How to Sew a Zip Pocket

How to Add a Zip Pocket to the Lining of Your Bag.

This post contains instructions of how to add a zip pocket to the lining of a bag. I used this technique when sewing my Barbour inspired laptop bag: Make It: Sew a Barbour Inspired Laptop Bag. It is a really handy thing to add to your project, as you can use it to secure any valuables that you are carrying. Also, it really isn’t that complicated to make.  The final size of this pocket was approximately 20 cm wide by 15 cm deep, however this can be adjusted to suit you.

What you need:

  • Zip – I used a 20 cm long zip.
  • 25cm x 33cm piece of fabric. I personally chose to use the same fabric as the lining of my bag but you could use a contrasting pattern to add a pop of colour to the inside of the pocket.

    Mark Up the Zip Pocket

  • On the wrong side of the pocket piece draw a line 2.5 cm from one of the short edges of the fabric. This will become the top edge of the pocket
  • Draw a second line 3.5 cm from the same edge.
  • Double check that there is a 1 cm difference between the two lines that you have drawn.
  • Draw a rectangle by joining the two lines drawn with two short lines that are 2.5 cm in from the long edges of the fabric.
  • Draw a line right down the centre of the rectangle.
  • You should end up with a shape like this:
How to sew a zip pocket
Mark the pocket up

Construct the Zip Pocket

  • Press the pocket piece in half (with the long edges together). Do the same for the bag lining piece that you will be adding the pocket to. This will help with lining up the centre of the pocket with the centre of the lining.
  • Mark a line 9 cm from the top edge of the bag lining piece.
  • Lay the pocket piece down on top of the lining piece, RST, matching the top edge of the pocket piece to the line you drew and matching the centre creases. Pin in place.
    How to sew a zip pocket - pin in place
    Lay the pocket piece down on top of the lining piece and pin in place
    • Sew over the rectangle you drew on the wrong side of the pocket piece.
    How to sew a zip pocket - sew in place
    Sew over the rectangle you drew on the wrong side of the pocket piece.
    • Draw another two lines 1.3 cm in from each of the short ends of the rectangle.
    • Draw a small triangle at both ends of the rectangle by joining each of the corners to the middle of the line drawn in the previous step. You should get the shape seen below
How to sew a zip pocket - mark up
Draw a small triangle at both ends of the rectangle
  • Cut along the centre line and along the edges of the triangle (Follow the dashed line in the picture below). Cut as close to the stitching as possible but do not cut through the stitching. After cutting you should have little triangle pieces on the ends of the rectangle.
How to sew a zip pocket - cut along the lines
Cut along the centre line and along the edges of the triangle
  • Press the pocket opening (the bit you just cut) away from the bag lining creating sharp creases where the stitch lines are, this results in a rectangular shaped hole.
  • Push the pocket fabric through the slit to the wrong side of the bag lining piece and press. You shouldn’t be able to see the pocket fabric from the front.
How to sew a zip pocket
Push the pocket fabric through the slit to the wrong side of the bag lining and press.
  • Sew the small triangle of fabric at each end of the pocket opening down to the pocket piece. Stitch as close to the wide base of the triangle as possible. I used a zig zag stitch with a stitch length of 0.
  • Lay the zip underneath the pocket and centre it in the slit. Position so the zipper pull is a little underneath the fabric in case the fabric stretches as you sew.
How to sew a zip pocket
Lay the zip underneath the pocket and centre it in the slit.
  • Attach the zip to the pocket opening. Sew along the edge of the opening using a zipper foot. Start with sewing each of the longer edges and then sew the shorter edges. For each of the longer edges ensure you sew in the same direction e.g. start at the bottom of the zip and sew towards the top.
How to sew a zip pocket - attach the zip
Attach the zip to the pocket opening.
  • Finish the pocket by folding the fabric of the pocket piece in half, RST. Sew the three edges together with a 1.5 cm seam allowance (the fourth edge of the pocket is the fold). Only sew the pocket closed, don’t sew the pocket fabric to the bag lining.
How to sew a zip pocket
Sew the pocket closed