Ready,Set,Go! ~ Round Travel Bag

on June 21 | in Sewing Tutorials + Patterns | by | with 79 Comments

We love this Round Travel Bag from Jeannette. The bag has lots of handy compartments to keep toiletries organized as you travel, and we like the rounded shape and the piping too! Learn more about Jeannette in her introduction, then visit her blog. You can also find Jeannette at Pinterest and Flickr.

When I was in college, I went on road trip with my three best girlfriends. One of them had the cutest round toiletry bag with classic Pooh all over it. I instantly coveted it. It took me nearly a year to track down one of those bags. One day my mother and I were in a mall and ducked into a store and there on the shelf was my bag! My mom says to this day that my face just lit up.

I’m not sure what it was about that little bag, but every time I got to use it made me smile. Fast forward several years, and my daughter is old enough to want a “pooh bag” of her own. I decided I would try to copy my beloved, tattered pooh bag. When I presented it to her, with all its flaws, her face just lit up. She still has it, and I must say it’s nearly as worn out as my bag was when I finally retired it.

When Sew,Mama,Sew! put out a call for entries about projects for people on the go, I knew it was time to dust off that old pattern and fix some of the things I disliked about it. And so, without further ado, I present to you the new and improved bag!


  • ½ yard of outer fabric
  • ½ yard of inner fabric (laminated)
  • 2 yards piping
  • 4 ½ yards ¼ – â…œ inch double fold bias tape
  • Fusible interfacing scrap, at least 2 ½ x 9 inches
  • 22 inch zipper in coordinating color
  • 9 inch zipper in coordinating color
  • ¼ yard clear vinyl
  • Zipper foot
  • Paper clips

Notes on Materials: You can use an iron on vinyl product to create your water resistant inner fabric. Fuse the iron on vinyl to the inner fabric following the directions on the package. Read the cutting instructions to be sure you have the placement of the vinyl to accommodate the needed cuts.

If you want to make coordinating bias tape and piping you will need an extra ½ yard of your outer fabric. You could probably squeak by with a fat quarter, but do so at your own risk. This is a great, related tutorial.

Sewing on vinyl and laminated fabrics can be tricky. The vinyl or laminate tends to stick to the bottom of a regular presser foot. There are Teflon-coated sewing machine feet to alleviate this stickage, but an easier (and much cheaper) solution is to add a small strip or two of Scotch “Magic” tape to the bottom of the foot. Use the “Magic” tape which is slightly opaque, not the purely clear stuff. I have also heard good things about using a walking foot, but because there are zippers involved that doesn’t really work well for this project.

Throughout the pattern, I use “right” and “left” to mean the right or left hand side of a piece of fabric. Additionally I use “RIGHT” and “WRONG” to describe the printed front or back of a fabric.


      2 – 8 ½ inch circles from the outer fabric (outer top and bottom)


      2 – 8 ½ inch circles from the inner fabric (inner top and bottom)


      1 – 2 ½ x 9 inch rectangle from the outer fabric (handle)


      1 – 2 ½ x 9 inch rectangle from the interfacing (handle)


      1 – 2 x 23 inch rectangle from the outer fabric (outer top sides)


      1 – 2 x 23 inch rectangle from the inner fabric (inner top sides)


      1 – 4 ½ x 23 inch rectangle from the outer fabric (outer bottom sides)


      1 – 4 ½ x 23 inch rectangle from the inner fabric (inner bottom sides)


      1 – 6 x 6 inch square from the outer fabric (outer back)


      1 – 6 x 6 inch square from the inner fabric (inner back)


      1 – 9 x 9 inch square from the clear vinyl (inner top zippered pocket)


    1 – 3 ½ x 32 inch rectangle from the clear vinyl (inner side pockets)

Iron the interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric for the handle. Along its length, fold the handle in half RIGHT sides together and stitch ¼ inch from the raw edge along the long edge. Turn right side out and position the seam in the center of one side of the handler. Press.

Top stitch very close to (about â…› inch, but I eyeball it) each edge of the handle.

Top and Bottom:
Center the handle on the RIGHT side of one of the circles from the outer fabric. Place the handle seamed side down. Baste each end of the handle in place. This is the outer top piece.

Pin the piping around both the top and bottom outer circles as shown. Baste. Using a zipper foot for this step is remarkably helpful.

Baste the inner top and bottom circles to the outer top and bottom circles WRONG sides together.

Inner Zippered Pocket:
Lay the top piece inner side up and place the 9 inch square of clear vinyl over it. (The top piece is merely for visual aid for now. Do not sew the top piece to the clear vinyl yet!) Position the 9 inch zipper on top of the clear vinyl and circle in a placement that pleases you. I put mine about 3.5 inches from the top of the square.

