MAKING A DOPP KIT (AKA make-up/toiletries bag)

I was looking for a pattern and tutorial for a dopp kit*, and I found a very good one on YouTube.

This is the end result.

The zip pull cost more than all the other materials put together!

I wanted an interesting lining that was masculine enough, and washable. This fern pattern polyester fit the bill.

The lining fabric is not waterproof, but it's washable.

I selected this particular tutorial and pattern because it has a separate lining, the kind that you "drop in" and attach with hand stitching. Easier patterns have an attached lining, which means you end up with visible seams inside. Not crazy about that!

Besides, I happen to love sewing by hand, so I welcomed the opportunity to practice my invisible stitches.

Hand stitching is a very contemplative process.

The pattern didn't call for the embroidered strips on either side of the zipper - or any embroidery for that matter. That was my own artistic touch.

Can you tell that the little zigzags are actually tiny ferns?

NOTE: The extra zip is going to be cut away.

The name of the site where I found the tutorial is; Kevin's medium is strictly the video. 

To quote him:
Here you’ll find sewing related videos and tutorials created by me or others. This is because I am not a writer. Therefore, I capture videos of my interest in sewing.
Nothing wrong with that!

In fact, the "sew-along" series that goes with this single pattern consists of 15 videos - yes, 15!

The pattern came as a separate download. I had trouble printing it and Kevin kindly added a multi-page version so my printer would accept it. 

I've only been making bags for a few months, but with each one I make I advance my skills and my familiarity with instructions, fabrics, interfacings, etc. It's hard to believe that before I made this bag I had great difficulty sewing a straight seam!

* The name derives from early 20th Century leather craftsman Charles Doppelt, who invented his toiletry case in 1919. The kits became widely known during the Second World War when they were issued to GIs.



BEFORE I MADE THIS CADDY, all the tools I used regularly were in a plastic bin and my constant fear, as I routed around for a a tool, was that I might have forgotten to put the guard on the rotary cutter!

No more! I now have my tools organized and always within reach in this cute caddy. Isn't it adorable?

I had purchased the pattern from Craftsy and printed it out a while back. Now before you ask me for the link, let me warn you that I am not giving it here, for the simple reason that I had a lot of trouble with the pattern and the explanations, so that I ended up having to improvise a lot. I don't want to be blamed for causing those frustrations to others.

However, it's really easy to make and if you know how to sew you can easily make one. My goal in posting this is mostly to pass along the idea. Basically you need an outside cylinder of fabric (interfaced with fusible fleece), a layer or two of pockets, another cylinder of fabric for the inside, and some binding to join the two. You could add pockets on the inside, like I did.

First, you need what they call a "No. 10 can".

It's a can that measures 6-¼ inches in diameter and 7 inches high.

I used a coffee can from Costco, but I have also seen cans of tomatoes of that size; your favourite Italian restaurant might have those in their pantry.

In addition to the diameter and height, it's very important that you measure the girth of your can with a tape measure, then add about two inches to allow for the seam allowance and the thickness of the layers.

That's one of the places where the original pattern failed, and I ended up having no fabric left for a real seam. There was barely enough for an overcast seam, which, luckily, my new sewing machine can do. But for a moment I thought I'd have to start all over!

No, this is not serging, but a serger would do an even better job, of course.

I'M TOO NEW at bag-making to try and turn this into a tutorial. Instead, I will share with you some of the discoveries that I made and lessons I learned during the process, and some of the techniques that I applied, learned in my previous sewing adventures.

1. You Can Fuse Fusible Interfacing To Itself

This pocket piece was much longer than I could cover all at once, so I just joined two smaller pieces.

This is a good thing to know, because if you need thick interfacing and all you have is the thin kind, you can just add another layer. Or two.

2. How To Strengthen Vulnerable Seam Ends

They always tell you to backstitch the open ends of pockets like these, but in my experience it's not enough and I always finish that kind of seam by hand.

For this, you have to leave extra-long lengths of thread, both from the spool and from the bobbin...

...then you pull the top thread to the back by gently tugging on the bobbin thread until a small loop appears... catch that loop (I like to use a crochet hook) and pull it all the way... this...

 thread both threads onto a needle, and stitch them into the backstitching...

...for about an inch, then you can cut it off, or, for even more safety, make a couple of knots of the kind used for tying off embroidery thread.

3. Eek! The Can Needed A Bottom!

This is how the inside of the can looked once I had slipped the caddy over it. That's how it would be if you just followed the pattern.

Clang! Clang! went the scissors every time I dropped then in. I didn't think that metal against metal would be good for the points of my good scissors!

So I cut three circles out of a leftover piece of lining that had fleeced fused to it -- honestly, I have no idea where that was supposed to go! -- stacked them, basted them together then sewed them to the lining.

VoilĂ ! A nicely cushioned bottom for my tool caddy.