Sew, What's New?

Curating sewing and quilting talent, techniques, and tutorials, since 1997.

Now this next type of zipper in a bag is for closure rather than a pocket, the concealed top edge zipper or recessed zipper, as seen below.

Basically you extend the width of the zipper by attaching it to a strip of material, then attach them to the sides of the bag below the top edge, hence it is ‘concealed’ or ‘recessed’.  The end of the zip can extend beyond the end of the bag with an added tab.   It also changes the silouette of the bag, making it wider at the top so it is squared off instead of a wedge shape.


I have found, as usual, there is more than one way to do this, and you have to decide which suits you, or the bag, best!

Kat Southern of Studio Kat Designs gives extra pictorial instructions for most of her bags, as she says “We know that sometimes it would be REALLY helpful to see a particular step outlined in a REAL picture, rather than the mechanical drawings presented in our pattern instructions. Well wish no more! Once again, we've created a few COLOR pdf downloads picturing some of the newest and most challenging steps in the construction of this bag. They are now available to you free of charge. Simply click on the links to download (and print) the pdf you are interested in.” 

This is Kat’s Quattro Bag from

I have bought this pattern, and will one day get around to making it!  So I have clicked and printed the extra help on fitting this zip from here and so can you, but it’s not a tutorial, the full instructions are in the pattern.  Basically she uses a separating zipper, takes it apart then assembles each side as a sandwich of outer fabric, zipper and lining fabric into 2 zipper ‘panels’.  These are then attached to the sides of the bag as you can see in the picture above.

You can read the instructions in Lisa Lam's Bag Making Bible, (and there is a slightly more comprehensive version in her new book A Bag for all Reasons).

Lisa has also done a DVD called ‘The Bag Making Bible - Bag Closure Techniques’ as a home workshop if you prefer to watch a video tutorial-

or you can refer to the free tutorial on her blog site:-

However the book method is simpler than her blog method.  The blog requires you to take the zipper apart.  Lisa creates a ‘casing’ (similar to Kat’s ‘panel’) for each side of the zipper, folding it inside and sealing it up.  These are then attached to the sides of the lining and the zipper is reassembled (see below).  

The book method uses a longer zip which you don’t need to take apart, and you attach a tab to the end of the zip which is not stitched down.  

Lisa says “This zip is easy to insert.  You just chop off a band from the bag lining top edge, insert a zip onto the lining top edge and then stitch the band back onto the bag lining.  Simple!” (from a “Bag for all reasons”).

As another alternative, you may like this photo tutorial from Sarah of ‘My Spare Time’.

Sarah says “It took a lot of photos and explanation, but it's basically like a glorified zipper pouch. Please let me know if anything is unclear - or if you figure out an easier way to do something!”

Sarah’s method involves attaching each side of the zip to a single piece of interfaced fabric, rather than a casing, then attaching that piece to the lining.  No need to take the zip apart and reassemble it.  The end result is similar to Lisa’s but narrower.

Someone who has tried Lisa and Sarah's methods is Kristien of 'Sewing with colour'.  She used Sarah's tutorial here and Lisa's from "A bag for all reasons" here  Her experiences may help you.

I am comforted by the fact I am not the only one who struggles and adapts but gets the results she wants!

Next time I will be looking at the Outer Bag Zipped Pocket!

Like this one from Projects by Jane


Views: 6757

© 2021   Created by Sara.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service