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Travel Sewing Case Project

Sew an EPP travel case

This travel sewing case project has been designed by Laura Strutt – a designer maker and the author of a number of craft books visit Amazon Author Central to view her books.

EQS have kindly sponsored this project. EQS is a leading distributor of high quality Patchwork & Quilting products.

You will create a travel sewing case which has a zip closure plus storage pockets for your sewing tools  and a detachable notions holder which can easily be removed from the case. The outside of the case can be made using English paper piecing, patchwork or a single fabric. This travel case is ideal for taking your hand sewing projects out and about, or for carry supplies to classes or sewing groups.

English paper pieced sewing case pattern free

Selection of print cottons – we used Cats Cradle by Michael Miller kindly supplied by EQS

Selection of solid cottons to coordinate

Mesh fabric- 10cm x 20cm – order from Sew Hot

Vlieseline Decovil 1 Light –  25cm x 40cm (or medium/firm fusible interfacing) – order from Jaycotts or Cotton Patch 

Vlieseline Stylevil –  25cm x 40cm (or lightweight foam such as Bosal or Soft and Stable) – buy from Cotton Patch

Elastic –  2cm wide x 20cm

Felt remnant

Bias tape 5cm (2″) wide (this can be custom made or pre-made as desired) – minimum 2m

Small zip – 7 or 8 inches (18-20cm) long

Large open-ended zip – 26 inches (66cm) long – buy from Minerva Crafts 

Clear vinyl – 30cm x 45cm – buy this from Sew Hot or Search Press

Kam Snap fasteners x 3  & applicator (or sew-on snaps) – Available at Always Knitting & Sewing

Small, sharp quilting needle & cotton

Sewline Glue Pen (optional for Glue Basting EPP method) – buy from The Quilt Shop

Pins & quilt clips

Rotary cutter, ruler & cutting mat


Pinking shears

Sewing machine – with zip & Teflon feet

Iron & ironing board

Hexie Template – 1 inch sides for the papers, 1.25 inch sides for the fabric

(Any EPP templates or fabric pieces can be used to create the outer panel as long as the finished panel measures 25cm x 39cm).

To sew the English paper pieced case exterior

How to English Paper piece

1. Cut the EPP templates

Cut 67 x 1 inch side paper hexagon shapes. From the selection of print cottons cut another 67 fabric hexagons with 1.25 inch sides.

Beginner's guide to English Paper Piecing

 2. Prepare the hexagons – glue basting

Position the paper template centrally onto the wrong side of the fabric shapes – there will be a small even border around the outer edge. Carefully fold the fabric in around the edge of the paper to make a neat shape, using a small dab of Sewline glue to hold the fabrics into position.

TIP: You only need a very small amount of glue to secure the fabrics to the paper templates – if you are concerned about removing them, simply make a small hole in the centre of the paper templates before using them and use this to help ease them out from the fabric.

How to stitch baste hexagons

2. Prepare the hexagons – stitch basted

If you prefer not to use the glue method, position the paper template onto the fabric in the same way and carefully fold the fabric in around the edge of the paper to make a neat shape. Using a needle and contrasting cotton, work a small tacking stitch through the overlap in the fabric folds. Stitching in this way means the tacks are not visible from the front of the work and don’t have to be removed later.

How to join English Paper pieced shapes

3. Join the hexagons into pairs

Arrange the hexagons into seven rows – alternating between ten and nine hexagons in each row starting and ending with ten – until you have created the design you like. Working on pairs of hexagons in turn, place the pieces together, aligning one side with the right sides of the fabric facing and stitch together using small neat whip stitches.

Joining hexagon shapes whilst English Paper piecing

4. Join the hexagons into strips

Continue working in the same manner to add pairs of hexies together to create strips. Once all the strips have been worked lay out again to check your chosen design.

Removing paper templates from hexagons

5. Join the strips to make a panel

Working on each strip in turn, align the first two hexagon sides together with the right sides facing and join with neat whip stitches as before. Fold the fabrics and align the next two sides and join in the same manner. Continue until all the strips have been joined in this way to make a panel – don’t worry about crumpling and folding the papers as you work.

TIP: Using a small sharp quilting needle and making very small stitches when sewing the pieces will help to make them less visible from the front of the work.

Free English Paper piecing projects to sew

6. Remove the papers

With the wrong side of the work uppermost, carefully pinch the centre of the paper templates and pull free from the fabric panel. Repeat to remove all the papers.

Hexagon panel

 7. Trim the panel

Using a rotary cutter, ruler and mat, carefully trim the pieced hexagon panel to a neat rectangle measuring 25cm x 39cm. Press to neaten and set aside.

Creating the case interior

Travel sewing pouch tutorial

1. Create the outer case

Trim a piece of Decovil 1 Light (or interfacing) and a piece of  Stylevil to 25cm x 39cm. From a piece of solid cotton cut a piece measuring 25cm x 39cm to create the internal lining. Position the Stylevil onto the wrong side of the finished hexagon panel, work a line of stitching down the centre spine to join and set aside. Following the manufacturers instructions, fuse the Decovil 1 Light onto the wrong side of the solid cotton panel – this will become the internal part of the case.

adding pockets to a travel sewing case

2. Create right-hand pockets

Trim a piece of fabric to 9cm x 19cm and from a plain fabric create a bias tape measuring 19cm and secure in place over the raw edge with neat top stitching.

