Zippered Wash Bag Pattern – Make a gift From One Mother to Another

Zippered box shaped wash bag with waterproof lining - free pattern
St Kilda Mums is a wonderful non-profit that helps rehome new and pre-loved baby goods and nursery equipment to families in need. I’ve donated baby goods to them in the past and have great admiration for the work they do.

With Mother’s Day coming up, they have put a call out for Toiletry Gift Packs to distribute to mothers that need some support. It was the perfect excuse to get sewing with a purpose, so I’ve made some Zippered and Lined Wash Bags that can be filled with toiletries and given as Mother’s Day Gifts.

I’ve included the pattern and instructions so you can make one too. It can be for yourself, your mum, a friend or to send to St Kilda Mums.

See the bottom of this post for more information about St Kilda Mums’ One Mother to Another initiative.

Zippered wash bag supplies

You will need:

  • Sturdy fabric for outer (I’ve used upholstery weight fabric from Ikea)
  • Waterproof fabric or coated cotton for lining (I’ve used a plastic coated table cloth)
  • Zipper (longer than 40cm/16″)
  • twill tape or ribbon, 20cm length
  • Sewing machine with zipper foot
  • Cutting mat, quilting ruler and rotary cutter
  • General sewing supplies

How to:

wash bag pattern
Cut 2 x rectangles from outer fabric 30x40cm (14″x16″)
Cut 2 x rectangles from lining fabric 30x40cm (14″x16″)
washbag tabs
Cut 2 x 10cm lengths of twill tape (4″)

Inserting zipper:
how to insert zip
1. With outer fabric right side facing up, lay zip (right side down) along longest side of fabric rectangle. Lay lining right side facing down over top, lining up edges. Make sure zip is centered and ends hang out equally on each side. Pin if desired.
how to insert zip
2. Keep zip closed. With a zipper foot, sew seam along edge that you’ve just assembled. Use width of your zipper foot to keep seam allowance consistent.

how to insert zip

This is what it should look like sewn together.

how to insert zip

This is what it should look like when you flip the seam open.

how to insert zip
3. Flip both fabric pieces back so the wrong sides of fabric are facing. Finger press to make seams sit flat.
how to insert zip
4. Repeat for other side of zipper. With outer fabric right side facing up, lay zip assembly (right side down) along longest side of fabric rectangle. Lay lining right side facing down over top, lining up edges. Sew zip in as before. Tip: Right sides of outer should be touching, and right sides of lining should be touching.

how to insert zip
5. Open flat and finger press seams. Test zip to make sure it doesn’t catch on fabric.
how to insert zip
6. Switch to regular sewing foot. Top stitch along sided of zip.
washbag pattern
7. Fold in half at zip with lining on the outside. Sew a seam on opposite edge to zip (1cm seam allowance). Make sure you catch all layers.
free wash bag pattern
8. Overlock or zigzag over raw edges (Do this on all seams from now on)
washbag pattern
9. Flatten out with zip on top lined up with central bottom seam. UNZIP zipper to halfway down.
free washbag pattern
10. Fold twill tape pieces in half to form a loop. Pin with loop facing in to ends of zip, aligning cut edges to edge of fabric. Do this on each side, taking extra care on open side of zip to ensure edges sit together.
free washbag pattern
11. Sew open sides closed as shown. Back stitch over zipper to reinforce.
zippered pouch pattern
12. Trim zipper excess and zig zag raw edges. Notice double stitching over zipper.
Boxed Corners:
box corners
13. Puff up bag and pinch corners in to form boxed corners. Mark seam line with a pencil and ruler. I’ve used the 45 deg angle on ruler as a guide, 10cm across. Mark all corners
box corner zippered pouch pattern
14. Pin and sew along marked lines.
zippered wasah bag pattern how to make
15. Trim excess fabric and zig zag raw edges.
How to make a wash bag with zip and lining
16. Turn inside out. All done!
Boxed Washbag pattern

This bag is a generous size and easily fits full sized products. (Or even a pair of shoes).
10 waash bags
I’ve made ten bags from one tablecloth and supplies from my stash. I’ve raided my bathroom cabinet and have done a little shopping, along with donations from some of the mums at school and a helpful reader, I’m hoping to fill them with toiletries to donate to St Kilda Mums and their One Mother to Another initiative.

