WeaveZine: an online magazine for handweavers—Archives

Spiral Zipper Bag

Main Image

Years ago I discovered a small zipper bag in a Fair Trade shop.

It was cleverly constructed: a braided band sewn to a long zipper in a spiral. Zipped shut it was a handy bag; unzipped it was one long strip.

Inspired by this ingenuity, I decided to make my own version, using a warp-faced band such as you can weave on an inkle loom (or any other loom, actually).

This article sponsored by:[[ad|nids=413]]

Project Details

partially unzipped bagFor a bag approximately 6 x 8 inches in size, you will need a dividable zipper (also sometimes called a jacket zipper) 75 inches (180 cm) long.

You will need to weave a band at least 75 inches long.

The zipper should match the color of the band's selvedge. This makes the zigzag machine stitching joining the zipper and band less visible.

Warp and Weft

The warp for the strip is woven in 4/2/2 crochet yarn (you can substitute 5/2 pearl cotton), 1900 yds/lb. (Colors: navy, pale blue, red, corn, olive, silver metallic and pale yellow.) There are a total of 65 warp ends, 3 yards (2.5 meters) long.

For weft I used the navy yarn, doubled.

The woven strip is 1-1/3 inches (3.75 cm) wide and at least 70 inches (178 cm) long.

If you are weaving on an inkle loom be sure to maintain a width of 1-1/3 inch (3.25 cm) while weaving.

Note: For more information about how to warp and weave on an inkle loom, see, "Weaving with an Inkle Loom" and "Inkle-Woven Shoelaces."

If you are using a shaft loom, thread the warps, alternating between two shafts. Sley the warps at 5 ends per dent in a 10 dent reed for 50 epi (or 5 ends per dent in a 40/10 reed for 20 ends per cm.) Treadle and weave the band in plain weave.

Warp color order

woven inkle band


Constructing the bag

Measure (but do not cut yet) 70 inches of woven band. Fold back a little hem on one end. After hemming, the band should be 69 inches (175 cm) long.

Take the two halves of the zipper apart. Then measure 8-1/4 inches from the bottom of the zipper and pin that point to the end of the band.

zipper positioning

Ease the zipper around the corners of the band with two little tucks and carry on pinning the zipper along the woven band.

Pin the second zipper part starting from the zipper top in the same way to the other end of the woven band. Eventually the room between the zipper ends should be one inch.

zipper attached to band

Baste the zipper to the woven band and close the zipper to check that the bottom and top are parallel.

If they are not, shift the zipper. If the top overlaps too far, enlarge the initial 8-1/4 inch by a tiny amount. If the top line is too short, reduce the initial 8-1/4 inch by a tiny amount. Keep tweaking until you find the right balance. When the band and zipper are properly mounted, the top and bottom of the bag will be parallel when the bag is zipped shut.

Zigzag stitch the zipper to the woven band using thread in a color that matches the selvedges of the band and the zipper.

Attach a tassel of warp ends, a narrower woven strip in matching colors, or a Kumihimo braid to the zipper handle (here shown on a different bag).

zipper pull decoration


Close the zipper and there is your bag.

closing the zipper


Erica de RuiterErica de Ruiter graduated at the School for Industrial Design in The Netherlands, and worked as an industrial designer for many years. For the last twenty-five years she has taught weaving in The Netherlands and abroad. She has published Weaving on Three Shafts and Tejido Huave and Beyond, as well as numerous articles in weaving publications. She specializes in two- and three-shaft weaving techniques.