Sew an Easy Zipper Pocket Method 1- A Tutorial

1/27/2012 03:26:00 AM

Do you want to try an internal zipper pocket?  Everyone needs an internal zipper pocket in their purse or handbag, but a lot of sewers are hesitant to try. Is the zipper pocket scaring you off? It’s actually pretty easy. There are a few methods that I use, but this one is by far the easiest. It has the fewest pieces and the least amount of fiddling. Give it a try and tell me how you go! 

Make A Zipper Pocket:

1)     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!)  See picture below.

2)     Adhere Interfacing to the entire 8.5 x 12” pocket piece if it is a light material. In this photo, I am using canvas for the pocket so I’m not interfacing the whole piece this time. If you are not using interfacing (like me) you still should adhere a 3” x the width (8.5” in this case) across the top of pocket piece. This will create a sturdy surface for the zipper to be sewn to.  So, I’ve ironed on a 3” x 8.5” piece of interfacing to the wrong size of the top end of my pocket piece. Interfacing is always a great idea because you want this pocket to be strong, and you don’t need your keys poking through. 

Stitch across open zipper tails.

3)     HINT:  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.

4)     On the end of the pocket with the interfacing, one inch down from the top, you will draw a rectangle that is the same width as the zipper teeth (measure yours exactly, mine is 7.25 inches).  The rectangle is 3/8” (1cm) wide.  So the rectangle I have drawn is 7.25” long x 3/8” 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 3/8” from the ends.

5)     With right sides together, center the pocket piece where you want the pocket opening to be on the bag lining.

6)     Sew outside edge of drawn rectangle only. Do not sew the center line or triangle points.

Draw rectangle 3/8" x length of zipper. Sew border line only (pink).

7)     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!  Be careful not to clip any stitches and do not clip off the triangles. 

8)     Take the pocket piece and push it right through the zipper opening to the wrong side of the lining piece. My fabric happens to be printed on both sides, so in the picture it won’t look like the wrong side - but I promise it is!  Smooth out with your fingers, easing out any puckers from both sides. Finger-press first and then press both sides flat with iron. Don’t stress over any puckers at the ends. 

9)     Flip your lining back over so the right side is up. 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.

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. Whey you are going back the other direction, repeat and slide it the other way so you can get past it.

10)   The scariest part is over!  Fold the long end of the pocket piece up to match the top edges and pin all the way around. Sew around the pocket piece on 3 open sides. You will have to flip the lining out of the way as you sew around each side. Remember to back stitch! 

Your zipper pocket is finished! That wasn't so hard was 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, or Email.   And... please share your finished bags with me in the Emmaline Sewing Patterns Group.  I love to see your finished Emmaline inspired projects!

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  1. Excellent Tutorial! Very handy! Great pictures, and love your labels! Thank you for this.
    Lisa McManus Lange

    1. Thank you for looking, Lisa! I hope it comes in handy someday!

    2. Hmmm... the labels are easy to print. Much cheaper than ordering some. Do you want me to tell you how?

  2. Janelle welcome to zibbet, saw your post on the blog forum. This is a great site; you'll do well aiming followers I bet, as you're offering valuable tutorials. Happy to follow you and hope you follow me back. I'm a weaver who sells on zibbet but also a writer so I blog about all things...:))

  3. just want to let you know I've linked to this tutorial on my (very new) blog.

    Hopefully this is ok, I'm new to blogging, just want to make sure I'm following proper etiquette!

    Love your blog!

    1. Hi there, thank you so much for linking to the tutorial - I'm so glad you found it useful!! Janelle

  4. just what I was looking for thanks! I'm going to be using this on a bag I'm making, but I will be sure to link back here for more directions!

  5. I have used this tutorial many many times, and am surprised I never said thank you! So thank you for this tutorial! :)

  6. Great tutorial - so clear, love the photos to go with the instructions for us newbies. Love you blog and patterns.

  7. I am in South Africa and found your tutorial very easy to follow. I love to have a zipper pocket inside a bag to put boom parking ticket, when I enter a shopping centre, so I don't lose it when I come to leave. Thank you so much!


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A Note

The contents of this blog, including text, original photos and ideas are the sole property of the author. If you intend to use my text or images, please link back to this blog and give credit to Emmaline Bags & Patterns. A notification email would be greatly appreciated too! Please do not ever republish an entire post, any tutorials, or post photos of my family. Thank you, Janelle