Saturday, January 7, 2012

Tutorial: Sewing a cosmetic bag

I'm really enjoying sewing cosmetic bags! I made a ton of them over the holidays as presents for the older kids in our youth programs who do all the volunteering for us (setting up, cleaning up, enforcing the rules, running games, and so on), so I thought it was apt to share this pattern with you. (Apt because you support these programs so well and because this is a blog about making cosmetics!)

I've tried many different cosmetic bag patterns, and there's always something I don't like about them. So I figured out the basics of how the bag should work - ratios between the sides, bottom, and zipper part as well as how the bag should be assembled - and made up my own pattern. Click here for the tutorial for my favourite cosmetic bag! I'm afraid the pattern was too big to get onto even a legal sized sheet of paper - it was just a titch too wide - but I hope I've given you enough information to create your own, even for beginners!

I encourage you to spend the extra time to make the lining if you want it to be a sturdier bag or a bag that will stand up to going camping, travelling, or just going to and from the gym. And feel free to add stiffener - I like Fuse a Shade - to make it sturdier still.

If you like the pattern, there's this stuff I bought from the quilting store to make fabric patterns. It's a little stiffer and sturdier than paper and it's stiffer than using something like broadcloth. I've seen it referred to as non-woven, non-iron on interfacing, but the one I have has little red dots on it so you can make sure you follow the lines properly! I definitely recommend that stuff!

These bags are suitable for boys - just make them in some kind of manly or plain fabric. Here's one I made for one of the guys who likes Dungeons & Dragons. (I made a brown version as well!)

Please share what you've made with me by e-mailing pictures to! I love to see what you've made!


Tara said...

You have way too much talent that is safe for one woman to have! ;-)

Ben said...

Ditto what Tara said. I have this week off and will hopefully find the time to make one of these. Finding the right patterns and colors will be fun! (Or maybe I'll just go all black to cover up the mistakes I'm likely to have!)


Ben said...

I'm not an experienced sewer by any means, but I'm curious about your method of adding the lining towards the end, after the zipper is already on. Couldn't we make the two bags, sew them together at the mouth (so that all the seams are nicely hidden between the two layers), and then put on the zipper? Or, even still, pin them together and sew them all together at once?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Tara! Okay, now I'm blushing! :-)

Hi Ben. I put the zipper together the way I do so you don't see any inside seams. If you make two bags without zips, sandwich them together (right sides out), and put the zip in between the two parts, that would work as well. You could pin one side of the outside to the outside part of the zipper and the inside part to the inside part of the zipper, sew those together, do it again on the other side, and build the case with both layers, but make sure you leave a hole for turning the bags.

I've tried many different ways to make these bags, and this was the easiest and least annoying way to make them. Please let me know of your experiences so others can see! There's never just one way to do things!

Here's one way of variation on the zipped pouch

Nadine said...


I'm very interested in this pattern but it's no longer available. Can you reupload or email it to me? Thank you so much.