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Tutorial Tuesday: Paper Pieced Cosmetic Bag

This little cosmetic bag makes a perfect Birthday or Christmas gift – it’s visually impressive, and the paper/foundation piecing means it’s easy to get precise results. Because it’s small, it doesn’t take too long to make it, and you could even do the paper piecing by hand in the evening in front of the telly.

If you do end up making one, pop a pic in the SewHappyGeek Flickr group – I love seeing people using my tutorials! And there’s still time to link up to Manic Monday Linky Party and share what you’ve been up to!

Flying Geese Paper Pieced Cosmetic Bag Tutorial

by Jenna Excell of © Copyright 2011, J C Excell

For this bag you’ll need:

  • scraps and about a fat eighth’s worth of background fabric for the paper pieced Flying Geese portion.
  • 2 pieces of fusible fleece/fusible wadding cut 9.75” (9 ¾) x 7.75” (7 ¾)
  • 2 interior pieces cut 9.75” x 7.75”
  • 4 side strips cut 2.25” x 6.5
  • 2 bottom strips cut 2” x 10”
  • 11” or 12” zipper

First: Print one set of Circle of Geese blocks from Pieced by Number

Next: Sew 2 flying geese blocks using your scraps and background fabric following the Sometimes Crafter tutorial

Then, trim and attach the side strips, then attach the bottom strip. Use a ¼” Seam Allowance.

Sides sewn on.
Bottom Piece sewn on.
On the back, fuse the fleece/wadding according to the instructions.

Take one interior piece with Right Side Up, and lay your zipper at the top edge, as shown in the pic, and pin in place. (I use a zipper that is at least 2” longer than the item I’m making as it means I don’t have to sew around the bulky zip piece while I’m attaching it and I can simply open the zip before I sew everything all together and trim the long edges off.)
Now take one of the sides and with Wrong Side Up, lay it on the interior and zipper, and pin in place.
Using a zipper foot, sew a seam using about a ⅛” Seam Allowance. You want to get the zipper tape but not so close that it won’t be able to move.

Here’s what it’ll look like when you’re done:
Press the seams in place.

Now repeat for the other side, with your interior piece RSU, pin the zipper in place at the top, then place the other side WSU and pin the top. Sew as you did before. This is what it’ll look like when  you’re finished sewing and pressing everything:

This is the other side.Now you’ll need to sew it all together. First, TRIM your zipper, and MAKE SURE THE ZIPPER IS OPEN more than halfway, or you won’t be able to turn it out. And you’ll be very angry. Also, you need to leave an opening at the bottom of the interior.
Sew as shown in the picture below using a ½” Seam Allowance and press seams open:Now, you’ll need to make the gusset. This is done by pinching the bottom corners of the exterior pieces (the ones with the fusible fleece on them) so that the seams meet up. I like to cut a tiny hole off the top so I can see in and adjust everything.Now pin that when you’re happy with the lining up of the seams, and mark a 1.25” line on either side of the seam. Sew over that line 2 or 3 times to ensure a strong seam. Do this on both corners of the exterior pieces you’ve just sewn together. (Optional: make a gusset for the interior pieces as well)When you’re finished making gussets, turn your cosmetic bag right side out (RSO) and simply pin the opening of the interior shut and edgestitch:
And hey, Presto! You’ve got a great cosmetic bag!You can also use waterproof material (such as plastic shopping bags that have been fused together or a thin shower curtain or waterproof fabric) to make the inside into a wipe-able surface.
© Copyright J C Excell, 2011. You are welcome to use any SewHappyGeek tutorial for personal use. You are even welcome to make a couple to sell, but you are not given permission to use my pictures or my words without giving me credit and linking back to the original. You are NEVER allowed to copy an entire tutorial or post.
Sometimes my pictures have my family in them and they are never intended for public use. Also, I work very hard to provide free tutorials for my lovely readers, and anyone copying or selling my tutorials is guilty of copyright infringement.

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10 thoughts on “Tutorial Tuesday: Paper Pieced Cosmetic Bag

  1. DarlIng bag! Thank you for sharing this. I think I
    could fill a half dozen without much thought. And what
    a quick, useful gift idea!

  2. Lovely bag, Jenna. I’m curious as to why you suggest trimming the zipper before you sew it in. I used to do that, but I found that if I leave it intact I can open it completely and the zipper head is totally out of the way for sewing. Just have to be sure to rezip a bit before sewing the sides.

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