Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Handy zip-pouch tutorial

I've been wanting to make a pouch like this for a long time. One that zips open flat, with pockets and compartments for things.
Figuring the zip out took a while - but I finally cracked it and made my first pouch shown here - a small first aid kit to keep in my handbag.  
It's a good handy size..

I also made another pouch filled with a sewing kit!
 I used some 'tape measure' fabric for the inside of this one - and appliqued my initial to the front instead of the ruffle this time!

I used denim from an old pair of jeans for these pouches - nice firm fabric helps keep the shape of the pouch without the need for any interfacing. I used small scrap remnants for the inside and pockets. 

Here's the tutorial if you'd like to try one for yourself!


Outer fabric (I used denim)
2 pieces  17 x 11 cm (6.75 x 4.25")

 Inner fabric
2 pieces 17 x 11 cm (6.75 x 4.25")
For slide pockets: 2 pieces 7 x 11 cm (2.75 x 4.25")
                               1 piece  12 x 11 cm (4.75 x 4.25")
For elasticated pocket: 1 piece 10 x 16 cm (4 x 6.25")
1 cm (0.5") wide elastic, 8 cm long
Ruffle - 1 strip 6 x 28 cm (2.5 x 11")

1 zip, 46 cm (18") long

1. First stitch the inside pockets.
For the elasticated pocket, take one large inner piece of fabric and the elasticated pocket piece with the elastic strip:

Fold the long edge of the pocket piece over twice - once to hide the raw edge and the second fold to make the elastic casing. Make this fold slightly wider than your elastic, and stitch close to the edge.

Then using a large safety pin, thread your elastic through the casing.

Then secure the elastic with a few rows of stitching on either side of the casing:

Now lay your pocket piece on top of the large inner piece of fabric with the bottom raw edges together. Pin then stitch down both sides:

2. Now to the slip pockets.  Take the three smaller pocket pieces and your other large inner piece of fabric:

For each of the pocket pieces, double turn the top edges and stitch to neaten.

Then lay the larger pocket piece and one of the smaller pieces on top of the main inner piece of fabric like this:

Then stitch across the bottom of both pocket pieces together:

Now lay your third pocket piece on the bottom of the main part - raw edges matching:

Stitch across the bottom of the pocket, then down both sides of the whole piece to hold all 3 pockets in place:

3. Now to the decorative ruffle for the front of the pouch.
Take your ruffle strip and you need to finish the long edges off to prevent fraying.  You could simply double turn and stitch, or if you have a rolled hem foot for your machine, you could used that:

Then turn your machine stitch settings to the widest stitch, and the highest tension. Run a single line of stitching down the centre of the  ruffle strip, then pull one of the threads at the end to ruffle the strip evenly:

Next, pin and stitch this ruffle to the centre of one of your outer pieces of fabric:
Remember to turn your machine stitch settings back to where you usually have them for this!

So now you have all your pieces ready to put together with the zip:

4. The zip!
First of all, place the zip around 3 sides of your front outside piece of fabric - the one with the ruffle.  Place so the edges fall evenly along the fourth edge like this:

Then with the right sides of the zip and the fabric facing together - pin the zip into place around the edge.  Clip the corners of the zip to help it stretch around the corners of the fabric when you pin:

Only pin around 2.5 cm (1") down from the edges of the fabric on the final edge where the zip ends are.
Then using the zipper foot attachment on your machine, stitch the zip into place.

Now open up the zip fully, and place this front section of the pouch face down onto your other outside fabric piece so right sides are together.

Then open the pouch up and pin the second half of the zip to the other outer piece of fabric like this:

Again, only pin around 2.5 cm (1") down from the edges of the fabric where the zip starts and ends. Machine stitch into place.

Now you're ready to attach the inside pieces of the pouch:

First lay out your pieces like this, then fold one side of the main pouch across and 'inside' the other.

Lay one inner piece face down on top of this - and pin around the edges where you have stitched the zip.

Machine stitch around the edges - again using your zipper foot, and again only stitching 2.5 cm (1") down from either end of the fourth side.
Clip the 4 corners and turn right sides out:

Then repeat this process for the other inner pocket piece. Fold the finished side in across the other side, place the inner pocket piece face down - pin and stitch:

Clip the corners and turn right sides out - you should have this now:

5. Finishing off the 'spine'
Now you need to close the gap in the 'spine' of your pouch/folder.
Take 2 scraps of fabric - one of the inner one of the outer fabric, approx 12 x 5 cm (4.75 x 2").
Fold the smaller edge over and insert under the edge of the zip and inside both side of the pouch.
This takes a little shuffling around.
The inner and outer fabric scraps basically cover both ends of the zip and tuck into either side of the pouch.

Pin the edges together through all layers of the fabric - checking you have the front and back even. Then machine stitch into place.

All done!

Fill your pockets up..

Zip it up around the edges and you're ready to go!

For the downloadable PDF version of this tutorial, click here.

If you liked this tutorial - they you may enjoy my others!
There are over 100 free sewing tutorials for all levels of sewing abilities now available on 


  1. Very, very, very cool ! I have been looking for something like this for AGES ! Thanks so much !

    1. Thanks Claudia! Hope you get to make one!

  2. Such a great idea to keep those important little things tucked away in! Love it! Thanks for showing us how.

  3. This is an awesome idea! Thanks for the tutorial!

  4. What a great idea, Jill and the perfect size to carry in a handbag!!! The pockets on the inside make it so convenient to store and find things.

  5. Heading to my stash to check for a zipper. Thanks for posting the tute, looks great!

    1. Thanks Theresa - have fun sewing!

  6. so adorable and so useful! thanks for making such a detailed tutorial!

  7. Such a great pouch design Jill, and so handy! Thanks for the very thorough tutorial, WOW!

    1. Thanks Michele! I try to put EVERYTHING into my tutorials, that way I can follow them myself when I want to make another one in a few months time but can't remember how I did it! :)

  8. What a lovely pouch you made! You're very talented & creative!

  9. Your tutorial is very detail and clear. It's a complicate project but following your steps it sounds easy. Will have a go. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Excellent idea Jill, and I commend you for all those clear instructions, I can definitely see myself making these for stocking stuffers. What lady doesn't need a few of these in her handbag. Thanks so much for sharing.

    1. Thanks for stopping by Ruby! Great idea to make these for stocking stuffers! I might just do that!

  11. Hola!!!
    Excelente tutorial. Lo recomendé en mi blog. Un abrazo desde Venezuela!

  12. Great pouch - thanks for the tutorial. I think I will be making some of these!

  13. Hi, very nice pouch, i tried one yesterday ,center part gave me lot of trouble,but i made it. give me the needle number please.may be if i try more i will learn the spine part.
    other it came out very nice thank you for the tute. greeting from India. thanks
    once again , you are really talented your bags are wonderful.

    1. I used a size 14 needle, but the inside is a bit fiddly and tricky - it just takes a bit of pushing and pulling to get it all in place!

  14. hello Jill,

    I love all your crafting work, I made this pouch for keeping my medicine, though the middle part was little bit troublesome but I hand sew it, the tutorial was great but I have an old sewing machine, that's why .I have to buy a good semi industrial machine .

    I also loved the travel wallet,need to make one.

    1. Thanks Eman - glad you managed to make one of these pouches!!


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