Friday, September 24, 2010

sewing: zipper pouch with key loop

I bought a new purse and it had no inside pockets. Of course it became a junk yard of small bits: bandaids, lipstick, chapstick, pins, mints, bobby pins, hair ties... This is a step by step tutorial to create a medium sized zipper pouch to hold such items. I added a loop on the side to clip my keys to as they get lost in the purse too; when I reach my hand in I'm much more likely to touch this first and therefore my keys second - much better than eight, ninth or twentieth.

What you'll need:

  • Fabric, exterior and interior, you'll need at least 9" x 14"
  • Zipper, at least 9" long
  • Sewing Machine with zipper foot


I always, always make these too big. I think this one is too big, but that's just how it is. Cut a strip of fabric at least 3" wide by about 5" long. Whatever this is folded in half both ways is about how big your loop is, give or take seam allowances. To create: fold right sides together along the length of the fabric. stitch on the raw side and flip back right-side out and press.


Cut two rectangles 9" x 14", one in your exterior fabric and one in the interior fabric. Press them!


Place your exterior fabric down with the right side facing you. Next place the zipper along one short side face down on the exterior fabric. Finally, place the interior fabric face down on top of the other two layers. Align all of your edges and corners and pin in place. Stitch along the raw side with the zipper foot of your sewing machine. 

Turn right side out and press, pulling the fabric away from the zipper teeth. Make sure to keep everything aligned. 

Do this again on the other side of the zipper. Doing the other side always trips me up but you just have to double check all is facing the right way before you start to stitch. Imagine it stitched and mentally flip it over -- this is what I do. I often try to imagine way too complex flipping scenarios - but I digress.


There are a few ways to give a bag depth, as you can see from the top photo I've chosen to have the triangle corner exposed on the outside rather than hidden or trimmed. To do this you will first turn your piece inside out and put the exterior fabric facing exterior and interior facing interior. Your zipper will be in the middle of pieces and hidden. Make sure zipper halves are aligned. Press! On each side of the interior fabric mark 2" from the folded edge. Then take that folded edge and move it up in between the layers until it meets that mark. Hopefully the photo explains better what I'm describing. Press! Repeat with the exterior fabric.

This means each side of the bag is giving 1" to go towards the depth of the bag and making it 2" deep in total.


Fold your loop in half and slide it (fold side first) in between the exterior fabric layers just a bit below the zipper. The raw edges of the loop should stick out and this is the time to determine just how much of a loop you want - do you want it to hold keys or hang on your wrist? The length of fabric not hanging off the side of the raw edges is how long your loop will be.


This is what your piece should look like at this point. Pin all of the raw edges and stitch along one side completely but on the other side leave a gap of a few inches unstitched on the interior fabric. Make sure to back stitch at the start and end of this gap. This gap is what you'll flip your bag right side out through.


Go crazy, flip out.


With your bag flipped out and the inside pulled out, find your gap and pin it in place and stitch it closed as closely to the edge as you can.


This is the pouch flat and pressed as if Ikea were about to ship it.

General thoughts:
I made this entire bag too big, actually, and it encourages me to carry more small things with me everyday, everywhere than I was when I needed a pouch in the first place.


  1. This is awesome - you are so crafty, and an inspiration!

  2. I am confused at the part where you give the bag depth. Is it pleated across the whole way? I may have to make one and just see it for myself...

  3. Hi Sarah! Yes you do the pleat the whole length of the sides, sorry for the confusion!

  4. Today is a sewing day and I think this just usurped my other project. You do a great job of explaining the process. And your fabric choices, wonderful! Thanks so much, I'm off to dig through my excess fabric!