Train Case Pattern in Progress and Craftsy’s Free Zipper Class

There have been a lot of ups and downs around here the past few days. Somehow, it all comes back to bags. I found myself floundering around for purpose when something was going on that was making me sad, and I realized that I haven’t written a new bag pattern for release yet this year (besides in a magazine, etc.). ‘How could this be??’ I asked myself. Bag pattern writing is my heart and soul, and I periodically get e-mails from my pattern testers asking if I’m okay or seeing what I’m up to, as they hadn’t gotten a tester e-mail in a really really really long time. Something’s gotta give!

So I set to work last night drafting pattern pieces for train cases in 3 different sizes. Each case will have 2 zippers on the exterior, leaving room for many compartments. These cases can be used for make-up, sewing supplies, etc. If you’re not familiar with a train case, think of a carton of Breyer’s ice cream (for my non-U.S. readers, it’s like a modular rectangle with a lid). My bag sketches are notoriously lame, so here’s my initial game-plan, along with the fabrics I’ll be using for the train cases (from Katarina Roccella’s ‘Indelible’ line).


Because my new pattern required a zipper installion, before I got to sewing I decided to brush up on my zipper skills and review Craftsy’s free mini class (which, even though it’s called mini, is approximately a 90 minute class) called ‘Mastering Zipper Techniques’. I just wanted to note that my review as follows is sponsored by Craftsy, although all opinions are my own. At this point in my blogging career, I am very conscientious about what I promote on my blog. If I participate in a blog tour or book review of something, I am generally making something and not just showing you pretty pictures from the pattern/book (although I can’t show you finished photos from my pattern just yet!). I hope that you’ll find my review of this Craftsy class well-thought-out. And just a reminder that it is completely free; once you set up an account on Craftsy, any class you purchase (even a free class) will stay in your account for all of time, ready for you to access at any time of day. For the next few months, I’ll be blogging about a different Craftsy class each month and showing you a finished project that I’ve made from that class.


‘Mastering Zipper Techniques’ is taught by Sunni Standing of the blog A Fashionable Stitch. Here’s my review!


After the class introduction, Sunni jumps right in with 18 minutes of instruction for the slotted seam zipper. For the class, she shows the example in a skirt, pictured above, but this can also apply to bag-making (attaching a zipper to the exterior fabric of a bag and then later hand-sewing the completed lining to the wrong side of the zipper). For this video, the area below the zipper was sewn and then the rest of the seam allowance was ironed using a seam allowance gauge in preparation for the zipper. I realize there are about a dozen different ways to do any one given thing in sewing, so I just wanted to mention that when I usually use this type of zipper application, instead of ironing the seam allowance, I usually just baste it (the basting stitches would be removed after the zipper is installed). But I kind of think this is a snazzy method as you are topstitching the zipper in place right off the bat. I am glad to learn a different way to do this! It’s great to learn different ways of doing things, because then you have the option of choosing your favorite method from the bunch.


The next segment of the class is a 12-minute video on how to install an invisible zipper. Sunni gives instruction for using either an invisible zipper foot or your regular zipper foot. I have never used an invisible zipper foot before (I iron my coils flat and use the regular zipper foot), so I thought it fascinating to see the other foot in action. Invisible zippers make a dress or skirt look really professional, and are not as hard to sew in as you would think.


There is also a 35-minute section on how to install the previous zipper applications into lined and faced garments. I don’t usually have a lining when I make a dress or skirt, so I was fascinated by this section and pretty much on the edge of my seat, since I don’t have a lot of experience doing this. Which sounds pretty dorky, but I suppose that is the point of the Craftsy videos…being able to see something explained to you on a video which you didn’t know how to do before (which you can take notes directly on the video while you are watching it, so your notes will be saved in that exact spot on the video any time that you need them).


The final segment of the video is a 14-minute instruction of how to install a lapped zipper. A lapped zipper looks almost like an invisible zipper when installed, but it’s a regular zipper with the fabric in the seam overlapping where your regular zipper is. Again, this is not something that I have done before, so it was very interesting for me to see. Obviously, from my descriptions the zipper methods discussed in this particular Craftsy class are suited to garments, but I think the core basics of working with zippers can be a jumping platform that can be used with other sewn items. The class was presented in a slow (but not too slow) manner. I watched an instruction video on Youtube this past spring and the instructor talked quickly, quietly, and moved around so fast that I could hardly tell what they were doing, so I thought that ‘Mastering Zipper Techniques’ was extremely well done and would make it easy for anyone following along to catch all of the steps.

I hope you enjoyed my review of this Craftsy class. If you want to access ‘Mastering Zipper Techniques’, it is a completely free class. I found it to be well worth 90 minutes of my time.

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18 replies on “Train Case Pattern in Progress and Craftsy’s Free Zipper Class

  • Allison Graden

    I can’t wait for the train case pattern! I love that style. The fabrics you picked out is beautiful and I can’t wait to see the finished product.

  • Audrey

    Thanks for the review, I’m going to head on over to Craftsy! And I can’t wait to see the train case pattern, sounds great 🙂 Hope you’re feeling happier!!

  • raspberrysunshine

    Sorry things have been a roller coaster for you lately, but hope they’ll be more “ups” heading your way. A new pattern will keep you moving forward while doing something you love to do! Can’t wait to see more 🙂

  • Liana

    I’ve always wanted to try to make a train case as my make-up bag is one and I often wonder if I can duplicate it. I look forward to getting an e-mail from you calling for pattern testers as it has been awhile!!

  • Mary Ann

    I had already signed up for that free zipper class. Wonderful free class.Looking forward to seeing your new bag pattern and always enjoy seeing what fabrics your pattern testers use.

  • Beth

    Train case!!! Love them. So classic, but I am sure it will be even better with your spin on the design. I think I already have that Craftsy class waiting for me.

  • Carolle

    I recently completed a “Fireside Bowl Bag” from Big-City Bags. I found the pattern instructions great to follow and the bag looks super. Looking forward to trying another one of your patterns!

  • linynp

    Oh awesome a new pattern! I’ve been looking at your book etc and wondering what my new school bag shall be hehehe

  • Angie

    I’m so excited to hear your working on a new pattern! It sounds great!! And thanks for the review. I’ve been on a garment making kick and it could definitely come in handy as I start using some of the more advanced patterns 🙂

  • CeLynn

    Just finished the Lucky Denver Mint bag and also a Chandelier Swing bag too! Your new bag looks like a winner,looking forward to sewing up one or 3 😉 Hope things improve for you soon.

  • Katy

    No idea what a train case is, nor Breyers ice cream, so I’ll just have to perch on the edge of my seat and wait to see what fabulousness you’ve come up with now 😀


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