Sew A Make-up Bag That Makes A Difference Nancy Zieman







My youngest son asked if I’d donate a basket of sewing goodies to be used as part of the silent auction at the Relay for Life event at his college, University of Minnesota. Sewing and quilting books were easy to gather, then I got the idea to create a makeup bag with an embroidery that supports cancer awareness as part of the giveaway. It was easy to find the embroidery, Embroider a Cure, which features 20 support ribbon embroidery designs, a product from Designs in Machine Embroidery. All net proceeds from the Embroider a Cure Collection will go to the Be The Difference organization, supporting ovarian cancer research.






Makeup Bag that Makes a Difference

Perfect for any overnight stay, this bag is fast to create, but also makes a statement!

Fabric and supplies: 

  • Two Fat Quarters, each 18″ x 22″ (We chose a solid lime quilting cotton.)
  • Two Coordinating Fabric Strips, each 5-1/4″ x 14″  (We chose a striped quilting cotton.)
  • One Cotton Batting, 18″ x 22″
  • One Cotton Batting, 5-1/4″ x 14″
  • Two 3″ lengths 1/2″–3/4″ Grosgrain Ribbon
  • One 14″ zipper

To construct a makeup bag:


Sew A Make-up Bag That Makes A Difference Nancy Zieman




Be the Difference Nancy Zieman



  • Layer batting between the fat quarters.
  • Spray a very light coating of fusible spray to hold the layers together.
  • Apply the layers to the embroidery hoop, centering one short end in the hoop.
  • Optional: Use a placement sticker to position the embroidery on the fabric.


Sew A Make-up Bag That Makes A Difference Nancy Zieman



  • Center the design. (If using a placement sticker, remove the sticker before beginning the embroidery process.)


Sew A Make-up Bag That Makes A Difference Nancy Zieman



  • If your machine has this capability, add a basting stitch outline to hold the layers securely in the hoop. This is a built-in option on my Baby Lock Ellisimo.


Sew A Make-up Bag That Makes A Difference Nancy Zieman



  • Embroider! I chose a design that features Ovarian cancer awareness. It’s a two-color embroidery that is beautifully digitized.


Sew A Make-up Bag That Makes A Difference Nancy Zieman




Sew A Make-up Bag That Makes A Difference Nancy Zieman




Sew A Make-up Bag That Makes A Difference Nancy Zieman



  • Gently remove the embroidery from the hoop.


Sew A Make-up Bag That Makes A Difference Nancy Zieman



  • Pin the layers together in preparation for quilting the fabrics.


Sew A Make-up Bag That Makes A Difference Nancy Zieman



  • Add a quilting guide bar to the sewing machine. We set the distance between the needle and the bar at 1-1/2″.
  • Determine the quilting pattern—gridded on the diagonal or vertical/horizontal. We chose diagonal.
  • Draw one stitching line on the fabric with a washable marking pen.
  • Stitch along the marked line with a straight stitch, removing the pins as you come to them.
  • For all subsequent lines, guide the quilting bar along the previously sewn line. Repeat.
  • After completing the stitching in one direction, mark another diagonal line and stitch in the opposite direction.


Sew A Make-up Bag That Makes A Difference Nancy Zieman




Sew A Make-up Bag That Makes A Difference Nancy Zieman



  • Trim width to 12″, keeping the embroidery design centered. Length will not be trimmed and will remain about 22″
  • Clean finish all the raw edges by zigzagging or serging.


Sew A Make-up Bag That Makes A Difference Nancy Zieman



  • To create the Upper Front Section, layer batting strip between the 5-1/4″ x 14″ coordinating fabric pieces. We stitched several rows of channel stitching.
  • Trim the Upper Front Section to 3-1/4″ x 12″. Clean-finish all raw edges by zigzagging or serging.


Sew A Make-up Bag That Makes A Difference Nancy Zieman



Sew A Make-up Bag That Makes A Difference Nancy Zieman

  • Fold under 5/8″ on one long edge of the Upper Front Section and press.
  • Fold under 5/8″ on one short edge of the Front/Back Section and press.

Sew A Make-up Bag That Makes A Difference Nancy Zieman

  • Position the folded edge of the Front/Back Section along the left edge of the zipper teeth, with the zipper facing up and the tab extending above the edge. Stitch the fold to the zipper.


Sew A Make-up Bag That Makes A Difference Nancy Zieman



  • Position the folded edge of the Upper Front Section along the opposite edge of the zipper teeth.  Align the edges of the two sections; stitch.
Sew A Make-up Bag That Makes A Difference Nancy Zieman
  • Open the zipper and bartack across the top zipper teeth, stitching close to the fabric edge. Repeat at zipper bottom, stitching close to the fabric edge.
  • Fold 3″ ribbon sections in half, with the short ends together.
  • With the loop toward the center of the bag, align the ribbon ends with the raw edges at the zipper; stitch.

Sew A Make-up Bag That Makes A Difference Nancy Zieman



  • Trim off the excess zipper tape.

Sew A Make-up Bag That Makes A Difference Nancy Zieman



  • Add a label to the back, if you like!


Sew A Make-up Bag That Makes A Difference Nancy Zieman



  • Fold the bag in half, right sides together, meeting sides and top edges.
  • Open the zipper half way, providing an opening to turn the bag right side out.
  • Stitch or serge the top with a 1/4″ seam.


Sew A Make-up Bag That Makes A Difference Nancy Zieman



  • Wrap the top seam toward the bottom, folding the seam at the stitching line. Stitch the side seams from the wrapped corner to the lower fold with a 1/4″ seam.


Sew A Make-up Bag That Makes A Difference Nancy Zieman



Form the bag bottom:

  • Open out the lower corners and center the lower seam.
  • Mark 1-1/4″ from the point of the corner.
  • Stitch or serge along the marked seamline.


Sew A Make-up Bag That Makes A Difference Nancy Zieman



  •  Trim the corner seams and turn the bag right side out.



Sew A Make-up Bag That Makes A Difference Nancy Zieman







Take time to stitch a makeup bag for a friend, family member, or for yourself.  Take time to read the words!


Nancy Zieman's Makeup Bag Project Sheet



Also, several of you have asked for downloadable, printable instructions of this project. For your convenience, the Makeup Bag is now available to purchase as a downloadable file.

Bye for now,

Nancy Zieman The Blog

Nancy Zieman—author, pattern designer, businesswomen, producer, and national sewing authority—is the host of the popular show Sewing With Nancy®, which appears exclusively on public television stations across the United States and Canada. Follow Nancy’s Blog at NancyZieman.com/Blog and sign up to receive Nancy’s E-News for the latest news in Sewing, Quilting, & Creating.

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