‘It’s a Cinch’ Zippered Pouch

Before you start, some things to note…

  • When it comes to making the zipper tabs, attaching the zips and boxing the corners, I’ve include the written instructions below but I have also made a YouTube video as sometimes it is easier to follow via video (where you can stop, pause, rewind along the way!) This video can be found here. Don’t be put off by the length of the video! It is that long because I have shown the making in real time as it happens (faults and all). All in all, this pouch takes around 90 minutes to do (and you’ll likely become quicker the more you do it).
  • The instructions may look super long but that’s because I’ve tried to include as much information as possible to make it as easy to follow as possible!
  • You can share your makes, and see what others are making, with the hashtag #itsacinchpouch
  • Use a 3/8” (1cm) seam allowance throughout (unless specified otherwise)

Requirements:

  • 10” x 24” of Fabric A (this will be the main fabric for the outer pouch)
  • 3” x 11” of Fabric B (this will be the fabric for the ‘cinch’ strip)
  • 9” x 22” of Fabric C (this will be the lining)
  • 9” x 22” Vlieseline F220 lightweight interfacing
  • 1 x zip (no smaller than 9”)
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Rotary cutter, cutting mat and ruler
  • Sewing machine (with a standard foot and a zipper foot)

Instructions:

  1. From Fabric A:
    – cut 2 strips with each strip measuring 10.5″ (width) x 5″ (height)
    – cut 2 strips with each strip measuring 10.5″ (width) x 3.5″ (height)
  2. From Fabric B (this is your ‘cinch’ strip):
    – cut 2 strips with each strip measuring 10.5″ (width) x 1.5″ (height)

3. Sew together these 3 strips along the longest edge with a 3/8″ (1cm) seam allowance. Repeat so that you have 2 of these panels (these will be your outer pouch panels).

4. Press the seams downwards on one of the panels (as you can see on the left example) and then press the seams upwards on the other panel (as you can see on the right example).

5. You may need to trim your pouch down so that the bottom panel measures 3″, the ‘cinch’ panel measures 5/8″, and the top panel measures 4 and 5/8″.

6. Cut your Vlieseline F220 interfacing into 2 rectangles (measuring 8.25″ x 10.5″) and attach the interfacing onto the back of each outer panel. There is a right and a wrong side to the interfacing so make sure you get the ‘glue side’ (which feels bumpier) onto the wrong side of your outer pouch. Place it within a damp tea-towel/cloth and then press with an iron to bond the 2 together.

Now we come on to making the zipper tabs and from this point on, there is a video on YouTube to follow for the pouch! This video can be found here. I think written instructions can be great but seeing a zipper tab being made, and sewn, in action can also really help so I’d recommend watching the video!

7. Continuing to use Fabric A (so that it matches your pouch) cut a rectangle measuring: 5 3/4″ (length) x your zipper width PLUS 1/8″. My zip was 1″ in width so I cut my zipper tab width to 1 1/8″ width. The width of your zipper tab should match that of your zip width PLUS 1.8″. Repeat so that you have 2 zipper tab rectangles.

My zip was 1″ in width so I cut my zipper tab width to 1 1/8″ width. The width of your zipper tab should match that of your zip width PLUS 1.8″. Repeat so that you have 2 zipper tab rectangles.

8. Fold the ends of your zipper tabs in (wrong side to wrong side) by 0.75″ on each of the short edges. Press.

9. Fold the zipper tabs in half (so those 2 shorter ends meet with the right side of the fabrics on the outside) and press. The example on the right shows one zipper tab folded and pressed (the bottom tab) and one waiting to be pressed (the upper tab).

10. Cut the end of your zip off (I use an old pair of fabric scissors that are too blunt for fabric but perfect for cutting zips).

11. Open up one of your zipper tabs (but make sure those 2 shorter ends are still folded in) and place this cut end of your zip on top of one of the folds.

12. Refold your zipper tab so that those two folds are re-meeting and enclosing the zip.

13. Pin either side to hold this into place before lining the folded end of your zipper tab (the fold without the zip) so that it is roughly in line with the top of your pouch.

14. Now we need to cut the other end of the zip so that it will fit! Place your zip (with the pinned zipper tab) on top of your pouch so that you can see where you’ll need to cut. Place your other zipper tab at the opposite side of your pouch (along the width of the top panel of your pouch ). Open the zipper tab up so that the middle fold is in line with the edge of your pouch.

