Simple Zip Pouch Tutorial For Beginners

This tutorial is for anyone who wants to master some simple basics  – sewing in a zip, and making a small pouch. Zipper pouches are so versatile and great for organising your stuff!



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You need:

Fabric – cut 2, 18cm x 14cm (5.5 x 7″) – I used home decorator weight for this project to make the pouch a little sturdier. Another great option is to fuse some medium weight interfacing to your fabric for a stiffer finish.

1 x 15cm (6″) metal zipper

Good quality thread

Optional – rotary cutter and mat


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.


Attach the zipper foot to your machine. Place the zip and fabric under the pressure foot and lower the needle into the position you want.


There are faint lines in the zipper tape that you can use as a stitching guide. Start sewing, guiding your zip and fabric through gently.


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!


Once you have completed the first side, repeat the process for the second piece of fabric. Line up your fabric and zipper right sides together.


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!

37 thoughts on “Simple Zip Pouch Tutorial For Beginners

  1. Great tutorial and a cute little pouch, might make some of these for little Christmas gifts, I have never done a zip before :)

  2. Two days ago I decided to give up on zips for a while. I have tried several tutorials and different ways of getting the zip to work, and it just doesn't. For some reason I never thought to try it without the lining. I'm *hoping* this will help. I'll try this out tonight and give you an update. Thanks for the tutorial, loving this series!

  3. Thanks! I had pinched zippers the last time I made some pouches, and did not like that! I will certainly keep this in mind.

  4. Oh, this is SO helpful, thank you very much! Have been wanting to add zips instead of press studs to things I create for ages now, but they have always intimidated me! Stopping by from FYBF :)

  5. Thank you, thank you, thank you…for this wonderful, easy-to-understand tutorial. I had never sewn a zipper before…out of fear, but your instructions were clear and easy and made it impossible for me to mess up. This cute little bag was so easy, I encouraged my 12 year old daughter to make one. She was so excited at the results that we've been making little bags almost every day for a week! I have a feeling I know what everyone on her Christmas list is getting this year! We combined these directions with the instructions for the baby bag, making lined pouches. They're adorable! I even surprised my daughter and made her a cute little bag for her birthday. She loves it! Thank you so much, again, for your wonderful instructions (with pictures.) You gave us the courage to get back to sewing!

    1. Hi Tracey, thank you so much for your lovely comment, it really made my day! I'm so glad your daughter is loving sewing as well, it's such a great hobby and a great skill too. Thanks again – I'd love to see pictures so feel free to post them on my facebook wall or email them! Ros x

  6. I do these all the time – I use the same fabric I've made a dress or jacket in and add a handle or strap…. but I line mine.
    Be good to see a lined version of this for beginners – I do workshops but don't have an online blog.
    Lining it doesn't take any longer but gives a lovely finish….

    1. Thanks for your feedback Helly – I deliberately made this tutorial as easy as possible for people sewing zips for the first time. I agree that lining it gives a lovely finish, I have a lined zip pouch tutorial (baby gift zipper pouch) over on my tutorials page. There are lots of lined pouch tutorials around – check out Pinterest for inspiration:)

  7. I tried this but ended up with one end of the zip sticking out, like not sewn in. I wonder was the zip I chose too short? Or maybe I forgot to do something critical? It was 10cm and fabric was also 10cm. My 2nd ever thing to try on the sewing machine so I am inexperienced.

    1. Perhaps have a look around at other zipper pouch tutorials, hopefully they might give some different photgraphs to help with sewing the zipper ends :) Good luck!

  8. I keep coming back to this post, have printed my own shortened version to refer to quickly, and just use it as my go-to zipper Yes You Can tutorial!! It has been years, so I thought it was high time I stopped by to thank you personally, if virtually… 😉 And although I'm a self-taught relative novice with no time, no budget and no skills, I thought I'd try my hand at blogging my creations as well… if you want to see my version of your simple zippered pouch, which was my first successful attempt at including a zipper in anything (!!), here's the reference:

  9. Excellent tutorial. thank you so much, mine didn't turn out so neat but i can't believe I actually worked with a zipper. Im sure with practice I will get better. So far I had only made throw pillows so making this was a big accomplishments :) Thank you

  10. I should have looked this up before I gave away the less than perfect zipped pouches! I’ll have to make more! Thanks for this great tutorial. I was totally stumped!!

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