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Updated: Mar 18, 2021

This cute bag is a good project to get you started with zips! People are so often worried about sewing with zips, but just give it a try :) A zip foot on your sewing machine is a must though (Pretty much all machines come with them included).

I’ve used a neutral linen for the bag and a Liberty print for the bow, but most fabric types would work well. It would look so good in velvet - I must add that to my list!


Large bow fabric piece: 23cm x 23cm (9in x 9in)

Small bow fabric piece: 8cm x 8cm (3in x 3in)

Outer fabric: 22cm x 30cm (8¾in x 12in)

Lining fabric: 22cm x 30cm (8¾in x 12in)

Zip: 22cm (8¾in)


Tape measure

Fabric scissors



Sewing machine with zipper foot


Tailors chalk / Erasable fabric pen

Make The Bow

1. Fold the larger bow fabric piece in half, right sides facing and matching the raw edges. Pin. With your sewing machine set to straight stitch, sew along the raw edge of the fabric with a 1cm (¼in) seam allowance. You’ll have a long, thin tube.

Turn the tube the right way out and iron it so that the seam sits down the middle (it will lie down the centre back of your bow). Repeat this step for the smaller bow fabric piece.

2. Take the smaller tube (now ironed flat) and, seam downward, fold it in half widthways, short ends together and raw edges lining up. Pin in place. Machine stitch along the short ends with a 1cm (¼in) seam allowance.

Turn the piece right side out. Thread the larger bow piece through the tube you’ve just made, to form a bow shape.

Make the Bag

1. Place your bow on top of your outer fabric piece, right side up. The side seams should more or less match. Position the bow so that it is 2cm (¾in) below one of the short ends. Pin the bow in place, then tack it down the sides, just 0.5cm (in) in from the edges.

2. Now to add the zip. Place your lining fabric right side up. Lay the zip on top, also right side up, lining it up against one of the short edges. With the zipper foot on your machine, straight stitch the zip in place, keeping your stitches close to the zip’s teeth.

3. Place the outer fabric piece on top of the lining, right side down. Again, line up one of the 22cm (8¾in) edges with the edge of the zip and lining. Pin the outer fabric in place.

4. Machine stitch through all three layers, keeping close to the zip’s teeth.

To give you an idea of how far from the zip you are stitching, try running thumb nail down the edge of the zip to slightly crease the fabric and give you a guide.

5. Repeat steps 2–4 with the other short ends of the outer and lining fabric. It is a bit of a fiddle, but stick with it.

6. Open the zip fully, and press the fabric on each side away from the zip – this is to help the zip open and close freely. To help it further still, top stitch just 2mm (1/16in) in from each seam, down the length of the fabric, holding the layers in place away from the zip itself. You could use a contrasting thread for this if you like.

7. Open the zip to about halfway. With the fabric inside out, place the lining pouch at the bottom and the outer pouch at the top, separated by the zip. Match up the side seams and pin. Pin the bulky edges by the zip seams toward the lining.

8. Replace the standard presser foot on your machine, and with the machine set to straight stitch, sew one of the side seams with a 1.5cm (½in) seam allowance. Begin at the folded end of the outer, then sew down, over the zip, to the folded end of the lining. Take care when you sew over the zip teeth to avoid the stopper. I move the machine needle by hand – foot off the pedal and turning the balance-wheel toward me. Repeat for the other side, but this time leave a 7cm (2¾in) gap in the lining side.

9. Turn the bag right side out through the gap, and use slip-stitch to hand-sew the it closed. Primp the bow if it needs adjusting.

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