Perhaps you have a purse that doesn’t have a pocket and you’d like to add one. Maybe you’re making your own purse and want to add a zipper pocket. On the other hand, you may be making shorts, pants, or a coat to which you’d like to add a pocket. If so, this article should point you in the right direction.

How to Sew a Zipper Pocket in a Bag

To make this, it is advisable to use a plastic zipper as they are easier to work with than metal. In addition, you will need pins or double-sided tape, For the sewing machine, you will require an all-purpose foot and a zipper foot that can get in closer to the edges of the zipper.

Cut the Fabric

The first step is to cut the fabric. You will need to have two pieces of the same size. You can choose what size you want. They don’t have to be square. Rectangular pockets work just as well. A 10-inch by 7-inch pocket would be excellent for a purse and would be suitable for putting in your cell phone.  

Measure the Zipper

The zipper needs to be two inches shorter than the pocket and one inch longer than the size of the opening, ½ inch on each side.

Position the Material and Stitch the Opening

The next step is to put one of the pieces of material onto the body of the purse. It needs to be at least one inch from the edge of the purse. Then mark where you want the opening to be. This should be the length you have decided on and ¾ inch wide. You will need the length to be one inch longer than you need the pocket to be. This is so that you can stitch around the pocket at the end of the project.

Using small straight stitches, sew around the marked line. You will want to use an all-purpose foot to sew with. Then, using a ruler to measure, mark through the center of the lines. This needs to be accurate as this is where you will position the zipper. You also need to draw triangles on the ends. Using sharp scissors, cut the center line and the triangles, being careful not to cut through the stitching. It is best to go slow at this point. 

Pull the lining through the opening of the zipper pocket and turn the purse inside out. Press this so it lays flat.

Sew the Zipper

The first thing to do is to put the zipper face-up underneath the opening and pin it in place. If you don’t want to have too many holes, use double-sided tape instead. It works just as well and makes sewing easier as you don’t have the problem of removing pins as you sew. 

The zip should be in the center of the opening and the head should be facing upwards. The metal or plastic ends of the zipper need to be inside the pocket where they will be sewn into place. The tail of the zipper should be well past the opening on both sides otherwise you won’t be able to sew a secure zip. 

You will need to have a zipper foot attached to the machine when you sew the zipper all the way around. It is a good idea to do this slowly if you aren’t experienced in sewing zippers. You need to avoid the metal or plastic of the zipper teeth otherwise the pocket won’t work properly.

Sewing the Back of the Pocket

The final step is to sew the other piece of material you cut out to the back of the pocket. It is very important that it is the same size as the front of the pocket.

Make sure that the purse is the wrong way out and attach the two pieces of material with pins. Match the raw edges together. When you pin, ensure that you don’t go through the fabric of the bag. The pocket only needs the top where the zipper is to be attached to the purse. 

Finally, stitch the two pieces of fabric together to make the pocket. The edges of the pocket should have a ¼ inch seam allowance so that you don’t see the raw edges. 

And so you have the perfect pocket where you can slip in your keys or your cell phone. 

How to Add a Zip Pocket to a Pair of Shorts

You might have a pair of shorts without pockets or you may make your own shorts. Either way, you might want to have pockets to keep your essentials in so we’ll tell you here how to do this. It’s not that different from sewing a zipper pocket into your purse.

Take two pieces of material the size you want and place one piece on the outside of your shorts. Pin it into place and then mark a rectangle where you want your zipper to be. Then, using your sewing machine, stitch all the way around the rectangle. When you have done this, cut an opening in the middle of the rectangle through both the fabric and the shorts. This is where the zipper will go. 

Push the fabric through the hole and press it so that it lies flat. Pin the zip into place, making sure that it is in the center of the hole. Change the foot on your sewing machine to a zipper foot and sew the zipper into place. You will want the stitches to be close to the metal or plastic teeth, but be careful that you don’t sew through the teeth. 

Turn the shorts inside out and pin on the other piece of fabric. Stitch around the pocket with an all-purpose foot so that the pieces are secured together. This works just as well for pants and skirts.


Hopefully, this article will have guided you in the right direction, and that you will be able to sew zipper pockets into bags, purses, and garments of clothing. Why not add a little individuality to your zippers and sew on tassels or pom-poms or why not stitch on a keyring? You won’t have the problem of looking through your bag for your keys. If you have a big bag, you could even sew on an outside pocket. The opportunities are endless.