Nancy Zieman Sewing With Nancy Travel Gear Made Easy with Mary Mulari

Do you like creative stitching projects that can be made in an evening or less? You’re in for a treat! In part two of the TV series, Travel Gear Made Easy, this week’s featured online video, guest Mary Mulari teaches how to quickly stitch travel gear for everyday travel or extended trips. Mary knows all about travel, but even more about making travel easy. Watch the second episode by clicking here. (If you missed the first show, watch by clicking here.)

In part two of the TV show, and in her book, Mary shares her easy zipper technique for the hidden zipper used to make the Travel Trio Bag Set (pictured above). The clever recessed zipper adds style to this collection of bags.

Nancy Zieman Sewing With Nancy Travel Gear Made Easy with Mary Mulari

A few weeks after Mary and I recorded the Travel Gear Made Easy series, she sent me a package. Inside was my very own Travel Trio Bag Set. Aren’t the fabrics delightful?

Nancy Zieman Sewing With Nancy Travel Gear Made Easy with Mary Mulari

Mary designed these bags for carrying electronic components, jewelry, or makeup. Plus, they nest together for gift-giving and for easy storage.

Nancy Zieman Sewing With Nancy Travel Gear Made Easy with Mary Mulari

Mary’s here today with a guest blog posting on how to create these nesting bags in three sizes:


  • 5″ x 7″
  • 8″ x 10″
  • 9″ x 13″


  • 1/2 yd. fabric (outer fabric and lining)
  • One 3″ fabric strips (contrasting zipper frame)
  • One 2″ x 3″ fabric square (contrasting zipper frame)
  • 1/2 yd. medium weight interfacing
  • 15″ Designer Renaissance Ribbon 3/8″ wide (5″ per bag)
  • Optional: 3″ length of ribbon per bag for zipper pull
  • Zippers- to be adjusted for each bag width
  • 5-in-1 Sliding Gauge


  • Cut one bag outer fabric, one lining, and one interfacing to these dimensions:
  • 9″ small bag = 9″ x 12″
  • 11″ medium bag = 11″ x 16″
  • 14″ large bag = 14″ x 18″


  • Fuse interfacing to wrong side of the bag outer fabric.
  • Pin the wrong side of the lining to the interfaced side of the outer fabric.

  • Zigzag or serge the two long edges.
  • Measure, using the sliding gauge, and cut two 2-1/2″ lengths of ribbon, PER BAG.
  • Fold each ribbon in half, matching wrong sides.

  • Position the folded ribbon 1″ from the cut edge. Baste ribbon to the outer fabric. Add ribbon to right and left sides.
  • Fold the bag in half with right sides together, meeting top edges.

  • Sew side seams with 1/4″ seam allowances.

  • Form a triangle at the bottom corners of the seams.
  • Mark across the triangle 1″ for small bag, 2″ for medium bag, and 3″ for large bag. (Large bag is shown.)
  • Pin and sew across marked lines to create boxed corners.

Prepare and Apply the Zipper

  • Press the zipper flat.
  • Measure the zipper length needed (2″ shorter than the bag width).
  • Trim the zipper.
  • Use a wide zigzag stitch, with a zero stitch length, to bartack over the zipper teeth at the cut end.
  • Cut a 2″ x 3″ contrasting fabric strips
  • Fold the strip in half. Open.
  • Meet the cut edges to the center foldline.
  • Press.
  • Wrap the narrow folded fabric around the cut end of the zipper.
  • Stitch across the zipper end. Note: Be careful not to stitch over the metal zipper stop in the event you didn’t need to trim it.
  • Cut two 3″ fabric strips (2-1/2″ for small bags) for each side of the zipper, the same length as the width of the bag. For example, 11″ strips for the medium size bag.
  • Press the strips in half, matching wrong sides.

  • Pin the fabric folded edges to the right side of the zipper tape, leaving an extra 1″ beyond each end of the zipper.
  • Fold over and pin the excess tape at the top end of the zipper to the fabric strip.
  • Switch to a zipper presser foot.
  • Using left or right needle position, sew each folded fabric strip to the zipper, moving the zipper head away from the presser foot if necessary.

  • Meet the right sides of the zipper strips at the corners. Pin together.

  • Mark 1/4″ from the cut edges and taper toward the zipper at both ends.

  • Stitch the marked tapered line on both ends.
  • Trim the seam allowances to 1/4″.
  • Press short seams open.
  • Press bag side seams open.
  • With bag inside out and zipper open, meet the right side of the zipper unit to the right side of the bag. Align and pin the side seams of the zipper unit and the bag.
  • Extend the fabric triangle of the zipper unit 1/4″ above the bag edge. Pin all edges together.

  • Sew around bag top edge using a 1/4″ seam allowance.

  • Trim seam allowance with a pinking shears to eliminate bulk, especially at the side seams.
  • Turn bag right side out. Press the zipper unit inside the bag. Pin.

  • Topstitch 1/8″ from the folded top edge of the bag. Sew Slowly over side seams where fabrics are thicker.
  • Tie an additional 3″ length of ribbon to the zipper pull.

  • The first nesting bag is finished!
I hope you have fun sewing all three sizes!
Thank you Mary, for sharing details on how to sew your Travel Trio Bag Set! Mary also created an embroidery design collection to coordinate with her book projects. Make the travel accessories from the book and add designs from the Travel Gear Made Easy Complete Design Collection to personalize and embellish your creations. There are over 30 embroidery designs, an alphabet for monograms, and three unique travel gear projects not included in the book.

Travel Gear Made Easy Embroidery Collection by Mary Mulari as seen on Nancy Zieman's Sewing With Nancy

Watch Travel Gear Made Easy on Sewing With Nancy online.

To watch Sewing With Nancy on your iPad, iPod Touch, or iPhone, download the app.


For a Chance to win a copy of Mary Mulari’s book, Travel Gear Made Easy, please leave a comment below sharing your favorite project from the TV series, Travel Gear Made Easy.

Annual Pillow Sewing Challenge hosted by Nancy Zieman

Don’t forget to submit your Pillow project  for the 2016 Pillow Sewing Challenge! The deadline to enter is March 20, 2016. Click here to see how to enter. Make sure you are subscribed to my enews mailing list so you won’t miss a thing. Sign up here.

Bye for now,

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