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Roll-up Brush Organizer with Zippered Pocket
Keep your makeup brushes (or any other tall, thin tools) organized, clean, and tidy with this pretty roll-up pouch. We added a full size zippered pocket on the inside to keep smaller items securely tucked away. The lining of the case and the pocket is a ripstop nylon that provides a wipe clean, water resistant surface. There’s also an inner flap to protect the delicate brush tops. We chose fat quarters to make our sample, pulling together four fabrics from two different Tim Holtz fabric collections: Wallflower and Correspondence. Working with pre-cuts from a collection is an excellent way to get lots of perfectly coordinated fabrics.
This type of pouch is great for travel since it quickly rolls up and ties into a small, easy-to-stow size. The combination of the ripstop lining and the protective flap means you can pack-and-go even if your brush set is still a bit dirty or damp. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been known to rush through the ol’ makeup routine when trying to catch a plane!
Tim Holtz does a lovely job of keeping some similar colors from one collection to the next. This makes it easy to mix and match his fabrics as we did here. We selected three fat quarters from his Wallflower collection in softly muted tones then added a fun typewriter graphic from the Correspondence collection for the zippered pocket.
We include a downloadable pattern set below for the brush flap as well as a template to get the perfect spacing on the zippered pocket.
If zippers tend to give you the heebie jeebies, you’ll like how this one is constructed on top of the exterior and lining layers, then simply zig zagged in place. That’s Sew4Home for you, always looking for the techniques that look the coolest… but are easy to do!
You can follow our recommendations for evenly divided slots to hold eleven brushes. Or, you could also adapt the sizes to best fit your own brush collection. Change the sizing further to hold paint brushes, knitting or crochet needles, even sewing notions. We show you how to mark your dividing lines on a sheet of transparent wax paper. Stitch directly along the drawn lines, through the paper, then just tear it away when done. The stitching creates a perforated line, so it’s easy to remove.
This Roll-up Brush Organizer finishes at approximately 18″ wide x 9″ high when flat and about 4¾“ x 9″ when folded. The area for the brushes is about 13″ and the zippered pocket is about 4”.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
- Walking or Even Feed foot; optional but helpful when working with multiple layers – if appropriate, you can also engage your machine’s built-in fabric feeding system, such as the Janome AcuFeed™ Flex available on many of our Janome studio machines
Fabric and Other Supplies
NOTE: Start with enough fabric to allow for a pretty fussy cut. We originally used Fat Quarters from the Tim Holtz Wallflower Fat Quarter Bundle and Correspondence Fat Quarter Bundle. If you do not use fat quarters, you’ll need similar 18” x 22” rectangles from the suggested fabrics, which sometimes means getting a half yard in order to give you enough cutting room both horizontally and vertically.
- FOUR coordinating Fat Quarters or similar cut yardage as described above; we originally used three fabrics from the Wallflower Fat Quarter bundle and one fabric from the Correspondence Fat Quarter bundle both by Tim Holtz for FreeSpirit:
Rose Parcel in Multi from Wallflower for the exterior
Torn Wallpaper from Wallflower for the pocket panel
Diamonds in charcoal from Wallflower for the brush flap, binding, and ties
Typo in Neutral from Correspondence for the zippered pocket
- ⅓ yard of 44″+ wide ripstop nylon or a similar wipe-clean substrate for the main interior brush panel, the brush flap lining, and the the pocket lining; we originally used ripstop nylon in brown
- ½ yard of 1”+ wide lace; we used a pretty, open weave lace in ecru
- ⅓ yard of 45”+ wide mid-weight fusible interfacing; we used Pellon Décor Bond
- ⅓ yard of 45”+ wide fusible batting; we used Pellon Thermolam
- ONE 9” Zipper
- Thread to match fabric
- 2 beads with center holes large enough to accommodate the ¼” ties; we used red pony beads
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Rotary cutter and mat
- Craft scissors for cutting the metal zipper
- Iron and ironing board
- Straight pins
- Seam Sealant, we used Fray Check
- Small roll of wax or tissue paper; you’ll need an approximate 15″ x 11″ sheet
Getting Started and Pattern Download
- Download and print out our TWO pattern and template sheets, which have been bundled into one PDF to make the download easier.
IMPORTANT: Each page is ONE 8½” x 11″ sheet. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guide rule on each page so you can confirm your final printout is to scale.
- Cut out each pattern piece along the solid line. The Brush Cover pattern is two pieces. Using the arrows printed on the pattern pieces, butt together (do not overlap) the two pieces. Tape together to create the full pattern.
