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Makeup Brush Roll-up Case with Zippered Pocket

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Whether at home or on-the-go, keeping your makeup brushes organized and clean is always important. We've added a zippered pocket on the inside, allowing you to keep small tools, like tweezers or sharpeners as handy as all your brushes. Or, tuck in pocket-sized cosmetics or perfumes. A secure compartment is particularly great for traveling. This is a wonderful project for scraps or leftover pre-cuts. We used three fat quarters from the True Colors collection by Anna Maria Horner for FreeSpirit Fabrics. 

You'll love our clever pocket construction that creates a pretty finish on all sides, but is so easy to install. 

We include a downloadable template below for perfect rounded corners, although you could also use a small lid or juice glass.

Follow our recommendations for evenly divided slots to hold a dozen brushes. You can also adapt the sizes to best fit your own brush collection. 

There's a layer of iron-on vinyl protecting the entire base panel. You could also use a cotton laminate fabric, but iron-on vinyl is a nice option when you have a specific cotton fabric you want to use for the best color and pattern match. The vinyl provides a wipe clean surface for the brushes to rest against. 

We chose fat quarters for our sample case, which was a fun way to get three perfectly coordinated fabrics. We show you how we effectively cut one fat quarter to yield both the ties as well as all the bias binding. 

This caddy would also work well to hold paint brushes, as well as knitting or crochet needles. Again, simply adjust the pocket divisions to match the tools.

The case finishes at approximately 18" wide x 9" high when flat and about " x 9" when folded. The area for the brushes is about 14½" and the zippered pocket is about 3½".

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

NOTE: Start with enough fabric to allow for a pretty fussy cut. Remember that many printed fabrics can be less-than-perfect when it comes to their motifs being 100% straight and true. With a small project like this, we found it easiest to cut patterns from semi-transparent paper (we used wax paper). You can then adjust the pattern on the motif until you get the best look possible. 

  • Scrap, Fat Quarter or ⅓ yard of 44"+ wide print fabric for the outside of the case and the zippered pocket
  • Scrap, Fat Quarter or ⅓ yard of 44"+ wide print fabric for the inside base panel and pocket
  • Scrap, Fat Quarter or ½ yard of 44"+ wide print fabric for the bias binding and ties - or you can use packaged bias binding
  • Scrap or ⅓ yard for 20"+ lightweight batting
  • ½ yard of 20"+ iron on vinyl; we used Therm O Web's Heat 'n' Bond
  • Scrap or ⅛ yard of lightweight fusible interfacing; this interfacing goes on the back of the pocket unit – we used black so it would be the least visible inside the pocket. One option would be Pellon Designer's Lite.
  • ONE 7" zipper to coordinate with fabric; we used a Coats All-Purpose Polyester Zipper in Kiwi, purchased locally
  • ¼ yard of ⅛" ribbon; optional for zipper pull – we used chartreuse to match the zipper, puchased locally 
  • All purpose thread to match fabric and binding
  • See-through ruler
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Fabric pencil, pen, or tailor's chalk
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Straight pins
  • Small roll of wax or tissue paper; you'll need an approximate 15" x 9" sheet

Getting Started

  1. Download the Makeup Roll Corner Template which will help you get a precise rounded corner. 
    IMPORTANT: This template is ONE 8½" x 11" pattern sheet. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guide line on the page to make sure your printout is to scale.
  2. Cut out the template along the solid line. Set aside.
  3. From the fabric for the exterior and zippered pocket, fussy cut the following:
    ONE 18" wide x 9" high rectangle for the main panel
    ONE 3¾" wide x 9" high rectangle for the zippered pocket
    TWO 1" x 1½" rectangles for the zipper end tabs
    NOTE: If using a directional fabric with a bold motif as we did, take the time to get a pretty fussy cut. 
  4. From the fabric for the interior and brush pocket, cut the following:
    ONE 18" wide x 9" high rectangle for the base panel
    ONE 14¾" wide x 9" high rectangle for the brush pocket
  5. From the fabric for the binding and ties, cut the following:
    TWO 1" x 20" strips for the ties
    Cut enough 2" wide bias strips to equal at least 58" - 60" for the binding
    NOTE: As shown in the illustration below, in order to make the best use of our fat quarter of fabric, we cut slightly under a true 45˚ bias cut. It still worked wonderfully to accommodate the curved corners.

