I love a good scrap busting project. Before I ventured into the world of making clothes, I made a ton of bags. Bags are such a fun project I could make in an hour and give as a gift. I made them for cloth diapers, for carrying baby food and items in when we were out and about, for vitamins, for snacks, for extra clothes, for crayons.... Bags come in handy!
Recently, I have been using the Greenstyle Creations FREE zipper pouch pattern to make up a few bags. This pattern comes in sizes Small, Medium, and Large and uses zippers sizes 5, 7, and 9 inches respectively and is such a fun, simple sew!
My favorite fabric to make an all purpose zipper pouch is cotton canvas or home decorator fabric and linen/cotton blend decorator weight fabrics. It really gives the bag a nice weight and sturdiness that just does not feel homemade. I use quilting cotton for the lining, and I also will use quilting cotton for the main fabric if I have a fun print that I just have to use. If I am making a makeup bag, I use laminated cotton for the main and lining. If I am making a bag for mama cloth, cloth diapers, or the pool, I use a quilting cotton or canvas main/outer fabric and use PUL fabric for the lining to store wet items, and I add a zippered pocket with a normal quilting cotton lining to the front of the bag to keep clean items. Would you want to see how to add a zippered pocket to the front in a future blogpost?
Interfacing is everything. Not only do you want to use the nice woven fabrics for your main fabric, you need a nice interfacing. If I am quilting the main (think Vera Bradley style bag), I like to use fusible fleece or I will spray glue some batting or fleece onto my main fabric before quilting. If I am not quilting, I use a featherweight or lightweight interfacing. You can give your bag even more structure with heavier interfacing, but I don't like to use interfacing that is heavier than the main fabric.
Shortening the Zipper
I always buy a ton of zippers when I order. I seem to always find a use for them and like to have them on hand for a project. Since I order in bulk, I don't often know what size I will end up needing and have to shorten my zippers. A zipper is measured from stop to stop, so you do not want to cut off a total length of 5, 7, or 9 inches or your zipper will be too short!
To shorten your zipper, apply your zipper tab to the end of the zipper where it closes. Close your zipper. Prepare your zipper tab for the remaining end and lay that tab on top of your zipper to where your length from one stop to the next is the exact zipper length you need. Then, cut the zipper at the back of that zipper tab, where my finger is pointing. Then, apply your zipper tab to the end, and voila, you are done. If you are dealing with a metal zipper, you will need to remove zipper teeth where you are sewing so you don't break your needle when you apply your tab. Plastic zippers do not require any extra work.
When I first started making bags, the one area I never quite felt like I mastered was the zipper tab. Sometimes my bag would completely eat my zipper, and I never understood why. Well, this pattern gives you a perfectly clean and finished zipper end (that is not bulky!) It is completely beginner friendly and will keep you from scratching your head as to what went wrong when your bag is finished.
The bag features an optional loop for carrying. If you are using a fancier fabric, leather, etc., you can easily add hardware to the loop. Maybe this will also be in a future blogpost....
This 9 inch bag is perfect for substituting as a clutch when I don't want to carry my big purse around. It fits everything I need to run errands or run into the gym.
The 7 inch bag is also a great size for using as a clutch or to stuff in my purse to keep my lipstick and a few essential oils from getting lost in the bottom. I need to make another one in this size so that my son can keep his toy cars in it and carry them around.
The 5 inch bag also fits so nicely in my purse as a catch all for small things that land on the bottom. It also fits nicely in my 9 inch bag to keep it more organized.
Pattern: Greenstyle Zipper Pouch
Tiger main fabric: Tula Pink Eden Crouching Tiger in Sapphire
The light blue triangle fabric: Leah Duncan for Cloud 9 Organic Canvas Lines and Shapes Penmarks.
Mustard fabric: Anna Graham for Cloud 9 Organic Canvas Rain Walk Ripple.
Zippers: YKK Zippers from Zip It
Interfacing: Pellon 911FF Fusible Featherweight
If you have followed my blog for long, you will know that I also love to make quilts. I have a caddy in my sewing room of quilts in progress. On one of the shelves, I keep quilt shapes that I cut out for previous quilts that did not make the final quilt. (I always cut too much out for quilts!) I love how these look on a bag! This is a 9 inch bag that I made before we perfected the zipper tabs. I love how cute and fun it is made out of old quilt blocks! This one truly was a scrap-buster!
Disclosures: This post also may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small compensation when you purchase via my link. There is no cost to you. Any and all opinions expressed are my own.