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How to sew a lined zipper pouch by serger without a pattern

In this sewing tutorial, I’ll show you how to make a lined zipper pouch using a serger. The serger will do all the work of sewing the seams and finishing the raw edges in one step, so it’s quick and easy to sew up. When you’re finished sewing, you’ll have a cute and practical zipper pouch that’s perfect for carrying small items like cosmetics or sewing notions. 

sewing tutorial on how to sew a zipper pouch by serger

What you’ll need to make a lined zipper pouch

  • Small piece of fabric for the pouch 12” x 12’
  • Small piece of fabric for the lining 12” x 12”
  • Piece of batting 12” x 12”
  • Piece of medium weight fusible interfacing 
  • Plastic zipper 15” or longer
  • Serger / overlocker (optional)
  • Small piece of ribbon for the loops 5 inches long
  • Regular sewing notions

Before beginning any project, it’s always advisable to read through the entire tutorial. This will give you a better understanding of the steps involved, as well as an idea of what materials you’ll need. Skimming through the tutorial will also give you a sense of the difficulty level, so that you can gauge whether or not the project is one that you feel comfortable taking on. 

Note: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. This means I will receive a commission if you order a product through one of my links. I only recommend products I believe in and use myself. 

Step 1. Prepare everything necessary for sewing the zipper pouch

My fabric for the pouch is medium weight outdoor fabric, much more rigid than quilting cotton. But you can also use quilting cotton if you want to, just make it stiffer with a piece of fusible interfacing. You can use home decors fabric, upholstery fabric, and faux leather (vinyl). 

I used fusible fleece for this zipper pouch but you can use other types of batting and it doesn’t need to be fusible batting. 

And for the lining, I used a piece of real silk. The lining has to be lightweight fabric. 

A zipper for the project – make sure to choose a regular plastic zipper with small plastic teeth. Avoid using invisible zippers, metal teeth zippers, and zippers with big plastic teeth. It’s best to choose a zipper that is at least 15 inches long. 

A piece of ribbon – the loops on each side of the zipper pouch are made from ribbon, but they can be easily made from the fabric. 

Thread your serger with suitable serger threads (or prepare your sewing machine, if you don’t have a serger). 

Prepare your cutting table. First, clear away any patterns, fabric, threads, pins, etc. that might be cluttered on the surface. This will give you a clean, flat cutting surface to work with. Next, make sure you have all of the cutting tools you’ll need within reach. This includes scissors, rotary cutters, cutting mats, etc. With a well-prepared cutting table, you’ll be able to cut out your fabric quickly and accurately.

Step 2. Cut the fabric for the zipper pouch

First, cut a piece of fabric for the pouch – 12” x 12”. 

What cutting tools do you prefer to use? Shears or rotary cutters? 

I like my Martelli rotary cutter. And of course, I use a cutting mat whenever I need to cut fabric.

It provides a stable, self-healing surface to cutting fabric on, and the grid lines make it easy to measure and cut fabric accurately. Most cutting mats are marked with one-inch grid lines, making it easy to cut the fabric into squares, in my case – 12-inch squares. 

cut a piece of fabric for the pouch - 12” x 12”

Do you know how to cut fabric squares? Use the grid lines of your cutting mat. First, make sure that the fabric (and a ruler) is aligned with the lines on the cutting mat. Then, use a rotary cutter to make straight, clean cuts. Remember to apply some pressure as you move your rotary cutter along the fabric. If you find that the fabric is slipping, simply reposition it on the mat and continue cutting. The grid lines on the cutting mat will ensure that your cuts are perfectly straight.

But if you don’t have a cutting mat and rotary cutter, you can make a paper pattern – 12” x 12” square,  and cut the fabric with shears. Just make sure you place the pattern correctly so that the grainline is parallel to selvages. 

Next cut a piece of batting 12” x 12”. You can use the fabric square you just cut as a template.

cut fusible fleece

Cut the lining – the same square 12” x 12”. 

cut the lining

Cut 2 pieces from a ribbon for the loops – 2.5” long each. 

I used fusible fleece for the pouch but I didn’t fuse the entire piece to the fabric, I fused it only around the edges to keep it in place while sewing the pouch. If you are using just regular batting, pin it to the fabric so it stays attached when you sew. 

Step 3. Prepare your serger to use for the project

It’s always a good idea to do a test stitch before you start your project. This will help you make sure that the serger settings are correct for the fabric and thread you’re using. Use a 4-thread 2-needle serger stitch. For this project, I am using quarter inch seam allowances, which perfectly matches the width of my serger stitch.

So sew a few stitches on some fabric scraps and check the results. The stitch should be even, with no loose threads or gaping holes. If the stitch looks good, you’re ready for your project. If not, make adjustments to the serger settings and try again until you get the perfect stitch.

test the serger stitch on scrap fabric

Step 4. Sew a zipper for the pouch

First, baste the zipper in place. This will hold it secure while you sew and will prevent it from shifting. For this, close the zipper and position it so that the right side of the zipper is on the right side of the fabric. Use sewing clips or pins to hold the zipper in place. Then, open the zipper, go to your serger and begin sewing. 

attach the zipper to the fabric

Start stitching on the zipper side about 1 inch from the pouch’s fabric edge. 

When you come to the fabric be sure to align the zipper and the fabric edge.

Make sure that you don’t cut anything with the serger knife. The zipper lace is quite narrow so we don’t want to cut it even more. 

Do you know how to do it? If you’re new to using a serger, you may be wondering how to keep from cutting your fabric with the serger knives. The presser foot usually has a line that marks the knife cutting line. If you align this mark with the fabric edge, you will not cut anything. 

sew the zipper by serger

Take the clips out one by one when you stitching the fabric. 