    NOTE:
    As mentioned above, you can substitute pre-packaged bias tape for both the binding and ties in a coordinating solid if you prefer. For the ties, simply fold the binding and stitch closed.
  6. From the batting, cut ONE 18" x 9 " rectangle.
  7. From the interfacing, cut ONE 3¾" x 9" rectangle.
  8. From the iron-on vinyl, cut ONE 18" x 9" rectangle.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

  1. Press all your pieces flat. It is especially important that the interior base panel, to which the iron-on vinyl will be applied, has zero wrinkles. 
  2. We added our Sew4Home label to the exterior panel. If you'd like to add a label to your project, do it now. Place the label in the bottom right corner of the exterior panel approximately 2" in from the side and 2" up from the bottom. 
  3. Find the 18" x 9" interior base panel and the 18" x 9" iron-on vinyl. 
  4. Remove the paper from the vinyl, but don't throw it away. You can use it as a pressing cloth. 
  5. Following manufacturer's instructions, place the iron-on vinyl on the right side of the interior base panel. The edges of the two layers should be flush all around. 
  6. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse the iron-on vinyl in place. Remember, you'll need to use the paper or another similar layer to protect the surface of your iron while fusing. 
  7. We pressed again from the wrong side of the fabric panel for extra security. 
  8. Find the inside pocket panel. Press this piece in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, so it is now 14¾" x 4½".
  9. Assemble the interior layers in the following pattern: place the exterior panel right side down on your work surface, place the batting rectangle on top of the exterior panel, place the interior base panel (with the vinyl in place) right side up on the batting layer, then place the folded pocket piece on the very top, aligning the pocket's left raw edge and bottom raw edge with the base panel; the other layers will extend beyond the pocket by about 3¼". Pin all the layers in place.
  10. Find the corner template. Pin the template at each corner and round, cutting through all the layers with your scissors. 

    NOTE:
    Doing all the layers at once like this insures your edges are flush and will be easier and smoother to bind.
  11. Here's what it looks like with all the corners rounded. 
  12. Take out the pins. Remove and set aside the exterior fabric layer.
  13. Pin the remaining layers (batting, inside layer, and inside pocket) back together.

Creating the brush pockets

  1. From your roll of wax or tissue paper, cut one 14" x 6" piece. Fold the paper in half to create a vertical center crease as a reference line. Unfold and lay the paper flat on your work surface.
  2. Working across the paper, measure and mark as many pockets as you'd like to best fit your brush set, dividing the 14" width evenly. 
  3. As shown in the drawing below, we chose two 2" pockets at the center of the panel with five 1" pockets to either side. 
  4. Pin the marked wax paper securely over the top of the pocket panel. The paper should be centered side to side, which means there will be ¼" of fabric extending beyond on the paper on each side. 
  5. To sew the pocket divisions, you can use matching or contrasting thread. We chose matching. We used a Ditch Quilting foot with the needle moved to the left for a super precise line. 
  6. Following the drawn lines on the wax paper, and sewing directly through the paper and all the fabric layers, stitch from the bottom raw edge to top folded edge of the pocket. Remember to secure your stitch at the start and the end. We chose a lock stitch, which is very neat and tidy. If you don't have a lock stitch function on your machine, back-tack very carefully or leave the thread tails long and hand knot at the back to secure.
  7. Repeat across the entire width of the paper, stitching each seam from bottom to top. 
  8. Simply tear away the wax paper from the sewn seams when you're finished. 
  9. Set aside the interior layers.

Create and attach the zippered pocket

  1. Find the 3¾" fabric piece, the matching interfacing piece, the two zipper end tabs, and the zipper itself. 
  2. Place the interfacing on the wrong side of the fabric piece. The edges should be flush all around. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse the interfacing in place.
  3. Place the interfaced piece right side up on your work surface. Measure 2" in from the left side and make a vertical slice.
  4. Fold back each 9" sliced edge ¼". Press in place. Set these two pieces aside.
  5. Find the zipper and end tabs. 
  6. Place one strip on each end of the zipper so the strip and the zipper are right sides together and the end of each strip is about ¼" from the raw end of the zipper tape. The zipper should be open about half way.
  7. Stitch the zipper tabs in place, running your seam just below the top and bottom zipper stops.
  8. Press the zipper tabs away from the zipper on each end. Keep the zipper open about half way.
  9. Pin a folded pocket piece to each side of the zipper. The slightly wider of the two pocket pieces goes on the left, the narrower on the right. Take the time to make sure each folded edge is the same distance to either side of the zipper teeth. Pin in place.
  10. Attach a Zipper foot and topstitch along each side of the zipper. Re-thread the machine if necessary with thread to match the fabric in the top and bobbin. Again, make sure your seam is consistent along both sides. As with all zipper installations, you'll need to stop with your needle in the down position when you are approaching the zipper pull. Lift the presser foot to access the pull and zip closed. Drop the foot and continue your seam.
  11. You should now have panels stitched in place on either side of the zipper; the excess width should be neatly filled in with the zipper tabs.
  12. Place the interior base panel right side up and flat on your work surface. Place the zippered panel right side down over the pocket, aligning the left raw edge of the zippered panel with the right raw edge of the pocket. Pin in place.
  13. Using a ¼" seam allowance, stitch along the entire vertical edge of the zippered panel. We used our Janome Quarter Inch Seam foot.
  14. This vertical seam secures the right edge of the brush pocket panel and creates the left interior edge of the zippered pocket. 
  15. Fold the zippered panel out into position and press well. Remember to protect your iron from touching the iron-on vinyl. 
  16. Flip over the panel and round the corners of the zippered panel to match the base panel. 
  17. Layer the exterior and interior panels wrong sides together, aligning the raw edges all around. Pin in place through all the layers. 

Make and attach the narrow ties

  1. On one 20" x 1" strip, fold in each end ¼".
  2. Next, fold each side in ¼" so the raw edges meet in the middle – similar to a piece of double fold bias binding. We also clipped both ends at an angle so it wasn't so bulky.
  3. Fold the strip in half again, encasing the raw edges and aligning the long folded edges.
  4. Pin together and stitch one seam the length of the strip, starting and ending as close to each end as possible. 
  5. Repeat to create the second tie.
  6. Pin the ties side by side, overlapping just slightly, against the exterior fabric panel. The ties should be aligned at the center of the right side. Make sure you align the raw edges so the ties lay back across the fabric. 
  7. Machine baste the ties in place close to the raw edges.

Binding

  1. Collect your 2" bias strips and stitch them together at an angle to create one continuous length.
  2. Fold the completed strip in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, and press.
  3. Open the strip, wrong side up, so the crease line is visible.
  4. Fold each side towards the center crease and press.
  5. Fold again along your first crease, so the two folded edges align. You now have your very own double fold bias tape. It should finish at 1" flat or ½" folded. Press well to set the folds.
  6. Completely unfold one side of the binding and place it right sides together with the exterior.
  7. Starting at the middle of one side (we chose to start at the point where the ties are basted in place), stitch in the ditch of the binding crease around the entire perimeter.
  8. Wrap the binding up and over to the interior. The folded edge of the binding should just cover the first seam. Pin in place.
  9. Stitch the binding in place to secure and finish the ends using your favorite method. We used a simple overlap. We also switched back to our Ditch Quilting foot.

    NOTE:
    If you are new to making and working with bias tape, read through our tutorial on the fascinating world of bias tape creation and application.
  10. We attached a ribbon through the zipper pull as a final touch. 
  11. The case naturally wants to fold into easy quarters. Simply fold, fold, fold, wrap the ties around once or twice, and make a pretty bow.

Contributors

Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Leah Wand

Section: 

Comments (13)

Margaret Blair said:
Margaret Blair's picture

Thanks for the answer. I will continue with the 14.75 pocket piece. 

Sorry for asking again. I didn't see your response. 

Maggie

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@Margarget - I'm glad all is well. Let us know how it all turns out. We'd love to see a picture.

Margaret Blair said:
Margaret Blair's picture

Per the instructions for cutting the pocket is cut 14 3/4 X 9. 

In step 8 prior to cutting the corners with the templete the now folded pocket is supposed to be 14 1/2 X 9. I am just wondering which measurement is correct. I have stayed with the 14 3/4 but when I put the marked wax or tissue paper I have more than 1/4 . 

Can you help

Maggie Blair said:
Maggie Blair's picture

In Step 8, it says the folded pocket piece is now 14 1/2 by 4 1/2. 

Mine is 14 3/4 Wide per the instructions to cut the pocket piece. 

Also When I layer all the pieces I only have 3" extending beyond the pocket piece. And the instructions say I should have approx 3.5 inches. 

I am going to proceed and keep the pocket at 14 3/4. 

Thanks for the pattern. Making them for all the bridesmaids in my daughter's wedding next spring. 

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@Maggie - these wil make great bridesmaids gifts! Sorry about that one typo - the width of the pocket panel is as listed in the cuts - 14.75". We've fixed Step 8 to reflect this. Thanks for the heads up. The amount that extends should indeed be about 3.25" - 3.5" -- with pure math 18" on the main panel less 14.75" on the pocket panel leaves 3.25" --  then when seaming together the 14.75" panel and the 3.25 zipper panel with a 1/4" seam, you should end up with a perfect 18" width to match the base panel. But, as you know, sometimes in sewing, "appoximate" is the best description :-). Even at 3", you should be fine, and can always trim the layers flush as needed.  

JanetD said:
JanetD's picture

i made this and it's really a nice travel item to have!  i had one snag - the zipper pocket panel was short after sewing to the pocket panel-- next time I would make it 4" to 4.25' X 9"  -- i had to cut one end a little -- not a big deal (and maybe i missed something in my measurements).  I really appreciate you showing how to use all the different feet of the sewing machine -- makes sewing a breeze!  thanks for another great project using all leftovers!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@JanetD - So glad you had such great results. On the side panel, there are a few little things in the steps above to keep track of. When you slice it, you aren't slicing right down the middle. One side will be slightly wider than the other. As mentioned above, this wider panel goes on the left and it is this wider left side that is attached to the main body of the panel -- with the narrow 1/4" seam. This way, the zipper remains centered in the panel. Yay!

JanetD said:
JanetD's picture

i figured out what I've done after looking back at your photos -- i put the fabric closer to the zipper teeth -- and between both sides shortened the panel about a 1/4".  I will make this again as it's a great gift for my makeup-loving nieces!   thank you!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@JanetD - Glad you figured it out - you can adjust as needed for the next ones ... and I know your neices will love them 

judieblue said:
judieblue's picture

I'm having problem pinning, too, Sandria.  I never used to so wonder if it's a Windows 10 thing like most new problems I'm experiencing.

Thank you for this great pattern.  I'll be making many of these for gifts.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@Judieblue - so sorry you are having trouble - good point that it could be an incompatibility issue in Windows 10 -- we do not run Windows 10 on our test machines and so can't confirm, but the pinning function is working well with our other testing.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@Sandria - Pinning is still available. You can pin from the social media icons directly below the article's teaser on the home page. Or, you can hover you mouse over any of the images within an article to bring up the Pinterest icon on that image and then pin from there. We have tested on all the major browsers and all is well. 

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