Sew a faux leather zipper case

Sew this faux leather super retro zipper file case fast!

Transparent vinyl is really fast since you don't have to make a lining. I have loads of colors in stock here if you fancy that option!

I have a short video showing the sewing steps of the see-through case here (it's a smaller version but same steps). Maybe it will help ease your mind - sewing vinyl is not difficult. 

I used some really pretty faux leather (AKA Vinyl) to make the original lined case. It's gold, and crackly, and looks luxe to me. Pretty easy to sew with because it's soft on the back side, so it slides easily on the sewing machine.

HOWEVER----- you WILL want to use a Teflon non-stick foot, OR a walking foot when sewing because I did experience some issues when using my regular foot. Not always, it seems to bunch only at the beginning of stitching, but when I used my walking foot, there were ZERO issues.

This is a walking foot:
They pop on easily and will help with bulky seams. A must buy if you make bags, quilt, or do anything with layers.    Photo below is a link to Bernina. I would NEVER buy a cheap foot (made in China)--buy what your machine brand is, and be sure it's the style you have. I had to return a cheaper foot because it was terrible! Only Bernina parts for me now. Support your local shop- I asked a Rockford quilt shop to order mine for me, and she did-and mailed it to me! Service counts. 


2 pieces exterior vinyl or canvas 1/2yard  
*Exterior and Lining pieces are cut at: 13 1/2" tall  X 18" wide

2 pieces lining fabric quilting cotton    
2 pieces SF 101 interfacing

Optional: pocket fabric (about a fat quarter or long 1/8 yard)

scraps for zipper tab ends

18" zipper / or 16" will work  trim to size

zipper sewing foot, walking foot or Teflon non-stick foot
Wonder Clips

My Measurements (you can adjust as needed- this is the basic construction technique for any size).

Cutting Instructions:

Exterior and Lining pieces: 13 1/2" tall  X 18" wide
Zipper tabs: 2'x3"
Zipper: 16 or 18"  Cut it to 17" length exactly
SF 101- for lining pieces 13 1/2" x 18"
Pockets: 6" x 17 1/2" (to keep out of seam allowance if using heavy fabric) and 6" square

1. Interface the lining fabric now. Press with hot iron onto the wrong side of the lining. Mine is voile fabric (super duper soft and light) so I needed to interface it for sure. 

2. Zipper tabs:
Click on image to enlarge.

* Optional:  If you desire pockets, make them now. 

Sew to the lining fabric centering each piece and placing about 3 to 4" down from the top raw edge. 

My pockets measure:   6" square for one and 6" x 17 1/2" for the other. If using vinyl there is no need to hem or serge the raw edges. If using quilting cotton, make a small double-fold hem around raw edges or encase in bias binding.

*  The space on each side indicates how I keep my upholstery fabric out of the seam allowance. If you use quilting cotton, extend it all the way to the sides. 

Diagram showing smaller pocket & attaching to the lining by sewing around edges.

3. Place the zipper right side down onto the right side of the outer fabric, aligning the top edges. In other words, right sides together. 

Pop on the zipper sewing machine foot and sew down the edge, attaching the zipper to the fabric with a 1/4" seam allowance.  It is GINORMOUSLY easier to sew zippers on using the proper sewing foot! Believe me- I didn't use mine for two whole years, and then when I finally did it, I was cursing at myself for not doing it earlier. LOL

You MAY have to move your needle over to one side in order to not hit the sewing machine plate. See my photo below. I turn the knob for needle position and hand-crank it first to test - making sure I won't break my needle before pressing the pedal to the metal.

Needle position correct-- it's a GO.

See? Not so much waviness when the zipper foot is used.

4. Place one lining piece and exterior piece with zipper right sides together, sandwiching the zipper in between. Use wonder clips to hold them in place, making sure the sides are aligned and even.

 Flip it over so you can see the previously stitched line we just sewed, and sew again directly on this line. 

Now both pieces are attached to the zipper. 

This is the side you are looking at when sewing -because you can see the previously stitched zipper line.  

Yes I cut my sides a little off, OH WELL.  bahahahaha 
Trim it later dudes. It'll all work out in the end.

5. Press these pieces WRONG SIDES together now, so they both are on ONE side of the zipper.

First press out like this:

  Then press the wrong sides together, so it looks like this: (only not blurry and flatten better...sorry I had a gallon of coffee in me here)..

6.  Repeat these steps to attach the other side.

Right sides of exterior pieces together---sew along the zipper as we did before.

7.  Then again with the remaining lining piece:

8.  Once both sides are attached, flatten and press them out, away from zipper like below.

9. Time to sew it together.  OPEN YOUR ZIPPER.

I repeat: OPEN the ZIPPER.

Did you get that? Do not be like me..do as I say, not as I do. LMAO!

Place exterior pieces together, aligning edges. Same for the lining.

Use clips to hold it in place.

Mark a space in the side of the lining of about 6" where you will not sew.

Your zipper is open...right?

10. Sew all around the perimeter, leaving the gap marked open for turning out.

11. Clip corners and trim seam allowance some to lessen the bulk.

12. Turn right sides out and press out corners with a chopstick or knitting needle. Sew opening closed and tuck lining inside. 

 Admire yourself and your new bag! 

Have gobs of chocolate in celebration; I think it's the law.

Let me know if you make a Retro Case by tagging me here on IG or pin it for future use.

They are SUPER fast and make great gifts. You could even forgo wrapping paper and place gifts inside a bag and gift it that way- yay!



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