These days, packing to travel can be a challenge since bringing more than one smallish bag can cost a pretty penny. Being a smart organizer has become more important than ever. Everything needs to go into one suitcase as neat and tidy as possible. This makes our shoe and lingerie bags a travel necessity. Both are lined, and both feature cute appliqués to ID the contents.
These pretty drawstring bags go into your main suitcase compartment. Your shoes sit safe inside a fleece-lined bag, which also protects your clothes. Lingerie is stowed in a soft, mesh-lined bag that can be rolled up and tucked into the smallest of spaces.
Just because you're being functional doesn't mean you can't also be fabulous. We've designed two cute appliqués to help ID the bags. These are offered below as downloadable templates.
Make a travel set for yourself, then whip up additional pairs as gifts for all your rambling friends. Customize the fabric combinations to the recipient's style and color preference.
These would also be adorable shower or bridesmaid gifts.
The bags finish at approximately 12" wide x 20" tall.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
- Open Toe Satin Stitch foot or similar; optional, but it is helpful to have a transparent foot with a guide for the appliqué stitching
Fabric and Other Supplies
Supplies listed are for TWO bags: ONE fleece lined shoe bag and ONE mesh lined lingerie bag.
- 1¼ yards of 44"+ wide cotton print fabric; we used Medium Dots in Raspberry by Riley Blake Fabrics
- Scraps (you need two approximately 12" x 12" squares) or ½ yard of accent fabric for the appliques
NOTE: We originally used two fabrics from the Shades of Black collection by Me and My Sister Designs for Moda Fabrics. This is an older collection that is no longer readily available. We suggest staying with a subtle tone-on-tone pattern. As an alternative, we suggest Sparkle Crowns in Black from the Hollywood collection by Riley Blake, which we found at Hawthorne Threads.
- ½ yard of 44"+ wide soft, singed-sided fleece in a light color to coordinate with the main print fabric; we used a medium weight fleece in white
- ½ yard of 44"+ wide soft, polyester mesh in a light color to coordinate with the main print fabric; we used an athletic style micro mesh in white
- 3 yards of ⅜" - ½" flat cording to coordinate with the appliqué fabric; we used ⅜" flat black cording in a matte finish, purchased locally
- 1 yard of paper backed adhesive for appliqués; we used 17" Wonder Under by Pellon
NOTE: Because this type of fusible is traditionally on the narrow side, we've indicated a bit more than is absolutely necessary to insure success.
- ¼ yard of ½" ribbon if coordinate with the fabric combo and/or the appliqué thread color for the lingerie bow accent; we used pale pink satin ribbon, purchased locally
- All purpose thread to match fabric
- Decorative thread in a slightly contrasting shade for the appliqués, we used 40 wt polyester in pale pink
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Iron and ironing board
- Straight pins
- Hand sewing needle
- Small safety pin
- Download and print out our TWO appliqué templates: Lingerie Bag Appliqué and Shoe Bag Appliqué. Set both templates aside; do not cut them out quite yet.
IMPORTANT: Each template is ONE 8½" x 11" sheet. You must print the PDF files at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guide rule on each page so you can confirm your final printout is to scale.
- From the main exterior print (pink dot in our sample), cut the following:
FOUR 13" wide x 22½" high rectangles (two for each bag)
FOUR 1¼" x 12½" strips (two for each bag)
NOTE: Fussy cut the strips to match the main motif of your exterior fabric. These strips will become the front and back casings and should be placed to blend into the main fabric to be as invisible as possible. Measure 4½" down from the top raw edge of the fabric rectangles. This is the area that will be covered by the cashing strip, so it is the part of the motif you want to match for the casing strip fussy cuts. For our samples, we centered a row of dots within our casing strips.
- From the mesh, cut the TWO 13" x 19" rectangles.
- From the fleece, cut the TWO 13" x 19" rectangles.
- Cut the cording in half into TWO 54" lengths.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- Find the appliqué accent fabric. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse the paper backed appliqué adhesive to the wrong side of the accent fabric. Use a large enough piece to cover the size of the appliqué template, and position it behind were you plan to cut the appliqué.
- Find the two appliqué templates. For the more detailed shapes of these appliqués, we recommend cutting around the pattern first rather than cutting along the solid line. Carefully position each trimmed template on the fabric; you want the fabric's motif to be straight within the template and nicely centered. Pin the trimmed template to the accent fabric.
- Cut out each appliqué shape along the solid line.
- Remove the paper backing from all the appliqué shapes.
- Find two of the 13" wide x 22½" high rectangles. Place them right side up and flat on your work surface.
- Place one appliqué design on each rectangle. The appliqué should be centered side to side, and the lowest point of the shape should be positioned 5½" up from the bottom raw edge of the fabric panel.
