Monday, May 7, 2012

Hidden Zipper Pocket - A Tutorial

So have you seen these super neat little hidden zipper pockets in the lining of bags and purses and just wondered how they are made.  (I know I used to :) We'll I happened to be making one the other day for a separate tote tutorial and thought, Why not make a tutorial for this little technique along the way.  So . . . wonder no more . . . Let's make a Hidden Zipper Pocket!!

You will need the lining of your purse, bag, or tote.  2 rectangles (or squares) of fabric that are about 1/2" larger then the size pocket you would like to add.  And finally, a zipper the length or longer than your pocket size.

Start by getting one of your pocket rectangles (or squares) and on the wrong side draw a 1/2 thick rectangle.  Make sure your rectangle is drawn 1" down from the top of your fabric and 1" in from either side.  I found it fastest to use all my rulers to make the appropriate measurements so I could just draw it all at once.

Now, placed your marked rectangle of fabric onto your lining where you would like the pocket to be.  Most often, this will be a few inches down from the top of your lining and centered from side to side.  Once placed go ahead and pin all around your drawn rectangle.  This will become your zipper opening and will be referred to as that going forward.

Time to do some sewing.  Change your stitch length to a small setting.  Now stitch directly on your drawn line all the way around the zipper opening.

Cut a slit through the center of the zipper opening. (I found this easiest to do with my rotary cutter and ruler.)   On each end clip a Y shape with a small pair of scissors.  The goal here is to get as close to your sewn corners without clipping the threads.

Now go ahead and pull your rectangle of fabric through your zipper opening.

Then, press your fabric so the opening is nice and flat.  You have to work the corners a bit but they will lay nice and flat too.

Now grab that zipper and place it under your lining so that it pokes through the zipper opening and the zipper pull is at the end.  It is okay if your zipper is longer than the opening.  Go ahead and pin all around your zipper opening keeping the zipper in place and trying to keep your lining fabric smooth and flat. (You can pin your lining closer to the zipper if you like, I pinned this about 1/8" away because it is a family tote so my kids will be getting into it a lot and they tend to get fabric stuck in zippers rather easily :)

Once you are all pinned you are ready to stitch around your zipper opening.  Start stitching along the bottom about 2" away from your zipper pull moving away from it and remember to back-tack your start.   You can use a zipper foot for this (I would If I had one :) but I found my 1/4" foot worked great.  I aligned the edge of it with the zipper. When you get to the end just pivot and the corner and sew right overtop of the extra zipper.  Then pivot and head on back across the top of the zipper.

When you get to the end that has the zipper pull stop stitching leaving your needle in the down position.  Then lift your presser foot so that you can unzip the zipper past the presser foot and where you have already sewn.  Now you can go ahead and finish stitching around the zipper.  Moving the zipper pull makes for a much nicer stitch.

And now to deal with that extra zipper.  Easy enough.  Just measure about 1/2" away from  where you stitched over the zipper and clip :)

Now that the zipper is taken care of it is time to turn this into a pocket.  Grab your second rectangle and line it up with the first with right sides together.  Pin around all the edges making sure to only pin the two rectangles.  You don't want your lining attached.

Now go ahead and stitch (I used a 3/8" seam) around your rectangle taking care to move your lining piece out of the way.  You only want to be stitching your 2 pocket rectangles together.

Now just flip over your lining and admire your handiwork!!!

One adorable hidden pocket ready to stash all kinds of goodies.  Now just finish up your purse, bag, or tote and get to using your pocket :)

Pin It!


  1. wonderful! thanks for sharing it with us!

  2. Nice! I'm always a little nervous about zippers and would have never thought to attempt one, but this doesn't look so hard broken out into steps, Thanks!

  3. Looking forward to seeing what this goes in :o)

  4. Great tutorial!!! I love hidden zippers!

  5. AWESOME! You make it look doable and I have never done a zipper :-) Thanks!!

  6. Wow, very neat! Thanks for the tutorial.

  7. Melissa, This is the first time I have viewed a hidden zipper tute where I understand it! Thanks so much!!

  8. Thank you for this! Bookmarked to try later this month :)

  9. Very nice....I can now do that as well. Thanks

  10. Thanks for sharing this! I hope you don't mind that I pinned it. Have you done this on the OUTSIDE of pouches/bags too??

  11. Great tutorial thank you, I had been trying to work out how to do this, now I can give it a try :)

  12. Thanks so much for this tutorial. I just used this to add a zipper pocket inside my bag. I really appreciate you sharing this.

  13. I was looking for a tutorial on just this technique. It worked like a charm! Thanks so much.

  14. Thank you so much for your clear tutorial - the contrasting fabric for the pocket interior made it SO much easier to understand what to do with which pieces. (Not to mention it's adorable) I have been reading tutorials all morning trying to understand this technique, yours finally clicked for me! Thanks for sharing your talents!!!

  15. Wonderful tutorial! I am often "pattern" challenged, but with your excellent pictures and instructions - I think I can do this!

  16. Just followed your fab tutorial to make a zippy pocket for my weekender bag - thanks xx

  17. Thanks! This was a great tutorial! I'm very pleased with the result!


Thank you so much for your sweet comments. I just love hearing from you!!
Have a Happy Quilting Day :)