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May 2008
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Month Day
Topics: crafts,Girl Scouts

How to: Make a Super Cool Zipper Purse

I made up the following directions, based on experimentation. For my older Girl Scout troop of 10-13 year olds, each girl took 3-4 hours to make her purse. None were very experienced at sewing, so consider this a “beginners” how-to (I just made two purses with flaps in about 3 hours time – writing this blog post took longer than making a purse). Feel free to modify to make the size and style you personally like. The finished dimensions of this purse are about 8″x8″. Adding a flap adds complexity and makes the purse take about an hour longer to make for beginners. One photograph at the very end of this post shows what our zipper purse without a flap looks like.

Zipper Purse with Flap:


  • 7-8 plastic 7″ zippers, 9 more for a flap
  • 1 or 2 22″ zippers (for strap – shorter if you are making for a small child)
  • coordinating thread and bobbin thread (you’ll be able to see the bobbin thread on the flap, so use a nice color here)
  • 10″ square of thick (denim works well) fabric. We found that patching together thick fabric for this works well, too.
  • Extra denim if you want a pocket
  1. Lay out the zippers in the order you want them.

    Zippers laid out 1

    Zippers laid out 2

    Zippers laid out 3

  2. Remember to trim your threads as you go. You don’t want extra threads getting in your way.
  3. Zigzag the zippers together. We pinned pairs of zippers together and continued sewing until all zippers were connected. Experienced sewers do not have to pin. Make sure the zippers overlap slightly. You can get really creative here and overlap them so that one particular color is on the top. You can alternate how zippers face, or keep them all going the same direction. You can use matching thread, or use a bold color that really stands out. Here the brown-pink-green is the main part of the purse (8 zippers) and the blues are the flap (9 zippers)

    Zippers zipped together 1

  4. Determine which way you want your zippers to zip, then zigzag the bottom zipper to the denim backing fabric and the zipper flap to the main zippers. Here are photos of the front side and the back side.

    Sewing on the denim back

    Sewing on the denim back - back side

  5. Sew two 22″ zippers together. This is the strap. My older daughter used one 22″ strap for a shorter purse. My younger daughter used one 22″ and two 7″ zippers for the perfect length for her.

    Sewing strap together

  6. Iron a 1/4-1/2″ part of the denim down.
  7. Sew the straps onto the folded denim. Line it up based on the width of the flap.
  8. Now is a good time to sew a pocket on, if you want. Be sure the top of the pocket is in the correct position.

    Stage to sew on pocket

    Sewing on a pocket

    Back side of pocket

  9. Flip it all together and sew the ironed denim to the zippers. This sewing will make it into one piece. This is the “Oh No!” stage. Don’t worry! If it doesn’t turn out right, you can modify it as you go, as many of my Girl Scouts had to. All their purses ultimately turned out beautifully! Yours will too.

    Sewing the denim to the zippers to complete the main part of the purse

  10. Make it look like a purse. Iron the sides – fold it once, then again. Have the finished folds match up to the ends of the zippers. Unzipping the zippers can help with the ironing and sewing.

    Ironing the sides

  11. Sew up the sides. I like to make a rectangle. Zig-zag or satin stitching can look really nice also.

    Sewing up the sides

    Sewing up the other side

  12. It now looks like a purse! Fold down the flap and examine it all over.

    Examine the purse

  13. Show off the completed purse!

    Completed zipper purse 0

    Completed zipper purse 1

    Completed zipper purse 2

    Completed zipper purse 3

    Completed zipper purse 4

Zoe with Completed Zipper Purse