Added Aug 18, 2011
Using quilted fabric, I made this garment bag to carry my pants/shorts, skirts, and tops on road trips and it works wonderfully! I used an old Butterick pattern (No. B4156) but the bag can easily be made with no commercial pattern at all. It measures 23″ × 39″, uses a 39" upholstery zipper, and then a regular hanger can give you the slope of the shoulders. (If you have a men’s suit bag, that will work perfectly as a pattern.) The pattern calls for bias tape down the front zippered opening, which I did; and bias tape completely around the outside seam joining front pieces to back (wrong sides of fabric together). Because I had so much trouble keeping the tape in the front smooth and flat, I elected to avoid using tape around the bag and serged it instead, right sides together then turned inside out and pressed. Frankly I prefer the front pieces and back sown together as described because I get a sturdier seam. If you don’t have a serger, you can accomplish the same effect with a regular seam and zigzagged edge. If you’re having a hard time finding a zipper the right length, buy one a bit longer and shorten it by bartacking at the length you want then cutting off the excess length one inch below the bartack. And finally, following these suit bag instructions you can make a gown or dress bag by lengthening fabric and zipper. It’s genuinely a quick and easy project!
I prefer quilted fabric but other fabrics such as denim, broadcloth, poplin and even plastic will work well. I found online at a reasonable price a roll of heavy-duty zipper about ten feet long or more with multiple pulls just for cutting your own custom sized zipper(s).
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