One for the boys - Men's toiletries bag


You know what it's like, you try to 'reinvent the wheel' each Christmas and come up with those perfect 'you know me so well' gifts that will be opened with relish and then loved which in fact, usually just ends up with an "Oh right, cheers." Last Christmas I decided to go handmade (see my previous post for how I made quick 10-step quilted make-up bag for the girls) and here's what I did for the boys in my life...

Men's toiletries bag

I used a really thick woolen material which I bought from a local market and then different coloured zips from Hobbycraft (isn't that store such a time-vampire). The best thing for me is that they were quick and that, thanks to the interfacing, they actually stood up on their own even when they were completely empty inside!

What you'll need:

  • 13" x 14" fabric rectangles (x4)
  • The same again in interfacing (I used the iron-on stuff. Hey, I had 5 to make!)
  • 14" zip (whichever colour you fancy or which matches your facbric choice)
  • Thread for your machine (again, contrasting or matching, it's up to you. I used black)
Nice to have:
Pinking Shears - now, you don't have to have these, but if you were using a fabric that frays easily, I'd really recommend them. These are mine.

 Step 1
Iron or sew on your interfacing to the reverse of each fabric piece. If you're ironing it on, be sure to check what temperature to set your iron at and to turn steam off! Also, do not drag your iron across, like you would when ironing a shirt or sheet. Instead, press the iron on one area and then lift off and press again on the next area. Dragging can cause the interfacing to wrinkle or actually stick to itself!

Step 2
Lay the zip, face up, on the right-side of one fabric piece, aligning the zip ends to the edges. Lay a second piece (right-side down) over the top, matching the edges - you should have made a 'zip sandwich'.

Note: Make sure that when you lay your two fabric pieces back to back that they are both the same rotation and you don't have a 13" edge matching a 14" edge.

Pin and baste together (baste if you are not a confident/less experienced sewer). Stitch the zip in place using your zip foot on your sewing machine.

Turn the fabric right-sides out, so now you have two pieces stitched to one side of your zip.

Step 3
Repeat the same process as Step 2 for your remaining two fabric pieces.

Step 4
Now turn your fabric so the wrong-sides are facing out. You can see from the photo (one after next) that the zip head is on the inside. Line up all four edges and pin in place. Stick straight along the bottom edge. I left about an inch for seam allowance. 

Note: Once you've done this, make sure you open your zip, at least enough to be able to get your hand in so you can turn it the right-way out.

Press the seams flat (you'll see I used my Pinking Shears to make sure the exposed seam doesn't fray.)

Step 5
Lay your stitched square flat so that the zip is equal distance from the top edge to the bottom edge. You might want to do a quick check with your tape measure, otherwise your bag may not sit square. Stitch both side seams using the same seam allowance as you did for the bottom.

Step 6
Now to box-out those corners! I went for about 3" in, but if you want it to be shorter and fatter, try a smaller amount, or if you want it taller and thinner try a bigger amount (but be careful you don't make it too small and can't fit anything inside!) Mark out your 3" and stitch straight (I used a white watercolour pencil for this as I'd run out of dressmaker's chalk). Cut off the excess (here I used my Pinking Shears again.)

Step 7
Turn it inside out and fill with goodies for you guy voilà!

I hope you liked this post. Let me know if you use this guide, I'd love to see what you made!
Laura x

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