There are a lot of bag patterns out there, and while you might be intimidated to launch into something big, this is a nice project to get your feet wet with making bags. Start here, then work your way up to more advanced projects! Before you know it, you’ll have your own handmade custom duffle bags, makeup bags, shoulder bags and more.
For this project, all you need is a little bit of outer fabric, lining fabric, interfacing and a zipper. No fancy tools, fancy hardware, or unknown notions required! And on top of all that, it makes a lovely gift, especially with the holidays coming up!
Let’s learn how to make your own makeup bag!
To create the pattern, the bag can be any size you like. Determine the height and width and then add extra for the bottom. Draw squares in the corners on the side that will be the bottom of the bag. I made my squares 2″ x 2″. These squares form the boxed bottom and the part between them will be the bottom of the bag.
Cut out the squares on each corner. You should now have your finished pattern piece.
Lay the pattern on the outer fabric and pin in place. I recommend a medium weight cotton or linen canvas for the outer and a quilt weight for the lining. Cut the fabric out, remove the pattern and repeat on the lining and interfacing.
You should now have two pieces of outer fabric, two pieces of lining and two pieces of interfacing.
Fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of the outer fabric by following the manufacturer’s guidelines.
Place your zipper wrong side down on top of the lining. Line up the length of the zipper tape with the cut upper edge of the fabric. I prefer to use a zipper that is too long so the pull is out of the way of the sewing area.
Place one outer layer on top of the lining and pin in place along the zipper. The outer fabric and the lining should be perfectly in line with each other and both should be flush with the zipper tape.
Sew the lining and outer fabric to the zipper. I chose to sew mine with a very small seam allowance because I wanted to see my zipper tape since it is a decorative zipper. You can sew as close as you prefer to the zipper teeth, depending on how much of the tape you prefer to see in the end.
Press both layers away from the zipper, being careful to press the area around the seam very flat as you will be topstitching there next.
Topstitch along the zipper seam through the outer layer, lining and zipper tape. I sewed mine at 1/4″ but you can topstitch where you prefer.
Place the other lining piece down on the table. Lay the zipper on top of the lining with the right side of the zipper up. The lining layers will be together under the outer layer.
Lay the remaining outer piece on top of the other outer piece, right sides together. Line up the top edge of the lining at the bottom of the pile with the outer fabric and the zipper tape. Pin the layers in place.
Just as you did on the first side, sew along the zipper at your chosen seam allowance. For consistency keep the measurement amounts the same so you can see the same amount of zipper tape on the right side of the bag when finished.
Just as on the other side, press the lining and outer layers away from the zipper, being careful to press the topstitching area very flat in preparation for sewing.
Topstitch the second side as you did the first side, maintaining the same seam allowance as the first side.
Lay the piece down with the outer side up. Open the zipper about half way. This is so you can reach through later to turn the bag right side out.
Open up the layers and fold them so the right sides of the lining pieces are together. Repeat so the right sides of the outer fabric are together. Pin in place on the sides and the bottom.
Sew along the two sides and the bottom of the bag on the outer fabric side. On the lining bottom, only stitch a bit on each side so that at least 3-4″ is left open for you to use to pull the bag right side out later. I chose to use a 1/4″ seam allowance, but you can use whatever you like based on how much you added in when drawing the pattern size.
Your piece should look like this at this point. Sides sewn, outer bottom sewn and the middle of the lining bottom left unsewn. The squares are not sewn yet either.
Fold the corners so the raw edges line up together. Form a straight line and pin in place. At the seams, I prefer to fold one layer to one side and the other side’s seam allowance to the opposite side to reduce bulk.
Sew the four corners at the same seam allowance you did for the rest of the bag.
Reach your hand into the bottom of the lining and through the opening on the zipper. Turn the bag right side out through these holes.
Fold the seam allowance in at the bottom of the lining and pin in place.
Sew the opening closed at the bottom of the lining.
Fold the lining into the bag and you’re finished! Well done!