Mark a line on the clear vinyl square where the CENTER of the zipper is. (Or get crazy and wing it!) Cut along this line.

Cut two pieces of bias tape to 10 inches. Along the inner edges that you just cut on the vinyl baste one of these pieces of bias tape. See photo.

Place the zipper right side up in front of you with the zipper pull on the left. Pin the basted bias tape edge of the inner top pocket to the zipper RIGHT side up. Top stitch through the bias tape and zipper.

Position the zippered pocket on the inner side of the top circle RIGHT SIDE UP with the handle and zipper parallel to one another.

Baste the (square) zipper pocket to the top circle close to the edges. Be sure your zipper pull is open about ½ way. (Not that I know from first hand experience how annoying it is to pick basting stitches out of vinyl and vinyl covered fabric!…)

Trim away the excess vinyl from the top.

Yay! The top and bottoms of the bags are done. Set them aside and let’s make the sides of the bag.

Lay the 4.5 inch outer rectangle RIGHT side up in front of you. If you’re using a directional fabric, be sure the pattern is “upside down” in front of you. Place the 22 inch zipper face down with the pull on the left at the “top” (the edge furthest from you) of the outer rectangle.

Place the inner fabric rectangle of the same size WRONG side up on top of the zipper lining up the edges with the outer fabric. Also check the direction of the print if applicable. It should be upside down as well. (Not that I would know anything about picking upside down fabric out either! Ahem…)

Pin through all three layers. Sew ¼ inch in from the edge of the zipper using a zipper foot.

Fold the fabrics back so they are now RIGHT sides out and top stitch close to the seam on the outside of the side.

Now take the outer top rectangle and lay it out in front of you RIGHT side up (directional prints upside down!). Put the zipper face down with the exposed edge of zipper lining up with the top of the outer top rectangle. Place the inner top side rectangle on the stack RIGHT side down (check the print direction is upside down). Pin, and stitch about ¼ inch along the zipper edge.

Again, fold the pieces back, press and topstitch. Your side is done!

Inner Pockets:
Sew bias tape along one long edge of the inner pockets rectangle.

Fold the outside bottom side up and out of the way. “Pin” this rectangle to the inner bottom side about ½ inch from the bottom using paper clips. This piece is quite a bit longer than the bottom side, so evenly distribute the length along the inner side.

Sew a straight line at each paper clip to create the side pockets. Don’t forget to back-tack a bit. Leave the ends free.

This is the easiest part to make! Take the outer back piece and fold two edges under (to the wrong side) and press. I pressed about ½ inch on either side under to give myself some wiggle room. Do the same with the inner back piece taking care that both pieces come out to very near the same width.

That’s it for the back for now!

Pin the bottom circle and the side OUTER fabrics together. The sides won’t reach all the way around the circle, If you care which part is the back of the bag, leave the gap there.

Using your zipper foot sew around the sides as close to the piping as possible leaving a couple of inches or so on either end free. Turn the bag out and inspect the piping. Make adjustments to your seam allowance if necessary. Turn the bag back inside out.

Center one of the raw edges of the outer back piece over the remaining edge of the bottom circle. Baste.

Pin the loose ends of the zippered sides to the edge of the bottom circle overlapping the back piece you just basted down. At this point, you can trim the excess from the sides, I overlapped the back piece about ½ inch on either side. Just be careful to make sure your zipper pull doesn’t get trimmed off!! Baste the ends down to the bottom circle.

Baste the ends of the inner vinyl pockets to the ends of the zippered piece. This will make the next steps easier.

Take the inner back piece and place it over the outer back piece WRONG sides together lining up the seam allowances. Pin to the bottom circle and sew through all the layers.

The ends of the side should be sandwiched between both back pieces now. Line the sides and the two back pieces up as straight as possible. It might help to baste the ends of each side (including the inner pocket vinyl) together inside the seam allowance first. After you have it lined up and secured, top stitch along the edges of the back pieces from the outer side of the bag.

Unzip the zipper about ½ way.

Pin the top to the body of the bag OUTSIDES together. Make sure that the zipper and handle are oriented as desired. Stitch around the circle about ⅜ or as close to the piping as possible.

Turn the bag out through the open zipper and admire your new bag! The only step left is to hide those raw seams on the inside. Turn the back inside out again.

Trim the seam allowances to a scant ¼ inch around the top and bottom. Be careful not to cut any important stitches. I wouldn’t know anything about that either. Just sayin’.

Pin the bias tape around the trimmed seam allowances if desired. Honestly,it’s much easier for me to just hold it and go a few inches at a time. I don’t tend to poke myself nearly as often. Your bias tape should have one side slightly wider than the other. Top stitch the bias tape to the seam allowance near the edge of the narrower side.

All done! Turn your new travel bag out and pack it full of all of your toiletries!

