Sunday, January 8, 2012

Tutorial: Cosmetic Bag

Before I started making bags I used to have only one bag at the time. Now, when I have several, I often switch them depending on occasion/outfit. Changing bags regularly is not a big problem for me though, because I usually carry just a few things in my bag. Yet I have a couple of items I usually forget to transfer and miss during the day, like a lip balsam, a lipstick or a pack of gum. Therefore, I decided that I need a small cosmetics bag for all the necessities.

Since I wanted it to match every bag that I own, I went with black fabric + black faux leather and classic shape for this cosmetics bag. And here is the result:

It's small, but fits a lot: you can see a lipstick, a lip balsam and a small perfume bottle inside and the are still plenty of room left!

So, let me show you how I made it!


What I used:

- Fabric (100% cotton; color black; the amount depends on the size you want, I used about 20x20 cm square);
- Faux-leather (of course you can used any other fabric if you want - it all depends on what you like :) I used a tiny amount of leather - about 20x8 cm);
- Fusible Interfacing (I used it so that my bag is a bit sturdy, but you can skip this if you want a baggy bag; I used about 20x24 cm of interfacing);
- Fabric for lining (use fabric you like; I used cotton with flower print (how can I not use it, if it's 1 euro/m?), I used about 20x24 cm of it);
- Zipper (I would suggest you match the color of the zipper with your bags outer fabric; the length of course depends on the size of a bag, I used 20 cm length);
- Thread (you can either use a matching thread (if you want a classic look) or contrasting thread for more original bag).

Now that we talked about materials, let's talk pattern:

If you read my previous tutorials, you won't be surprised that I'll tell you how to make a pattern yourself rather than upload the exact pattern I made so that you can easily change it to meet your requirements :)

In photo 1 you see one fourth of a pattern. How to draw this 1/4 of the pattern: start by drawing the top arch. The length of it is half the length of a zipper (so in my case, the arch length is 10 cm). The higher the arch, the higher and narrower the bag, so find the perfect balance for you. Then draw a  straight line (red line in photo 1), which length depends on height + half the width of the bag (in my case it was 5 cm +1 cm=6 cm). Draw the straight bottom line (green line) (the length of mine was 9,5 cm). 

Transfer drawn pattern (as I said, it was 1/4 of the pattern) on a bigger piece of paper, so that you have a full pattern (like in photo 2). I marked my bottom with to lines in a middle.

Now cut the fabrics. First cut the lining (add seam allowance), then interfacing (no seam allowance is necessary, you can even cut interfacing a bit smaller than your pattern). Then take your pattern, mark where you'd like your faux leather to go (marked mine with bright pink in photo 3; those lines has to go equal amount of centimeters away from the center). Cut a 1 piece within pink lines from faux leather, and 2 pieces of arches above the pink lines from fabric (well, someone can't clearly explain that :D ). Don't forget to leave some seam allowance when cutting!

OK, let's move on to the assembling!

Take one piece of fabric (right side up), put faux leather (wrong side up) on top along the long edge and sew, then unfold, and make a nice seam (photo 4). This part is also explained in my previous tutorial (first two photos there). Repeat with other piece of fabric and other edge of leather, so that you have a full bag bodice.

Iron on interfacing (photo 5).

Take zipper (photo 6), put it in top of arch, pin it (I don't pin zippers, though, because I find it better to lightly stitch it by hand with different thread which I later remove) and sew. Repeat with other long edge of the zipper and arch (right sides of the zipper and bag bodice should be inside now).

Sew the sides of the bag (photo 7), the zipper should be open now, otherwise you'll have a hard time opening it later.

Cut the ends of the side seams like in photo 8. Now make square corners and cut excess fabric (photos 9 and 10). Okay, I forgot to take photos on this step, but I quickly googled it out, so you can take a look here, how to make those square corners  :)

Turn your bag inside out. Repeat the actions in photos from 7 to 10 with lining. Then fold the top arches of the lining, so that raw edges are on the wrong side, put the lining inside the bag and attach the lining along the zipper by hands (make sure the stitches aren't visible outside).

Now we are going to make a small leather detail that goes to the zipper (see the modeling pictures). You will be able to attach this detail only if you have a hole or a ring at the zipper closure (again, see the modeling pictures)! Now take a piece of leather (about 1cm width, 6cm length), fold it along the long edge,  sew sides and cut ends into small triangles (see photo below). Put it threw the hole (ring) at the zipper closure, make sure its nicely folded in half and secure with seam.

That's it. I really hope I explained everything clearly. If you have any questions - leave them in the comments!

Of course, don't forget to tell me what you think about this bag - the feedback is always welcomed! :)


  1. I so have my eye on this for the fabric I have left from the other one!! :D

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