Crafting: Zippered Waterproof Pouch

I found some fantastic laminated cotton that I couldn’t pass up for my latest DIY. My idea was to craft some zippered waterproof travel bags. Actually, it wasn’t my idea. It came from my friend Elise (Elise gets a bag!).  I have to say I’m so happy with the results that I’m putting these babies in my Etsy Shop. In case you’re inclined to make your own (which I encourage!), I’m sharing the instructions with you here. My last sewing post, the Zippered Lingerie Pouch, was well received, so here’s another! These pouches couldn’t be any easier, cuter, and more practical. I’ve already loaded mine up with all the things that previously were floating lost in my computer bag – never to be seen again. Thanks Elise!

But first, some words about working with laminated fabric. This is not the same as “oilcloth,” which is stiff and a bit hard to work with. Laminated fabric is typically cotton with a light coating of polyurethane (NOT the dreaded PVC). It’s soft, flexible, and forgiving. It does not show pinholes, and it can be pressed using low heat. The last thing to mention is that there may be times, when you’re sewing on the RIGHT side (the laminated side) of the fabric, where your presser foot will “drag.” That’s when it sticks to the plastic on the fabric. If that’s happening, you can use a teflon-coating presser foot, lighten your presser foot pressure, or put a very light dab of oil on the bottom of your presser foot. Some say to put masking tape on the bottom of your presser foot to make it more slippery but when you take it off you have tape stickiness to contend with.

Materials:

  • 1 nylon zipper, 7” (it can be longer like mine was, and you can just cut off the ends)
  • 1 piece of fabric 10” tall by 7.5” wide
  • Sewing supplies and a sewing machine

Instructions:

  1. Cut one piece of fabric 10” tall by 7.5” wide. If you have a directional print or pattern, the grain line should run across the short side of the fabric (as opposed to the long side). small-pouch-fabric-cut
  2. With your fabric RIGHT SIDE UP, lay the zipper face down along one of the short sides of the fabric. Your zipper may hang over the edges like mine but you will trim those ends later. small-pouch-zipper-side-1
  3. Sew the zipper onto the fabric as shown in the photo, preferably using a zipper foot. small-pouch-sew-zip-1small-pouch-zipper-side-1.2
  4. Now you want to sew the other side of the zipper. To do this, fold your fabric in half INSIDE OUT and bring the short side up to meet the zipper. Pin across the top and sew. Now you have essentially a tube.small-pouch-zipper-side-1.3small-pouch-zipper-side-1.4small-pouch-zipper-side-1.5
  5. Now you’re ready to sew the sides of the pouch. Place your fabric on a flat surface, inside out, with the zipper facing up and OPEN at least half way. If you don’t do this you will not be able to turn the pouch right side out.
  6. Shift your tube of fabric until the zipper is an inch or two from the top edge, again as shown. small-pouch-zipper-side-1.10
  7. Pin along the open ends of your tube so the fabric and zipper stay straight.
  8. Sew down each side, going slowly over the zipper itself. That’s right, you can sew right over a nylon zipper – the needle will just find its way in between the teeth. Go back and forth a couple times to secure the zipper. Don’t be a speed demon, take your time.small-pouch-zipper-side-1.6small-pouch-zipper-side-1.7small-pouch-zipper-side-1.11
  9. Cut the excess zipper ends off your pouch. Yes, your sewing scissors will cut through the nylon almost like it’s butter.small-pouch-zipper-side-1.8small-pouch-zipper-side-1.9
  10. Turn your bag right side out and press it. If you are using laminated fabric (or anything that’s plasticized), be sure to keep the heat on the iron on LOW.small-pouch-zipper-side-1.14small-pouch-zipper-side-1.13small-pouch-zipper-side-1.15small-pouch-zipper-side-1.16There you go with your new bag!

Notes:

  • As with all sewing projects you can tweak these instructions to your heart’s delight.
  • Change the dimensions of the bag to any size/shape you want. Just make sure the zipper reaches all the way across one side of the fabric.
  • You can also position the zipper right in the middle of the bag, or closer to the top or bottom. Experiment a bit once you know how to make one.
  • I’m going to try one in leather next. I’m a bit nervous because once you sew leather, the needle holes are in it permanently, unlike with fabric. And, you can’t use pins with leather – again, they would leave holes. I’ll let you know how it goes

Send me pics of your bags please!

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  21. Blue painters tape on the bottom of your pressure foot instead of masking tape will allow plastics to slide easily and leave no icky residue kn your foot.

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  23. Lorraine Kimoto says:

    I would love to make this bag however, the printed instructions were so faint, I could not read any of it starting with “Materials”. Anyway to fix that problem?

    • Hi Lorraine, thank you so much for letting me know. That’s what I get for trying to be fancy :) !

      Let me go into my settings and choose a darker font color.

      I’ll let you know when I’m done!

      karen

    • Hi Lorraine, I’ve made a design change to Mika Lane that changed the font used for “listed items.” So, the font we’re using now is easier to read and should print well for you. Please let me know how you make out. Thanks again for bringing this to my attention.
      Karen

      • Lorraine Kimoto says:

        Thank you so much, Karen for fixing the problem. Instructions are now very clear and easy to read. Thumbs up!

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