Love sewing bags with lots of pockets? Now you can customize and personalize them even further with a practical and elegant welt zipper pocket!
Welt zipper pocket
Hey, guys! I hope you’re all doing well! Remember my pretty deep front tote bag? After wearing it for a while I realized something is missing. While the large front pocket is more than enough most of the time, there are certain occasions when I need some of the items I carry with me on a regular basis (like keys, cash and credit cards) to be stored in a more secure place. And in an elegant bag like this, what better place than a welt zipper pocket?
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Welt zippers pockets can be sewn on the inside or outside of a tote bag, or wherever you want (like on a jacket or a pair of trousers) but this welt pocket tutorial focuses on adding a welt pocket to an already sewn bag.
I decided to add a little more to the stunning design of this bag with an outside welt zipper pocket and I’ve chosen a zipper in a contrast color. Also I didn’t want anything overwhelming, I simply needed a small pocket for my keys and wallet. I could’ve added the welt zipper pocket to the lining of the bag but I thought it would be a shame to hide such a pretty detail so I added it to the back of the bag.
What is welt in sewing?
A welt is a double strip (flap) which is sewn around the edge, insert or seam of a garment for ornament. It is also known as a reinforced border along the edge of a piece of fabric.
What is a welt pocket?
Welt pocket is a bound, flat, hidden pocket that is finished with a welt. It is most commonly used in garment pieces like vests, jackets, trousers, coats but is also used in adding elegant details to bags like welt zipper pockets. A welt zipper pocket in bags can still feature the ornamental flap but most often it doesn’t.
Tips to keep in mind when sewing a welt zipper pocket:
- Center the welt pocket so that there’s enough space left on all four sides of your pocket, at least 1”. For example, if your bag is 15″ wide and 17″ tall, your welt zipper should be no more than 14” wide and 16″ long.
- Before drawing the hole on your pocket, measure the zipper and draw the rectangle for the hole according to these measurements, leaving some room for allowance. For example, if your zipper is 10″ long and 2″ wide, your pocket hole should be no larger than 9″ by 1″.
- The fabric used for the pocket will have to be double the finished size, plus 2″ allowance for height and 1″ allowance for width. For example if you plan on adding a pocket of 6″ width x 6 height” then the fabric for the pocket will be 7″ in width x 14″ height.
- The fabric for the pocket has to be at least 2″ wider than the zipper. For example if you’re using a 9″ long zipper, the pocket fabric will have to be at least 11″ wide.
- The zipper will be centered on the pocket fabric at least 1″ away from the top edge of the pocket fabric (and 1″ away from bot sides as mentioned above).
Although it might seem complicated, sewing welt pockets is super easy, even for a novice! Let me show you the steps, down below!
How to sew a welt pocket
- template (optional)
- the piece of the bag fabric where you want your pocket to be placed. That could be the outside of your bag, typically the back or the lining, front or back piece of the lining, either one works.
- piece of fabric for the pocket.
- measuring tape or seam gauge
- fabric marker
- matching thread
- sewing machine
- pressing iron
- double sided tape
- zipper foot
- seam ripper – optional
Prepare the fabric pieces
1. Cut a rectangle of fabric for the pocket, that is 2” wider than your planned pocket and twice as tall as your pocket depth, plus 2”.
2. If you’re adding the pocket to an already sewn bag, pull the lining out and using the seam ripper, unpick the bottom of the lining.
Draw the welt area
3. Place the pocket fabric on the bag, right sides facing together. Center the pocket fabric and pin the pocket to the bag.
4. Draw an outline for the welt area. At the top of the pocket fabric, on the wrong side, draw a horizontal line 1” below the top edge. Draw another line 1/2” below it. Connect the two lines with vertical lines on the sides, 1” from each edge of the fabric. Here’s a template to help you get a better idea on how the pocket and rectangle should look like. You ca download the template from here. Please bare in mind the size of the pocket and the rectangle depend on the size of your zipper and these measurements are made to help you understand the steps that go into constructing a welt zipper pocket.
Sew the welt area
5. Sew all the way around the drawn rectangle, backstitching at the starting point and pivoting at corners.
6. Using small sharp scissors, cut a line down the middle of the rectangle, ending about 1/4” from either edge. Clip to the corners into a Y without cutting through the stitches.
7. Push the pocket piece inside the bag.
8. Press the opening with the iron on steam.
Add the zipper
9. Apply double side tape to both zipper tapes, on the right side of the zipper.
10. Center the zipper under the opening and press with your fingers to stick the tape to the fabric. Make sure the slider is visible in the opening.
11. Top stitch around the zipper, about 1/8″, using a zipper foot.
12. Turn the bag wrong side out through the lining opening and fold up the pocket piece.
13. Pin around the top and sides and sew with 1/2″ allowance all around the pocket.
14. Turn the bag right side out, press and stitch the lining closed with a tops stitch or a ladder stitch.
And that’s it! Your pretty welt zipper pocket is done!