Vicky’s Zip-Top Purse tutorial

Today we have a fun tutorial from Vicky of FrosterleyBazaar for a cute zip-top purse! This little bag is perfect for storing essentials and running out the door (I could totally hang this on a buggy hook!) or for tossing in your massive tote and finding easily (this is totally me!) Stitch it up in any fabric you love or bust your scraps and create a patchwork exterior. Fun! Over to you, Vicky!

Zip-Top Purse Tutorial on The Daily Stitch

Here is a sweet little purse for whatever bits and bobs you need to keep together. Inside are two pockets, one zipped and one open. The end panels allow the purse to open really wide so you can easily see what’s inside, while a curved top zip keep everything secure.

Zip-top purse tutorial on The Daily Stitch

Zip-top purse tutorial on The Daily Stitch

Sewing supplies:

  • Purse outer fabric – linen is good, or you can create fabric by piecing
  • Medium weight fusible interfacing
  • Lining fabric – quilting weight cotton or voile work nicely
  • Binding fabric – quilting weight cotton
  • Short zip, at least 18 cm
  • Long zip, at least 40cm

Construction method: this purse is constructed with the lining and outer sewn at the same time. You won’t need to make a separate lining. Seam allowances are on the outside, and binding is applied to finish the seams; you can choose whether this binding blends with your outer fabric or contrasts with it – there are also plenty of opportunities to make this purse your own by choosing different fabric for the end panels, different colour zips, different front decoration, etc. Go wild!

Step 1: Cut all pieces

Using pattern pieces and measurements, cut the following – check them off as you go, and label each one.

  • Main exterior piece (join pattern piece one and pattern piece two together before cutting fabric)
  • Two outer end panel pieces (pattern piece)
  • Lining piece number 1 (use Exterior pattern piece and cut fabric on red line)
  • Lining piece number 2 (use Exterior pattern piece and cut fabric on green line)
  • Slip pocket piece (pattern piece)
  • Zip pocket piece (pattern piece)
  • Two end panel lining pieces (use End Panel pattern piece)
  • Two side binding strips, each 4x35cm
  • Two top zip binding strips, each 4x40cm
  • Two zip end pieces, each 6×12 cm

From fusible interfacing:

  • Main outer panel and two end panel pieces

See photo below to make sure you have everything you need to get started!

Zip-top purse tutorial

Step 2: Make main lining piece (Create zipped inner pocket and open pocket)

Zipped inner pocket: Lay the zip pocket lining onto lining piece 2, right sides together, matching marks for corners (X). Baste around the marked zip opening, then sew around. Cut along the dotted line, cutting out to the corners without snipping the stitching. Push the pocket lining through to the back of the main lining and press the opening flat.

Zip-top purse tutorial

Zip-top purse tutorial

Zip-top purse tutorial

With right side of lining 2 facing upwards, lay the 18cm zip centrally behind the zip opening. Baste in place, then top-stitch neatly on all four sides of the zip opening, being sure to keep zipper pull visible in the opening. Avoid catching lining piece in this stitching, or letting machine needle hit the metal zip stop.

Zip-top purse tutorial

Zip-top purse tutorial

Fold pocket lining upwards, right sides together, to meet top edge of main lining piece. Baste in place along top edge, then stitch sides together to create the pocket. Trim the zip ends, and baste the top edge of the pocket to the lining piece.

Zip-top purse tutorial

Slip pocket: Fold the slip pocket piece in half, wrong sides together, to make a piece 18×11 cm. Press the fold, then topstitch. Lay this pocket onto the right side of lining piece 1, matching edges Z. Lay the second lining piece (2), right side down, on top, matching edges Z again. Stitch along edge Z with 1cm seam allowance. Baste the edges of the slip pocket to lining piece 1.

Zip-top purse tutorial

Zip-top purse tutorial

Zip-top purse tutorial

Step 3: Decorate main outer piece

If you want to decorate the outside of your purse, now’s the time. You could even piece your outer purse fabric from patchwork.

Step 4: Apply interfacing to all outer pieces

Apply the fusible interfacing to the main outer piece (once decoration is finished), and to the two end panel pieces, according to the product instructions.

Step 5: Attach lining to main outer pieces

Lay the lining, right side up, on the wrong side of the main outer piece. If your outer piece is decorated, or has a ‘front’, make sure you have the zipped pocket (in the lining) on the ‘back’ part of your main piece, to avoid a lumpy front. Baste all around to keep the lining and outer together.

Step 6: Attach lining to end panel pieces

Place each end panel lining right sides together with an end panel outer piece. Stitch along the top (straight) edge with 1cm seam allowance. Turn right sides out and press the seam, then topstitch.

Draw a curve on the two bottom corners of each end panel, drawing around a cup or something with about an 8cm diameter. Trim along the line you have drawn.

Baste the sides of each end panel to hold the layers in position, stitching within the 1cm seam allowance so stitches will not show after the purse is finished.

