Category Archives: Cosmetic Bag tutorial

Tutorial Tuesday: Simple Cosmetic Bag

Hi Everyone!
First – I love getting your comments. I have them sent to my email account so I can answer back. But many of you have checked the ‘do not show my email’ box in your Blogger profile and it’s really frustrating that I can’t reply in person! So if you comment on blogs but never get emailed replies, go check your settings (you can do it from your Dashboard)!
Today’s tutorial is a re-visit of sorts. I did a Cosmetic Bag Tutorial before which featured a card pocket on the front.  But if you wanted to make a simple cosmetic bag with no pocket, the former tutorial was kinda long.
These cosmetic bags make fantastic gifts – you can tuck some earrings and sweets inside, a gift card or even a bit of money (or cosmetics!). The great thing about them is that they’re quick, and I have a few tips in there to help you make it look totally profesh!
As always, if you have any questions, email me:
What you need:

  • 2 x 8″ by 6″ pieces of your exterior fabric
  • 2 x 8″ x 6″ pieces of your interior fabric
  • 2 x 8″ x 6″ pieces of woven fusible interfacing (check ebay for good prices) applied to your exterior pieces.
  • 8″ or 9″ zipper
  • sewing kit: machine, scissors, pins, marker, etc.

1. Do the Two-Step Zip Dance: Lay your zipper on top of one interior piece, lining them up at the top. Make sure the end of the zip is hanging off the side, as shown in the picture – this makes attaching it way easier! ***If you are wondering why I’m doing my zip in 2 steps, scroll to the bottom. If you don’t care and just want to make your bag, go to #2***

2. Using your zipper foot, stitch about 1 cm away from the zipper – a little less than 1/2″. When you get to the end, you’ll notice you don’t have to worry about going around the zipper pull, because it’s not in your way! Yay! {arms flapping in excitement!}

3. Now lay one exterior piece Face Down on top of your zip, lining up the top edges – if your exterior pieces have a directional print like mine, make sure you’ve put it on correctly before you sew!
So now, you can sew that, using a 1/4″ seam allowance (.5cm) or so. Basically you want to sew about 1 threads’ width in (towards the zipper) from the line of stitching you’ve just completed. Yay! One side done!

4. Now smoosh or press the fabrics away from the zipper, so you can repeat those steps on the other side. Lining up your top edges, pin the other side of the zipper to your otherinterior piece (as shown above). Now sew that like you did in step 2.

5. After that, lay your other exterior piece onto the zipper and stitch that the same way you did in step 3.  Press all fabrics neatly away from the zipper.

6. Topstitch along the zipper edges, as shown above. It’s optional, but I think it looks pretty…

7. Now we’re going mark where the ends of the zipper are so we don’t run our needle over them while we’re sewing. It also means we can sew quite close to them, which looks nice and neat. So find the end of your zip, like shown above.

Then mark it on the back sides of the fabric, as shown above. Then UNZIP the zipper! If you sew this with the zipper closed you won’t have any way to turn it out later and you will be SO mad! So unzip it right now!

8. Pin the interior pieces Right Sides Together (RST), and do the same with the exterior pieces – you’ll notice that the zip will probably sit toward the interior pieces, and that’s just fine. When you’ve got it all lined up and pinned, place two marks about 1.5″ in from the bottom edges or the interior pieces. Those are the starting and ending points as we sew this all up. You’ll start sewing at the mark near that bottom pink pin, go all the way around and end near the orange pin. Like below:

9. Sew using a 1cm SA – if you can’t see the seams in the small pic, click on it to see a larger one. I’ve left that gap open. Clip all 4 corners off and then press your little gap open.

10. Turn it right sides out as shown above. Press so it’s all nice and neat.

11. Pin the little gap closed!

12. Edgestitch it shut!


An adorable Cosmetic Bag!!

Don’t forget to add your creations to The Linky Party! or even the Flickr group!
© Copyright J C Excell, 2011
All rights reserved
***I use a two-step zipper system because I feel like it gives better control when sewing a zip in. This control is especially important when you’re working with interfaced cotton duck like I am, which is very thick. If you stitch the zip to the interior piece before the ext., you know it’s not going anywhere wonky, even though you can’t actually see it. So, yes, it might add an extra step, but I get much neater results when I do it this way, and as most of the cosbags I make get sold in the etsy shop, I need them to be as neat as possible. And it is a good system for beginners, too, who are often quite nervous about zips.***

Posted in Cosmetic Bag tutorial, Tutorial Tuesday, Tutorials, zippy pouch tutorial | Tagged | 10 Comments

Tutorial: Cosmetic Bag with Exterior Card Pocket

I like to carry business cards with me, in case someone asks where I got my bag, at which point I’m all like: ‘Thank you, I made it myself.  There’s one for sale in my etsy store; here’s my business card!’.
I got a free metal business card holder when I bought the cards, but it sucks and I don’t like using it.  But I love cosmetic bags and carry loads of them – different bags have different genres, like one for kleenex and headache pills, another for cosmetics, another for loyalty cards. So making a cosmetic bag with a card pocket really does two jobs! Yay! I love multi-taskers!
I thought you might like one too, so here’s a tutorial:

