DIY & Crafts

Sew up a quick and easy fabric travel bag

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DIY & Crafts

Sew up a quick and easy fabric travel bag

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These pouches are perfect for packing cosmetics or shaving supplies for travel. A great way to use up fabric scraps, each takes less than two hours to make.

You need:
• Light- or medium-weight fabric: 50 x 30.5 cm (19-3/4 x 12 in) for bag, 50 x 30.5 cm for lining, 25.5 x 20.5 cm (10 x 8 in) for handle (optional)
• Medium-weight interfacing 50 x 30.5 cm (optional)
• 35 cm zipper
• Two 5 cm (2-in) lengths matching or contrasting ribbon, 13 to 15 mm (1/2 to 5/8 in) wide
• Matching thread
• Dressmaker's chalk pencil, ruler and set square

Take a look at a larger image of the finished fabric travel bag.

To make:

Note: Use 6 mm seam allowance throughout, unless otherwise indicated. Backstitch at each end of stitching and, once or twice, over ribbon/zipper and handle ends in seams.

1. Interfacing : Place bag fabric, right side up, on interfacing so edges are even; using 3 mm seam allowance, stitch together around edges.

2. Handle: With wrong sides together, fold in half so long edges are even; press. Open out. With wrong sides together, fold over each long edge to pressed line at centre; press. Fold in half again so pressed edges are even; press. Pin, then topstitch 6 mm in around edges.

3. Bag: Press under 1 cm along each short edge. With right sides up, centre 1 pressed edge over 1 edge of zipper; pin. Using zipper foot, edgestitch in place. In same manner, pin and stitch remaining pressed edge and zipper edge, forming tube.

4. Holding zipper along top edge, flatten tube and press fold along opposite edge to mark centre line of bottom. Open zipper halfway.

5.
Fold 1 ribbon length so wrong sides are together and raw edges are even, then centre over 1 end of zipper so raw edges are even; using 3 mm seam allowance, stitch in place. Repeat with remaining ribbon length at other end of zipper.

For more great craft ideas, check out our Craft blog.

Page 1 of 2 -- Learn how to add the finishing touches to your fabric travel bag on page 2
6. Turn tube wrong side out. With raw edges even and zipper centred over pressed centre line, pin across each end of tube; stitch. Trim excess from zipper ends. With zipper centred over pressed centre line, flatten tube and press fold along each long edge to mark centre line of side.

7. Referring to diagram: Working with 1 hand inside, open out 1 corner, then refold so end seam aligns with pressed centre line of side; pin layers together. Measure and mark point 5 cm (2 in) down seam from corner; with set square, draw line straight across corner, from edge to edge, through mark. Stitch along line; trim seam allowance to 6 mm (discarding corner), then machine-zigzag raw edges together to reinforce.

8. Repeat with other corner on same end. In same manner, open and refold each remaining corner, marking line, then tucking 1 handle end 13 mm beyond line, inside corner and centred over pressed centre line of side (handle should lie, untwisted, between right sides of bag); pin and stitch. Turn right side out.

9. Lining: Press under 15 mm along each short edge. With right sides together, fold so pressed edges are even along (top) edge, forming tube; flatten tube and press to mark centre line of bottom. Open out. With right sides together, fold over each pressed edge to 3 mm from centre line of bottom. With raw edges even, pin across each end of tube; stitch.

10. Follow Step 7 to mark, sew and trim all corners.

11.
With wrong sides together, fit bag over lining, aligning seams and matching corners. Aligning pressed edge of lining with stitching line on corresponding zipper edge, pin each lining edge in place, placing pins perpendicular to edge; using zipper foot and working from right side, topstitch 3 mm in from stitching line.

Designer's tips
1. If using lightweight fabric, such as quilting calico ("fat quarters" are the perfect size for this project), interface bag fabric, following Step 1.

2. If using medium-weight upholstery fabric, or sturdy twill, linen or canvas, omit Step 1.

3. If no handle is desired, omit steps 2 and 8, and follow Step 7 for all corners.

For another fun craft, learn how to sew a simple and stylish tote bag.

Find out how to sew 4 fun and easy tote bags.

This story was originally "His and Hers Travel Mates" in the May 2009 issue.

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DIY & Crafts

Sew up a quick and easy fabric travel bag

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