How to Make a Zippered Shoulder Bag

How to make a Shoulder bag

Handbags are always fun to make. This zippered shoulder bag is a super simple beginner bag making project. If you want to learn how to add zippers to your handbags this is a great project for that. There is a top zipper and a side zipper. But these zippers ar easy to stitch so I urge even you beginner sewists to give this hand bag project a try. If you would like more handbag projects check out all of my handbag projects here.

I used basic quilting cotton for my project that I purchased at JOANN Fabric & Craft Stores. For the lining I used plain solid cotton. Of course you could head to or to get exactly what you need for your project. Normally I use just fusible fleece for a project like this and that is fine but I decided two different interfacings would be better so I added Pellon 808 as well for a little more structure. This post contains affiliate links that if you click on them and make a purchase I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

What you will Need: How to Make a Zippered Shoulder Bag

Step 1: Cut Your Bag Fabrics

From the outer fabric, lining fabric and fleece cut two pieces each that measure 11″ x 9 5/8″. Cut a piece of lining fabric that measures 8 1/4″ x 11 7/8″. For the strap measure an outer piece of fabric that measures 4″ x WOF (Width of Fabric) and 4″ x 4 3/4″ for the tabs.

Step 2: Create your Shoulder Bag Strap and Tabs

Take the strap and tab pieces and fold the raw edges to the center and press. Fold in half enclosing the raw edges and press again. Stitch along both long edges. Cut the tab pieces in half and fold them around the D-rings and set aside. Add the triglide to one end of the strap and set aside.

Create the Tabs and Strap
Finished tabs and strap

Step 3: Cut the Corners of the Interfacing

Take fleece pieces and draw 1 1/8″ squares on each corner. Cut them out.

Mark the corners

Step 4: Fuse the Interfacing

Fuse the fleece to the wrong side of the outer fabric following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Step 5: Cut Fabric Corners

Match each outer piece with it’s corresponding lining piece. Pin together. Cut out the corners of the outer and lining pieces leaving a 3/8″ seam allowance. Do this for all for corners.

Step 6: Add the Side Zipper

Take the 8 1/4″ x 11 7/8″ piece of lining and find the center. Measure down 3/4″ from the top of the short end and make a mark. Draw a line through the mark that measures 7″ long. Draw a line down 3/8″ and across 7″ to create a box. Find the center of one of the outer pieces and make a mark. Measure down 2 3/8″ from the top of the short end make another mark. Place the lining piece on the second mark in the center and pin.

Draw the box
Place the lining piece on the outer piece

Stitch around the box through all layers. Draw triangles at the end of the box and connect them with a line. Cut through the line and the legs of the triangle creating an opening. Push the lining through the opening and press. Place the zipper behind the opening and stitch al the way around securing the zipper. Turn to the wrong side and fold up the lining piece so that the raw edges meet. Stitch all the way around the lining pieces only to create the pocket.

Stitch around the box and draw the triangles and line
Cut the opening
Push the lining through
Add the zipper

Step 7: Add the Top Bag Zipper

Place one outer piece right sides up on your work station. Lay the zipper right sides down on top of the outer piece. Place th corresponding lining piece on top pf the zipper making a zipper sandwich. Stitch the zipper in place. turn right sides out. repeat the process for the other side of the zipper. Open right sides out and press. Topstitch along both sides of the zipper to secure the lining.

Add the top zipper

Step 8: Stitch the Bag Together

Place the outer sides right sides together and the lining pieces right sides together. Stitch the sides and the bottoms of the outer pieces and the lining pieces leaving an opening in the lining for turning. Make sure the zipper css open at this point.

Stitch the bag

Step 9: Box the Corners

Take each of the corners and match the side seam to the bottom seam and clip or pin. Stitch along the seam line you made creating the box corners. Box the top corners by pinching the outer and lining openings together and clip. Open the outer opening and slip in the tabs you created and re clip. Stitch along the seam line boxing the top corners.

Box the corners

Step 10: Turn Right Sides Out

Reach into the lining and through the open zipper and turn the bag right sides out. Stitch the opening in the lining closed using ladder stitch or your machine.

Step 11: Add the Strap

Feed the strap through one of the D-rings then back through the triglide and around the other D. Ring. Double fold the end and stitch to secure and you have finished your zipper shoulder bag.

Add the strap
How to make a Shoulder bag

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