It’s Easy To Install A Zipper With Our Runaround Bag Design

Lazies,  I don’t know who came up with the universal instructions to install a zipper, but I rarely hear some one say ‘I love installing zippers’. Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever heard that. And I can’t help but feel it’s because of those old-fashioned, scary instructions that come with the zipper. Well, it just doesn’t have to be that way. I have grown to love installing zippers and I think you can, too.

I have devised four different ways to install a zipper that won’t make you cry. I promise. These techniques are used throughout our designs. Which brings us to today’s ‘Show Us Your Lazy’ project feature. Lazy Girl Michelle Meehan tells us how she feels about our ‘Sew Easy’ zipper technique used to make her Runaround Bag (shown below with a Wonder Wallet).


Here’s Michelle:
I just finished my first Runaround Bag, and I LOVE it. This is exactly what I need right now – a bag that’s big enough for a wallet, a set of keys, and some lip balm, and that’s about it.

I just have to say that after making a second Runaround Bag for my daughter, I am floored by how easy it is to install a zipper. My two Runaround Bags are, literally, the only zippers I’ve ever sewn (or even attempted), and it’s no different than any other seam.


I thought zippers would be all complicated and frustrating. They’re not an issue at all here. It was just as easy as the paperback book cover.

Here are two pictures of my little girl Kate and her new big girl bag. She’s so proud of it (like I am!).


We’re going out this afternoon because when I asked her what she was going to put in her new pocketbook, she said, “Makeup.” But she doesn’t have any makeup (I don’t even know how she knows what it is), so we’ll go to Target to get her a little bubblegum lip gloss.

Anyway, I’m glad this was my first experience with a zipper, since I have no fear of them now! Another huge thumbs up for Lazy Girl Designs patterns.
– Lazy Girl Michelle and Lazy Girl in training Kate

Thanks Michelle! Part of the secret to the ‘Sew Easy’ installation is that we only use the ‘good part’ of the zipper. We avoid the knot, or stopper, at the top and bottom of the zipper and concentrate on the grade-A prime real estate in between. Sneaky!  That also means that we sew over the teeth at the side seams. This technique is ideal for polyester zippers. Don’t try this with zippers that have metal teeth unless you are looking for a reason to break a few needles.

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17 Responses to “It’s Easy To Install A Zipper With Our Runaround Bag Design”

  1. Mary Baker — March 22, 2007 @ 8:32 am

    I Love your Runaround Bag. How sweet. Your daughter should be proud as you should be too. You did a great job and I Love It. Mary Baker, Fort Worth, TX

  2. Lori Allison — March 22, 2007 @ 9:43 am

    Cutest darn bag I’ve ever seen. Great project; adorable pictures and story. So true about the zippers. Just try to explain zipper installation to an adolescent sewer and they look at you like you’re from another planet!

  3. LouAnn McGraw — March 23, 2007 @ 11:44 am

    I love the Runaround Bag. It’s great in any fabric, plain or with lovely buttons like Michelle used. I’ve made at least 20 and given most of them away. I usually make a matching “pet screen” pouch to match and use as a wallet.
    When my parents announced a family cruise for their 60th anniversary, I set about resizing the Runaround Bag to make passport holders for the entire family from age 81 to 12 months. What fun!

  4. Alice Patton — April 7, 2007 @ 7:45 pm

    I would love to order the Runabout Purse patter but for some reason cannot get into where to order it. Help.

  5. Joy — April 20, 2007 @ 8:54 am

    Do you have to order the pattern for this bag to get the zipper installation instructions?
    Thanks, JOY
    – – – – –
    Hi Joy,
    Yes, the zipper installation instructions are included in the pattern for the Runaround Bag. The pattern can be purchased through indpendent quilt or sewing/fabric stores, or online. Here’s one place:  

  6. Bonnie Nyquist — December 28, 2007 @ 10:33 pm

    Do you have any idea what fabric Michelle Meegan used in her Runaround bag as featured on your newsletter/blog? Cutest darn thing I ever saw!

    Got the DVD for a Chroistmas gift Joan, I love it!!!! Tjhat is a really darling pattern, as is the Wonder Wallet!

  7. mary — January 7, 2008 @ 9:04 am

    Where was th e instuctions to install a zipper in a bag ???

    – – – – –

    Hi Mary,
    The instructions for how to install the zipper in that project are included in the pattern. All of our patterns can be purchased at quilt shops or online. Here is a list of retailers:


  8. Jo Ann — March 18, 2008 @ 6:15 pm

    LouAnn McGraw
    I read where you made the runabout bag as a passport bag. What was the length of the finished bag.

  9. Edie — June 30, 2008 @ 3:12 pm

    I made 2 Runabout bags. One is for the 4th of July, using patriotic fabric. The other in a red, black and white floral print. That one I gave to a friend. When I make more for me, I will make the strap wider. I also put a square of velcro to help secure the back pocket.
    I never put in a zipper before, this method was so easy. I made a coin purse the same way.
    I like the passport idea, you can make the back pocket with plastic, so your I.D. shows.

  10. Dorothy — September 13, 2009 @ 1:13 pm

    I saw your zipper installation of the zipper on Kaye Wodd’s show # 2203, is there anyway I can watch this again ?
    You are fantastic. I am an 80 year old new to the sewing machine scene and loving it, thanks to your easy stuff. I have several of your patterns, wonderful indeed.
    Thank you so much.

  11. Dorothy — September 14, 2009 @ 9:21 am

    Thank you so muc Joan, I found the pattern yesterday with the zipper instructions, you are the best. Starting my first zipper installation today.
    When you are demonstrating, I am loving it. Makes me know that I can do it too.

  12. peggy saur — July 9, 2010 @ 7:56 pm

    i am making the run around bag. i keep assembleing it wrong. is there a video or pictures to show how

  13. Pat — October 9, 2012 @ 12:52 pm

    super bag…thanks so much!!

  14. Jo Nolen — June 27, 2014 @ 11:23 am

    Where can I get the pattern?

  15. Geraldine Fleming — July 23, 2014 @ 10:45 am

    I would love to get the pattern of the Runaround Bag,How do I get it. can you help me please