How to Sew a Zipper on a Gusset Bag With Lining

By June Ramadhan
Use a strong, woven fabric for a sturdy bag
Use a strong, woven fabric for a sturdy bag

Gusseting is a technique used in sewing to reinforce seams and give bags their shape. Gusseting a zipper gives bags a sleek, store-bought look. Make sure the zipper is the exact length for the bag, so you can sew the end pieces on to secure it to the bag. Use a zipper foot on your sewing machine to make the stitching process more efficient. You can also baste the lining to the outer shell of the bag if you don't want it bunching inside the bag.

Cut an 8-inch by 10-inch piece of fabric for the main part of the bag. Cut two 4-inch by 17-inch pieces of fabric for the bag straps.

Fold the edges of the 4-inch by 17-inch pieces of fabric in so they meet in the middle of the strip. Iron the edges flat and fold in half again. Iron the crease and sew along the two edges to make the bag straps.

Fold the 8-inch by 10-inch piece of fabric in half the long way to make the outer bag. Sew the two side of the fabric so that you have a pocket. Put your hand inside the pocket at the corner, so that the corner pokes up like a triangle.

Press the triangle flat and measure 1.5 inches down from the peak of the triangle. Pin a straight pin at the mark. Sew along the straight pin line, so your triangle has a stitched bottom. Repeat on the other side and turn the pouch right-side out. The corners should be squared.

Cut two gusset pieces 2 inches wide (bigger or smaller, depending on what size bag you’re making) and as long as the width of your bag. Cut two end pieces as wide as the zipper (make it a little wider so you can fold the edges down) and 3 inches inches long.

Fold one of the long edges on both gusset pieces over, about 1/8 inch for the seam and iron flat. Do the same with the end pieces, folding one of the short sides and both of the long sides.

Lay the zipper on your work surface right side up. Make sure the zipper is the right length for your bag (if it is too long, secure the end of the zipper by sewing it and trim away the excess) Pin the end pieces of fabric to the top and bottom (where the zipper pull starts and stops) of the zipper fabric.

Pin the gusset pieces to the zipper, with the folded edge along the teeth, overlapping the end pieces. Sew the end pieces in place. Sew along the folded edge of the gusset strips with a zipper foot. Trim the end pieces so that they are uniform with the gusset.

For the lining piece cut a piece of lining fabric that is 10 inches wide and 24 inches long. Fold in half to make a pouch.

Pin the gusset piece to the top edge of the bag lining, with the wrong side of the gusset piece facing the right side of the lining. Fold the freshly sewn edges over 1/8 inch and press flat. Unfold the pressed edges and press the lining pieces together for the side of the bag. Sew it together and refold the edge.

Fold the top edge of the outer bag down and iron flat. Pin the edges of the straps in place on the folded line. Slip your lining piece with the gusset sewn on into the outer bag. Pin the folded edges of the gusset to the folded edge of the outer bag. Sew along the pinned line.

Things You Will Need

  • 1 square yard of fabric
  • Scissors
  • Iron
  • Zipper
  • Straight pins
  • Sewing Machine
  • Zipper foot
  • 1/2 yard lining fabric