Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Tutorial Time: The Peeking Pocket Tote Bag

Today I've got a new free pattern for a super versatile bag that offers lots of options when it comes to use & fabric: the Peeking Pocket Tote Bag Pattern.

What's different about this bag?  The curved outside pockets on either side of the bag offer great places to store all sorts of stuff and allow for two fabric prints to be on show at once.  

As a result, this handy tote bag can carry lots and these special pockets make it easy to access everything:

I'd been in love with these two fabrics for a while and wanted to make something special with them.  The vibrant colors and black background are so great for this time of year.  The Faith Brite is the most popular fabric in my shop.  It's probably my very favorite too.    

When we're running around and I need to carry a bag more than a purse, this one is just perfect because it looks prettier than typical tote bags:    

 Now let's get to the making!

- My Peeking Bag Pocket Pattern Download HERE
- 1 yard Main bag fabric (I used Faith Brite by Timeless Treasures
- 1/2 yard Peeking fabric (I used Sacred Heart by Timeless Treasures)
- 1 yard fusible fleece or medium batting
- Notions: rotary cutter, pins, hand sewing needle, iron

Download and print the pattern for the pocket (actual size, 100% scale).  Cut out and piece together according to instructions. 

Cut the following fabric pieces:

- (2) outer pockets from Faith Brite using my pattern piece
- (2) peeking main pieces from Sacred Heart, 16 in wide by 15 1/2 in high
- (2) lining pieces from Faith Brite 16 in wide by 15 1/2 in high
- (2) shoulder straps from Faith Brite, 4 in wide by 26 in high
- (2) fusible fleece pieces for bag 16 in wide by 15 1/2 in high
- (2) fusible fleece pieces for straps 1 1/2 in wide by 26 in high

Affix the fusible fleece (or batting) to the wrong side of the peeking main fabric:

Next, take the pocket panels and attach the double fold bias tape along the pocket curves on each panel:

So each pocket looks like this:

Baste the pocket sides and bottom to the peeking main bag pieces:

Switch over the work on the straps.  Fold the shoulder straps lengthwise and press, then open so there's a crease down the middle:

Iron the fusible fleece to one side of the fold:

Fold the fabric edge inward over the fleece and press:

Fold the remaining side inward 1/2 inch, press and fold the strap closed:

Topstitch both sides of each strap:

Pin the strap ends to each bag side, 4 inches inward from either side:

Stitch two rows to attach the straps within the seam allowance:

With right sides facing, pin and then stitch the bag sides and bottom together.  Repeat with the lining fabric, but leave a three inch gap on one side for turning. 

I like to use a walking foot since it's ideal for keeping this many layers from shifting:

Square off the corners of the outer bag and lining by 3 inches and stitch:

Turn the outer bag right side out and insert it into the lining, pin together around the top edge and stitch:

Turn bag right side out through gap and press.  Topstitch around the top edge of the bag.  Slip stitch close the gap inside by hand. 

Time to add all the goodies you need on the go and enjoy a stylish new bag!


  1. That is really pretty fabric. Thank you for the tutorial. It's a great tote

    1. Thanks so much! I'd love to see if you make one:)

  2. Wonderful pattern....thank you so much!! Bias tape and I do not work well together so I cut the curve on the pocket 1/2 inch less and turned stitched 1/8th and 1/2 inches

    1. I'm thrilled you made one - I'd love to see how it turned out!

  3. Made this today.. Love it thank you 🙏

  4. Hey sorry but are there pockets on both sides?

    1. Yes, there are pockets on both outer sides of the bag.

  5. Hello, could you please list the finished size of this tote. I will be getting the supplies and make the hard decision of which fabrics to use to make this tote bag. Thank you for the pattern and directions.

    1. Hi there! It is 12inx12inx3in. I'd love to see it when you make it - you can email a photo to and I'd be happy to feature it!!

  6. have you ever lined the outside pockets?

    1. I haven't seen a need to, but you could. Just cut an extra pair of the outer pieces and put them together wrong sides facing prior to adding the bias tape and then continuing as described.

  7. Hello! The exterior outside pockets could you sew a straight line in the middle to divide the pockets?

  8. Hi and thankyou so much for this tutorial - I sewed a double line down the middle of both pockets and also lined the pockets - Fun project and maybe Christmas presents for sistas!!


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