Simple packing: mesh daily clothes bag tutorial

Too many choices can be overwhelming for my kids. When they see a bag full of packed clothes, that can look like an invitation to rustle on through and make a big ol’ mess, looking for the perfect combo.

We usually pack pretty minimally on trips so I really think out which outfits make sense on which days.When my daughter was young, I started putting her packed clothes in zip-top plastic bags and marking the day of the week on each one to avoid confusion.

The system worked so well that I found I wanted a more permanent solution. So I created a handy little bag that works great, and looks cute too.

Read on for the photo tutorial.

Mesh Clothing Bags

I call these our “mesh clothing bags” but they are actually made out of netting— leftover from when my mom made my wedding dress. This was what she used underneath my dress to give it some shape. They could easily be made out of mesh, tulle, or PEVA plastic (i.e. cheap IKEA shower curtain) even. Cotton fabric would work, too, but having the bags be see-through is a bonus.

Don’t feel like you have make these all at once.  I’ve been gradually creating more of them each time we travel. We now have enough of these bags for each kid for a long weekend trip, although since technically Gigi is the only one dressing herself, I recently packed them all for her on our longer trip.

Ideally, I will someday have seven bags for each kid– one for each day of the week.

This is what I would call an beginning-intermediate sewing project. You should have some experience using different stitches and materials, ironing and attaching velcro.

No kids? These bags would also be great for corralling undergarments, socks, shoes (maybe enlarge them a bit), bathing suits, accessories, etc.


cotton fabric scraps, 2 pieces: 11″ x 5″ each

mesh, or other material of choice, 2 pieces: 11″ x 11″ each

velcro/hook & loop fasteners, approx. 4″ long

coordinating thread

iron, sewing machine, scissors/rotary cutter & mat, pins, tape measure


1. Cut out mesh and fabric. I recommend using a rotary cutter, mat and ruler for easy straight lines and precise measurements. Scissors will work though, too.

2. Pin the mesh to the cotton fabric, lining up the long side of the fabric with one side of the mesh. I recommend pinning the mesh on top so that when you sew it won’t get caught in your sewing gears. Repeat this with the other piece of mesh and fabric.

3. Sew the pieces together, about a quarter to a half inch from the edge. Repeat with other pinned pieces.

4.  Iron the seam so that the edge is ironed towards the cotton, not the mesh. (My photo has an extra seam because I was piecing together smaller pieces of cotton. Yours probably won’t have that seam.)

5. Next it’s time to affix the velcro. I realized I didn’t really photograph this step so I drew you this sweet diagram with the Skitch app on my iPad. 🙂 My dashed line at top is where I ironed my fabric. you’ll basically be folding it in half, but leave about a half inch extra on the top half.

Center your velcro strip on the right side of the cotton fabric between the bottom seam and the upper fold and sew around the edges of the velcro. Repeat this with the other piece of velcro on the other piece of fabric.

6.  Fold over the cotton fabric and turn the edge under a half inch so that it lines up with the other side. Pin in place. Sew close to the edge (about a 1/4″), and repeat wit the other piece of mesh/fabric.

7. The (somewhat-blurry) photo above shoes what your two pieces should like like now.

8. Zig-zag stitch the two mesh/fabric pieces together, all the way around on three sides, leaving the fabric side open. (The zig-zag seems to catch the mesh/netting better than a straight stitch.)

Turn bag inside out and…

Voilà! Your packing, made simple!

How do you keep clothes/outfits organized while packing? Do you think this might help you or your kids? If I can relieve a little of the packing stress of traveling with this idea, then my job is complete! 😉


Nicole lives near the beach in Southern California with her husband and three young kiddos. She writes a a lifestyle blog about creativity, family life, community, and all sorts of other fun stuff, and also keeps a homeschool journal called The Bennettar Academy. Her most recent (free!) ebook is about why and how to make more time for reading.

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  1. What a great idea! I try to pack outfits for my kids, but always end up with too many clothes (thinking they will need 3 changes/day – 4 and 22 months). I think this would work out much better, and then you will also have a place to put the dirty clothes.

  2. I usually just pack clothes in the suitcase in the order they will be worn without actually separating them into different bags. But my daughter isn’t really dressing herself yet so I can see how this would be useful as she gets older.

    • I did that with my other 2 on our long trip since I didn’t have bags for all of them. The only problem was when my husband (who didn’t quite have the vision of the outfits like me) dressed them after a small person had messed up one of the bags. 😉

  3. Stacey Bennett says:

    Easy and a great idea. Making them see-through with netting is a great idea. I’ve got a trip coming up that could use these! =) For daily outfits, and also for grouping socks and swimsuits and such. Thanks for sharing your ideas.

  4. I like this idea a lot! We’re going to Disneyland in September (our first big trip with a kid) and I may have to steal this.

    I also like the idea of making plastic ones to hold swim stuff, post pool. I always take clean clothes and change her into dry stuff after swimming, and then end up carrying a wet swimsuit home.

    • oh! you’re coming my way! I live about an hour or so south. If you have extra time, maybe we should meet up!

      As for the pool/beach, I use a wetbag. After a couple years of cloth diapering, I finally figured out that a wetbag was a practical (and cute!) alternative to a plastic grocery bag for wet suits!!

  5. I love this idea!! I am going to do it for every day outfits at home, so that my little one can choose what to wear and dress herself, and the outfit is still agreeable to me. 🙂

  6. Great idea! Thanks 🙂

  7. Megan Mattinson says:

    Nicole! That’s a great idea!! I just saw the plastic baggie idea on Pinterest this week and I love this even more. A fun addition to the project would be a hole to hang it on a hanger so it could be hung and used for school days.

  8. This is a great tutorial! There are soooo many uses for mesh bags. I have a set of similar bags (maybe a bit larger) that we use to keep toy sets together. I would love to make some of my own!

    For travel, we juts accept that the suitcase explosion is going to happen, but we always pack light and just plan on doing laundry during our trip. Even a long weekend trip usually includes a load of laundry. =)

  9. What a great idea for packing…and they’re super cute too!

  10. This is a great idea for my husband’s socks which are out of control. I could use these for my yarns as well. I bet you could use these at the grocery store for fruits and vegetables instead of the plastic bags. Very eco-friendly.

  11. I love this idea for packing. Plus I may make another set to use as produce bags at the grocery store/farmers market.

  12. Kristen M says:

    Great idea! I try to lay out each day’s clothing while I pack (to make sure I count correctly) and this seems like a good method for that as well.

  13. Oh, this is brilliant! Super cute and very practical. We’ll be living out of a suitcase for most of the summer as we prepare to move to Nova Scotia so this looks perfect for me to use with our little girls. And I have some netting left over from my wedding dress as well. Now just to find the time….;-)

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