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Travel Accessories: Roll-up Makeup Brush Case

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This handy case is not only great for travel, it's also dandy for everyday storage of your make up brushes. We used one of the four pretty laminates from Anna Maria's Loulouthi collection as our inside fabric choice so if any traces of make up rub off your brushes and onto the case, it can be quickly wiped clean.

Laminates are traditionally made in the wider 54-55" width. So, you'll definitely have some pieces left over from this project. In fact, you may have enough to make our stylish insulated lunch bag. Finished (and flat), the case measures approximately 18" x 9".

Our Travel Accessories series is sponsored by Free Spirit Fabrics, as part of our Artist Trio Series introducing Anna Maria Horner's amazing Loulouthi fabric collection. You can find Loulouthi at Fat Quarter Shop, CityCraft, Fashionable Fabrics, and Fabric.com.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

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  • ⅓ yard of 44-45" wide print fabric for the outside of the case: we used Loulouthi Buoyancy in AH40-Butterberry
  • ⅓ yard of 44-45" wide print fabric for the inside pocket of the case: we used Loulouthi Hugs and Kisses in AH45-Pink Lime
  • ⅓ yard of 54-55" wide laminate for the inside of the case: we used Loulouthi Framed in OCAH07-Citron
  • ⅓ yard of lightweight batting (regular batting not fusible)
    NOTE: If you cut carefully, you can get away with just ¼ yard for each of the above four layers. As you'll see below, the cut dimensions are 9" in depth, which is exactly ¼ yard. I like to always get a little bit more to allow a fussy cut.
  • ½ yard of 44-45" wide print fabric for the bias binding: we used Loulouthi Hugs and Kisses in AH45-Wine
  • All purpose thread to match the binding
  • See-through ruler
  • Seam gauge
  • Fabric marker, pen, or tailor's chalk for marking fabric
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Straight pins
  • Roll of wax paper

Getting Started

  1. Download the Case Corner Template pattern, 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.
  2. Cut out the template along the solid line. Set aside.
  3. Cut ONE 18" wide x 9" high rectangle of each of the following: the fabric for the outside of the case, the inside of the case, and the inside pocket (Loulouthi Butterberry, Citron laminate and Pink Lime respectively), as well as from the lightweight batting.
  4. From the leftover inside pocket fabric (Loulouthi Pink Lime in our sample), cut TWO 1" x 20" strips for the ties.
  5. Our finished binding will be ½" double fold bias binding, so we need to start with 2" wide strips of fabric on the true bias (45˚ angle) for the binding. Cut enough strips from your binding fabric (Loulouthi Wine in our sample) to create a continuous length of bias tape that is at least 58-60". If you are new to making bias tape, read our tutorial Bias Tape: How to Make It & Attach It.
    NOTE: You can substitute pre-packaged bias tape in a coordinating solid if you prefer.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

  1. Press all your pieces flat. If you use a polyester batting do not press it; it shouldn't need pressing and the heat could damage it. Also, the laminate should be pressed from the back on low heat.
  2. Find the piece that will be your inside pocket (Loutlouthi Pink Lime in our sample). Press this piece in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, so it is now 4½" x 18".
  3. Assemble your layers in the following pattern: place the outside fabric right side down on your work surface, place the batting on top, place the inside fabric right side up on the batting layer, and finally, place the folded pocket piece on the very top, aligning its raw edges with the bottom and side raw edges of the other layers.
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  4. Pin all the layers together across the center.
  5. Find the corner template. Pin the template to each corner and round, cutting through all the layers with your scissors.
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    NOTE: Doing all the layers at once like this insures that your edges are flush and will be easier and smoother to bind.
  6. Here's what it looks like with all the corners rounded.
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  7. Take the pins out and remove and set aside the outside fabric layer (Loulouthi Butterberry in our sample).
  8. Pin the remaining layers back together.
  9. Fold these layers in half and mark the exact center with pins top and bottom. You could also use your see through ruler to find and mark the center.