If you would like to let another mother know you are thinking of her on Mother’s Day – here’s how.

She might be living in a refuge; her house might have burnt down, she might be homeless. She needs your help!

It couldn’t be easier to give another mother a beautiful gift this mother’s day, Just follow these five simple steps…

  1. Make up a gift bag of women’s toiletries – choose a nice toiletry bag (or make one) and fill it with everything you can think of if you had nothing.

  2. Include a note for another mother to let her know that you care

  3. Take a photo of your gift pack and post it on facebook, twitter or instagram using the hashtag #onemothertoanother

  4. Pack in a small bag or box and please include your name and address so that we can send you a thank you note.

  5. Post to 5 Vale Street, St Kilda 3182 – I’ll be dropping mine off as I live locally.

St Kilda Mums will distribute your gorgeous gift to a mum in need.

Here are some ideas for items to pack in your gift bag:

Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, hairbrush, hair ties, comb, shampoo, conditioner, soap, tampons/pads, sunscreen, body and face moisturiser, cotton buds, cleanser, eye makeup remover, nail clippers, nail file, tweezers, body wash, tissues, cleanser, razor & shaving cream, hand cream, lip balm, deodorant, face wipes, body wash, sunscreen, paw paw cream, band aids or a basic first aid kit. You might have samples or small toiletries from hotels or airlines that you can include.

Don’t worry if you can’t fill your toiletry bag, I’m sure that they will appreciate empty bags that they can fill with other donated items to make up a complete gift pack.
If you can’t sew how about knitting up some cotton wash cloths?

Visit the St Kilda Mums website for more information.

If you don’t live in Australia and still want to help another mum in a tough situation, get in touch with your local women’s crisis center to see if they would appreciate some toiletry packs too. Get together with your friends and make up some packs together.

If you can’t make a gift pack, leave a message in the comments and I will happily print it out on a pretty note to include in one of my packs.

xx Cinti


  • Brigitte says:

    That’s the most wonderful idea! I love the fact that it’s handmade. I did something similar at Christmas time for kids overseas – it was a shoebox (a big one – A4 – from Officeworks) filled with the same kind of stuff. It ended up costing a small fortune but it was worth it! It was even blessed by the gorgeous ladies at the local church! Bless your little cotton socks … I have a feeling the local church (where we do singing and dancing) might do something like that here for Mothers Day, and if they don’t, I’ll suggest it.

  • Pat says:

    Very nice project. I have lots of hotel toiletries that I put in small cosmetic bsgs for a women’s shelter. I like this bag and will definitely make a few for my project. Thanks for the instructions.

  • Gail says:

    This is such a beautiful idea.
    I recognise the fabric, love it! I have a cushion & did have a peg bag made from the same.

    You are very generous to make so many bags to be filled & to share your pattern & the idea to inspire others.

    It wouldn’t be practical for me to post a pack from where I live to Australia, but I will investigate if there is somewhere near me who could accept similar packs for women/mums who are in need of some help/care/love.

    • Thanks Gail, I’m sure that the cost of postage could be spent more practically helping someone locally. If you’d like to leave a message I can include it in one of my packages.
      I love this fabric, it’s so cheerful.

  • Sarah says:

    what a lovely project and a lovely idea!

  • Peggy Cleary says:

    This is much nicer than the socks we usually use for this type of project in San Francisco! And thanks so much for showing reassuringly that it comes out just fine even if one’s ends aren’t perfectly even…..

  • Cat says:

    You are such a good egg Cinti! I’ve made hundreds of zipper bags, but never using this way, I’ll have to try it.

  • Lyn Airey says:

    Amazing!! You’re a beautiful woman. Thanks for the pattern and inspiration – We dropped off 13 bags of toiletries to St Kilda Mums this morning. Now I have this pattern I can start making some for next year. :)

  • I love everything about this. Featuring you tomorrow at The 36th Avenue.

  • Thanks so much for the tip about using the tablecloths for the lining. I’ve been wanting to make some of these for a while but was unsure of appropriate lining that wasn’t expensive. I’ve now made four and more on the way.

  • Sue Avery says:

    What a great idea I find nylon shower curtains are good as linings too. I use them to line boot bags for school sport wear too.

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