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Sewing a Mani Pouch

This past September I received an Olive and June manicure kit from my daughter for my birthday. This was my first time to try the Olive and June nail polish and like so many others, I love it! It really stays on even when I am doing dishes ( you do need to follow their directions on how to apply it). However the plastic bag that comes with set isn't really big enough to hold everything and the zipper easily pops off. That led me down the rabbit trail of looking for a manicure bag pattern and the next thing I knew, everyone was getting Olive and June nail polish for Christmas and I was making 12, yes 12 mani pouches! The pattern is a free pattern designed by Anna Graham of Noodlehead and available on the Robert Kaufman website. The pattern as written is too small to hold a complete Olive and June manicure set with the poppy, clean up brush and buffer, so below are my modified dimensions to cut the pattern pieces for a bigger bag. In addition, I am providing some general tips for putting the bag together that I figured out as I sewed 12 of them!

manicure bags

So first up, the pattern is designed using several different fabrics and that is a great way to go if you are using up scraps and have multiple fabrics that go together, but if you are buying fabric, the bag (even my bigger one) can be made with 2 fat quarters, assuming that you can cut the strip that holds the nail polish on the cross grain. Here are the pattern pieces laid out on one fat quarter:

Pattern Pieces laid out on one fat quarter.

And here are the remaining pattern pieces laid out:

There are two inconsistencies in the pattern. The photos that come with the pattern show that the binding piece is interfaced although the written directions do not instruct you to do that. I choose to interface the binding piece to provide extra structure. The second step of attaching the zipper says to place the zipper with teeth facing down and the pull on the right. The photo shows it on the left and the photo is correct. The pattern also instructs you to hand stitch the bottom of the bag closed once it is turned right side out, but there is no need to do so since the entire bag is then topstitched. Just fold the edges in and use a binding clip to hold the edges in place as you topstitch. For the topstitching, I found it helpful to use my zipper foot (it handled the bulk of the bag and let me stay close to the edge) and to sew from the inside of the bag so that I could roll the edges toward the inside as I stitched.

Manicure bag with Olive and June Nail Polish

When stitching the sections of the polish pouch, start from the top and stitch down to the seam. That will allow you to line up the top evenly and any extra folds will be hidden in the seam allowance. Finally make sure the zipper pull is to the bag side before trimming the zipper!

For a larger bag that will hold the complete Manicure set, cut the pieces to the following dimensions:

A - rectangle 10" x 16"

B - rectangle 6" x 16"

C - two rectangles 1 1/2" x 10 and two rectangles 6 1/2" x 10.

D - one using Lining Pattern Piece A (see below) and one rectangle 7 1/2" x 10

E - rectangle 2" x 10"

Exterior Interfacing - 10" x 16

Lining Interfacing - Lining Pattern Piece A, one rectangle 7 1/2" x 10", one rectangle 2" x 10".

Pattern Piece A - adjust when taping together by making the piece 1" wider. There is no need to adjust the length. The additional length all goes to making the zipper pocket bigger.

Mani bag with complete Olive and June manicure set

Have fun sewing a manicure bag for yourself!


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