Tutorial – fabric tassels!

Hello! And a very Happy New Year! Can you believe it’s 2019 already? Honestly, I have no idea where the time is going! I have lots of things planned for the coming months but as today is the first day the kids are back at school – and I’m desperate to do some sewing – I thought I would kick off the New Year with a tutorial for making a fabric tassel zip pull, as I did for my Not So Little Zippy Pouch (or you can find the pattern here)!

Tutorial - fabric tassel zip pull or charm by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

I love using zip pulls as, for me, they somehow make a pouch look a bit more finished and a lot nicer to use! Previously, I’ve used colourful zip pulls like these on a sew together bag but didn’t have any left that were the right size or colour. Isn’t that the best thing about making things – you can customise them exactly how you want?! These little zip pulls are a great way of using up any fabric scraps that you have lying around, and only require a little bit of time, so great if you’re after a quick sewing fix!

Fabric Zip Tab Tassel

Materials Needed

  • 1 piece of fabric, 3/4″ wide by 2″ long for zipper pull tab
  • 1 piece of fabric, 4″ wide x 2″ high for fabric tassel
  • Needle & thread

Making the tassel

Taking the zipper pull tab, fold the fabric in half width-ways, wrong sides together. Finger press before folding the outside edges in towards the centre. Finger press again and keep in place with a couple of pins. Place a scrap piece of fabric under your machine needle – we are going to use this to help feed our tiny little zipper pull tab through the machine (these are sometimes called leaders/enders) as the fabric is so narrow it can easily be eaten by the machine/not feed through properly.

Complete a few stitches on the scrap piece of fabric, and stop just before you reach the end of the fabric. Lift the presser foot to place one end of the zipper tab pull under the piece of scrap fabric – I tried to line up the centre of the tab pull with the needle. Place the presser foot back down, and sewing slowly continue stitching – because the zipper tab is quite narrow, you may find that the scrap fabric moves and the zipper tab pull comes out from underneath. If this happens, lift the presser foot and re-arrange.

Take your zipper tab pull, and snipping off the scrap fabric, thread it through the end of your zipper pull. Set aside.

Tutorial - fabric tassel zip pull or charm by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

To make the tassel, take the remaining piece of fabric, fold one end in (wrong sides together) by 1/4″ to give a neat edge – this will be the end that you see on the tassel. Fold the piece of fabric in half wrong sides together, matching the long edges together. Finger press.

Tutorial - fabric tassel zip pull or charm by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

Using a zig-zag stitch, stitch just in from the folded edge. Secure the stitches by the folded end and snip/bury the threads. Using scissors cut up to – but not through – the stitching line.

With needle and thread (I recommend poly-cotton doubled up as it is more resilient to sewing through all the layers!), press the zipper pull tab together and secure in place with a couple of stitches at the level where you would like to place the tassel – I went about 1/4″ down from the zip pull.

Secure the raw end of the tassel fabric to the zipper tab. To sew the fabric tassel in place, work around the zip tab, stitching every 1/8″ – 1/4″ – I stitch over the zig-zag stitch, going through as many layers as I can to secure them all together.

Tutorial - fabric tassel zip pull or charm by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

Secure the end of the tassel in place. You will likely find that as you’ve been sewing the tassel in place, it will start to fray. You can leave it like this, or if you would like to help it along to looking more frayed, use a seam ripper tease out the threads.

It’s a fun little make, and a great way of using up scraps, but it led me to thinking, what about all the tiny little scraps that are left over?! The scraptastic tassel is stitched together in exactly the same way as the fabric tassel, it just starts off slightly differently!

Tutorial - fabric tassel zip pull or charm by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

Scraptastic Tassel

  • 1 piece of fabric, 5″ wide x 1″ high for fabric tassel band
  • Variety of scraps, at least 4″ long (or double the length of tassel)
  • Needle & thread
  • (optional) Lobster Clasp – you can find similar here and here

Take the tassel band and fold it in half, matching the long edges together and finger press. Open out and place right side down. Taking the fabric scraps, place them on top of the tassel band, roughly centred. It doesn’t matter if they overlap each other, but leave a little of the band uncovered at one end, to fold under as we did for the fabric tassel above.

Stitch along the centre line to keep the fabrics in place. As for the fabric tassel, fold the uncovered end under for a neat finish, fold the fabric in half and zig-zag close to the folded edge (for this version, I wanted more of a band so stitched 1/2″ from the folded edge).

Tutorial - fabric tassel zip pull or charm by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

If there is any excess band fabric below the stitching, you can trim it up to the stitching line (these scissors are excellent for this job as the curved duck-bill blade helps to keep the fabric you don’t want to cut out of the way!!!). Depending on how wide the strips are, you may want to add some extra cuts up to, but not through, the stitching on the band to create a more tassel-y effect.

For this tassel, I also played with not having a zip pull tab in the centre. Instead, I stitch it together in the same way as the fabric tassel, before threading a darning needle with thin ribbon and looping it through a lobster clasp (you can find similar here and here) before threading each end through the centre of the tassel from the top to make it into a keyring. Turn the tassel upside down to knot the ribbon and trim the ends (if it’s a ribbon that frays, you may want to carefully seal the edges with a match!)

I didn’t fray this tassel as much but did use a pin to tease out a few threads along the edge of each strip. I threaded the ribbon through a swivel clip so that I could use this as a bag charm, or you could always make tassels to add to a zip at a later date?!

Tutorial - fabric tassel zip pull or charm by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

Oh, and don’t forget, if you’re looking for another type of zipper-pull, then don’t forget to check out my tutorial for using mini macarons here!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial – if you make it, please do tag me in your make as I’d love to see it!

Back soon,

S x

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  1. I would love to make some of theses scraptastic tassels, but I wonder if you can do something so the instructions beneath the photos are revealed??

    1. Hi Jenny! Thanks so much for your comment and I’m really pleased that you’re inspired to make your own. The instructions for making the tassels are included in the text of the blog post, with the photo’s there just to illustrate this, so I’m afraid there are no further instructions included underneath the photos. Do let me know if you run into any problems. Thanks, S

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