Sometimes extra-cute is exactly what you need to get your sewing creativity flowing. This adorable zippered pouch is just the ticket. It was the favorite fast bag of 2016 here at Sew4Home. Don't you love that striking center zipper? But... are you a little afraid of zippers, especially cool metal zippers? Like the scary monster under your bed, most zipper phobias are totally unfounded. In fact, a zipper down the middle like this one is a very easy option. Give it a try; conquer your fear! Then... peek under your bed. Nothing there to worry about either, except those adorable dust bunnies.
As you'll see below, the cuts for this project are quite small, so it could certainly qualify as a ScrapBusters. We used Fabulous Foxes from Robert Kaufman and Honeymoon from Cotton + Steel.
This winning combo is proof you can successfully blend across manufacturers, collections, and designers. Look for color similarities without going too "matchy-matchy." Then vary your motif sizes for the best look.
With its casual style and small size, this pouch is great for both kids and adults. The thin double straps are cut width of fabric (WOF). You could certainly make them longer or shorter for your best fit. It can worn over the shoulder for an adult or cross-body on a child.
Clever side loops act as channels for the straps. The double strap tails are knotted beneath the loop to secure them to one another as well as hold them in place. This also makes the length adjustable.
Our pouch is lined and features an interior edge seam that is simply trimmed and machine-finished. With the opening into the pouch from the center rather than along the top, the inner seam is virtually invisible.
When you're working with multiple layers in a small size, some sewing machine models can have trouble powering through. Our Janome studio machines cut through like butter, but we still worked to minimize thickness wherever possible, such as trimming and grading seams, and making the side loops from only one layer of canvas with a cotton back.
If you like the size and style of this bag, you may also enjoy our Bitty Boho Bags with ribbon and fringe accents. Mini bags are excellent for quick trips out and about when you don't want or need the bulk of a full size purse or tote.
Our Zip Zap Mini Pouch finishes at approximately 8" high x 7" wide. The strap drop is about 17".
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
- Zipper foot
- Quarter Inch Seam foot; optional for precise topstitching
Fabric and Other Supplies
- ⅓ yard of 44"+ wide standard weight cotton for the main exterior; we used 44" Pink Foxes from the Fabulous Foxes collection by Robert Kaufman Fabrics
- ⅓ yard of 44"+ wide standard weight cotton for the lining and straps; we used 45" Porch Tile in Coral from the Honeymoon collection by Cotton + Steel Fabrics
- ⅛ yard of 44"+ wide lightweight canvas or similar for the bottom exterior and strap tabs; we used a 62" Duck Canvas in Natural
- ½ yard of 20"+ wide lightweight fusible interfacing; we used Shape Flex by Pellon
- ONE 7" decorative zipper; we used a white zipper with metal teeth and a ball-drop zipper pull, purchased locally
- All purpose thread to match fabric
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Iron and ironing board
- Straight pins
- Large safety pin
- Seam sealant
- Download and print out the FIVE pattern pieces, which have been bundled into one PDF file for your convenience: Zip Zap Pouch Pattern Set.
IMPORTANT: Each page within the PDF is ONE 8½" x 11" sheet. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guide rule on each page so you can confirm your final printout is to scale.
- Cut out each pattern along the solid line. Using the arrows printed on the pieces as your guides, put together the two pieces to form one completed Pattern C. Do not overlap the pieces; butt them together and tape. Pattern B is two separate parts.
- From the fabric for the main exterior (Foxes in our sample), fussy cut the following:
ONE 7" high x 8" wide rectangle for the front exterior, then sub-cut this panel into two pieces: 3" x 8" for the top and 4" x 8" for the bottom.
ONE 6½" high x 8" wide rectangle for the main back panel
ONE 4" high x 8" wide rectangle for the back pocket
- From the fabric for the lining and straps (Porch Tile in our sample), cut the following:
TWO 2" x 2½" pieces for the strap loop lining
ONE 4" high x 8" wide rectangle for the back pocket lining
TWO 1" x width of fabric (WOF) strips for the straps
Using the three patterns, cut ONE of each: Pattern B Part 1, Pattern B Part 2, and Pattern C.
