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Pick a Pocket Bag Tutorial

Pick a Pocket Bag Tutorial and Pattern

With a clear vinyl zipper pocket on one side, a gathered pocket on the other side, and puffed out side panels, this bag is unique.  The inside has four pockets. The top closes snuggly with a zipper. 

Pick a Pocket Bag Tutorial and Pattern


It’s best not to pin through vinyl.  Use binding clips, Wonder Clips, or spring style clothespins instead of straight pins.  Do not use an iron near the vinyl.  

When sewing, place a piece of paper underneath the vinyl.  The paper will help the vinyl move under the sewing foot.  

Use a zipper foot when sewing on the zippers.  

The gathered pocket is secured to the outer bag with a sew-in magnetic snap.  In the directions it will be referred to as a snap.  One side of the snap is flat and the other side is slightly rounded.  When installing the snap it is important to position the snap as  stated.   

The construction of the bag is different than most.  It uses binding to cover raw seams on the outside and bottom of the bag.  It is best to slipstitch the binding in place but if you aren’t particular or in a hurry, the binding can be sewn on with a stitch in the ditch foot as long as you catch the other side when stitching.

5/8 yard main fabric                 
 cut two - 10 ½” x 18 ½” base fabric                         
        two – 10 ½” x 5 ½” flat pocket                                                              
        two -  4” x 2” zipper tabs         
        one – 4” x 2”  magnetic snap cover
1/3 yard accent fabric for pockets
  cut one strip – 10 ½” x 44” cut in half on fold
    subcut one - 9” x 18” gathered pocket
        two – 10 ½” x 6 ½” flat pocket
        two – 10 ½” x 1 ½” zipper pocket
        one -   4” x 2” magnetic snap cover
2/3 yard bag bottom/sides/binding/handles  
    cut two – 3 ½” x 42” bag sides
       two – 4” x 40” handles
       three - 2 ½” x 42” bottom pockets & side binding
       two - 3 ½” x 10 ½” bag bottom
1/3 yard Fusible Fleece
   cut two - 10 ½” x 9 ¼” main bag
       one - 10 ½” x 3 ½” bag bottom
1 1/3 yard Shape Flex
   cut two - 10 ½” x 9 ¼” main bag
        one – 3 ½” x 10 ½” bag bottom
        four - 3 ½” x 20” sides
        four - 2” x 20” handle
10 ½” x 5 ½” clear vinyl
12” of ¼” elastic
two - 14” zippers
sew-in magnetic snap
matching thread

2 small safety pins
binding clips, Wonder Clips,
   or spring clothespins

All seam allowances are ¼”
Basting is 1/8”
Lengthen stitch for topstitching

WST = wrong sides together    
RST=right sides together
RSO=right side out
WSU=wrong side up

Let’s get started! 

Zipper pocket:
With a 1 ½” x 10 ½” zipper trim face up, align edge of zipper face down to top edge of fabric.  Zipper pull should extend 3” from edge of fabric.  Using a zipper foot, stitch close
to zipper teeth. 

Flip zipper up.  Finger-press.  Topstitch close to the edge.

Place second 1 ½” x 10 ½ zipper trim right side down with edge meeting top edge of zipper.  Stitch close to zipper using a zipper foot.

Flip fabric, finger-press, topstitch. 

With a piece of paper underneath, place the 10 ½” x 5 ½” vinyl on top.  Place zipper unit face down with zipper pull to the left.  Stitch 3/8” along outer edge.  Tear away paper
when done. 

Flip fabric, finger-press seam, topstitch (with paper under vinyl).  Tear away paper.
Press top fabric ¼” under. 

With a 10 ½” x 18 ½” main fabric face up, place zipper pocket also face up at one short end.  Pin top of pocket to main fabric.  Pin edges of zipper but use clips along vinyl sides and bottom.  After pinning, bring zipper pull towards center of pocket.  

