The goal to “get organized!” is one that lasts year ’round. Projects you can make to pack, stash, and store your stuff are always in fashion. These cute curved zipper cases are a new take on the classic pencil case style. We’ve asked it before and we’ll ask it again: “Can you ever have too many zip pouches in various shapes and sizes?” We think not!
We recommend a heavier substrate with a mid-weight fusible for the best finished appearance. Our two samples are created from two different lightweight canvas cuts from our own Sew4Home stash. The lining is a standard quilting weight cotton. You need just small cuts; there may be the perfect options in your own cupboard right now!
Remember, a center zipper like this is easier than you think… even with a lining. If you’re brand new to the technique, we give you easy, step-by-step instructions to follow.
There’s a full pattern set to download below for all the elements, insuring the curves come together perfectly. You’ll notice our construction is slightly different than the standard circle-into-a-tube process we’ve followed on other pouches. It allows you to get the square bottom corners unique to this design.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing machine and standard presser foot
- Zipper foot
- Walking or Even Feed foot; optional but helpful for thicker layers. We opted for standard presser feet throughout. You could also choose to engage your machine’s built-in fabric feeding system, such as the Janome AcuFeed Flex™ system
Fabric and Other Supplies
NOTE: Supplies shown are for ONE zippered pouch.
- Scrap or ¼ yard of 44”+ wide lightweight canvas or similar for the exterior
NOTE: The quantity shown above allows a bit extra for fussy cutting.
- Scrap or ¼ yard of 44”+ wide quilting weight cotton for the lining
- Scrap or ¼ yard of 20″+ wide mid-weight fusible interfacing; we used Pellon Décor Bond
- 1 yard of standard packaged piping
- 1½ yards of standard packaged extra wide, double fold bias binding in a color to match the lining fabric
- ONE 9″ zipper; we recommend a chunky metallic zipper
NOTE: Longer zippers can be cut to fit, but finding a 9” zipper allows the easiest construction.
- ⅓ yard of ⅝” wide ribbon for the decorative zipper pull; optional
- All purpose thread to match fabric and ribbon
NOTE: We used clear monofilament thread to stitch the clever ends of the ribbon zipper pull to create the most invisible finish. You could also simply use a matching all purpose thread.
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Tape measure
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
- Seam sealant for the optional ribbon zipper pull
Getting Started and Pattern Download
- Download and print out the THREE pattern pieces: Front/Back Panel, Base Panel (parts 1 and 2), and Zipper Panel. These pattern pieces have been bundled into ONE PDF to make the download easier.
IMPORTANT: Each of the three pages within the PDF is ONE 8½” x 11″ sheet. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guide rule on each page so you can confirm your final printout is to scale.
- Cut out each pattern piece along the solid line.
- Match up parts 1 and 2 of the Base Section, using the printed arrows as your guide. Butt together each pair and tape; do not overlap.
- From the fabric for the exterior, cut the following:
Using the assembled Base pattern, cut ONE
NOTE: Transfer the pattern placement dots to the fabric; there are four dots and two notch markings to transfer.
Using the Zipper pattern, cut ONE
Using the Front/Back pattern, cut TWO
- From the fabric for the lining, cut the following:
Using the assembled Base pattern, cut ONE
Using the Zipper pattern, cut ONE
Using the Front/Back pattern, cut TWO
- Trim all the pattern pieces along the dotted seam allowance line. If you’d like to save your pattern pieces, print TWO copies of the PDF: one to use for the fabric cuts and the second to trim and use for the interfacing.
- From the mid-weight fusible interfacing, cut the following:
Using the trimmed Base pattern, cut ONE
Using the trimmed Zipper pattern, cut ONE
Using the trimmed Front/Back pattern, cut TWO
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Create the optional decorative zipper pull
- Because of the fact the end of this pull is folded and stitched, we strongly recommend adding it first rather than trying to maneuver the entire finished bag under the presser foot at the end of the project. As noted, this is an optional, but very cute, accent.
- Find the zipper.
- Cut an approximate 10” length of the ⅝” ribbon.
- Fold the ribbon in half, matching the raw ends.
- Insert the folded end through the opening in the zipper pull, folding and twisting as needed to fit the loop through the opening.
- Slip the raw ends through the loop and pull down to secure. This is the same type of simple looped knot you’d use to attach a price or gift tag.
- Decide on the finished length you want for your pull. Our tails finished at about 2½”.
- Make a perpendicular fold at this point, creating a little triangle point. Pin in place.
- Thread the machine with thread to best match the ribbon in the top and bobbin or use our choice: clear monofilament thread in the top and bobbin.
- Edgestitch first along the diagonal fold.
- Then re-position to stitch across the top and down the side, pivoting at the corner. You are simply stitching a small triangle, so really – the order of the sides is up to you.
- Trim away the excess so the raw edge is flush with the side of the ribbon.
- Run a drop of seam sealant along the trimmed edge and allow to dry.
- Set aside the zipper with its pretty pull.
- Find the front and back exterior panels, the exterior zipper panel, and the exterior base panel along with the matching pieces of fusible interfacing.
- Place a layer of fusible interfacing on the wrong side of each exterior fabric panel. The interfacing should be centered so there is ½” of fabric showing beyond the interfacing on all sides. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse in place.
Create the zipper section
- Find the exterior zipper section, which should already have its layer of interfacing fused in place, and the lining zipper section, which is un-fused.
- Place the layers wrong sides together.
- Cut the zipper section exactly in half lengthwise so you now have TWO exterior strips and TWO lining strips.