- From the fabric for the base and strap loops (Canvas in our sample), cut the following:
TWO 2" x 2½" pieces for the strap loops
ONE 1½" x 8" strip for the pocket flange
Using Pattern A, cut TWO base pieces
- From the interfacing, cut the following:
ONE 2" x 7" rectangle for the top front panel
ONE 3" x 7" rectangle for the bottom front panel
ONE 5½" x 7" rectangle for the back panel
ONE 3" x 7" rectangle for the back pocket
TWO ¼" x 44" strips for the straps (optional)
NOTE: Because most interfacings are rather narrow, it can be more efficient to cut a number of WOF strips from your interfacing and butt them together along the length of the strap. We cut six 20" strips and cut them to fit our WOF straps. Also - as noted above, the interfacing on the straps is optional. It simply adds a bit of stability to the lightweight quilting cotton, however, with such narrow straps, it isn't a deal-breaker if you choose not to apply it.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Fusing all exterior pieces
- Match up each exterior fabric piece (all the Fox pieces in our sample) with its corresponding interfacing piece.
- Each interfacing piece should be centered on the wrong side of the fabric piece with ½" of fabric extending beyond the interfacing on all sides.
- Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of each fabric piece.
- Mark and stitch the two darts in the bottom of each canvas base piece as well as in the back lining piece (Pattern Piece C).
- Use the pattern to mark the base and point of each dart
- We like to use clips to mark the base and a fabric pen to mark the point.
- Fold to create the diagonal tuck.
- Stitch from base to point.
NOTE: If you are brand new to darts, have no fear... this is Sew4Home. Of course we have a full, step-by-step tutorial to review: How to Make a Dart to Create Contours.
- Find the two front exterior panels, which you just interfaced, the two front lining panels, the zipper, and one base with the darts in place.
- The base is stitched to the bottom of the lower front panel.
- Place the top raw edge of the base right sides together the bottom raw edge of the lower front panel. Pin in place.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch together.
- Grade the seam allowance, trimming back the canvas to about ¼".
- Press the seam allowance towards the base.
- Topstitch ¼" from the seam within the base section. We used our Janome Quarter Inch Seam foot to maintain a perfectly straight seam and we lengthened our stitch as we traditionally recommend for all topstitching.
- Place the zipper right side down along the top edge of this assembled lower panel. This means the bottom edge of zipper tape is flush with top raw edge of the assembled panel. Pin in place.
- Place the bottom lining panel right sides together with the assembled lower panel, sandwiching the zipper between the layers. The raw edges of the two panels should be flush all around.
- Pin together all three layers (exterior, zipper, and lining).
- Attach your Zipper foot.
- The pieces are cut to allow a ½" seam allowance to either side of the zipper, and the pouch is designed to have a full ½" reveal across the zipper, showing zipper tape to either side of the teeth. Zippers can be different widths, so pin first along your seam allowance then lift the layers apart to check the reveal. Adjust your seam allowance slightly wider or narrower if need be.
- Stitch across the panel through all the layers. Go slowly. When you get to the middle, where you can start to feel you're approaching the zipper pull, stop with your needle in the down position. Twist your fabric around slightly and open up the layers so you can access the zipper. Be gentle! Move the zipper pull out of the way. Re-position your fabric and finish sewing to the end.
- Fold the lining and the front panel wrong sides together, so the remaining side of the zipper tape is free and sticking up, away from the lower panel. Press the lower panel.
- Repeat these steps to attach the free edge of the zipper to the upper exterior and lining. Again, as above, remember to double-check your zipper reveal is ½".
- The lining panel is right side up behind the front panel and the exterior panel is right side down against the front panel. The zipper is sandwiched between the layers. Pin in place.
- Stitch together as above, maintaining the same seam allowance as for the lower portion.
- Remember to twist your fabric around slightly and open up the layers so you can access the zipper and move the zipper pull out of the way.
- Re-position and finish sewing to the end.
- As above, fold the lining and the exterior wrong sides together away from the zipper. Press the upper panel.
- Topstitch ¼" from the seam across the entire panel along both sides of the zipper. Remember to lengthen your stitch for the best look to your topstitching. It's best to continue using a Zipper foot.
