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Monday, June 6, 2016

Dopp Kit [Travel Case] for Men

Father's Day is right around the corner and we have a handy free pattern for you today that would make an excellent gift for the men in your life! I got the idea for this one from none other than my own husband who said he would love to have a handmade Dopp kit to take with him on trips. If you're not familiar with the name, a Dopp kit is a little travel bag for men's hygiene items: razor, shaving cream, toothbrush, cologne, etc.  They tend to be squarish and sturdy, with a zipper. There's a little more background behind the name if you want to read it, but for today all that really matters is that we learn how to make a really awesome gift that the men in our lives can use! 

Doesn't it look masculine and sturdy and useful? We love how it turned out.  

You can make this project using faux leather, denim, outdoor fabrics, PUL, laminated cotton, or even regular quilting cottons if you use a heavy interfacing with it. Just be sure to use an equally sturdy needle for this project, such as a leather needle or denim needle.  You will also need a zipper that is at least 12" long. (It will be trimmed to the right length.)  If you have never sewn on a zipper before, that is no problem at all. This project does it a super easy way! Are you ready to get started?

Print it out and tape the pages together with 1-3 on top and 4-6 underneath. Cut along the bold black lines until you have the shape like this:

Lay the pattern piece on your main fabric and cut around the piece.  

If you are using a thin fabric, repeat this step to cut the same shape out of heavy weight single-sided fusible interfacing or stabilizer. I used 71F but yours doesn't have to be that stiff. (The lighter weight it is, the easier it will be to sew, but your finished product won't have as much body to it.)

Iron the interfacing piece onto the back of your main fabric following the package instructions. 

The pattern piece also tells you how to cut out one strap piece and two zipper tab pieces. 
When you have all the pieces cut they should look like the photo below:

Now you're ready to get started with construction! 

Take the strap piece and fold it down in half lengthwise and use an iron to set the fold, as shown above. 

Open it back up and then fold each long raw edge in to the center crease you made previously. Iron to set the two new folds. See photo above. 

Then fold the strap back in half again so the raw edges are enclosed. Repeat this step with the two zipper tab pieces. 

Topstitch the long edges of the strap and tab pieces by sewing 1/8" from the long edges. See the photo above.  Notice that the tab pieces are the same width as the strap. If they don't look like the photo above, go back and redo. 

Set aside the long strap piece. 

Take the two tab pieces and fold them in half, matching up the raw edges.  Sew the raw edges together using a 1/4" seam allowance, forming a little loop with each one.  See red in photo above. Set the tab pieces aside. 

Take the large bag piece and notice the four edges that are marked in red above.  "Finish" each of these four outer edges by doing a rolled hem on a serger, a regular serge on a serger (no knife), or use a zigzag stitch on a sewing machine. If you're doing the zigzag, set the stitch length close together, creating a neat finish on the edges. 

The four outer edges should look something like the photo above, without any strings hanging out. 

On the right side of the bag piece, take the strap piece and pin its edges 1" from the rolled hem, as shown above.  Note that the strap is slightly longer than the fabric it is being pinned to so it bulges up slightly. This is correct. Check to make sure the top and bottom of the strap are pinned equally. 

Now you're ready to create the corners of the bag. Take the edge where you just pinned the top of the strap and fold it upward at an angle, matching it to the side edge above it with right sides together. See photo above. Pin the two edges together. Notice that one edge is much shorter than the other. This is correct. 

Sew the pinned edge using a 3/8" seam allowance, going all the way to the edge of the fold and backstitching. See red in photo above. 

Now do the same with the lower edge where you pinned the strap previously.  Match the edges and pin in place. 

Sew the pinned edge using a 3/8" seam allowance. 

This is what your two corners should look like on the inside. 

Repeat the same steps on the remaining two corners.  When you have all four corners sewn, it should look like the photo above. Your bag may be more or less stiff, depending on the fabric you chose. 

Find the four bottom raw edges that have not been "finished" yet.  

Finish these four edges as you did before, using a roll a hem, a serged edge, or a tight zigzag. Be sure to start right at one corner and end at the other, all four times. When you're done all the edges of the bag should be neatly finished! 

Find the top of where the corners met earlier and make a small cut in the seam allowance, about 1/4" below the finished edge of the shorter flap. See yellow in the photo above. Repeat with the other 4 corners. Be sure to make only those four cuts, one per corner, and do not clip through the stitching.  

Take the top edges and match them at the top with right side together, as shown above. 

Sew that edge with a long basting stitch using a 3/8" seam allowance. You will be removing these stitches so be sure to keep the stitches long! 

If you have a sleeve board for ironing, slip your bag onto it with the seam at the top. If you don't have a sleeve board, you can make it work with a regular ironing board. 

Use an iron to press the top seam open. If your layers are as stiff as mine it may take some time to get them to lay flat. It is important to get tight creases on both sides. 

Use a seam ripper to remove the stitches. 

(Don't hate me for those extra steps. They were important, I promise!) 

Take one of the creased ends and lay it on your board as shown above.

Take your closed zipper and place it face down and centered on the edge. If your zipper is extra long, you can trim it down so you have a couple inches on each side of the bag.  Place the zipper pull so it is not on the bag for right now. 

Important: Check to make sure the top of your zipper (when it is zipped) is on the strap end of the bag! On the final bag, you will want the zipper to be at the top of the bag. 

Pin one edge of the zipper so its edge is lined up with the folded seam allowance you ironed. See photo above. Note that you are pinning just one side of the zipper to just one side of the bag. The teeth of the zipper should be slightly off the edge of the bag underneath. As long as you're lining up the seam allowance edges with the zipper edge, you should be good. 

Use a zipper foot to sew close to the teeth, attaching one side of the zipper to one side of the bag. You are sewing from underneath the zipper and the wrong side of the bag, but your zipper foot will help you sew a straight line. 

Check to make sure your zipper looks good on the right side. 

Flip it over to the wrong side again, just as it was when you originally pinned it.  Use a fabric marker or pencil to mark both ends of the bag on the zipper. See the gray markings on the zipper in the photo above.  These lines will help you keep the zipper sides lined up when it's unzipped. 

Go ahead and unzip the zipper most of the way, but be very careful not to let the zipper pull go off the end if you trimmed your zipper!  You want the zipper pull to be off the bag but still on the zipper, as shown above.  

Pin the second half of the zipper to the second edge, matching the markings with the edges of the bag. It's very important for the two sides of the zipper to match! There is a little wiggle room but not a lot.

Sew the zipper in place just as you did the first half. The only difference now is that it is unzipped and you're on the other side. 

When you're done, your zipper should look something like this!

On the end of the bag that does NOT have the zipper pull and strap, lay it on a flat surface as shown above. Take one of the tab pieces and line up its raw edge with the raw edge of the bag. You will place it on the right side of the fabric, centered on the zipper. After the tab is pinned in place as shown above, go ahead and trim the excess zipper tape so it is even with the other edges. 

Fold the raw edges up with right sides together. Pin or clip them in place. It may require you to press the corners together if they're bulky. 

Sew along that pinned edge using a 3/8" seam allowance. 

Now do the exact same thing on the other end:  Pin the tab in place on the right side of the fabric. (On the inside.) 

Move the zipper pull so it is 3-4" back from the edge of the bag, as shown above. 

Pin the raw edges together, being careful to keep the two ends of the zipper right close to each other.  After sewing, trim the excess zipper tape off if you didn't already.  Now you can go back and zigzag the two last edges you sewed so they will be extra secure. (The edges are already finished though. This is just for stability.)  

Your bag should now be sewn together all around.  Reach through the opening of the zipper and open it the rest of the way. 

Then very carefully turn your whole bag right side out. If you used stiff materials it is a little more difficult to turn the corners without popping the zipper stitches. Go slowly.  When you're done it should look something like the photo above!

Doesn't it look great?  You made a Dopp kit! 

The strap can be used as a handle for carrying, or even to hang up the bag on a hook. 

Another awesome feature is that it is a LOT more roomy than it appears to be. I put all this stuff in it and it wasn't even halfway full! 

If you want the inside to be waterproof-ish, don't be afraid to use PUL fabric or other backed materials. I can see a lot of options here. 

Now you can surprise your dad or husband or friend with a handmade gift they can use over and over again!  My husband said it can be a personal bag that reminds him of home while he's away. Awe...  So when I make another one, I think it would be super fun to use his favorite sports team or  character. Something with personality. I can't wait to see what you choose too!  Just be sure to use interfacing on lightweight fabrics so it has that nice sturdy body at the end. 

If you liked this free pattern, be sure to check out our other free patterns! We have a BUNCH. Just type what you want in the search box and I bet you won't be disappointed. 

Let's Create! ~ Kristen 

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