I decided to create a tutorial on how to sew a zipper pouch for face masks so people can easily store some extra disposable masks or even their fabric mask.
Mind you, I learned the hard way that just having the pouch won’t help. If you don’t put it in an obvious place like your purse, your car, or another bag you use regularly it is completely ineffective.
So yes, this idea came from the fact that recently, we have found ourselves on our way to run errands and someone doesn’t have a mask.
And that threat about “turning the car around”? Well, we’ve literally had to do it in order to go back and get the missing mask. More than once.
We have been using fabric face masks 100% of the time because we, fortunately, have plenty.
I have been making all kinds for different people and the favorites at my house are a face masks with ties and a face mask no pleats. So we’ve never had the need for disposable masks.
We bring the masks into the house to wash them regularly, however. So the whole “oops, I left my mask by the front door” issue is real problem and made me rethink my process.
I decided that having some disposable masks that I just leave in the car would be really beneficial for these exact moments. Keeping them clean before use is obviously important too, so I felt a small zipper pouch is the answer.
Make A Zipper Pouch To Store Face Masks
Raise your hand if you have finished something you love only to find that the fabric isn’t right side up?
Part of the beauty of a simple zipper pouch is that you can approach it several different ways. They are also fairly easy to make. This means, however, that sometimes we can get so excited that we overlook the obvious. Like the direction of the fabric.
So today, I am going to show you how to make a zipper pouch with fabric that has a right side up.
But before that, a quick funny story. Years and years ago I had a favorite skirt that I found in the clearance section at Marshalls.
It was ankle-length and navy blue with whimsical pattern that had all kinds of clothing hung from a drying line. It was not only comfortable, but also had a really nice fit. Every time I wore it, it would make me smile.
I was wearing the skirt one day and a coworker and good friend of mine started chuckling as we were sitting next to each other during a meeting.
Of course, I had to ask why he was laughing. He smiled and said, “You do realize the pattern is upside down, right?”
Until that moment, I hadn’t! I was so taken in with the pattern that my brain never processed the error. From my perspective, the pattern was fine. But to everyone else? I was a little upside down.
I still think of that skirt fondly, but now I pay much closer attention to the fabric direction!
Materials For A Pouch To Store Face Masks
There materials you need for this zipper pouch are:
– One 1.5″ x 9″ piece of fabric. I am calling this the “small front piece”.
– One 4″ x 9″ piece of fabric. I am calling this the “large front piece”.
– One 5″ x 9″ piece of fabric. I am calling this the “back piece”.
– One 9″ zipper. I am calling this the “zipper”. (Yes, that’s a joke. That is, unless you don’t call them zippers and call them something else. In which case, substitute that in your head every time I use the word “zipper”. Also, please leave a comment below with your special word for “zipper”.)
To make this pouch, you’ll also need the usual equipment – i.e., a sewing machine.
You can also use pinking shears to cut the edges of the fabric or a zigzag stitch to prevent fraying. I didn’t do that this time but often do include that step.
I am doing this with one fabric design in order to show the proper direction.
This pouch construction, however, is perfect for fabric scraps if you want to sew a zipper pouch that is less uniform.
Steps To Sew A Zipper Pouch
Sewing this zipper pouch is straight line sewing for the most part. The finished dimensions are 4.5″ x 8.5″. I made it this size so that you can easily store more than one disposable mask at a time in the pouch.
Also of note: The zipper may cause a hiccup here or there, but there are workarounds. I will mention some of those after the main tutorial.
It’s important to note: I use 1/4″ seam allowance for each of these steps except the top stitching where I use 1/8″.
So, let’s get started!
Step One: Clip the zipper to the bottom of the small front piece, then sew them together.
When you are clipping the two things together, you want the right side of the zipper to be facing the right side of the fabric.
Also, to follow along with this tutorial, the zipper pull is clipped near the left edge when you are sewing (more on that later).
Step Two: Right sides facing up, top stitch the small front piece to the zipper.
Fold ‘open’ the fabric by pulling it away from the zipper so you are looking at the right side of the fabric and the zipper.
Then, finger press the fabric against the zipper so that it lays flat while you top stitch. The top stitching not only looks nice but also helps with the shape and structure of the pouch.
Step Three: Sew the large front piece to the zipper, then top stitch.
