Friday, May 4, 2012

Front Zip Pouches with Shoulder Straps

So, I'm not sure where this week went.  If you read my last post, you know that I was iron-less - I had lots of plans for nap times BUT um, well, uh, yeah, my house is still not clean and organized, I have no new crochet or embroidery projects to share, I didn't organize or order any photos, I didn't try new recipes (though I did pin some new ones) - yep, so many big plans and nothing!

But the new iron arrived yesterday so I was back to it and made 5 bags!  What was that number again?  5!  And why did I cram 5 bags into 2 days of sewing?  Well, my kids have three birthday parties to go to this weekend and a few coming up so I got on a roll.  These are fairly quick to whip up - I think the most time is spent selecting and cutting the fabric. 

There are so many zip pouch tutorials out there so I'm not trying to reinvent the wheel but here are some pics/words/tips about my process.


Note 1.  For the front zip pouches, I actually start by measuring my zipper.  I find them easiest to make when I use a zipper that is longer than the width of the bag so that all metal parts fall outside the fabrics and can be chopped off.  

Note 2.  I use cotton flannel or batting as a middle layer.  I actually have never used interfacing in any project so I can't comment on how that would work for these.  

Note 3:  I used two different methods for finishing the bags.  I'll talk about both both.

My measurements for this bag were approximately the following.  Depending on how close I sew to the zipper and various shifting throughout the project, I usually end up having to trim at the end.

Front pieces:
1.  Outer Fabric 9x3 (this is the total measurement after patchwork, etc.)
2.  Flannel 9x3
3.  Lining 9x3
4.  Outer Fabric 9x9
5.  Flannel 9x9
6.  Lining 9x9

Back pieces
1.  Outer Fabric 9x12
2.  Flannel 9x12
3.  Lining 9x12

10 inch zipper
30 inches of cotton webbing 

1.  Start by making your Outer Front Bottom piece of fabric by sewing together scraps to make a finished size of 9x9.  You can foundation piece the scraps to your 9x9 piece of flannel if you wish.  Or you can make a few quilting lines to attach it to the flannel after piecing together the front.  Do the same for the Outer Front Top (9x3) and the Outer Back (9x12).  You don't have to attach the outer fabrics to the flannel but at least iron them together so they are somewhat attached.  From now on, when I refer to outer fabric, I'm referring to the outer fabric attached to the flannel.

2.  Lay your Outer Front Top on your table right side up.  Put your zipper on top of that right side down and make sure the fabric is centered so that the little metal parts on the zipper are on the outside of your fabric.  Place your Lining Top right side down on top of the zipper.  I like to have the zipper a bit below the top of the fabrics so that I can make sure I am getting through all the layers.  I use the zipper teeth to guide my stitching so I'll know that the zipper is being included even though I can't see it.  Use your zipper foot if you have one.

*Not all my photos are from the same bag.

3.  Pull back the fabrics so that wrong sides are facing.  Take your Outer Front Bottom and lay it down right side up.  Take your zipper (with tops attached) and lay it right side down.  Take your Bottom Lining and lay it right side down on top of the zipper.  Make sure all your sides are lined up and stitch to the zipper.

4.  Pull back the fabrics and top stitch on both sides of the zipper.

At this point, you can choose one of the following ways to finish the bag.

5.  Put together your back by placing your Outer Back and Lining together wrong sides facing.  If you haven't already, quilt a few lines to attach them together.

6.   With your zipper open, stitch a little bit over the end of the zipper to secure.

7.  Take your cotton webbing and attach it to the top of the Outer Front Top.

8.  Take your Outer Front (with attached lining) and your Outer Back (with attached lining) and put them right sides together.  Cut off excess fabric including both zipper ends (you should be able to cut off the metal parts from both ends and then you won't have to worry about sewing over metal.)  Sew around all four sides (your zipper should be open!)  You can reinforce your stitches over the zipper ends and handles if you like.  Clip your corners and finish off the raw edges since they'll be showing (zigzag, serger, binding - I've even tried french seams on all but the top where the handles are attached.)   Using the zipper opening, rearrange the bag so that the right sides are on the outside. 

That is one way to do it.  However, yesterday, I did a web search about finishing the raw edges and I found this tutorial on Projects by Jane.  It took me a few tries but it works great and the raw edges are all fully encased.  To do the bag with the straps like I have it, just go to her step 7 where she has you attach all the layers and sneak the straps in there (attached between the outer front and outer back when they are right sides facing.)  You'll then have to move the straps around while doing her other steps to make sure you don't sew over them.  Also, I find that if I cut my lining about one-half of an inch longer than the outer fabrics that it is easier for me to sew the gap at the end (which I prefer to do by machine) - not sure whether that really makes a difference but it worked for me.  

And since I love looking at pics of fabrics on all of your blogs, I thought I'd post one of my recent acquisitions.  I have specific plans for a couple of these and some I just ordered small cuts of to stockpile for an I Spy Quilt.

I was so happy to be able to sew again!  However, my machine was acting up again today so . . .

Please check out my Links page to see where I like to link my posts.


  1. Your bags are lovely, you have been busy. They are a great idea for presents.

  2. Very cool bags! What fab birthday present ideas :)

  3. Cute bags! Thanks for the measurements. I usually use fusible interfacing in bags but I like your idea better. Seems like it would make the bag softer. I'm definitely going to give that a try!

  4. Those bags are so adorable! Would love to try to make these. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Great looking bags. I usually try and get the cute Safeway reusable ones that come out at valentines day for girl presents thru the year, but these are way cute and I wouldn't look like a crazy bag lady coming out of the store!

  6. I really like this project!!

  7. Love these! So cute & handy. :)

    Stopping by from the Made With Love link up!

  8. These bags are great gift ideas! For Children's Day I will present bags for my nieces.
    You ordered yummie cute fabrics :)

  9. What great little bags, Beth! I'll be coming back to visit this tutorial!

  10. I love it! What perfect little bags for treasures picked up along the way.

  11. this is beautiful, love the one with the pink cars!

  12. I've been looking for a tutorial for the side zip, so thank you! I hope it's ok if I pinned it.

  13. I love the fabric you used, and how you constructed it! Great!

  14. Beth,
    Oh my goodness this is awesome!

    We would LOVE for you to stop over and link these up in our Crafty Saturday Showcase. It is just our 2nd week. Your blog is cute and we can't wait to look around some more! I love the name of your blog!

    Thank you!
    Susie @Bowdabra

  15. This is so cute! What a great tutorial!! Thanks for sharing! Hope you have a great weekend!

  16. I love this! I will need to make a couple of these this summer for my daughter!

  17. Wow - thank you for sharing this great idea. I'm pinning it right now. P.S I do totally understand when you feel like you are chasing your tail. Some days are just crazy.

  18. Spotted your bags @ Fabric Tuesday so I popped over for a peek - they're adorable! Your fabrics are fun, and I like the "organic" quilting stitching they're embellished with - I think that adds the perfect touch :) Jane (Projects by Jane) is a good resource for bag tutorials with no raw edges - she's a NRE guru, LOL (NAYY). Consider yourself pinned!

  19. Great and clear tutorial! I'll have to make this one day as a small travel bag (o:

  20. Beth - I made a bag this weekend using your measurements. It came out super cute! You can see it here (and I linked back to you, too):

  21. Interesting tutorial, I have been wanting to make a bag for myself and my Daughter-in-law, this could be the one.
    I have pinned it for reference. Thanks.


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