Creating the brush pockets

  1. From your roll of wax paper, cut one 18" x 9" piece. Tape together pieces if need be to end up with a full 18" x 9" piece. Fold the paper in half to create a center crease. Unfold and lay the paper flat on your work surface.
  2. Measure and mark 1" to the left and 1" to the right of the center crease and draw two parallel lines.
    NOTE: You can also draw along the center crease if it makes it easier for you to follow.
  3. Measure and mark 2" to the left from the left line and 2" to the right from the right line, and draw two additional lines.
  4. Working towards the left from your left-most drawn line, measure and mark 4 more vertical lines, each 1" away from the last.
  5. Working towards the right from your right-most drawn line, measure and mark 6 more vertical lines, each ¾" away from the last.
  6. The remaining sections on either end are just whatever they end up to be. In our case, 2¼" on the left and 1-5/8" on the right.
  7. You can also use your own brush set if you would like to totally customize your case.
  8. Pin the marked wax paper securely over the top of layered fabrics (the batting/laminate/pocket layers... remember, you set the back piece off to the side). Match the center crease of the wax paper with the center pin marks on the fabric layers.
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  9. To sew the pocket divisions, you can use matching or contrasting thread. We chose contrasting.
  10. Following the drawn lines on the wax paper sewing directly through the paper and all the fabric layers from bottom raw edge to top raw edge. Remember to lock your stitch at the start and the end.
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  11. Simply tear away the wax paper from the sewn seams when you're all finished.
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  12. This is a great way to measure and mark all these little pockets and the wax paper allows a regular presser foot to slide over the laminate. Without the paper, you'd need a Teflon® or Ultraglide foot to move across the sticky laminate finish.
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Make and attach the narrow ties

  1. On one 20" x 1" strip, fold in each end ¼".
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  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 the end piece we pressed down at the beginning at an angle on both ends so it wasn't so bulky.
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  3. Fold the strip in half again, encasing the raw edges and aligning the folded edges.
  4. Pin together and stitch one seam the length of the strip, starting and ending as close to each end as possible.
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  5. Repeat to create the second tie.
  6. Pin the ties side by side, overlapping just slightly, to the outside fabric piece. The should be aligned at the center of the right side. Make sure your alighn the raw edges so the ties lay back across the fabric. In other words, with both the ties and the fabric piece laying in front of you, the right ends of the ties should align with the center of the right side of the fabric piece.
  7. Machine baste the ties in place close to the raw edges.


  1. Collect your 2" bias strips and stitch them together at an angle to create one continuous length.
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  2. Fold the strip in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, and press.
  3. Open up the strip, wrong side towards you.
  4. Fold each side towards the center crease and press. Fold one side nearly all the way to the center fold mark - so it is almost touching the fold; fold the other side just a little over half way to the fold line - so there is a bit of space between the raw edge and the fold.
  5. Fold again along your first crease, right sides together, so your two folded edges are together. You now have your very own double fold bias tape. It should finish at 1". You can also automate this step by using the Simplicity Bias Tape Maker.
  6. Starting at the middle of one side (we chose to start at the point where the ties are basted in place), attach the binding around the entire perimeter.
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  7. As mentioned above, if you are new to making and working with bias tape, read through our tutorial on the fascinating world of bias tape creation.
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  8. We attached our Sew4Home label to the outside.
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  9. The case naturally wants to fold into easy quarters. Simply fold, fold, fold, wrap the ties around twice and make a pretty bow.

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Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Debbie Guild



Comments (56)

Godebout joelle said:
Godebout  joelle's picture

  j aimerais faire ce genre de trousse  mais pour  le materiel de coiffure (  brosse  ciseau, peigne  etc ....  Merci

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

@ Smila - It does look similar but no more so than most makeup brush rolls. The coincidence is the fabric, which came out that summer, and was popular in many venues. We were contracted by FreeSpirit and Anna Maria to so a special series with the collection. We certainly didn't copy their pattern, and we doubt they copied ours. It is likely just happenstance, which is common with a project that really only has a few ways of going together.  

gailk said:
gailk's picture

Please clarify on the binding.  Since it is a double fold bias binding at 1 inch, do we stitch at 1/2 inch on the inside fold of the binding?  I can't tell from the picture.  Thanks a bunch!! 

Courteney said:
Courteney's picture

I love this make-up brush case!  It is exactly what I needed!  I've been making them for friends and family, and they love them, too.  Thanks for such a great tutorial!

Carlinha said:
Carlinha's picture

Hurray... a year ago I saw this project and bought a lot of fabrics but didn't started it. Yesterday I thought was time to make a effort and give a try. Took me the whole day but I finished  I'am very happy and why not... proud of myself! The tutorial for bias and how tho deal with the ends were awesome and helped my way to sewing. Today I'm cutting more colorful fabrics to make more of this cute roll-makeup and give as a birthday gifts. Thank you again!

Chelsea Simmons said:
Chelsea Simmons's picture

May I make and sell these? I wanted to make sure before I sell too many. I apologize that I didn't think to ask sooner. :-(

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

@ Chelsea Simmons - here is our standard policy - thank you for checking:

You can make small quantities for sale if you make the items yourself. They cannot be manufactured by others or sold through a third party. We simply ask that on the tag and/ or somewhere within the display or packaging and/or within the sales description online, credit is given for the item being created from a copyrighted design/pattern/tutorial from Sew4Home.com.

