Sunday 6 July 2014

How to: Sew a Zip Up Bag

Zip Up Bag Tutorial

I am a fabric hoarder through and through, and my main problem is that I have tiny, tiny remnants of lovely fabric that I struggle to use. Whether they are pieces left over from another project, or a whole bag of remnants found in the bargain bin of my local fabric shop, I simply cannot let them go. I am trying to find ways of using some of my favourite remnants, and here is one I recently came up with - making a zip up bag.

It's clear why I'd kept this gorgeous, monochrome striped remnant, and yet after about a year or two, I still hadn't used it. I came across it whilst sorting through my stash for another piece of fabric, and I decided right there and then, that I would make something out of it - that very night. I had a spare zip hanging around, and as I recently found out that I actually really enjoy inserting zips, thought that I would try to make a little zip up bag.

This is quite an easy project, all you need to know is how to insert an invisible zip. You can use any size fabric you want, it just needs to be cut into a rectangle before you begin. Different sized remnants could be used to make different zip up bags - you could make a clutch bag, wash bag or even a pencil case.

You Will Need:

  • Fabric Remnant
  • Standard Zip (the length of the longest side of your fabric)
  • Ribbon/Rouleau Straps for loops (optional)


Time for some highly technical diagrams - Leonardo da Vinci, eat your heart out!

Zip Up Bag Tutorial

1. Fold your remnant in half, so that the shortest sides meet. Use an iron to press this fold, before cutting along it with a pair of scissors. Press both pieces of fabric.

2. Add a hem of 1cm to the tops of both pieces of fabric. If you have fabric that is prone to fraying, I'd recommend adding a zig zag stitch to the other sides at this point.

3. Add an invisible zip along the hemmed edges of your fabric, joining the two pieces together.

4. Making sure your zip is partially unzipped (so that you can turn your bag the right way around), fold your sewing in half, so that the right sides face each other, and the zip runs along the top. If you want to add loops to the side of your bag, insert them inbetween the two pieces of fabric, in the position shown in diagram 4. Pin in place, before sewing along the sides and bottom of your bag. Make sure to sew over both ends of the zip, and to sew through the ends of your loops. Turn your sewing the right way around,

And you've finished! Give yourself a round of applause.

You could make this project more complicated if you wanted to, and add a chic lining to the inside of your bag. As it is, I really like the simplicity of this project, and the fact that it can be easily completed within a couple of hours.

Zip Up Bag Tutorial

I've attached a spare handbag strap to the loops of my bag, and am using it as a mini cross body bag. Sure, it's pretty small, but it makes a nice change from rummaging around in my giant handbag.

Let me know if you try this! Do you have any ideas for using up fabric remnants?


  1. This is really cool. I made a tiny bag like this recently to practise (because I am so not practised in sewing), only without a zip. It actually turned out pretty well and I'd like to make a bigger one exactly like this, with a zip and loops and all, and ideally an inside pocket as well (I'm not going to rush myself though). Bags! This looks super cool.

    1. Thanks Lil - I wanted to add a lining to mine, but didn't in the end as it looked a bit fiddly. There's always next time, I guess :)