So you've decided to take the bull by the horns and try your hand at making yourself a toiletry bag/travel bag/cosmetic pouch/dopp kitt (so many names for such a humble accessory). I hope this tutorial helps you accomplish that easily. I love these bags and have forever been trying to find a tutorial for a fully lined one that hides raw seams. I finally found one here http://projectsbyjane.blogspot.com/2009/01/lined-zippered-boxy-pouch-tutorial.html and was so thrilled that I sat down right away and started sewing, deciding at the same time to put together a little tutorial of my own to document my progress. It took about two hours from start to finish, but I'm sure now that I have the hang of it it would take half that. It was also a bit fiddly, with lots of steps, but with less stiff fabric it would be a bit easier, and all in all it was pretty easy to assemble and I hope you're not intimidated by all the steps...I just wanted to explain things in as much detail as I could :)
I should warn you that I went a bit overboard with the pictures on this project lol. It seems I either forget entirely to take pictures as I go, or stop after every single step to snap one or two. I do hope that it makes this project easy to follow along with and shows clearly what my description fails to explain...
Right, select two fabrics of your choice. I used Twill for the outer layer but you could easily substitute plain cotton, vinyl, leather, tweed...etc. I also used some pretty stiff interfacing on it (which I forgot to take a picture of, but I assume that all you intrepid seamstresses know how to apply it) to give the finished product some shape and sturdiness, but you don't have to if you want the bag to be a bit more pliable. The inner layer is a good quality cotton print, but you could also use oilcloth or iron on vinyl on the cotton, to make the inside cleanable and waterproof.
The measurements: The finished bag is roughly 6.5x7.5x3.5 and is almost square in shape. If you want it longer you need to add a few inches to the width of the pieces you cut
Cut 2 of the outer fabric - 10"x12" (the higher number will be the length of the bag)
Cut 2 of the lining fabric - 10"x12"
(You could also cut the same again of some felt or batting, to give the bag some padding)
Cut 1 of outer fabric - 3.5"x 12" for the strap and tag (9" for the handle, 3"for the tab)
12" zipper (longer if you want a longer bag)
|My fabrics are Amy Butler Twill for the outer, and Anna Maria Horner for the inner layers|
Of course I forgot to take a picture of the first step, but I'm sure you will figure it out :) Sandwich the zipper between one pair of the outer and inner fabric, right sides together, matching up the edges along the longer side of the fabric and pinning in place. Attach your zipper foot to your machine and sew the length of the fabric, giving yourself a .25" seam allowance...as usual.
Once done, flip the fabric, revealing the zipper, press back, and top stitch close to the zipper
Repeat the process on the other side of the zipper, making sure that the outer and inner fabrics mirror each other once flipped back (right sides of lining together etc. as your sewing the zipper in) Sorry if that sounds complicated...it really is pretty simple to do lol.
Now you have a choice, you can either go ahead and sew the seams now, leaving a gap at the zipper to insert the handle and tab at each end, or you can insert the handle and tab now between the outer layers (right in the middle of the sandwich), centered over the zipper, with the raw edges of the handles facing the raw edges of the bag) If you chose the former...keep reading, if the latter...do so now and pin well in place.
|the gap at the zipper for the handle to be inserted|
|slide the folded handle into the gap and line up the raw edges, pin and sew|
|reverse a few times over the zipper as you sew, to make sure the seam is nice and sturdy|
At this point make sure that your zipper is partly unzipped, otherwise you'll be a bit stuck when you try to flip the whole thing right side out :)
|The tab is about 3" in length, and folded in half, repeat as with the handle, lining up raw edges and sewing over the seam a few times.|
|Now to give it it's boxy shape :) take a ruler to the corners, and mark a 1.5" square, making sure that you measure from the seam, not the edge along the sewn side (see red line) Mark all four corners|
|Flip, and repeat on other side|
|Cut out the corners, making sure you don't cut into the underlying layer|
|Flip over again and cut out the corners of outer layer|
|Pinch the openings together so that the seam is in the center, and the corners line up exactly. Pin in place, laying flat the seam allowance|
|Pin all four corners of the lining fabric|
|sew carefully, making sure that the center seam is still centered (it tends to slip)|
|Now you're going to do the same thing with the outer fabric, pinching and pinning the corners|
|Now it's time to finish the handle. Fold it in half and make sure the length is to your liking. If you want to shorten it just cut an inch or two off. To close the raw edge, turn it in about a quarter inch and topstitch along the edge.|
|Since I wanted it to be openable (is that a word?) I installed some snaps, but you could easily use velcro as well. If you don't want to have it open, just make sure you sew both ends of the handle into the bag when you insert them ( step 9)|
TADAAAAAA!!!! Now that you know the basics you can experiment with fabrics, interfacings, embellishments etc and make it truly your own style. Make it taller, longer, flatter or more rounded as the mood strikes you :) Happy sewing!