The Busy Bean

How To: Welt Pocket with Exposed Zipper

This is the first zipper I figured out. And I did it some crazy hard way for way too long. Then I had a flash of brilliance and figured out this way. Turns out, I should have been doing this all along. But hey, I taught myself most of what I know in sewing, since I was unwilling to learn when I was younger, so I still feel pretty good about figuring this out.

Here we go.

You’ll need:
One zipper
Fabric for pocket
Basic sewing supplies
Whatever you’re adding the welt pocket to. I took these pictures as I was adding a 7″ zipper inside my houndstooth tote.

Start by determining how deep your pocket will be. Mine is going to be 7″ deep. To figure out how big to cut your pocket fabric, add 1″ to the length of your zipper, and double the depth and add 1″.

Since I’m using a 7″ zipper that would make my pocket fabric measurement 8″ x 15″.

Cut your pocket fabric and mark a line {7″} from the bottom. This measurement will be whatever your depth is, leaving your depth plus that extra inch above the line. Now, mark a line 1/4″ above and below that line, and connect those lines to make a rectangle that measures 1/2″ x 7″ (or the length of your zipper).

Next, decide where you want your pocket. I generally put it about 2.5-3″ down from the top of my bag. Mark a line as long as your zipper.

Pin your pocket fabric to the lining fabric right sides together, matching up your zipper lines, making sure the longer end of your pocket fabric is towards the top.

Now sew along the outside rectangle. All the way around. Start on one long end, pivot at each corner. Backstitch at the beginning and end of your sewing.

Make a mark 1/4″ in from each side along the original zipper line you drew. Cut along the zipper line between those marks, then cut from each mark into the corners of your sewn rectangle. Make sure you don’t cut through your stitching.

This is where that “a-ha!” moment happens. Reach through from the back of your lining fabric and pull the pocket fabric to the back of your lining fabric. Pull it and finger press and make sure your rectangle is all flattened out to be 1/2″ x 7″ again. Then press it really well with a hot iron.

It’s finally time to actually put the zipper in now. Line it up behind the lining fabric, centering it in the rectangle opening. You can pin it in place, or use this awesome tape. I love the tape because it doesn’t pucker like pins can on zippers. Stitch all the way around your rectangle again, about 1/8″ from the edge. Now your zipper is in place all nice and neat.

All that’s left is to sew up the pocket in back. Fold the top down and match up your side and bottom seams. Pin once on each edge to keep it in place. Then just start on one corner and sew around all edges, back stitching at the the beginning and end.

There you have it, one welt pocket with an exposed zipper! Once you’ve done one and see how easy it is, you’ll be adding a zipper to every bag you make, even basic totes. OK, maybe not every bag you make, but almost all of them. Really, I like somewhere to throw stuff so it won’t fall out when my bag tips, and these zipper pockets are the easiest way to do that.

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7 Thoughts on “How To: Welt Pocket with Exposed Zipper

  1. I love it, Colleen! Thanks a ton!

  2. I love it Colleen! Thanks so much!!

  3. Andrea W on July 17, 2012 at 11:28 pm said:

    I just found your blog, and wow! Thank you for showing me how put that type of zipper in. You made it seem so logical now I feel like I need to make myself a new bag tomorrow!

  4. Nicely done! I did this back in college, but it’s been a looong time, so good to have a refresher!

  5. Sue Powell on October 4, 2012 at 11:22 am said:

    Thanks–this idea is great! I never thought of adapting the bound-buttonhole technique to putting in a zipper. I can’t wait until I make my next pocket.

  6. Pingback: First 2013 Friday Felicity | me being crafty

  7. Mary Jo on January 29, 2013 at 2:52 pm said:

    Very nice!

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