Monday, 3 September 2012

The very cute, but alas too small, triangle zipper pouch & tutorial

When I was in Pennsylvania this summer I bought a very nice handbag. I wanted a little zipper pouch to go inside to hold the little items in my purse so they didn't fly around so much in there. I saw this picture on the internet:

photo from
and thought it was the cutest thing ever and maybe it would hold the items for my purse.

Alas, the bag is too tiny but still very cute and I made a tutorial so here goes. I will use it in my new work bag to hold coins. I used this, and this, and this as my pattern/instructions, with some modifications.

some fabric
interfacing if you want it

1. Dump out your purse and find the things you want to store in the bag.
contents of my purse

what I wanted in the bag
2. Decide how long you want the sides to be. In this case, my items are 2 3/4" long so I added 1/2" for seam allowance and 1/4" for turning space for a total of 3 1/2".

3. I like the symmetrical look so your short side is the length of your desired size + seam allowances and a bit of turning space. Make your long side double your short side.

4. Cut lining (3.5"x7" in my case), outside same as lining, a piece of interfacing if you want it, a zipper, and 2" x double length your want for a pull tab (2x2.5" in my case for a 1" pull tab).

oops, forgot the pull tab in the first photo
5. Apply interfacing to either lining or outer fabric. I put it on the lining.

6. Make your pull tab. Press your fabric in half lengthwise, then open up. Turn in your side edges to meet the centre pressed line. Press. Fold in half again. You should end up with a piece that is 1/2" wide x length of your strip.
in half

press long edges in

all done
Sew a seam along the open side to close it up.

7. Lay your outer fabric right side up on the table with the short edge horizontal. Place your zipper pull side to the LEFT and pull side down. I lined my zipper ends up with the long edge.

8. Lay your lining piece right sides together and line up your short edge with the zipper. Pin through all the layers. Your zipper should be sandwiched between your lining and outer fabric. I opened the zipper and sewed with a 1/4" seam with my zipper foot. Backstitch at the beginning and end.

9. a) This gets tricky so go slowly. Lay your sewn piece right sides up. Your zipper should be unsewed side up.

b) Fold up your outer fabric to match the zipper. Right side should be facing the zipper

c) Fold in your lining to the zipper; right side of fabric should be facing the zipper. You should have the zipper sandwiched between your two layers of fabric and fabrics should be right sides together.
from the top

from the side
d) Open the zipper and sew the layers together. Backstitch at both ends.

10. It should look like this:
it should make a tube when you close the zipper

Now, close the zipper but only half way through the bag. You need it open at least half way to turn the bag inside out at the end.

11.  Time to sew one side. Take the side with the zipper tale. Fold your fabric in half so that the midway point of your fabric is centred on the zipper (I measured to make sure it was equal). Pin.

Add your pull tab between the outside of the bag and the zipper. Centre it on the zipper. I left a little tale hanging out and clipped the zipper already. You have 4 layers of fabric to sew through plus the zipper plus the pull tab.

if you look inside you see this
 Sew the seam. I did one seam 1/4", backstitching at beginning and end. Then another full seam a shade to the right (in the seam allowance) of the first seam (a shade is my Grandma's term - about 1/16" maybe). Then I went over the zipper section one more time. That is the biggest stress point. By adding the extra seam and reinforcing it you get more strength.
sewn together

close up of seams
12. Time to sew the other seam. This is all single layered and is perpendicular to your first seam; they are in opposite directions. Match your seams and zipper teeth. Fold your seam allowances toward the lining side and line up your zipper teeth. Make sure the zipper is open! Leave an opening for turning - mine is the far left hand side between the pin and the edge (don't make it too small or it's hard to turn inside out). Backstitch at beginning and end. Sew and do the extra seams like in step 11.

view looking down

side view

close up of zipper, lining is on top in this photo
 13. Turn the bag inside out so that the lining is facing out, right side out, and the outside is inside the bag.

14. Sew shut the hole for turning with a scant seam. Don't catch any outer fabric in your seam.

Now turn it inside out through the zipper. This is why you left the zipper open earlier.

All finished. My sides are about 3 1/4" long which is what I was hoping for. The reason it's too small is that my not-always-on-mathematical-brain failed to account for the fact that these sides slope so the only place the bag is long enough is the very bottom. It's still cute and I'll use it for something else.