First you need two pieces of fabric and a zipper. I used a 15cm (6") metal zipper and two pieces of a pretty home decorator fabric 18cm x 14cm (5.5 x 7"). Home dec fabric is a bit sturdier than regular cotton, but for this project use whatever you like!
Take one piece of fabric and place the zip and fabric right sides together. Make sure your fabric is correctly positioned if the print on your fabric is directional, like mine is. Pin in place if you would like to.
A little tip for sewing around the zipper tab - sometimes you will get close to the zipper tab and your presser foot will collide with it, or at least struggle to sew past it. Place your needle down into the fabric, lift your presser foot, and gently move the zipper tab by zipping or unzipping the zip. Once the tab is out of your way, lower your presser foot and keep going!
Carefully sew the other side. Once you are finished you will end up with this:
For a nice finish, topstitch along the fabric close to the zipper. This also helps to stop the edges inside the pouch get caught in the zipper.
Firstly, gently press your fabric (and remember - if you are using a plastic or polyester coil zip, don't let the iron touch the coils!) Stitch a neat line a couple of millimetres from the zip/fabric seam. Once you are done, you will have this:
This is really important - open the zip now! You need a hole to be able to turn the pouch right way out once you have completed it, and if you forget to open the zip you will have to unpick stitches! Argh!
Now fold your pouch right sides together. Pin around the edges.
If you are one of my regular readers you may remember a post called The Trouble With Zips, where I took a scientific approach to solving the mystery of neat corners in my zip pouches when I sewed in the zips? This information continues on from that post, and shows you how to position the zip to ensure your corners are neat and not pinched. A few people emailed me asking for some more information, so here it is!
When you fold your zip pouch right sides together to prepare sewing up the sides, the zipper teeth need to face away from the exterior fabric.
You can see in the above picture that the open part of the zip naturally folds that way, with the zip teeth facing out, or away from the exterior fabric. If you are sewing a lining into you pouch, the zipper is concealed by the lining fabric, which makes this a bit trickier, so you just have to ensure that the zip teeth are in the position shown in the photo.
Pin your sides into place and sew around the three edges.
Trim excess fabric and clip across the corners, being careful not to snip through your stitches.
Turn your pouch right sides out and gently push the corners out. You are finished! Hurrah! Now you can use your pouch to store all your bits and pieces!
If you feel confident now, you should give a lined zipper pouch a try! I have a couple of tutorials for lined pouches - the baby gift zipper pouch and the travel document pouch. Check them out!
There are some great books available for beginners to really hone their skills - a couple I recommend include Simple Sewing: 30 Fast and Easy Projects for Beginners and Lotta Jansdotter's Simple Sewing: Patterns and How-To for 24 Fresh and Easy Projects.
If you make a pouch using this tutorial I'd love you to share! Tweet me, post a picture to my facebook timeline, send me the link to your blog or upload a picture to my Flickr pool! I love seeing what people make from my tutorials, it makes my day!