Alina Sewing and Design

Happy Valentine’s Day, friends! I hope you’re enjoying your day wherever you are, whomever you’re with, whatever is happening around you.

I have a quick tutorial for you, not specifically Valentine’s related, though it would be a good project to file away for next year!

I like to whip these cute zipper pouches up to accompany gifts. I’ve made them for Mother’s Day gifts filled with mama things, birthday gifts, etc. Adding the bow to the front makes it look a little bit more impressive, but it’s super, super simple.

Fabric choices change the look significantly–a striped black and white bow on the front of a bold colored pouch looks more grown up, whereas the fabrics I use in this post are more girl-friendly (as I made them for my daughter and my niece this past week).

You can make these in any size, so I’ll provide general proportions. You’ll need:

  • 2 outer rectangles + 2 lining rectangles + 2 fusible interfacing rectangles, all the same size
  • 1 large rectangle approximately twice the height of outer rectangle, minus two inches, and approximately the same width as the outer rectangle, plus 3-4 inches (this is the bow)
  • 1 small rectangle 2.5″x3″ (bow center)
  • 1 zipper as long as/longer than the outer rectangle

Example: pictured here, I have 7.25″x10″ (outer, lining, interfacing), 12.5″x14″ (bow fabric), 2.5″x3″ (bow center), one 9″ zipper, and finished with a pouch that is 6.75″x9.5″. Whatever size you choose, keep in mind that this tutorial uses 1/4″ seam allowances.

Start by fusing your interfacing to the outer rectangles (this can be skipped if you are using something heavier than the quilting cotton pictured here). Then fold your bow rectangle in half lengthwise, right sides together. Stitch together along the long edge at 1/4″ seam allowance. Repeat for bow center.

Turn the bow rectangle and bow center right sides out. Center the seam on the back and press.

Fold the bow rectangle in half and lightly press the fold. This marks the center of the rectangle.

Fold the center up like an accordion. Hold in place with a Wonder Clip or clothespin.

With right sides together, fold the bow center in half and stitch the raw edges together. The tighter/smaller you want the center of the bow to be, the greater seam allowance you will use. Start with 1/4″ seam allowance and see how you like it! Turn the bow center right sides out.

Slide the bow center onto the bow rectangle and center it over the accordion folds. Make sure the seams are centered in the back.

Place your finished bow centered over one of the outer rectangles. You’ll want the tops and bottoms of the bow to be 1/4″-1/2″ away from the rectangle edge. Pin the bow in place; smooth it out as much as you can.

Baste the bow onto the outer rectangle 1/4″ away from the rectangle’s edge and trim off the extra bow fabric. The trimmed pieces should be curved and everything should now lay flat.

Place the zipper face down on the outer rectangle and line up the edges. Layer one of the lining rectangles on top, sandwiching the zipper between the two layers. Pin in place. Switch your machine to a zipper foot and stitch all three layers together with a 1/4″ seam allowance. Stop and start 1/4″ away from each end of the rectangle, backstitching at both ends.

Lightly press both fabrics away from the zipper and then topstitch, starting and stopping 1/4″ away from each end.

Repeat for second side.

You’ll have something resembling this. Now, we can sew the bag together.

To start, unzip the zipper halfway (you’ll see why in a minute). Place the two outer rectangles right sides together, folding the zipper in half. Pull the linings out of the way so that they don’t get caught (this is why we stopped and started 1/4″ away from each end). Stitch the outer rectangles together at 1/4″ seam allowance, backstitching at the beginning and end.

Repeat for lining rectangles, but leave a 3-4″ opening at the bottom.

Trim any zipper tape and all corners.

Reach in through the opening in the lining, unzip the zipper (see why we left the zipper halfway unzipped?), and turn the bag right side out. Press the edges gently.

Press the raw edges of the lining’s opening under 1/4″. Line the folded edges up and stitch them together 1/16″ away from the edge (or you can slipstitch this by hand). Push the lining back into the bag and voilá! Bow zippered pouch.

Even if you’ve never sewn a bag before, you can definitely manage this. Once you work your way through this tutorial once, you’ll be able to whip these up in under and hour, including cutting! They’re perfect for adding a little something handmade to gifts. (Or, make this the gift, and just throw some chocolate inside and you’ll have one happy receiver!) This one was for my daughter’s second birthday and we filled it up with chapstick (her fave), some of my old jewelry, and some Doc McStuffins bandaids. She is loving having her own little bag for her “stuff”.

I made a second one for my niece, who turns 9 later this week. I got her a grown-up coloring book and I’ll fill the bag up with colored pencils. (Here’s a good example at how you can change the look slightly by making the bow center tighter or looser.)

And that’s that! I hope you all have a great, great week. Don’t forget to subscribe below to get blog posts directly in your inbox!

I also have new clothing patterns coming out all the time, so if you’re ever interested in testing patterns before they launch, subscribe to my newsletter over in the sidebar (or scroll to the very bottom if you are mobile).

Happy Valentine’s Day!




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