Sewing 101: A Wristlet, Zipper Tutorial

I never thought the day would come when I felt comfortable enough to share my wee sewing knowledge with others, but here we go. One of the most common Google searches bringing people to my site is “wristlet tutorial.” Until today, they were misled.

A few things before we begin:
~ A wristlet is a small zippered pouch with a ribbon bracelet so it can be worn around the wrist.

~ My sewing is very much like Rachael Ray’s cooking — not at all precise, but a lot of fun.

~ If I can sew a zipper, a monkey can sew a zipper.

What you’ll need:
Scraps of fabric to create:
2 exterior squares, 8″ x 8″
2 interior rectangles, 8″ x 7″
1 7″ zipper
1 label — if it’s your fancy

Pick your scraps

1. Sort through your fabric scraps and figure out what you’d like to use. I was going with red themes for this wristlet.

Cut your scraps to fit your desired size

2. Trim your scraps to fit the aforementioned sizes. I like to make the exterior a bit bigger than the interior lining because it is easier to turn and finish.

pin pieces right sides together, sew

3. Once you’ve cut your scraps to the dimensions, place them right sides together, pin and sew. The seam allowance is up to you. I typically keep my seams at 1/8″, but like I said — I’m not terribly precise.

viola -- your lining pieces (top) and your exterior pieces (bottom) are ready to be zipped

4. Line up your sewn pieces. Here I have the inside lining pieces on top and the exterior pieces on the bottom. {If you would rather try this tutorial without sewing together scraps, this is where you’d jump in.}

place your zipper wrong side up on the top edge of the front of your wristlet

5. Take your front exterior piece and place your zipper on top of it. Match the top edge of the zipper with the top edge of the right side of the lining. Place the zipper with the right side DOWN. (Also it is a good idea to make sure the zipper works before sewing it into place.)

zipper sandwich -- exterior right side up, zipper right side down, lining right side down on top.

6. Now place your first lining right side down on top of the zipper. You’ve just made a sandwich: front exterior right side up, zipper right side down, lining right side down.

zipper sandwich pinned

7. Pin into place.

first zipper foot use -- sewing exterior, zipper and liner together

8. Use your zipper foot and ever so carefully sew these layers together.

9. Iron these pieces flat.

label sewn

10. Sew your label into your other lining piece.

11. Place your second lining piece (with your label) right side up. On top of this, place the portion of the wristlet you’ve already sewn, right side up. At this point, your layers should be: second lining, first lining (sewn to zipper), exterior fabric (sewn to zipper). On top of this, place your second exterior fabric right side down. Match all edges to the top edge of the zipper. Pin. Sew.

front side of wristlet after zipper is done

The front of your wristlet should now look like this.

back side of wristlet after zipper is done

The back should look like this.

be sure to open the zipper

12. Iron all four pieces flat, and tug at the seams with the zipper, making sure to everything as pressed as possible. Now be sure to open the zipper.

add your wristlet ribbon at an angle
pin front and back together, and lining together

13. Cut a piece of ribbon or bias tape and fold in two. Take both exterior pieces and pin them right sides together, with the ribbon in between the pieces. The ends can hang out — you’ll trim them later. Pin the lining pieces right sides together too.

stitched around all edges, leaving 2 inch gap, clipped corners
very carefully use your zipper foot to place zipper

14. Get rid of your zipper foot (we’re done with the zipper! Wahoo!) and replace it with your regular sewing foot. Sew an 1/2″ seam (or so) around the entire edge of the exterior and lining — leaving a 2 inch gap in the lining. When you get to the zippers, hold your seams together and slowly sew the layers together. Be careful not to sew over a metal zipper or you’ll break your needle.

wristlet right side out, lining out
hole in the lining we use to turn the wristlet right side out

15. Clip the corners and trim off any extra ribbon and fabric that may get in the way. Now, turn your wristlet right side out through that 2 inch hole you left in the bottom of the lining.

Lining sewn shut

16. I like to iron this baby flat again at this point. You should have your exterior right side out and your lining right side out. Sew the two inch hole in the lining closed. I like to sew the entire bottom seam of the lining for consistency.

Finished wristlet

17. Push the lining down into the exterior. Pull your zipper closed. Iron. Photograph. Pat yourself on the back. Voila — a zippered wristlet!

finished front of wristlet

{Questions? Email me!}
~K

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