Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Carry-on Toiletry Bag and Tutorial

Isn't flying such a gorgeous experience these days.  You have to take off your shoes in public unsanitary places, potentially get strip searched, pay to check bags...what's next?  Well, here is something that can maybe, just maybe make carrying on a little easier.  I was literally just using freezer bags for all of my stuff (well, they end up needing to be there anyways).  So, I wanted something that was just slightly more stylish than freezer bags.

Labeled, just in case I forget ;)

I made it so that it would hold my little 3 oz or less containers...this is not intended to hold full size toiletries.  But it holds everything that I need for a short trip.

I'll get to the how to in a second.  The pictures in the how-to are from the prototype (pictured on the left) which ended up being just a little bit off size wise.  So, bear with me.

Supplies needed for this project:
  • 1/8 yard oil cloth
  • 1/8 yard coordinating home decor weight fabric
  • ~4 yards bias tape
  • metal snap or sew in velcro
  • thread
  • ~3 inches of elastic (I used 1/4" width)
  • pins
I used oilcloth so that this would be easy to wipe down.  you certainly don't have to, but if you use a cotton, I would be sure to use home decor weight for both sides or sew in some canvas to make it heavy enough.

Start out by cutting two rectangles 16 1/2" x 10 1/4"
Fold each piece in half vertically and then cut the corners to round them off so they look like this:

 Then cut two 10 1/4" x 3 1/2" strip out of your inner fabric.

Sew the bias tape to the top of each of your strips by first sewing the inside of the longer side onto the back of the piece (see picture).

Then flip the bias tape over and sew the front side being sure that you "catch" the back as you sew.

front side

back side
 Decide exactly where you would like to place your "pockets" and pin them to the inner piece.

Now sew around all three sides of the pockets.  On the sides you want to stay quite close to the edge so that your stitching is covered by the bias tape at the end.

Optional:  I sewed on the pockets so that each one would be divided.  I made two pockets on the top and three on the bottom.  Just measure them out before you sew so they are even (skip down a couple of pics to see).

Cut your elastic to be about 3" (Note:  I wanted my toothbrush case to fit in here...but if you just want to fit a toothbrush by itself this loop will need to be much smaller.

Form it into a loop and sew one end down just beneath your top row of pockets. 

Loop it over and sew down the other end.  Secure it well.

Note:  If you are sewing on velcro, then you will want to do it now.  Figure out exactly how you want the bag to close and mark the places with a disappearing ink pen.  Sew on the velcro.

Oh I almost forgot...for those applique letters...follow the tutorial here over at Make It Love It.  You'll want to do that now too!

Now we are going to finish it off.  With the wrong sides facing each other, stack up your front and back pieces.  Pin in several places.

 Starting at the bottom, sew your bias tape on (as you did above).  Flip it over and stitch down.

Measure out where you would like your clasp or your elastic to be on the bag.  Mark it with a disappearing ink pen.  I used a metal clasp on this one, but used velcro on the other.  If you sew on velcro, you will have already done so.  I decided to go through all layers so that the clasp would be sturdier...oilcloth has a nasty habit of tearing.

Insert clasp according to package directions.  Be sure that you are putting it in correctly...and not backwards like I did the first time...those suckers are hard to get out!

how the clasp should look

here's the velcro version...ignore messy sewing machine thread jam
I hope that somebody can find this useful for their travels and overnight stays.


  1. Very cute! Anything that makes traveling easier is great in my book:)

  2. I love it! Now only if I had whipped one up before my trip two weekends ago...

  3. Hi, I appreciate the information that you have provided in the post. It is looking so cute, I think what to say about this post, the image quality are too good. I really liked the presentation as well.I will surely come back for more of interesting posts on Toiletry products.