- Find the zipper.
- Place one exterior strip right side up and flat on your work surface. Place the zipper right side down on top to the exterior strip. The zipper should be centered side to side and the edge of the zipper tape should be flush with the raw edge of the strip. Pin along the top of the zipper tape through both layers. Open the zipper about half way.
- Place a lining strip right side down on top of the exterior strip, sandwiching the zipper between the layers. All the raw edges of the exterior and lining layers should be flush. Pin through all three layers along the top edge.
- Using a Zipper foot, stitch the length of the strip, running the seam as close to the zipper teeth as possible.
NOTE: As noted, the zipper should be about half way open. Stitch to the middle, where you can start to feel you’re approaching the zipper pull. Stop with your needle in the down position. Twist your fabric around slightly and carefully close the zipper, moving the pull out of the way. Re-position, drop the foot, and finish sewing to the end.
- Press the strips away from the zipper teeth so they are now wrong sides together to one side of the zipper teeth.
- Repeat to attach the remaining halves of the exterior and lining strips to the opposite side of the zipper in the same manner.
- Press the layers very flat to either side of the zipper and lightly pin them together.
- Still using a Zipper foot, edgestitch through all the layers, staying very close to the seam line to either side of the zipper.
Complete the side loop
- Switch back to a standard presser foot. Re-thread the machine as necessary to keep matching thread to your fabrics in the top and bobbin.
- Find the exterior and lining base sections. Place the two layers wrong sides together and machine baste around all four sides, staying very close to the raw edge.
- Find the completed zipper section. Place it right sides together with the base section, aligning each end of the zipper section with an end of the base section to create a loop. The zipper should be open about one third of the way. Pin in place. Double check that the loop is not twisted anywhere along its length.
- Using an approximate ½” seam allowance, stitch across the two short seams through all the layers. We say “approximate” because your goal is to stitch just beyond the zipper stops at the top and bottom. This may be slightly wider or narrower than the standard ½”.
- Finish the seam allowance with your favorite method. We chose a standard zig zag. For more options, check out our four-part series on Machine Sewn Seam Finishes.
- Press both seam allowances towards the base section – away from the zipper. Edgestitch along the two short seams within the base section. Remember to re-thread as necessary to make sure your edgestitching thread is a match to the exterior fabric.
- You now have a finished side loop that is a complete circle.
Add the piping and attach the front and back panels to the side loop
- Find the exterior front and back sections, which should already have their layers of interfacing fused in place, and the front and back lining sections, which are un-fused. Place the layers wrong sides together. Pin together around the perimeter.
- Machine baste each set of layers together, staying close to the raw edge.
- Measure to find the exact center point along the curved top edge and the straight bottom edge of each panel set. Mark with a pin or with your fabric pen or pencil.
- Measure to find the center point along both outer edges of the base panel section of the side loop. Mark with a pin or with your fabric pen or pencil… you should also have marking points from the original paper pattern.
- Align the bottom of one panel (it can be the front or the back) right sides together along one side of the base section of the side loop, matching the center point markings. Pin at the center point first then work your way outwards to either side, stopping ½” in from each corner of the front/back panel.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch across the bottom of the front/back panel, remembering to start and stop at the marked ½”-in points at either corner.
- Press the front/back panel away from the side loop.
- Find the piping, cut a length to fit around the curve of the front/back panel.
- Pin the piping in place. The edge of the piping’s insertion tape should sit about ⅛” from the raw edge to insure you have a full ½” from the raw edge to the piping cord. You can confirm this distance with your seam gauge to insure you have the proper position.
- As shown in the photo below, the piping should tuck into that extra ½” you left free at each bottom corner.
- Machine baste the piping in place.
- Bring the front/back panel up into position, pinning it right sides together with the remaining arc of the side loop. In order to allow the panel to fold up more easily, clip into each bottom corner – in the center of that ½” you left free. You are clipping in about ⅜”.
- Continue pining, the raw edges of the side loop and the front/back panel should be flush. And the upper center marked point on the front/back panel should align with the center of the zipper section. It helps to work with the zipper open.
- Using a Zipper foot and a ½” seam allowance, stitch along the curved panel from corner to corner, staying as close as possible to the piping cord.
- Repeat to attach the remaining front/back panel in the same manner.
Finishing the interior raw edges
- This construction method creates interior seam allowances. Because of the structure of the bag, the seam allowances are tucked deep into the bag and it’s hard to even see them. However, we do always recommend some type of seam finish. The method of is up to you. You can leave the interior seam allowances raw if you choose. Or, you could use your favorite machine sewn seam finish.
- We chose to wrap the inner seam allowances with bias binding in a color to match the lining fabric.
- To go with this method, first carefully turn the pouch wrong side out through the open zipper to reveal all the seam allowances.
- Find the double fold bias binding. Cut a length to fit around one complete panel seam allowance. Slip the binding over the seam allowance, encasing the raw edges to give the seam allowance a finished edge inside the bag. Leave 1″ extra at the tail for an overlap. Pin in place all around. Don’t be afraid to use plenty of pins.
- Fold back the tail of the binding and overlap the head for a clean finish. Pin in place. Still using a Zipper foot, stitch the bias binding to the seam allowance. Remember, you are stitching only through the seam allowance; do not stitch onto the main pouch itself.
- Repeat to bind the remaining seam allowance on the opposite side.
NOTE: If you are brand new to this type of binding process, check out how we used it to finish our Airstream Toiletry Bag.
- Turn the bag right side out and press.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Debbie Guild