthwise with wrong sides facing.  Open it up and press the sides in again toward the middle fold.

Open up fabric and place the thin strip of interfacing inside (with the gluey side up or down -- it doesn't matter).  The fabric strip is 1" longer than the interfacing so the seams won't be too bulky, especially when you sew the strap flat at the end.  The interfacing should nestle in neatly between one set of creases so you can fold it all back together again.

Fold it all back together (so the fabric is 13" long and 3/4" wide) and press to adhere the fusible fleece and sharpen the creases.

Thread the swivel clasp onto the strip of fabric and push it all the way to the middle.  Then open up the fabric on both ends and pin the ends together with the right sides facing (matching up the crease marks).  Stitch with a 1/4" seam allowance.

Turn it all right side out again and press the folds at the (now joined) ends back into place.  Now you should have a continuous circle of fabric with the swivel clasp on it.

As you did with the tab, top stitch along both sides and down the middle, all the way around the circle.  Just keep moving the swivel clasp out of the way as you sew.

When the top stitching is done, pull the swivel clasp around close to the part with the seam that joined the circle.  Fold the strap in half with the swivel clasp at the end and stitch across right on top of the existing seam, about 1/2" inch away from the edge of the fabric.

Now the strap should look like this:

Clip the strap onto the d-ring, and you're done!  If the pouch is a bit wrinkly, stuff it full of wash cloths and press with plenty of steam.

And you're done!

Featured at: Threading My Way, And Sew We Craft, Totally Tutorials, Crafty Staci

Linking up to: Talented Tuesday, Sew Fresh Quilts, Sew Can She, Sew Can Do, Creating My Way to Success, Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom, Skip to My Lou, Crafty Staci, Nap-Time Creations, Sugar Bee Crafts, Sweet C's Designs, Paint Yourself a Smile, DIY Crush


  1. This is a beautifully written tutorial. I can't wait to try it. So so sorry about your Kentucky Derby glass!

    1. Thank you so much! I'm thinking I need to go to the Derby again to replace it, but sitting in the stands this time! I'm too old for the infield now.

  2. What a cool pouch and an excellent tutorial. It is on my list to do!!!

    1. I hope you do make it! Send a pic if you do!!

    2. This is very well written, love the fact you added a step by just drawing in the D ring, pretty inventive, loved it, I am not sure if I have a piping foot on my machine, going to go look. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Now added to my 'To Do' list, Niki. The piping makes all the difference. I think they'd make great Christmas presents. Actually, I'd like to make one for me. As always, a thorough and easy to follow tutorial.

    1. Hi Niki, I've showcased your fab tutorial today.

    2. You are the best, Pam! Even if I always seem to goof up linking in your link parties! ; )

  4. So sorry you lost that wonderful Kentucky Derby glass! The tutorial is clear and looks easy to follow, and the piping is such a nice touch.

    1. Oh thank you! I'm such a sucker for piping -- it always makes me happy to include it in a project.

  5. Popping over from Threading My Way - this is a GREAT tutorial - so well photographed (which is so helpful for visual learners :D) and very detailed. I shall give this cute zippy a try - TFS!

    1. Thanks a million! Don't you just love the ongoing link parties at TMW? I use it like a Pinterest board. : )

  6. Lovely pouches and a great tutorial I will definitely be making a few of these! Shame about that glass :)

    1. That's a high compliment from someone who sews as beautifully as you do!!

  7. My first visit via Threading my way.I just wanted to say what an impressive, detailed and well photographed tutorial.. thank you and best wishes from Australia.

    1. Thanks a bunch! Best wishes from Michigan, U.S.A.!

  8. Great tuto, easy for follow.Hope to do one.I met you through Totally tutorils.Thanks for sharing.

    Have a fun weekend.

    1. I love Totally Tutorials! Always great stuff published there. I was honored to be included.

  9. Wow, what a wonderfully detailed tutorial! Your pouches are absolutely beautiful! Thanks for offering this tutorial! I'd love for you to submit your post to DIY Crush! I feature all submissions on social media and newsletters! www.diy-crush.com Would love to see you soon!

    1. Shoot! I forgot again last week. Will set myself a reminder to link it up in this week's party!

  10. Your tutorial is the only way I could ever try to make something so beautiful!Thanks so much for sharing!

  11. fabulous!!! Pinned so I can go back and make one :)

  12. Great tutorial and gorgeous bags! Now I think I can sew with pipping and zipper!

    1. Thank you! Piping is so daunting at first, but once you do it a few times you will find it gets easier and easier!

  13. Excellent and thorough tutorial! (Don't we always get in trouble when we are too lazy to change out our sewing machine feet??) I'm wondering about that "sewing the lining part around the zipper" step... I've done a similar project where I had to do that sewing by hand (and hated doing it) because it's such an awkward area - is it hard to machine sew it? Anyway, love your choice of fabrics too; they're great looking bags!

    1. Oh thank you! Yes, I always like the result better when I don't take shortcuts.

      As for the sewing the lining around the zipper, it was definitely a little fiddly to do by machine, but this is a big enough pouch that I could get it around my free arm fairly easily. I HATE hand-sewing and avoid it at all costs, but hand-stitching the lining to the exterior would definitely work as well. Sometimes I just need to put on my big girl pants and get it done!

  14. Gorgeous pouch and lovely tutorial, so clear! I don't know about giving it to someone as a present though, I'd want to keep it!

    1. Ha! I am definitely keeping one for myself. I'm stitching up a few others this weekend to give out as teacher appreciation gifts next week though!

  15. Replies
    1. Thank you! I learned to sew through tutorials, so I love writing them myself!!

  16. Awesome!! Thank you very much for sharing this pattern!

  17. I saw this earlier and still love it so much. Your detail and tutorial if fabulous! I would love it if you would stop by Paintyourselfasmile.com and share at our Celebrate Your Story link party! -Jenny :)

  18. What an amazing tutorial! This makes me wish I had paid more attention when my mom tried to teach me to sew. Thank you so much for sharing this at Celebrate Your Story link party.

  19. What a wonderful little pouch! Thanks for sharing the great tutorial. I am pinning to my Sewing Tutorials board!

  20. So clever and I LOVE the fabric selection that you went with. So cheery! Thank you for sharing at the Celebrate Your Story Link Up Party.

  21. Thanks for sharing over at the DIY Crush Craft Party. I love this tutorial for your piped zipper pouch! We've added this to our Pinterest board. Don't forget to stop by next Thursday to add your tutorials to our next DIY Crush Craft Party!

  22. Just found your tutorial on Sew Can She today. I love it. You gave so much detail even a bag newby like me should be able to handle this one. Thanks again.