Fabric and Interfacing and Notions:
You’ll need:
Small amount Exterior Fabric
Small amount Interior Fabric
Small amount Fusible Interfacing
One 7 or 8 inch zipper (I know the one in the pic is a 7 inch, but I actually used an 8 inch and I’ll explain it later)
A little bit of Iron On Velcro

The measurements for the large pieces are:
•    6 inches by 8.25 inches / 15 cm by 20.5 cm
•    One Small Piece:  2.5 inches by 4 5/8 inches / 6.5 cm by 12 cm
•    One Really Small Piece: 2 inches by 4 5/8 inches / 5 cm by 12 cm

Large Pieces, Cut:
•    2 x Exterior Fabric
•    2 x Interior Fabric
•    2 x Fusible Interfacing (I used woven because I prefer its adherence properties)

Small and Really Small Pieces, Cut:
•    1 x Ext. Fabric
•    1 x Int. Fabric
•    1 x Interfacing

1. Ready Your Pieces: After you’ve cut everything out, iron the fusible interfacing onto the exterior fabric pieces:

2. Make up the outside pocket and flap: Pin those pieces with Right Sides Together (RST), and sew using ¼” seam allowance (SA).  Make sure you leave a gap so you can turn them out, and ***Important!!*** Make sure you leave the gap at the bottom of your pocket piece, and at the top of your flap! This is because we’re going to sew the gap shut when we attach those pieces to the front of your cosmetic bag!

Ok, so now you need to cut the corners off and turn those little pieces Right Side Out (RSO) like the little flap on the left above – Iron them like crazy, and when you’re happy, place them on the exterior piece and pin them down.  Make sure the flap covers over the pocket, but not so much than you can’t get a card in there!

Put your pins around the edges to test whether you can get a card in there and whether there’s enough room for your little velcro tabs.

Now, stitch the pocket and flap in place, and iron on your little velcro pieces, like in the pic:

3. Zipper Attachment: Okay, now I’ll explain why you might want to use a longer-than-necessary zipper.  You know how when you’re sewing a zipper on, and you’re doing it all straight and pretty, and then you get to the zipper pull and your stitches go all WonKy? Well, if you use a longer zip, and ‘hang’ the zipper pull end of it off the side of your fabric, you won’t have that problem! Let me show you what I mean:

Place your zipper at the top of an interior piece, with the zipper pull hanging off the end, and pin in place (see pic for details).  If you’re happy with the placement, move on:

Now sew that zipper down using your zipper foot.

Now place an exterior fabric piece FACE DOWN (with top side up, too) on top of your zipper and interior piece:

Pin in place and stitch again using your zipper foot.

Ok, now we have to do that again for the other side of the zipper, so put the other side of the zipper on your other interior piece, like so:

This just gives you an idea of placement – you should pin and sew all the way across, not halfway like it’s implied in the picture!

Stitch that down, then place your other exterior piece FACE DOWN on top of what you’ve just sewn:

Stitch that down, iron, and admire your zipper! Well done!

4. Optional: Topstitch along the edges of the zipper, like I’ve done in this pic:

5. Cut off extraneous ends of zipper, like in the pic:

6. Unzip your zipper Now!! Then, lay out and sew edges: Ok, now you need to put the interior pieces facing each other RST, and the exterior pieces will do the same.  Your zipper will be sandwiched in between, like in the pic:

Remember: It’s more important to match the top edges of the exterior up than the bottom ones – so make sure that each side of the exterior is lined up before you pin.
Pin the edges, and mark a 4 inch opening at the bottom that you’ll keep open so you can turn everything RSO at the end (see my 2 purple marks there?):

Ok, here are a couple of tips from someone who’s made loads of these—through the layers of fabric, find the bottom end of the zipper.  Mark where it ends, so when you’re sewing, you can make sure you don’t try to run over the end of your zipper, but stitch just beside it.  Also, after you’re done stitching, go back and snip the excess tops off the end of the zipper.  You don’t need them and they’ll just be in the way when you turn it out.  Don’t snip your stitching!!

Here’s what it looks like after it’s been sewn:

7. Turn it out! But first, clip the corners, and iron your little gap open so it’s easier to sew it shut at the end.  Now, turn the whole thing out through your gap. Iron like crazy to get it all pretty.

Then, pin your little gap shut, and edgestitch it shut! Done! If you have any problems, questions, or suggestions, leave a comment or email me!

© Copyright J C Excell, 2011
All rights reserved

Posted in Cosmetic Bag tutorial, sewing tutorial, Tutorials, zippy pouch tutorial | 14 Comments