/ / Triple Zipper Bag – Free Sewing Pattern with a Tutorial!

Triple Zipper Bag – Free Sewing Pattern with a Tutorial!

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Sew a beautiful clutch bag with 3 zippered compartments!

This sweet little bag has 3 zippers on the exterior, plus another zipper on a coin pocket inside.

Note: This is an intermediate level pattern. If you are new to sewing zipper bags, I suggest trying my free Designer Zipper Bag video course first.

This blog post has been converted to an optional PDF that’s optimized for printing. Find it here. The blog post below is totally free to read, print, and sew! Just hit CTRL +P on your computer to print. The PDF download for $2 is totally optional.


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There’s also a little card pocket.

This free sewing pattern will help you make the best little bag you’ve ever sewn!


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It is approximately 7’’ wide, 5’’ tall, and 3’’ deep, not including the strap. I put 2 small d-rings on either side of my bag so I could attach an adjustable cross body strap.

You could use only one d-ring tab and make a wrist strap instead. Or leave both off if you like!


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3 Zipper Bag Free Sewing Pattern and Tutorial

Just so you know, I re-used the template for my Pretty Box Pouch when I was making this little bag. It was the perfect size. There is a link to download the free template below. Make sure follow the cutting instructions in this post (not the ones on the template).

To make my cute little bag, you will need:

  • 1 FQ of main fabric for the exterior and middle compartment lining

  • 1 FQ of coordinating fabric for the lining on the two side pockets

  • 1 FQ of fabric to make bias binding or 3 yards of extra wide bias binding (2 1/4’’ wide when unfolded)

  • 1/8 yard or fat eighth of fabric for the adjustable strap

  • 1/4 yard medium weight fusible interfacing (such as Pellon SF101)

  • 3 YKK size 4.5 handbag zippers (12’’ or longer) or approximately 36’’ of Zipper By the Yard (smaller garment zippers will not work with this project)

  • 1 regular sized zipper at least 4’’ long (for the coin pocket)

  • a 13’’ x 13’’ square of foam stabilizer (such as ByAnnie Soft and Stable)

  • 2 d-rings with a 1/2’’ opening

  • fabric marker or Frixion pen (that erases with heat)

  • Wonderclips

  • Sewing stiletto (very helpful!)

Optional items for your strap:

  • a triglide slide with an opening the size of your desired strap (I bought these)

  • 2 swivel snap clips that match your desired size strap (such as these)

You can shop all of my recommended items for this project on my SewCanShe Amazon Storefront.


Cutting

Tip: Cutting order matters! Please follow these instructions (cutting and sewing) in the order stated.

From your main fabric cut:

  • 1 square 13’’ x13’’

  • 2 pieces from the Pretty Box Pouch Pattern Template (these are lining pieces for the center compartment

  • 1 rectangle 8’’ x 6’’ ( for the zippered coin pouch)

  • 1 rectangle 5 1/2’’ x 4 1/2’’ (for the card pocket)

  • 2 rectangles 2’’ x 3’’ (for the d-ring tabs)

From your coordinating fabric cut:

If you are making your own bias binding, you can use my easy video tutorial. Cut 4 pieces, each 25’’ long.

You will also need (I used the same fabric as my bias binding):

  • 6 squares 1 1/2’’ x 1 1/2’’ (zipper panel seam binding)


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Baste the 13’’ x 13’’ squares of fabric to either side of the foam stabilizer. Quilt the whole piece as desired (I used my walking foot to make wavy lines).

Watch Lesson 1 of my free Designer Zipper Bags video course to see how easy this is!


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From the 2-sided quilted piece, cut:

Tip: Cut the long strips first and then 2 pieces using the template.

Baste around the pieces 1/8’’ from the edges to seal the fabrics.


