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Clamshell Zipper Pouch

A fun little pouch with a rounded top that stands up on its own.  A great way to pick fun fabric and zipper combos, and to experiment with interfacing and stabilizer.  Complete with tabs to help you unzip it, these make a great gift or project bag.

Fat quarter (18 x 22") Exterior fabric - a medium-weight woven quilting cotton works well for this, but you could also choose a heavier fabric such as a canvas, or a cotton linen blend. The fabrics for my pouches are from Rae Ritchie's Poppy Prairie collection. Get them here...
Fat quarter (18 x 22") Lining fabric - a medium-weight woven quilting cotton works best for this.  I used Ruby Star Society's Add it Up Basics.
1/2 yard Medium-weight Fusible Interfacing, such as Pellon Shir-tailor
1/4 yard Annie's Soft and Stable or Pellon Flex Foam
14" Zipper
coordinating thread
Printed template download here

Click here to download your template.  Make sure your printer is printing actual size.  If it prints out and is on two pages, just overlap one piece of paper over the other until the lines come together and tape it together.  Then cut out the shape.

Sew using 1/4" seams

Start by cutting out all your pieces.
(2) 2 1/2 x 4" pieces from lining fabric (these are for the tabs on the outside under where the zipper starts and ends)

Using the paper template, cut these pieces:
(2) exterior pieces
(2) lining pieces
(2) fusible interfacing pieces
(2) Flex foam pieces

Use your iron to fuse your interfacing to your lining pieces.  Do this for both sets.  The bumpy side is the side with the beads of glue.  Once activated with heat, the beads of glue will melt and adhere to your fabric.  You want the bumpy side of the interfacing to face the wrong side of your lining pieces.  To avoid getting glue on your iron or ironing board, place a scrap cloth on your ironing board, then lay your lining piece wrong side up, and finally lay your interfacing bumpy side down, and press to adhere.

Next, put your exterior fabric wrong side down on top of your flex foam piece.  Smoothing from the center and lining up edges, place a few pins around the outside of the shape.  Set your machine to a basting stitch (highest stitch length setting), and stitch around the outside.  Stitch as close as you can to the edge to attach these two pieces.  Smooth it out as you go, if needed, to avoid creases and wrinkles.  Repeat for the other piece.  Don't forget to set your stitch length back to a normal setting of 2.5.

Now that all four pieces are stabilized, it's time to sew the darts.  Lay your template over the wrong side of one of your newly stabilized pieces, and mark with a pencil the three points for each dart.  There will be six total.  Mark the two up near the edge of the fabric, and mark the one in toward the center of the fabric which will indicate where the point of the dart will be.  If needed, you can insert a pin through the paper template at this point, lift up on the paper template, and use your pencil to mark right where the pin is piercing the fabric.  Repeat these markings on all four pieces.

Now, use the markings to sew the darts.  You'll be making a little fold, or crease in the fabric, using these markings as your guide.  Working from the wrong side of your fabric, bring the two markings near the edge to meet each other.  A little extra fold of fabric will be sticking out towards you, on the wrong side of the fabric.  Put a pin right through that pierces both of these markings.  Now sew a line from the place you just pinned, near the edge, down to the third point closer to the center, back stitching at the beginning and end.  Repeat for the other dart.  Then repeat for the other three pieces.  Iron all your darts flat. pushing the extra fabric fold toward the center of the fabric [piece..  There's no need to cut out the extra fabric fold.

Set these aside and make the tabs.  Place one of your tab pieces right side up on the ironing board.  Press down a hem of 1/2" along both long edges of the tab piece.  Then, fold the whole piece in half lengthwise, aligning the folded pressed edges.  Stitch close to the edge to secure this.  There's no need to finish the two short raw edges.  Repeat for the other tab.

Next you will insert the zipper.  Start with one of your exterior pieces.  Find the center of the piece, on the curved top.  It will be the point that is in the middle of the two darts.  Mark it with a pin, or a pencil, near the edge of the fabric.  Now find the center of your zipper by folding it in half, end to end.   Mark the center of the zipper with a pin or pencil.  Now pin this point on the zipper to the center point on the exterior, zipper face down, and exterior piece right side up.  Which side of the zipper tape should you be pinning?  With zipper teeth down against the right side of the fabric, the zipper should not extend up past the fabric piece.  The zipper tape will be lining up with the edge of the fabric.  The teeth will be laying against the fabric, and the other side of the zipper tape will be laying against the fabric.  Now, find the center of one of the lining pieces in the same way.  It is the point in the middle of the two darts.  Lay this piece right side down, on top of exterior piece and zipper you have just pinned.  Pin this lining piece in the same place.  You now have the exterior piece right side up, the zipper teeth side down, and the lining piece right side down, all in a layered stack and pinned in the center, with edges aligning.  Work your way down each side of the zipper from the pinned center point, pinning all three of these things together, keeping all edges aligned.  When you get to the very ends of the zipper, let the zipper hang off the edge of the fabric pieces.  It will no longer be aligned, only at each end.  It will be sticking out of the layered sandwich.

Using a zipper foot on your machine, sew the layers together where you just pinned.

Flip everything right side out, and press along the zipper, pushing the fabrics away from the zipper.  Make sure you press from the exterior side as well as from the lining side.  You can use a pressing ham if you have one, or you can let it hang off the edge of the ironing board as shown in the photo, to help press that curved seam.  Top stitch close to the pressed edge on both sides.

Repeat this for the other side of the bag.  Make sure that your darts on both exterior pieces are lining up with each other, and the darts on both lining pieces are lining up with each other.  If you don't line these up, it will be noticeable from the outside when the zipper is closed. 

Zip the zipper closed only about a quarter of the way.  Place both exterior pieces right sides together.  Pin along the bottom straight edge, and along the two short edges above the square cut outs, up to where the zipper starts on both sides.   Before you sew them, insert the tabs into the side seams.  Fold a tab piece in half lengthwise and lay it so the looped side is between the two exterior pieces.  The looped side should extend about one inch into the exterior pieces from the raw edge of the exterior pieces.  The raw edges of the tab should be extending past the raw edges of the exterior pieces.  There should be a good bit left over and sticking out.  Center the tabs between where the zipper ends and the cut out squares below. 

Pin those in place on both of the side seams.  Sew these three pinned seams.  To make the boxed corners, squeeze the exterior seams on one side of the cut out corners to meet each other.  Basically the bottom seam you just sewed, and one of the side seams you just sewed need to come together to meet each other.  The little cut out square will need to open up and be folded back down so it's no longer flat.  There will be two edges that should more or less align.  You will now sew along this edge, back stitching at the beginning and end.  To get the side and bottom seams to align nicely, you can stick a pin directly through both of them, making sure they will align.  Repeat these steps to create the boxed corners on the other side of the exterior pieces.
After sewing the boxed corners it will look like the above photo from the outside.
Repeat the above steps for the lining pieces next, minus the tabs, and with one change to the bottom seam.  Do not sew the bottom seam all the way across.  Stitch from one edge, and stop, about 1/3 of the way, backstitching at the beginning and end.  Then resume stitching about 2/3 through this seam, and to the edge, backstitching at beginning and end again.  This leaves a hole right in the very center of this bottom seam that has not been sewn.  This is what we will use to flip the back right side out. 

Reach into this hole and pull the whole bag through it.  Keeping the raw seam allowances inside, pin this hole closed and stitch close to the folded edges to close it.  Give your bag a final press and enjoy!

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