Today we will go over how to insert the top zipper on Version A.
Switch thread to match the contrast fabric. Fold one Zipper Tab (F) in half lengthwise with right sides together. Fold the bottom raw edge up by 3/8” and press or crease well. Sew the two non-folded sides together. Trim the seam allowances to 1/4”. Neatly clip the top and bottom corners, and crease the seam allowances open. Turn the tab right side out and use a point turner or chopstick to poke out the corners. Press or crease well, aiming to enclose any bits of seam allowance that may try to stick out.
Insert one end of the 20” zipper into the tab and center it, then topstitch 1/8” from the open folded edge. The zipper stop should be flush with the tab. You may want to use a zipper foot. Repeat for the other tab, unzipping the zipper a few inches and holding the teeth close together as you sew on the tab. Note: If your machine has a hard time getting going on the bulky corner, try placing a folded piece of fabric under the back of the presser foot so that it is level as you begin sewing. You may want to use the hand wheel for the first few stitches.
Lay the Outer Body piece (A) with the Outer Zip Pocket right side up. Move webbing straps out of the way by using a clip to secure the handle to the bag body. Center the zipper right side down on top of the Outer Body piece (A), with the edge of the tape aligned with the top edge of the Outer Body piece (A). Have the zipper pull on the left hand side. The zipper tabs will extend beyond the edge of the the Outer Body (make sure they extend the same amount on each side). Lay Lining Side B (the elastic pocket side) face down with all edges aligned with Outer Body piece (A). Use clips to keep the zipper sandwich in place. Mark 2” in from each edge of the zipper. Using a zipper foot, stitch along the top edge from one mark to the other, about 1/8” to 1/4” away from the zipper teeth. You want to give your zipper a little bit of breathing room, so don’t stitch as close to the teeth as you usually would when inserting a zipper. Backstitch at the beginning and end.
Open out the Outer Body (A) and Lining Side B so that the wrong sides are together and press or crease the fabric away from the zipper tape. Do not topstitch yet- we will get to that later. Note: creasing the fabric well away from the zipper is very important to make sure that your zipper works smoothly, so give this step some extra attention.
Repeat for the other Outer Body (A) and Lining Side A pieces on the other side of the zipper. Note: at this point you are dealing with all of the layers of the bag and it can be a little unwieldy. Make sure to use plenty of clips to secure your zipper in place and support your work while you sew so that it doesn't pull away from the machine and result in crooked stitching.
After this step is complete, your bag will look like this: