Monday, October 27, 2014

Vanity Case

If you follow me on Instagram you'll have seen a few photos of a bag I was testing for the lovely Christine. I've been very excited to share it with you but wanted to hold off until the pattern was ready for sale, and now it is so now I can. The bag is a quite generously sized vanity case. I do so love vanity cases or train cases or cases with hinged lids or whatever you want to call them. I've tended to shy away as they seem so labor-intensive or have things I don't care for doing (like bias binding the raw edges--I don't know why but that particular task irks me). This one looked nice and reasonably simple, so I jumped at the chance to be a pattern tester. I super took my time (it's very hard when you make bags to slow down and read the directions as you go because y'know...I know everything and all that jazz :) My stitching could be a bit better in a few places, but I knew I was keeping this and I tend to be more forgiving of that sort of thing when it's going to be mine.

The zipper installation is one I've seen but never done before--in order to make this unzip in both directions you just get two zippers and butt them up next to each other as close as you can and stitch. I threw in a few hand stitches to make it a little more secure because I choose to be neurotic about such things.

I'm not even kidding a little when I say that choosing my zipper was maybe the hardest part of the process. I have an odd amount of zippers in really weird colors (don't ask why because I don't know either) so I had a lot of colors to audition. It came down to green or white and green won the vote. I run a democratic sewing room.

I used a different sort of interfacing for this one in addition to my usual woven fusible. Have you ever heard of Annie's Soft and Stable? I've been seeing it a lot, but it's kind of pricey. I happened across an alternative recommendation that was very similar--headliner fabric (the stuff that makes up the inside of the roof of your car?). They had it at Joann's back near the batting and vinyl, so I bought a half yard for this. It doesn't come in white as Annie's does, but the tan I used doesn't show through too badly. It's actually really nice and sturdy, yet soft and squishy and easy to work with (though I did trim it from each seam after it was sewn). I'm definitely going to try it again.

I think the handle might be my favorite part :) It doesn't cut into your hand or get all squinched up 
and wrinkly--it's nice and soft.

This case is plenty roomy on the inside. Like...use it as an overnight case if you pack smartly kind of roomy.

I don't travel often, so if I used this bag for that purpose I'd rarely get to use it, so I think I'm going to use it for smaller knitting projects, or to hold my teeny leftover rainbow yarn bits while I decide what to use them for next. There's even a handy elasticized pocket on the inside for holding teeny things like scissors and tape measures:

As for the pattern: I really didn't have any trouble with the directions, and there are a lot of photos to help you along the way. My zippers were really long, so I was able to skip one of the steps on the outside as well as leave off the zipper covers on the lining; but if your zips aren't taller than you because you used to suffer from a weird zipper buying fetish those steps are included for a nice neat finish. I know these kinds of bags can look intimidating, but they're really not too difficult if you take it step by step. You can purchase the pattern at a very reasonable price here.

I don't know why it looks so crooked in this photo. I was trying to get pictures before I lost all light so I think I snapped at a weird angle in my haste. It's really a delightfully sturdy thing that is just begging to be filled with goodies. I'm glad I called dibs for myself on this one. Thank you, Christine, for letting me test for you! I am in LOVE with this bag and can't wait to have a reason to make more!

Linking up here:
Sundays: Submarine Sunday
Tuesday: Homework
Wednesdays: Your Whims Wednesday


  1. It is a beautiful train case!!!! You are SO great at making bags!!!
    XO Kris

  2. It looks great! I would have thought that attaching the zipper on the lid would be hard, but it looks like the pattern has it sorted. I love your fabric choices too (although I'm not going to show my daughter, as the yellow would have her hassling me to make her one!)

  3. Very cute and I LOVE the fabric you choose. I just got some stuff similar to the interfacing you used so glad to see it works well. Thanks for linking to the Craftastic Monday party at Sew Can Do!

  4. That's pretty cute! The headliner fabric sounds interesting, I'm going to have to look for that next time I'm at Joann's. I like that handle, and I love finished edges. I've never seen a bag like this with two separate zips either. Although I suppose it might be easier to find two in a color you like than a single zipper that zips both ways.

  5. Bethany, love your bag and reading your blog. Great fabric, bright and cheerful!

  6. Lovely case! Love the bright colors! I'd put all kinds of fabrics and sewing stuff in there! Thanks for sharing at Submarine Sunday!

  7. Good tip about the headliner fabric - I bet that would save some money.

    And I for one think you made the right choice with the green zipper.

  8. Obviously 'tis the season for train cases (there's a Sew Sweetness one out too) Cute idea anyway :o)

  9. Hi ho, any chance of finding this pattern somewhere? the link you have here doesn't work anymore .... thanks, Joelle

    1. Unfortunately, no--it looks like her blog was removed, and I don't know if it's reemerged elsewhere. However, if you search for 'train case sewing patterns' you'll probably find tons of options.



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