Newbie Sewing Zipper Bag Project

February 21, 2018By Brother SewsArticles, Projects, Sewing 19 Comments Opinion by Paid Consultant

Looking for a fun zipper bag sewing project that even a sewing newbie could finish? Well, look no further! Here we have a fun zipper bag project from a recent Lunch and Learn event that took place at the Brother HQ. The Lunch and Learn featured several Brother sewing Educators who were on hand to talk about the different characteristics of the many Brother sewing and embroidery machines we had on hand for the class and to also walk us through a fun (I mean ‘daunting’), zipper bag project. Their mission was to give us some real hands-on sewing and embroidery experience in a calm, relaxed atmosphere. These folks look relaxed, right?
Brother Educator Meeting
How’d it go? Well, in the beginning, there was a small number of ‘oh no’s’ mumbled, but by the afternoon, there were certainly more ‘ah-ha’s,’ than ‘oh no’s’ being heard. In the end, we sewing-newbies had the chance to see what creative sewers have known all along – sewing is pretty cool.
Brother Educator Meeting
Check out the Zipper Bag Project below!

Supplies:

  • One piece 15″ L x 9″ W outer fabric
  • One piece 15″ L x 9″ W fusible fleece
  • One piece 15″ L x 9″ W lining fabric
  • One 12″ zipper
  • One decorative zipper pull

Preparations:

  • Apply fusible fleece to the wrong side of the outer fabric following manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Layer lining fabric on top of fleece with right side facing out.
  • Serge around all four sides to keep the layers together and finish the edges.
  • If you do not have a serger, you can use a zigzag stitch on your sewing machine instead.
Note: As the bag is constructed, you will treat the outer fabric and lining as one. This alternative method for lining a bag saves time and steps.
  1. Embroidery Placement
  • Outer fabric facing up
  • 4¼” down from top short edge
  • 3″ in from right long edge

Brother Zipper Bag Project

  1. Choose a single letter monogram from the available built-in embroidery fonts If possible resize to approximately 1¾” tall.
  • Hoop stabilizer and fabric, making sure placement mark is in center of embroidery area.
  • Stitch the design.

Brother Zipper Bag Project

  1. Open zipper and pin one side along upper edge of bag.
  • Place zipper teeth right side down.
  • Align zipper tape with cut edge of fabric on the left and across the top – excess zipper to the right.

Brother Zipper Bag Project

  1. Attach zipper foot so that needle will be to the left of foot.
  • Select straight stitch and adjust needle position to the left.
  • Position fabric under the foot.
  • Sew approximately ⅛” from the zipper teeth – stopping ½” from the edge of the fabric.
  • Backstitch to lock the stitching.

Brother Zipper Bag Project

  1. Press zipper tape to the wrong side of the fabric.
  • Adjust needle to the right side of the foot.
  • Topstitch along the upper edge -stopping ½” from the edge of the fabric.
  • Backstitch to lock the stitching.

Brother Zipper Bag Project

  1. Close the zipper.

Brother Zipper Bag Project

  1. Fold outer bag fabric with right sides together, aligning second short edge with zipper tape.
  • Zipper teeth should be face down.
  • Pin.

Brother Zipper Bag Project

  1. Adjust needle position to the left of the foot.
  • Begin stitching ½” from the edge.
  • Backstitch to lock the stitching.
  • Sew along zipper tape approximately ⅛” from the teeth.

Brother Zipper Bag Project

  1. Sew to approximately 1½” from the zipper pull and stop with the needle down in the fabric.
  • Lift the foot.
  • Unzip the zipper so the pull is behind the foot.
  • Sew to the edge of the zipper tape.

Brother Zipper Bag Project
Brother Zipper Bag Project

  1. Press zipper tape to the wrong side of the fabric.
  • Adjust needle to the right side of the foot.
  • Topstitch along the upper edge -stopping ½” from the edge of the fabric.
  • Backstitch to lock the stitching.

Brother Zipper Bag Project

  1. Turn bag right side out.
  • Making sure zipper is exactly at top, finger press a fold line at the bottom of the bag.

Brother Zipper Bag Project

  1. Measure 1″ up from the fold line and mark with a pin.
  • Repeat to mark right and left corners.
  • Place pin in top fabric only – do not pin layers together.

Brother Zipper Bag Project

Brother Zipper Bag Project

  1. Turn bag over and mark backside of fabric in the same manner.
  • 1″ up from the fold line.
  • Mark right and left corners.
  • Pin through single layer of fabric only.

Brother Zipper Bag Project

  1. Open zipper and turn inside out – right sides are now together.
  • Fold so that 1″ markings become bottom of bag and excess fabric is pleated inside.

Brother Zipper Bag Project

Brother Zipper Bag Project

  1. Pin along both sides of bag.

Brother Zipper Bag Project

  1. Adjust needle position to left of foot.
  • Make sure zipper is open all the way.
  • Pull excess zipper tape back so it is away from edge of fabric.
  • Sew side seam, stitching ½” from cut edge.
  • Backstitch at the beginning and the end of the seam.

Brother Zipper Bag Project

  1. Repeat for second side.
  • Adjust needle position to left of foot.
  • Stitch ½” from cut edge.
  • Backstitch at the beginning and the end of the seam.

