Zipper pocket tips

Metal zippers look so good with denim! Let’s see how we can use them in our denim bags. By understanding the way the zipper is inserted and how the insides of the pocket are made you will be able to fit a pocket into almost any bag! Use this method for inner pockets on the lining or outer pockets to add some character and decor.

There are loads of different zippers on market, but thinking the recycling way a fly zipper from jeans can come handy as well for a small pocket for coins, cards, lip-balm, head-phones. It will be hard work unpicking the threads, the zipper is sewn in to last forever :). But some zippers are so pretty that you can’t resist.

First of all decide where you are going to place the zipper. Keep in mind that it’s better to avoid all the bulky places, such as existing pockets and multi-layered seams.

Decide where the zipper can go

For one pocket you will need two pieces of fabric big enough to become a pocket 🙂

Cut out two shapes for the pocket. The two shapes for the pocket must be slightly wider then the zipper and fit within the bag’s body shape.

On one of the pocket pieces draw a rectangle 1,5cm high and wide enough to fit in it the zipper teeth AND the metal stoppers.

Place the pocket piece into the exact position on the bag, faces together, so that the drawing sits at the place for the zipper to be.

Stitch the rectangle exactly as drawn and cut along inside it. Do not cut right up to very ends, but make V notches at each side. Be careful not to cut the stitching. If you accidentally cut just a bit through, stitch all the way around again, slightly wider to hide the mistake 🙂

Push the fabric through the opening and push out the seams flat with your fingers first and then with an iron. It is good to iron on the wrong side to avoid iron streaks and to make sure that the lining is not visible in the opening for zipper.

Position the zipper inside of the opening and secure in place by wonder tape or pins. Make sure the slider is visible in the opening and the metal stoppers are not in the top-stitching area.

Top-stitch. As you get to the zipper slider, leave needle down, lift up the presser foot and pull the slider past under the foot, out of the way to be able to proceed.

Looking good!

From the wrong side add the other piece of the pocket facing together.

Pin the two pocket pieces together without touching the body panel. Stitch around, moving the denim body out of the way as you go.

This is it! A handy pocket for anything you wish to stash in it. And it looks great adding some character to your denim bag 😉

In case you are wondering, a patern with instructions for this fanny pack can be found here >>>

Vertical pocket

The pattern for this bag is here >>>

I am sure there are times when you wish you had a pocket on outer of a bag for an easy access to your mobile phone or keys. Sometimes it’ll rather be positioned vertically – for convinience and fancy detail. Easy done!

The same as with horizontal pocket, get enough fabric to make two pocket panels. Lay it onto the pre-cut bag’s panel, which is not sewn yet. Lay one pocket piece and a zipper into the position to the exact place you wish it to be. If you are making a pocket for your phone, make sure it will fit – pin down the ends of the zipper, open it and feed the phone through 🙂 Watch not only the zipper but the edge of the fabric on opposite side – there must be enough space for the phone to get in.

Once you know the zipper is long enough for your phone to fit through, trim the fabric into a drop shape like on the picture below. You don’t need much on the top, but at the bottom – the more the better. There should be enough space for the phone and for the seam allowances. It is also good if you have the bottom line rather lower than the zipper’s bottom end – for a deeper pocket.

Once you are happy with the shape you have made – cut another piece like a mirror image. Just lay it on top of another piece of fabric facing together and cut around.

Pin one of the pieces into the exact position, make sure it is the correct piece – it has to be facing together with the body panel. Draw a rectangle and proceed as described for the horizontal pocket.

Now you can finish off the whole bag:

The pattern for this bag is here >>>
The pattern for this bag is here >>>
Pattern and tutorial for this knot wristlet can be found here >>>

Wax trick

If you have noticed that your metal zipper doesn’t run smoothly, here is an easy trick which I have learned when was working at a diving centre. Divers have 100% waterproof suits for diving in cold water and there are heavy duty zips with metal teeth so big that it is hard to zip up. We used to wax them every now and then for an easier move.

So the trick is – rub a piece of white wax against the metal teeth until you see the white bits are left there. Run the slider closed and open a few times. Then, for a tidy look, slightly iron with or without a cloth to melt the wax. Run the slider open/closed again and you should notice it’s moving smoother.

For more tips and tricks for DIY denim bags visit the Lessons page >>>

For full projecs ideas visit the Tutorials page >>>

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