A packing cube is a zippered mesh bag used to organize clothes within luggage. Sew your own packing cubes in three sizes with this easy pattern and photo tutorial.
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Why Use Packing Cubes
Packing cubes can be used in several ways. They can separate types of clothing. For example, one cube can hold pants, another shirts, etc.
You can also designate a cube to each family member. Then stack the cubes in one piece of luggage for traveling ease.
Another idea is to pack a complete day’s worth of outfits in each cube. Grab a cube for hiking clothes on Monday, a theme park on Tuesday, etc.
The packing cubes compress clothing, so you can fit more in your suitcase and keep everything neat and organized at the same time. Any way you pack them, these little mesh bags are sure to streamline your vacation needs.
Packing Cube Sewing Patterns
Three patterns are available in this post for small, medium and large packing cubes. The small is ideal for keeping single outfits together or holding undergarments.
A medium sized cube works well for holding all the clothes for one family member for a week-long vacation.
The large size holds quite a bit and can be used for long term storage, as well as longer trips. Its low profile is great for slipping under a bed or in the top of a closet.
You are sure to find a use for all the sizes. Grab a cheap shower curtain, which are typically 100% polyester, to make all three sizes. If you lay out your pattern pieces well, you can get up to six packing cubes out of a single shower curtain.
Let’s get started!
DIY Packing Cube Supplies
- 100% Polyester Shower Curtain
- Mesh Fabric
- Double Slider Zipper
- Coordinating Thread
- Sewing Clips
- Rotary Cutter
- Cutting Mat
- Acrylic Ruler
- Sewing Machine
A lightweight, polyester shower curtain is perfect for packing cubes. They are much cheaper than buying rip stop vinyl by the yard (a similar material), and you can cut several cubes out of one curtain. Plus, it is water resistant!
Mesh fabric is great for the top so you can easily see the contents of each cube. For zippers, grab a pack of 60″ zips with double sliders. They can be cut down to fit any size cube (or other projects).
How Do You Sew a Travel Cube?
Begin by cutting all your pieces to size using a rotary cutter and cutting mat.
Dimensions for a small, medium and large packing cube are listed below.
Base: 10″ x 10″
Mesh: 10″ x 10″
Sides: 4″ x 41″
Zipper Tab: 4″ x 4″
The photos shown in this tutorial make up a medium sized packing cube.
Base: 11″ x 14″
Mesh: 11″ x 14″
Sides: 5″ x 51″
Zipper Tab: 4″ x 4″
A large packing cube fills the bottom of an average carry-on rolling bag. For reference, it can hold 4 pair of men’s jeans and 4 pair of men’s cargo shorts.
Base: 13″ x 17″
Mesh: 13″ x 17″
Sides: 6″ x 61″
Zipper Tab: 4″ x 4″
Now that you have all your pieces cut, let’s start assembling.
Fold the sides piece in half with right sides together, and hold it in place with sewing clips.
Do not use straight pins for this project. They can damage the thin materials.
Sew with a 1/4″ seam allowance. It is a good idea to use a zipper foot for this project.
TIP: When working with a thin material, it is a good idea to increase your stitch length. A setting of 3 on most sewing machines works well.
Open the seam and finger press. (Do not iron! This fabric will melt.) Clip to hold.
Then top stitch each side of the seam as close to the edge as possible.
Now we are going to make the zipper tab. Fold the 4″ x 4″ square in half. Then open it up, and fold each side to meet in the middle.
Next fold the top down to meet the center. Clip.
Then fold the bottom up to meet in the center. Clip again.
Now lay the zipper ends across the top of the zipper tab, kissing in the center.
The zipper should form a loop when you do this. Make sure it is not twisted.
Now fold the bottom of the zipper tab up and clip it in place. You should not be able to see the ends of the zipper at this point.
Sew around the perimeter of the zipper tab using a zipper foot.
If this is your first time sewing a zipper, don’t be afraid to sew right through it!
Next, lay the zipper on top of the sides. Both should form loops at this point. With right sides together, match the seam of the sides and center of the zipper tab at the top edge.
Clip these two pieces together all the way around.
Sew the top edge using the zipper foot as a guide.
Move the zipper sliders past the presser foot as needed to sew as straight as possible. You may need to raise the presser foot to do so.
Now open the seam you just made, and top stitch as close the edge of the vinyl as possible.
To add the mesh top, find the center of one of the longer sides. Clip it to the center of the zipper tab. You can clip all the way around if you choose.
Then sew the mesh on top of the zipper using the zipper foot.
When you arrive at a corner of the mesh, raise your presser foot and turn the next side of the mesh to it is parallel to the zipper.
Continue to sew. Because mesh fabric has a lot of stretch, you don’t have to worry about creating perfectly mitered corners.
Next open up the seam, and top stitch the mesh as close to the edge as possible.
Unzip the zipper. Then lay the base fabric piece on top of the sides. Match the center of the longest side to the center of the zipper pull, right sides together, just like you did with the mesh.
Again, you can clip the pieces together before sewing if you’d like.
Sew around the perimeter, raising the presser foot and turning the fabric at each corner.
Turn the bag right side out, and carefully push out the corners with your fingers. A turning tool may damage the thin fabrics.
Your packing cube is complete!
Don’t forget to pin this project for later, and check out some more fabulous sewing tutorials listed below.
- Do not use straight pins. They will leave holes in the vinyl.
- Increase your stitch length (3 is recommended) to reduce the number of holes made in the vinyl.
- A zipper foot is best for this project.
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Brother Sewing Machine, XM2701, Lightweight Machine with 27 Stitches, 6 Included Sewing Feet
Fiskars Classic Comfort Loop Rotary Cutter (45mm), 1, steel and orange
100PCS Colorful Craft Sewing Clips for Quilting,Multipurpose Sewing Accessories Sewing Clips Wonder Clips
Meillia 6PCS 60 Inch #3 Double Slider Zippers Closed End Nylon Coil Zippers for Sewing, Crafts, Bags, Pillowcases, Bed Sacks, Decorating (60" 6 Colors)
Ben Textiles Power Mesh White Fabric By The Yard
DESIHOM Boho Shower Curtain Green Shower Curtain Rustic Shower Curtain Farmhouse Shower Curtain Polyester Waterproof Shower Curtain 72x72 Inch