Hey y’all, today I’m sharing how to sew and use packing cubes. Packing cubes are a recent discovery of mine. And you might be a skeptic (like the Coach) about why and how they’re even useful. Like why pack your things in one bag just to pack them in another?
I am a famously light packer among my friends. Like not just carry on only, but carry on sized for under the seat for 2-3 day trips. And packing cubes are one of my tricks. They’re useful for compressing your clothing, as well as keeping it separate from other carry on items – for example, I use this in the bottom of my bag, with my laptop and makeup bag on top. That makes it easier to go through security when I have to take out my laptop or liquids. They’re also useful if you have several family members sharing luggage; you can give each person their own packing cube, which makes unpacking at the hotel a breeze.
Want to make your own? I’ve got a supply list below, which contains affiliate links. You’ll need:
Here’s a list of the piece sizes you’ll need:
- Top (mesh and vinyl) and bottom – 16 inches by 10 1/2 inches
- Side 46 1/2 inches by 2 1/2 inches
- Side tab 1 – 2 inches by 1 1/4 inches
- Side tab 2 – 9 1/2 inches by 1 1/4 inches
I’ve got a video tutorial that shows how to construct this below, and if it won’t load you can also watch it on YouTube here. If you prefer the written tutorial, scroll past the video to see it.
Start by fusing the vinyl to one side of the mesh, following the package instructions.
Note: I’ve had a lot of questions about why I used the mesh/vinyl combo. This is softer, more flexible and easier to sew than the roll vinyl sold in the stores, and it maintains both the transparency and water resistance which are practical things for my purposes. But you can use fabric, or just vinyl, or whatever you want on top of yours. That’s the beauty of sewing, you get to make it your way.
Round off the corners of the top and bottom by folding in half twice, so that all the corners match up, and rounding them off with scissors.
Fold one short end of tab 1 1/2 inch to the wrong side, then line it up with the short end of the side piece, folded edge up. Align the zipper over the tap, so that the folded edge of the tab touches the zipper pull.
On the other end of the zipper, pin tab 2 at the with one short end folded 1/2 inch to the wrong side. Using a zipper foot, sew along the tabs and the zipper.
Baste the other side of tab 1 to the other side of the zipper as shown below.
Fold the zipper/side in half, aligning the short ends. Stitch, using a 1/2″ seam allowance.
Place the mesh top of the cube rough side to the right side of the zipper/side and pin all around the sides. It can be helpful to mark quarters on the top and sides before you start pinning. Make sure that the zipper pulls are aligned near the corners on a long side of the top. Stitch around, using a zipper foot. Note that in the video I talk about how to add a bias finish to this seam if you don’t want the raw edges.
Pin the bottom to the side in the same manner, making sure to partially unzip the zipper first. Stitch around.
Turn the cube through the unzipped part of the zipper.
And you’ve got a packing cube!