Backstory: I've been wanting a new 'cosmetic bag' for a while. I've had my current one for probably 5 years and never did like it. While we were on vacation, I looked. Found some I liked, but weren't quite right. Looked once we got home. ...found cheap vinyl ugly ones. Not exactly what I had in mind. Even looked online. Found some REALLY cute ones on etsy. Almost bought. Still not quite right though. (what can I say, my mind's eye is 1. stubborn and 2. picky. Once its there, I can't change it)
I wanted BIG, and box shaped, and colorful and quirky without being obnoxious. So....out of half irritation I typed "cosmetic bag tutorial" into Google. (and this is why I love Google) I found these tutorials: crafster tutorial (this one also links to a more rounded shape bag if that's more to your liking) and three bears tutorial (which is the name of her blog, it is not - in fact - a tutorial for making three bears. fear not.)
I used the second one. The first is next on my list, but....ok the second one looked easier. =P
So now let's walk through the process together before you start your own! I won't get super technical here since you can just refer to the link. Plus....its not that tricky. :) I only made a few small mods - the size of my fabric, used a lining and interfacing, and made tabs on either side of the zipper.
And before we go on, I should point out that I'm a sloppy sewer and this was thrown together as a 'practice' bag. Sewing is not my strength, and I'm envious of those who have pristine corners and tidy edges and everything intersects just so. If you're accustomed to such results, you may want to take a few deep breaths before continuing on to the picture portion of our post. Thank you.
I cut my fabrics to 8"x7" (red outer fabric, medium weight interfacing, blue lining) I also took a scrap of the blue and cut it to 2" wide, fold it in half lengthwise - right sides together - sew a seam, turn it right side out, press it flat, cut in half, and then fold each piece in half to make a tab. I'll show you where that goes in later.
Now for you inexperienced sewers, this is your machine's zipper foot. Now, just to make you all feel better, let's just assume you've never sewed in a zipper before, and had read about said zipper foot...but had no earthly clue what one looked like. You find this crazy contraption in that little bag of odds and ends that came with your machine 5 years ago that you've never used. You could very well use Google to figure out that this is your zipper foot. ...If you needed to. I sure didn't! *hem*
So now you've found your zipper foot, and even got the dang thing on the machine (It kind of goes on off to the side....for you newbies who spent a good 2 minutes trying to figure out why the blasted thing wouldn't go on) Now time to sew the zipper to your fabric. Sandwich your fabrics, (all right sides facing out) and position your zipper and your outer fabric right sides to each other. Sew along the top edge, as close to the zipper as you can (this is easier to explain with the picture of this step that I didn't take...)
Open it up, press it flat and it should look like this... (red outer fabric, zipper, my pant leg)
Ok, now basically do the same again. Make your sandwich, right side of outer fabric facing your zipper. Kinda like...this:
That doesn't help? How bout this one:See how those top edges line up? Sew those suckers together.
At this point you MAY have to stop to replace your needle. I won't...explain why. Just...if it looks like this...go ahead and change it. It will make the rest of the project much easier.
Ok, once that's done, sew that seam and open and press it flat. Now you have a zipper smack dab in the middle of your fabrics. Great, now what?
Glad you asked! Fold that sucker right sides together again, doing your best to make sure the bottom edges line up. I'm not saying they WILL...but...give it a shot. Now sew a seam there. And if you're like me, your fabrics don't totally measure up (because you didn't cut them 100% accurately in the first place, you lazy slob.) So...for good measure you MAY want to sew that second seam a bit higher up because you noticed not all the blue got caught in the first one.
Ok great! Now...take your bottom seam, and your top/zipper and line them up over each other. Smash it all down flat. ...You could use your iron if you so wish. This is where those tabs will come in. (this is where I had to stop for 5 minutes and figure out how they'd go in. I sometimes get tripped up by common sense...)
You'll want to put them in so the folded edge is inside and the raw edges are poking out. Make sure they're centered, and then sew that open edge shut. If you're paranoid (like me) go back and forth over the zipper and extra time or two. Repeat for the other side.
If you were to turn it right side out, this is what it would look like. You don't need to...unless you want to check your outer seams again to make sure all layers got caught. I did, mine were fine. *phew*
Inside out again....Pinch your corners, pin them, draw a line, and sew. (the more you cut off, the taller your bag will be, the less you cut off, the more 'boxy' it will be. I cut off about an inch and a half.)
All stitched up...
Now cut 'em off! ...Just pretend that raw edge is the telltale 'V' pattern left from pinking shears. I know I should have them, but I don't. I always think "I should pick up a pair" then I stand in front of them at the store, staring at the price and thinking "I should go into the pinking shear business" Its not that they're OUTRAGEOUS. But I have a limited craft budget. (because of stupid things like groceries, and car insurance...pfft.) So when it comes to pinking shears, or more fabric...well, you can guess where my loyalty lies.
So anyway, corners be gone!
Then just trim any extra zipper ends, loose threads, and the like. Now turn that puppy right side out and admire your handiwork!
About this time you'll realize that you forgot to go back and topstitch along the zipper edges. You should technically do that after attaching both sides, and before sewing the bottom seam shut. ...for the record. But you're lazy and don't care that much. You'll keep a mental note for next time though.
You just made your new cosmetic bag, neato huh?
For the record, the measurements above give you a bag that's about 4"wide, 5" long and 2 1/2" tall.
Now, you may be slightly disappointed as you want a bag about twice that size. But you're so smitten with your new creation that you don't much CARE. (I knew rough dimensions going into it, I'll have to tinker with making the larger one)
Because even for its lack of girth, you can fit all of this into it:
And that suits you just fine. (and now you all know my dirty secret. I buy generic makeup from Walgreens....ok its not much of a dirty secret, but its all I've got.)
And there ya go! Pack it full and enjoy it each morning! And if you really do want to make one, ignore my insane directions and go for the clear instructions in that link ;)
There is a way to do this where the lining is sewn separately, then turned in, hiding all the raw seams. But this was practice, and I just wanted to get it done and get an idea of the results, so I didn't worry about it. I would like to make one larger, and I may use that technique.
This was really easy, I bet it took me...an hour? If that, and that included walking back to double check the steps, and tinkering with tabs...and bent needles. You could easily whip up a few in an afternoon out of leftover scraps or a few fat quarters. I think they'd make great gifts - filled with bath goodies, candies, or lotions. For toting matchbox cars or polly pocket/barbie odds and ends. So go ahead and make 10 of them. And then send me a link when you do!