- The Zipper Pocket Placement template can be left as a full sheet; it will be used for positioning only.
- From the fabric for the exterior (Rose Parcel on our sample), fussy cut ONE 18” wide x 9” high rectangle.
- From the fabric for the interior pocket panel (Torn Wallpaper on our sample), fussy cut ONE 14” wide x 9” high rectangle.
- From the fabric for the zippered pocket (Typo on our sample), fussy cut ONE 5” wide x 9” high rectangle.
- From the fabric for the brush flap, binding, and ties (Diamonds in our sample), fussy cut the following:
Using the assembled pattern, cut ONE for the brush cover
THREE 1½” x 22” strips for the binding
TWO 1” x 21” strips for the ties
ONE 1” x 5” strip for the zipper pull
- From the lining fabric (ripstop in our sample), cut the following:
ONE 18″ wide x 9″ high rectangle for the main lining
ONE 5” wide x 9” high rectangle for the zippered pocket lining
Using the assembled pattern, cut ONE for the brush cover lining
- From the mid-weight interfacing, cut the following:
ONE 14″ x 4½“ rectangle for the brush pocket
TWO 1½” x 8” strips for the zippered pocket
Using the assembled pattern, but trimming along the dotted seam allowance line, cut ONE for the brush cover
- From the fusible fleece, cut ONE 17” x 8” rectangle.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Create the zippered pocket
- Find the 5” x 9” exterior pocket panel (Typo in our sample) and the 5” x 9” pocket lining panel (ripstop in our sample). Stack the two panels one on top of the other.
- Measure and slice down the center vertically through both layers.
- Find the two 1½” x 8” interfacing strips. Flip over the two exterior pocket panel strips. Place an interfacing strip on the wrong side of each, centering it so there is ½” of fabric showing beyond the interfacing on all sides. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse in place.
- Along the inner cut edge of each piece, fold back the raw edge ¼”. You are folding back both exterior pieces and both lining pieces.
- Place the pocket layers wrong sides together, aligning the folded edges. Pin in in place along the folds.
- We basted the folded edges together for added security since the ripstop is slippery and loves to shift.
- Place the two layered panels ½” apart along the vertical center line. Find the zipper and place it on top of the panels, bridging the gap. Pin the zipper in place along both sides through all the layers.
- It’s very important that your zipper is sitting in place evenly along the gap.
- Find the Zipper Pocket Placement template you printed above. Layer the assembled pocket on the template to check the sizing all around. The bottom of the zipper will extend beyond the fabric panel. This is correct; it will be trimmed flush later in the instructions.
- Focus on that gap spacing to insure it is correct.
- Set up the machine for a medium zig zag. Thread with thread to best match the zipper in the top and to best match the lining in the bobbin.
- Stitch the zipper in place with a zig zag stitch through all the layers from the top to the bottom. We used our built-in Janome AcuFeed™ feeding system for this step and throughout the project. As with most zipper installations, you will need to stop, with the needle in the down position, and open and close the zipper as needed to allow the presser foot to pass the zipper pull.
- Set aside the zippered pocket panel.
Assemble the main panel
- Find the main panels: the 18” x 9” exterior (Rose Parcel in our sample), the 18” x 9 lining (ripstop in our sample), and the 17” x 8 fusible fleece.
- Center the fusible fleece on the wrong side of the ripstop so there is ½” of fabric showing beyond the fleece on all sides. Following manufacturer’s instructions, and using a pressing cloth to protect the ripstop, fuse the fleece in place.
- Place the fused lining and the exterior wrong sides together. The raw edges of both layers should be flush all around. Machine baste around the entire perimeter, staying very close to the raw edges.
- Set aside the main panel.
Create and place the main pocket panel
- Find the 14” x 9” pocket panel (Torn Wallpaper in our sample). Fold it in half, wrong sides together, so it is now 14” x 4½”. Press to set a center crease line. Unfold, wrong side up, so the crease line is visible.
- Find the 14” x 4½” interfacing piece. Place it against one half of the pocket panel. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse in place.
- Re-fold along the original center crease line, wrong sides together.
- We continued to use the brown Eclectic Elements thread. You could also re-thread to a matching thread.
- Using a slightly lengthened stitch, edgestitch along the top folded edge of the pocket.
- Find the layered main panel. Place it lining side up and flat on your work surface.
- Place the pocket panel on top of the main panel, aligning the right side and bottom raw edges of the two panels. Pin the pocket panel in place.
