How to sew a clear vinyl bag

I'm always looking for clever storage solutions, and see-through is my ultimate fave because I'm a child of the 80's. Well-----sort of.

 I mean I was born in the 70's but have no recollection of that bad ass decade... so..the 80's. 
 Know what I'm sayin?!

 Those jelly shoes were to die for. Those glitter bracelets? I had 100.

My Confetti Clutch PDF pattern was inspired by my love of jelly too.  ;)

Anywho, I searched for a clear tutorial on making see-through vinyl cases but everything I found had the wrong side of the fabric showing on the inside. So here's my rendition with the pretty fabric on both sides.

It's been done before I'm sure--so please don't get your knickers in a bunch over this. Just sayin'.  After the whole MQG hoopla on "derivatives" I'm just OVER drama.   #don'tcare  #doyourthang

Put your Crayons in there, your tape, washi tape, stickers, zippers, lady things, markers, whatever.

 You're the boss! Like Tony Danza. 

Pink hair dye.
Sewing trinkets.
It all goes.

Yes I bought pre-sharpened pencils for three times the price for my kids.
I just
sharpening ten trillion pencils.

It will make you crazy, guaranteed.

UNlike my tutorial, which is written in ultra clear mode.

(I hope/wish/crossing fingers....)

If you have trouble just IG me! I'll answer as quickly as possible. 
Unless I'm eating Doritos while watching the Olympics, because that has me in a trance! Those athletes are amazing, just draw dropping every single one. 

OK! Let's do this.


20 gauge vinyl (available online here or at your local craft shop in a giant roll). If in doubt, ask. It's usually by the table cloth vinyl section in fabric stores. 
Leave it on the roll--it will wrinkle easily, so store it on the roll until ready to sew.  Get a half yard to play with.

Teflon sewing foot (also called nonstick foot). OR Put scotch tape (cello tape) on the bottom of your regular sewing machine foot so it will slide over the vinyl.  

Zipper Sewing foot - skinny to help sew zipper on.

Fat quarter or remnant of fabric + interfacing scraps. I like SF101 or Craft Fuse by Pellon.

Zipper- 10" or larger we will trim to size. Don't freak out if you have a 9" zipper-just make the zipper tabs bigger. No biggie.  

Scraps for zipper tabs 2 pieces at 2" x 3" approx

Wonder clips or clothes pegs

Cut & Prep:

2 pieces of Vinyl: cut at 7 1/2" (tall) x 12 1/2" (wide)

2 pieces of Fabric: 6" x 12 1/2"

2 pieces of Interfacing: 3" x 12 1/2"  

You have 2 zipper tabs at 2" x 3"

Iron the interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric pieces now.


1. Sew vinyl to fabric along 12 1/2" edge, right sides together.

Put on your vinyl-seeing goggles for this photo:
Like SuperMan/Woman.

Close up 

2. Press fabric and seam allowance up, away from the vinyl. Top stitch, catching the seam allowance that is tucked behind the fabric.

......two rows of top stitching because that's what Bey would do ok? 

3. Fold the top raw edge of the fabric in 1/4" and press. Repeat these steps to make the second side of the bag.

 Arrow is pointing to the top edge that we folded down a quarter inch.

Fold down the top edge to meet with the seam allowance, like photos show. Pin in place and carefully sew along this edge, catching both sides. 

I put several photos of this step so you get me. ;)

4. Make zipper tabs for the ends of zipper.
Fold 2" x 3" fabric in half and press. Open, then fold ends back in to meet at the original pressed line. Press again. Fold again so it is now like a taco, and fit the end of the zipper inside. Stitch along these folded edges, catching both sides. Trim.

5. Attach zipper to sides.
Place zipper right side down on top of side panel.

 Pin in place and switch to the zipper foot for your sewing machine. Sew along this edge at 1/4" seam allowance.

Fold zipper away, finger press. If you choose to, top stitch along long edge catching seam allowance. 

6. Place remaining side panel on work surface. Lay zipper side panel on top, right sides together. Match the remaining free edge of zipper to top raw edge of panel. Pin in place and sew along zipper tape 1/4" seam allowance..

7. Lay piece flat and press both sides away from zipper. Top stitch if you haven't already. 

UNZIP the zipper.

Unzip the zipper. Don't make yourself unduly crazy by skipping that bit.

8. Place right sides together and wonder clip all around.
You have your zipper unzipped right?

Sew all around perimeter. (Dashed lines.)

9. Trim corners if you like, and trim seam allowance if you have HUGE ones. Sometimes I space out and do giant seam allowances (like one sews in garment sewing) --- so here's a reminder in case you're like me ..  LOL!

Turn right sides out, carefully. It will be sticky-ish and crinkly at first, but the vinyl will smooth everything out once warmed --so pOp it in some sunshine and watch it magically look fantastic again.

Yay it's done!

Time to fill it with pretty stuff. Just because.

I'm thinking Simone could totally use one for all her medals. . .

What do you think?

She needs to organize them, am I right?! 

Or I could make an XL large one for Queen Bey and her grammy collection. 

This tutorial works for any size- just make the measurements bigger or smaller to suite. 


