Thursday, July 30, 2009

Flat bottom zippered pouch tutorial

I'm all about upcycling lately – that’s the fresh new term for re-purposing something into something else, right? I hope that’s the case or else I’ll just come off like some pathetic out of touch mom who says things like “dealio” and “foshizzle” to try and sound cool.

Anyway, I recently stumbled across this old casserole cozy that my friend had at her garage sale. I just loved the funky fabric and I couldn’t bear for it be donated or thrown out so I nabbed it with the intent of upcycling it into something fabulous.

And here is the something fabulous.
At least I think they’re pretty cute. They’re in my Etsy shop if anyone finds them irresistible, but I also thought that I could share how I made them in case anyone wanted to whip out something similar for themselves.

Fabric: The amount depends on the size of pouch you want. You’ll need two pieces of your outer fabric and two pieces for the lining

Interfacing: I used a lightweight fusible interfacing. You’ll want something light so your bag isn’t too stiff. Fusible is easier to work with but not necessary.

Zipper: any kind, just make sure the length is slightly longer than the size of your pouch. I used a 7 inch polyester zipper

Basic sewing supplies: thread, scissors, sewing machine, iron etc.

Step 1: Cut your fabric and interfacing
I was limited in size by the amount of fabric I had, but you can make your pouch as small or as large as you want. I cut 2 pieces of 5 1/2” by 6” fabric for the exterior and 2 pieces of the same size for the lining.

Cut two pieces of your interfacing in the same dimensions. Attach the interfacing to the wrong side of your outer fabric (if you do not use fusible interfacing, do this by sewing it on with a scant seam).

Step 2: sew fabric onto the zipper.
Place the lining right side up on your table and lay the zipper on top of it, aligning the edges.
Then place your outer fabric (with interfacing attached) right side down, on top of the zipper, aligning the edges.
Using a zipper foot sew all layers together. You’ll want your seam to be approximately ¼” from the teeth of the zipper.

Once you’re done sewing, fold the layers back from the zipper and press with an iron for a nice clean edge. Then return to the sewing machine and make a nice top stitch.
Repeat for the other side.

Step 3: where it gets tricky, but not really

Now we’re going to trap all those nasty little raw edges so that they won’t show on either the exterior or interior of our bag.

Pull the zipper pull to the middle, we don’t want to exclude it from our bag, and fold your fabric so that the right sides of the exterior fabric are together, and the right sides of the lining fabric are together. Line up the top edges. The the zipper should be toward the lining fabric.
Note: If you want to add a wrist strap, as I did to one of my pouches, now would be the time to sandwich it in between your two exterior fabrics.

I prefer to start sewing at the zipper (just to make sure everything is aligned) then sew down the side of the exterior fabric, across the bottom, up the other side, across the zipper and onto the lining.
Sew the lining pieces together but be sure to leave an ample sized opening at the bottom to turn the pouch later on. See below, the area between the pins is open. Here’s what it should look like when you’re done sewing. Clip the ends of your zipper off as close to the seam as possible.

Now at this point you could turn the bag right side out, seam up the opening and have yourself a lovely little pouch our coin purse, but I wanted mine to sit up instead of lay flat and to do that we have another step.
Step 4: Making your pouch sit up and behave
Using a ruler, or just by eyeballing it, mark and cut out a square of fabric in each corner of your lining and exterior fabric. I did a one inch square for mine but if your bag is larger/smaller you should make your cutout larger or smaller respectively.

Pull the two pieces of fabric apart and align the seams of the side and bottom. Sew along the cut edge. Repeat until all corners have been sewn.

Turn the lining down over the rest of the pouch and close up the opening either by machine or by hand.

Now turn the bag right side out, Push out your corners so they’re nice and crisp and you’re done!
I hope you found this helpful. Shoot me an email with any questions.


Shawna said...

you are a truse creative genious. but i am not certian why anyone would want to change this from a caserole cozzie into anything else?? That Meme had some taste in fabric I tell you. said...

That so DARLING! When I was out of town this weekend it was driving me nuts that my cosmetics and makeup bags were not staying up and open on the hotel counter while I got ready. This would be perfect for that. Thanks so much, I'll be linking.

s.lei said...

my first visit here- and i MUST say, your intro to this project had me laughing out loud ( lol, ha! ) You are a super cool mom in my book! This really is a clever idea too. said...

I love this too! I've made other lined zippered pouches but none with a flat bottom. It is now on my must try list--thanks for the great tute. And I think your blog is great (my first visit here).

Joy Beadworks said...

You explain this so well. I'm going to have to try it. (My first visit here).

kirstin & jordan said...

love this idea! I can think of all sorts of purposes for these...
we'll be linking!

pirate said...

I only recently found your blog but saved your tutorial for the flat-bottomed, zippered pouch. It came in wonderfully handy when my middle daughter wanted a pouch to house her wireless mouse & USB connector! I did add a small interior pocket to contain the USB connector.

I'm pleased to say that your tutorial was great and the zippered pouch came out lovely. :-)

My daughter was pleased and so was I. If you are interested, you can see the webpage I made about it at

thanks much!

Amber said...

Thanks so much for a great tutorial! I will definitely be making more!
I linked to it, too!

Nancy ~ Inkcicles said...

Simply too cute and clever! LOVE THEM!

kg said...

What a clever idea on how to make those corners on the bottom! I have always (and by "always", I mean twice, hee!) stitched the corners first, then cut off the excess fabric. By doing it your way, I can insure that the corners match perfectly!! Hurrah, and thanks. :-)

AlloLune said...

Thanks for the tutorial! It was super clear and made this is a quick, easy project, even for this complete novice. Here are my results:

Karen said...

Thank you for these amazing instructions! Others I've used were so confusing. My bag turned out perfect. Even the scary zipper.
Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I can't find your email to send a question.... How did you do the zipper? In the process pictures, it's hanging over each side, but in the end, it's all lined up nicely. I'm a novice seamstress, so.... I don't know this stuff :-) Please send me an email if you get the time to answer this :-)

kluvstosew said...

eclectic mom....count down 7 photos in the tutorial and read under the 7th. you can just cut the ends even but make sure the pull that opens the zipper in pulled down the zipper half way so you won't cut it off! i usually sew the zipper ends back a forth twice to make sure it is secure. I love this little pouch also. I'm not the inventor just an avid sewer.