Hey there everyone! I hope your holiday weekend was a good one. Ours was good, but rainy. It pretty much rained the entire weekend except Monday, so I made the most of it and spent some time sewing some boxed cosmetic bags. I really wanted to make use of some of the fat quarters and fabric scraps I had so I figured cosmetic pouches were a good idea.
Even though I’ve been sewing for years, like so many of you I’ve always been afraid to install zippers. Actually, terrified is a more apt description.
BUT NO MORE!
Nope. I tamed that beast once and for all. I finally figured out a way to do it that is so easy and almost fool proof and I can’t believe I hadn’t thought of it before. I’m even more surprised I’ve never come across any tutorials using this method.
The hardest part of installing a zipper is not being able to see the coils as you sew. You kinda have to feel your way along and it’s really difficult to get super close to the coils which is what you want for a nice clean finish. If you’re sewing an item that is unlined, this is the way to go. If it’s lined, I think you’ll have to use the tried and true method unless someone out there knows an easier way. If so, do share!
Ready to get started?
1. Cut your fabric into two rectangles around 9×6″. The 9″ will be the top/bottom. On one long end of each piece, turn under 1/2″ and iron. This fold is where you will sew your zipper.
2. Position the zipper as shown below. Notice the zipper pull is facing up. Pin so just the coils are sticking out ever so slightly. I like to use zippers that are bigger than the finished product. It’s a lot easier to work with and you can cut off the excess in a bit.
3. If you’re nervous about this next step, set your thread length to at least 3 or higher (basting stitch). This way, if you mess up you can easily rip it out. So go ahead and baste it and if you’re happy sew it again using a regular stitch. Sew very slowly and make sure you remove the pins before the needle gets too close.
4. Sew the other side, making sure the fabric halves line up.
6. Fold the fabric right sides together as shown and sew along the bottom edge. If you want, iron this seam open.
7. This next step is optional but recommended. If you want to sew zipper tab pulls, now is your chance. Since I always like to do things the easy way, I decided to use ribbon instead of making my own. Just following this advice will save you a lot of time. Rearrange the fabric so that the bottom seam is directly on top of the zipper as shown.
8. To make the tabs, cut two pieces of ribbon 3″ in length, fold each in half and pin to short ends of pouch as indicated. VERY IMPORTANT! At this point, make sure your zipper pull is opened about half way or you won’t be able to open/close the zipper. Make sure the bottom seam and center of zipper are lined up on both sides before sewing. This will give you a nice finished look on the sides. Sew the sides without the zipper pull first as shown. When you sew the other tab in, make sure the zipper coils are practically overlapping just slightly to avoid an unsightly opening in your zipper. After sewing, cut off excess zipper ends.
9. Pinch the four corners together and pin.
10. Using a quilter’s ruler, mark lines on each corner 2.5″ long. Try to be as accurate as possible. Sew along these lines, trim seams and turn right side out.
The zebra bag was made the same way as the small yellow one, but the paisley is lined and I used fusible fleece to give it a little body. That sewing method was different and far more involved and time consuming.
This unlined bag took me 30 minutes and because it’s so small, I can probably get three bags from one fat quarter. Not bad. Not bad at all.
Have I convinced you to give zippers a try?