Now that one side of the zipper is attached, it’s time to attach the other side. 

Close the zipper. Then, fold the fabric as shown in the image and align the fabric edges. Once the fabric is in place, use sewing clips to secure the zipper lace in place. Open the zipper and stitch along the edge of the zipper lace (on the zipper side). Again, don’t cut anything with the serger knife. 

sew another part of the zipper

Press the seam allowances toward the fabric. However, you don’t want to press directly on the zipper teeth or the fabric. Instead, use a pressing cloth. This will protect the zipper and the fabric from damage. 

Step 5. Sew the lining for the zipper pouch

Now both sides of the zipper are attached to the fabric and it’s time to attach the lining. 

zipper is attached to the pouch

Place the lining ( you remember it’s a square piece of fabric 12” x 12”) on top of the fabric with an attached zipper, right side to the right side. Use wonder clips again. Align both squares. The zipper lace will be sandwiched between the fabric.  

attach the lining using sewing clips

Start stitching one inch from the fabric edges. Make sure to perfectly align the fabrics at the corner. 

Again, don’t cut anything with the serger knife. Align the mark on the presser foot with the fabric edges. 

I attached the lining and the next step is pressing, so let’s turn it like this and go to the iron, we need to close the zipper for this. 

press the fabric around the zipper

Ok, I pressed the fabric around the zipper. 

Now open the zipper, not fully, only to the middle of the bag. 

Turn the bag lining side out. Now you can cut the zipper ends. Just don’t open or close the zipper, leave it as it is. 

turn the pouch wrong side out

Step 6. Sew the side seams of the zipper pouch

The next step is to fold the pouch in half so you can find the center points. Mark the center on both sides of the pouch with a marking tool. I use a Frixion pen. Make sure to mark the side that will be the outside of the finished pouch, not the lining side. 

mark a center point on the pouch

Next, align the teeth of the zipper with these marks. Use pins to keep it in place.

Don’t close the zipper, keep it open. 

But before stitching the sides you need to insert the loops. I am going to use a ribbon, but the loops can be easily made from the same fabric as our zipper pouch.

use ribbon for the loops

The ribbon usually unfolds and we can’t keep the loops in place with a pin, because we are going to stitch the seam by serger. So fabric glue can be a helpful tool. Just apply a small amount of glue to the center of each loop, then press it down onto the fabric. The glue will hold the loop in place until you’re ready to stitch the seam.

I have to put the zipper ends so they overlap a bit. So when I sew by serger they don’t go too far apart. If you don’t do this you might end up with a big gap here. So put them on top of each other. 

overlap the zipper ends

The next step is stitching by serger – don’t cut the seam allowances with the serger knife. The serger will go over the plastic zipper teeth without any problem. 

stitch side seams

So what do we have here? 

I made the seams on both sides of the bag. Don’t cut the thread tails yet. See the zipper teeth here are very close to each other. As they suppose to be. 

seams stitched by serger

Step 7. Finish the zipper pouch

Take your marker and mark the fold lines in all corners. We will use the marks a bit later.

mark fold lines

Now I am going to use my ruler to find a few points. I am going to mark in centimeters. But I will tell you the equivalent in inches too. 

From every fold line measure exactly 5 cm (2 inches) toward the zipper. Put a mark. 

measure 2 inches from the fold

From this mark measure 6 cm (2 ⅜ inch) parallel to the zipper. From the very edge. 

measure 6 cm from the edge

Mark these points. 

Now we have to fold the corner in such a way so the fold is going from the corner to this point we just marked.

fold the corner

Make sure that the seam line is aligning with the fold mark we made before (use a pin for this).  If they are not aligning move it a little until they are. When you position the corner correctly pin it.

Now let’s put another mark. Measure 1 cm (or ⅜ inch) from this point toward the corner. 

make another mark

Draw a line connecting these 2 points. This is our stitching line for the zipper pouch. 

Let’s do the same with the other corner. 

Now we have two stitching lines and they are exactly symmetrical to each other toward the center of the zipper.

stitching lines

Do the same with the opposite corners.  

So I stitched the corners on my serger. I hope you know how to stitch so the seam goes exactly at the marked line. You have to align the left needle mark on the presser foot with the marked line on the fabric. 

stitched corners

Now I am going to deal with thread tails. 

First, take out the two needle threads. As you do this, the looper threads will come undone and fall away from the fabric.

make a knot

Next, tie the thread ends together and cut them close to the knot. Finally, put a small amount of glue on the knot to keep it in place. This will ensure that the thread does not come undone. 

Turn the zipper pouch right side out. And it’s ready. 

If you liked this tutorial you might be interested in making a different pouch – a DIY makeup bag. The tutorial includes step-by-step instructions and plenty of photos so you can follow along easily. I hope you find it helpful! As always, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to get in touch.

How to sew a makeup bag tutorial

Did you find this tutorial helpful? If so, save this pin (see below) on your sewing board so you can come to this tutorial later when you need this information on how to sew a zipper pouch by serger, and follow me on Pinterest for more tips, tutorials, and inspiration!

how to sew a zipper pouch sewing tutorial

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Mary

Sunday 29th of May 2022

Very nice tutorial. Can you please tell us what the finished size of the pouch is? Thank you.

Gayle

Saturday 28th of May 2022

Thank you so much. This is so much clearer to see and understand. I really appreciate it. My next project as soon as I get my energy together after a double mastectomy and am now in the middle of my planned chemotherapy of 8 sessions. 1 every 2 weeks. Not feeling good it has still given me a lot of cheer to just browse and seeing all the lovely things you make. Thanks Gayle

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