To create bias tape, cut a strip to the right length and measuring 4cm wide. Fold in half and press, then unfold and now fold the two raw edges into the centre and press. 

Position the lower edge of the pocket 13cm down from the top with right sides facing and stitch into place taking a 1cm seam allowance. Fold the fabric back up and press neatly to create the pocket.

Trim a piece of mesh fabric to 9cm x 19cm and from another fabric, create a bias tape measuring 19cm and secure in place over the raw edge with neat top stitching. Position over the lower corner and secure along the lower edge taking a 4mm seam allowance. Pin the pockets in place – the sides of the pockets will be secured when the case is completed.

Sewing storage projects

 3. Create left-hand storage

Trim a piece of print fabric to 9cm x 26cm and from a plain fabric create a bias tape measuring 26cm and secure in place over the raw edge with neat top stitching. Position over the left-hand side of the case as shown, about a cm from the centre of the case. Secure along the lower edge of the pocket taking a 4mm seam allowance. Pin the pocket in place – the sides of the pocket will be secured when the case is completed.

Trim a piece of 2cm wide elastic to 17cm and pin to the left-hand side of the case. With a straight machine stitch work a series of lines across the width of the elastic to create a notion storage section. From a piece of felt cut a 5.5cm x 6cm piece with pinking shears and secure to the case overlapping the elastic to create a pincushion.

How to create a zippered pouch

4. Create detachable notions holder

From print cotton cut two 9cm x 20cm pieces and press under to the wrong side 5mm along one long edge on each piece. Place onto the fabric tab of the zip and secure in place with a neat line of top stitching – using a zip foot will allow you to set the stitches close to the teeth of the zip.

How to sew a clear vinyl pouch

5. Create the vinyl pouch

Cut two pieces of craft vinyl to 12cm x 20cm. Press under 5mm of print cotton fabric from each side of the zipper band to the wrong side and position over to top of the vinyl. Working on each piece in turn, secure the cotton to the vinyl with neat top stitching along the upper edge.

TIP: Using a teflon foot will prevent the machine from sticking as you stitch over the craft vinyl. However, if you don’t have one, place a piece of baking parchment either side of the vinyl as this will help the machine work over the fabric and can be easily removed afterwards.

Sewing Directory note: We have a guide to sewing with vinyl which may help if you have not done so before. 

How to sew with vinyl

6. Complete the vinyl pouch

Cut a piece of print cotton to 6cm x 16cm – fold under 5mm to the wrong side along each short edge and press. Fold the fabric in half with right sides outermost, aligning the two long raw edges and work a line of neat top stitching along both short edges to secure the fold. With the zip half open, fold the pouch in half with right sides together, aligning the sides and lower edges of the craft vinyl.

Slide the print fabric strip inside the lower edge so that the folded edge is innermost and facing the zip end. Pin in place. Work around the outer edge of the pouch taking a 1cm seam allowance and using a teflon foot to prevent the machine from sticking. Neaten the seam allowances and clip the lower corners. Through the open zip, turn the pouch through to the right side and push out the corners to neaten.

Travel sewing case with removeable pouch project

7. Create the popper strip

From print cotton, cut a strip 7cm x 26cm, then fold 1cm along each of the long edges to the wrong side and press to neaten. Secure three female sections of the snap fasteners to the lower tab of the pouch, evenly spacing them along the length. Then sure the remaining three male sections of the snap fasteners centrally to the print strip to correspond to those on the tab of the pouch and set aside.

TIP: This project was made using snap fasteners and an applicator – you can also use the sew-on variety of snap fasteners.

Stitch in the popper strip to the inner case – offset the strip slightly to the right of the centre to cover the edges of the pockets and topstitch on both long edges to secure.

Assembling travel sewing case

Sew your own travel sewing kit

1. Create the corners

Position the hexagon and Stylevil outer panel and the embellished inner panel together with wrong sides facing, trim to the exact same size and pin in place. Neatly trim the corners to create neat curves – using the edge of a mug will create four uniform corners.

How to sew a zip around curves

2. Position & secure the zip

Open the zip and position around the outer edge of the case. The raw edge of the zip tape will align with the raw edge of the case and pin neatly in place. There will be a small overlap at the top of the zip and approx 10cm of excess with the zipper tab at the base. To ease the zip around the curved corners make a couple of small snips into the tape. Work around the case taking a 5mm seam allowance to secure the zip to all the layers of the case.


 3. Make and secure bias binding

Make a length of handmade bias binding – cut strips 4cm wide on the bias and join if necessary. Fold in half, then open out the fold and position one raw edge to align with the raw edge of the case. Pin or use quilt clips to secure the bias binding in place, around the outer edge. With a straight machine stitch work around the case to secure the binding to the case. Lift up the zip pull and pass the binding underneath to secure.

TIP: Using a zip foot will help you to secure the binding nice and snug against the zip for a neat finish.  

Best travel sewing projects

 4. Hand finish the binding

Fold the other side of the binding over to the right side of the case, turn under the raw edge and pin into place. With a sewing needle and coordinating cotton, work all around with neat slip stitching to secure the binding discreetly to the front of the case to finish.

TIP: Ease the binding neatly around the curved corners – using the tip of the iron can help to make positioning the binding on curves easier.


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