Brother Zipper Bag Project

  1. Turn bag right side out.

Brother Zipper Bag Project

  1. Close zipper until the pull is visible on the outside of the bag – not all the way.

Brother Zipper Bag Project

  1. Attach standard presser foot.
  • Select a zigzag stitch.
  • Adjust stitch.
  • Width = 4.5
  • Length = 0.6
  • Sew across the zipper teeth approximately 1″ from the corner of the bag.

Brother Zipper Bag Project

  1. Trim off excess zipper tape – below your stitching line.

  1. Close zipper and add decorative pull to the zipper tab.

Ta-da!!

How’d we do?? Well, we sewed, we laughed, we embroidered, we made mistakes, we changed feet, we trimmed, we hooped, we threaded thread and, by the end of the day, we all completed the project (and it was fun!). Upon further inspection, some of the bags had twisted stitches and fabric pulls; others were misshapen or had zipper catches. But we all marveled at our zipper bags with big smiles and a burgeoning sense of pride. Me? After working with the Brother SE625, I gave my wonky looking zipper bag to my daughter, and it melted hearts, hers and mine. I would say that is mission accomplished.

P.S. A Big Brother Thanks to Brother Educators Cheryl Hoffman and Kim Novak for lending their time and expertise to this eye-opening event! We all had a great time learning more about Brother Sewing and Embroidery machines as well as creating the fun zipper bag!

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19 Comments

  • How and when did you serge/overcast the side edges of the fabric? What do you d with the lining fabric and fusible fleece? Cute bag!

    • Hi Joanne,

      Thanks for reaching out!

      Because our time was limited some of the prep work was done prior to the class. After cutting your fabrics, apply the fusible fleece to the wrong side of the bag fabric. This will give the bag some extra body/structure. Traditionally lining is sewn separately and added inside the bag to hide the seams/raw edges. We opted to save steps/time and treat the lining as one with the bag fabric. After fusing the fleece to the bag fabric, lay flat with fleece side up. Place wrong side of lining fabric against the fleece to create a sandwich with the fleece in the middle. Secure with a couple of pins. Serge around all four sides with an overcast stitch. If you don’t have a serger, you can use a zigzag or overcast stitch from your sewing machine instead.

  • This is nice. What a fun time at work you had.

    Could someone please redo last few pics? I am lost on the trimming of the zipper and it’s placement. Your picture still shows it long after cutting. Thank you!

  • I just made a zipper bag for a class too and my bag was a little “wonky” when finished but it will be ok. I had to put 2 zips in mine. Practice practice?? But I love that I made one. My daughter will be getting mine since I embroidered her name on it. She can keep some of her crafting items in it. Thanks for sharing your project with us.

    • never mind the quilting pins- the close up might have made them look big- where do you use the lining and fusible fleece?

      • Hi Alicia,

        Thanks for reaching out!

        In regards to your question, in the class, our time was limited so some of the prep work was done prior. So, we opted to save steps/time and treat the lining as one with the bag fabric. After fusing the fleece to the bag fabric, lay flat with fleece side up. Place wrong side of lining fabric against the fleece to create a sandwich with the fleece in the middle. Secure with a couple of pins. Serge around all four sides with an overcast stitch. If you don’t have a serger, you can use a zigzag or overcast stitch from your sewing machine instead.

        Hope this helps!

  • Step #20 – I am sooooo confused…why am I doing a zig zag stitch and then cutting it off????

    When did you serge the fabric?
    If you don’t have a serger, what stitch do you use?

    Next time you have a class, please call me…thanks!

    • Hi Roberta,

      Thanks for reaching out!

      In regards to your question about the zig zag stitch, the zipper is longer than it needs to be for this bag. A longer zipper is easier to set in because you don’t have to work around the pull. After constructing the bag, we chose to trim off the excess zipper. A zigzag stitch with a short stitch length was sewn across the zipper teeth to make a bar tack that acts as a stop for the zipper pull. Trim about ½” below the stitching.

      When did you serge the fabric? Traditionally lining is sewn separately and added inside the bag to hide the seams/raw edges. We opted to save steps/time and treat the lining as one with the bag fabric. After fusing the fleece to the bag fabric, lay flat with fleece side up. Place wrong side of lining fabric against the fleece to create a sandwich with the fleece in the middle. Secure with a couple of pins. Serge around all four sides with an overcast stitch. If you don’t have a serger, you can use a zigzag or overcast stitch from your sewing machine instead.

      Hope this helps!

  • Hello, I noticed that in between steps 6 & 7 the lining has been attached. Were they sewed together and treated as one piece?

    • Hi Patty,

      Thanks for reaching out!

      Yes we did treat the lining fabric as one with the outer bag fabric. This is not the traditional method for lining a bag, but it does save time and steps – while making the inside a little bit nicer. We serged the layers together with an overcast stitch If you don’t have a serger, you can use a zigzag or overcast stitch from your sewing machine instead.

      Hope this helps!

      Happy Sewing!

      The Brother Sews Team

  • I truly enjoyed reading this blog and love the zipper bag. I think I too will be trying this out on my own. Great instructions on how to and loved all the comments here. Keep up the fantastic work Brother and thank you Brian Swisher for your explanations on serging or overcast stitching the lining and fusible fleece and bag fabric. Looked beautiful stitched out.

    sew happy I got this March News letter. Thank you so much.

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