Stitch along top of pocket.  Place a sheet of paper underneath and baste sides and bottom.  Pull away paper.  The vinyl zipper pocket is finished.
Fuse a 10 ½” x 9 ¼” Shape Flex to wrong side of main fabric, opposite zippered pocket.
Fuse a 10 ½” x 9 ¼” fleece on top of Shape Flex.  With WST, fold main fabric in half matching sides and short ends.  Press at top fold.  Open flat.

Gathered pocket:
Press top long edge of 18” x 9” gathered pocket piece under ¼”.  Press under again 1 ½”.  Piece now measures 18” x 7 ¼”.  Stitch along edge of bottom fold.  Draw a chalk line 7/8” from top fold.  Stitch on chalk line forming a casing. 

Using the 4” x 2” accent fabric, make a pouch by pressing short ends under ¼”.  Fold rectangle in half, RST to measure 1 ½” x 2”.  Stitch sides.  Clip corners.  Turn RSO.  Carefully poke out corners. Slip in magnetic snap.  Repeat with the 4” x 2” main fabric.  

On wrong side of gathered pocket, find the center.  Making sure flat side of snap is face up, pin accent snap in center just under the casing.  Stitch around outer edges. 

Temporarily pin gathered pocket to second 10 ½” x 18 ½” main fabric, matching sides and bottom edges, and centering snap at the 5 ¼” middle of main fabric. Pins at bottom will be rearranged later. 

Fuse a 10 ½” x 9 ¼” Shape Flex to wrong side of main fabric, opposite gathered pocket.
Fuse a 10 ½” x 9 ¼” fleece on top of Shape Flex.  With WST, fold main fabric in half matching sides and short ends.  Press at top fold.  Open.  

Place main fabric pouch on top of fleece.  Pin 4 ½” from each side and 4” from bottom.
The flat edge of the magnetic snap must be facing up. Bring gathered pocket over fleece, matching sides and bottom. Feel to make sure snaps are aligned perfectly.  If not, adjust.  Open flat.  Stitch around pouch. 

Attach a small safety pin at one end of elastic.  Starting on right side, thread elastic through casing.  Pin beginning edge of elastic to right side to hold in place.   

Remove pins at bottom of pocket.  With snap in center, gently pull elastic and arrange gathers until pocket fits width of main fabric.  Pull elastic slightly tighter so that main fabric puckers just a little bit. If elastic pocket is too loose, the pocket will look sloppy.  
Starting 1” away from each side, make pleats at the bottom. Pin. Adjust elastic if needed.

Baste sides and bottom.  Stitch over elastic edges a couple of times.  Trim excess elastic. 

Flat pockets:
With RST, sew long edge of 10 ½” x 5 ½” main piece to long edge of 10 ½” x 6 ½” accent piece together.  Press seam towards main fabric.  With WST, match bottom and sides.
Press.  Topstitch 1/8” from seam.  A pocket with trim has been created.  Repeat for second flat pocket. 

With zipper pocket face up, place a flat pocket at opposite end with opening of pockets towards center.  Pin, then baste along sides and bottom.  Find center of pocket and draw a chalk line.  Starting at bottom, stitch on chalk line up to pocket trim.  Turn and stitch two horizontal stitches, turn and stitch parallel to first stitches.
Place second flat pocket at the opposite end of gathered pocket.  Repeat as above except draw chalk line to the right of the snap.  Two inside pockets have been created.

With RSO, fold each main piece in half on the fold.  Pin, matching sides and bottom. One main piece will have zippered pocket on one side and flat pockets on other side. The second main piece will have gathered pocket on one side and flat pockets on other side.  Baste each piece on the sides and at the bottom.  Making sure zipper pull is towards middle of pocket, cut off excess zipper on each side.
Bottom and sides of tote:
Fuse 3 ½” x 10 ½” Shape Flex to wrong side of one bag bottom.  Fuse 10 ½” x 3 ½” fleece over Shape Flex.  With WST pin two bag bottoms together.  Baste.

With zippered pocket face up and bag bottom underneath, clip together.  (The seam will be on the outside of the bag.) Stitch together with vinyl face up.     
With gathered pocket face up and bag bottom underneath, pin together.  (The seam will be on the outside of the bag.)   Stitch. 

