How to Sew a Cosmetic or Toiletry Bag With a Zipper

Toiletry bag
JuliaK / Getty Images
  • 01 of 09

    Materials Needed

    Finished cosmetic bag
    Debbie Colgrove

    This free sewing pattern is for a small fabric bag that closes securely with a zipper but is large enough to hold all of your cosmetics, makeup, or toiletry needs. The side section gives the bag a bit of thickness to hold all of your toiletry or cosmetic needs. Use different fabrics to make it easy to pick up the correct bag for the task at hand. Make a special bag for shaving needs, your makeup, shower needs, or jewelry. No one wants to waste time sorting through his or her luggage when on vacation.

    This bag is approximately 6 inches high and 9 inches wide when complete. If you are making one for everyone in the family, consider embroidering names on the center front section before assembling.

    Materials Needed

    • 1/4 yard of 45-inch wide fabric for the outside of the bag—a fat quarter can also be used by carefully folding the fabric to obtain enough folds for the pattern pieces.
    • The same amount of lining fabric as the outer fabric. This can be the same fabric as the outside. You may want to consider a nylon windbreaker type of fabric so it can be wiped clean.
    • 9-inch all-purpose zipper
    • Craft weight fusible interfacing
    • Thread to match your fabric
    • Print out of the free pattern
    • One package of Wright's maxi piping

    Tip: Preshrink all fabric and notions before beginning.

    Continue to 2 of 9 below.
  • 02 of 09

    Lay Out and Cutting

    Cutting the bag's layout
    Debbie Colgrove

    All of the pattern pieces are printed so that they will be laid out on a fold. This means that the edge of the pattern pieces that have a double-ended arrow with turned ends will be laid along a fold of the fabric. The fabric is folded keeping the grainline straight or parallel to the selvage of the fabric. It can be refolded as needed as long as the grainline is kept straight on the fold of the fabric.

    You will need to cut the following pieces

    • Cut two of the body of the bag.
    • Cut one of the side and bottom pieces.
    • Cut one of the top pieces and then divide the piece into two equal sections by cutting on the dotted line or center of the piece.

    Repeat the layout and cutting process for the lining fabric

    Apply optional embroidery to the center of a body piece if desired.

    Continue to 3 of 9 below.
  • 03 of 09

    Interfacing the Fabric

    Fusing Using Parchment Paper
    Debbie Colgrove

    Use fusible interfacing on the wrong side of the fabric. If you did not preshrink the fabric, the fusible will not adhere properly. Follow either of these methods:

    • Cut out and fuse the pieces one at a time, by cutting out the pieces from interfacing the same way you cut the fabric and lining. The lay the shiny side of the interfacing on the wrong sides of the fabric, aligning the edges. Press to fuse the pieces.
    • Lay the interfacing shiny side up and carefully arrange the fabric pieces, wrong-side down, on the interfacing. Cover the fabric and interfacing with parchment paper and press the fabric and interfacing to fuse the pieces. Cut the interfacing to match the edges of the fabric pieces.
    Continue to 4 of 9 below.
  • 04 of 09

    The Zipper

    Sew the zipper to sew a toiletry bag
    The Spruce / Debbie Colgrove

    The zipper for this bag will be an exposed zipper when it is complete. Use the zipper foot for your sewing machine to sew this zipper to the fabric.

    1. Lay the zipper, pull side down, on the right side of a top fabric piece, aligning the edge of the zipper tape with the edge of the fabric, centering the zipper with the length of the fabric.
    2. Sew the zipper tape to the fabric sewing 1/4 inch from the edge.
    3. Repeat for the other section of fabric on the opposite edge of the zipper.
    4. Press the fabric back to expose the zipper.
    5. Topstitch the fabric along the fold, sewing as close to the fold as possible. This will assure that the fabric stays away from the zipper teeth and will not get caught in the zipper.
    Continue to 5 of 9 below.
  • 05 of 09

    Joining the Side and Bottom Piece With the Zipper Top Section

    Joining the Side and Bottom Piece with the Zipper Top Section
    Debbie Colgrove

    Once joined, the top section, that has the zipper and the side/bottom section, will form a continuous loop of fabric.

    1. Lay out the bottom/side section with the fabric right side up.
    2. Pin in place.
    3. Sew the ends together using a 1/4-inch seam allowance.
    4. Press the seam allowances down toward the long side/bottom section.
    5. Topstitch along the top edge of the side/bottom piece to hold the seam allowance back away from the zipper.
    Continue to 6 of 9 below.
  • 06 of 09

    Attaching the Piping

    Sew Piping to the Body of the Bag
    Debbie Colgrove
    • Find the center bottom of the body of the bag section by folding the pieces as they were cut out and finger pressing a crease in the center of the curved edge.
    • Begin sewing the piping to the right side of the fabric, with the "tail" of the piping out toward the edge of the fabric, using the seam tape of the piping as a seam allowance.
    • Sew the piping to the entire edge of the fabric pieces, clipping and pivoting at the squared corners.
    • End sewing the piping, by overlapping the piping a stitch or two and taking the end of the piping to the edge of the fabric.
    • Repeat for the second side of the bag.
    Continue to 7 of 9 below.
  • 07 of 09

    Assemble It Together

    Attaching the Body of the Bag to the Side/Top Sections
    Debbie Colgrove
    1. Fold the body of the bag sections in half as they were cut out. Finger-press a crease in the top and bottom of the fold.
    2. Fold the top/side section in half, matching the seam lines. Finger press a crease in the top/zipper section at the fold and the bottom at the fold on both edges.
    3. Keeping right sides of the fabric together, match the creases of the zipper section with the crease in the straight edge of the body section and pin in place.
    4. Align the edge of the side/top with the edges of the bag. Pin the edges in place.
    5. Sew the body of the bag to the top/side section, using the stitching line that sewed the piping in place. Pivot at corners as you did to sew the piping in place.
    6. Open the zipper.
    7. Repeat for the second side of the bag.
    Continue to 8 of 9 below.
  • 08 of 09

    Sew the Lining

    Sewing the Lining
    Debbie Colgrove

    The lining varies from the way the bag was sewn in a few ways.

    1. On the top sections, press under 1/4 inch on one edge of each section (to the wrong side).
    2. Sew the top sections to the side/bottom section by matching the outside edges of the top sections and the outside edges of the sides/bottom section.
    3. Press the seam allowance back toward the sides/bottom and topstitch the edge of the fold on the side/bottom section.
    4. Find the center of the body sections and the top/side/bottom section, the same way you did for the bag.
    5. Attach the side section to the bag section using a 1/4-inch seam allowance.
    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • 09 of 09

    Attaching the Lining

    Attach the Lining
    Debbie Colgrove
    1. Place the bag inside out.
    2. Place the lining right-side out.
    3. Place the bag inside the lining.
    4. Align the seams at the end of the top sections, matching the lining to the bag seams.
    5. Align the top of the lining opening with the stitching that holds the zipper in place.
    6. Slip stitch the lining to the bag, using small stitches to hold it secure.
    7. Turn right side out and press.