How to make a top zipper closure for a bag
A top zipper closure is far easier to achieve than you may think, let me show you how. Before we start think about the type of zipper you are going to use, do you have hardware on your bag? If so what colour is it? Do you want the zipper teeth to match?
How to make a top zipper closure for any bag
This zipper is attached before you sew up the bag, think about any bag handles you wish to have and apply them first to the exterior of the bag as once the bag is made the only real option for attaching handles is with cap rivets.
You will need a zipper approximately 2″ longer than the top of your bag piece. Measure this against the exterior of your bag
Make a zipper tab for each end of your zipper – cut out a rectangle of fabric, you are going to fold the edges in then fold in half. The finished size should be the width of your zip. Fold in the long ends, then the short ends and tucked in the corners.
Place the zipper inside the zipper tab and stitch to secure.
Now bear with me – as you will wonder how this comes together, but trust me it does!
Place your exterior fabric right sides facing, then place your zip wrong side down, the edge of the zipper tape aligning with the top edge of the fabric. Lastly, place your lining wrong side facing. Pin these layers together, alternatively, you could use double tape to hold the zipper sandwich together.
Mark 2″ from each end, stitch between these two marks the zipper in place (using a zipper foot), take care to backstitch at each end.
Press both fabrics away from the zipper. Fold under the edges where we left a 2″ opening and press.
Repeat for the second side.
Bring the exterior fabrics together, aligning the bottom edges and side edges. Pin along the sides then stitch the side seams, when you get to the top by the zipper, ensure you stitch right to the very end, opening out the folded fabric.
Iron the seams open. Unzip the zipper – then finish sewing the exterior of the bag so the bottom seam followed by boxing the corners,
Repeat for the lining of the bag, but don’t forget to allow a turning gap along the bottom seam.
Next for the moment, turn your bag right sides out, then pull your zipper tabs out.
Finally, turn in the two edges, do a final press pulling the fabric away from the zipper, continuing all the way around the bag. It can be a little fiddly but it’s worth the time. I have tacked my turned in edges to stop the fabric slipping around and topstitch.
Topstitch all around the bag, around the zipper and the open area at each end of the zipper.
Lastly, pull your lining out, fold in the raw edges ad either ladder stitch or topstitch to close.
If you like the look of this bag check out the free project bag pattern.
Check out my other essential skills tutorials for bag making:-
- How to insert a magnetic snap
- How to make a slip pocket
- How to put rivets in fabric
- How to make a zipper pocket in a purse lining
- How to make padded and cord bag handles
- How to box the corner of the bag: two methods
- How to put lining in a bag