Zip-top purse tutorial

Step 7: Assemble purse

Match the centre bottom of an end panel piece with the centre side point of the main outer piece, lining sides together (this will seem wrong, but it’s right! The seam will be on the outside, and will be covered with binding in the next step). Pin the main outer piece around the curves of the end panel corners, snipping seam allowance to ease as necessary. The main outer piece will extend beyond the top seam of the end panel pieces on both front and back. Stitch the pieces together with a 1cm seam allowance. Clip the seam allowance where necessary to remove folds.

Zip-top purse tutorial

Zip-top purse tutorial

Step 8: Apply binding to the purse ends

Cut two x 4cm wide binding strips, 35 cm long. If you are using a thick fabric for the exterior, bias strips will be easier to get round the curves; otherwise, you can use straight-grain strips. Starting at the top front corner of the main outer piece, pin the binding strip so that its raw edge aligns with the raw edges of the purse end. Pin all the way along the end panel seam, round to the top back corner. Stitch with a 1cm seam, then press over, away from the purse. Press under a 1cm seam allowance on the remaining raw edge, then hand stitch this down to fully enclose the raw edges of the purse end panel. Repeat for the other end panel. Trim the ends of the binding level with the purse exterior.

Zip-top purse tutorial

Zip-top purse tutorial

Step 9: Attach the long zip to the purse

Mark the centre point on each side of your long zip. Mark the centre point on the front and back of your purse. Your zip has a ‘top’ side, where the slider runs, and a ‘bottom’ side. Placing the ‘bottom’ side of the zip to the lining, align the centre mark on one side of the zip with the centre mark on the front of the purse (pay attention to which way you want your zip to close here, ie left to right or right to left). If necessary place the zip slightly away from the raw edges of the purse, so that there is 1cm between those raw edges and the zip teeth (you need this gap for the 1cm wide binding).

Zip-top purse tutorial

Use a zipper foot to sew along the zip, with a seam allowance just less than 1cm. There should be a long piece of zip hanging over at each side of the purse. Repeat for the back of the purse. Now you should be able to zip your purse open and closed, and the zip seam will be on the outside.

Step 10 Attach binding to the zip

Cut two x 4cm wide straight-grain (not bias) binding strips, 40 cm long. Pin the binding strip on so that its raw edge aligns with the raw edges of the purse front and zip edge. Stitch with a 1cm seam, then press over, away from the zip. Press under a 1cm seam allowance on the remaining raw edge, then hand stitch this down to fully enclose the raw edges of the purse front and zip. Repeat for the back.

Zip-top purse tutorial

Zip-top purse tutorial

Step 11 Stitch zip ends down

Cut two rectangles of fabric 6×12 cm. Press long edges under by 1cm (ensure the fabric will slip closely onto the zip end). Press each end under by 1cm, then press the piece in half, to form a tab 4×5 cm.

Move the zip slider to the middle of the zip, and leave it there until you have completed this step! Trim the zip so that it is 29cm long (14.5cm from centre to each end), and slip one end piece on each end. Top stitch each piece to fix onto zip ends. Hand stitch down at mark on end panel pattern piece, trying to avoid stitching through the lining.

Zip-top purse tutorial


Zip-top purse tutorial on The Daily Stitch

Zip-top purse tutorial on The Daily Stitch

Zip-top purse tutorial on The Daily Stitch


5 Responses to Vicky’s Zip-Top Purse tutorial

  1. AnnieG May 2, 2015 at 4:46 pm #

    This is a fantastic tutorial, thank you so much for sharing, I have a pair of trousers made of gorgeous grey linen which got ripped too badly to repair, and have been saving the good fabric for a special project. This is it!

    If the end results are any good, I shall post them up by way of thanks!


  2. Kate Brown May 4, 2015 at 8:55 pm #

    This looks like a wonderful bag. I’m definitely going to try this one. Thanks so much!

  3. Cindy Wendt June 21, 2015 at 1:46 am #

    OMG Vicky, i didn’t even read any of the instructions, the pictures are SOOOOOOOO clear. I am such a picture person and you did a fantastic job with them.
    Thank you so much for such a clear and precise Tutorial. Feel bad for you that is is being share over Pinterest and you only have 2 comments before mine, we are such fickle people.
    You deserve more credibility and I too am guilty of sharing things and not thanking the original person, but I THANK You. 🙂
    Cheers, Cindy. 🙂

    • Cindy Wendt June 21, 2015 at 1:51 am #

      OMG, I read above 2 Responses to Vicky’s Zip-Top Purse tutorial, OOOOOPS SORRY “Annie”,
      I just took that as your name.
      Cheers Cindy. 😉

  4. Kay August 18, 2015 at 6:51 pm #

    This is beautiful and so well thought out. I have just been looking at another zip pouch tutorial and the zip end was just squashed inside and crudely tied up with thread! It looked awful, yours has a flawless finish

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