Make sure that the zipper pull is ON the bulk of your fabric (you really don’t want to cut off the zip without the zipper pull still being in place)!

15. In the same way that we cut the zipper before, cut your zip at the point where it will sit on that nearest 3/4″ fold of your second zipper tab (it is really hard to explain this in words so I hope the photos and the YouTube video help!)

18. The zipper length should then fit perfectly within your second zipper tab and match the width of your ‘It’s a cinch’ pouch.

19. Fold the zipper tab in half to enclose the zip and pin into place.

20. Now we are going to sew these zipper tabs into place. You’re going to do three rows of stitching (with each row being stitched twice) to make it nice and secure. I like to use a matching thread so that my stitches won’t show if they aren’t too straight! Make your first stitch line as close to that enclosing fold as possible. Once you’ve stitched that line (and you’ve taken the pins out): keep the needle down, lift your foot, rotate your tab 180 degrees, lower your foot and then stitch back over that exact line of stitching (again, I’d really recommend watching the YouTube video as I show this in action!)

21. I then take 2 stitches AWAY from the zip (using a 2.4 stitch length) before starting my second stitch line across the width of the zipper tab. As we did before, once you’ve stitched that line: keep the needle down, lift your foot, rotate your tab 180 degrees, lower your foot and then stitch back over that exact line of stitching.

22. Repeat step 21. to make your third and final stitch line and then cut your thread before repeating steps 20-22 on the opposite tab. Cut off any loose threads (you don’t want these catching in your zip!)

23. Cut your lining fabric into 2 rectangles with each rectangle measuring 8.25″ (height) x 10.5″ (width).

24. Place one of your ‘it’s a cinch’ outer pouch rectangles flat on to the table in front of you with the right side facing upwards towards you.

25. Place your zip on top of your pouch rectangle FACE DOWN so that the right side of the zip is facing the right side of your outer pouch rectangle.

26. Place 1 of your lining rectangles FACE DOWN so that the right side of your lining fabric is facing the right side of your outer pouch (and enclosing the zip and zipper tabs). Don’t worry if your zipper tabs are sticking out either side, that’s okay! Pin into place.

You’ve now created a fabric/zipper sandwich!

27. Placing the zipper foot onto your machine (you can see the majority of my zipper foot is on the right, and the majority of the pouch is on the left). You’re now going to stitch across the longest edge joining your 3 layers together. Don’t forget to secure your thread at the start (by going forwards, then backwards, then forwards again). The YouTube video shows the zip, in action, being stitched into place so I’d really recommend watching it!

I use the width of my foot as a rough guide for stitching the zip into place and this tends to be stitching along the zipper tape at roughly around 1/8″ away from the zipper teeth. You want to stitch close to the zipper teeth but not too close as then it’ll be difficult to use the zipper.

28. Once you get close to the zipper pull, secure your thread in the same way we did at the start (by going forwards, then backwards, then forwards again). Lift your needle out of the fabric, lift the foot and cut the threads. Then, slid the zipper pull down to where you’ve already stitched (this then clear the space for you to finish stitching).

Place your pouch back under your sewing machine, secure your thread (at around 0.5″ before where you stopped stitching) and then continue to sew along that edge to join together your outer pouch, zip and lining.

29. Flip the fabrics so that the wrong sides of your outer ‘It’s a Cinch’ pouch and the lining are touching. Gently iron (on a low heat so that you don’t melt the zip).

30. Now you’re going to repeat this but on the other side. Place your 2nd ‘It’s a Cinch’ panel, with the right side face up, alongside your existing pouch panel. Then, place the zip/existing panel FACE DOWN so that the right side of your zip is facing the right side of your 2nd ‘It’s a Cinch’ panel. Line up the edge of your zipper tape along the top edge of your 2nd ‘It’s a Cinch’ panel.

31. You’re going to make the final sandwich now! Place the 2nd of your lining rectangles FACE DOWN so that the right side of your lining fabric is facing the right side of your outer pouch (and enclosing the zip and zipper tabs). Don’t worry if your zipper tabs are sticking out either side, that’s okay! Pin into place.

Repeat steps 27 and 28 to stitch into place.

