How to Sew Designer Zipper Bags – video course Lesson 1
I’m so excited to finally show you how I make designer zipper bags with beautiful quilted sides and zippers that aren’t pinched!
This is a free video course that I have been working on to share the entire process in a way that you can’t go wrong.
My How to Sew Designer Zipper Bags video course consists of 14 short videos.
Why 14 short videos? I want you to be able to watch them all in order, and then go back to re-watch any section that you want to see again. If I made only one hour-long video, I think it would be frustrating to try to find a specific step. So that’s why they will be split up.
The course has one intro video and then 3 easy lessons split up into 13 videos total:
Lesson 1 – Preparing the Bag Sides (the 4 videos in this blog post)
Lesson 3 – Sewing the Seams, the Binding, and a Finale! (6 videos)
Right here I will show you everything you need to know for Lesson 1.
If for some reason, the videos in this post won’t play for you, you can watch the entire course in this YouTube playlist.
Lesson 1, part 1 (above) is all about the fabric and stabilizer.
To make a zipper bag that is approximately 5’’ tall and 9’’ wide, you will need to cut the following…
To sew along with the video course, you will need:
1 piece of exterior fabric 12 1/2’’ x 10 1/2’’
1 piece of lining fabric 12 1/2’’ x 10 1/2’’ (I’ve been breaking into my Tula Pink All-Stars bundle and coordinates bundle)
a piece of foam stabilizer (such as Soft and Stable) 12 1/2’’ x 10 1/2’’
And for Lesson 2 (premiering tomorrow!), you will need:
a handbag zipper at least 10’’ long (I’ll also show you how to use handbag zippers by the yard)
Watch Lesson 1.2 to see how I basted my fabric and stabilizer pieces together.
I have been asked why I don’t just baste all 3 layers together in 1 step. You certainly can do it that way, it’s not illegal!
I simply find it faster and more accurate to baste the layers together in 2 steps. In the past, I have clipped all 3 layers together and then attempted to sew them in 1 step and it took quite a bit of time to clip all the layers accurately and then I drove myself crazy trying to smooth out the fabric on both sides at once.
I just think it’s easier to do it in 2 quick steps with no pins or clips.
In Lesson 1.3, I show you how to quilt your basted layers.
Well, it helps keep the fabric and stabilizer layers from separating and looking baggy. And it adds so much definition and texture. It’s really beautiful!
In the video, I quilt my layers using my walking foot. If you enjoy free motion quilting more – go ahead! You can quilt circles, straight lines, curves, patterns – whatever you want.
On this particular piece, I let the fabric be my guide.
Before moving on to Lesson 1.4 (above), cut two rectangles 6’’ x 10’’ from your quilted piece.
Your quilted piece is a little bit larger than you’ll need, so you’ll be able to trim your pieces down to the exact size.
The last step in Lesson 1, which you’ll see in 1.4, is to ‘seal’ the edges of the cut pieces. This will ensure that all of the fabric gets caught in your seams and you are not fiddling with fabric and stabilizer layers as you sew other steps.
So now it’s time for you to give it a try!
Make sure you watch all 4 parts of Lesson 1 in order and then take a few minutes to prepare the sides of your zipper bag.
Then move on to Lesson 2.
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Disclosure: some of my posts contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of those links I may receive a small commission, so thank you for supporting SewCanShe when you shop! All of the opinions are my own and I only suggest products that I actually use. 🙂
This is looking great. I just wondered if you dropped your feed dogs when you were quilting?
Nope. You do not drop the feed dogs when quilting with a walking foot. Only when doing free-motion quilting.
Can you use one way designs to make this pouch?
Absolutely. That’s why I indicate that you should start with fabric and pieces that are 12 1/2” tall and 10 1/2” wide. Identifying the height vs width is only really important if you are using directional fabric.
Awesome video! Love that you are detailing each step. So many times I start a project and them have a question about exactly how something is done-don’t think that will happen this time-thank you so much! Can’t wait for the rest!
Can’t wait make my own, but what kind of stabilizer do you use?
Dear Caroline, thank you so much for your Blog – it is my favourite for Sewing! As a newby sewer, only recently taking up the hobby after doing some sewing at school, I find your videos and explanations very easy to follow, invaluable and inspirational. I have already learnt so much today just by watching today’s videos for the Designer Zipper Bags. Thank you so much for what you are doing and providing such help and encouragement to me .
Thanks again, Val Southgate xxxx (Peterborough, UK)
Thank you, Caroline! I’m looking forward to the rest of your bite-size video tutorials!
So well put together Caroline! I am looking forward to the the next 2 days. I have never used the foam stablizer so I ordered and am now impatiently waiting! I am looking forward to following your design and having one of my own. Who knows who else will get one after the first. It may be an addiction. The Tula Pink material is just beautiful.
Nothing better than Tula Pink fabric. The design definitely lent itself to quilting. Great job. The videos are great and I really like the way they are divided to help with the steps.
I have already watched 5 of the videos, and have already learned something. I didn’t know the trick about trimming away the fabric after stitching on the zipper before doing the top stitching. Just that simple step of trimming the fabric gives the bag interior a very nice finish! Thanks for sharing with us!
Yay! Thank so much for telling me that. ❤️
Hi Caroline. With regard to sewing the front and lining fabric to the soft and stable at once, could I use a fusible version or maybe use a fabric spray to stick the three layers together before stitching? Many thanks, Val xxx
You certainly could use either of those methods if you wish.
I have tried them all and keep coming back to this basic 2-step process because it’s faster.
What a fabulous video Caroline! I have been a fan of yours for a long time now, nd this just makes me like you even more! You could have charged us each (like other designers) for this informative, and professional video, AND PATTERN, but you didn’t. Thank you so very much!
Thank you for such a professional set of videos. I thoroughly enjoyed watching and learning; your sweet personality is simply icing on the cake. Thank you, too, for affording your viewers and aspiring sewists the opportunity to sell these cuties. What a blessing you are.
It might be there, but I didn’t see what size sewing needle you used…love this tutorial so much! I thank you and am so excited to make some of these! Not too early to start making Christmas gifts! I love your sweet spirit and your boxing technique by the zipper is genius! (PS Your machine sounds a lot like my Juki TL-98E which I believe is now the 2010.)
I think you are right about the Juki. 🙂
I use Superior brand titanium topstich needles. A size 90/14 for this project.
Great video! The only suggestion I would make is to do the top stitching from the wrong side, using the zipper tape edge as your guide. I find it easier to do from that side, rather than trying to figure out where I am sewing from the right side. I love this idea of boxing the top to get rid of the pinched corners. Thank you so much!
Can you use this zipper treatment (boxing the zipper corners) with a bag you turn instead of one you bind the edges?
You could – and you’d still need to bind the inside top corners.
That was a very good tutorial! I have been making a few zipper pouches from some fabric "leftovers" and really like your method for boxing the zipper ends at the top. Thank you for sharing your tips and techniques (and yes I hope to sell a few at an upcoming fair).
Thank you that is the corner of the zipper I was looking for
Caroline, thank you sooo much for the short videos! Our streaming is very slow in the White Mountains of AZ. The short videos means I could watch your whole tutorial series one after the other. It is awesome! I love the pouches. I’ve made many but your zipper treatment was an aha moment for me! Thanks again! I so appreciate your free tutorials and patterns.