Two zip bags

The house desperately needed cleaning this weekend.

So I did the only logical think I could think of and headed up the sewing room to make things instead. 

Because cleaning is really an act in futility, don't you think? I sure do.

After a bit of rooting about in my fabric stash I settled on sewing up some zippered bags since they are quick, easy, and always useful. (We're on a perpetual simplicity kick over here, so I'll only make things we truly want and need.)

Two zip bags: use what you have : :

Often when I set to work on a sewing project I find myself dreaming of a stack of fresh new fabrics. It happened this weekend, and for a moment I didn't know if I could make this work in an irresistibly-sweet-and-can't-live-without-it sort of way.

But then, simplicity. Always circling back to simplicity (and abundance and appreciation).

I kept digging.

As I learned with Sage's quilt, we have more than enough already, if we just look at it with fresh eyes. And doesn't it feel good to use what we have?

I think so.

So I dug through my stash and found so many treasures, many that I've had since my kids were small. And then – always – I find just what I need and realize that new things (fabric included) is often overrated.

Two zip bags: use what you have : :

Thumbing through my fabrics I always find prints that remind me of a certain time or place. The orange flowers, and old Heather Ross print, were a favorite when Lupine was small. I used on many skirts and tops and dresses for her when she was barely a toddler.

The red calico fell out of the cabinet when I pulled out the orange, a vintage print from my grandma's stash used on my clothes back in the '70's.

I decided it was meant to be and added a bit of that as well. For grandma. (I sewed these on her machine, after all.) Who knows – maybe she pushed it out of the stack when she noticed it was a good match. Because that lady could sew!


The fox and rabbit print is a treasured scrap of Japanese fabric I splurged for when Lupine was four and never used aside from some small appliques and pockets. The green (sparkly!) corduroy I bought for Sage when he was five. Goodness. Such warm memories in these scraps.

See? That's so much better than new.


And so I set to work, patching, sewing, snipping. Before I knew it I had two pouches ready to assemble.

I followed my own zip bag tutorial (It's here if you'd like to use it, too) for these with a few modifications (patchwork on the outside, ribbon loop, and boxed bottom corners). In hindsight, I put the little ribbon loops on the wrong side, and they should align with the zipper pull when closed, not open. But I don't really care.

Two zip bags: use what you have : :

Two zip bags: use what you have : :

Two zip bags: use what you have : :

Two zip bags: use what you have : :

Two zip bags: use what you have : :

The fox pouch I gave to a dear friend who is terribly fond of the fabric I used for the lining. (A very old, very tattered pillow case, if you must know.) She's headed on a trip soon and I thought a new pouch might be handy along the way.

Also, I was looking for an excuse to not clean my house. As you already know.


And though red and orange aren't normally my colors, this one I made just for me. I am carrying more and more LüSa with me these days as I am testing lots of new prototypes and scents, and I wanted it all contained in one space to make it easier to find when I need it. (And easier to clean up after myself when my purse topples over in the car. Which happens more than I'd like to admit and my bag spews body care every which way.)

A favorite lip balm, some experimental tallow balm, a prototype shea balm, and an Uplifting EO blend and my new bag was stocked and ready to go.



Would a few new pieces of fabric have been fun? Absolutely. But do I miss it? Not a bit.

And as a bonus, when you upcycle and use what you have you're sometimes surprised by little details like… the lining of this bag matches my bedroom curtains. (I upcycled the top sheet from that set years ago.)

It's (im)perfection.




14 thoughts on “Two zip bags

  1. Jeanette says:

    oh I love these. So very much! I really want to learn to sew. It seems so daunting though. I am sure, like other things, that once I sit down and work at it I will realize it wasn’t as hard as I thought. It’s just taking the time to try. I want to make an apron and some of these bags pronto 🙂

  2. Charity Troyer says:

    Thank you for posting and sharing your tutorial! I’ve always been intimidated by the idea of sewing but this year will be the year I do it! I have collected fabric here and there over the years and have quite a stash in the closet. If I start with that I can count it as cleaning out the closet, right? 🙂

  3. AmyC says:

    What a nice way to spend the day and today will perfect with the snow we have coming. I’m just getting starting again making quilts and a little sewing. I haven’t done much since my oldest daughter was a baby and now she is 13 (eek), time goes by so fast. Thank you for the zipper bag tutorial. I may give it a try today especially if the snow starts we won’t be going anywhere. I hope you have a good day today!

  4. Rachel Wolf says:

    Start small, Jeanette! The book Sewing with Kids that I reviewed a couple of years ago is a great start (for kids and adults alike). We’re working on an apron right now!

  5. Rachel Wolf says:

    I felt the same way. I stopped sewing when Sage was born and only started again after Lupine arrived. It felt so wonderful o get back into it once more! Enjoy the snow. We can hardly wait!

  6. Erika says:

    Lovely! I’m itching to get after my fabric stash all the more now.

    Why do you think the ribbon pull should align with the zip tab when closed? I thought the ribbon pull would give you something to tug against when you were zipping it shut, and that being on the same side as the zip tab when open would help with that?

    The sparkly corduroy? Swoon.

  7. Kristina says:

    Those are so super cute. I love that you used fabric from your stash. I need to make myself a backpack, and I’m trying to think of a design. I think I’d like to have some zip on pockets so that I can change out knitting projects without having to remove the projects from their ‘bags’. I can do this, right?

  8. Randi says:

    I love this, because I often feel that desire to CREATE, and the same old thing…surely I need new fabric!? But there are always gems to be discovered if you make yourself look instead of giving in. Wish we were geographically closer however…a fabric swapping party would be dreamy! 🙂 Cute bags!!

  9. Rachel Wolf says:

    Well, I thought I did it properly but I’m thinking that if you ever pick it up by the tab it should be on the other side so you don’t dump the contents onto the floor. Maybe I should do two next time!

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