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Sew Interior Pockets on the Interior Lining Pieces

1. Use the 8’’ by 6’’ rectangle of fabric to make a welt zipper pocket with a 4’’ opening using one of the main fabric lining pieces cut from the pattern piece (not a quilted piece – a single layer fabric piece). Use my Welt Zipper Pocket Tutorial and draw a 4’’ x 1/2’’ rectangle on the back of the pocket piece. Then continue as directed in the tutorial.

2. Use the 5 1/2’’ x 4 1/2’’ rectangle of fabric to make a slip pocket: fold the rectangle in half, right sides together and 4 1/2’’ edges matching. Sew around the raw edges, leaving an opening for turning. Clip corners, turn, press. Topstitch one long edge to make the top pocket edge. Center the pocket on the remaining main fabric lining piece. Sew around the sides and bottom edge.

Tip: My Favorite Bag Video Sewing Course shows how to make both of these pocket types in Lesson 4.


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3. Place the coordinating fabric lining pieces (single layer fabric pieces) against the back of the main fabric lining pieces with pockets (wrong sides together) and baste together all the way around 1/8’’ from the edge.


Make 3 Narrow Zipper Panels

1. Cut your 3 zippers (removing the stoppers) or cut from the Zipper By the Yard:

  • 2 zippers 11 1/2’’ long (side zippers)

  • 1 zipper 10 1/2’’ long (center zipper)

Attach the slides, if needed.


2. Place the two 11 1/2’’ long zippers face down against the right side (exterior side) of the 1 1/4’’ x 11 1/2’’ quilted strips. They should be the same length. Clip the ends together.



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3. Stitch across each end with a 1/4’’ seam allowance.

Fold a 1 1/2’’ binding square in half (wrong sides together) and place the raw edges against the end of a zipper.

Stitch across with a 1/4’’ seam allowance.


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4. Fold the seam allowance and the folded edge of the binding over to the quilted side. Stitch close to the folded edge.

Note: we don’t bind all the way around the seam allowance here because it makes the seam too bulky for stitching over later.


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Stitch and bind the zipper to the quilted strip at both ends. Then trim away the extra binding at the sides of the narrow zipper panel.

Repeat to make 2 narrow zipper panels that look like this (although your zipper may be open on one side, I hadn’t moved my slider that far yet).

These are the side zipper panels.



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5. Make the d-ring tabs by folding each 2’’ x 3’’ fabric strip in half lengthwise. Open and press the edges to the center. Fold in half and press again. Topstitch close to both long edges.

Push a tab piece through a 1/2’’ d-ring and fold in half. Center the raw edges on one end of the remaining 1 1/4’’ x 12 1/2’’ quilted strip (against the exterior side). Stitch in place.


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Repeat to sew the remaining d-ring tab (with a d-ring) to the opposite end of the strip.


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6. Place the remaining 10 1/2’’ long zipper right side down against the exterior side of the strap. Clip the ends together (it bows out because the strip is longer than the zipper – no matter).

Stitch the zipper to the strip and bind the ends in the exact same manner as before,


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This is the center zipper panel.


Mark the Zipper Panels, Sides, and Lining Pieces

1. Fold each narrow zipper panel in half, matching up the bound seams to help you find and mark the center of the quilted piece and the center of the zipper.


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2. Mark at either raw edge and on both zipper tapes. Mark all 3 zipper panels the same way.


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3. Measure and mark the center at the top and bottom of both quilted side pieces and both lining pieces.



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Sew the Sides of the Bag

1. Place one of the side zipper panels (without d-rings) against one of the quilted side pieces with the zipper closed and the slider on the left.

The top side (exterior side) of the zipper panel should be against the exterior side of the quilted side piece.

Match up the marks at the top and bottom of each piece.

Important Tip: Make 1/4’’ snips into the zipper panel piece 1/2’’ apart where the panel attaches to the corners of the side piece. These snips will help the quilted edges fan out and fit the side piece. Make plenty of snips on the narrow panel where it attaches to all 4 corners (including on the zipper tape). Snips are not needed on the side piece.

Attach with Wonderclips all the way around.