With WST, press the three 2 ¼” x 42” binding strips in half lengthwise.  No need to miter them together.  

With zipper pocket face up and matching raw edges, stitch a binding strip to bottom of zippered pocket. Trim off excess.  Bring strip around to bag bottom.  Clip to hold in place.  Hand stitch.  Repeat with gathered pocket bottom. 

Place zipper/gathered pocket unit face up.  Pin/clip a binding strip to each side of main body, matching raw edges and tucking short edges under ¼” at top and bottom.  Baste. 

With RST, stitch short ends of a 3 ½” x 42” bag side together.  Do not turn the tube. Bring seam to center.  Press.  Center and fuse a 3 ½” x 20” strip of shape flex to each wrong side.  There will be a little space at both ends that is not fused. 

Turn right side out.  Press.  Baste along long edges.  Repeat for second bag side. With seam side face up, fold both short ends under 3/8” towards center. Topstitch.  Repeat for second side piece. 

With flat pockets facing up, center and pin a side strip to right and left side over binding.  
The side strip will be 3/8” from top and bottom but start the stitching at the very top and end at the very bottom.  Bring binding over raw edge and hand stitch.

Stretch out the side panels.  Bring main body piece together so it forms the tote.  Zipper pocket will be on one side, gathered pocket on the other, and flat pockets inside.  Baste.  

Sew binding strip to each side panel, tucking in short edges ¼” at top but not at bottom.
Bring binding over raw edge and hand stitch.
Turn bag inside out.  Poke out bottom seam.  Flatten a side panel to a point, centering seam with middle of bottom.  Measure 1 ½” from point.  Draw a chalk line.  Stitch on line.  Trim point to ¼” seam.  Zig zag raw edges.  Repeat on other side.

Turn bag RSO.  Carefully poke out corners. 

With WST, fold handle strip in half lengthwise.  Open.  On one side of fold, place two 2” x 20” Shape Flex pieces side by side, fusible side down from one short end to other short end.  Fuse.  Bring long edges to center fold.  Press.  Handle will measure 2” wide.  Fold strip in half to measure 1” wide.  

Top stitch along both long edges.  Topstitch down center.  Repeat with second handle.

With bag RSO and handle upside down, pin a short end 1” from top of bag and 3/8” from side binding on left side.  Starting at short raw edge of handle, stitch ½” down. Turn and continue stitching to form a box with the stitches. Repeat on right side.

Bring handles up towards top of bag.  Stitch just above raw edge of handle.  Repeat on gathered pocket side of bag.

Tote bag zipper:
Pin handles down so that they stay out of the way while installing the zipper.  Open zipper up.  With zippered pocket side face up, place beginning of zipper 2 ½” to left of bag.  With long edge of zipper inside top of bag and zipper teeth above bag, pin zipper in place.  Using a zipper foot, stitch starting at left side of binding and continue to binding on right side of bag. 

Pick a Pocket Bag Tutorial and Pattern

Pin second side of zipper to gathered pocket side of bag.  Test zipper placement by closing zipper.  Adjust if necessary.  Stitch from side binding to side binding.  (Zipper is closed in picture but should be open for sewing.) 

Pick a Pocket Bag Tutorial and Pattern

Make a zipper tab by folding short ends of a 2” x 4” main rectangle under ¼”.  Press. With RST, fold in half.  Tab now measures 2” x 1 ½”.  Stitch sides, turn right side out.
Carefully poke out corners.  Press.  Repeat with second tab.

Insert the zipper end into a finished tab.  Top-stitch at edge of fabric, carefully going over the zipper teeth.  Insert the excess by zipper pull into second tab.  Stitch as above.
Open purse.  On one side, with binding in the middle, gather accordion style each side of the purse.  Whipstitch the layers together.  Repeat on other side.

Pick a Pocket Bag Tutorial and Pattern

Zip up the bag and you are finished!

Pick a Pocket Bag Tutorial and Pattern

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