Archive for April, 2013

April 1, 2013

Tutorial Cosmetics bag with pleats

As promissed in my previous post, here is the turorial for the cosmetic bag with pleats. It is easier than it looks, also if you are beginner in sewing, you should be able to make it.


8 pieces (outside pleats) 2.5×7” of nice fabric which will be visible outside of the pleats
6 pieces (inside pleats)2.5×7” of fabric which will be inside the pleats (very nice is to have some contrast)
2 pieces 8×1.5” of fabric for the top of the pouch ( I choose the same like for outside pleats)
1 zipper 10” or little longer if you are sewing beginner

For inside of the pouch:
2 pieces 6×8” of fabric and iron-on batting- I used quite thin, in Czech republic called vlizelin the same size, or ¼” shorter at each side (doesn’t need to be measured exactly

You’ll of course also need iron, matching thread, scissors and sewing machine.

As you can see from description of needed materials, you can use also scraps of fabrics and create nice colorful pouch. Each stripe of the pleat can be different; I just recommend using single fabric for inside pleats. So let’s do it!

Cosmetics bag with pleats

1-       Mark with pencil middle of each inside pleat on both sides. I usually just fold the fabric in half and mark it on the grease.

Cosmetics bag with pleats2-      Lay the 2.5×7” pieces for pleats next to each other in order how you want to have them. They must start with outside pleat- inside- outside and so on. For one side of the pouch you need 4 outside pleats and 3 inside pleats like on the picture.

3-      Sew it together


4-      Press with iron- it is better if you press the fabric toward the outside pleat.


5-      When we have the iron on, you can iron the batting on the inside fabric- these are the 6×8” pieces.


6-      Now we create the pleats- sew less than 1/4” from the edge of fabric. Fold the fabric on the seam between inside and outside pleat. Lay this fold on the mark of inside pleat. Do the same from other side and sew over it. (If you prefer, you can first pin it all and then sew, I prefer to fold it as I sew).



7-      Continue till the end and do the same process over again on other side of the fabric- remember to sew less than ¼” from edge.

8-      Time to sew on the 1.5×8” long strips. In this part you can sew some ribbon or anything in between these pieces. It also looks nice. In my case, I just sewn it together and then secured with straight stitch.You can again press after sewing. Do it with both pieces- front and back of the pouch.



9-      Now sew on the zipper. It is good to have longer zipper, so that the slider doesn’t hinder while sewing. You lay the inside fabric right face up, lay the zipper with slider up, and the top fabric right side down. Align it all on the right side and sew as close to the middle of zipper as possible. Your machine will be probably equipped with zipper foot, my machine too, but in this case I prefer the normal foot and sew with needle aligned to the left- my machine doesn’t sew that nicely with zipper foot (or I am doing something wrong J ). Of course, you can pin it all before sewing if you prefer.



10-      When you are done with one side, do the same thing on other side of the zipper. Try to start in the exact same place, like on the other side, so that your fabrics are nicely aligned.

11-      To secure the zipper (and it also looks nice) sew lines along the zipper as on the picture below. Your final product should look like this.

Cosmetic bag tutorial

12-      We are finishing up. First, I will cut off any fabric from sides, so that I have nice straight and aligned edges of front and inside fabric, as well as the fabrics on opposite side of the zipper.

13-      Cut off also the part of the zipper which is standing out. IMPORTANT!- be careful not to cut the slider away! You need to open the zipper to get it in the middle and then cut. Otherwise you will need a new zipper.


14-      Now lay the outside fabrics together and inside also together. Make sure the zipper is open at least to 2/3 of the length. Align nicely. It is important to have the pleats aligned and also all the seams of the front fabric- the finished product just looks better in this way. If needed, pin it. I start to sew from bottom of the front fabric, sew all around, through zipper. Just on the bottom of the inside fabric leave approximately 2” opening, so that we can turn the pouch inside out.

Cosmetic pouch with pleats tutorial

Cosmetic pouch with pleats tutorial

15-      Through the opening pull the pouch inside out. Look at our finished product, hopefully you are happy with it and the seams and pleats are aligned.


Cosmetics bag with pleats

16-      If you are satisfied, there is last finishing step. We need to sew the opening inside. You can do it on sewing machine, but the seam will be visible. I prefer to make it by hand using mattress stitch (at least so it is called in Czech, I am was not able to find exact stitch name in English. If someone can advise on correct name, I will be thankful). The stitching will be quite invisible.

Explanation of the stitch:
align the folded edges of the fabrics. Pull the thread through one of the fold. Stick it into the other fold in exactly the same place and lead the needle through the “tunnel” in the fold and pull out. Stitch it again in the opposite fold in the same place and continue like this until the end of the opening. The smaller the stitches, the better the look.

mattress stitch

mattress stitch

mattress stitch

mattress stitch

mattress stitch

I hope this tutorial was useful and you will make many beautiful pouches!

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