Tutorial: Dirty Bubble Zippered Pouch

I decided to sew up this little zippered pouch, featuring circles and applique. The finished size of this cute little pouch is approximately 9.5″ wide by 5.5″ tall. If you have never done any applique or sewn in a zipper, this tutorial would be a great introduction to those techniques!

I’ve decided to start calling my tutorials after the first thing that pops into my head while I’m making them; if you’ve ever seen Spongebob Squarepants, you might recall that one of the nemesis of Mermaidman and Barnacle Boy is the Dirty Bubble. If you’ve never seen the show, you probably think I’m crazy, lol.
 
Please check out my other Sewing Tutorials! If you have any questions about this tutorial while you’re working on it, feel free to post on my Flickr Group. I’d also love it if you’d post pictures of your finished projects there, too!

PLEASE PRE-WASH AND IRON ALL FABRICS.

READ ALL INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE BEGINNING.

SUPPLIES

- 1 fat quarter for the exterior fabric
- 1 fat quarter for the lining fabric
- piece of batting approximately 10″ x 12″
- assorted fabric scraps
- 10″ zipper
- coordinating thread
- glue stick
- circle rotary cutter (optional)
- ruler
- invisible marking pen or fabric chalk

Helpful Hint: You can always use a larger zipper and trim it down. I used Warm and Natural batting for this project, but if your main fabric is white or light-colored, you might want to try Warm and Bright, or Soft and Bright (made by the Warm Company).

STEP 1 ~ CUT OUT YOUR FABRIC

From the Exterior Fabric
1a. Cut 2 pieces each 6″ tall x 10″ wide. These will be your Exterior Panels.

1b. Cut 2 pieces each 2.5″ x 2.5″


From the Lining Fabric
1c. Cut 2 pieces each 6″ tall x 10″ wide. These will be your Lining Panels.

From the Batting
1d. Cut 2 pieces each 6″ tall x 10″ wide. 

ALL SEAMS ARE 1/2″

STEP 2 ~ PREPARE THE EXTERIOR 

 

2a. With a ruler and marking pen, make a 1″ margin going all the way around your Exterior Panel. Repeat for the other Exterior Panel.

2b. Take 1 Exterior Panel. Using your rotary circle cutter, cut random-sized circles within your margins. My circles ranged from 1/2″ to 2-1/4″ in size. I cut them in a pleasing pattern. Make sure that they are spaced at least 1/2″ apart. Repeat for the other Exterior Panel.

Helpful Hint: The reason you remove circles from your Exterior Panel and then replace them with circles from your Scrap Fabric (instead of just placing Scrap Fabric circles on top of the Exterior Panel) is that sometimes darker or printed Exterior Fabrics will show through your Scrap circles. In my case, the gray probably would have darkened my Scrap circle fabrics (especially the white portions). If you are using a white Exterior Fabric, feel free to omit Step 2b, and in Step 2d instead glue the circles on top of your Exterior Fabric. Make sense?

Helpful Hint: If you don’t have a rotary cutter, use some objects from around the house to trace and cut your circles from. My rotary cutter doesn’t make those itty-bitty circles, so I traced around the cap from my rotary cutter. Buttons would also be great to trace around…I’m sure we all have tons of various-sized buttons.

2c. With the exterior fabric scraps you had left over from Step 2b, use those circles to cut out your fabric scraps, however, make sure to trace and cut your Fabric Scrap circles 1/4″ larger than your exterior fabric circles (they don’t have to be exactly perfect circles).

2d. Put a small bit of the glue stick around the very outer edge (about 1/4″) of the Fabric Scrap circles. Center the Fabric Scrap circles under their corresponding hole in the Exterior Fabric and put gentle pressure on it to make them stick. Repeat for all Fabric Scrap circles.

2e. Take 1 of the completed Exterior Panels. Apply glue with your glue stick to the entire wrong side, and glue the wrong side to 1 piece of batting. Repeat with the other Exterior Panel and remaining piece of batting.

