Tutorial: Window Zippered Pouch

I have a little cold this weekend so I thought I’d stay indoors and make up a tutorial for a zippered pouch I did a couple weeks ago. These are handy little pouches that you can use to keep all types of things, and you can pretty much vary the size according to your personal preference, limited mainly just by the length of your zipper. So whether you keep makeup, knitting stitch markers, pencils, a little sewing kit, or whatever else you feel like, these are handy little things because they let you see their contents at a glance and pretty much everybody could find a use for one. My cell phone pictures here aren’t exactly professional, but hopefully they’ll still show you what to do in a way you can understand!

Zippered Pouch Tutorial

Finished Zippered Pouch

Materials (for a pouch 7.5 x 5.5 inches):

  • Fabric for the main part of the pouch (what you see on the back and sides)
  • Coordinating fabric for the inside (what you see through the window)
  • Heavy weight interfacing (fusible or sew in as desired)
  • A zipper to go with the fabrics you chose (at least 7 inches)
  • Thread to match or contrast your main fabric, as desired
  • Clear vinyl (note that the insert for mine says it can be used for “blankets” – NO IDEA what that might mean, and I for one am not cheered by the prospect of a vinyl blanket, personally)
  • Optional: fusible mesh tape
Materials for Zippered Pouch

Choose coordinating fabrics for the main body and the inside of the pouch, some heavyweight interfacing, and some craft vinyl.

From your materials cut the following pieces:

Piece Cut From Size Notes
Piece 1 Inside fabric 7.5 inches by 5.5 inches Size of finished pouch
' Interfacing 7.5 inches by 5.5 inches Same as Piece 1
Piece 2 Main fabric 8.5 inches by 6.75 inches Cut 1 inch wider and 1.25 inches taller than Piece 1
Piece 3 Main fabric 7.5 inches by 2.5 inches Cut to width of pouch and to be 2 inches after turning under 1/2 inch on each long side
' Interfacing 7.5 inches by 2.5 inches Same as Piece 3
Piece 4 Vinyl 7.5 inches by 4.75 inches Cut to width of pouch and to be .75 inches shorter than Piece 1

A note about the measurements: I’ve provided the cutting instructions for a pouch 7.5 inches by 5.5 inches, but you can pretty much make this project to your own specifications if you cut Piece 1 to the size you want your finished pouch to be, then cut the other pieces to add the appropriate allowances as directed on this linked image.

Pouch Pieces Before Assembly

Pouch Pieces Before Assembly: Piece 1 (cut from inside material), Piece 2 (cut from main material), Piece 3 (cut from main material), Piece 4 (cut from vinyl and kinda hard to see in the photo!).

For the interfacing, you can cut it to size separately if you prefer, but I sort of like to to use fusible, iron it to the pieces, and then use my rotary cutter to square off the edges. I think it’s a little easier than measuring and cutting out the pieces separately. Speaking of which, you can begin by doing that.

Attach Interfacing If Using Fusible

If using fusible interfacing, attach to Pieces 1 (Inside fabric) and 3 (Strip of main fabric that goes under zipper).

Square Off With Rotary Cutter

Cut off excess interfacing with rotary cutter or scissors.

Take the 2.5 inch by 7.5 inch strip (Piece 3) and turn the long edges under .5 inch (I find it helpful to mark the folding line with a pencil). Press into place.

Folding Line Marked In Pencil

Here I’ve marked the 1/2 inch folding line in pencil on each edge. This is completely optional, but I find it helpful.

Front Strip With 1/2 Inch Folded Under

Here is the front strip with 1/2 inch folded under on the long edges of top and bottom.

Preview of How The Pieces Go Together

Here’s a quick little preview of how the pieces will go together in the finished product. However, first you’ll assemble the front panel before you put everything together!

Take one side of the strip and place it on the zipper up near the teeth. I like to use the fusible tape here to hold it in place while I top stitch it down, but you can pin it instead if you like. Stitch along the folded edge next to the teeth, but not so close that it will rub too much against the pull.

Place Front Strip On Zipper & Sew In Place

Place the front strip on the zipper and pin or fuse in place. Right now the position of the zipper pull isn’t very important, so just keep it closed. Stitch along the edge of the fabric close to the teeth.

After you topstitch this, you’ll have a little flap on the other side where the folded edge is free. Take the piece of vinyl and tuck it inside that flap. Pin it into place. When pinning, be careful not to pin the vinyl anywhere that it will show later – so the part behind the fabric strip is OK, but the main window isn’t (not that it would help you to stick pins there anyway). Fabric mostly self heals from pins, but vinyl won’t!