32. Open both sides back out and give it a final press so that both the fabric and the lining lie flat and are not bunched up around the zip (don’t forget to use a low heat on the iron so that you don’t melt the zip). Trim up any wonky edges (don’t panic if there are wonky edges, I always have them as you’ll see in the video!)

33. Using your sewing machine (and your zipper foot so that you can get close to the zip), sew a top stitch either side of your zip. These stitches will be seen so it is up to you whether to use a thread that blends in or a contrasting thread to stand out. Make sure the fabrics (both the outer fabric and the lining fabric) are taut as you sew as this, combined with the top stitch, will help to ensure the fabric won’t be caught in your zip whenever you use it. When you get close to the zipper pull: leave the needle IN the fabric, lift your machine foot and then wiggle the zip down to the opposite end of the pouch so that you can finish sewing the top stitch.

34. Open your zip so that it’s fully open (this will make it much easier when turning the pouch through later on).

35. Pin together the two outer fabrics with right sides together making sure that the edges line up with one another at key points (such as the ‘It’s a Cinch’ strips). Pin together the two lining fabrics with right sides together.

36. You need to make sure that the bulk of the zipper and tabs are pointing down towards, and being caught in between, your 2 lining fabrics as opposed to your 2 outer fabrics.

37. Starting at the bottom edge of the lining fabric, sew all the way around the 4 edges of your pouch with 3/8″ (1cm) seam allowance (using a walking foot can help especially when you get to the zipper/tabs). Leave a 2” gap between where you start/stop your stitching on the bottom edge of lining fabric

38. Now we’re going to box the corners on your pouch (again, I’d recommend watching the YouTube video as this shows it in action!) To box the corners of your pouch: lay your pouch out flat in front of your with the outer pouch right sides still facing together and the lining right sides still facing together.

39. Take one of the bottom corners of the outer pouch, then pinch and pull the two outer fabric layers apart (as if you’re opening a bag of crisps) by pulling one fabric layer to
the left and the other fabric
layer to the right. Do
this so that your seam at the
bottom of the outer pouch lies
flat against your seam on the
side of the outer pouch.
You can generally feel with
your fingers to make sure the
seams are lying flat against
one another.

40. Push the rest of the pouch out of the way and lay this flat onto
your cutting mat. Do this so that those 2 seams are nesting with each other and lying flat to form a triangle with the rest of the bag lining towards the right.

41. Line your ruler up so that it is in line with your stitch line and that you’re measuring in 1.25″ from the very tip of the point (from the left)

42. Then, using your rotary cutter, cut that 1.25″ off from the edge of your pouch.

You can now see both
your side seam and the
bottom seam.

43. Line up these 2 seams (the side and the bottom seam) so that they nest together and pin into place.

44. Using a 3/8″ (1cm) seam allowance, stitch that seam closed making sure that you secure your thread (by going forwards, backwards and forwards again) at the start and the end of that seam.

45. Repeat this so that all 4 corners (the bottom 2 corners of the outer pouch and the bottom 2 corners of the lining) have been boxed and stitched.

45. Now you have that open 2″ gap which we’re going to put to good use by turning the pouch the right way. This can be fiddly so take your time. Once you’ve pulled it all the way through, use something blunt to push the corners out in both the outer fabric and the lining fabric (having that 2” gap helps as you can use your blunt tool through there). Make sure that you also push out those corners where the zipper tabs are so that it sits neatly

This can be fiddly so take your time and gradually feed the outer fabric through that hole before pulling the lining fabric through too.

46. To finish off your pouch you need to close that 2” gap

47. Give this seam a good press to flatten that gap with the seam allowance folding back inside the pouch.

48. Stitch along the very edge of this seam. The boxed corners mean you’re unlikely to get right into the corner without bunching the fabric so focus on stitching as much of that bottom seam as you can without it puckering or bunching up that edge. This stitching is going to show so it is up to you whether to use a matching thread or a contrasting thread. Secure your stitching (by going forward, backwards and forwards again) at the start and the end of that stitching line.

49. Feed the lining back inside the pouch and push it right down so that the boxed corners sit inside the boxed corners of the outer pouch. Make sure that you also push out those corners where the zipper tabs are so that it sits neatly.

50. Give yourself a massive pat on the back because you’ve made your ‘It’s a Cinch’ pouch! I’d love to see what you’ve made so if you’d like to share it on social media and tag me in along with the #itsacinchpouch then it would be fantastic to see!