NOTE: Between the two pieces of the lingerie bag appliqué (the bustier and the undies), there should be approximately ¾" at the center (the widest point) and approximately ¼" at the sides (the narrowest points). Adjust as needed to make sure you have enough space to appliqué around all edges of both pieces and still leave an appropriate gap between the two pieces, as shown on our finished samples. If you are quite skilled with appliqué, you can get away with less space than if you are just learning.
- Fuse each appliqué in place, following manufacturer's instructions.
- Thread the machine with bobbin thread in the bobbin and decorative thread in the top (we used pale pink). Attach a decorative stitch presser foot or appliqué presser foot. We suggest the Janome Open Toe Satin Stitch foot.
- Select a small zig zag stitch. Practice first on scraps to get the stitch length and width that works best for you.
- Zig zag around all the edges of all the appliqué shapes, using the raw edge of the fabric as the center guide for your zig zag stitch. Go slowly and don't be afraid to stop, with the needle in the down position, and re-adjust along the way in order to keep your stitching smooth and pretty. The scallops at the bottom the bustier will definitely require a bit of adjustment along the way.
NOTE: If you are new to this technique, check out our tutorial: How to Appliqué like a Pro.
- Find the small length of decorative ribbon. Tie it into a tiny bow. Hand stitch the bow in place at the center of the bustier appliqué's neckline.
- Find the two 1¼" x 12½" strips for each bag (four strips total). Fold back each end ½" and press well. Fold back the long top and bottom edges ¼" and press well.
- You should end up with four finished edges and a strip that now measures ¾" x 11½". This will become the casing for the drawcord.
- There is a casing on both the front and back of each bag.
- Place all four front and back rectangles right side up on your work surface. The front rectangles should have the appliqués in place.
- Place a casing strip on each rectangle. As mentioned above, your casing strips should have been fussy cut to allow you to match them in position now.
- Each casing should sit 4½" down from the top raw edge of the fabric rectangle and centered side to side (¾" in from each side edge). Pin a casing strip in position on each fabric rectangle.
- Re-thread the machine with thread to match the casing strips in the top and bobbin.
- Edgestitch along the top and bottom of each casing strip. Leave the ends open. In order for the cording to easily slide through the casing, it's important your stitching line be straight and very close to the folded edge - ⅛" or less.
Create top hems and stitch front to back
- On each front and back panel, fold down the top raw edge ½" and press well.
- Fold down an additional 2" and press again, creating a hem. The folded edge of the hem should perfectly align with the top stitching line of the casing. Adjust the folds if necessary to get this alignment.
- Unfold the top of all four panels so the crease lines are visible.
- Place each front and back rectangle right sides together, sandwiching the casings between the layers. Make sure the ends of the casing strips match up perfectly along each side.
- Pin in place along both sides and across the bottom.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch both sides and across the bottom. Remember to pivot at each corner. The top remains open.
NOTE: Make sure your seam runs along side but not across the ends of the casing strips. The casing strip should have been centered ¾" in from each raw edge. This means with a ½" seam allowance, you should have ¼" clearance, but still be careful - you don't want to accidentally stitch the casing shut.
- Clip the corners and finish the seam allowance. We simply pinked the raw edges. For more options, check out our series of machine-sewn seam finishes, which starts with Most Popular.
- Turn each bag right side out. Fold the top hems back into position, following the original crease lines. Press each bag flat.
- Find the 13" x 19" fleece and mesh lining rectangles.
- Place the fleece pair right sides together. Pin in place along both sides and across the bottom.
- Repeat with the mesh pair.
- For each pair, use a ½" seam allowance to stitch along both sides and across the bottom. Remember to pivot at each corner. The tops remain open.
- Clip the corners. Leave both lining bags wrong side out.
- Find the two exterior bags, which should be right side out.
- Slip the fleece lining inside the shoe bag and the mesh lining inside the lingerie bag. The two pairs of bags should now be wrong sides together, and the side seams and bottom corners of the bags should match up. The top raw edge of each lining bag should be tall enough to just slip under the top hem of each exterior bag. Lift up the hem to allow the lining to slide into place, then re-pin through all the layers.
- Thread a hand sewing needle with thread to match the exterior fabric and whip stitch the hem to the lining.
Thread the cording into place
- Find the two 54" lengths of cording.
- Attach a safety pin to one end of one length of cording. Feed the cording through the front casing, around the side and through the back casing, coming back out at the side you started.
- You now have both tails on one side and can cinch the bag closed and tie a pretty bow. Trim the tails to your desired length if need be. Knot the ends of the cording.
NOTE: We did not finish the ends of our cording. If you choose a cording you are worried will fray, use a dot of seam sealant on each end, such as Dritz® Fray Check.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild