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Pretty Pleats Zipper Pouch ~ Technique Tutorial Tuesday

This post is part of the Technique Tutorial Tuesdays Series. Click here to see all of the posts and learn more about the series.

Who is in the mood to make some zipper pouches!? I certainly have been in the mood. This weekend I suddenly had the urge to bust out a bunch of zipper bags.

A month or so ago I made myself a Pleated Tote Bag by Ellen Luckett Baker, which is a fantastic FREE pattern on her blog. The bag is very simple to put together and turns out beautiful. I really liked the idea of a similar itty bitty mini of the bag, but as a zipper pouch. These zipper pouches are assembled much like the Pleated Tote Bag and come in 3 sizes. If you are interested in making a matching purse be sure to check out Ellen's free pattern.


For my pretty pleats zipper pouches I used fabric from a few of my current favorite fabric lines:

Approximate Yardage

  • Small Pouch: (1) 1 Fat Quarter Outer, (1) Fat Quarter Lining, (1) 2" x WOF strip Coordinating Solid for Upper Band, (⅜) yard fusible fleece. OPTIONAL WRISTLET: (⅛) yard fabric, (⅛) yard fusible fleece.
  • Medium Pouch: (1) Fat Quarter Outer, (1) Fat Quarter Lining, (1) 3" x WOF strip Coordinating Solid for Upper Band, (1/2) yard fusible fleece. OPTIONAL WRISTLET: (⅛) yard fabric, (⅛) yard fusible fleece.
  • Large Pouch: (½) Yard Outer, (½) Yard Lining, (2) 3" x WOF strips Coordinating Solid for Upper Band, (¾) yard fusible fleece. OPTIONAL WRISTLET: (⅛) yard fabric, (⅛) yard fusible fleece.

Materials & Supplies

  • Plastic or Poly Zipper in proper size
  • Elmer's Washable School Glue in a bottle
  • Hot Dry Iron
  • Coordinating Thread

Seam Allowances

Being a quilter at heart this tutorial uses mostly ¼" seams, GASP yes ¼". This is a FULL ¼" do not use a scant ¼". These are fairly small bags and will work well with only a ¼".

