Leafy Sea Dragon Cosmetics Case

I’m off to Monterey this coming week to visit some family friends, one of whom works at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The last time we visited, I bought a graphic tee from the gift shop for the aquarium’s sea horse exhibit. It had a beautiful design on it of a leafy sea dragon swimming through sea weed. I grew out of the shirt in about thirty seconds, unfortunately, so it had been sitting untouched in the bottom of my dresser for more than two years.

On Friday, I pulled it out and decided to put the awesome design on it to better use as a design on another cosmetics case. Unlike my last one, I decided to skip the quilted look on this one and focus on the design from the tee.

part of the tee's design
part of the tee’s design

I started out with a plain black cotton, which I interfaced to give the bag more body. Then I used fusible webbing to attach the designs to the black fabric. (For those of you who don’t know, fusible webbing is basically heat-soluble fabric glue sandwiched between two pieces of paper. It’s used in everything from art quilts to, well, cosmetics bags.) To cover up the bottom of the designs, I added a row of ribbon.

Attaching the designs definitely took the most time, mostly because I was reteaching myself how to use fusible webbing and I had to cut out each design painstakingly. Once that was done, the rest of the bag came together quickly. I lined it with scrap fabric from my Red Riding Hood Cloak and used a white polyester zipper. Because I wanted the designs to wrap around the whole bag, I did the corners a little differently than last time. Next time I do it, I’ll take pictures and write up a tutorial because I really like the effect.

Fusible webbing isn’t perfect, though, and I wanted this bag to be able to be washed, so I hand-stitched all the edges of the designs. It was tedious, but I’m happy with how it looks. As last finishing touches, I added a ribbon to hold the bag from and beading around the sea dragon’s face.

detailing and beading on the face
detailing and beading on the face

I am so freaking proud of how this project turned out. I was really careful with all the details and I think it shows.

Look at that hand-stitching. Oh wait–you can’t see it!

I’m planning on giving the case to my family friend as a thank you for letting us stay with her. (Plus, she’s awesome.)

I’m planning on opening an Etsy shop in the next month or so and hope to stock it with similar items, so feel free to contact me if you are interested in something like this. In any case, comment below and tell me what you think.

–Samantha 😀


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