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Zippered Fabric Pouches

Easily customized to any size, these zippered cotton pouches work well as change purses, makeup bags, or even tablet cases. This simple project is the perfect starting point for anyone interested in learning how to sew a zipper.

Photography: Mike Krautter

Source: Martha Stewart


With these basic steps, you can make any size zippered pouch you’d like. The zipper you use will determine the width of your completed pouch. Once you decide how big you want the finished pouch to be, add ½ inch to the length of the zipper (measured from metal end stop to metal end stop) to get the width measure you should cut. Add ¾ inch to the desired length—this is your length measure when cutting out the fabric. Our finished bag is 7 by 4 inches (we used a 7-inch zipper), so we cut fabric pieces that measure 7 ½ by 4 ¾ inches.


  • Cotton fabric for pouch exterior

  • Cotton fabric for pouch lining

  • Zipper

  • Thread

  • Basic sewing supplies


  1. Cut 2 pieces of pouch exterior fabric for the size pouch you’d like, following width and length measurements above. Cut 2 pieces of pouch lining fabric to the same size. 

  2. Place 1 piece of the pouch exterior fabric right-side up on your work surface. Unzip zipper halfway. Center the zipper wrong-side up along top edge of fabric. Metal end stops on zipper should be ¼ inch in from vertical edges of fabric.

  3. Place a lining-fabric piece on top, wrong-side up. Keeping zipper centered, pin all 3 layers together.

  4. Using your sewing machine’s zipper foot, sew pinned edge, starting from either end, with ¼-inch seam allowance. Avoid sewing over zipper teeth, which can cause needle to break.

  5. When you get to zipper pull, stop and lift up zipper foot, keeping needle down. Slide pull over to an already-sewn area. Return foot into position and finish seam.

  6. Put fabric pieces together, wrong sides facing, with zipper right-side up along top edge.

  7. Repeat process on other side of zipper.

  8. Bring 2 exterior-fabric pieces together, right-sides facing. Pin along all 3 unstitched sides.

  9. Using your sewing machine’s pressure foot, sew 3 edges with ½-inch seam allowance. On the 2 vertical sides, sew up to zipper teeth, but don’t sew over them.

  10. Bring lining-fabric pieces together, right-sides facing. Pin together all 3 unstitched edges. Sew sides with ½-inch seam allowance, leaving a 3-inch opening unsewn along middle of horizontal side.

  11. Cut off each corner at angle, being careful not to snip into any stitches.

  12. Turn sections right-side out by pulling them through opening in horizontal side.

  13. Press and pin along opening in lining-fabric section. Edgestitch or hand stitch gap closed. Place lining section inside exterior-fabric section.

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