To complete the front panel of the zipper pouch, you need to sew the large front piece to the bottom edge of the zipper.
Once again, it’s important to pay attention to the direction of the fabric. To keep myself honest, I typically lay it out like the picture on the left. Then, I take the zipper and small front piece and flip it over. Now the fabric is right side to right side.
Clip the pieces together, then sew, and top stitch again.
Step Four: Sew the back piece to the completed front piece.
Finishing the pouch follows the standard procedure at this point, as long as you double check the fabric direction again.
I continue to laying it out the way I know it should look. So this time, the fabric for the back of the zipper pouch is right side facing down. Then I lay it on top of the front piece – right sides together.
I chose to start sewing from the top edge of the pouch, but you can start wherever you want.
Doing a long edge first, at least for me, makes sewing the rest of the pouch easier. After finishing the top edge, I do each of the sides.
Remember to open the zipper up before sewing the bottom edge to finish sewing the pieces together.
If you forget this step, the seam ripper will be your friend. You won’t be able to turn the pouch right sides out unless you leave the zipper open.
Step Five: Turn right sides out and top stitch long edges.
You’re almost done! To finish the zipper pouch for face masks, turn the pouch right sides out then top stitch to top and bottom edges.
Just like when you were sewing the zipper, top stitching creates better structure for the pouch because it allows it to lay flat.
This structure also means you can more easily insert the disposable masks into the zipper pouch.
3 Tips & Tricks For Sewing With Zippers
Before we wrap up, I mentioned earlier that I would share some tips and tricks for working with a zipper.
Let’s face it, if you’re new to using them it can feel a little daunting sometimes. I still don’t get it right some days since I use them for in batches then not at all for a while.
So these are just my own coping techniques, if you will, so that zippers don’t get the best of me on my “sewing isn’t going my way” days.
Tip #1: Use a satin stitch to close the end of the zipper.
Depending on how I am using a zipper this step isn’t always necessary. For this project, however, the zipper is laying flat. It is not at the top of the pouch and therefore rounded at the edges.
So some of my zippers have had a small hole next to the metal stop. What you can do is use a satin stitch to close up the end before starting the pouch. You can even remove the metal stop afterwards if you have the right tools.
Matching thread is probably your best bet. For the purpose of this tutorial, I used contrasting thread so it was clear on what to do.
Tip #2: Open the zipper while sewing to prevent uneven seams.
When you get closer to sewing near the end with the zipper pull, you don’t want your presser foot to bump into it and send your seam off course. So, stop for a second and open up the zipper before sewing that last part.
Tip #3: Zippers don’t picks sides, you do!
If you are right-hand dominant and everyone you know is right-handed, this may not have crossed your mind.
In fact, now that I think about it, I have yet to see a tutorial that mentions putting the zipper on the correct side for left-handed folks.
Since you’re making this pouch, however, you can place the zipper pull on whichever side you need. So, if you have left-handed folks in your family or circle of friends this will make a difference.
To make this for left-handed people, just place the zipper pull near the right edge when you are clipping the zipper to the small front piece. Your left-handed friends will thank you!
Store Disposable Or Fabric Masks In This Pouch
I started making these pouches to store disposable face masks in the car when people find themselves without their fabric masks.
These can just as easily store extra fabric masks too, but if the fabric masks stay on top of the dryer instead of making it back in the pouch then we’ll all be back where we started.
Regardless of which type you choose to store, having a zipper pouch is an easy way to keep track of your masks at a time when they are required to move about town and get things done.
Share The Goods
How have you been storing your extra masks?
Tuesday 4th of August 2020
What a great idea. We leave a box by the door with cloth masks in it so people can grab one as they leave. A pouch with a few disposable ones to keep in the car is a great idea though, just in case. I love your upside down fabric story too, I have done this but not on a garment thankfully. I hope you didn't stop wearing your lovely skirt.
Tuesday 4th of August 2020
Julie - Thanks so much for commenting and for hosting your lovely link party. The "just in case" scenario, I feel, is going to become more common as we continue to shift our daily lives to work through the impact of the pandemic. So for me, the face mask pouch is a simple solution for those days when our brains are focused on other things.
As for the skirt - I did continue wearing it! Strangely enough, no one else ever seemed to notice or comment. Even if they had, it would have been a good laugh each time. Best to enjoy things that make us smile, right?
Kind regards, Dana