Look at these zipped up beauties! Imagine the endless possibilities combining fabrics, zippers, ribbons, tabs, buttons and stitches! She is not just any ordinary zipper bag. She has flair and personality due to her embellishment options. Take a quick look around Pinterest or the Google searches for zippered pouches and you will see a plethora of choices; small big, square, round, triangular, animal shapes, etc. You are going to brush up on some skills with this one…insert a zipper, practice your buttonholes, quilt three layers together, personalize with lettering (optional–see Ethan’s name on the dark blue bag handle?), impress yourself and friends with decorative stitching, so hang on.
The approximate finished measurements are 10″ long x 3″ wide x 2″ high. The reason I like this is because it holds more than it looks and can be used for sewing supplies and tools, toiletries, pens and pencils, or whatever you want AND makes for another guy gift idea like here, and here.
Upon closer examination, you will see that these three bags have slight differences: tabs are different shapes, handles are different, quilting patterns are different, and placement of fabrics are different. Your choice! So let’s get into the How To of it all , including some ‘Creative Options’ along the way for you to do it your way.
-2 Coordinating Fabrics (can be fat quarters) 18″ x 22″ One is used for outside and one is used for lining and tabs
-One zipper, 16-18″
-Tear away stabilizer, or 2 scrap fusible interfacing pieces measuring 36″ x 3″ long
-Two or Four coordinating flat buttons that nest nicely, your choice. See samples for ideas.
-52″ of 1/2″-5/8″ grosgrain ribbon for trim along zipper and outer tab (optional)
-Thread for decorative stitching on outer ribbon
-Batting-low loft, approximately 13 x 16″
-Basting Spray– (Optional- It makes things a little easier by holding all layers together before quilting. However, I pinned layers and it worked.)
Specific sewing machine feet are helpful (from left):
-Buttonhole foot-yours may look different
-Quilt Bar-inserts to back of foot ankle or dual feed foot.
-Open toe satin stitch foot, or a foot that has a groove in the bottom to allow clearance for dense and raised stitches
-Button Sew-on Foot (optional-can always hand-sew on buttons–I did!)
Notice the groove space on the bottom of the satin stitch foot and the metal plates on the bottom (left). This allows for the thickness of decorative or satin stitches to pass freely under the foot without getting caught, dragged, or smashed.
1.) Cut and Prep:
Cut the selvage off fat quarter.
2.) Cut out pieces
-Cut two 13″ x 11″ bag squares from each fat quarter (one outer and one lining)
-Cut one 13″ x 11″ bag square from batting
-Cut two 3.5″ x 3.5″ squares from both fabrics and batting—or—
CREATIVE OPTION: This is where you can create the tab shape of your choice. Here, I made oval shaped tabs. Triangles or squares are fine, too. Measure it to be approximately 3.5″ x 3.5″. Cut one piece of batting for your two chosen tab shapes. NOTE: I like to make a straight grain line arrow and a bias line on my little pattern piece just in case the tab would look great on the diagonal, like a stripe or plaid (see below)
-The handle does not need batting. Here, I used outer fabric (or contrasting fabric) and cut two pieces 5.5″ x 3″, and sew right sides together. turn and press—or—
CREATIVE OPTION: The handle/loop can be cut from your one yard piece of ribbon. See examples of the ribbon used as a loop in the completed bag pictures. If so, cut one piece 5″ long. Set aside.
3.) Sandwich layers
Sandwich the three bag layers, placing the batting in the middle of the two fabrics. Prepare the squares for quilting by pinning or using basting spray.
CREATIVE OPTION: Starting in the middle of the fabric, decide where the lines of your quilting will be. They can be diagonal or from top to bottom. Your choice. Draw a line with chalk or disappearing ink to start with the first line. Set aside. Attach quilting bar into back of foot. See the blog post on my site for more tips on the quilting process.
4.) Prep the tabs and handle: Shown is the fabric handle. Another way to sew the handle is to use only one piece of fabric and fold raw edges to center, then fold again in half. edge stitch both sides of handle. If using ribbon, disregard the Fabric Handle directions and set aside your 5″ piece of ribbon for later.
TABS–Remember, stack the tab fabrics right sides together with the batting on the bottom. See picture above. Sew all the way around the edges in a 1/4″ seam allowance. Clip curves.
CREATIVE OPTION: If your sewing machine has an alphabet, this is a good time to personalize the loop. See sample below. I used scrap interfacing under the ribbon, stitched out the name, trimmed the excess, and then sewed more ribbon wrong sides together along the edges to cover up the underside.
-Pin outer edges of tab and stitch in a 1/4″ seam allowance. Use pinking shears or clip corner carefully all the way around the tabs.
6.) Cut tabs in half, turn right side out, edge stitch
-Fold in half. Draw a line. Cut through all layers. Turn right side out.
7.) Buttonhole and Buttons
Gather your button or the two buttons. Determine length of button hole and stitch out buttonhole on tab.
