Sew an Internal Zipper Pocket Method 2 - A Tutorial

2/09/2012 06:19:00 AM

How about trying another way to do an internal zipper pocket.  If you have already tried Sew an Easy Zipper Pocket - Method 1, you might want to now expand your fabulous zipper skills and try one slightly different.  

This still a very easy pocket, but it does have a couple more steps than the other.  It's done a little differently so that the zipper edges are hidden on the inside.  The bag pocket itself, provides a facing.  You can't tell the difference from the outside of the pocket, the big secret is how it looks from the inside.  See the photo!  

If you are feeling adventurous and really want to look like a zipper pocket pro, try Method 2.

Make An Internal Zipper Pocket (Method 2):

1)     Add interfacing to the wrong side of the bag lining where the zipper will be added.  This will create a sturdy surface for the zipper to be sewn to.  I’ve ironed on a 3” x10” (approx) piece of interfacing, centered on the bag lining, in the exact spot I want the zipper to be.

2)     On the back side of the bag lining, draw a rectangle centered on the exact spot you want the zipper.  On the interfacing, draw the rectangle the same width as the zipper teeth (measure yours exactly, mine is 7 inches).  The rectangle is 3/8” (1cm) wide.  So the rectangle I have drawn is 7” long x 3/8” (1cm) wide.  Then, draw a line right through the middle of this rectangle with triangle points at each end, just like the picture. The triangle points are approx 1/2" from the ends.

3)     Cut the width of your pocket piece 1.5” wider than your zipper is long and 12” high. My zipper is 7 inches so my pocket piece will be 8.5” x 12”.  You can use any length of zipper you like, and if you want your pocket a little deeper, you can add length there too.   HINT:  Make sure you are measuring just the zipper teeth, not the little fabric ends that stick past each end of the zipper (measure the bit between the metal staple things!)  

4)     Adhere Interfacing to the entire 8.5 x 12” pocket piece if it is a light material.  Interfacing is always a great idea because you want this pocket to be strong, and you don’t need your keys poking through. 

5)     Clip the center line and triangle points by pushing a seam ripper through the center line and making a spot for the scissors to poke in. Snip along line with scissors, but do NOT stray off of the drawn line!  Do not clip off the triangles. 

6)     First, fold the triangles and seam allowance on the drawn lines and finger press.  Then carefully follow with the iron and press them down with it.  (Use a pressing cloth if you have used fusible fleece/batting, you don't want to melt it!)

7)    Tip:  Stitch the little tails that stick out beyond the zipper (on the open end) so they are connected. This will keep them closed and from coming apart when you are adding the zipper.  (Hand stitching them is a quick and easy way to do it too.)

Stitch across open zipper tails

8)     Place the zipper underneath the hole and pin in place.  You don’t really need that many pins, you can adjust the zipper as you sew.  Use your zipper foot to sew zip in place. Stay about 1/8” or less away from zipper.  Go slowly and make nice straight stitching lines adjusting the zipper underneath as you go. (UPDATE:  I would highly recommend double-sided quilters 1/4" tape instead of pins.  It works like a dream and I will never use a pin for a zip again... unless I run out!  I use WonderTape, but there are other brands.)

HINT: When you are sewing around the opening and you get to the zipper pull, you must slide it out of the way so you can get past it. Do this by dropping your needle into the fabric, lifting your presser foot and sliding your zipper pull a couple inches forward or back so it is out of the way. When you are going back the other direction, repeat and slide it the other way so you can get past it.

9)     Slide the zipper pull into the middle of the opening, and flip the whole thing over so the back of the zipper is facing up.  Take a deep breath, because the hard part is over, and get ready to add the pocket piece. 

10)     Place the pocket piece, wrong side up, over the zipper.  Line up the edge of the pocket along the bottom edge of the zipper (centered) and pin.

11)     Flip the whole thing over, and fold the lining over on itself to the left and expose the pocket piece and zipper edge only, on the right.

12)     Attach your zipper foot.  Slide the whole thing, just as it is shown in the picture above, under the presser foot.  Stitch the length of the zipper as close to the zipper teeth as possible. You will be sewing the edge you just pinned, NOT the lining.  HINT:  You will have to drop your needle, lift the foot and reach between the layers of lining to move the zipper pull out of the way when you get to it.

