Sunday, April 13, 2014

Quick Zip Bag

Not so long ago, I was 'gifted' a HUGE bag of zippers -- over 300! -- and I've been looking for fun projects to make using some of them.

One of the customers at the shop where I work came in with a purse she bought in  Indonesia, and I was all over it.  It had a top zipper, plus two more zipper pockets on the front, and a long strap so it could be worn over the shoulder or across the chest.  She let me examine it closely so I could see the construction techniques used, particularly how the zippers were applied.  I couldn't wait to rush home and create one for myself.  So here it is!

Now for the step by step instructions:  I used double-sided, pre-quilted fabric so the purse would have some body and did not require lining, but you could make your own quilted fabric with something in your stash, or use a heavier fabric (maybe upholstery weight?) and line it.

Of quilted fabric, cut two  pieces 8 1/2" by 11 1/2" for the front and back, cut one piece 8 1/2" x 4" for pocket A, cut one piece 8 1/2" x 7 1/2" for pocket B.

You will need: thread, 60" of 1" wide nylon or cotton webbing to match your fabric, two 1" D rings, two 1" swivel clips, and 3 zippers to match your fabric, 8" or 9" long.

I used leftover scraps from another project for my zip bag.  I decided to use the 'reverse' side (red print)  for pocket B
Clean finish the raw edges of the bag and pocket pieces.  I used the serger to do this.  

This bag calls for an unusual zipper application that I call the "Inside Out" zipper application.  The first side of the zipper tape is stitched to the top of each pocket with topstitching, but the second side of the zipper tape is stitched right sides together to underlying pocket.  When you flip the pocket into it's finished position, the zipper tape is hidden. 
Apply Pocket A to Pocket B using this technique.  Fold under one long edge of Pocket A 1/4" and press well. With the zipper tape right side up, pin the wrong side of the pocket to the zipper tape, being sure that the zipper pull is 1/2" in from the edge of the pocket.  (If you are using a longer zipper, it's o.k. for it to hang off the other side of the pocket, as long as the pull is 1/2" in from one side.  Or you can shorten it to 7 1/2" by using a close zig-zag stitch across the zipper and snipping off the excess.)    Using the zipper foot on the sewing machine, topstitch the pocket to the zipper tape.

Draw a placement line on Pocket B, 3 1/4" from the bottom of the pocket.  Lay Pocket A, right sides together, on top of Pocket B, lining up the free edge of the zipper tape on the placement line. In this photo, Pocket A is to the left (the top of Pocket B).  Using the zipper foot, stitch the free edge of the zipper (with the wrong side of the zipper tape up) to Pocket B.
Pocket A is laying RST over the top of Pocket B when stitching down the second part of the zipper tape.   
Now flip Pocket A down over the bottom of Pocket B.  Machine baste along the bottom edges to hold Pocket A to the bottom of Pocket B.

Apply the zipper to Pocket B in the same manner:  fold and press under 1/4" on the top of the pocket, pin the pocket to the right side of the zipper tape, being sure the zipper pull is at least 1/2" from the edge of the pocket, and topstitch.  NOTE:  Make sure the zippers on both pockets will open in the same direction.  Draw a placement line 7 1/4" from the bottom of the purse front.  With right sides together, lay the pocket to the bag front, pin the free zipper tape along the placement line, and stitch in place on the wrong side of the zipper tape.

When pinning the pocket to the bag front, the pocket is laying over the top of the bag, and the wrong side of the zipper tape is showing.  
After stitching down the zipper, flip the pocket over, so the wrong side of the pocket is against the right side of the bag front.  Pin the bottom edge of the pocket to the bottom of the purse front.  (Trim off any excess fabric, so the edges are even).  Baste along the sides and bottom of the pocket.

Apply the zipper to the top of the bag front and back.  Clean finish the top edges, fold under 3/8" and press.
Lay the zipper right side up, and place the bag front and back on top of the zipper tape, wrong side down, the right sides of bag facing up.  Align the edges of the bag so they are even, and carefully pin the bag fronts to the zipper tape, making sure the zipper tab is at least 1/2" from the side of the bag.  (A glue stick on the zipper tape or a skinny fusible like Steam a Seam would come in handy here, but a lot of pins will do the job as well.)  Top stitch the zipper to the bag front and back using the zipper foot on your machine.

The zipper is pinned in place, ready for top stitching.  Note that the zipper pulls are 1/2" from the side edge of the bag are facing the same direction.  All of the zippers will open left to right when the bag is finished.  
Before you sew the bag together, you need to create the hanging strap on the back of the bag.  If you are using nylon webbing, cut two pieces 2" long.  I use a candle to melt the ends of the webbing so they don't fray.  Carefully hold the webbing about an inch away from the flame for about 10 seconds.  Don't touch the webbing until it cools -- it will burn you when it is hot!  Do this for all cut edges of nylon webbing.  You can use Fray Check on cotton webbing to keep it from fraying.

Draw a placement line 1 1/2" below the zipper on the purse back.  Fold the 2" tab of webbing in half and slip a D ring into the fold.  Pin the tab just below the placement line, one inch from each side edge.  Baste in place.

Cut one 8 1/2" piece of webbing and pin along the placement line.  Top stitch a scant 1/4" from both edges of the 8 1/2" strip to secure the D ring tabs in place.

Now you are ready to sew the sides of the bag together.  VERY IMPORTANT:  un-zip the top zipper half way before you pin and sew the sides of the bag, otherwise you'll have difficulty turning it right side out.  Pin the purse front to the back, right sides together, aligning the bottom edges and side seams.  Use a 3/8" seam allowance.  If you used 9" zippers, be careful when stitching over the ends.   After sewing the side seams, you can trim the zipper ends from inside the bag.  Turn bag right side out.

Create a strap using the remaining 1" webbing by stitching it to two swivel clasps.  

It's finished!  This is just the right size for an e-reader, a wallet, cellphone, and a few essentials.

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