Fabric: 2 pieces 34.5″x 17.5″ – 1 piece 48″x 4″ – 2 pieces 22″x 11 (or scraps for the pocket squares)
Thread & Sewing machine
All of the sizes can be changed depending on what size you want the bag to be – so nothing has to be exact! The great thing about this bag is that measuring just isn’t that important, don’t tell anyone but I’m a pretty sloppy sewer! I never match the thread to the fabric either and love going back and forth with the thread so that it looks like scribbles!
To start you’ll need 2 rectangles of fabric 34.5″x17.5″ – one piece will be the outside body and the other will be the inside. Fold one side of the fabric in 12″ – from the unfolded piece measure in 1″ and cut the fabric away on each side (pictured below). This will be the flap of the bag.
Grab one pocket square and head to the sewing machine. Flip the fabric so that the side of the fabric you want on the outside are on the inside. I’m not the most exact cutter so I make sure to flip both sides of the fabric around so that if it’s not square both sides will be ‘not square’ together, like so:
Once the fabric is layed out sew around the edges leaving an opening in the middle of one edge. Pull the fabric right side out through the whole and use your finger to poke out the corners. Then sew all around the edge of the square, tucking the open area of fabric inside. Now you can do any decorative stitching you want, I usually just do an extra stripe along the top of the square:
Once all of your pocket pieces are sewn attach the top layers of pockets onto the back layers. Just sew around 3 sides leaving the top open, I love this part because it finally starts looking like something.
Pen slots are my favorite kind of pockets – just sew a straight line up the middle of your rectangle pocket dividing it into pen size sections!
Add an easy tag onto the side of a pocket with a thick ribbon. Later you can hook a carabiner (a what?) on it to hold your keys.
Once your pockets are together pin them on the inside body material where you want them. Make sure and put the openings toward the outside of the fabric. Once they’re pinned in place sew around the three edges leaving the top open. On my long pocket on the right I sewed up through the pocket to divide it into smaller sections. If a pocket is too wide it will bow out and get in the way of the main pocket when you open the bag.
Once that’s done place the inside of the bag on the outside material with both good sides facing in. Pinning this part is really important, it’s bulky with pockets at this point and pulls a lot. Sew around the edges leaving a hole large enough to pull the bag right side out through – just like you did with the pockets.
Once it’s right side out with the corners poked out sew around all of the edges and close up the hole.
This part is optional. I like flipping up the bottom edge of the flap so that you can see the inside material. Sew all around the edges as well as the bottom to flatten it. Mine’s white so I did some decorative stitching on it but if you have a fun pattern on the inside it’ll make a really fun accent with no extra work!
Now, fold the bag together with the inside on the outside and sew up each edge to close the bag!
Squaring off the bottom is a little tricky at first but once you do it the first time it’s a piece of cake. Put your hand inside the bag and flatten the bottom corner the opposite direction. Make sure the fabric on the inside and out is really flat. Then sew across the the corner making a triangle. The closer to the tip that you sew the narrower your bottom will be. Trim off the fabric and repeat on the other side. Here’s a tutorial that discusses it in more detailed if you’re interested!
Turn the bag inside out and you’re almost done! I sew along the outside edges to make my bag more square. Hold the bottom corner and fold the fabric in a line to the top like in the first photo, then sew along the line as close as you can get to the edge. It helps to keep one hand on the bottom corner to pull a little bit to keep the line straight while you’re sewing. There will be two lines on each side and two on the bottom. (If this is totally confusing let me know and I’ll try and illustrate it better!)
I also did mine in the same fabric as the inside of the bag because I like contrast between the outside and the strap. It’d also look great in the same material or a completely different one. Totally up to you.
Fold the strap in half long ways and sew all the way down the edge. Then flip it right side out.
Flatten the material so that the seam goes down the center and tuck the edges on the ends inside. Sew the strap all the way down the middle following the seam, then sew along it on each edge.
Sew the ends of the straps to the inside of the sides of the bag. Sew around in a square shape and then sew across the center in an X shape.
This project means sewing a lot of squares. I sew along one side and leave the needle down on the corner, lift the foot and rotate the fabric around – put the foot back down and do another edge! This might be obvious for some but it wasn’t for me at first!
Oh, that was the last step! Enjoy your new bag! xo