Simplest Ever Zipper Pouch Tutorial

Does it get any easier than this?  Two supplies – canvas and zipper – okay maybe three…I like to add a leather cord zipper pull, too.  This is the perfect project for trying a new surface design technique.  Minimal amount of sewing means more time for creating your fabric.  Make a small amount of beautifully printed, painted or dyed fabric (only an 11 by 12 pieced needed) and enjoy it in a simple functional bag.

Unsure of how to make your own unique fabric design?  Here are some ideas to get your started:

This bag finishes at 10 x 5. And it manages to be sturdy and durable – due to the duck cloth – and a bit more polished than your standard unlined zip pouch – with its metal zipper and leather pull.  I’ve been pretty pleased with my zip bag streamlining.  Quick to sew and it is so fun to use the fabric that you make!  Here are the details:


  • Two pieces of canvas or duck cloth cut 11 by 6 – make sure that the fabric you use has structure to it, a tight weave.  Without interfacing and lining, you need fabric that has enough weight to stand on its own.  Otherwise your finished product will look sad.  This is not a quilting cotton project!
  • A nine inch zipper with metal teeth.  The zipper tape for a
  • optional – a piece of leather cord for a zip pull

Time and Location:

This bag can be sewn in 15 to 20 min.  Not a major time commitment at all!  As for location, clearly this is a sewing machine/ sewing space project.  So spend some time creating interesting fabric first!

Here we go:

Step one

Zigzag stitch the top edge of your fabric.  You want to finish all edges of your fabric so that everything doesn’t unravel and fray on the inside.  The zipper edge is difficult to finish once you are done sewing, so do it first.

Step two

Place your zipper right side down on top of one right side of your  fabric. Center the zipper on the fabric.  Unlike in the posed photo above, the end of the zipper tape may not reach the edge of the fabric. That is okay.  Just place everything so that the right side of the zipper (with the zipper pull) and the right side of your fabric are facing each other. Pin in place if needed.

Step three

Attach the zipper foot to your machine. It’s the really skinny looking foot that looks like the picture above. Move your needle position all the way to the left side. Sew the zipper to the fabric using a straight stitch.  Be sure not to sew too close to the zipper.  It will give your problems opening and closing your bag.  I like to line up the outside of my  zipper foot with the edge of my fabric, as you can see. When you get to the zipper head, while sewing, lift your presser foot and rezip or unzip the zipper to move it out of your way.  It is very difficult to sew a straight seam next to the metal zipper head.

Step four

Place the other right side of your zipper against the second piece of fabric. Again, right side to right side.  Sew a seam along this second edge, like with the first.  Be sure to move the zipper head when necessary.  When you are done your fabric should look like this:

Step Five

 Pull the fabric away from the zipper at the seam and topstitch each side of the zipper on the right side of the fabric.  This keeps the fabric from being chewed up in the zipper and give the bag a clean finish.Zip Bag - Topstitched

Step Six

Pin your bag edges together with right sides of the fabric facing each other.  Be sure to leave that zipper partially unzipped before sewing!  Sew a straight stitch seam around the three edges of the bag, leaving a 1/2 in seam allowance.  The zipper tape should naturally fold on top of itself, like above.  If your zipper tape is shorter than the fabric, be sure to catch at least a 1/4 in. of the tape in your seam.

Step Seven

Finish the inside of your bag:  Clip the corners and then sew a zigzag stitch around the inside edges of the bag, encasing your raw edges.

Step Eight

Finish the outside of the bag: Turn your bag right side out.  Poke out your corners using a turning tool if necessary and press for a crisp finish.  Attache a leather cord to the zip pull if desired.