Travel shoe bags + technique: a finished opening in fabric

shoe bagI recently bought some shoes that came in a half-box inserted into a reusable shoe bag that looked something like this. I thought it was brilliant and really convenient for both travel and simply carting an extra pair of shoes somewhere. No more dirty shoe soles contaminating your clothes (have you ever thought about those public bathroom floors you walk on? Probably worse in the men’s room … let’s not think too hard about this.)

I’m about to travel cross-country and decided to whip up a few bags for my shoes. I previously made a giant drawstring bag to throw all my pairs in, but I think I prefer this! Cuter and neater, and all the shoes stay separate.




Chipper Village Blue / Natural
Chipper Village Blue / Natural
Sheeting Natural
Sheeting Natural
Monaco Dune
Monaco Dune









The Pattern

I made two bags. The smaller one is shown in the main photos. It’s compact and perfect for a pair of women’s slip-ons. I also made a bigger one for my tennis shoes. It turned out to be a bit too big and floppy, but it will serve its purpose. You can basically adapt the pattern to any size you’d like. Obviously, men’s shoes will need bigger bags, children’s shoes smaller. Even among women’s shoes, it can depend on the style. I wear a size 8, if that helps you gauge at all.

NOTE: because you will pull your lining piece through a pretty small hole, a lighter-weight lining fabric works best. Also, make sure the fabrics you choose are washable, and pre-wash and dry them.

Small bag: Cut out a square 9.5″x14″. Cut a 2″x2″ square from both bottom corners (for boxing the corners later). Cut one piece of outer fabric from this pattern and one lining fabric.
Cut out one piece of fabric for the strap measuring 4″x11″

Large bag (pictures at bottom):
I made a pattern piece 19.5″x14″ (WxH) and cut squares from either bottom corner measuring 3.5″x3.5″. Cut one each from outer fabric and lining. Cut one piece for a strap measuring 4″x11″. Like I said, this one was a bit large for me, but you can adjust it as you desire.


The Process

In addition to the shoe bag, I’ll show you how to make a finished slit or opening in the middle of your fabric.

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Measure 1.5″ down from the top edges of one lining piece on the wrong side of the fabric.

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Find the center point of the piece and measure 3/4″ to either side, making a line 1.5″ long.

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Draw a box around this line about 1/8″ in each direction.

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Draw a little triangle on either end connecting the end of the line to the corners of the box.

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Lay this lining piece right-sides together on an outer piece, making sure all of the edges line up. Then sew around the outer box. (So your lining is sewn to your outer fabric just at this place.)

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Cut along the line and along the triangles through both layers, getting as close as you can to the corners without clipping through the stitching.

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Pull your lining fabric through the hole to the other side.

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It will look like this.

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Press the fabric on both sides and stitch around the box. Now you have a nice little finished opening!

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Move your lining out of the way and lay your outer fabric on top of the other outer piece. Stitch down the sides and across the bottom. Leave the squares at the corners alone.

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Now take your squares and line up the side seam and bottom seam so that they look like the picture above. Stitch across the straight edge to box the corner. Repeat on the other side.

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Turn it right side out (in this picture, the lining piece is stuffed inside out of view).

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Pull your lining piece out and repeat this process.

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It looks like this — two bags sewn together just where that slit is.

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Next, make your strap using the Non-Turn Strap Tutorial. You don’t need to finish either end of the strap, as they will both be sewn into a seam.

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Stuff the lining into the main bag and turn the top edges toward each other about 1/2″ and press. Fold the strap in half to form a loop and insert between the lining and outer bag in the center of the side without the slit. Sew along the top edge of the bag.

Other Views

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