  • Step 1: Choose whether you want to make a small, medium, or large bag. Cut your fabric and fusible fleece out per the size chart. You should have (2) outer bag fabric pieces, (2) inner bag fabric pieces, (4) upper band fabric pieces, (2) outer bag fusible fleece pieces, (2) upper band fusible fleece pieces, (1) zipper pull fabric piece and (1) zipper. Optional wristlet fabric and fusible fleece.
  • Step 2: Fuse the fleece to the (2) outer bag pieces and (2) of the upper band pieces following the manufacturer's instructions for pressing.
  • Step 3: Fold one outer bag piece in half widthwise and mark the center point. With a marking pen, mark to the left and right from the center mark (1.5” for the SMALL bag, 2” for the MEDIUM bag and 2.5” for the LARGE bag. Now, no matter what size you are making, from your two outer marks measure 1" out and mark again.
  • Step 4: On the left side, fold the fabric from the outer mark inward toward the 2nd mark creating a ½" pleat and pin. Be sure to keep the pins about ⅜" outside the top edge as we will be sewing with them in place. Repeat for the right side. You will now have two ½" pleats.
  • Step 5: Lay the upper band with fusible fleece and the pleated outer bag right sides together and sew in place with a full ¼" seam.
  • Step 6:  Press the upper band and seam upward toward the top of the pouch. Change your machine to a 3 stitch length and topstitch ¼" from the seam. Then topstitch ⅛" from the seam.
  • Step 7: This is what the seam allowance will look like on the wrong side. Repeat steps 3 through 7 for the second outer bag piece.
  • Step 8: Lay one lining bag piece and upper bag piece right sides together on the narrow part of the inner bag. Sew pieces together with a full ¼" seam. Press the seam upward toward the top of the pouch. Repeat for the second inner bag piece.
  • Step 9: OPTIONAL WRISTLET. Fuse the 1" strip of fusible fleece to the wrong side of the wristlet fabric 1/4" from the bottom edge.
  • Step 10: Fold the bottom edge upward and press with starch.
  • Step 11: Fold the top edge down 1/2" and press with starch.
  • Step 12: Fold the top edge down and press with starch.
  • Step 13: Change the stitch length on the machine to 3. Topstitch ¼" from each side, then ⅛" from each side, down the length of the wristlet.
  • Step 14: Installing the Zipper. Lay one outer bag piece right side up. Unzip the zipper all the way and choose one side of the zipper. Lay the zipper right side up with the teeth toward the top. Put a VERY SMALL stream of Elmer's Washable School Glue (must be washable) on the very bottom edge of the zipper. Flip the zipper over and lay down on the upper edge of the outer bag piece. The "start" of the zipper should hang off the right edge of the outer bag piece ¼". You now MUST heat set the glue with a HOT DRY IRON. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP.
  • Step 15: The zipper should now be in place without moving. Put a small dab of glue on the "start" of the zipper and fold it inward creating a 90 degree triangle flap. Heat set the glue.
  • Step 16: Now put a very small stream of Elmer's Glue on the very top edge of the zipper.
  • Step 17: Place one inner piece right sides together on top of the glue edge and line up. Heat set in place. No need for pins! Take it to your machine and using a zipper foot or scant 1/4" foot, sew your zipper in place. CAUTION: When approaching the "end" of the zipper stop 1/2" from the end and back stitch. DO NOT SEW ALL THE WAY TO THE END.
  • Step 18: Fold the pieces of the first outer bag that is sewn right sides out and lay the panel flat. Position the zipper so you can see how to attach your next piece to the next zipper side. CAUTION: It is very easy at this point to twist the second zipper side and sew it on twisted, so really think this through. Close the zipper if needed. Put a stream of glue onto the bottom edge of the zipper side. Flip the zipper over and stick it down lining up the edge with the top edge of the second outer bag piece. Heat set the glue.
  • Step 19: Fold the zipper "start" into a 90 degree angle, glue, and heat set. Place a thin small stream of glue on the top edge of the zipper. Place the inner lining right sides together lining up the top edge and heat set. Sew zipper in place as before remembering to stop ½” from the end and back stitch.
  • Step 20: Fold the fabric on the second panel so right sides are laid out. You should now be able to zip your pieces together.
  • Step 21: Zip the zipper halfway leaving an opening large enough for you hand. Lay the bag so that inner pieces are right sides together and outer pieces are right sides together. Tuck the zipper tail inward toward the lining. Carefully pin the side shut so that the zipper tail stays snug inside the lining (this is why we stopped sewing 1/2" from the edge).
  • OPTIONAL wristlet. Fold the wristlet in half. Lay it on the inside of the outer bag centering it in the upper band for the MEDIUM and LARGE sizes and below the band for the SMALL size. Allow 1" to hang off the edge of the bag and pin in place (see #24 image).
  • Step 22: Pin all sides of the bag.
  • Step 23: When pining the outer bag sides be sure to line up the upper band pieces and pin.
  • Step 24: See the instructions before Step 22 for the optional wristlet. These pertain to image #24.
  • Step 25:  Lay the outer bag pieces back together and pin in place.
  • Step 26:  On the center bottom edge of the lining mark a hole approximately 4" with two pins.
  • Step 27: Starting at one of your marking pins, back stitch and sew ¼” all the way around the bag ending at the other marking pin with a back stitch. This should leave a nice hole for your hand to fit through.
  • Step 28: Trim off the excess wristlet.
  • Step 29: Stick your hand up into the bag popping out the corners. Lay one corner out carefully lining up the two seams in the center. Use your cutting mat as a guide and measure. If making a SMALL bag measure 1.5" and mark. If making a MEDIUM bag measure 2" and mark. If making a LARGE measure 2.5" and mark.
  • Step 30: Trim a 1/2" outside the marked line. Yes, before sewing.
  • Step 31: Match your seams up and pin them in place. Sew on the marked line and trim ¼” from the sewn line.
  • Step 32: Repeat steps 29 through 31 for all 4 corners. Pull your bag right sides out.
  • Step 33: Press the seam of the open hole inward.
  • Step 34: Stitch the hole close by sewing ⅛" from the edge or hand stitching.
  • Step 35: At this point the zipper tail will be inside the bag.
  • Step 36: With a chopstick or pen, poke the zipper tail and push it until it pops through the hole to the outside.
  • Step 37 & 38: We will now topstitch the upper part of our bag. Change your machine to a 3 stitch length. Topstitch a full ¼" from the top edge of the bag.
  • Step 39: When approaching the zipper tail make sure it is folded outward and do not sew over it! Repeat and stitch 1/8" from the top edge all the way around the bag. Back stitching at start and end.
  • Step 40: The bag should have topstitching on both sides of the upper band now.
  • Step 41: Trim the excess of the zipper tail off leaving 1".
  • Step 42: Fold the zipper pull fabric up ¼" from the bottom and press.
  • Step 43: Fold the zipper pull fabric around the zipper tail and stitch in place.
  • Step 44:  Fold the top edge down ¼" and then down again to create a square zipper pull. Stitch square in place on all four sides. You are done!

Zip Along!

You must be in the zipper pouch mood now, so join me for an Instagram & Flickr #zipperpouchalong! Take pictures of your zipper pouch progress and tag them on instagram with #zipperpouchalong or add them to the Pile O' Fabric Flickr Group!

Feel free to use this tutorial to make zipper pouches for resale. I just ask that you please mention that the bag was made with the Pretty Pleats Zipper Pouch Tutorial by Alyssa Lichner at Pile O' Fabric.

Have fun and let me know if you have any questions!


Alyssa Williams

Alyssa Williams

Creator of Pile O' Fabric

Alyssa Lichner is a graphic designer turned avid sewist. She writes modern quilting tutorials and shares techniques and inspiration on her blog, Pile O’ Fabric. Alyssa has a passion for exploring different techniques and applying them to modern designs. She is thankful to have the opportunity to share these techniques, through her tutorials, patterns, and classes with quilters around the world. She always encourages her readers and students to challenge themselves to try new things and to approach quilting with a fearless attitude.