Makeup bag tutorial by Georgina

It is a well know fact that creative people keep (hoard is too strong a word to use!) left over supplies. You never know when you may need them (you will most likely never need them) and they are just too good to  throw away. I am definitely a fan of reusing and recycling so I admit I rarely throw usable items away but I am all for donating to charity. Sewers are especially known for keeping all the fabric scraps. You definitely accumulate a lot of left over fabric from dress making. Some of these scraps are more usable than others and recently whilst having a stash organising and de-stashing session I have become more strict in what I keep. Anything over 1m is definitely a keeper as you can make a top of out that (there's a blog about what to do with less than a meter of fabric over on my blog)! Fat quarter sized pieces are suitable for pockets and facing but there are only so many you need to keep! Anything smaller than this gets donated to my local charity shop as they can trade fabric scraps for money. I now keep a box/bag next to my sewing table so that all the small pieces go straight in there and that way I'm not tempted to squeeze them into my stash box. 

With Christmas only next week I'm going to do a mini tutorial on how to turn some fabric scraps into mini zipped pouches which are perfect for Christmas presents.

Supplies ~

  • zip
  • outer fabric 
  • lining fabric 
  • sewing kit 
  • optional: trim such as pom poms

  • First up iron your fabric. Creaseless fabric means your measuring and cutting will be more accurate. 
  • Cutting- Time for some maths. The width of the fabric needs to the the same as the zip. That's the whole of the zip not just the zipper part. The length of the fabric will depend on how big you want the pouch. Remember to add a seam allowance. I add 1.5cm as that's what I'm used to sewing with. If you want to add a "bottom" to the pouch decide on the size for the bottom and add half this amount to the each piece. You need to cut two outer fabric and two lining. So here's what I've done...

        - width = zip = 23cm
        - length = I used the pattern on the fabric as a guide so that it didn't finish in an                odd place + 3.5 cm (base 7cm in total) + 1.5cm seam allowance = 26.5 cm

  • Sewing time- The process may sound a bit weird but trust me it works! You attach the lining and outer fabric to the zip at the same time. So with the lining fabric right side up place the zip, right way up, along the top edge then add the outer fabric right side down. Basically you have the zip sandwiched between the two right sides of the fabrics. Sew. 

  • Now repeat for the other side making sure you don't end up with this:


  • This is what is should look like when it's done the right way:

  • It's optional to top stitch along the edges of the zip but I would definitely recommend doing it. If you have any personalised labels then add one at this stage to the lining fabric only making sure you move the outer fabric out of the way.

  • Now to sew it together. Make sure the zip is OPEN! If it's closed it won't work. Open up the fabric so that the lining fabric pieces are right sides together and the outer fabric pieces are right sides together. 

  • Leave a gap approx 2-3inch at the bottom of the lining. Sew around the edge using a seam allowance of your choice.

  • If you aren't adding a base trim the seams with pinking shears and cut diagonally across the corners taking care of to cut the stitches. 
  • Turn through the opening that you left. Keep turning until the lining is inside the outer fabric. 

  • Stitch the opening in the lining closed. 
  • Iron.
  • Ta dah a finished pouch!
  • Base- So here's what to do if you want your pouch to have a base. The pictures will probably be easier to follow than my jumbled instructions! You need to do this for both the lining and outer fabric, four times in total. I've decided on a base of 7cm. 
  • Open up the fabric so the bottom seam and side seam line up. 
  • From the corner point line up the ruler so that the centre is on the seam line. 


  • Where it measures 7cm across mark a line, this is where you will stitch. 


  • Sew. Trim with pinking shears.

  • Turn through as above and sew the opening closed.
  • Pom-poms. I decided to add a pom-pom trim along the side seams as I had a small amount in my stash that wouldn't be much use for anything else. I told you we keep a lot of left overs just incase! 

  • Before you sew up the side seams you need to sandwich the pom-pom trim between the outer fabric. 

  • Make sure the pom-poms are facing in towards the centre of the fabric and are between the right sides of the fabric. 

  • Trim the pom-poms so that they start approx 1 cm down from the zip and finish before the base.

  • Pin in place and continue as above.


These pouches can be made in any size to suit the fabric you have left over and the zips in your stash, yes we have endless supplies of those as well! If you fabric is plain then use pom-poms, ribbon or buttons from your stash to decorate. You can also add a pom-pom to the zip pull. Once you get started you won't be able to stop making these!

Don't forget to tag and #sewingsunshine so we can see what you've been making. 


  • Such a great way to use up scraps and good for emergency birthday gifts!

  • Love it Georgina! There’s nothing like a box pouch to hide goodies in and your scraps are so super pretty. Got to love that fabric. x


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