Creating the brush pockets
- From your roll of wax or tissue paper, cut one approximate 15″ x 11″ sheet. You want the wax paper to be big enough to cover the entire project.
- 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. Below is a drawing of our pocket plan.
- We found it helpful to also trace in the outside raw edges of the main panel as guidelines for centering the wax paper.
- Place the marked wax paper over the top of the pocket panel. Align all your drawn lines and pin the wax paper in place.
- To sew the pocket divisions, you can use matching or contrasting thread. We chose to stay with the brown thread as we felt it was best to keep the stitching as unobtrusive as possible across the ripstop. We used brown in the top but switched to an ivory for the bobbin to best match the exterior panel. We also lengthened the stitch.
- 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 the top raw edge. You are continuing the stitching above the pocket in order to keep that slippery ripstop layer as secure as possible
- Repeat across the entire width of the paper, stitching each seam from bottom to top.
- Simply tear away the wax paper from the sewn seams when you’re finished.
- We added our Sew4Home label to the center of the pocket panel. If you’d like to add a label to your project, do it now.
Attach the zipper pocket and the lace accent
- Fold back the right raw edge of the zipper pocket ½”.
- Place the zipper pocket in position, right side up, on the lining side of the main panel. The top, bottom, and left raw edges of the pocket should be flush with the main panel. Pin the pocket in place along the right folded edge.
- Re-thread the machine if necessary with thread to match the pocket panel in the top and to best match the main exterior panel in the bobbin. Keep a lengthened stitch. Stitch from top to bottom along the folded edge. Stop about 1” from the bottom raw edge.
- Find the length of lace. Tuck one end just under the folded edge of the pocket, then pin across the bottom the panel. Depending on the width of your lace you may need adjust the position of your lace. We wanted about a ½” reveal above the binding and so made sure we had a full 1” of lace above the raw edge, which left just a bit of lace below the bottom raw edges of the panel. Trim off the excess lace at the right side edge of the main panel.
- Machine baste the lace in place.
- Trim away any excess from the bottom so all the raw edges are still flush.
- Finish the pocket panel’s edgestitching down to the bottom of the panel.
- Trim away the excess at the end of the zipper so it too is flush with the raw edges of the layers. Remember to use your craft scissors – not your good sewing scissors!
Create the brush flap
- Find the exterior and lining flap panels and the trimmed interfacing panel. Center the interfacing on the wrong side of the exterior panel so there is ½” of fabric showing beyond the interfacing on all sides. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse in place.
- Place the fused exterior and the lining right sides together. Pin together along both sides and the long angled edge. The opposite long edge remains raw as it will be caught up within the binding.
- If necessary, re-thread the machine with thread to best match the flap fabric in the top and to best matching the lining in the bobbin. Re-set the stitch to normal.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch along the pinned sides, pivoting at the corners.
- Clip the corners and press open the seam allowance.
- Turn the flap right side out through the open side.
- Using a long, blunt tool, such as a chopstick, knitting needle or point turner, gently push out all the corners so they are nice and sharp. Press flat.
- Lengthen the stitch.
- Edgestitch along the seamed edges of the flap, pivoting once again at all the pretty corners.
Make and attach the narrow ties and cut the diagonal corners on the main panel
- Find the two 1” x 21″ tie strips. Press the strip in half, wrong sides together, to set a center crease. Unfold, wrong side up, so the crease line is visible. Fold in each raw edge so they meet in the middle at the crease line.
- Fold the strip in half again along the original center crease line, encasing the raw edges and aligning the long folded edges.
- Pin together and stitch one seam the length of the strip. Both ends remain raw.
- Pin the ties one on top of the other against the right raw side edge of the exterior fabric panel. The ties should be aligned at the center of the panel’s edge. Make sure the ties lay back across the fabric.
- Machine baste the ties in place close to the raw edges.
- Still working on the right side of the exterior panel, mark each corner for the diagonal cuts. Measure 1½” in along the top edge and 1½” down the side at each corner.
- Align your ruler to both points and slice off the corner points.
- Make sure you measure and mark carefully so both angles are the same.
Place the flap
- Flip the project so it is once again lining side up and flat on your work surface.
- Find the finished flap.
- Position it, right side up, across the top raw edge of the main panel above the divided pocket panel. The left straight edge of the flap should butt up against the inner edge of the zipper pocket.
- The right angled edge of the flap should sit ⅝” in from the right raw edge of the panel, giving you clearance for the ⅜” binding.
- Pin the flap in place, then machine baste across the top through all the layers, staying close to the raw edges.
