Whether you need a bag for cosmetics, grooming supplies, or other travel essentials, this sewing tutorial for a box-zipper pouch will make you look like a pro!
Hey y’all – today, I’ve got a special treat for you in the video tutorial for how to sew a toiletry bag, boxy zipper pouch or dopp kit, so don’t forget to hit play on that further down in this post! This tutorial makes a great gift for the men in your life (or women – zipper pouches don’t discriminate!).
When I was a kid, I remember my Dad having a special bag to pack his travel essentials in. It was dark green nylon with a black zipper and strap. In fact, there is every chance that he still has the exact same bag and still uses it for travel. And though the Coach is quite happy with his ziploc bags for travel, I thought it would be nice if he had something a little nicer to put his essentials in. So we made this boxy zipper bag. That’s right – I roped him into sewing his own toiletry bag with me, and I got it on camera!
Tools And Materials
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To make your own zipper bag of approximately 11 in x 4 in x 6 in, you’ll need:
- 2 pieces each of outer fabric, lining. Each piece needs to be 16 inches long by 10 inches tall. I used canvas for the outer fabric (I’m thinking I may experiment with waxing this later) and scrap linen for the lining.
- (Optional) Pellon 71F Peltex to stiffen the bag, 16 inches by 10 inches. If you don’t want it quite as stiff as what I show in the video, you could use heavy weight interfacing instead. The Peltex does make this more difficult to sew and turn right side out because it’s thick
- 1 Piece of outer fabric 4 inches wide and 10 inches long for the handle
- 1 14 inch long zipper
- Wonder Clips (affiliate link) come in handy if you’re using Peltex
How to Sew Box Zipper Pouch
To see how to put this together, watch the video below. Or, if for some reason it won’t load, you can also see it on YouTube here. If you prefer a written tutorial, scroll past the video for screenshots and written instructions.
Written Instructions to Make A Toiletry Bag
If using Peltex, fuse to the wrong sides of the outer fabric.
Place the zipper right sides together with one piece of outer fabric, centering it on a long edge and aligning the edge of the zipper with the raw edge of the fabric. Place the lining right sides together with the outer fabric, so that you create a zipper sandwich. Using a zipper foot, sew the outer fabric, zipper and lining together.
Fold the fabric and lining wrong sides together and press. Make another zipper sandwich of the other side of the zipper with the remaining fabric, making sure the outer fabric is right sides together with the first piece of outer fabric. Press this side as well after stitching, then topstitch the fabrics close to the zipper teeth as shown above.
Fold the pouch so that the outer fabrics are right sides together and the lining fabrics are right sides together. Align the edges opposite the zipper. Stitch across the outer fabric straight across, then stitch the lining fabric as well, but leave a hole in the middle for turning later. Use a 1/2″ seam allowance.
Fold the pouch so that the seams align right on top of the zipper on either side. Use pins or clips to keep the lining fabric out of the way, then sew each corner of the outer fabric to as close the the zipper as you can get. Make sure to backstitch at the outer edge of each corner. Repeat this process with the 4 corners of the lining fabric, holding the outer fabric out of the way. Go slow on your sewing machine if you’re using the peltex; this is a pretty thick seam.
Once all 4 corners are sewn, sew across the zipper area where you left a gap. Sew through all layers – outer fabric, zipper, and lining, and then backstitch across. If you used a metal zipper, be very careful not to hit the metal parts with the needle.
Take the handle piece, fold wrong sides together, matching long edges, and press to crease. Open, and press each long raw edge 1/2 inch to the wrong side. Fold the handle closed, then sew several lengthwise lines of topstitching, to close and reinforce the handle. Trim handle to the same length as one short side of the pouch.
Mark off a 1 inch by 1 inch square from the seamline of each corner of the pouch as shown above. Cut the corners out.
Pinch the corners so that the seam aligns with the fold, then sew across each corner. Repeat this step for each of the lining corners.
On the zipper pull end of the bag, insert the handle through one outer corner. Box the corner, then pull the handle through the opposite corner on the short side. Box this corner as well. Finally, box the last two outer corners.
Finally, turn the bag right side out through the hole in the lining.
And either turn the raw edges of the lining hole in toward each other and topstitch the lining closed, or use a blind stitch to hand sew it closed.
Box Zipper Pouch Variations
Once you have the basics for how to make a boxy zipper bag down, you can add variations. For example, you might want to add pockets inside or outside the bag. This post shows how to sew patch pockets, which you could add before sewing the outer or lining fabric to the zipper.