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Easy Make-up Bag

Easy make up purse project

This project is part of a series of sewing projects for beginners written by Helen Rhiannon from All Sewn Up Wales


This make up bag project is for those who have tried a few of the So Sew Simple projects and fancy a new challenge!  It is very similar to the iPad project but slightly simpler.  It is quick to do and doesn’t need to have a pocket so it’s an ideal mini project to make as a gift for friends or family.  Enjoy!

Sew an easy make up bag

You will need…

I used three different fabrics for the make up bag so three fat quarters will be more than enough if you choose to use three fabrics also.  The bias binding can be bought on the roll if you want to save on your fabric.

Fabric –  2-3 Fat Quarters. If just using one fabric, one fat quarter will be plenty unless you cut your bias binding from it and you will be best with two fat quarters.

I used Carnaby Street  from Art Gallery Fabrics Kindly provided by Hantex.

Bias Binding if not cutting it out from fabric

11 inch Zip – Can be longer than needed as it gets cut to fit) for bindings and zips visit Minerva Crafts

Fabric Scissors
Matching thread
Sewing Machine – Straight stitch length 2.5

Template 1 bag body – Template 2  pocket flap (Print A4)

Stage 1 – Cutting out your make up bag

Lay fabric out with any patterns facing up.  Lay your pattern pieces onto the fabric as instructed and place the edge of the pattern on the fold of the fabric where necessary.  Keep the ‘grainline’ in line with the natural straight edge of the fabric.

Make sure to use the tip of your scissors to cut a 3mm slit into the fabric where the notches are marked.  These are used to match your patterns up when pinning and
preparing the pleats.

Curved make up bag project

Stage 2 –  Preparing and sewing the bias binding

(See photos from the iPad project for more detailed step by step photos.)

You will have two pieces of fabric for your pocket.  Place them together so the wrong sides are facing each other.  Pin in place and run a long length stitch around to hold in place. 

Iron the bias binding fabric flat and then press half a centimetre of fabric into the centre on both sides.  Then fold the piece in half lengthways and press again with some steam.

Get your pocket piece.  Place the right side of the fabric facedown to the table.  You will have the lining side facing up at you.

Add bias binding

Position the edge of the bias binding alongside the edge of the piece, with the wrong side of the bias binding facing up at you. You will now sew along the crease of the fabric which is 5mm from the edge of the bias binding.

A useful tip – Make sure your needle is in the central position and then you can normally place the edge of your foot alongside the edge of the fabrics and this should be roughly 5mm from the edge when sewing.  Check to be sure!

Bias binding tutorial

Flip your piece over so the right side of the fabric is facing you.  Fold the bias binding over the raw edge to the right side of the front.  Make sure the edge of the bias binding is sitting over the row of stitching by a few millimetres and pin in place.

Sew along the edge of the bias binding approximately 2mm from the edge.  Press well when finished.

Creating pleats in sewing

Stage 3 – Creating the small pleats

 You will have 6 small notches on each pattern piece which make 3 small pleats. Make sure you have used the tip of your scissors to mark them on the fabric.

mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Start on the side and fold over the notch on the outside to sit on top of the notch next to it. Pin in place and do exactly the same for the middle two notches and then for the two on the other side. 

Repeat for each panel outside and also for the lining pieces and pocket piece.

Stitch over the pleats to keep in place and remove the pins.

Sew a fabric tab

Stage 4 – Making the pocket flap

Place the right sides together of your pocket flap and pin in place.  Sew a half centimetre seam allowance but remember to leave the top open to turn it through!

Trim the excess fabric from the point and turn through.  Press well before positioning your button hole.  If you haven’t worked out how to do a button hole on your machine, put a loop of elastic through the end of the flap instead.

Next, zig zag over the edge of the flap to stop it from fraying.

Button closure purse to sew

Position it where you would like it to go and pin in place.  I placed it in the middle but off centre works too.  Fold the flap over the pocket to make sure the positioning is ok. 

Sew a small row of stitching across the end of the flap to hold it in place.


How to sew zips

Stage 5 – Preparing to sew the zip

Place the pocket on top of the front piece and pin in position.

For this project, you can leave the zip long whilst sewing it in place.

The next step involves sandwiching the zip in between the outside fabric and the lining fabric. 

Place the straight edge of the right side of the outside fabric (piece with pocket) onto the top of the zip so the raw edges sit in line with eachother.  Then place the straight edge of the right side of the lining fabric facing the underneath of the zip, again, matching the raw edges together.

Zippers in sewing

Make sure you place the end of the zip exactly on the fabric edge so the fastener is approximately 1cm from the edge when zip is closed. (See photo iPad project for some extra photos).

To check you are right before sewing, fold the pieces over the right way and your seams should all be hidden between the two layers.

How to sew zips

Repeat for the other half of the make up bag.  If in doubt, pin well in positon and flip over the right way around to check that it looks right. 

Fat quarter sewing ideas

The outside fabrics should be facing up at you as well as the teeth of the zip and the zip itself.  The other side should have the linings facing the right side down on the table.  All raw seam edges should be sandwiched in between layers.

How to sew a zip

Stage 5 – Sewing the zip

For this project, you can keep your normal foot on your machine and move the needle to the left positon if you have that option.  This way, you are far enough away from the zip teeth preventing your fabric getting caught in the teeth.

You can use a zipper foot if you prefer.  Tacking the zip in place will make it easier to machine sew it in.

TIP: Before sewing, undo the zip a few inches, sew down to the zipper and keep the needle in.  Lift the foot and do the zip back up.  Continue to sew.  This allows you to keep a straight line.  Repeat for the other side.

OPTIONAL – Top stitch the seam edges on the front and back but make sure you sew no more than 2mm from the edge of the seam.  You don’t have to do this.  You can just press it flat from the top but be careful not to melt the zip!

Learn to sew

Stage 6 – Sewing the make up bag together

You should have the outside pieces and top of the zip facing up and the linings and back of zip facing down on the table.  Fold one outside piece over to meet the other outside piece so that the right sides are together and your edges match.  Pin outsides together all the way around.

Repeat for the lining pieces by matching the right sides together and pinning all the way around.

Easy sewing projects

Pin right up to the zip as shown in the photo.  The zip is on it’s side at a 90 degree angle to the table. When you have pinned up to the zip, keep the pins in and fold the zip to one side so it is flat with the fabric.  Pin in place to allow you to sew over it. 

Important – Undo the zip before sewing around the outside otherwise you won’t be able to turn it the right way round. Trust me!

Sew the whole way around with a 1cm seam allowance.  Also make sure you leave a gap in the lining to be able to turn it through.

Clipping curves in sewing

Stage 8 – Finishing the make up bag

Clip the curved seams to allow the make up bag to sit properly when turned through.  Also, cut any length of zip left over.

Turn the make up bag through the gap left in the lining.  Poke the ends of the zip out.

Handsew the gap and you are finished!  Now fill with your beloved make up and take it everywhere!!

Please let me know how you get on making your own and if you have any questions, then please just get in touch!

Do share pictures on my Facebook fanpage as I love to see what everyone makes.


Sew a cosmetics bag

Thanks! Helen @AllSewnUp