In this tutorial I will show you how to put in a zipper pocket. They can be put in practically anything you want but because the backside isn’t very beautiful I’d suggest having a lining or putting the zipper in the lining itself.
Here I used the zipper on the outside of my stroller organizer to hold things I didn’t want people to be able to grab easily (strangers or my own kids).
I added a zipper to the lining of my diaper bag…
…and to my shoulder bag.
For these zippers you need to add them BEFORE you construct your item because you will be flipping your material from back to front and you will need to turn it around in your machine easily.
-Zipper the size of your desired opening (or slightly longer)
-Pocket lining material
-Cardstock (cereal box would work)
Mark a line on the wrong side of your fabric piece where you want the zipper of your pocket to be centered.
A ruler and an Xacto knife are recommended for this next step. Create a ‘zipper stay’ by cutting a rectangle from your cardstock with an opening slightly larger (about 1/16-inch) than the width of your zipper teeth and the length you want your zipper to show. You’ll want about a 1/4-inch border of card stock around your opening.
Generously glue one side of your zipper stay with your glue stick.
Stick you zipper stay down, centered over the line you made on the wrong side of your fabric.
It’s easiest to use small sharp scissors for this step. Cut down the center of your zipper stay leaving 3/8-inch on each end uncut.
Cut right into the corners, creating a triangle on the ends.
Rub glue over the fabric in the center of the window on your zipper stay (it’s okay to get it on the cardstock as well).
Press your fabric over the zipper stay until it sticks – you may need to wait a minute for the glue to become tacky.
When you turn your fabric over to the right side it should look like this – a perfect window for your zipper with crisp corners!
You’ll want to cut your pocket lining double the depth you want plus about 1-inch for seams. You’ll want your width 2-inches wider than what you want your finished pocket to be. You can see in the picture my zipper is a few inches longer than what my pocket will be – that’s okay!
Lay your zipper (teeth up) over the right side of your pocket lining, matching edges with the top edge of your fabric. TIP: if you care which side your zipper pull is on when your zipper is closed, you’ll be sewing it on the OPPOSITE side from where you want it. For example, in the above picture my zipper pull is on the right-hand side, but when my pocket is finished it will be on the left-hand side.
Sew across the top edge of your fabric and zipper. You don’t need your seem right up against the teeth of the zipper – maybe 1/4-inch away. Make sure to backstitch!
Now you’ll fold your fabric in-half with right-sides together and your other zipper edge matching up with the other side of your fabric.
Pin your sides in place. In case it’s hard to tell, the fold in the lining is on the opposite side of the zipper.
Sew both sides closed with a 1/2-inch seam. Sew just up to the edge of the zipper NOT over. Make sure to backstitch (nobody likes pockets that come unstitched)!
Fold down the open top edge and pin to keep out of your sewing area for the next few steps.
Center the teeth of your zipper in the opening of your zipper stay. Here, you’ll have the wrong side of your fabric piece (with zipper stay) against the wrong side of your pocket lining.
Pin pocket lining in place on the top side to keep from moving around.
Using your zipper foot attachment, adjust your needle so it hits about 1/16-inch onto your fabric (and zipper stay) while the edge of your foot is riding along the edge of the zipper teeth. You will only be sewing along the bottom-long edge of your zipper, starting at the corner (backstitch). Sew along the entire edge, and when you get to the corner where you need to turn place your needle down into your fabric so it won’t adjust.
With your needle down, bring up your presser foot, unpin the flap of fabric underneath and fold it up so it’s laying under the zipper. You’ll need to carefully pull your sewing machine’s needle up to get the fabric fully under the zipper at this point.
Now you can carefully place your pressure foot down. Are you still breathing? The hard part is over! TIP: you’ll need to un-zip your zipper a few inches now.
Continue across the short end and along the top edge. See how my zipper is open so my pressure foot doesn’t have to try and maneuver around the zipper pull (creating a wavy line)? Once you get about 1-1/2-inches away front the end you can put your machine’s needle down, lift up your pressure foot and zip the zipper up all the way so you can continue sewing.
When you get the the last short end you can backstitch and finish!
This is what the backside looks like. If the ends of your zipper are considerably longer than this you may want to trim them – otherwise keep them as is!
I hope that was easy and I explained well enough!
Interested in learning how to make a curvy-welt pocket? It’s fun! Click here.