Cross Body Zipper Tote

Welcome Quilt For Lovers! How about sewing a cute zippered bag using 2.5 cm strips, the perfect size to carry your phone and wallet; in fact, it is a bag with a common zipper, its differential is its handle and its size (the most “unusual” – loops on the sides and two of the straps are made of rope (one thick and one thin), the third is sewn from a 2 1/2 ” fabric strip).

And as you can see, there are many ways to make this little bag! You can use metal zippers as they add an incredible shine, but of course you can use a nylon zipper if you wish (it is recommended to use metal or nylon bag zippers, because they have wider ribbons). Regular width zippers can also work.

Patch the outside of the bag with 2 1/2 ” strips. It makes it more interesting and allows you to use scraps too, you will love this technique !! This bag is just perfect!


Cross Body Zipper Tote Pattern

You will need:

  • 9 fabric strips 2 1/2” x 9” (for the tote exterior)
  • 1 fabric rectangle 18 1/2” x 9” (for the tote interior)
  • 1 rectangle of fusible fleece 18 1/2′ x 9”
  • 1 zipper 9” or longer
  • 2 pieces of twill tape or ribbon that are 1/2” – 1” wide and 2 1/2” long (to make the strap loops)
  • 60” piece of rope, twill tape, or ribbon for the strap (can also be sewn from a 2 1/2” strip of fabric as seen below)

Foundation Piece the Bag Body:

1. Apply the fusible fleece to the wrong side of the 18 1/2” x 9” rectangle of fabric. 

2. Lay the first 2 1/2” x 9” strip against the fusible fleece with a 9” edge aligned with the top 9” edge of the body piece. Baste the strip in place 1/8” away from the top edge.

3. Turn the body piece around and lay the second strip on top of the first. Stitch the strips with a 1/4” seam allowance.


4. Open the second strip and smooth it against the fusible fleece. Place the third strip on top of the second, and sew it in the same way.

5. Foundation piece (you are doing it!) all 9 strips to the fusible fleece side of the body piece. Trim away any extra foundation fabric, if needed. Then baste the unsewn edge of the final strip 1/8” from the edge.

Attach the Zipper:

1. Clip or pin the zipper to one of the 9” edges of the body piece, right sides together. The zipper should be centered against the 9” edge.

2. Stitch the zipper to the body piece with a 1/4” seam allowance. Use a zipper foot if necessary. (Since I am using a wide handbag zipper, I did not need to use my sewing machine’s zipper foot for this step.)

3. Trim away 1/8” from the fabric and interfacing layer of this seam – not the zipper tape. Simply cut along the basting stitches that are 1/8” from the edge.

When this step is done correctly, you will be able to fold up the zipper and on the lining side of the tote, the zipper tape will completely cover the raw edge of the fabric and interfacing layer.

4. Fold the zipper up away from the tote exterior and topstitch on the fabric, 1/8” from the seam.


5. Fold the body piece in half, with the remaining zipper tape against the other 9” fabric edge. Pin or clip in place.

Stitch along the zipper tape with a 1/4” seam allowance. Trim 1/8” from the fabric/interfacing layer. Then topstitch just as before.

6. Fold the 2 1/2” tab strips in half and baste them to the sides, just above the zipper. Make sure you are only sewing through the top fabric/interfacing layer – stitch a scant 1/4” from the edge.

Note: Arrange the tote with 1 strip, or most of 1 strip above the zipper. The top strip might wrap around to the back a little bit.

Sew the Sides of the Tote:

1. Turn the tote inside out and line up the foundation pieced strips that are below the zipper, as shown above.

2. Pinch the strip at the bottom into a 1” pleat. You should see two stitching lines running along the bottom of the tote lining.

Pin or clip the sides together. Make sure the zipper is 1/2 way open.

3, The next step is to sew down both sides of the tote with a 1/4” seam allowance. 

If you used a metal zipper, make sure to go very slowly (turning the wheel manually) when sewing the teeth of the metal zipper. If you feel or see the needle hitting the metal, move the bag until the needle slides between your teeth.

4. Trim away the extra zipper tape using heavy duty scissors (not your fabric scissors!).

Bind the Raw Edges (optional): 

1. Cut 2 strips 9” x 1 1/2”

2. Center a strip along one side of the bag (on the inside). Stitch with a 1/4” seam allowance.

3. Turn the tote over.  Fold the long raw edge of the binding to meet the raw edges of the tote.

Fold the top edge of the binding down before wrapping the binding around the raw edge and pinning or clipping in place as seen above.

Fold and secure the bottom edge of the binding just like the top (not shown).

4. Stitch the binding close to the edge.

CAUTION: Make very sure you know where your metal zipper is so you can hand-wheel slowly over it. This time you won’t be able to see the teeth.

Repeat steps 2-4 above to bind the other raw edge.

Make and Attach the Strap:

If you are using a rope, twill tape, or ribbon strap – you can simply tie it to the loops or (if it is thick enough) slip it through the loops and tie knots at the ends.

For the bags, make a strip of fabric by sewing 2 1/2 inch strips to make a 60 cm long strip. Then fold and squeeze in half with the edges pressed inward. Finally, it weighed 1/8 ” from both long edges.

You can embellish these zippered bags, made with ribbon, twill and a tassel. Have fun using materials from your stock (the tassel was made with embroidery thread).

See too: Morning Star Block

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