Zipper Bag Tutorial
I don't really start out with a finished size in mind. I start by selecting a zipper size. The smallest I could find at JoAnn's was 6". You probably wouldn't want to go any smaller than that, as it would be hard to get things in and out of it.
- fabric - I used decorator fabric which has a little more weight to it and is a little stiffer. Plain cotton might be too floppy but you could always stiffen it with interfacing. About 1/2 yard.
- sewing machine
- plastic for front - I found an old clear plastic shoe organizer at a garage sale that I have been cutting up and using the plastic. You could also use those bags that blankets come in or I think you can just buy clear vinyl at JoAnn's.
1) Cut several lengths of 1-1/2" strips from your fabric. Whatever the length of your fabric is fine. We will be cutting these down eventually.
2) Cut two 4" lengths from your strip for the zipper ends (4" x 1-1/2").
3) Press both ends of each 4" strip under 1/4" (wrong sides facing). Fold each in half, wrong sides facing and press.
4) Place the end of a zipper in between the folded edges and sew across. Do the same for the other end. Now you should have something that looks like this.
5) Measure length of zipper between fabric ends and add 1/2". This number equals the width to cut your plastic. Cut the height to whatever you would like.
6) Cut two pieces from your strips of fabric the same height as the plastic (1-1/2" x whatever height you chose in the previous step). Sew with a 1/4" seam to sides of plastic (right sides facing).
* At this point, you might want to zigzag the edges of the fabric so they don't fray and leave little strings inside your bag. I would do that for every seam you sew.
Finger press the seam open and topstitch near seam edge. You will want to do this for every seam as well. Now, you should have something that looks like this (the white strip is just part of my plastic).
7) Cut two strips the same length as the plastic plus the fabric sides (or leave long and trim after the seam is sewn). Sew one to the top and one to the bottom (1/4" seam, right sides facing. Don't forget to zigzag edges.) Finger press out and then topstitch near edge.
8) Trim fabric zipper ends even with the edge of zipper. Sew top edge of plastic window unit to one edge of the zipper (1/4" seam, right sides facing). Finger press out and topstitch near seam edge. Now you should have something that looks like this.
9) The rest of the bag will be one piece of fabric. The width of the fabric will be the same as the width of the bag. The length of the fabric will be 2X + 2-3/4" (yes, you have to do a little math). So if my X was 8" then I would cut the length to 18-3/4" (2 x 8 + 2-3/4).
Cut your fabric to your measurements, then turn one of the edges that is the width of the bag under 1/4" (wrong sides facing) and press.
10) Sew the opposite, unfolded edge to the exposed side of the zipper (1/4" seam, right sides facing. Don't forget to zigzag.) Finger press out and topstitch near seam edge. It should look something like this.
11) Flip the bag over and fold the folded edge toward zipper about a third of the total length. Like so.
When you fold the window side over on top, the edges should match. You may have to adjust the folded edge to get it to match. Once you have the right placement and the edges match, carefully unfold window side and topstitch down the the folded edge (just as you see it laying here in the photo).
12) Make sure zipper is open. Now, you should be able to fold in half, right sides together (if you picked up the fabric in the photo above, you would fold the right side back toward the zipper side), match all three edges and sew around the three edges (don't forget to zigzag edges if you don't want it to fray). You won't need to sew the edge near the zipper as it is already attached. It should look something like this.
Trim the corners and turn inside out through the zipper. You're finished.
Use your bag for travel projects, to store art supplies, as a pencil bag or give as a gift. Enjoy!
If you use this tutorial, and have any problems with the directions, please let me know so I can try to make them clearer. I also find it more efficient to make more than one at a time.