Monday, 23 April 2012

Exposed Lace Zips - how I love you so...

We've stocked these lace zips for a while now, since about this time last year, actually, maybe longer.  And for all that time I've promised myself that I would spend a few hours experimenting with them, because they are just too cute not to, right?  But time, never my best friend at the best of times, pretty much abandoned me for the last 12 months.  Finding myself with sewing time to do something I wanted rather than something I needed to do was very rarely forthcoming.
But then came last Saturday.  For some reason the shop was well staffed, and I wasn't needed.  And it was a weekend, so weekday jobs just couldn't be done.  And I had no other plans because I thought I would be working.  And suddenly I was free.  The day stretching before me was almost scary as I'm just not used to this sort of thing any more.
And then I thought... LACE ZIPS!  And just like that the looming time ahead of me felt very inviting indeed.

And because I am nice, I decided to share the how to here.  I did look online for some good tutorials but ended up mixing and matching a few and then changing, and to be honest I can't remember where I looked - if I stumble across any again I will post them here for you to have a look.

If you look at the pic above you can see there's one big one, and one small one.  The small one is with the 15cm zip, the big with the 20cm.  It amazes me the size difference between the two for just a 5cm different zip size, but hey.  The small one is just too cute,

You will need:

Small size:
2 x 6" squares outer fabric (if the fabric is thin, I would advise using an iron-on interfacing on this layer to give it a bit of structure.  The linen blends should be ok alone though).
2 x 6" squares lining fabric
1 x 15cm co-ordinating zip.

Large size:
2 x   8" x 6" rectangles outer fabric (vilene as above)
2 x   8" x 6" rectangles lining fabric
1 x 20cm co-ordinating zip

The pictures I'm going to show you are the small size, but the large size is exactly the same.  The only thing you need to know is that the long edge is the side you want to attach your zip to.

Step1: Cutting & Sewing
Cut out your fabrics, and then right sides together lay one outer and one lining fabric together.  Sew a quarter inch seam along one side (an 8" side if making a big pouch).  Turn the right side out and finger press.   Repeat for the remaining fabrics.
Sewing Up

Step 2:  Some More Cutting & Sewing
Open out again, and sew right sides together the lining fabrics, stitching parallel to the centre seam and then repeat for the outer fabrics, making a tube.  Turn the right way out, and fold along your finger pressed marks from earlier.

Some More Sewing
Step 3: Zipping Your Zip (Part 1)
Along one sewn side, centre your zip on the right side of the outer fabric.  Pin in to place, and sew.  My favourite zip method is to sew 3/4 of the way along, take out the needle while I move the zipper pull to the other side of my needle, then replace the needle and continue sewing.  I find as long as a) my thread is a good match to my zip/ fabric and b) I place the zip back in the same place, it doesn't show.
Zipping Your Zip
Step 4: Zipping Your Zip (Part 2)
Pin and stitch your zip to the other side.  At the end this will get quite tricky as you'll find the sewing machine wants to get in your way, but with some careful maneuvering you should be fine.
Step 5: Making Sure You Don't Get Zippered
Open your zip halfway.  This is an important step, otherwise you'll be all sewn up and find you can't actually get into your pouch.  Turn your tube so the lining is on the outside.  
Making Sure You Don't Get Zippered
Step 6:  Making It Pouchy
Pin one raw edge together, making sure to catch all layers, and then stitch with a 1/4" seam.  Repeat for the other side.  Trim off any excess to neaten.
Making It Pouchy
Step 7: Making It Boxy
Pull out each corner and flatten out so the seams lie at 45 degree angles to the edges (this is a poor explanation so it's best to look at the picture).  Measure 1" up from the corner (it helps to have a clear quilting ruler for this bit) and sew along this line.  Do this for all four corners.
Making It Boxy (1)
Making it Boxy (2)
Step 8: Finishing Off
Trim off your corners.  I then zigzagged across the seam to prevent fraying, and I definitely would advise this, especially as the seams in this project are exposed on the inside of your pouch.  Turn the right way out.  And that's it!
finishing your seams
15cm zip sized pouch
20cm zip size pouch


  1. Very pretty - I've seen them twice in 2 days, and I had never seen them before!
    PS. are you coming to Retreat?

    1. really want to, but don't think I'm able to. Too sad!

  2. Too cute, and the fabric is adorable too. Thanks!

  3. Thanks for this lovely tutorial! Since I just bought my first lace zippers, this was very helpful, though in the end I decided not to box my corners because I didn't want to lose the patchwork there. For my next one, I won't do patchwork and will therefore be able to stand boxing them. My (flat) pouch is here:

  4. Beautiful fabrics. Could you tell me more about them? Thank you

  5. Would have been helpful to have it as a you tube tutorial. Finding it hard to follow for a beginner.....

  6. Really cute and I love the tutorial, but do you know if you can get them in 22in?

  7. Hi, I loved this pouch. So useful. Could you please tell me where you got this Ball Chain Zipper Pull? Thanks..

    1. Hi Chhavi - it's already part of the zip, no need to add an extra pull.

  8. Darling! Would make lovely gifts for my coworkers. I'm just a beginner though.

  9. Love the pattern. Would be nice to have printer friendly option. :)

  10. Ok! Awesome tute! Thankyou sew much for taking ~ your valuable time ~ to show us. I adore a boxy bag. I bought about 20 lace zips from Studio Mio, they're online.

  11. Hello! I have successfully made two of these darling pouches (and one not so successfully, because I read the directions wrong). Thank you for posting this!

  12. I bought some lace zips but they are longer than the one called for this tutorial, is it ok to use the longer and just trim?

  13. What are the finished measurements on the small square? I will be adding elastic inside and will need to know where to place it.