Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Bag in a Pocket

         Mr. G and I are getting ready for our "Bucket List" trip.  It seems I can never have enough small bags for a trip to help keep things sorted and organized.  Mr. G likes buying things and stowing them away in a crevice in the car somewhere.  Things get a bit scatter.  I like keeping things together all in one bag.  Even shoes.
          Once upon a time, I had a small backpack made of a lightweight nylon.  It folded up inside the front pocket for easy carrying.  When I got to my destination, I pulled it out of the suitcase and filled it up with the small load I needed to carry on a walk.
           I decided to make some "Bags in a Pocket" to stash in the suitcase to use later in the trip.

*A Tutorial Tuesday*

 Cut size you desire for
bag, straps and pocket.
Notice the pocket is 6 inches wide which is 
almost half the width of the bag. 
Keep that ratio in mind if you decide on a different size bag.
 Mark one end of the bag by ironing a crease down the middle, and
folding down the top 2 inches.
Next take the 6x10 inch pocket and fold hamburger style as we called it in elementary school verses the long way called "hot dog" style.
Iron a double fold hem of 1/8 inch each fold.

I like to use the Edge or Joining foot to help stitch close to the edge of the fold.
 See the beautiful stitching along the edge.
Pin 5/8 inch below the top of the other side.
Right sides together.
On both sides start stitching at the top to make sure the measurement stays accurate.
Back stitch twice as this seam will take a lot of stress when putting the bag inside.
 Fold the pocket in half and iron to make a crease down the center.
Turn the pocket OVER and UPSIDE Down and place edge along the crease that was ironed.
Also match the center creases.
Sew 1/8 inch from the edge.
Fold down leaving a fold above the top edge.

 Unfold to see your crease line which is your stitching line.
Stitch across this line and fold back down.
Notice the stitching is invisible.
The pocket hangs free.

To stitch the bag section: Fold the bag piece "Hamburger" style with right sides together,
stitch the sides of the bag from top down.
To stitch hem around top: Fold and press a double seam of 1/2 inch each fold around the top.
Use edge foot to top stitch along the edge of the hem on the inside.

Turn right side out & see below for placing handles.

Next use your favorite method to make the handles.  
One way I make them is with the strip folded in half with  right sides together
stitch across one end and down the side.  
I use a knitting needle to turn it inside out.
Cut off the end.
The seam is pressed to the center.
Pin the ends of one strap to just along the edges of the pocket.
Pin the ends of the other strap on the other side so handles are opposite of each other.  
Mine came out to about 2¼ inch from the center of the bag to the center seam of the handle.
Machine baste each end of the handles to just below the top edge of the bag.
Turn up and do a cross stitch.
The X is made with one continuous row of stitching.
The top and bottom row of the X is stitched over twice
in doing this order of stitching as noted above.
This bag was made with the pocket on the outside.
You can make it on the inside by changing the direction of the hemming and handle placement.

How to Fold the Bag into the Pocket

The pocket must be on the outside.
 If you made the pocket to be on the inside, you will need to turn it inside out to fold into the pocket.
On the left is another bag already folded into it's pocket.
 Turn the bag over with the pocket on the other side from you.
 Fold bag along the edge of the pocket.
 Then fold the bag up using the pocket length as a guide for amount to fold up.

 Handles go in the pocket first.
 Stuff the bag in the pocket and flatten out.

 I still had room to put one inside the other pocket, sort of.

Thanks to the FREE programs:
possibly used for this post

 Photoscape for downsizing & watermarking photo
PicMonkey creating the icon used on this page


  1. What a great tutorial! I am not very good at sewing, but with a thorough tutorial like this, there is hope for the likes of me to attempt a project like this.

  2. Having a pocket to fold the bag into is a great idea, Joy.

  3. I see with your tutorial that making such a bag is less complicated than it seemed to me. Thanks for writing it. I pinned it for future reference.
    Thank you for participating to my Fabric, Thread and Yarn link party. Have a nice week!

  4. This is brilliant, the photos really help as I wasn't following the written instructions very well!
    Here in the UK we have to pay 5p for all plastic bags so reusables like this are great and very popular. When they fold up nicely like this they are even better.

  5. this is amazing!!! im glad someone made it!! making this long weekend for sure!! i love bags in a bag! people think am crazy that i love them but they see the use when youre stuck!! yes yes yessss

  6. I am thinking to make a version of this! What kind of fabric did you use? :)

    1. Linda, I bought the fabric at a yard sale so I don't know exact content. I will guess a polyester/cotton mix. My tip is not use a fabric that is heavy and stiff since it needs to fold up and fit inside a pocket.

  7. Wonderful tutorial! Thank you very much.
    Kind greetings from Austria.

  8. Thanks so much for the tutorial.I already made a bag and with this tutorial I can made a pocket for the bag.

  9. This tutorial is wonderful. I have wanted to make these bags ever since receiving one as a gift before traveling to the UK. it was really handy!
    Thank you and have a wonderful Holiday.

  10. Pesima traduccion al espaƱol imposible seguirla, hay que guiarse por las imagenes y para hacer la bolsa hay que saber algo de costura, no es para principiantes

  11. Is there a printable pattern

    1. Measurements are given in first picture if tutorial, although you can make any size you like. Just rectangle pieces are used so I didn't make a pattern.

  12. This is exactly what I have been looking for. I am very excited to make some to take on a trip to Alaska.


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