4 easy ways to make fabric pockets

Now that my plan is in place, I’m going to start sewing! Since I want my retreat bag to hold a variety of different tools, I want to have an assortment of different sized pockets. It would be easy to make all of the pockets the same way, but where would be the adventure in that? So today I’m going to show you 4 easy ways to make pockets that can be used in any of your sewing projects.

Pocket #1 – the folded fabric pocket

OK, so let’s start with the easiest pocket first and if you don’t want to try the others, you could just use this one (in different shapes and sizes) for all of the pockets in your tote bag.

  • Take the two 7″ x 14″ rectangles of rainbow diamonds fabric and fold in half with right sides together to make a 7″ square.
  • Sew ½” in from the three raw edges, leaving a space 2″ long unsewn for turning.

Sew the pocket along three sides leaving a space open for turning

  • Turn each of the pockets right ride out and press.
  • Topstitch along the edge with the unsewn section to close the seam and reinforce to the top of the pocket.
  • Set these pockets aside for now.

Pocket #2 – the large cutting mat pocket

  • Take the 32″ x 25½” rectangle of the rainbow diamonds fabric and fold it in half right sides together to make a rectangle 16″ x 25½”
  • Sew ½” in from the long raw edge. Turn right side out, press and topstitch along this sewn edge to reinforce to top of the pocket. The two raw edges will be encased in the binding of the bag, so we don’t need to finish them at this time.

Topstitch along the sewn edge of the large pocket

Pocket #3 – the clear vinyl zippered pocket

  • Sewing with vinyl can be a little tricky, so you may want to check out this video on YouTube for tips and tricks.

4 Tips for Sewing with Vinyl – YouTube

Vinyl is easiest to sew if there’s fabric between it and the presser foot and the bed of the machine. In order to accomplish this in our project we’re going to make fabric covers to sew onto all of the edges of the vinyl.

Take the 2½” strips of rainbow diamonds fabric and fold and press as per these 4 steps:

Making the double folded fabric strip covers

Step #1 – Fold in half lengthwise with wrong sides together. Press.

Step #2 – Fold one edge in to meet the crease made in step #1. Press.

Step #3 – Fold in the remaining edge to meet the center crease. Press.

Step #4 – Fold in half lengthwise again and press.

  • Repeat with all five of the 2½” strips. When all strips are one, we now have covers to sew onto all four edges of the vinyl pocket and the top of the zipper.
  • Take one of the 15″ long covers and slide the long edge of the 12″ x 15″ piece of vinyl inside of the cover, lining up the two ends. Topstitch along the edge of the cover. Sew another 15″ long cover over the opposite side of the vinyl.

Slide the edge of the vinyl into the fold of the fabric then topstitch

  • Using the zipper foot on your sewing machine, sew one of the 15″ long covers to the zipper in the same manner as above.

Slide one of the covers onto the edge of the zipper and topstitch

  • Sew the zipper to the top of the pocket by topstitching the edge of the pocket cover onto the zipper.

Sewing the zipper to the top of the vinyl pocket

  • Sew the remaining two covers to the remaining sides of the vinyl pocket, but tuck in the raw ends of the covers so that the edges are finished after they are topstitched.

Slide the end of the zipper into the folded fabric strip and tuck in the ends

Topstitch the side covers onto the vinyl pocket

Pocket #4 – the clear vinyl ruler pocket

  • Following steps 1 through 4 listed above, fold and press the 2½” x 25½” and 2½” x 14½” strips of black fabric. Sew the long cover onto one side of the 14″ x 25½” piece of vinyl.
  • Press under ½” on one end of the shorter cover.
  • Using a ruler and a marker, draw a line down the vinyl to divide it into two pockets. My line was approximately 8″ from the edge in order to accommodate my 6″ x 24″ ruler.

Mark a line across the large vinyl pocket from top to bottom to divide the pocket into two

  • Before layering this pocket on the large fabric cutting mat pocket, fold up the bottom ½” edge of the fabric pocket and press. …You’ll see why in a minute.

Fold up the bottom 1/2″ of the pocket and press

  • Lay the vinyl pocket on top, sliding the bottom edge of the vinyl pocket into the fold in the fabric pocket.
  • Pin these together at the top edge of the vinyl pocket and lay the short black folded strip onto the line that was drawn with the marker, lining up the edge that was folded under with the top of the vinyl pocket.
  • Topstitch this fabric strip through all layers (the black dividing strip, the vinyl pocket and the fabric pocket).

Place the black divider strip along the drawn line and topstitch through all of the layers

Tomorrow we assemble!

Now that the pockets are organized and the outsides of the bag are complete, all that’s left to do is assemble it. I can’t wait to see the finished bag and hope that my instructions for 4 easy ways to make fabric pockets was helpful for you!

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Lori Smanski December 11, 2015 - 9:37 pm
these are great tutorials thanks for sharing
LINDA December 11, 2015 - 2:47 pm
HI,love this tutorial! It is a Keeper for sure! Thanks for sharing!
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