Sewing 101: A Wristlet, Zipper Tutorial

February 7th

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!}

Posted in
Domestic Art, Tutorial
Follow the comments.

45 Responses

  1. Beautifully done Kelli. You make a great teacher.
    After step 12 I top stitch on the outer fabric close to the zipper. This keeps the lining from ever getting caught in your zipper.

  2. Great tutorial, Kelli! You laid it all out nice and clear. I agree with Autumn’s note about the top stitching. By the way, I really need to think about labels, where did you get your nice labels? Are they twill, embroidered, etc.?

  3. With these instructions even I can do it (if only mom could lend me her sewing machine….)

  4. Fabulous! Top on my list of projects to do after the CrafterΒ¬Β₯s Companion!

  5. …i hope that monkey reference was not aimed at me?? πŸ™‚ I promptly bookmarked this little toot for future reference. Thanks!

  6. Fantastic! I am SO going to try this, I have a zipper foot and have been too chicken to try it out, I think I will now, thanks!

  7. Even after making quite a few of these bad boys I still can get confused (and also I cand forget to unzip the zipper – VERY IMPORTANT TO DO THAT, CARRIE!!) – these pics & tut are great!

    And yes – where did you get your snazzy labels?

  8. What a great tutorial – thank you! (And don’t underestimate the abilities of monkeys or overestimate my lame sewing abilities)

  9. Very cute tutorial Kelli!

  10. Bravo Kelli!!!! Wonderful tutorial πŸ™‚

  11. You make it sound so easy. I don’t think I even own a zipper foot.

  12. i SO needed this tute! thanks. i’ll give it a go at home. i’m sure i’ll have a zillion questions for you. you might want to avoid your in box! πŸ™‚

  13. Oh Yeah!!!! This is wonderful. And no, you are the best! Cant wait to give it a go.

  14. Yay you! What a great tutorial. Love those labels too!

  15. great tutorial! these are so cute.
    i need to get a zipper foot… or keep doing it my old-school way πŸ™‚ the machine sewing does make it look so nice.
    thanks for sharing this lady!!

  16. Very nicely done, my dear. Miracles never cease to happen! You’re a sewing TEACHER. Yikes!

  17. you’re so crafty

  18. when i get back to the us of a, i will sew one of these. excellent tutorial.

  19. Ever since I participated in your wristlet world swap I’ve been making a ton of these!!! Since you now have this beautiful tutorial I think it’s about time for another world swap!! !!!

  20. love your fabrics! i’m happy that you posted the tutorial. sometimes i get brain dead and forget how to make one!

  21. Do you sell them?!?

  22. Great tut, thanks!
    Great job on the cabled hat, too- and I love the color.
    As for Bonds, it’s Mr. Connery for me, too- I love his voice!! (But I never did get to see DC at the movies, so when he comes out on dvd, I reserve the right to change my mind)

  23. Now, I just need to buy myself a sewing machine…

  24. marianne February 8, 2007

    Hi Kelli,
    I lurk on your website occasionally, and I must say, you have so much crafty motivation! It’s motivating to me! Anyway, would you be willing to share the secret of your labels with me? Did you make them? Did someone else? Did you order them? I’d love to get some of my own.

    Great tutorial, I printed it.

  25. How cute that your Mom commented!

  26. I recently bought some Japanese fabric to make some zippy pouches to sell in my shop:, and I was at a lose as to where to begin and end until I came upon your tutorial today and now I have one made.

    This is quite a unique way to make these lined zippered wristlets. As I was following your directions, I was like no, that can’t be right and double checked your instructions and low and behold it all worked out…lol Thanks!

  27. This just totally made my day. I made my first zippered, lined pouch. I knew how to do a zipper but couldn’t figure out how to do the lining. THANK YOU!!!!

  28. Hi! Thanks for the great tutorial!! I made some zippered things for Christmas this year so it was so helpful. I love your tags! Do you mind if I ask where you got them from? I would really like to get some to sew inside my handmade gifts.

  29. Thanks so much for the tutorial. I really needed this. I tried a small tote once and thought it would be easy but it wasn’t!!!! And I haven’t even finished it…. This looks easy enough. I plan to try it as soon as I get the chance.

  30. o.k. after my 1st attempt, I had a strong craving for some banannas; my second attempt- SUCCESS!!! Thanks Kelli for helping me embrace the zipper/zipper foot.

  31. I’ve been trying out different zippered pouch tutorials and yours is very detailed and comprehensive. I’ll definitely point to your site the next time I need a refresher course! Please check out the green stationery case I made for my son at

  32. This tutorial is the most detailed one I have EVER seen! Thank You so much! I’ve seen many other tutorials for zippers, but this beats every one of them! I’m gonna try this very soon and tell you how it goes!

    Also, since you visit Africa, you should consider! An organization that sends cloth menstrual pads to young women, so they can go to school. They are reused over and over, reducing dependency on disposable menstrual products πŸ˜€

  33. Thank you SO SO MUCH! I finally made the pouch, I was just waiting on my zipper foot to come in the mail! Thank You for sharing and making a fine tutorial :DD (pictures of pouch)!

    Thanks again and take care

  34. Denise Dupe August 26, 2009

    I loved the tutorial.Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

  35. Marykate Maguire December 6, 2009

    Thanks for the tutorial!!! But where do you get your labels?

  36. Girlfriend!! AWESOME tutorial! Such a good teacher. This helped me beyond words! No more SCAWEY zippers. It’s all good. Hope your still doing cool stuff. Very nice sister.

  37. No matter how closely I followed step 11, it did not work out and when I opened it up flat, the lining and outer bag were both at the top .. I ended up putting (for the second half) main fabric face up, zipper facing down, lining facing down. That was the only way it would look right without having a half and half top.

  38. I just wanted to say I love your tutorial. I found it online and went through each step several times and I was able to make the wristlet. Thanks for posting the tutorial!.

  39. Thank you so much for posting this! I was going stir crazy trying to figure it out how to line my leather wristlet.
    Mind if I link to it?

  40. Jessica March 6, 2011

    Just wanted to let you know this great tutorial is still working wonders! Thanks for sharing and helping me create a cute zippy pouch for part of my sisters birthday present

  41. Emily May 22, 2011

    Wow, thank you! Mine came out great!