Easy Zippered Oil Cloth Travel Case

September 26, 2015


I had some delicious Marimekko oil cloth buried in my stash that I finally got around to making a little travel tote out of. This was one of those last minute necessity makes. I was leaving for New York the next day so I needed easy and I needed now.

I knew the style I wanted and a little Googling led me to this Boxy Bag Tutorial by Kelby Sews. I found her tutorial straight forward, thorough, and I ended up with exactly what I wanted. I went with an oil cloth exterior and cotton lining. Perhaps oil cloth for both would make most sense, or even no lining, but due to a fabric shortage this is what I went with! If you’re going to make your own consider your fabric selection based off it’s intended use. Do you want to be able to wipe the inside clean if there’s a product spill? Will the outside get dirty easily (think wet or messy bathroom counters)? Do you want it to be washable? Do you want it to be slouchy or more rigid?


Here’s the important information run down…

Pattern/Tutorial Used:
Boxy Bag Tutorial by Kelby Sews

I used an 11″ zipper and cut my fabric to 12.5″ by 16″
I cut a 1.5″ square from each corner

Materials Used:
Marimekko oil cloth (PALMA print purchased from The Finnish Place)
Quilting cotton
Polyester thread
Universal 90/14 needle
Standard foot (teflon foot or tape usually recommended with oil cloth, I had no problems)

Finished Dimensions:
7″ x 4″ x 4″

Fabric Considerations:
Oil cloth can stain (see photo’s below). While some scuffs I’ve been able to clean with water and dish detergent, my hair oil (or maybe it was conditioner?) spilt and stained the bottom of the bag. I haven’t gone to great effort to try and clean it since it’s on the bottom, but I’m showing it as a full disclosure to others considering this fabric combination. If you want totally spill proof I think you need to use vinyl? Suggestions on this welcome!

In an effort to conserve time/fabric I initially only made one pull tab, on the side where the zipper pull rested when closed. I figure you only needed a pull tab to hold onto when you opened the bag, WRONG. You also of course need something to hold onto when you zip the bag closed! I went in after and added the second pull tab. Do not avoid the pull tabs. They are far easier to sew than they look and they greatly increase the functionality of your bag!



Do not skip the tabs! It makes all the difference to have something to hold onto when zipping/unzipping your bag. If you don’t know what I mean, look at other cosmetic bags you might have lying around.


This should give you an idea of the drape. It’s not rigid, but due to the corners it does hold it’s shape. Vinyl would make for a stiffer bag, or even interfacing the fabric lining.


Most of those scuff marks on the bottom I was able to wash out with a quick scrub and dish detergent.

stained-oil-cloth-cosmetic-bagHere’s that stain I mentioned earlier. I’ll have to look into removing oil stains from oil cloth (irony?). If I were to properly hand wash/submerge it (not spot wash as I’ve been doing) I’m not sure what water temperature is best?


I’m on my third flight with it and it’s proved the perfect size/style. Thanks for the tutorial Kelby Sews!

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