13)     Flip the whole thing over again, and flip the pocket piece back on itself.  Top-stitch along the edge of the pocket piece about 1/8" away from the edge.  Don't stitch through the lining, this should still be on the left side.

14)     This is how your stitching line will look.  This hides the edge of the zipper.  Nice hey!

15)     Fold the long end of the pocket piece up to match the top edge of zipper and pin across top. Folding the lining out of the way, sew pocket to zipper edge.  Pin side seams and sew them as well, going right over zipper tails.   Remember to back stitch.  And... You are done!  A very smart looking zipper pocket isn't it?

How did you do? It wasn't too bad was it?  I love it!!
If you have any questions, feel free to email me.

If you have found this tutorial helpful in the slightest way, please follow my blog by either GFC, Blog-lovin, Email or signing up for my Newsletter on the right side bar.   And... please share your finished bags with me in the Emmaline Bags Flickr Group.  I love to see your finished Emmaline inspired projects!

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  1. Great Tutorial Janelle, it makes the bags look so much more finished off and professional.

    1. Hi Natalie, I agree. This is my fave way of putting in pockets. I love using the feature fabric inside the pocket too, it just adds a little something extra doesn't it. Personally, I really can't go without a zipper pocket in my bag!

  2. Hi Janelle, Love love your blog...I am your new follower, blog and Linky! Please stop by and follow us too...I would love having you join us! Wishing you a beautiful evening! Hugs

    1. Thank you Loretta! That is so nice to hear. I will definitely hop over and see you too. I'm about to add Linky to my blog as well, I hear it is the thing to do. Janelle

  3. Thank you, this is very inspiring. I will give it a go!

  4. Great tutorial, thank you.

    May I suggest a minor amendment? Instead of fusing the interfacing to the lining as a first step, use a piece of fusible interfacing as if you were making a bound buttonhole, turn it through then iron it down.

    So put a strip of interfacing glue side up over the zip area. Do not iron it yet. Mark and cut as in step 2. Push it through the hole you've just made and then iron it down on the reverse of the lining.

    This keeps the tiny cut edges and particularly the little triangles neatly fused between the lining and the interfacing and you have a nice tidy slot to work with.

    Continue to attach the pocket as described.

    Thanks again for the tutorial and particularly the clear pictures.

    1. That's brilliant. We've been making wallets and the zipper area is a little uneven. This will make it clean. Thanks for the idea.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Thanks for the it!

  6. Thanks for the it!

  7. love it! love it! love it! just made a little bag last week & did not like how the zipper edge showed.. thanks for this great tutorial! Mary aka IsabellasCloset

  8. Wow thank you for this tutorial!! I began sewing last summer. I have only recently sewn 2 inside zipper pockets and both of them were using the simple exposed zipper edge technique. I was really bummed to find that my purchased pattern from Noodlehead for her envelope clutch did not show me how to do it this professional way. Maybe she was just trying to keep it simple and assumed I could modify the installation to this method if I wanted to. But, I did not know how until now. Thanks! You are a blessing, as I want to make things as gifts and have them look nice with these professional touches.

  9. Yay! Thanks for this tutorial! I just sewed a zipper pocket into the linen of my bag-to-be. Now I can't stop zipping it open and close again, it looks so pretty :)

  10. Thank you so much for this tutorial! Your begs are fabulous and I adore adore adore the Emmaline bag the very best! I have learned so much from bloggers like yourself and am so grateful for the knowledge that y'all are sharing online! I started of quilting, but I've grown such a fondness for sewing bags! I've even begun to design my own! Thank you again!

  11. I am so in need of a tutorial on how to add an outside zipper to this pattern. I am a newbee sewer. I have seen images of other sewers doing this with your pattern, but no tutorial on how to do it. Please and thank you.

    1. HI Terry, I am not sure which pattern you are referring to? To add an internal zipper fabric to the outside of a bag - follow the instructions above, but place it on your exterior fabric!

  12. I will have to try this 'cleaner" way of adding the internal zipper pocket--thanks for both tutorials!!!

  13. Janelle, I have a tough time getting clean looking corners when pulling the tabs back. Any ideas? Terri

    1. I would press from the back, and sometimes a spritz of water is very helpful. Is it possible that you could clip into the corners a little further?


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