Tuck The Vinyl Into The Top Flap Of Piece 3

Tuck the vinyl under the top flap of Piece 3, lining up the edges along the width of Piece 3. Pin in place. Turn it over and top stitch the other edge (the one that isn’t already sewn to the zipper) to the vinyl.

Pinned In Place and Ready to Sew

Here is the other side with the vinyl pinned in place (the holes in the vinyl won’t show when you pin here) and ready to be sewn along the bottom of Piece 3.

Top stitch along the other folded down edge to fix this cloth strip to the vinyl.

Turn it over. The little long flap at the top underside of Piece 3 will still be free. Technically you can just leave it this way, but if you’re like me and this will annoy you every time you try to take something out of the pouch, get out a needle and thread and whipstitch the flap in place, stitching it directly to the vinyl.

Whipstitch the Loose Flap of Fabric On Strip 3

This is optional, but I prefer to go back and stitch this loose little flap of folded fabric down to the vinyl in the back of Piece 3 so that it doesn’t interfere with anything you put in or take out of the pouch. Do this part by hand with a needle and thread.

You now have the front panel of the pouch pretty much complete.

Now take Piece 2 (the larger piece of the main fabric) and place it right side down. Place Piece 1 (the inside fabric piece) right side up on top of it, with a half inch allowance on the sides and bottom. I like to use fusible tape here again to fix the two pieces together in place, but again, you can pin it instead.

Sandwich Pieces 1 and 2 Together

Place Pieces 1 and 2 together with wrong sides together, with 1/2 inch allowance on sides and bottom, and 1-1/4 inch allowance at top. Fuse or pin in place.

When you go to assemble the pouch, you’ll place the top panel on the Piece 1/2 sandwich, and align the vinyl and the top of the zipper with Piece 1, like so.

Final Assembly Preview

Here is a preview of how the final assembly will go. The top panel you just finished will align with Piece 1 (inside fabric) and then you’ll fold over the top and bottom edges and stitch in place, then fold over the sides and stitch those in place.

First, though, take the Piece 1 and 2 sandwich to the ironing board (keep the iron away from your vinyl!) and press in your edges. For the bottom and sides this will be 1/4 inch folded over, and then folded over again to cover the raw edge. Since you left 1/2 inch allowance, a good way to do this is to fold the raw edge in to meet the inside fabric, press, and fold it over again to overlap the inside fabric, and press. Do the bottom first.

After doing the bottom, do the top edge. Position the front panel in place with the zipper aligned along the top of the inside fabric, and press the top edge so that it lines up along the zipper teeth. This will mean a folded over flap of about 3/8 for most zippers, so your first fold with the raw edge will be just slightly over 1/4 inch. Basically just get it to line up nicely with the zipper. Check it before you move on to the sides.

Pressing the Allowance for the Top Edge

When pressing down the top edge, you won’t first press it down exactly 1/4 inch like the other edges – instead it’ll be just a hair more because the goal is to have your folded over edge align nicely with the zipper teeth when the front panel is in position.

After doing the top edges, fold in the sides and press them as well. Don’t worry that they will probably not stay in place. The important thing is just to have the creases there for when you stitch everything into place.

With All Edges Pressed

Here’s about what it will look like once you’ve folded and pressed all your edges in. Remember that you’ll have done the top and bottom first, then the sides so that when sewing everything down, the side edges should be sewn over the top and bottom edges.

Place the front panel in place and position it as precisely as you can. It should align almost perfectly with Piece 1 (inside fabric). Pin it in place on the Piece 3 strip (almost anywhere else would leaves holes in your vinyl window!).

I recommend sewing the top edge first. Begin at the inside edge (see picture), even though this will mean you have a funny flap of the main fabric that is folded over but not sewn to the zipper. This will let you go back later and carefully trim the zipper off. There are other ways to do this, such as trimming the zipper before sewing the top edge, but this is my preferred method since it allows the zipper to remain closed while you sew the top edge. Personally I think it’s easier to sew down a zipper when it closed, but if you’d prefer otherwise then have at it!

Sew Top Edge First

Sew the top edge first, starting at the beginning of the inside panel, not going all the way to the end.

