Pretty cute, don't you think? The fabric really makes it. It's a sort of stiff, maybe upholstery-type fabric left over from one of my first sewing projects. That was back when I didn't make the brightest fabric choices. I tried to make this into a pleated skirt. You can imagine how that turned out. So it felt good finally putting the leftover pieces to good use. The lining was another poor fabric choice - quilting cotton I tried to make a shirt out of. So I guess this is the bag of redeemed fabrics!
I used this Box Cosmetic Bag Tutorial that I found through a google search. I really like this pattern for it's simplicity. You could make this bag in any size you want. All it takes is a rectangle. I made mine 12" x 14", which probably isn't big enough to hold a full size shampoo bottle, but it's definitely big enough for a lot of cosmetics, a toothbrush, a hairbrush, or maybe it could be used to store a knitting project, or pack your socks in when you are traveling or... you get the idea. The shape reminds me of a "dopp kit". Does anyone else use that term? Anyway, I didn't follow the tutorial on Skip to My Lou exactly. Over there they used oil cloth, which I didn't have, and a lot of their seams are left unfinished and exposed on the inside of the bag. That's okay for the oil cloth I suppose, but wouldn't have looked so nice with my fabric. So here's my modifications in case you want to do your own.
I followed the instructions over on Skip to My Lou for steps one and two. Cut your fabric and lining - two rectangles of the same size for each. Sew the rectangles to your zipper, first one outer piece and lining to one side, then the others to the other side. Just check out the instructions in the link above, because I didn't take my own photos for this part.
Now you're going to sew the bottom seams, separately for the outer fabric and the lining fabric, rather than together like the instructions in the other tutorial. Lay your bag out like mine below, with the outer fabric on one side, right sides together, and the lining fabric on the other side, right sides together. Sew across the bottom of each side.
Then press those seams flat. Next fold the lining and outer fabrics so that the seams you just finished lie directly over the zipper, like below.
This photo was taken after I did the next step, sewing up the sides of the bag. Make sure the zipper of your bag is open about half way! Otherwise you will have a hell of a time flipping everything right side out later. Like with the bottom seams, you will only be sewing the outer fabric to itself (right sides together) and the lining fabric to itself (right sides together) so that your seams stay hidden. Sew the side seams like in the photo below, starting at the outside edge and sewing all the way to the zipper, but not across it. LEAVE ONE LINING SEAM OPEN - DO NOT SEW SHUT. Sorry to yell like that. Again, if you don't do this, you won't be able to turn your bag right side out.
Here's another view, to show you how the outer fabric and lining fabric are sewn separately. All in all, you will be sewing four seams on the outer fabric and THREE seams on the lining, because you are leaving one side of the lining open.
In the photo above I've turn it inside out through the opening in one side seam. Then I folded the edges of that opening to the inside and top-stitched (where the arrow is pointing).
And here it is turned right side out again, now so that the outer fabric is on the outside. Isn't it pretty already? It's just a flat envelope at this point, but it makes me think this simple design could easily be modified to create a case for a laptop or Ipad. And here's the other thing I like about this design. You get to choose how tall or flat you want your end product to be, just by the amount you fold in the corners. Observe.
Fold the edges into little points.
They can be big points that overlap, making a tall, skinny bag.
Or they can be little points, making a short, wide bag. Here's mine:
I wanted to use buttons to hold my folds in place, but I didn't have any that would work. I think that could be cute though, and you could also sew buttonholes so that the buttons could be undone and the bag could be collapsed flat. But as my astute roommate pointed out, whoever uses this is probably not ever going to want to do that... why would you want to do that? I don't know, because I can? In the end, I saw her reason and just hand-sewed the folds down using embroidery thread. And I like the handmade element that adds. I can live without the collapsible feature.
Here's another picture of my sewing...
And one of the pretty bottom:
I like how the pattern on the fabric worked out. I did plan it a little, but it didn't take much effort since the pattern piece is just a simple rectangle.
And that's my bag! It took about three hours, not counting the hand stitching. I know everyone says projects like these go together really quickly, and maybe they do on the second go around. I also made two and changed the instructions, so there's that to account for. Final words on this project - make sure you use a stiff fabric if you want it to hold its shape. I used a fusible interfacing on the lining fabric to give it a little extra weight, but the bag is still kinda floppy. I'm okay with that. Maybe you could insert a plastic rectangle in the bottom between the lining and outer fabric to make it hold its shape, but I'm not sure how that would work for turning the bag inside out. It would have to be a little flexible. Okay, I think I've exhausted all there is to say about this one little bag. Next up, my finished cape!