Different ways to sew a zipper pocket – one piece pocket

Hello my crafty friends! How deep are your pockets? Just kidding, but what I really want to know is what is your favourite way of sewing a zipper pocket? Since I’ve started designing bag patterns I was also “forced” to sew more zipper pockets than ever before.

We all love pockets, regardless if it is on a dress or inside your handbag, but did you know there is a lot of different ways you can sew a zipper pocket? Today I will show you the easiest and quickest version. I’ve noticed that a lot of bag patterns and bag makers prefer this method. It might be because it is quick and simple to sew, or just because they do not care how their pockets look from inside, after all, who really will look inside our pockets?!? No-one I hope!

One piece pocket

To add a zipper pocket to any bag, you need the main pattern piece, which can be the front or back panel of your bag, tote etc. or other piece you want to add a zipper pocket to. Additionally you need to cut a rectangle (the pocket bag) from your lining fabric. The size of which depends on how big is the pocket. For example: if your pocket is 10 cm wide and 15 cm high cut a rectangle that is 10 cm + 3 cm seam allowance wide by (15 cm x 2) + 3 cm seam allowance tall, giving you a rectangle of 13 cm by 33 cm.

Once cut, you might want to fuse some woven interface on the wrong side of the pocket bag, but that really depends on the fabric choice. Heavyweight fabric or waterproof canvas does not require interfacing, because they are stable enough.

Lastly, you need a zipper. I would recommend using a plastic or nylon coil zipper especially if it is longer than your pocket opening, because you can sew over the zipper without worrying of breaking a needle. The are two most common zipper sizes used for bag making #3 and #5. I typically use #3 for any pockets in the lining of the bag and #5 for all pockets on the outside of the bag, but it is really your choice.

Sewing instruction

On the wrong side of the pocket bag, draw a rectangle the width of the pocket opening by 1 – 1.5 cm high, centered at least 1.5 cm down from the top edge.

With right sides together, center the pocket bag on top of the main piece such a Front panel and align it in the desired place.

TIP: When using a lining fabric with a directional print, place the pocket bag upside down.

Pin in place and with precision stitch along the rectangle.

TIP: Do not start stitching at the corners to avoid bulk and uneven corners. Do not back-stitch at the beginning or the end, instead just stitch over the first couple of stitches.

Draw a line in the middle of the rectangle, stopping 1 cm from both short sides. From there, draw a line towards each corner, creating a small triangle as a result.

Cut along the middle line and into the corners ensuring not to snip into the stitching line.

TIP: Place a pin at the corners to avoid cutting into the fabric further than needed.

Using the opening, grab the pocket bag and pull it through the hole towards the wrong side of the main panel. Smooth out the seams around the rectangle and press it flat.

Apply a row of double-sided tape on the right side of the zipper tape, close to the edges.

Remove the tape’s cover on both sides and align the zipper tape facing down on the wrong side of the pocket opening (turn it over to check if the zipper is evenly spaced, adjust if necessary).

TIP: If you prefer not to use double-sided tape you can hand baste the zipper instead.

With the right side facing up, edge-stitch around the pocket opening. Back-stitch at the beginning and the end.

With right sides together, fold the pocket bag in half. Align on all side and pin it together.

Using 1 cm seam allowance stitch around the sides and the top edge of the pocket bag. Back-stitch at the beginning and the end. Leave the bottom edge open. We will use it later to close the opening in the lining.

TIP: It is easier to sew if you fold the main piece onto itself first.

That is it! Nice and simple. Next time I will show you how to sew a zipper pocket using two pocket bag pieces, so stay tuned.

Monika xxx

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