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Light Up Make Up Bag Project

Make up bag project

This make up bag project was designed by Julie Boyd, a secondary school teacher particularly known for her work using e-textiles, which are electronic components specially designed for textiles products, and which are featured in this project. Find out more at  www.julieboyd.co.uk

Bring a little Hollywood glamour to your make up bag! Create a quilted make up bag plus a mirror with tiny LED lights along the side to help you see in low light conditions. Great for checking you still look your best on those special nights out! The make up bag is approximately 14cm x 17cm when closed.


 You will need…

E-textile materials

40cm Amy Butler Violette Camellia fabric 

 (Note that the fabric should be fairly lightweight and not too dark in order for the LEDs to be able to shine through it)

40cm wadding

Sewing thread to match fabric

1 metre 2.5cm wide binding to match or contrast fabric

2 giant poppers

5cm mirror

18cm zip to match or contrast fabric

E-textiles components: switched cell holder, CR2032 cell, 4 white PCB LEDs, 2 metres of conductive thread (visit http://goo.gl/NpxiMS to buy these resources)

Make up bag template

Sew LED lights

 What are e-textiles

 This project uses e-textiles components. This is the name given to electronic components that are specially designed for use with textiles materials. They are tiny components that don’t get hot and you can’t get electrocuted. You don’t need to know anything about electronics and there is no soldering to do.

 There are some basic rules to follow, such as matching up the negative sides of the components to each other, and the positives to the positives, but the components are easy to use. They are simply stitched together, with special conductive thread, using the markings on the components to help you make the correct connections. If you can sew a running stitch and oversewing stitch you can do e-textiles!

In this project tiny LEDs sit underneath the fabric giving off enough light for you to be able to see in low light conditions (note the LEDs don’t give the effect of a room light but give off enough light for you to see yourself in the mirror even in a dark room). The battery pack is small and is hidden away, but it can still be accessed to turn the LEDs on and off, and to allow for the battery to be changed.

Visit the e-textiles pages at www.julieboyd.co.uk to find out more about e-textiles, and to see other e-textiles projects, as well as ‘how to’ tutorials on all of the basics of creating e-textiles circuits. Visit http://goo.gl/NpxiMS to buy the e-textiles resources needed to make this project.


Download the templates and cut the fabric as instructed.

Cosmetics purse project

Place the wadding behind the main bag outer layer and the outer flap fabric and quilt both pieces.

Make a light up cosmetics purse

Stitch the seam to join the flap upper and lower lining pieces of fabric. Leave a gap between the two dots as this is how the on / off switch and battery will be accessed. Neaten the seam with an overlocker or zigzag stitch.


Julie Boyd e-textiles

Neaten the bottom edge of the circuit layer of fabric using an overlocker or zigzag stitch. Place it with right sides facing on top of the upper section of the flap lining fabric.

State of the art sewing projects

Snip the corners and trim the seam to help it lie flat when it is turned through.

Sew a make-up bag with mirror

Turn the circuit fabric through the hole and press it flat. Topstitch around the edge of the square.

Sew a make up bag with a mirror

Use glue to hold the mirror in place on the unquilted flap fabric.

Projects from The Sewing Directory

Lay the flap lining layer and circuit fabric on top of the mirror. Stitch around the mirror using a zipper foot to avoid hitting it.

Instructions to sew a make up purse

Fold the top layer of the flap over the mirror and pin in place to hold it out of the way while you stitch the circuit. You might find it easier to draw the circuit onto the fabric with a fabric pen as this will help get all of the components in the correct place.


Sew with conductive thread

Cut a piece of conductive thread about 40cm long. Thread it into a long eyed needle, leaving one long and one short end of thread. Tie a knot in the bottom of the thread and cut off any excess thread beyond the knot as it is important there are no loose tails of thread that can short out your circuit.

Make a light-up cosmetics bag

Place the cell holder in position on the circuit fabric checking the position of the positive and negative markings on the holder are in the correct place using the pattern template. Use about 5 oversewing stitches to hold the top negative ring on the cell holder onto the circuit fabric. The stitches must be tight and not too spread out. Make sure your stitches only go through the circuit layer of fabric and don’t go through to the back layer.