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2. Clip the other side zipper panel piece (without d-rings) to the other quilted side piece in the same way, except this time the zipper slide should be on the right.

On the completed bag, these two zippers will open in the same direction, but since we are making mirroring pieces right now, the zippers appear to open in opposite directions.

NOTE: now that you have clipped the pieces together properly, feel free to move the sliders back and forth as you sew, because sewing next to them is difficult.

Be sure to make plenty of clips in the panel piece to help it fit smoothly around the corners.


3. Sew all the way around both pieces with a 1/4’’ seam allowance. Switch to your zipper foot if needed. I used my sewing stiletto a lot for the rest of this project. It really helps you keep fabrics together around corners.


4. Fold a 2 1/4’’ x 24’’ bias binding strip in half lengthwise and sew it over the seam with a 1/4’’ seam allowance. Leave the ends free for a few inches to help you join the ends.

As seen above, I join my ends by folding them back where they meet and cutting each end with an extra 1/4’’.

Then I sew the ends of the binding together with a 1/4’’ seam allowance, finger press the seam open, re-fold the binding, and finish stitching it to the seam.

This step is demonstrated with additional pictures in my blog post about mini quilt binding.


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5. Flip the binding over to the other side and stitch it down close to the fold.


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You should now have two opposite bag sides with zipper panels and bound seams. Set these aside for now.


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Make the Center of the Bag

1. Clip the center zipper panel (with d-rings) to one of the lining pieces with the WRONG side of the zipper against the MAIN FABRIC side of the lining piece – the side with a pocket.

As before, match up the marks at the top and bottom and make snips around each corner.


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2. Sew the zipper panel to the lining piece with a 1/4’’ seam allowance, making sure to hold the d-ring out of the way. Move the zipper slider out of your way too as needed.


3. Now turn this piece over and clip the wrong side of the zipper against the main fabric side of the remaining lining piece. You will be placing the main fabric lining pieces facing one another and from the outside of this piece you can see the coordinating fabric linings on front and back.


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4. Sew with a 1/4’’ seam allowance.


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Finish Assembling the Bag

1. Place one bag side piece against your work space, still inside out with the zipper open, and the pull on the inside left. If the pull is on the inside right when the zipper is open then set that piece aside for now and use the other one.

Place the bag center piece on your workspace, with the zipper right side out and closed.


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2. Place the bag center piece completely inside the bag side piece so that the closed zipper is directly under the open zipper. The two zipper pulls should be on the same side, probably touching.

Note that the bound seams in the zipper panels should nest together – not sit on top of one another or far away from each other.

Clip all the way around with the bottom of the clips facing up. Make snips in the zipper side panel on top to help it fit around the corners.


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At this point I had to switch to a zipper foot. Even my narrow foot was not narrow enough to sew the 2 zipper tapes together.

3. Turn the bag over and sew all the way around with a 1/4’’ seam allowance. You are sewing an open zipper on top, and the lining piece on the bottom, with the closed center zipper sandwiched in between (and around the bottom of the bag too).

Of course, move the zipper sliders around as needed to help you sew. Sometimes I had to remove the bag from my machine to move the sliders, it was just too tight to move them while sewing.


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4. Bind this seam allowance with another 2 1/4’’ x 24’’ piece of bias binding.

Turn the bag right side out through the open zipper.


This photo is different from the photo above because the zipper slider on the side piece is now open to the right side.

This photo is different from the photo above because the zipper slider on the side piece is now open to the right side.

The side zipper compartment (no d-rings) should now be right side out and the center compartment is also right side out but it might not appear to be because you can see the lining with raw edges.

1. Place the remaining bag side piece against your work space, still inside out with the zipper open, and the pull on the inside right.

Place the rest of the bag on your workspace, with the lining side (raw edges) facing up and both zippers closed.


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2. Now you really have to stuff the bag piece down into the side piece so that the closed center zipper is under the open side zipper and those two sliders are touching.

