I Made That! Monday · Sewing

“I Made That!” Monday – Making Make-up Bags (aka Beaten by Pleats)

Firstly I have to apologise for my awful blogging absence. I read advice somewhere that you shouldn’t do that, but I’m going to do it anyway. I committed myself to weekly “I Made That!” Monday and Troublesome Sewing Terms Untangled posts and have not been delivering! So many apologies.

The Boy and I are in the process of hunting for our first house to buy, all of my recent spare time has been taken up with going to various parts of the city to see houses. There’s been 15 so far, one day I’ll post about them. Suffice to say we’re still looking! Wish me luck!

Now to the making! It was a close friends’ birthday lately and I volunteered to construct a make-up bag for her when our budget didn’t allow it. I had this flowery Cath Kidston-style fabric that I was excited to use and the oilcloth fabric left over from the toiletries bag Christmas present I talked about a while ago.  I wanted to do something a bit more creative than just a plain fabric pouch, so I investigated pleats.

(Spoiler alert, I wasn’t so good at them)

I tried a simple idea of folding the fabric from 1/4 and 3/4 into the centre point and securing it there, then using a square of this to form a side of the bag. Sounds weird, right? I guess because I wasn’t using a set tutorial and just improvising myself, the method ended up really convoluted.

Here are some pictures to explain!

How cute is this fabric!
How cute is this fabric!

I folded two points (1/4 and 3/4 from one side) on the top edge into the centre point. That gave the fabric this curved effect on the bottom and sides that weren’t straight, and I wasn’t sure how to work with it.

Thought I'd fixed the problem!
Thought I’d fixed the problem!

So I took the folded fabric and cut a square shape out of it instead, making it much more familiar for me to work with. (Also check out the use of my cute pattern weights! They’re awesome!)

Getting there!
Getting there!

I cut 1″ square sections out of the bottom of each side panel to make the square bottom part. Although this bag ultimately failed, I am getting much better at those!

The finished one.
The finished one.

The problem, I think, with this bag, was that I didn’t iron to secure the plat properly. It bunched up awfully at the top, both before and after top-stitching, as the error was all the way back in sewing the fabric to the zip. There wasn’t much I could to do fix it beyond getting out Mr Seam Ripper and taking it all apart. The finish around the top really ruins it, and I couldn’t gift it after that.

(I have kept it though, because I need to remind myself of my mistakes! Plus it is pretty cute if you can get over the mess at the top.)

I also decided that it was completely the wrong size for a make-up bag. This was much more a toiletries/travel bag. I needed to make something a lot smaller.

Eventually I put aside the idea of pleats for another day and knocked up this simpler small pouch for my friend instead.


I added a bit of trim and was pretty pleased with it. It’s definitely a better size to store make-up in your handbag. Although I couldn’t do something fancier like I was hoping to, it’s still cute and my friend loved it. It was a win in the end!


Can I also just say that I love this oilcloth type fabric. It’s so good for the insides of toiletries bags etc and I’ve never found it too difficult to work with. I need to go get some more!

Notes for Next Time

  • Try pleats again! Don’t wimp out because this attempt ended up a bit naff. When I do try them again, make sure they’re ironed securely.
  • Make sure all layers are flat and even before top-stitching.
  • I like the cute tab thing on the end of my zip, it really adds a bit of extra synchronicity with the rest of the bag.

That’s what I’ve made! What have you been making this Monday?



15 thoughts on ““I Made That!” Monday – Making Make-up Bags (aka Beaten by Pleats)

    1. Thank you! Yes, definitely, perseverance is something I need to learn when trying to sew. When it goes wrong I tend to throw a bit of a tantrum and do something else. I’m definitely going to go back and try this again though! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I think it’s great! Lots of my stuff looks like that! Lol! I haven’t made a thing today, because I can’t stop playing with our new pet bunnie! 😃 I have made some new stuff lately, though! You’ve motivated me to go cut out stuff! Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww! I’d definitely be the same! Bunnies are adorable, yours more than others! Those magnetic thingamabobies you’ve made are amazing by the way! Might be stopping by your shop to get me one come payday this month! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s so great to “see” you again!
    You’re in good company…I have no room to judge anyone’s failure to stick to blogging goals.
    Good luck with house hunting! You have to take lots of pics of all the pretty things you make for your house! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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