Pleated Zippered Pouch

DSC_0077This tutorial is another adaptation of a zippered pouch–it’s a pleated zippered pouch! I think the pleats add a little something extra, don’t you?

Most of the steps are the same as the zippered pouch tutorial. The only changes are in the way you cut the fabric and sewing the pleats (it’s very easy!).  The fabric I chose was sent to me from a friend of mine (thanks, Hanna!).  The fabric reminds me of her because she loves the nautical look.  The fabric is a super cute anchors print.  I paired it with a vibrant yellow zipper.

Let’s get started! You’ll need the following to make this pouch:

a sewing machine

scissors (or rotary cutter and mat)



a zipper (9″ in any colour)

a fat quarter of cotton fabric for lining

a fat quarter of cotton fabric for exterior

scrap piece of fabric measuring 2.5″ wide and 4″ tall.(optional)

zipper foot (optional)

pinking shears (optional)

Step 1) Cut your exterior fabrics 

Cut  the exterior fabric.  The fabric will be cut in a trapezoid (what a fun word!) shape.  Draw a line on your fabric that measures 11” long. This will be the bottom of the trapezoid.  Find the middle of the 11″ line and measure 9″ up from that line and make a dot.  Using the dot as a reference of the middle, draw a line that measures 10″. Connect the ends of the lines together to complete the trapezoid.  So your final piece  should measure 10″ across the top and 11″ across the bottom with a height of 9″.  Repeat these steps so you have 2 identical shaped pieces of exterior fabric.


Note: I originally folded my fabric in half to cut this out in one step…but beware! If you are using a directional print and you try to cut two at a time, one of the prints will be upside down and this will lead to disappointment!! I am embarrassed to admit this happened to me but hopefully you can learn from my mistakes 🙂

Step 2) Sew the pleats

Now it’s time to make the pleats.  Place your fabric right side up.  Along the top of the trapezoid, measure 3″ in from the left edge and make a mark with your pencil (don’t worry, small marks will be hidden in the final product).  From that mark, measure another 1/2″ and make another mark.  Repeat this step from the right edge of the fabric so there are 4 marks on your fabric in total.

Working from the left side, fold the fabric so that the mark you made at 3″ and the mark you made at 3 1/2″ meet together, press this in place.  Repeat for the right side.

Repeat using the second exterior piece of fabric.  When you are finished, you should have something that looks like this:


Baste along the top of each of the pieces to hold the pleats in place.  To do this, I used the widest stitch available on my machine and used a 1/8″ seam allowance.

Step 3) Cut your interior fabrics

To cut the interior fabrics, I found it easiest to trace the shape of the exterior fabric onto the wrong side of the interior fabric.  Cut out the fabric using scissors.

Step 4) Attach the zipper

Okay, at this point, you’re going to finish the bag exactly like you would any other.  The instructions are  identical to my previous tutorial but refer here if you need more pictures.

With your exterior fabric right side up, place the zipper along the top face down. Place the lining right side down on top of the zipper. This makes a sandwich, with the right sides of the fabric facing and the zipper in the middle. Pin in place.  Stitch using a 1/4″ seam allowance, back stitching at both ends. If you are not using a zipper foot on your machine, you’ll have to pause halfway through stitching and move the zipper behind your foot (or the stitching will go wonky as your machine manuevers around it). To do this, stitch to the halfway point, leave your needle down, lift your foot up and open up the zipper to move it behind your foot.  Turn the fabric right sides out and press.

Next, topstitch along the zipper using an 1/8″ seam allowance. This allows the zipper to lie flat and prevents fabric from being caught in the zipper.


Repeat these instructions to attach the other exterior and interior fabrics to the zipper.
Your project should now look like this:


Step 5) Make the side tab (optional)
This step is optional but I think it’s a nice feature.
Take the scrap fabric that you cut into a 2.5″ by 4.5″ rectangle. Fold each end in towards the middle about 1/4″ and press. Fold in half lengthwise and press. Stitch along the edge using a 1/8″ seam. Fold it in half (to make a loop) and press.

Step 6) Sew the sides together
With the right sides facing together, pin the sides of the bag together.
Position the tab (folded in half from Step 5 to make a loop) 1.5″ down from the top, on either side (your preference, I like it to be on the side of the zipper pull when the zipper is closed).  Sandwich it in between the exterior fabrics with the raw edges of the tab matching up with the raw edges of the sides of the bag, pin in place.

Sew up the side of bag using a 1/4″ seam, backstitching at each end. Repeat on the other side of the bag.

Step 7) Sew the bottom of the bag
Open up your zipper. This is important because if you sew both the sides and the bottom, it’s almost impossible to open the zipper when you’re finished (trust me on this one!)
Pin the fabric along the bottom of the bag together and sew using a 1/4″ seam, backstitching at each end.

At this point, I like to trim the seams using pinking shears. Be careful not to cut your seams!

If you turned your bag right side out at this point, it would look something like this:


But let’s keep going and box the corners of the bag.

Step 8) Finish the bag (the last step!!!!)
With the bag inside out, grab one corner of the bag. Match the bottom seam to the side seam to make a triangle. Measure 1.5″ down from the top of the triangle and put a dot with a pencil. Draw a line across the bottom of the triangle to mark where you will stitch. Pin in place. Stitch along the line, backstitching at each end.

Repeat for the other corner. When both “triangles” have been sewn, you can cut off the excess fabric. Turn your bag right side out.

Congratulations you are done and you now own an adorable pleated cosmetic pouch!

The finished bag measures 8 1/2″ long and is 6″ tall.


If you’d like to check out the finished product, find it on my Etsy site. 

Please feel free to use my tutorial to make your own pouch for your own personal use only :)


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