- Find all the back elements: the main back panel, the pocket exterior and lining, the back lining panel, the pocket flange, and the remaining base panel.
- Fold the pocket flange in half, wrong sides together. Place the flange across the top edge of the exterior pocket panel. The raw edges of the folded flange should be flush with the top raw edge of the pocket panel. Pin in place.
- Place the pocket lining right sides together with the exterior pocket, sandwiching the flange between the layers. Pin along just the top edge.
- Switch back to a standard presser foot and re-set the stitch length to normal.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch across the top through all the layers.
- Trim each end of the seam allowance at a diagonal to help keep the thick flange out of the final side seam.
- Fold the pocket front and lining wrong sides together and press flat. The flange should extend beyond the top seam by about ⅛".
- Find the main back panel. Place it right side up on your work surface. Place the pocket right side up on the back panel, aligning the sides and bottom raw edges. Pin the pocket in place along the sides.
- Place the base panel right sides together with the layered exterior/pocket panel. The top raw edge of the base panel should be flush with the bottom raw edges of the exterior/pocket panel. Pin in place.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch through all the layers.
- As above for the front base panel, grade the seam allowance, trimming back the canvas to about ¼". Press the seam allowance towards the base. Topstitch ¼" from the seam within the base section. Remember to lengthen your stitch to match the rest of the topstitching.
- Find the small loop pieces: two in canvas and two in cotton. Pair up an exterior with a lining, layering each set right sides together with all raw edges flush. Pin along the 2" sides.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch along each 2" side. Since these pieces are small, we chain pieced the two, which means we stitched one right after the other without breaking the thread.
- Press the seam allowances open and flat and grade. Again, you are trimming back the canvas. Snip the threads to separate the two sets.
- Turn each loop right side out. Press flat. Then, press in half so the raw edges are aligned and the canvas is facing out.
- Find the paper pattern. Place it over the assembled front panel and transfer the loop positioning marks to the fabric.
NOTE: As you can see in the photo below, we transferred our marks a bit earlier in the construction process; either way is fine.
- Using these marks as a guide, place a folded loop at either side of the front assembled panel. The raw edges of the folded loop should be flush with the raw edge of the panel. We simply pinned our loops in place. If you are newer to working with multiple layers, consider hand or machine basting the loops in place. Keep this stitching at about ¼" from the raw edge.
Layering and stitching all around
- Place the assembled front panel right side up and flat on your work surface. Open up the zipper.
- Place the assembled back panel right side down over the front panel. On our sample, this means the foxes are now right sides together. Align the raw edges all around and line up the darts on the base panels. The top edge of the pocket should line up with the bottom of the inserted zipper.
- Place the back lining panel (with the darts stitched) right side up on the back panel. Pin through all the layers all around.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch all the way around. Go slowly in order to maintain a consistent seam allowance around the curved base and remember to pivot at the top corners. There are some thick points along the way, but with smooth and even power, you should be just fine.
- Press the seam allowance open. Clip the curves and the corners, and grade the seam allowance.
- Finish each side of the seam allowance. We chose a simple zig zag stitch for our finishing. For more about machine sewn finishes, check out our four-part series.
- We added some seam sealant to the upper corners and the bottom curve as extra security. Let this dry prior to turning the pouch right side out.
- Turn the pouch right side out through the open zipper and press flat.
Create the straps
- Find the two 1" x WOF strips and the interfacing strips.
- Press each strip in half, wrong sides together, to set a center crease.
- Unfold wrong side up so the center crease line is visible
- If adding interfacing, align the strips along the center crease, butting together shorter pieces as necessary. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse in place.
- Fold in each long raw edge so they meet in the center at the crease line. Press well.
- Fold again along the original crease line to form your finished strap. On each end of each strap, tuck in the raw edges for a clean finish.
- Edgestitch each tie to secure. There's no need to pivot and stitch across the ends; the straps are narrow enough that the side edgestitching should also secure the ends. If need be, you can hand stitch the ends to keep things extra tidy.
- Attach a safety pin to the end of a strap to help thread it through the side loops.
- When both straps are threaded through on both sides, pull the ends so they reach down to the base panel. Tie the straps together into a simple knot and cinch that knot up against the bottom the loop.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild