Thursday, June 19, 2014

How To Add Zipper Tabs

After my recent post on my zipper bags, one of my blogging friends wrote to tell me that she was unfamiliar with zipper tabs. I did not invent this technique, but since discovering it while making these two free Moda zipper bag patterns, links here and here, I've been a convert. Please note that there are instructions in these patterns for including zipper tabs, I'm just showing you a few more photos that may give you more clarity and boost your confidence. Try them, you'll like them!

Why do I like zipper tabs? They make sewing in a zipper a breeze. No more unwieldy lump to sew over and no more unsightly bump in your finished seam. Broken needles will be a thing of your past.

First, I cut a 2 1/2 inch square of my bag fabric. I iron down 1/4 inch on one end and then fold the tab in half. I put the folded edge next to the zipper slide and stitch over it.

Zippers shown with zipper tabs added at the top.
Make sure you don't cover the zipper slide!
Next, pull back the fabric, exposing the extra zipper tape.
Note, these are plastic zippers, not metal.
Trim the excess zipper tape off (in other words, trim the zipper tape even with your seam allowance).
Now it looks like this! Add one to the other side of your zipper.
This is what my zipper with tabs looks like now. I'm showing it to you against contrasting fabric so you can see the zipper tabs clearly. When I sew in the zipper, I center it on my piece of fabric, letting the ends of the zipper tabs overlap the edge. I'll trim them later.
Don't be afraid to cut off a big honking piece if you need to! I always like to cut off the hard metal stop at the end of the zipper (seen at far right in photo) if possible.

Last night I used a 14 inch zipper in my 8 inch wide bag. Reason? It was late at night, I had a 14 inch zipper on hand and the fabric store was closed. Fortunately Nancy's House of Fabric (aka My Stash) is always open. I throw the ends of the zippers in the trash, but I'm sure you can find something on Pinterest to make with them.
The zipper is sew down on one side. Hopefully you can see that I've trimmed the ends of the zipper tab to match the width of the zipper tape and the size of my fabric for the pouch.

Shown from the lining side so you can see where my zipper tabs are. They make sewing up the sides seams of the pouch a breeze.

I finished three more zipper bags last night. They are a belated Father's Day gift for my Dad.
This time I used two layers of interfacing in these bags, instead of one as indicated in the pattern, and they stand up nice and straight! I buy my zippers and decorative zipper pulls from Zipit Zippers on Etsy. She has great prices and a great selection and will do a custom order of any quantity and color combination that you need. This week I ordered zipper pulls on Monday and got them in the mail on Wednesday! Yes, I'm a happy customer (and this is an unpaid, unbiased endorsement).

LarryPug says, "Add a zipper tab and your pouches will be fab!" He's so smart!

I hope that you found this information useful. Thanks for visiting! Let me know if you've made any zipper pouches yet.

Linking up on Friday to Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Richard and Tanya Quilts and Crazy Mom Quilts. Linking up on Tuesday to Freemotion by the River's Linky Tuesday.

Pugs and kisses,


  1. I have avoided making anything with zippers because of the hassle, lumps, and bumps. You have inspired me to at least try. Thanks for the demo!!

    1. You should try Noodleheads Open Wide Pouch tutorial if you are afraid of zippers! She makes them easy as well! Super easy. Try her version then this version. You'll love Both of them I am sure! I am a zipper addict now! All it took was doing them a few times and now I add them in all,the time to projects. Seriously...just try it!

  2. Nice bags. I don't use tabs since my fav pattern is open wide zippered pouch. Have you tried that one?

    1. LOVE Anna's OWP! My favorite type of zipper!

  3. This is genuis!!! Wish I'd read this before I made 5 zipper pouches for teacher gifts:-)

  4. That is a great tutorial. Thanks for sharing.

  5. That is a great tutorial. Thanks for sharing!

  6. hey, great tutorial! LeeAnna Paylor

  7. Thanks for the tutorial, very good, I had never thought of it. So thanks for sharing

  8. Wonderful tutorials and I really love zipper tabs too! Great idea to use 2 layers of interfacing in the bags.

  9. I don't recall how I got here LOL, but I'm so glad I did, because I went to the bag links you gave, and cut fabric for both, and made one this afternoon! Love the tabs! Like you, I only had an 18" zipper, and I live in a small town, so...tabs to the rescue! Here's the link to my bag:
    I linked back to your post on my blog. ;-)

  10. Yes! Love Zipit on Etsy! She will ship extra pull tabs too! I have a pattern that calls for half of a zipper that I use a lot. I like being able to have a different colored zipper and zipper pull. Have also used three differnt colors by putting half zipper on one side, half of another color on the other and then a different colored zipper pull. Great selection of colors and super super fast shipping!

  11. This is something I have never tried before Nancy, but i think you've convinced me to give it a shot!

  12. Love this explanation. I'm bookmarking this, thanks so much.