12.5″ x 7″ Med-Heavy Weight Cotton Fabric (2 pieces)
9″ Zipper (1)
Finished Dimensions: 11in x 5in
Duration: 2 hours
Dressmaker Shears (or Rotary Cutter + Quilting Ruler + Self-Healing Mat)
Embroidery Scissors (or Thread Cutter)
Pins, Tailor’s Chalk, Iron
Pinking Shears (optional)
Seam Ripper (optional)
Skill Level: Beginner
Cut your fabric. Iron fabric and zipper flat. Take care when ironing the zipper. It’s also a good idea to pre-shrink (wash and dry) the fabric before this step.
I’m using Black Quiet from the Echino Collection by Etsuko Furuya for Kokka Fabrics Japan, 45% Linen, 55% Cotton, Home Dec Weight
Finish the edges. Use the Zigzag Stitch Method, Pinking Shears + Straight Stitch Method, or Serger. Do this to both pieces.
Zigzag Stitch Method – Set sewing machine to Zigzag. Zigzag Stitch on and off the very edge around the entire border of the fabric to “seal” it. Run off the edge of the fabric at each corner to keep the corners crisp. Continue until all four borders are sealed.
Pinking Shears + Straight Stitch Method – Straight Stitch around the entire border of the fabric with a 2cm Seam Allowance. In other words, sew 2cm into the fabric leaving 2cm of border fabric. Pivot fabric at each corner. To Pivot – When you reach 2cm to the end of the fabric, leave the needle in the fabric, lift the presser foot, turn the fabric, lock presser foot back down, and continue until the last corner. Pivot one last time and sew over a few stitches in the first side to finish. Then using Pinking Shears, trim the edge of the fabric as close to the stitches as possible.
Serger Method – This requires a serger machine!
Re-press your pieces. Use an iron to press your pieces which will seal stitches and keep them neat.
You will also notice I marked the fabric with yellow chalk lines. These are the 5/8in Seam Allowances. This is where you will be sewing your stitches later. It should fit the zipper exactly.
Neatly line up and pin the “Right Sides” of the fabric together. The “Right Sides” are the sides that will be showing when your pouch is complete. If you have a reversible fabric, just choose an arbitrary side as the “Wrong Side” and mark it with chalk. It’s important to keep the sides designated.
Position your zipper. Line up the zipper at the top of the fabric with the “Right Side” of the zipper facing you. The Zipper Pull should be to the left and the Zipper Stopper to the right. Center it.
To Center the Zipper– use the outermost edge of the Zipper Pull and the outermost edge of the Zipper Stopper as the markers. Make sure these are equal distances from both edges.
Mark your zipper. Mark where the Zipper Pull begins and the Zipper Stopper ends with your chalk. Remove the zipper. Extend the line so that it’s easy to see where you will be sewing. This divides the fabric into with 3 “sections”. The middle section will be the zipper opening. Mark the 2 outer sections. This is where you will be sewing.
Sew the opening for your zipper. Sew 5/8ths of an inch into the fabric – this is called using a “5/8in Seam Allowance” until you hit the first chalk mark. Be sure to Back Stitch at each end. Skip the middle section. Do the same thing for the last section. Make sure to Back Stitch on both ends here too. You can Baste the middle section too if you like.
To Back Stitch – Stitch back over the previous stitches then forward again to where you left off. Use the Back Stitch lever on your sewing machine or do the pivoting.
To Baste – Switch your stitch length to a longer looser Straight Stitch. Then continue sewing as normal.
Press open the seam. Use your iron making sure to fold down the flaps on each side and iron these down too.
Pin your zipper. The zipper will be attached to the “flaps” or the Seam Allowances only. Spread open the fabric. Flip the zipper over so the backside is facing you. The zipper should be “Right Side” DOWN. Align the zipper teeth to the seam. Center the Zipper Pull and Zipper Stopper between your chalk lines. Pin the zipper to the flaps.
Sew a border around the zipper. To do this – First, flip your work over so that you are now looking at the “Right Sides”. You will be sewing with the “Right Sides” facing you this time or Top Stitching. Position the piece so that the zipper itself is flush against the left side of your presser foot. Skip over the Zipper Pull so that you clear it and lock down your presser foot. You will begin sewing right below it. Don’t worry you will come back around to sew the skipped part it later.
Please Note: In the photos, I did this step on the “Wrong Side” to help show where to place your presser foot and where to pivot. You will be doing this on the “Right Side” where you can’t see the zipper. You’ll have to feel around for those spots! If it’s easier, it’s fine to do this on the “Wrong Side” for the first time.
Now Straight Stitch all the way around, always keeping the zipper itself flush against your presser foot. You will be able to feel the bump of the zipper through the fabric. This is what must be kept flush. Pivot at each corner.
When you are nearing the Zipper Pull again, stop sewing. Pull open the zipper slightly. This will create space for you to sew over the part you skipped before and complete your border. If you basted – Here you will rip open the basting stitches partway in order to pull open the zipper.
Finish by sewing back over the first border to meet up with where your stitches started. Sew over a few stitches to seal it.
*Note: If you have a zipper foot for your sewing machine, switch to it before doing the zipper.
Test out your zipper! Rip open remaining basting stitches if you basted. Now you should should be able to zip/unzip your zipper! Hooray! Now zip it open and leave it open!
Sew all the way around the remaining 3 edges. To do this – Fold the “Right Sides” back down so they are facing each other. Pin all the way around. Then sew all the way around the remaining 3 edges (using a 5/8 of an inch Seam Allowance) to finish! Don’t forget to Back Stitch at the beginning and end of this step. Trim any extra threads. Press open and fold down your seams.
Turn the pouch “inside out”. Poke out the corners with a blunt pencil for crisp corners. And Voila!!! You will have your finished pouch!!
If you’ve made a mistake partway through, don’t worry. Get your Seam Ripper out. If you’ve sewed all wobbly, rip open the seams until you’ve cleared them out. Snip the waste thread. Then backtrack over an inch or two of the existing stitches and carry on sewing. Or rip out all the stitches for that step and start sewing from the top.
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