2f. With your machine set at a small, tight zig-zag stitch (I have mine set at 3.0mm and 1.0mm; you might want to test it on a small fabric scrap first), zig-zag VERY SLOWLY around each circle. Take your time and be patient to get a nice-looking circle. Make sure your stitch is grabbing both the Exterior Fabric and the Fabric Scrap pieces. I used pink and blue coordinating threads for my pink and blue scrap circles. Repeat with the other Exterior piece.

STEP 3 ~ INSTALL THE ZIPPER

3a. Take the two 2.5″ squares that you cut from the exterior fabric. Press both in half.

3b. Lay your zipper flat, right side facing you. Pin 1 of the pressed squares on top of the right end of the zipper, about 1/2″ from the end. The folded edge of the square should be toward the center of the zipper. Pin. Sew 1/8″ away from the folded edge of the fabric square.

Trim so that your fabric is even with the edge of the zipper. Repeat for the other fabric square and the left end of the zipper.

3c. Place 1 of your Exterior Panels, right side facing you. Place your Zipper Unit, wrong side facing you, at the top of the Exterior Piece. The horizontal edge of the zipper should be even with the raw edge of the top of your Exterior Piece. Pin. With your zipper foot on, sew along the pinned edge.

3d. Take 1 Lining Panel, right side facing you. Take the Exterior Panel that you sewed in Step 3c, and place it wrong side facing you, on top of the Lining Panel. The top edge of the Lining Panel should be even with the top zipper edge of the Exterior Panel. Pin. Sew on top of the stitching that attached the zipper onto the Exterior Panel. Flip the Exterior Panel over so that the wrong side of the Exterior Panel is touching the wrong side of the Lining Panel. Press.

3e. Repeat Steps 3c. and 3d. to attach the zipper to the remaining Exterior Panel and the remaining Lining Panel.

3f. Separate so that there is an Exterior Panel/Lining on either side of the zipper. Topstitch 1/8″ on both sides of the zipper.

STEP 4 ~ COMPLETE THE POUCH

4a. Unzip your zipper halfway. Separate the panels again so that both Exterior Panels are right sides facing, and both Lining Panels are right sides facing. Pin each around the 3 sides (the zipper side can remain unpinned).

4b. Sew around the 3 sides of the Exterior Panel that you pinned in Step 3g., pivoting when you reach the corners. Repeat for the 3 sides of the Lining Panel, however, leave a 4″ opening in the longest edge of the Lining Panel (this will leave room for you to turn the pouch right-sides out). Press seams and clip corners.

4c. Pull the pouch right sides out through the opening that you left in the Lining Panel. Push the corners out with a turning tool or the cap of a thin marker.

4d. Press the raw edges of the opening you left in the Lining Panel under about 1/2″. Either handstitch or topstitch the opening closed.

AND YOU’RE DONE!!
CONGRATULATIONS!

I hope you’ve enjoyed sewing up this little bag! Please let me know what you thought about the pattern! :-)

32 thoughts on “Tutorial: Dirty Bubble Zippered Pouch

  1. Sara,

    I am so very impressed with how fearless you are, as I was sewing up placemats yesterday and fussy cutting out just the right motif, I was thinking of how you must fearlessly or confidently just forge ahead hence the many projects that come out of you. Im even going to attempt now to use you tutorial to learn to put in zippers. Thank you so much for being my friend and inspiration. Shelly

  2. Oh now thats so cute!! I’ve been wanting to try zippers with the ends like that and now is my chance! These would make cute back to school pencil cases with names appliqued on them! thank you for this tutorial!

  3. CAN I just BE you for one day!!!!!! I made Katy a pencil bag and this tutorial would have been PERFECT!!!!! I winged it and it is okay but this would have been way better!!!

  4. help! Your tutorial is very clear but after throwing away 5 bags, I decided I need more help! When I sew my bag together, the zipper ends are sunk in – there is no way I can turn the corners completely out so that they are square like yours are. When I sew the bag together, I have the teeth of the zip facing the lining…what am I doing wrong? Do you sew over the zip or do you stop before you get to it? Thanks.

    Ann
    tann4448@gmail.com

  5. Hello Sara, I came across your tutorial and I love your instructions and photos to details. I am one that always have trouble with zippers. I love my little bag and is now full of my sewing accessories. It is not as beautiful as yours but I will keep it full. Thank you for sharing…Judith, Texas

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