This week you can win a copy of Where Women Create: Inspiring Work Spaces of Extraordinary Women (May/June/July Volume 4 Issue 3), With Fabric & Thread by Joanna Figueroa or We Love Color: 16 Iconic Quilt Designers Create with Kona Solids Compiled by Susanne Woods.

Comment on any post this week to win, and learn more about the books in our June Book Giveaways post.

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79 Responses to Ready,Set,Go! ~ Round Travel Bag

  1. Maureen says:

    I really like the idea of making one to put toys etc. in for my grandson to travel with.

  2. carolee c. says:

    That is a great case! I can see it going to the pool or the beach as well!

  3. Christie S. says:

    Love the travel bag. Too cute.

  4. Heather says:

    This is my favorite tutorial in a long time!!!!! I think I will make it for an upcoming bridal shower.

  5. Amy Losordo says:

    You are so kind and generous to share this pattern. What a great idea. I needed an idea to make something for my Secret Santa…this will be so special and useful!

    Many thanks!

  6. Rae Ann says:

    Fabulous travel bag and tutorial! I will be making these for gifts for Christmas. Thanks so much!!!

  7. Laura - chantelandme says:

    I think this is so amazing!!! You are pure genius!

  8. This is a creative bag idea for travelling. I tried to design my own rounded travelling bag through this tutorial. It was very useful.

  9. MargaretAnnB says:

    Very well done tutorial! I have to make one of these soon.

  10. Robin says:

    Love it! Has anyone made this to know the finished dimensions? Looks like travel sized stuff fits & just wondering if I could make it taller to accomodate full size products….

  11. what a great bag! Super tute. Thank you. I look forward to making one of these.
    Chance to win the book sounds good; please throw my name in the hat.

  12. Gigi says:

    Perfect for our camping trip next week! Question is, when will I find the time to make it? 🙁

  13. Eva Selnick says:

    This bag is going to Keep me sewing for a LONG time for all my kids,Gkids and GGKids.

    Thanks so much. Eva

  14. DQ says:

    please enter me in the giveaway! Love the tutorial on the round toiletry bag! On my to do list.

  15. Beth says:

    This is adorable! Will be making this!

  16. Kara Altshuler says:

    I wish I had this pattern last summer when my son was going away to college…..this type of bag is great to take into a hallway shower in the dorm and so much better than the flimsy bags available in the bed and bath stores…..great job, and I can’t wait to make one using coordinating fabrics that my guys would like! Thanks for the tut!

  17. rosa says:

    it`s very cute!

  18. Lottie Essig says:

    I love the the round travel bag! Brilliant — can’t wait to make it! Thanks.

  19. Janet Pierce says:

    Love this bag. Thanks for the tutorial.

  20. Lori says:

    What an adorable travel bag and a great gift idea. I’m going to get started on this one for my niece going to college in the fall. Thanks for sharing the tutorial!

  21. Maria says:

    Thanks for this marvellous tutorial, I will try to do it, Maria

  22. Nancy says:

    What a great bag!! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  23. Cynthia T. says:

    Thanks for the great tutorial. I want to make this for my daughter who is in college but maybe….I will make one for me first! I LOVE it!

  24. Wow, so clever!!

  25. Wow, thank you so much sharing this procedure to make this pretty bag. I tried to make them from the sacks and used some beads and colorful materials. In stead of using pins, we care hand stick, so that it will be more strong. It is very helpful while traveling.

  26. VickiT says:

    Great idea. Thank you for the quick tutorial

  27. bekah Bills says:

    LOVE this bag! Can’t wait to give it a try. Thanks for the great tutorial.

  28. Jen S says:

    Wow! Pretty bag for all my traveling goodies. I’ve never sewn with vinyl having heard it’s a tad tricky. Good tip about taping the foot.

  29. Jen V says:

    Where are all the replies to this post? This is a beautiful project, though maybe a little fussy to put together. It would make such a lovely gift! Thank for the tute!

  30. Catherine Eddleman says:

    I love this! I have a round bag I received as a going-away gift from some co-workers about 6 years ago and it is well loved. It isn’t lined to withstand toiletries so I use it for my beading projects. I take it every where. This tutorial is great and I appreciate you taking the time to share the steps on how to make it. I’m a novice at sewing and round things seem very daunting, this is so helpful! Thank you =)

  31. Marcy says:

    Love this bag. I may need to make one for many family members and friends. Thank you for the great idea.

  32. Janice Svercek says:

    I love the travel toiletry bag. Thanks for the great tutorial. Can’t wait to get started.

  33. Allison C says:

    So cool! I am definitely putting this on my to-do list.

  34. lee says:

    What a great tutorial – really written well! thank you!

  35. Stephanie Wehrman says:

    WOw, a lot of sewing techniques in this one! I am a little intimidates, but might give it a try anyway!

