I know that when I sew bags, I want to add nice zipper pockets inside. Sometimes (not often, fortunately) I am in such a hurry that I skip this step and instead I add simple slip pockets.
I just found a way to sew some wonderful pockets and the best thing about them is that you can sew a few (2 or 10!) when you have some spare time and use them when needed.
I used for these samples faux leather, but you can use any material that does not ravel, like cork.
For a pocket you need a 10” x 11” piece so if you sew with such materials you probably already have leftovers that are too small for bags and they are just perfect for pockets.
- faux leather:
1 piece 8” x 11”;
1 piece 2” x 11”;
2 pieces (1” x 2”) for zipper tabs
- lining: 2 pieces 7” x 10”
- double sided adhesive tape – very important; I used Wonder Tape
- zipper: 8” long and 1” wide
Secure the top ends of the tape as shown below; just sew by machine (or by hand) with a long stitch.
Place the zipper, teeth side up, on one of the lining piece, right side up. Keep the zipper centered on one of the long edges. Sew at 1/4” from the edges (see the red marking line).
Finger press the seam from the back side of the zipper, away from the zipper. Here is the view from the back side of the zipper.
Here is the view from the right side of the zipper. The lining is attached to the bottom tape of the zipper.
On the ends of the zipper, add the tabs made out of faux leather. Place them wrong side up, aligning it with the edges of the zipper.
Then fold the tab in half as shown. Sew close to three edges as shown. The folded tab must hide the metal stoppers of the zipper.
Place the big piece of faux leather wrong side up, with the long edge oriented horizontally.
Draw a 3/4” x 8” rectangle, as shown. It starts at 1 1/2” from the left and rights edges of the piece.
Use a permanent marker.
Cut out the rectangle, making sure the markings do not remain visible on the large piece. Use a rotary cutter for cutting the long edge and scissors for the short edges.
Place strips of a double sided adhesive tape along the edges of the cut rectangle as shown below, at about 1/8” from the edge.
This double sided adhesive tape is a tremendous help when sewing zippers and generally bags and has a lot of other uses. I started using it recently and it is really something that any sewist should have.
Remove the paper backing.
Turn the piece right side up and center it over the zipper, aligning the long edge of the cut rectangle at about 1/8” or 1/4” from the teeth of the zipper. Don’t bother if the short top edges of the faux leather do not align with the top edge of the zipper. Finger press well so the top piece sticks to the zipper.
Sew at 1/8” from the edges of the cut rectangle. Backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam.
Use the walking foot. Use a longer stitch than usual – 3.0 or 3.5 mm.
If the walking foot doesn’t work, a roller foot or teflon foot are great for sewing on sticky materials.
Turn the piece back side up and place the second piece of the lining, right side down, over the piece, aligning its top edge with the top edge of the zipper and the vertical edges with the vertical edges of the piece underneath.
Sew close to the top edges, at about 1/8”.
The top lining piece is shorter than the piece underneath, so trim the excess of the longer piece as shown.
Pin the two pieces of the lining as shown and sew along the three edges. Keep the faux leather away from the seam.
The lining of the pocket is finished.
Draw a line at 1/4” from the edge of the other faux leather piece.
Place it over the zipper, aligning the top and left and right edges. Sew on the line. This seam is very important so make sure the piece on top stays in place while you sew.
Finger press the seam away from the zipper and topstitch at about 1/8” from the seam. If necessary, straighten the vertical edges, but you should not cut into the topstitching.
Here is a close up view.
The zipper tab is not only for aesthetic purpose, it protects the short edge of the zipper opening, it makes it last longer.
View from the back.
All you have to do now is to applique the pocket on to the lining panel of your bag.
The pocket measures 9 1/2” x 11”, a nice size that fits many bags.
I am really excited about this zipper pocket. You can make zipper pockets in a few different ways and some of them require you to sew the pocket directly on the lining of the bag. So you have to sew it when you sew the bag. With this technique, as I already said, sew a few pockets when you have time and use them when needed.
You can choose a neutral color that works on any lining; I used leftover pieces from my bags, I don’t know now on what lining I will use them but I don’t worry about it, accent colors work great for pockets on lining.
I hope this helps! I have about 10 leftover pieces of faux leather, ready to be turned into zipper pockets.
Download this tutorial here!
If you need ideas for bags and pouches, check out my patterns here.
Beth Peterson says
Thank you for such a lovely way to add a zipper! Initially, I was great at zips, but then when I came back to them, it was a disaster. This has cleared everything up for me! Thank you Geta! <3
Is there a way to print this tutorial as a PDF document?
Yvonne Sullivan says
This should work but I do have a printer connected to my computer.
Right click anywhere on the text and select “Print”.
Under the printer options on the menu that appears, select either “Save as pdf” or “Microsoft print to pdf”.
Then, because the page is fairly wide, select “Landscape” and then the “Print” button.
Give the document a title and select where you want to save it and the document should save as a pdf file.
If you leave the default as “Portrait” you may find that some of the text on the right-hand side gets cut off.
Try it and see which works best for you.
I use this website for printing out tutorials… it’s very handy! https://www.printfriendly.com/
Thank you! It worked great! It reduced 40 pages down to only 16.
diane willard says
What a really helpful step by step tutorial. Thanks very much. Look forward to making it.
Karen Poole says
This is a great tutorial! Thank you.
This is a great tutorial for lining pockets. Don’t know why it wouldn’t’ work just as well for exterior! I’m going to try it! Thanks.