Afterthought zipper

Evidence that life is a like yarn, sometimes it gets knotty, but with patience you can work it out, or if all else fails, cut it and tie a knot.

This knitting story begins with a knitting girlfriend, a birthday and a series of catastrophes.

I started knitting the felted knotted up bag because a friend was having a birthday. She has been knitting for about a year and has been admiring my felted bag. Her partner wanted to buy her some yarn so she could make one, but she was a total non knitter. So enter me.Armed with a budget, and a pattern, I set out. I find the perfect yarn and it was on sale! Yay! A lovely kettle dyed yarn that was perfect. I couldn’t resist buying some yarn for myself, and decided I would knit the purse with her.  

108223202_34d8c710baI love this photo, it came in an email, does anyone know who these two women are? I feel like I should recognize them. 

A week before her birthday a series of disasters happen, the worst one is that her uninsured father in in an explosion and got 3rds degree burns on his face, hands and arms. He is taken to a large hospital with a burn unit. So on her birthday she is in a strange city, in a different state, and with NO knitting. (portal to hell, no?)


Fast forward to present. I have knitted my purse, (her Dad is doing well BTW),  I show her mine, because I want to make sure she likes the pattern, and she loves it and the colors, better than the colors I bought her and she wants to buy it from me. But she wants a zipper in it

So I’m giving her my purse! Yay…after all who appreciates a knitted gift more than a knitter? But it needs a zipper….so…….


The Afterthought Zipper

If you absolutely need to add a zipper after you have your purse done, this is what I did.

-I found a zipper that matched, or if you can’t find one that matches, white, black or cream is good. For the length, buy something close the your purse opening, stretch it out and measure it, plus about 4 extra inches. If in doubt longer is better, we can always cut it off.(the end will be hidden)


-a small amount of fabric, I used some of the leftover lining fabric.

-pins, sewing machine, and some patience.


1. This is to make “tabs” on each end of the zipper. Take fabric (double it, or fold it over) and cut a small rectangle, about 3 times as long as the distance from where the zipper stops to the end. (now you have one for each end).


2. Fold it over (right sides together), pin and judge if it the right size to cover the end of your zipper. The important measurement is the sides, we will tuck the raw edge in as much as we need to.


3. Sew down each side. Turn, and roll raw edges up, as far as you need, place on end of zipper, pin and sew.

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4. The only zipper I could find that matched was 24 inches long, now I measure the bag opening, and pin the zipper along one side, with the tabbed end that is done sticking out about 2 inches on that side, cut the other end about 2 inches longer, than the opening on the other side.


5. Now repeat step two for the other end of the zipper.

6. Now pin your zipper to the opening and eyeball it to see if it is going to fit.


Looks pretty good, ok…

7. Lay out some of your fabric and cut two pieces that fit from about the length of the zipper. And about 3 times as wide.


8. Lay your zipper right side up, unzipped, on one piece of fabric that is right side up, and pin along the edge.


9. Pick up your zipper and fold the ends over, and pin to just even with the tab. Now sew your line along with edge of the zipper with the raw edge of the fabric, sew it fairly close to the edge.


10. Flip it over and trim a wedge, to eliminate bulk from each side, and then pin. Also pin the other raw edge about 1/2 over. Now press.


11. Fold this piece over and pin it to the front of the zipper. Now the fabric will be right side out and your zipper will be face up here.

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12. Press and sew a seam.


13. Now repeat for the other side.


Woo hoo, now you are ready to put this into your purse.

14. Line this up and pin, making sure that it is in the center of the bag and the center of the zipper. You may have to pin several times to make it look like you want it to.

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15. When you are satisfied you can either tack it in by hand or sew it in with the machine. You can tuck the tabs into the bag if you leave both ends open a little, or keep them out.


Now your ready to grab you phone and go.

Hope this helps

May your knitting needles fly as fast as dragonflies


  1. Good tutorial--zippers can be a little intimidating! In your picture the woman on the left is Bette Davis, I think. I don't recognize the one on the right.

  2. The woman on the left is Bette Davis, and I believe the movie she was shooting was "Now, Voyager." There was a scene in the movie of her knitting on the deck of the cruise ship, and the dress and hat she's wearing in the photo look like ones she wore in the movie. I would imagine the other woman is her stand-in, especially since they're dressed the same.

    Now I have to go watch the movie to see if I'm right!

  3. First, so glad to hear that your friend's Dad is doing well.

    Next.. the purse is gorgeous! (my birthday is not too far away ;-)

    Thanks for the zipper info... I'll remember that. You did a good job!

    Thanks also for the youtube links on the 2 socks, 2 circs videos. I watched them and liked the looks of it. I don't have two circs the same size yet... but I will soon and then I'm going to give that a whirl!

  4. That was so helpful. I had avoided purses largely because I never knew how to put a zipper in. Thanks!


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