- Collect your three 1½“ binding strips and stitch them together end to end to create one continuous length.
- Fold up one side of the strip ⅜”. Press well along the length of the strip.
- Fold back one end of the strip to create a clean finish, and starting at the middle along the bottom edge, pin the binding right sides together with the lining side of the main panel. The raw edge of the binding strip should be flush with the raw edges of the main panel.
- Pin into each corner and fold to create a miter (a diagonal fold).
- Repeat at each of the opposite side’s diagonal cuts.
- Using a ⅜” seam allowance, stitch the binding in place through all the layers. When you approach each corner or point, stop ⅜” from the edge.
- Remove the project from under the needle.
- Refold the corner, reposition under the needle again at the exact point where you stopped (⅜” in), and continue on your merry way to the next corner.
- When you’ve stitch all the way around and are back to where you started, you can finish the ends using your favorite method, trimming away the excess binding. We used a simple overlap.
- Wrap the binding up and over to the exterior.
- The folded edge of the binding should just cover the first seam. Pin in place.
- Hand stitch the binding in place with a tiny slip stitch.
NOTE: Our binding steps are summarized here, and everyone has their favorite binding methods. If you are brand new to working with binding, read through our tutorial on the fascinating world of binding creation and application.
Zipper pull and beads
- We added a fabric zipper pull.
- Find the 1” x 5” strip and fold it up just like you did for the wraparound ties.
- Slip it through the zipper pull.
- Align the tails one on top of the other and stitch through both layers up the center of the strip, getting as close to the zipper pull as possible. Add a drop of seam sealant to the raw ends.
- We then added a pretty pony bead to the end of each wraparound tie, simply slip the raw end through the bead and knot to secure. Trim away the excess so the tail is close to the knot. Add a drop of seam sealant to each raw end.
- The case will naturally want to roll into easy thirds or quarters – based on what you insert into all the pockets. Simply fold, fold, fold, wrap the ties around once or twice, and make a pretty bow.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Debbie Guild
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I made this for my neighbour for her birthday last year (2021). Not only is she an NHS angel, but in her ‘spare’ time, she is does make-up for friends, wedding parties, etc. She was so thrilled, that she said she was keeping it for personal use. i used a “Queen Bee” fabric pattern, as it suited her. Being in the UK, could not access your suggested fabric selection.
Wonderful! I’m so glad to hear our project has a good home in the UK. Thank you for letting us know about your success – and excellent gift idea.
Magnifique et merci pour les
Magnifique et merci pour les explications
@Monette – You are so welcome
@Monette – You are so welcome. Let us know if you make the project. We’d love to see a picture on Social Media.
Hi- I think I’m making a
Hi- I think I’m making a mistake on the zipper pocket. When I fold back the two edges (as in step 4) and baste together the pieces, they aren’t the right width on the zipper pocket placement pattern- they’re about a 1/4 in too narrow. Am I reading something incorrectly? Thanks!
@ StephC321 – you are right!
@ StephC321 – you are right! The picture is correct, but the instructions have an error — you are folding back 1/4″ not 1/2″ — it has been corrected and we appreciate you pointing it out. Sorry for any confusion. We do double and triple check all our projects, but with thousands of measurements flying across the screen every day, every once in awhile, one falls through the cracks. Adjust from 1/2″ to 1/4″ and you should be golden.
Great! Thank you so much!
Great! Thank you so much! Also, I noticed my ripstop seemed to shrink about a quarter inch when I fused the fleece on. Have you guys ran into this issue?
@ StephC321 – Shrinkage on
@ StephC321 – Shrinkage on ripstop with the fleece is not something we ran into at all — odd :-/
Strange….. thanks for all
Strange….. thanks for all of your replies!
This project came along at
This project came along at just the right time! I’m in a neighborhood craft/art club and one of our members is having a birthday lunch this week. Since she is “our painter” this made the perfect gift. I made this up in a few hours and it’s wrapped and ready for giving this Friday. She is going to love it! Thank you – this turned out really great and looks so professional. Wonderful project.
@JanDec – Wow — you get the
@JanDec – Wow — you get the speedy finish gold star! We’re so happy to hear to came together so easily for you. I’m sure your friend will love it!
nice tutorial, I like how the
nice tutorial, I like how the brushes fit so well when we make one for ourselves. All of these projects have been wonderful for us to make for holiday gifting
@jleshop – Thank you so much!
@jleshop – Thank you so much! And you’re right, there have been some great gift ideas this week!