Happy Sewing friends! Tag me if you make some bags, I'd love to see them!


How to make a retro carrying case with faux leather

Kate doing her best Bowie impression:

I used some really pretty faux leather (AKA Vinyl) I found for cheap-o at Joann Fabrics. It's gold, and crackly, and looks luxe to me. Pretty easy to sew with because it's soft on the back side, so it slides easily on the sewing machine.
HOWEVER----- you WILL want to use a walking foot when sewing for ease, because I did experience some issues when using my regular foot. Not always, it seems to bunch only at the beginning of stitching, but when I used my walking foot there were ZERO issues.

This is a walking foot:
They pop on easily and will help with bulky seams. A must buy if you make bags, quilt, or do anything with layers.    Photo below is a link to Bernina. I would NEVER buy a cheap foot (made in China)--buy what your machine brand is, and be sure it's the style you have. I had to return a cheaper foot because it was terrible! Only Bernina parts for me now. Support your local shop- I asked a Rockford quilt shop to order mine for me, and she did-and mailed it to me! Service counts. 


2 pieces exterior fabric in upholstery weight approx 1/2yard
2 pieces lining fabric quilting cotton                         " "
2 pieces SF 101 interfacing
Optional: pocket fabric (about a fat quarter or long 1/8 yard)
scraps for zipper tab ends
18" zipper / or 16" will work
zipper sewing foot, walking foot
Wonder Clips

My Measurements (you can adjust as needed- this is the basic construction technique for any size).

Exterior and Lining pieces: 13 1/2" tall  X 18" wide
Zipper tabs: 2'x3"
Zipper: 16 or 18" 
SF 101- for lining pieces 13 1/2" x 18"
Pockets: 6" x 17 1/2" (to keep out of seam allowance if using heavy fabric) and 6" square

1. Interface the lining fabric now. Press with hot iron onto the wrong side of the lining. Mine is voile fabric (super duper soft and light) so I needed to interface it for sure. You may choose not to, whatever floats yur' boat.  

2. Zipper tabs:
Click on image to enlarge.

* Optional:  If you desire pockets, make them now. 

Sew to the lining fabric centering each piece and placing about 3 to 4" down from the top raw edge. 

My pockets measure:   6" square for one   and 6" x 17 1/2" for the other. If using upholstery fabric there is no need to hem or serge the raw edges. If using quilting cotton, make a small double fold hem around raw edges or encase in bias binding.

*  The space on each side indicates how I keep my upholstery fabric out of the seam allowance. IF you use quilting cotton, extend it all the way to the sides. 

Diagram showing smaller pocket & attaching to lining by sewing around edges.

3. Place zipper right side down onto the right side of outer fabric, aligning top edges. In other words, right sides together. 

Pop on the zipper sewing machine foot and sew down the edge, attaching the zipper to the fabric with 1/4" seam allowance.  It is GINORMOUSLY easier to sew zippers on using the proper sewing foot! Believe me- I didn't use mine for two whole years and then when I finally did it, I was cussing at myself for not doing it earlier. LOL

You MAY have to move your needle over to one side in order to not hit the sewing machine plate. See my photo below. I turn the knob for needle position and hand crank it first to test - making sure I won't break my needle before pressing the pedal to the metal.

Needle position correct-- it's a GO.

See? Not so much waviness when the zipper foot is used.

4. Place one lining piece and exterior piece with zipper right sides together, sandwiching the zipper in between. Use wonder clips to hold them in place, making sure the sides are aligned and even.

 Flip it over so you can see the previous stitched line we just sewed, and sew again directly on this line. 

Now both pieces are attached to the zipper. 

This is the side you are looking at when sewing -because you can see the previously stitched zipper line.  

Yes I cut my sides a little off, OH WELL.  bahahahaha 
Trim it later dudes. It'll all work out in the end.

5. Press these pieces WRONG SIDES together now, so they both are on ONE side of the zipper.

First press out like this:

  Then press wrong sides together so it looks like this: (only not blurry and flatten better...sorry I had a gallon of coffee in me here)..

6.  Repeat these steps to attach the other side.

Right sides of exterior pieces together---sew along zipper as we did before.

7.  Then again with the remaining lining piece:

8.  Once both sides are attached, flatten and press them out, away from zipper like below.

9. Time to sew it together.  OPEN YOUR ZIPPER.

I repeat: OPEN the ZIPPER.

Did you get that? Do not be like me..do as I say, not as I do. LMAO!

Place exterior pieces together, aligning edges. Same for lining.

Use clips to hold in place.

Mark a space in the side of the lining of about 6" where you will not sew.

Your zipper is open...right?

10. Sew all around the perimeter, leaving the gap marked open for turning out.

11. Clip corners and trim seam allowance some to lessen bulk.

12. Turn right sides out and press out corners with a chop stick or knitting needle. Sew opening closed and tuck lining inside. 

 Admire yourself and your new bag! 

Have gobs of chocolate in celebration, I think it's the law.

Let me know if you make a Retro Case!  :D :D

They are SUPER fast & make great gifts! You could even forgo wrapping paper and place gifts inside a bag and gift it that way- yay!

Find supplies here: