Zipper pocket tips

Metal zippers look so good with denim! Let’s see how we can use metal zipper pocket in 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.

Metal zipper pocket in denim bags

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. Unfortunately it will be hard work unpicking the threads, because the zipper is sewn in to last forever :). But some zippers are so pretty that you can’t resist πŸ˜‰

Planning the pocket

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.

Sewing lesson zipper pocket
Decide where the zipper can go

For one pocket you will need two pieces of fabric big enough.

Prepare the pocket

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

Plan the pocket

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. (If you are using a 3mm plastic zipper for an internal pocket on a soft lining fabric, then the width of this rectangle could be smaller so that zipper stoppers are rather hidden at both sides).

Draw a rectangle for the zipper

Sewing the zipper

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

Stitch the rectangle exactly as you’ve drawn it 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 πŸ™‚

Stitch and cut

Push the pocket 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.

Push through and press flat

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 around the opening. 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.

Top stitch

Looking good!

Metal zipper pocket in denim bags

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

Add the other piece of the pocket

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

Stitch the two pieces of the pocket

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 πŸ˜‰

Metal zipper pocket in denim bags is ready
Fanny pack sewing pattern
In case you are wondering, a patern with instructions for this fanny pack can be found here >>>

Vertical zipper pocket

Denim tote sewing pattern
The pattern for this bag is here >>>

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

Vertical pocket how to

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 πŸ™‚ Watch out here for not only the zipper length but the edge of the pocket-to-be on it’s opposite side – there must be enough space for the phone to get in.

How to make a pocket for a phone

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.

How to insert a zipper pocket into a bag

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.

Make two pieces for the pocket

Pin one of the pieces right sides together with the bag’s body into the exact position, make sure it is the correct piece, remember they are mirror image ;). Draw a rectangle and proceed as described for the horizontal pocket.

Vertical zipper pocket for a phone how to

Now you can finish off the whole bag:

Denim bag with a zipper pocket sewing pattern
The pattern for this bag is here >>>
Denim hobo DIY
The pattern for this bag is here >>>
How to insert a vertical zipper pocket
Pattern and tutorial for this knot wristlet can be found here >>>

Wax trick

Zipper is sliding too tough

If you have noticed that your metal zipper doesn’t run open-close 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 them up. We used to wax them every now and then for an easier slide.

Waxing trick for metal zippers

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 more denim projects visit the Tutorials page >>>

6 thoughts on “Zipper pocket tips

  1. Hiya hun, omg I absolutely love ❀️ ur site, there’s so much to look at, learn from, tutorials & pdf’s to buy πŸ˜„. I’ve always wanted to learn how to add a pocket to any bag & this is exactly what I’ve been searching for πŸ˜ƒ the only criticism (sorry) is the quality of the pics – they are really bad to see 😞 or it might just be me, lol πŸ˜†. Bless ya for making this site hun xx

    1. Thank you for the comment! I am so happy that you find it useful! I thought the pics are same throughout the site… Not sure what could it be. Hope you are enjoying it anyway πŸ™‚

  2. I would just like to say, you have been a life saver! My sewing teacher in Junior College was so mean about sewing a certain way, that she would put you out of her class, and tell you that it must be fixed before you can come back! I struggled with sewing zippers and button holes, then I got Carpal Tunnel in both hands, and I can’t sew like I would love to! Thank for this info…And it’s free!

    Dawn B.

  3. Thank you for this tutorial. I am up cycling old jeans
    to bags and clothes.Pockets are so convenient and doable. Will practice today. I am in USA, Brooklyn.

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