A few years ago I ended up with a bunch of clear vinyl material and it's just been sitting in my closet ever since. I couldn't bear to throw it out because I knew that one day I'd find a use for it. Then a few weeks ago, I suddenly had the idea that it would make a fun and easy to sew zippered pouch. Reminiscent of the pouches we used to put in our three ring binders to hold all of our pens, pencils and erasers (gotta have the big pink eraser, right?) this is a flat pouch with a zipper running down the front. I love that this pouch can feature a show-stopping zipper and that the clear vinyl makes it really easy to find just what you're looking for.
This design is so incredibly simple. It only has 3 sewing lines (two for the zipper and one around the edges), but it’s an design that’s really easy to adapt and fun to play with. You can make this pouch any size you like, depending on your needs. Make one sized to go in a binder for that special student in your life or make it smaller and use an everyday makeup bag (as I did below). Adjust the fold to place the zipper at any position on the pouch. Or get a little more adventurous and try different shapes with the vinyl. You could center the zipper at the top of bag and square off the bottom to create a stand up pouch. It's also a great project for using that flashy zipper you’ve been hoarding. Or even cut the vinyl into the shape of a heart or star.
Sewing with vinyl can be a little intimidating but it’s totally doable with any basic sewing machine. There are some great posts out there with tips (here, here, here and here if you want to read). But I’ll include the necessaries here. Vinyl can be sticky, making it hard for the machine to feed it through. You can buy a special Teflon sewing machine foot or just put some scotch tape on the bottom of your regular foot to create a slippery surface. You can also put a piece of tissue paper in between the feed dogs and your vinyl to help it move through. In my tests, I found that I only needed one or the other. So, when I stitched the zipper, I used my zipper foot without tape and put tissue paper underneath. To stitch the sides of the pouch, I used my regular foot with scotch tape on the bottom.
How to DIY a Clear Vinyl Zippered Pouch
zipper (Here I’m using one that is 12 inches long and 1.25 inches wide but it’s easy to adjust for other sizes.)
leather sewing machine needle
rotary cutter & self healing cutting mat
binder clips (instead of pins)
scotch tape or scraps of tissue paper
Step 1: Cut one piece of vinyl 5 1/4” x 12” and cut one 10” x 12”.
Step 2: Prepare your machine for sewing vinyl. Insert a leather needle into the machine and thread up. You can use a non-stick (Teflon) machine foot or stick some scotch tape on the bottom of the foot, leaving the opening for the needle tape free. You can also put some scotch tape on the throat plate.
Test your setup on a scrap of vinyl. You may need to adjust the thread tension. Use a longer stitch length than usual and don’t backstitch. Just leave the thread tails long, knot them and then trim.
Step 3: Apply a thin strip of glue to the wrong side of the left side of the zipper and adhere to the top of the smaller piece of vinyl, overlapping by 1/4 inch. Let the glue dry.
Top stitch in place, stitching with the zipper facing up. Repeat with other side of the zipper and the longer piece of vinyl (as seen above).
Step 4: Fold longer piece of vinyl to the back side of the zipper, aligning the raw edges of the vinyl. The fold should be about one inch from the right hand edge of the zipper. Hold vinyl in place using binder clips. Do not use pins as this will create permanent holes in the vinyl. Stitch around the three sides leaving long tail threads. Knot the threads, weave into the stitching and trim. Trim any uneven edges of the vinyl with a rotary cutter.
You can also apply bias binding to the raw edges. Just align the raw edges of the vinyl and glue baste the bias tape to the edge, folding in the raw edge of the bias tape at the ends. Then topstitch in place. Use any color or print bias tape for a super fun look.
One of my favorite ways to use this bag is to carry knitting notions. I love to take a knitting project with me when I'm traveling and it's so convenient to have all my notions kept tidy and convenient in this clear pouch. If you haven't tried sewing with vinyl before, it's not as challenging as you might think. Find yourself a scrap and give it a try with one of these easy little pouches. It's a great project to make as gifts or just for yourself. Happy sewing!