It's a toiletry bag!
I got the idea for this bag when I saw a similar one from Sew Like the Mom. I loved the idea of using fusible vinyl. I had made a similar bag last year using rip-stop nylon for the inside, but fusible vinyl would mean I could use almost any fabric and make it water resistant (including cute fat quarter prints).
Now I am going to show you how I made it. I tried to make this tutorial as beginner-friendly as possible with lots of pictures. It's wasn't long ago that I was a beginner (I still feel like one on some levels) so I wanted to make the directions clear to follow even if you've never sewn with vinyl, made a bag, or haven't had a lot of experience installing a zipper.
That being said, this is my first ever tutorial. So let me know it some part of it isn't clear!
This project uses 2 fat quarters and bias tape made from another fat quarter. It also uses fusible vinyl. It sounds a little scary, but it's not! This was my first time using it too and it was so easy. The vinyl inside the bag help keep leaks from seeping out and ruining the rest of your luggage, and makes it easy to wipe clean. It also allowed me to use a white fabric for the inside (can you imagine how dirty white fabric inside a toiletry bag would get?), which makes it a lot easier to see what's inside the bag.
The finished dimensions are about 8" long x 5" wide x 5" tall. (My sample came out a bit smaller because my fabric shrank a bit..more on that below).
UPDATE: You can see the cutting layout for all 3 fat quarter series projects HERE.
First you need to pick your fabric for your bag. This is the fat quarter bundle I had purchased at JoAnn's. I already used the middle fabric to make the bias tape. I decided to go with the navy with large white dots for the exterior because the dark color will show less dirt. For a cute inverse effect, I choose the white with large navy dots for the interior. It doesn't matter that it's white, because the fusible vinyl will protect it from getting dirty.
2 fat quarters
Bias tape (see instructions here)
Fusible vinyl - less than 2/3 yd
Fusible fleece (or fusible interfacing if you prefer)
14" or longer zipper
Scrap of 1/8" ribbon or twill tape
Prepare the zipper tab
Cut off two 3" pieces of bias tape. Open up the bias tape along the folds, and place them right sides together. It helps to lightly iron it flat. Pin and sew along folds.
Using a safety pin to help, turn the bias tape right side out. Press.
Edgestitch along the top and bottom seams.
Prepare the handle
Cut two 6" strips of bias tape and two 6" strips of piping.
Unfold one piece of bias tape. Align the raw edge of the bias tape, wrong side up, on top of the raw edge of the piping. Using your zipper foot, sew along the fold crease, just under the piping. Repeat on the opposite side with the other piece of bias tape.
Re-fold the bias tape and press the piping outward. Lay the piece of bias tape with the piping wrong side up. Lay the other piece of bias tape right side up on top, in between the piping. Edgestitch the bias tape in place, close to the piping.
Tip: If you want to assemble the handle without piping, I recommend using a piece of interfacing to stabilize the bias tape. Then sew and assemble the two pieces the same way as the zipper tab.
Cut the fabric
First, cut the fabric for the exterior (navy with large white dots in the sample). On the longer edge of the fat quarter (should be 21"-22"), cut off a strip of fabric that is 4" wide. Set aside for later use (The 4" strip will be used for other projects in the fat quarter series).
You should be left with a piece that is 14" x 21" (it's ok if it's slightly smaller/larger). This will be the exterior of your toiletry bag.
Repeat this step with the interior/lining fabric (white with large navy dots in sample).
Lay the interior and exterior pieces on top of each other to ensure that they are the same size. I prewashed my fabrics and the white fabric shrunk ~1/2". Cut off any excess so that the pieces are the same size.
Prepare the lining fabricCut a piece of fusible vinyl that is the same size as your interior lining fabric piece. Fuse to the right side of the lining fabric following manufacturer's directions. Instant vinyl!
Cut a piece of fusible fleece the same size or slightly smaller than your exterior fabric. I prefer to cut mine a 1/2" smaller to reduce bulk in the seam allowances. Fuse to the wrong side of your exterior fabric following manufacturer's directions.
Sew the zipper
Lay the lining piece right side up on work surface with a 14" edge on top. Center the zipper right side up on top of the fabric, aligning the top of the zipper tape with the top edge of the lining fabric.
Lay the exterior fabric wrong side up on top, aligning the top edge of the fabric with top edge of the zipper tape. Pin in place.
Using the zipper foot on your sewing machine, sew along the edge with a 1/4" seam allowance.
Note: If the zipper pull gets in the way, start with the zipper halfway unzipped. Sew until you reach the zipper pull. With the needle down, lift your pressor foot and carefully zip up the zipper, rotating your fabric as needed. Then lower the pressor foot and continue sewing.
Now we need to topstitch next to the zipper. Since the vinyl fabric can stick to the metal on your sewing machine, I like to use clear tape on the metal area next to the feed dogs. It helps the vinyl to not stick while sewing. Make sure you do not tape over your feed dogs!
Here's what it should look like from another angle.
Unzip the zipper and press the exterior away from the zipper teeth.
Attach the zipper tab
Find the 3" zipper tab you sewed earlier, and fold it in half. Center it on end of your zipper, where the zipper pull is when closed. Align the raw edge of the zipper tab with the raw edge of the fabric. Sew in place over the zipper.
NOTE: This picture is incorrect. It should be showing the vinyl side facing out.
Finish the interior seams
Turn your bag so that the interior vinyl is facing out. Cut off any zipper or zipper tape that sticks out past the raw edge.
Using a clear ruler, center your zipper in the middle.
Here's where if you hate to and/or are too scared to sew vinyl you will thank me. I don't have a teflon or rolling foot, and the taping the pressor foot doesn't work for me. So I figured out a way to finish the seams without sewing directly on the vinyl.
Make sure your zipper is halfway unzipped, and leave it like that the rest of the project.
Pin a strip of double-folded bias tape over the raw edges. Make sure to only pin along the bias tape (you don't want holes showing on your lining).
Box the corners
Now it's time to give our cosmetic bag the boxy shape.
In each corner, draw boxes that are 2.5" away from the edges.
Turn your bag so that the exterior fabric if facing out. Find the end of your zipper that does not have your zipper tab.
Attach the handle
Finish the corners
Turn your bag so that the interior is facing out.
Hand baste the seam closed a 1/4" from the edge, sewing the bias tape finished seam pointing down away from the zipper. Be sure all exterior and interior edges are lined up at the edge.
If you don't want to hand baste, you can machine baste instead. Just pin well first, and go slow.
Place bias tape over the basted edge. Pin in place in the seam allowance. I used extra pins around the handle to help keep everything in place.
I sewed up the ends of the bias tape to help keep the layers enclosed. I left the bias tape edges raw since the seams were already bulky enough, and, since it's cut on the bias, the edges won't fray. You won't be able to see the edges once it's turned right side out anyway. But if you'd prefer, you can tuck the edges of the bias tape under before sewing.
Adding the zipper pull
Take an 1/8" piece of ribbon of twill tape that is 4-5" and fold it in half. Pull the loop end halfway through the eye of the zipper pull. Now insert the ends through the loop and pull tight. I tied my ends in a knot, but you can leave them loose.
And you're done!
Be sure to take the tape off of your sewing machine so it doesn't leave a residue.
Fill it up with your toiletries. I'm sure they'll love their cute new home.
If you make a bag using this tutorial, I'd love to see it! Leave a link in the comments below, or share it on my facebook or twitter.
I'm working on the second project for the fat quarter series using the remaining fabric from the fat quarter bundle. I'm an very excited for my matching set of travel toiletry and make-up pouches. Stay tuned!