FAQ Series: In the Hoop Zipper Bag: Enclosed vs. Exposed Seams?

FAQ Series: In the Hoop Zipper Bag: Enclosed vs. Exposed Seams?

FAQ Series: In the Hoop Zipper Bag: Enclosed vs. Exposed Seams?


Continuing our FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) series, we will be talking about Enclosed and Exposed seams today. Enclosed seams mean that the bag is lined. Exposed seams mean that the bag is unlined. Thank you for coming to my talk. Just kidding! :) Although it is that simple, there's more to cover!

When you pull up a POP zipper bag listing, you will find loads of information. Sizes, formats, and a note about the seams. If the design is available with both Enclosed and Exposed seams, the design will include BOTH! You never have to buy two different versions of the same bag at Parker on the Porch. You will see this in the listing when the bag has both options available:

For some styles of zipper bags, enclosed seams are necessary to the design. Top Zip style bags use the lining to help the zipper lay correctly; therefore, top zip styles will always come with only an enclosed seam option.


Let's take a closer look at a design that comes with both Enclosed and Exposed seam options, the original Clutch Zipper Bag. The design also comes with Bean Stitch and Satin Stitch applique options, which we have already discussed here on the blog. In the main download folder, we have the folder for Bean Stitch Applique, the folder for Satin Applique, the POP terms of use, and the PDF tutorial. 


Let's look inside the Satin Applique folder.


Ack! Too many files!

Remember to click on Type to sort your files by type to make things easier to find. Now you can easily grab the file format you need for your machine.


I grabbed the 5x7 satin ENCLOSED file stitch map for closer inspection. (Of course we know what a stitch map is, right?) If you'll notice, Steps 3 and 4 look identical to Steps 9 and 10. Steps 9 and 10 are the Liner tackdowns, which will enclose the backside of the applique and the zipper tape on the front of this bag. 


Looking at the stitch map for the 5x7 Satin Exposed file, you will notice that there are 3 fewer steps because this design does not have a lining.


When you load your design on your machine and it has fewer (or more!) steps than you think it should, go back and check that you've selected the 1) correct applique style and 2) correct enclosed or exposed style. Usually the PDF tutorial has a slide to remind you to check at this point in the design.


If you loaded the Exposed style but want a lining, send the Enclosed file in the same size to your machine and make sure it is exactly on top of the other file. Forward through to the lining step and proceed from there. 

If you loaded the Enclosed style but do NOT want the lining, all you have to do is skip those steps on your machine and keep on stitching. 

Some other commonly asked questions about lined bags:

How do I remove the stabilizer from my lined bag?

With a lined bag, the stabilizer remains sandwiched inside the front layers of material. There are three options if you do NOT want your stabilizer inside the bag:

  1. Carefully tear away your tearaway stabilizer from inside the outline before adding the liner. I would totally ruin my bags if I tried this, but some people swear by it.
  2. Use cut away stabilizer. You'll need to trim away the zipper area when you turn the bag. I use small scissors and a seam ripper with the protective ball point against the zipper so I don't accidentally rip through the zipper too. 
  3. Use a sturdy wash away stabilizer such as Badgemaster or a fabric-like water soluble stabilizer such as Vilene.

Why would I want an unlined bag?

Unlined vinyl bags are super duper fast to stitch! They're quick and fun, and vinyl doesn't ravel. 

Can I skip the lining on the top zip bags?

Skipping the lining on the top zip means the zipper tape isn't enclosed, and it can roll over, flop around, and generally misbehave. The lining is a pretty integral part of the design, so that is why an unlined version was not included with the download. But no one is going to jump out of your machine and smack your hand if you experiment.

What material should I use for liners?

Cotton woven quilt-weight fabric is a good all-around liner. It doesn't add too much thickness, it won't stretch out of place, and it's available in a variety of colors and patterns. Try a contrasting print or unexpected solid color for a fun *POP* to your bags. 

For lining snack bags or wet bags, PUL (Polyurethane Laminate) is recommended for its water resistance and wash-ability. We love the PUL available from Sahara Fabrics. If you're using it for food, you may want to check that the PUL is food safe. For optimum water resistance and wash-ability, flip the PUL so that the rubbery/coated side is the "right" side when you're using it as a liner.

Soft fabrics such as flannel, fleece, and minky can be used to line sunglasses cases or device cases. Be careful with stretch and weave on these though--sometimes the more inexpensive flannels shred easily when stitched and might need a layer of lightweight interfacing to keep it from tearing especially around the turning hole.

Speaking of interfacing, do I need to interface my lining fabric?

Generally, no, you don't need to interface your lining fabric. It adds bulk without much benefit in most situations.

How do I close the hole in my liner?

You can use your sewing machine and stitch a seam very close to the edge. You can use a hidden ladder stitch. Or, what we do most often, you can use a fabric glue (such as Fabri-Tac), an iron-on fusible (such as Thermoweb's Heat n Bond Hem Tape), or a pressure-sealing tape (Thermoweb's Peel n Stick Fabric Fuse

Any other questions? Come ask in the POP Facebook group