-Carefully slice open with seam ripper or sharp scissors. Check that button(s) will pass through. By the way, these buttoned tabs have no real purpose except to be decorative and pretty (and to get better at making buttonholes). Set aside.
8.) Sew quilt lines of bag
-Sew the first line of stitching on the main body of the bag on the line you drew, either diagonally or from top to bottom. (Don’t sew over the pins!)
-Insert quilt guide one inch from needle. Sew a second line of stitching 1″ apart from the first line of stitching, smoothing fabric as you sew. Continue until the whole piece is quilted.
It should start to look like this:
And look like this when finished. You may want to trim off any loose threads.
9.) Prep Ribbon for Decorative Stitching
-Attach satin foot to machine.
-Place ribbon down the center of your 3″ x 36″ stabilizer or interfacing. Note: I adhered two strips of scrap interfacing together and it worked just fine because I didn’t have stabilizer. You will stitch one continuous length about one yard long. Save remaining ribbon for covering bottom seam and loop (if you didn’t make a handle).
-Select favorite stitch. Start sewing slowly down entire one yard length of ribbon.
-The ribbon will be a little lumpy once finished. Gently press with iron to flatten. Turn the ribbon over to the underside. Carefully trim off excess interfacing so that there is not interfacing showing from the right side. Be careful not to cut through stitching or ribbon.
-As we did with the tabs to find the center, fold body of bag in half and press to make a crease line.
-Cut bag in half, lengthwise. This is where the zipper will be inserted.
10.) Prep for zipper and tab insertion
-On wrong side of one of the rectangles, place zipper right side up with zipper tape and raw edges even. Pin with the tab hanging off one end and the zipper stop hanging off the other end. It’s okay the zipper is too long.
-Attach zipper foot to machine.
-Stitch down center of zipper tape with regular stitch length.
-Trim off excess fabric from under zipper so that there is no fabric showing. We will be placing decorative ribbon over the zipper tape soon!
-Lightly press zipper tape flat towards outer bag fabric.
With right side of zipper facing up on the wrong side of the other bag half, match up raw edges and centering, pin zipper to other half just as you did with the first half. Stitch right down the center of the zipper tape.
-Turn, trim the fabric underneath, and press gently toward right side.
-Cut your decorative ribbon piece in half. Place one half over zipper tape, covering the stitching and onto bag. Center and then stitch down the side nearest the zipper.
-Get tabs. Mark center of the bag (red pin). Slide one tab under the outer side of the ribbon. Pin.
-Repeat for other side.
-Off-set the tabs from each other on opposite sides, using the center mark as a guide. See below. Pin. Sew close to edge of ribbon, catching tabs in stitching.
-Mark button placement by marking through the buttonhole.
Sew on button(s) using special foot or by hand. Here are two buttons stacked together and contrasting thread just for fun.
Your bag should look something like this now.
11.) Sew bottom of bag
-With right sides together, sew bottom center seam of bag in a 3/8″ seam.
-Press open seam. Trim off any excess batting or stray fabric or threads. Trim to 1/4″.
-Unzip bag and center ribbon over the seam. Stitch down both sides of ribbon covering up the seam. This makes for a nicer finish inside than a zig zag or serged seam.
-Your bag should look something like this now.
12.) Sew up sides, including loop or handle
-Close zipper. With right sides together, fold bag in half with zipper facing center bottom seam.
LOOPS: The loop can be placed in this seam on this side or on the other, your choice. It should be slipped in now, centered, between both layers, facing into the bag. You can’t see it because it is inside. Stitch across ends, going slowly over zipper a few times for durability.
-Stitch across ends in a 3/8″ seam. Zig zag or serge raw edges for a clean finish.
-Before sewing up other side, OPEN UP THE ZIPPER ENOUGH FOR YOUR FINGERS TO REACH ZIPPER TAB. If not, you will not be able to get into the bag! Line the zipper teeth up closely to each other. Pin. Remember, your loop or handle should be sandwiched inside now, centered near the zipper and facing inside. Stitch up seam. Trim and finish with zig zag or serge.
This is how it should look. Open up the zipper a bit to do the next step.
-RST, fold sides perpendicular to the seam and measure two inches across and mark with a pen. Pin.
HANDLE: Insert handle into both box seams. Just like the loops, the handle stays inside the bag while sewing. It will flip back out when bag is finished. See samples.
-Trim off the ‘doggy ears’. Clean finish with a zig zag or serged seam.
ALMOST DONE!!! Reach inside and pull the zipper down enough to turn the bag right side out. Vwah-la!!!! It’s done! Load it up with goodies.
I had a difficult time finding a coordinating fabric, so I used the same fabric for both sides and just added contrast for the tabs, ribbon, zipper and buttons.
These are addictive. Lengthy tutorial, but all the steps add up to make a great project. I hope you have enjoyed the ride!