In this tutorial I will show you how to sew a simple 9 x 5.5″ zippered pouch (the perfect size for a pencil/marker case) Once you learn how to make it, you’ll see that you can easily change the size and materials to make a variety of pouches for your reusable needs: snack bags, wet bags, coin purses – any pouch that you can dream up! The pull tab can easily be converted into a longer handle with connecting snaps if you’ll need to hang your pouch, and the lining can be switched to food safe PUL for snack bags. Happy sewing!
If you don’t have access to a sewing machine or sewing just isn’t your bag (heh), you can find a vast assortment of handmade, reusable pouches to purchase on Etsy. I sometimes have zippered wet bags and pouches available for sale in the Sunshine Bums Etsy shop.
- 2 rectangles of medium to heavy weight outer fabric (such as canvas), size 10 x 6.25″
- 2 rectangles of tightly woven, sturdy lining fabric (such as quilting cotton), size 10 x 6.25″
- 1 10-12″ zipper with nylon or plastic teeth, in a coordinating color (I recommend YKK brand)
- 1 3.25 x 1″ piece of leather, ribbon, or sewn and turned fabric for the pull tab
- Sewing machine and basic sewing supplies. Scroll to the end of this article for links to purchase some of my favorite supplies that I’ve used to make this pouch.
- Position the front piece of outer fabric, right side and edge facing up. Align the zipper with the top edge of the fabric, right side facing down and zipper handle on the left side.
- Align one piece of lining fabric with the top edge of the zipper, right side facing down. Pin all three layers securely, every inch, making sure that they’re all lined up together.
- With the zipper foot attachment, sew a seam 1/4″ away from the top edge of the fabric/zipper, making sure that your fabric doesn’t bunch at the pins.
- Pull both layers of fabric down, away from the zipper.
- Now you’re basically going to do the same thing with the other side of the zipper. Place the other piece of outer fabric with right side and edge facing up, and lay your work on top of it with the outer fabric facing down.
- Align the other piece of lining fabric with your work, right side facing down. Pin all the layers securely, every inch, making sure that they’re all lined up together.
- Again, you’re going to sew a seam 1/4″ away from the top fabric/zipper edge, and then pull the two new layers away from the zipper. At this point you can top-stitch the outer and lining fabrics together, near the zipper seam, to give your pouch a finished look, and to keep the zipper from catching on the lining. Switch to a walking or standard foot attachment, and, while pulling both pieces of fabric away from the zipper, stitch close to the finished seam. It’s a good idea to set your stitch length slightly longer than normal for this step, as it helps to create more even stitching with this amount of thickness. Once you’ve finished top-stitching, it’s a good point in the process to get out your iron and smooth any fabric wrinkles.
- Now open the zipper 2/3 of the way, and pin the pull tab, folded in half, to the upper left edge of the outer fabric only, about 1/4-1/2″ down from the zipper seem. You want the loop to be facing inward, and all of the edges aligned.
- Next, join the outer fabric, right sides together, and the lining fabric, right sides together. Tuck the zipper into the lining of your work on both sides and, making sure that the zipper tail ends align, pin securely in place.
- Pin all around the edges of your work, leaving an opening on the bottom edge of the lining.
- Sew around the edge of your work, leaving a 1/2″ seam and an opening at the bottom edge of the lining, large enough to turn your pouch right side out. Sew slowly and carefully over the zipper to avoid needle breakage. I also recommend double stitching over the pull tab with a 1/4″ seam, to make it more sturdy.
- Tidy up the inside seams by trimming the excess zipper and corners. Don’t use your good fabric scissors for this step – the thick nylon zipper will dull them.
- Here comes the fun part! Turn your pouch right side out and open the zipper all the way. Use a turning tool to open your pouch fully as you iron the edges.
- Fold in the un-sewn seam allowance at the bottom of the lining, pin it together, and stitch it closed, close to the edge. Use the back-stitch or a knot function on your sewing machine to secure the ends of stitching, and then trim the thread.
- All that’s left is to tuck in the lining, and your pouch is finished! Wasn’t that easier than expected?
As promised, here are the links to some of my favorite sewing supplies that I’ve used to make this pouch:
- My favorite turning tool, perfect for cloth pads as well.
- My favorite straight pins. I like these because they’re sturdy and long enough for any job.
- Everyone needs a magnetic pin caddy. I don’t know how people lived without out these, folks.
- My favorite scissors, Kai 5210. These are simply the best and everyone who sews, needs a pair, IMO – like cutting through butter. They also feature a soft, comfortable grip.
- You can use this Fiskars quilting ruler to achieve perfect 90˚ corners on your fabric rectangles.
- Mettler makes a great all purpose, polyester thread that I recommend. It’s nice and smooth.
- My favorite sewing machine needles, Schmetz microtex 90/14, very sharp, but also sturdy enough for most projects.
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*This post contains affiliate links to unique products, carefully curated by me, that I would personally use in my own home. I receive compensation from purchases made from these links, but there is no extra cost to the buyer.