All these Crafty Travel posts popping up here on the blog have made me think about my own travel habits — not to mention my packing methods! I love collecting cute bags and luggage to hold my clothing and toiletries, but when it comes to fitting in an extra pair of shoes I usually cram them in an old plastic bag and call it a day. I figured I could come up with a more stylish (not to mention reusable) way to pack and protect my shoes and keep my clothing footprint-free as well. Here’s how I did it!
Two 14″×16″ pieces of cotton or linen fabric
Note: Seam allowance is 1/4″ unless otherwise notes.
Step 1: Use a zigzag stitch on your sewing machine to finish all the raw edges of your fabric. (If you have a serger, you could use that instead.)
Step 2: Place one of the fabric pieces wrong side up on an ironing board, with the 14″ edges as your top and bottom. Fold the top right corner in about 1/8″ and press flat with an iron. Fold over once more and press flat with the iron. Repeat with the second piece of fabric, this time folding and pressing the top left edge in with the iron. The bottom point of your fold should be about 3″ down from the corner. Sew down each fold to secure, about 1/8″ in from the edge.
Step 3: Sketch the silhouette of a shoe (I opted for a high heel) on a piece of scrap paper. Once you have a shape you like, cut out a piece of freezer paper about 3″–4″ larger than the shoe shape you’ve drawn. Tape the scrap paper to a well-lit window and place the freezer paper over it, shiny side down. Trace the shoe shape onto the dull side of the freezer paper and cut out with an X-Acto knife to create a stencil.
Step 4: Place the stencil you’ve created onto the right side of one of the fabric pieces, shiny side down. (The 14″ edges should again be at the top and bottom.) Use a medium-heat iron with no steam to adhere the stencil to the fabric. The shiny side will melt with the heat of your iron, fusing temporarily to the fabric to create a stencil that fabric paint won’t seep beneath.
Step 5: Place the fabric piece on top of some scrap paper or cardboard and brush or dab the center of the stencil with fabric paint. You can use a regular paintbrush if you like, but I prefer a sponge brush for an even finish. Set the piece aside and allow to dry. Once the paint is dry, peel off the freezer paper to reveal your design.
Step 6: Place the 2 fabric pieces right sides together and pin. The folded-in corners you pressed and sewed in Step 2 should be aligned, mirror-image style. Starting at the bottom point of the folded-in corners, stitch around the bottom 3 edges of the fabric, leaving the top open.
Step 7: With the bag still inside out, fold the top edge in about 1½”, press flat with the iron, and pin into place. Now you’ve created a channel for the drawstring. Sew all the way around the top of the bag, stitching along the bottom edge of the fold.
Step 8: Turn the bag right side out. Using a large safety pin, pull a length of ribbon through the drawstring channel and tie closed to hold your shoes. Use and enjoy!