Fabrics are from the Freshcut Laminate collection by Heather Bailey from FreeSpirit.
Stop! Don’t run away…there’s nothing to be scared of. Zippers are simple to sew if you know a few tricks. The same is true for sewing vinyl. Today, we’re going to take the mystery (and fear) out of both by sewing this clever little zippered pouch, perfect as a makeup bag, a pencil case, or a sewing supplies holder.
• 7-1/2x10-1/2" rectangle of vinyl fabric (if you’re buying vinyl off a bolt, 1/4 yard is the minimum width you need and that will make several bags)
• 2—1x1-1/2" rectangles of vinyl fabric
• 1"-wide zipper with plastic teeth (at least 9" long)
• Tissue paper (can be leftover from a gift package…no need to buy new)
• All-purpose thread to match your vinyl
• Size 90 Sharp sewing machine needle
• 1/4"-wide double-sided adhesive sewing tape (such as Wash Away Wonder Tape by Dritz)
Now about that last item. We’ve not found any product that works better than this one. It is temporary and made to dissolve in water, but sewing through it won’t gum up your needle. It’s not permanent like fusible web that you iron on. You just press this tape on with your finger. You can even reposition it if you handle it carefully. It’s perfect anytime you want to hold a zipper or vinyl firmly in place without pins. That’s important, because when you’re sewing with vinyl, pins are NOT recommended. If you pin vinyl, the holes made by the pins are permanent. So avoid pins on this project.
The Wash Away Wonder Tape is available in fabric stores in the notions department. The roll has about 10 yards of tape, so you can use it on several bags or other projects.
Assemble the Zippered Pouch
1. Place your zipper on a cutting mat above the 7-1/2" edge of the vinyl rectangle. UNZIP SO THE ZIPPER PULL IS IN THE CENTER. Trim off each end of the zipper even with the vinyl rectangle, so the zipper will now be 7-1/2" long. DO NOT MOVE THE ZIPPER PULL. Set aside the cut off zipper pieces for later.
2. Following package instructions, adhere double-sided sewing tape to wrong side of both short ends of a 1x1-1/2" vinyl rectangle. Place tape just along raw edge of vinyl.
3. Gently peel off tape’s paper backing to expose adhesive; fold vinyl over 1/4" on each end. Press with finger to secure.
4. With both edges turned under, you will now have a 1" square with two hemmed edges.
5. Again, place a piece of double-sided tape atop each hemmed edge. Peel away the paper backing and carefully place the closed, cut end of the zipper 1/2" below a hemmed edge of the small vinyl square.
6. Fold the remaining half of the hemmed square over the cut end of the zipper, encasing the zipper’s raw edge to create a zipper tab. Press with finger to secure.
7. If you’ve ever tried to sew with vinyl on your sewing machine, the first thing you notice is that it sticks and doesn’t want to move through the machine beneath the needle. There are specialty feet such as a Teflon foot or roller foot made just for working with vinyl and leather. If you have one, this is the time to use it. But, if not, fear not. TISSUE PAPER TO THE RESCUE!
Using a 2.5 mm stitch length and a size 90 needle in your sewing machine, place a piece of tissue paper beneath the zipper tab. This will keep it from sticking as you sew. (You can also place tissue on top of the piece you’re sewing if you find that your presser foot is sticking.) To give your machine a little help getting started, first sew on and just off of a small scrap of fabric. Then, without cutting your thread, lift your presser foot and place the edge of the tab beneath the needle. Lower the presser foot and slowly stitch across the tab width close to the taped edge. If your machine has a tough time getting through all the layers, give a very slight tug on that scrap of fabric to help get things moving.
8. Tear away the tissue paper and one end of the zipper is secure.
9. Repeat to sew the remaining small vinyl rectangle and the opposite (open) end of the zipper. When you adhere the two open ends of the zipper to the tab, stick them to the tape with the teeth abutting, but keep the zipper pull out of the way.
10. Now it’s time to prep the big vinyl rectangle and attach it to the zipper. In the same manner as before, adhere tape to the wrong side of each 7-1/2" edge of the large vinyl rectangle and turn under 1/4 hem. Finger press to adhere the hems.
11. Then on each turned edge, tape again directly over the hem and remove the paper backing.
12. With right sides up, adhere the taped vinyl edges to the zipper, keeping the edges of the vinyl just next to (not over) the zipper teeth. Now, you’ve got a taped together tube. Gently roll the tube until the zipper is in the desired position. In this example, the zipper is 1-1/2" from the top of the bag.
13. When you’re happy with the position, cut the tube apart along the bottom edge.
14. Lay it flat.
15. If your machine has a zipper foot, it probably looks similar to this. It is positioned on the machine so the needle goes either to the right or left side of the foot. How you position it depends on which side of the zipper you are sewing on. Refer to your machine manual for specifics. You want to keep the zipper foot off to the side of the zipper teeth as you sew. If you don’t have a zipper foot, you can still sew on a zipper. It just makes it a little more difficult to get as near to the zipper teeth with your stitching line.
16. With the vinyl/zipper piece sandwiched between layers of tissue paper (to make it glide through your machine more easily), sew along one edge of the vinyl near the zipper teeth. When you get to the zipper pull, do not swerve to go around it. Instead, stop with your needle down in the fabric, lift the presser foot, slide the pull up and out of the way. Lower the presser foot and continue sewing the rest of the way. Repeat to sew down the opposite side of the zipper teeth.
17. Remove the tissue paper from the stitching and lay the completed rectangle right side up with the zipper halfway open.
18. Right sides together, fold the rectangle in half aligning the 7-1/2" ends. Because the vinyl layers are facing, the fabric will stick to itself and no pins or tape are needed.
19. Place the regular presser foot on your machine and again sandwich the folded vinyl between two pieces of tissue paper. Sew along the 7-1/2" edge with a 1/4" seam allowance.
20. Repeat to sew each side seam. MAKE SURE THE ZIPPER IS AT LEAST HALFWAY OPEN BEFORE SEWING THE LAST SIDE SEAM OR YOU WON’T BE ABLE TO TURN THE BAG RIGHT SIDE OUT. Remove the tissue paper from the seams after sewing.
Turn the bag right side out. Use a rounded object, such as a pencil eraser, to gently push the corners of the bag out.
21. To embellish the zipper pull, trim off a narrow piece of the zipper tape from the zipper pieces set aside earlier.
22. Fold the narrow strip in half and trim the ends to a point.
23. Thread both pointed ends through the hole in the zipper pull and make a knot, pulling the ends up and over through the resulting loop on the opposite side. Now you’re ready to fill it with your favorite things!