  36. Janice D says:

    I love this Round Travel Bag and may have to give it a try. Thanks for a really nice tutorial.

  37. Jennie P. says:

    Thanks for this awesome tutorial. I love the fabric you used too!

  38. Jennyroo says:

    I can see this bag being perfect for taking my kids’ toys with us on trips! Matchbox cars and other treasures zipped in nicely and ready for the plane or car or restaurant!!!

  39. Jacque says:

    I love this little round bag, but what I am really looking for is a larger rectangle bag with a zipper,, similar to an old train case.
    Do you offer any patterns for something like what I am looking for?
    Thank you in advance,, Again,, I love this little bag and will have to make myself one. Thank you for sharing your pattern

  40. Tina L. says:

    Need to make one of these. That is perfect when staying with relatives and sharing facilities.

  41. Kristen Kinkaid says:

    Too cute! Thanks so much for this blog!

  42. Ginger says:

    Love the bag! Just what I need for travelling.

  43. Judy says:

    How perfect for summer travel! This would also be great for college students who share a common shower area and would be wonderful to keep manicure and pedicure supplies. Thanks

  44. Heidi says:

    This is a genius project! Love it!!

  45. carriem says:

    This is cool–maybe a little ambitious for me!

  46. Ramona says:

    I love your travel bag especially the circular pattern of it. Thanks for sharing your tutorial.

  47. Frances says:

    This is absolutely adorable! Thanks so much for the detailed instructions.

  48. jen says:


  49. M Evans says:

    That’s perfect for traveling! I might have to summon up mu courage to sew vinyl!

  50. Lorrie says:

    What a great project. I like the way everything can stand upright. So practical.

  51. ratty says:

    i LOVE this tute! i think i need to make about three of these!

  52. Gill says:

    What a great bag! I wish you’d posted this earlier as I’m off on holiday tomorrow and this would have been perfect!!!!

  53. YC says:

    Brilliant! This is definitely one of those light-up-your-face bags. This is going near the top of my list.

  54. Great travel bag! You can see everything on hand and no need to unload your stuff when you check into you hotel. I love how compact and easy to pack….Thanks for sharing, Judith, Texas

  55. Erica says:

    Really cute design for the bag.

  56. Irenoski88 says:

    I think this is a bit difficult for me but it’s a great tutorial anyway and I’ll save it in my to-do list!

  57. superstitches says:

    Love this bag. Such a great and useful design.

  58. SewLindaAnn says:

    Whoa!!! LOVE this tutorial (your fabric fishies are delightful) and I am SO going to make this. It’s just fabulous and so useful.

  59. Kerrie Porter says:

    Hi! This is a great idea. I cant wait to try this bag.


  60. Christina G. says:

    WOW, love this! Great tutorial, thanks for sharing.

  61. MarciaW says:

    very cute — would be great for college students in dorms with community showers

  62. Kay says:

    This is adorable and practical too, love the fishes.

  63. Lynnette says:

    Awesome bag! And nice pictures. This bag is on my list to make.

  64. carole says:

    I love this – the directions are perfect and I will be making it.

  65. Alice S says:

    This is awesome. I hope to make one before our beach trip. If it works out well, I could see this being a nice Christmas gift for some of my family.

  66. Oh how lovely! I love this tote. I’ve seen many different styles of zippies and cosmetic bags which are super but this one is unique in shape, design and function. Love it and plan to make several as gifts!

  67. alison says:

    What a great bag. I’m putting it on my list to make for my daughter (maybe I’ll have a Christmas gift done before December this year)! And I’ll need one for myself too!

  68. This is awesome. My daughter starts a road trip this weekend – coming home. Thanks for me next Gift Project! 🙂

  69. Tersa Gaio says:

    It is so beautiful. And the tutorial is very good. I think i’ll give it a try. Congratulations and thank you!

  70. Anne says:

    Wow, what a useful bag! Thanks for the detailed instructions.

  71. Sally says:

    Great travel bag! Truly utilitarian and pretty as well!

  72. neat. I think I’d be scared my circle would come out more oval or lumpy shaped as I sewed around, but this is cool. It beats my throw everything in my suitcase and then fish around for all the stuff I need.

  73. stacey says:

    this tutorial is great! I can’t wait to make one!

  74. CJ says:

    This is the cutest bag! It seems a bit intimidating at first glance, but your instructions look to be very clear and complete. Thanks!

  75. Jocelyn says:

    Oops, can’t believe that I cannot even spell my own name 🙂

  76. Stephanie Moore says:

    Love this! I have never found a travel bag that meets my needs. I think I will make one! Thanks.

  77. Jocleyn says:

    Great project!

  78. Fenna says:

    don’t you just love when you find the perfect bag!

  79. Kelly Irene says:

    What a great bag for all the summer travels! I think I have everything for this already!

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