Anonymous said:
Anonymous's picture

I just made this with a slight modification.   I've always had problems binding rounded corners no matter how much I practice.  They always look uneven, wrinkled and sloppy.  So, I left the corners square to simplify the binding.   I also added a non-lined  2 1/2"  flap at the top to fold over the brushes so they don't accidently fall out when rolled.

Kate0717 said:
Kate0717's picture

does it matter what type of fabric i use? can i use apparel fabric, quilting fabric, or home decor fabric from joann fabrics? and are laminate fabrics the same as vinyl fabrics or laminate cotton? sorry for all the questions, i'm new to sewing (obviously )

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

@ Kate0717 - when we specify 44-45" cotton, we are refering to any standard weight quilting/apparel cotton - you're good there with what you find at a store like Joann or an indepedent retailer (online or in-store). You could use a heavier home decor fabric, but I'd caution against getting your layers too thick as it will make binding harder. The laminate we used is also referred to as cotton laminate; it's your best bet because it is softer, thinner and easier to work with. Vinyl would be too thick for this project. Have fun!

Nora said:
Nora's picture

Trying to sew this cute Roll-up Makeup Brush Case for a friend but I'm having problems fixing the bias around the corners. How do you avoid wrinkling?

By the way: LOVE your tutorials! Thanks so much!

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

@ Nora - Curves are practice more than anything else. Don't be afraid to use a lot of pins. The bias cut should give you the little bit of fabric stretch you need to make the turn. You can also clip your curves to help them turn but be super duper careful. Clipping to make the turn is used more often for attaching piping or other trims; bias binding is traditionally not clipped, but it's a back up if you're really struggling. There's a link above to our article on bias binding, but here it is again:


Sarah McCollum said:
Sarah McCollum's picture

I don't know how to sew yet and don't have time to learn at the moment.  :(  Does anyone have one of these for sale, for not a lot of money?!

Carolin said:
Carolin's picture

Hey, i saw your case on Pinterest and its amazing :) i love your fabrics! this yill be one of my next projects! 

Greets from Germany

Maddy said:
Maddy's picture

Just made one of these and I can't tell you how much I love it! Absolutely brilliant tutorial and idea for a project.  I have so many homeless brushes that now will be nested away safely.  Would love to send a picture to you guys,The  Dia de los Muertos fabric along with some batks I used really make it pop.  Also, thanks for the tip on using the Simplicity bias tape maker.  I've always made my own bias tape and had just about forgot that I even owned one of the tape makers (bought it years ago and found it mildly intimidating).  On your suggestion I busted it out today and even my husband noticed that my brush roll has some of the best binding I've ever done! Thanks again. 

Dayle said:
Dayle's picture

Would this need to be longer for artists' brushes? Anybody know?  BTW I used tissue paper instead of waxed and it came off easily, sewed great!

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

@ Dayle - the case finishes at 18" x 9" but you could easily enlarge or reduce it and change the vertical dividing lines to best fit your brushes... make-up or artist!

Evelien @belle-brunette.blogspot.com said:
Evelien @belle-brunette.blogspot.com's picture

This is so neat! I love it :)

Now I'll have to go find some cute fabric and try this myself

Anonymous said:
Anonymous's picture

Hi girls. I love this tutorial. I've made one already and it is lovely but my problem is when I insert all my brushes the pouch no longer lays flat. It gets all swiggly and it doesn't look so cute when closed. I used a lightweight interfacing to bulk it up. Should i have used something else, stabilizer maybe? Can you tell what you have used? Thank you so much. And please continue to make tutorials like this one. I love it!

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

We list everything we used in the Supplies section above: laminate, cotton and lightweight batting. If you've used another combination, it's hard to know what might be causing the trouble. With the three layers as suggested, you shouldn't need the additional bulk of an interfacing. 

pinks said:
pinks's picture

u r great and solve my problem bcoz i didnt find pouch like this anywhere.thanks a lot.

mira kanti patel said:
mira kanti patel's picture

I am planning to make for my three angles. I really like the pattern.

Pretties2 said:
Pretties2's picture

I really like this project. However, I had a hard time getting anything to mark on wax paper. Also, attaching the binding did not go well. I will use my own method for attaching bias binding next time. Thanks for the pattern.

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

T* - The extra wide double fold bias tape should work. The layers get a little thick, so test a scrap first to make sure you can encase all of them for a neat finish. 

Laurie said:
Laurie's picture

Love te idea of this. I'm having a hard tie reading te instructions as the pictures are showing through the words. Is it my iPad?