Note that the quilted exterior side pieces are facing each other.

Once again, the bound side seams in the zipper panels should nest together.


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3. Clip around the bag, again with the bottom side of the clips facing upward so that you can turn it over to sew. Cut snips around the last panel edges to help it fit the curves in the lining.

4. Turn the bag over and sew all the way around with a 1/4’’ seam allowance.

5. Bind the seam allowance with the last 2 1/4’’ x 24’’ piece of bias binding.


Your 3 Zipper Bag is finally done! Well, almost. Now all you need to do is make a strap.

Sew your own beautiful, easy, and adjustable strap with my free tutorial here!

I can’t wait to see all the bags! Make sure you show me yours by posting a photo to Instagram and tagging me @sewcanshe!

xoxo,


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p.s. This free pattern is included in my Ultimate List of Fast and Easy Tote Bags to Sew and Fast & Easy Cross Body Bag Patterns. Check them out!

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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. 🙂

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14 Comments

  1. I love it! I call this a DisneyWorld bag because it’s small enough to carry around all day, but can still hold what you need!

  2. I adore you! Yours is my very favorite sewing blog and I have been waiting for this tutorial with great excitement and anticipation… opening my email every morning for the last week – and here it is! What a great tutorial! I’ve been wondering how you would put it together and it’s just elegantly simple! Congratulations Caroline and thanks from the bottom of my heart! I make all your items but don’t do social media, so sorry I can’t send you pics.

  3. Thank for the great tutorial!! I have been wanting to make a multiple zippered pouch and I am very thankful for this!

  4. Thank you for the wonderful tutorial Caroline!
    Question, is there a reason why I can’t copy the photographs? Normally I copy the whole tutorial so I can print it out, and this time, I can’t get the photos to copy, just the text….

    1. Hi Dani,
      If you use printfriendly.com to format the blog post, you will get both the images and the text.

      xoxo

  5. Thank you, Caroline, for another wonderful project! I read through the entire tutorial, looking at photos and reading your step-by-step description. It’s a bit complicated, but needs to be for the three zipper applications. I don’t have any 4.5 size zippers, so I’ll save this project for a later time. Just love it! Very clever and I am impressed at how smart you are to figure out how to create this darling 3-zip purse. You are amazing and so generous to share with us!!

  6. Thank you for this pattern and tutorial! I am getting ready to make my first one. I’ve only made one bag before – do you preshrink the fabrics for your bags? I’m used to making apparel… 🙂

  7. OK, first time making this and it might already be messed up. Your cutting instructions and pattern piece say to cut 2 from the exterior fabric, 2 from the coordinating fabric, and 2 from the foam stabilizer (on the pattern piece). Are you doing that first? Or basting it all together first, then cutting? Or does it not matter? That’s really confusing.

    1. Hi Nancy,
      Cutting order matters. 🙂
      he first 4 fabric pieces cut from the pattern template are all lining pieces.
      Then after you quilt a sandwich of fabric and stabilizer, you will cut two more from the template. Those are exterior pieces.
      Just follow the cutting order and sewing steps in the tutorial and you will be fine.
      If you are unsure about quilting fabric and stabilizer together, then I suggest watching my free Designer Zipper Bags course first. It’s kind of like a primer!

      xoxo

  8. Just found your site. ❤️ I’m not advanced enough to make this project yet…but that fabric! My daughter will be doing her veterinary technician internship working with otters. She is obsessed with them. Where can I find the fabric you used?

  9. This is such a beautiful design!!
    Is there any way to make it without the piping?
    I struggle so much with piping!!

  10. Carole Bownass says:

    I’m really looking forward to making this bag – more complicated than anything I’ve tried so far. I’ve assembled everything on the list but cannot find what the fusible woven interfacing is for. There is no mention of it and I can’t see it in the photos.
    Carole

    1. Hi Carole,
      The fusible woven interfacing is for the adjustable strap. I will make that more clear in the post!

      Thanks!

      Caroline

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