One of the most versatile bags to make, zip bags have so many purposes and uses. They are super easy to make, let me show you how easy it is to make a zippered pouch with a flat bottom.
This tutorial for a flat bottom zipper pouch is a part of my “how to make a bag series”. A series of easy bag projects designed to give you the confidence to sew and design your own bags!
Firstly have fun choosing your fabric, the type of fabric and interfacing you choose will make a real difference to the shape of the finished zippered pouch. An upholstery or curtain fabric will give a much stronger shaped pouch to quilting cotton, the other big factor in the overall finished bag is the interfacing. In this tutorial, I have used heavyweight iron-on interfacing.
If you are contemplating the right stabilizer to use check out my video where I demonstrate the same bag with lightweight interfacing, fusible fleece and decovil light.
This zippered pouch with flat bottom features zip tabs.
You may find my zippered pouch tutorial flat bottom video helpful.
Zippered Pouch Tutorial
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Prepare Pattern Pieces
This completed zippered pouch with flat bottom measures 9 1/2″ long by 7″ high by 3″ wide.
To make a flat bottom pouch we first need to start with the maths – hopefully, this on the sketched sewing pattern helps explain how. The diagram is the pattern pieces without seam allowance. You will add the seam allowance as you follow the tutorial. Personally I prefer a seam allowance of 3/8″.
My measurements are as shown on the diagram (newsletter subscribers there is a PDF version of the tutorial in the resource library with a free printable pattern).
Measure out the fusible interfacing as shown in the diagram, you will need two pieces, you can either mark directly onto the fusible fleece or create a paper pattern. The short edge of the cutout corner forms the base, the flat bottom of the zippered pouch. This is the finished size of the bag, cutting the interfacing to the right size reduces bulk in the seams.
For my outer pieces for the zipper pouch I have used a combination of cork and a heavier weight cotton fabric. Using a straight seam I have sewn the two fabrics together, pressed and added some top stitching along the cork edge.
Iron the interfacing onto the wrong side of your outer bag fabric.
If you have chosen to use two fabrics for the outer bag I suggest measuring and then marking partway down the interfacing so each side is identical and your joining seam of two fabrics parallel to the top of the bag. I have measured 2 1/2”.
Trim the outer bag fabric, ensuring you include your preferred seam allowance.
Cut out lining fabric the same size as the outer bag pieces (don’t forget your seam allowance!) . I have chosen to use a former shower curtain so the bag can be used for wet swimming costumes, or as a makeup/wash bag. Alternative lining fabrics include PUL (a water-resistant fabric), or you could use quilting cotton.
Make Zipper Tabs
Next the zipper – I have used a long polyester zipper and shortened it to 9″. I keep a large stash of zips picked up at charity shops to hand, it’s really easy to shorten to the right size. If you need more detail check out my how to shorten a zipper post.
Your zipper should be 9” (yes it is too short but we are going to add zipper tabs).
Let’s create covers for each end of the zip. Cut out four pieces of fabric approximately 1 1/2”, as you can see I have chosen to use the outer fabric to co-ordinate. Place the fabric pieces right sides facing the zip, with seam allowance just over your zipper stop.
Stitch with your sewing machine to secure in place your fabric tabs, then fold back and press.
Sew Up The Zippered Pouch
Now you are ready to sew your zipper pouch with flat bottom together. Lay your lining right side facing you, then the zipper, then the outer bag wrong side facing you along the top edge of the pouch.
Using a zipper foot stitch along the top, along the edge of the zipper. Fold the fabrics away from the zip and press, then topstitch. This prevents the lining from becoming caught up in the zipper when you are using the finished zipper pouch.
Repeat for the second side.
Undo the zip part way (this is a very important step). Now open out your fabric so the right sides of the outer fabric pieces face each other and the right sides of the lining fabric pieces face each other. Pin in place.
Machine stitch all around, except a 6″ turning gap along the bottom of the lining. Some people find it helpful to mark this 6″ turning gap with pins as a memory aid when stitching.
Now fold your corners so the edges are facing each other, this creates the boxed corner. Check out my detailed tutorial to sew the perfect box bottom corner every time.
Machine stitch, and repeat for all four corners. Turn the zipper pouch the right side out, these stitched corners create the flat bottom of the pouch. Fold the raw edges from your turning gap in and machine stitch to close, alternatively, you can use a ladder stitch to hand stitch the turning gap close.
One completed zipper pouch with flat bottom, if you are anything like me as soon as you finish one a member of the family appears “I like that, can I have it?” – so much for trying to get ahead with some gifts for Christmas!!