Learn how to sew a welt zipper pocket on any bag (the one you'll want to use everywhere from now on!)
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- how to sew patch pockets
- and check out these tips for bagmakers
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- my main list of all learn to sew lessons.
Adding a zipper pocket makes your bag way more useful, and any bag pattern can be modified to fit an additional one. I'm showing you how I added a welt zipper pocket to the TEYA Crossbody Bag, but I think anyone else would love to use this how-to, too. Take a look into this beginner-friendly sewing tutorial and learn in minutes how to add a welt zipper pocket either to the outside or to the inside of a bag.
Welt Zipper Pocket
I'm showing you the part of bag sewing when you start making the welt zipper pocket. You usually sew the zipper pockets at the beginning of the projects, so your bag panels are still detached, not sewn together.
- the piece of the bag fabric where you want your pocket to be placed. (black cotton in the tutorial, it's the main bag piece for outer back.)
- one piece for the pocket lining, twice the size of the finished pocket (here red cotton print; also see the template below)
- matching thread
- the usual: measuring tape, scissors, sewing machine
Welt Pocket Lining - TEMPLATE
This is the template for the welt pocket lining that should help you along the way. You can save it, or just bookmark this tutorial on your computer for later use. Or pin, of course!
How To Sew A Welt Zipper Pocket - TUTORIAL:
Now, first find a project on which you could test the welt pocket. Just an idea... what about adding a welt pocket to that large market tote bag that you have been meaning to make since spring (but is still on your to-do list?) Oh, don't ask me how I know, haha! I've got TWO market totes on my own to-do list, since Christmas! 🙂
Step 1 - Position the Welt pocket Lining
1) Place the outer panel face-up, and the pocket lining face-down on top of it. (=They should be right-sides-together.)
Horizontal position: the pocket lining centered on the outer.
Vertical position: The top edge of the lining fabric should be shifted down from the top of the outer fabric, depending on how low your welt zipper pocket should be placed. (mine: shifted down by 2 ⅜" (=6 cm)
Mark The Zipper opening on the pocket lining
2) On the pocket lining piece:
Draw the zipper rectangle (stitching line) and the inner cutting lines: copy them from the template and adjust them to your desired zippered opening size (horizontal adjustment)
As you see, the zipper opening will be half an inch 'tall' (vertical). Do not adjust this.
3) Just draw the zipper rectangle. NO CUTTING YET!
4) Now, shorten the stitch length to approximately 12 stitches per inch (or 2 mm in metric). Stitch exactly on the stitching line of the rectangle you just drew.
Make the welt pocket opening (cutting and turning)
5) Cut along the inner line until the triangle. Then also cut into the corners into the V-shape, until very close to the stitching line. Make sure not to snip into any stitches!
6) Pull the pocket fabric through the window to the other side, so you get the pieces to be wrong-sides-together.
7) When you have the lining on the other side, you'll have to pull on the lining and finger-press the seam to get that lining part hardly visible from the front side.
How to add A zipper to The Welt pocket
9) Flip to the backside. You'll place the zipper on the opening:
- Place the zipper onto the opening. Zipper teeth should face the outer side. Center the zipper, and make sure no metallic parts (zipper stoppers) are in the way when stitching.
- Pin in place, or glue the zipper into the opening (Wonder Tape works great!)
On a side note, you'll notice that the bag outer is backed by interfacing. You might or might not need to have any interfacing on your piece. (Just follow the instructions for your own project).
10) Keeping the zipper in place, edgestitch around the opening.
11) I often sew twice around when making a heavy-duty bag, to make sure the zipper will hold all the wear and tear. You don't have to; sewing over twice might make it hard to keep the stitching line neat.
Sewing the Pocket lining
12) Cut off any excess zipper tape. Then fold the pocket lining upwards and pin in place.
13) Stitch around the 3 sides, only catching the pocket lining fabric.
IMPORTANT: Make sure you never catch the outer fabric - here black. You just stitch the pocket lining (red cotton print here), fold the outer bag fabric out of the way.
14) Your first welt zipper pocket finished! Now bag sewing will never be the same again for you. Enjoy the new skill!
Now think any bag, purse, pouch or tote (and don't stop there!) You can add this type of welt pocket to many other projects as well, like pants, skirts, dresses, and many more. It's easy and it should take your bag to the next level - looking more professional and practical.
You can test this tutorial on heavier fabric too. However, If you sew a lot with heavier textiles, leather, and upholstery fabric, maybe it's time to check out this post on best heavy duty sewing machines on a budget.
For those wondering where this tutorial came from, I made it when sewing one of my own designs, the TEYA Crossbody Bag. I love it for its convenience and beginner-friendly sewing procedure. The pattern itself is marked as intermediate though because it's perfect for those who have already sewn a bag or two. Want to make one welt pocket and test its use?
Then it's best to choose a project to go with it. I'd recommend using it with the original TEYA Crossbody Bag pattern in our shop:
Pin for Later:
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Or …check out the TEYA crossbody bag pattern in our shop. One of my first bag patterns with pockets both on the inside and outside - and it works great as a gadget bag too!
TEYA PATTERN UPDATED!