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

@ Laurie - we tested the overall site as well as this particular article via iPad using a Safari browser and had no display issues. Because of all huge number of variables in computer system and browser set-up, it's almost impossible to troubleshoot specific tech issues from a distance. Our focus is always to insure things are working correctly on our end, which in this case they are. Perhaps check for system or App updates... seems like there are always about 100 of those everyday 

Biebs said:
Biebs's picture

Brilliant, a friend sent me this link, I was looking for a pattern for a large medicine roll to take with me with all my first aid stuff and medications to a hike in Nepal, decanting all the pills and things in baggies. I am doubling it up and creating larger pockets, maybe with a snap closure if I feel courageous, great easy tute for a sewing ignoramus like moi. Thank you!

Anonymous said:
Anonymous's picture

Brilliant, a friend sent me this link, I was looking for a pattern for a large medicine roll to take with me with all my first aid stuff and medications to a hike in Nepal, decanting all the pills and things in baggies. I am doubling it up and creating larger pockets, maybe with a snap closure if I feel courageous, great easy tute for a sewing ignoramus like moi. Thank you!

Soph said:
Soph's picture

OH NO! The tie length you use in the picture and for the tie at the end is not the tie length you said to use in the instructions!! I have used 12inch as described but now my ties dont wrap twice or make an even bow in the middle!! Please correct the instructions! Apart from that thank you so much for a great tutorial!! I'm sorry my ties arent as I'd expected :( right at the end of the project doh!

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

@ Soph - there was a tiny typo in the instructions, which I have corrected -- but the cutting instructions in Getting Started are correct:

"From the leftover inside pocket fabric (Loulouthi Pink Lime in our sample), cut TWO 1" x 20" strips for the ties."

I have corrected the in-article 12 back to a 20. Thanks for the alert. We try to be as careful as possible, but with a new article every day, things so slip through. I'm so sorry you missed the 20" cut instructions.

Kareninsl said:
Kareninsl's picture

Although you did correct the tie measurement in the cutting instructions, it says further down under the sewing instructions "on one : 12" x 1" strip, fold in each end 1/4".

I also wanted to print this, but it is 17 pages long. Would it be possible to have an option to not print some or most of the photos so we don't waste so much paper?

Looking forward to making a few of these for myself and daughters. Thanks for the tutorial!

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

@ Kareninsl - Thank you for the alert. This has been corrected. We only offer the print and pdf icons at the top of each article. Our focus at S4H is to have more complete instructions than most and more photos than most in order to allow the greatest number of people (with the widest variet of sewing skills) to have success with a project. However, most printing set-ups will allow you to skip pages and/or print at a different size to reduce pages. 

Quita Steggeman said:
Quita Steggeman's picture

I made rolls like this but on larger scale for hair brushes, combs, etc.

I made them for gifts, went to dollar store and bought pack of combs, brushes that coordinated with fabric used.

The multi pack had large wide tooth combs, rattail etc...and had hair brush to match as well.People could always remove & use own combs & brushes. I even have a round brush in mine and fits fine.

 I made these out of the quilted material and lined with a different material. I used velcro instead of ties for closing. Gave these as Xmas gifts eveyone loved them. I think I've had mine for over 20 years now...is great for travel packing in makeup case. I also made the small make up brush roll...found pack of make-up brushes that matched the combs etc at dollar store too. Again...they could remove the brushes I bought and replace with thier own favorite brushes.

This is so nice for keeping your brushes and combs organized for travel or just in your vanity or bathroom drawers.


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

Ha! We don't sell our projects... but you could make one of your very own!

Thank you, I am difinitely making one 2moro ! said:
 Thank you, I am difinitely making one  2moro ! 's picture
I am definitely making one to moro!smilies/smiley.gif
sewingofcourse said:
sewingofcourse's picture
For crochet hooks, just make a small flap at the top of the roll. Stitch it across the top and on each side... I have a large knitting needle roll made by my grandmother, and it has a top flap.
cma0001al said:
cma0001al's picture
I made two of these over the weekend and gave one to a close friend. She loved it. I found it fun to make but used pre-laminated fabric for the inside. I have lots of brushes and this was fabulous. Thanks for the patterns. I love this site.
gladys vera said:
gladys vera's picture
smilies/cheesy.gif, genial, felicitaciones, lo fabrique para tijeras y alfileres
Elizabeth R. said:
Elizabeth R.'s picture
This would be great for crochet hooks too! I've been looking to make some kind of easy travel case for my hooks so I can take projects with me while my kids are at their swimming lessons and this looks like it will be perfect. The laminate might even provide some friction so the hooks don't slide out the top.