When you get to the other end, stop sewing at the inner edge just like how you began. Later you’ll go back and trim the zipper overhang, but let’s wait so that there’s no risk of the pull coming off and ruining all your work!

Now go to the bottom edge. After folding it in 1/4 inch and folding that in again another 1/4 inch to hide the raw edge, you should have a 1/4 inch binding overlapping the vinyl panel. Pin this in place, but be careful not to puncture any part of the window that will show. Pin only on the 1/4 inch strip of fabric.

Pin Bottom Edge Binding In Place

Pin the bottom edge into place, being careful not to make any holes in the vinyl that will show.

Now you can carefully stitch down along the edge of the bottom binding. Note that here it’s OK to go all the way to the edge, since you won’t need to trim anything from this later. I admit, I usually stitch this part by hand because it makes me nervous that I might make a mistake with the machine and make holes in my vinyl. So whichever method you choose, be careful not to stitch onto the vinyl part and create unnecessary holes in the window.

Now you have the top and bottom edges stitched down and you’re on the home stretch. Let’s trim the excess zipper now. The most important part of this to remember is to move the zipper pull to the middle of the zipper before trimming off the ends! I’m sure it’s not impossible to reattach the pull but your life is going to be SO much easier if you don’t have to. So tug the zipper pull to the center where it’ll be nice and safe.

Top and Bottom Edges Sewn

Here is the pouch with the top and bottom edges sewn down and the zipper pull safely in the center where it can’t accidentally be chopped off and orphaned!

You’ll note here that I trimmed both zipper edges at the same time, but if I had it to do over, I think it’s slightly “safer” to trim one side, sew the side edge down, and then wait to trim the second side of the zipper until that side is secure. That way at any given time there is only one place where the pull could theoretically come off, which you’re already at work stitching down anyway. Your preference, though. I trimmed both edges and it went OK.

However you choose to do it, when you’re ready to trim the zipper, fold back the flap of main material so that the excess zipper is easily visible. Now you can see more easily why I asked you not to stitch that particular part to the zipper – now you can trim the zipper without cutting your fabric!

Fold Back the Main Material Flap To See Zipper Overhang

Fold back the flap of your main material so that you can see where the zipper overhangs the edge.

Carefully trim the excess zipper, being carefully not to cut into the body of your pouch. When you’re done it should be even with your inside fabric panel.

Trim The Excess Zipper

Carefully trim the zipper overhang so that it is even with the edge of the pouch.

Now you can fold over the side edge where you just trimmed the zipper, and pin it in place. The edge of the fabric will create the new stop for the zipper.

Side Edge Pinned Down

Pin the side edge into place. The edge of the material creates the new stop for the zipper.

Note that you’ll have a bit of bulk at the corners where you’ve folded material over. If you need to trim a little of it the part that isn’t showing to reduce some of that bulk, that’s OK. Be careful not to cut too much, though.

Trimming Some Bulk From The Fold

It’s OK to trim a little of the inside fabric that doesn’t show to reduce the bulk at the corners. Be careful not to cut anything that is supposed to show!

At the beginning and end of the side edges, take care to tuck any awkward little raw bits under and sew them down so that they don’t show. Do your best to keep the folded edge looking as neat as possible. Stitch down the length of the side, being careful not to puncture the vinyl window.

Pin Side Edge Into Place

Sew each corner carefully so that no funny little raw edge bits are showing.

Sew The Side Edge Down

Stitch down the length of the side edge.

After stitching the first side, if you haven’t trimmed the the excess zipper on the other side, repeat the steps for doing that. Then repeat the steps for sewing down the second edge. When you’ve done that, your pouch is complete!

Completed Pouch With All Edges Sewn

Here’s the completed pouch with all edges sewn down!

I tried to be as thorough as possible, but if you have any questions or need clarification on anything, please comment on this post and I’ll answer you the best I can. Thanks for reading!

5 comments

  1. Victoria says:

    Just wanted to say thank you for the awesome tutorial. I just found it this week when I did a Google search for vinyl pouches. I made two pouches today using your directions and they came out awesome! Thanks again!

  2. [...] a see-through window so the kids could see what was inside. I found a step-by-step tutorial for sewing a zippered pouch with a window. Instead of using vinyl for the window like the instructions suggest, I repurposed some sheer [...]

  3. Laura says:

    I made one of these pouches this weekend using your turtorial. First time I have attempted to sew anything in many years and your directions were superb! Thanks!

  4. Elena says:

    Excellent tutorial, thanks a lot.

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