Gifts for Mothers Day

Follow the line on the fabric to the first LED using small running stitches making sure you only stitch through the circuit layer of fabric.

Sew a circuit for lights into a make up bag

Position the LED so that the negative and positive markings match the positions on the pattern. Oversew the negative side of the LED into position using about 5 oversewing stitches.

How to sew an LED circuit

Use small running stitches to get to the next LED position and oversew the negative side of the LED in place.

Mirror and lights make up bag to make

Continue around the line marked on the fabric using small running stitches, going around the top edge of the mirror and down the other side to get to the position of the first LED on the second side of the mirror. Make sure the LED is in the correct position as indicated on the pattern and oversew the negative side of the LED into place. Continue down to the last LED and oversew the negative side as before.

Sew a make up bag

Finish off the thread on the back of the circuit fabric by stitching a few stitches into the back of the fabric. Cut the thread very close to the fabric to avoid any loose tails as these will short out your circuit.

 Note that this side of the circuit is all stitched with one piece of thread. The thread is very silky so putting a small blob of clear nail varnish on the back of your starting and finishing stitch can help prevent it from coming undone, as if the stitch does loosen this can lead to a thread tail that can short out your circuit.

 Take a new piece of thread about 40cm long and oversew one of the positive holes in the cell holder. Use small running stitches to reach the positive side of the first LED and oversew into position.


Julie Boyd e-textiles

Use running stitches to get to the second LED and oversew into place.

Light up make up purse

Use running stitches to go around the top of the mirror and down the other side to reach the positive side of the third and fourth LEDs and oversew them into position. Finish off the thread on the back of the fabric.

Circuit for e-textiles

The e-textiles circuit is now complete. Note you must use a separate piece of thread for the positive and negative sides of the circuit. Your oversewing stitches must be tight, and the positive and negative rows of stitches must never touch. Visit the e-textiles pages at www.julieboyd.co.uk to see ‘how to’ instructions that might help you with this project, as well as trouble shooting tips that will help you avoid any problems. 

 Note that the cell holder has 4 holes – 2 negative and 2 positive. The circuit for this project only uses 1 negative and 1 positive hole.  The 2 other holes can be oversewn onto the fabric using ordinary sewing thread.

Gift projects to sew

Slide the cell into the cell holder with the positive marking on the cell facing you. Try to hold the cell around the outer edges rather than between your thumb and finger as your body can short it out. The cell holder is a tight fit so don’t be afraid to push the cell quite hard into position.

Sew an LED circuit

There is a small black on / off switch on the cell holder. Slide this towards the ‘on’ position to check your circuit works.


Cosmetic pouch with lights

Unpin the flap fabric and lay it flat over the LEDs so the LEDs shine through the fabric.

E-textiles with Julie Boyd

Stitch the raised sections of the poppers into position on the flap lining. Make sure the poppers are stitched well away from the conductive thread and the circuit as the metal in the popper can short it out.


Construct a make up bag

Lay the quilted section of the flap and the section with mirror on top of each other with wrong sides facing. Bind the edges.

Sewing projects for gifts

Use the pattern to help you stitch the flap into position onto the back of the main bag fabric, as well as stitching the remaining sides of the poppers into place.


Zipped make up purse

Use binding to attach tabs to each end of the zip. Insert one side of the zip into one half of the bag.

Start sweing with e-textiles

 Stitch the remaining side of the zip. You may need to stitch this side in two stages in order to be able to access where you need to stitch.

Light up make up bag

Fold the main body of the bag in half and stitch the side seams.

Box off bag corners

Fold the base to create a box shape and stitch.

Beginner e-textiles

Stitch the side seams on the lining and create the box shape on the bottom.

E-sewing ideas

Turn the top edge over 0.5cm and slot the lining into the bag. Stitch around the top edge to hold the lining in place. Your bag is now finished!

Sew LED lights

If you’d like to try another e-textiles project take a look at Julie’s animal night light project. 

This project is written by Julie Boyd, a secondary school teacher who has taught textiles for over 30 years. She now works as an education consultant and author training textiles teachers across the country. Julie specialises in textiles projects that use modern high tech fabrics and techniques. Visit www.julieboyd.co.uk to find out more about Julie and her work or email her at julie@julieboyd.co.uk