Adding a zipper pocket is easier than you might think. In another post, I showed how to make a plain pocket that can be sewn onto a garment or any piece of fabric that needs a pocket. In this post, I want to show you how to make a zippered pocket. This could also be used as a stand alone bag (I was thinking it would make a nice pencil case) and is very similar to the make-up bag that I posted previously.
You can make this any size that you want. Whatever your desired finished size is, add 1/2 inch for the seam allowances. For example, if you wanted a finished pocket of 5×7, cut 2 pieces of fabric 5 1/2 x 7 1/2. You’ll actually need a third piece for the back, but I like to cut that once the front is finished to be sure it lines up. You’ll also need a zipper for this project – try to find one at least as long as the pocket is wide. You can use a longer one and trim it if that’s all you have on hand. Recycled zippers work well too! If I have a garment that is worn beyond repair, I try to save all the buttons and zippers for later use.
Cut a portion off the top – this will go above the zipper and the larger portion will go below the zipper. I don’t usually measure this – just make sure it is straight across.
To attach the fabric to the zipper, starting with the top portion, place the fabric right sides together with the zipper in between. Once we stitch this down, the pieces will fold back against themselves showing the right side (helps me to visualize how it will look after being sewn together in order to assemble properly).
Stitch this all across.
Fold the fabric back against itself on the front and back. Iron this flat, then stitch it down close to the zipper. This will keep the zipper from getting snagged on the fabric once assembled.
Next, we attach the bottom portion. This is done exactly the same way as the little top portion.
Stitch this down.
Fold the fabric back against itself. Iron flat then stitch close to the zipper. At this point, we have the zipper fully attached and clean on both the front and back. This will make the zipper function nicely without getting snagged, which is perfect if this zipper pocket is going to get a lot of use.
Now we need to attach that third piece of fabric.
Place this fabric face down on the top of the zipper/fabric. Pin around the zipper to secure the two pieces together, then reach in and open the zipper (Do not skip this step because this is how we will turn the fabric right side out.
Finish pinning the two pieces together, all the way around.
Stitch all the way around and trim the corners to get rid of any excess fabric.
Turn inside out and poke out the corners. Press flat.
At this point, if you wanted to use this as a stand-alone bag, stitch around the outside to give it a finished look.
Pin this to the fabric you are attaching it to and stitch all around.
I think this is a nice finished look for a pocket and not terribly difficult to make. The hardest part is probably attaching the zipper because you need to visualize the finished product in order to attach it correctly (helpful with the pictures above).
Also, if you wanted to make this style of bag as a stand-alone bag, I would add interfacing between the front layers and make the bag layer doubled with interfacing between the layers. Interfacing isn’t a necessity, just helps with adding some stiffness to the fabric, so totally optional.