Handmade Gifts

DIY Zipper Pouch with Heart Cutout

So, I picked up this adorable narwhal flannel on sale at JoAnn’s last season.  I did not know what I planned to do with it but it was too cute and ½ off.  So, I bought a yard (I wish I’d bought two).  The Narwhal fabric went well with some pink fleece I had on hand. I planned to use both for my DIY zipper pouch, but the problem was I wanted to feel the fleece, but see the Narwhal!  I also didn’t have enough of the fleece to fully line the pouch.  So . . . I did a DIY zipper pouch with a heart cutout that allows you to pet the soft fleece as you gaze at the Narwhal’s smiling face. 

If you have made a simple pillow before and have gotten down your straight stitch, then this zipper pouch is an excellent project to push your skills to the next level.  There is not a pattern per se as you are just measuring squares of fabric.  You can size down or size up your pattern to suit your needs. Now on to making your DIY zippered pouch with a heart cut out.

Materials needed:

  • Two 8×10” rectangles of fabric for the bag outside
  • Two 8×10” rectangles of fabric for the bag lining
  • One 4×4” Square of bag outside fabric
  • One 4×4” Square of fleece for inside of keyhole heart
  • One 8” zipper (or cut your dimensions to your zipper length)
  • Thread in coordinating color

How to sew your own zippered pouch with cutout heart:

Part 1: Cutout Heart

  1. Cut a heart out of paper and trace it on to the back of your small square of the outside fabric. 
  2. Carefully, place that fabric on top of one side of the large squares of the bag outside fabric.  Place them right sides together and pin the small square one to two inches from the top edge (the edge where you plan to put the zipper).
  3. Sew around the heart that you drew and then cut away the excess fabric.  Clip the inside curve of the heart and clip as close as possible to the thread without cutting it (see picture).
  1. From the backside of the large fabric reach through the heart hole and pull the corners of the small square back through the hole and iron flat (see picture).  Now admire your work!  Good job!
  1. Next, on the back side of your large square with the heart cutout, place your fleece fabric so that the fuzzy part is poking through the hole (for some fleece’s this won’t matter, but mine was only fuzzy on one side).  Carefully pin it in place and then with a coordinating thread sew your way around your heart.  I take it nice and slow and in order to get the curves, I stop my machine with the needle down, lift the presser foot and pivot the fabric to get my corner smooth. 
  2. If you want to at this point, you could just turn this into a little pillow with a fuzzy cutout heart and skip the zipper and the bag (because you’ve already learned a new skill and I believe in challenge by choice).

Part 2: Adding the Zipper to outside fabric

  1. Pin your zipper to the top edge of the bag with the zipper front facing the fabric front.
Zipper pinned to top of bag.
Pin one side of zipper to top of bag. Front of zipper should face the right side of the fabric.
  1. Put the zipper foot onto your sewing machine, and sew along the top edge.  If you haven’t sewn a zipper before, here is a great tutorial on using one. Tip: After I got halfway, I left the needle down, removed the presser foot and then slid the zipper to the other side of the needle to make it possible to sew all the way to the end. 
  2. Press the zipper and the fabric open (see photo below). Place the second square of fabric on top (right sides together) and then pin to the other side of the zipper and sew. It can be a little tricky to figure out how to arrange the fabric under the presser foot.  You can see in the picture above how I did it.  Tip: Start with zipper half open and at the halfway point remove zipper foot, move the zipper past the needle, then replace the foot to keep sewing to the end.

Part 3: Attaching zipper to inside lining of fabric

  1. Arrange your bag so that it looks like the top picture and then place the lining fabric right side down on top (it should be facing the wrong side of your exterior fabric).  Align the top edge of the lining with the very top part of the zipper (see picture).  Pin and then sew the lining in place.
  2. When you’ve finished sewing the first side, you should be able to unfold the lining and see the zipper teeth neatly sandwiched between the exterior fabric and the lining. 
One side of lining attached.
You should now be able to see the teeth of one side of the zipper neatly sandwiched between the outside fabric and the lining fabric.
  1. Place your bag on a flat surface so that the layers of fabric are in this order: Exterior fabric pretty side up, exterior fabric pretty side down, lining fabric pretty side up (see picture below).  Now carefully lay your last lining fabric on top of these layers, lining up the top edge with the other side of the zipper.  Pin it in place and then sew it. 
  2. When you finished with that, you should be able to lay your bag out and see all of the pretty sides are visible and all of the back sides and stitches are hidden. 
  1. Optional: before you move to the next step you can top stitch your zipper.  You can see how I did it in this photo.  I actually like how it looks either way. Just know, that this seam will be seen in your final bag and therefore you will want it really straight.  It does help with preventing fabric from getting caught when you zip the bag up. 
Topstitching Zipper
This is how I topstitched zipper. I removed presser foot halfway to slide zipper past before replacing it and continuing on.
  1. Trim any layers that may no longer be square.  Sometimes, even with our best efforts this can just happen. 
  2. Lay your bag out like a butterfly, where the zipper is the body.  Line up with the lining facing the other lining and the two exterior fabrics facing each other.
  1. Pin it in place.  When you are pinning by the zipper you want the teeth of the zipper to face towards the lining (see picture above) on both sides.  This will make sure it can zip properly. 
  2. Mark a two inch opening on the bottom of the lining that you will leave open.  Start on one side of that opening and then straight stitch around the edge with about ½ seam allowance all the way back to the other side of your opening. Trim corners.
  3. Push the bag though that opening and turn the whole thing right side out.  Make sure you really push out the corners. 
  4. You can either do a blind/ladder stitch to close the opening or machine sew it.  Finally give your bag a final press and then stand back and admire your work. 

Looking for other projects that use up scrap fabric? Check out our scrap heap monster!