How to Sew a Tote with Many Pockets! {free sewing pattern – Part 2}

Welcome to Part 2 of my Tote with Many Pockets Sewing Pattern! In Part 1, you will find the materials list and instructions for all of the cutting, fusing, and sewing of the pockets.

Now it’s time to sew the rest of the pieces together. Let’s get to it!

Sewing the Exterior Sides:

1. Draw a line down the middle of one of the lower pocket pieces.


2. Place the lower pocket piece that you just marked with the marked side down on your work area. Then place one of the upper pocket pieces on top.

Align the bottom of the upper pocket piece (the pink one) with the tops of the squares cut out of the lower (gray) pocket piece. Pin these pieces together along the side edges.

3. Flip the piece over and stitch along your marked line on the lower pocket. This divides the lower pocket in 2.

4. Use a fabric marker to draw a line across the bottom of the lower pocket that is 1/2” above the cut out corners, as shown above.

5. Stitch across the line you just drew.

6. Place the completed pocket pieces on top of one of the bag exterior pieces, aligning the cut out corners at the bottom. Pin and baste together along the side edges.

Repeat Steps 1-6 to make the other side of the bag.

Make the Button and D-ring Loops

1. Fold the 2” x 6” button loop strip in half lengthwise. Open it and press the edges to the center (first picture above).

2. Fold the strip in half again and press (second picture above).

3. Topstitch along the strap, 1/8” from both edges (third picture above).

4. Repeat Steps 1-3 above with the 4” x 4” squares for the D-ring loops too.

5. Fold one of the bag exterior pieces in half lengthwise to find the center at the top. Mark the center with a pin.

6. Fold the button loop in half and pin the ends at the top of the bag, as shown above. Sew across the top, 1/4” from the edge to secure the button loop in place.

7. Wrap the D-ring loop pieces around the 1” D-rings and sew across the top edges. Set the two D-ring loop pieces aside for now.

Assembling the Tote Bag:

1. Pin the exterior sides right sides together along the sides and bottom.

2. Stitch along the side and bottom edges (not around the cut out corners). Press the seams open.

3. Flatten the side and bottom seams of the bag together at the cut out corners to make a straight edge. Pin.

4. Stitch across this edge to box the corner. Repeat on the other corner. 

5. Pin the bag lining pieces right sides together and sew the side and bottom edges, except leave a 5-6” opening for turning the bag right side out later. Press the seams open.

Box the corners of the lining also, as seen in Steps 3-4 above.

6. Turn the bag exterior right side out. Pin the D-ring loops over the side seams. Baste in place about 1/4” from the top edge.

7. With the bag exterior right side out, and the bag lining wrong side out, place the lining over the exterior. Pin together around the top edges. Stitch all the way around the top edge of the bag.

8. Press the top edge seam open, and then clip the seam allowances (just like you did with the curved top edges of the pocket pieces).

9. Turn the bag right side out through the opening in the lining.

10. Press the edges at the opening in the lining to the inside. Sew the opening closed.

11. Press the top edge of the bag flat. Topstitch around the bag, 1/4” from the top edge.

Make the Bag Strap:

1. Press the 4” x 40” strip of fabric the same way that you pressed the button and D-ring loops.

2. Insert the 1” x 37” strip of fusible fleece inside the folds of the strap piece. The fusible fleece strip is 3” shorter, so there will be an extra 1 1/2” bit without fleece at either end. Fold the strap together and press again.

3. Topstitch along both long edges of the strap 1/8” from the edge.

4. Press the ends over 1/2”.

5. Slide one end of the strap through a swivel snap clip and fold it over about 1”.

6. Stitch across the strap twice to secure the clip. Repeat with the other swivel snap clip at the other end of the strap.

Note: If you want to skip the swivel snap clips, you can sew the strap directly to the D-rings on the bag.

Attach the strap to the bag, and you are done! 

If you make one, be sure to upload a picture in one of my Show Off Saturday Picture Party posts. Thanks so much for reading my blog!


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Disclosure: some of my posts contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of those links I may receive a small commission, so thank you for supporting SewCanShe when you shop! All of the opinions are my own and I only suggest products that I actually use. 🙂

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  1. Linda Southworth says:

    Caroline, thank you for creating this fun bag! I am sure there will be many made using your excellent directions. Many happy sewers this morning, me included!

  2. Lovely tote! Thank you for all your hard work in putting together this series of articles. I will be making this bag but would love to include a zipper closing at the top. Happy sewing in the New Year!

  3. Steffunny says:

    OMGoodness!! This is amazing! Thank you soooo much for all your precious valuable time it must have taken you to post this … it looks beyond my skills but I think I’m gonna hafta give it a try cuz you make it seem simple!

  4. Thank you ever so much for sharing this great bag! I think this will finally be a bag for myself and I will use some of the fabrics I’ve been stashing "as to nice to use". Very clear instructions.

  5. This is absolutely gorgeous, professional looking, and so functional! Gathering supplies to make this soon. Thank you!

  6. I have a question. The tutorial says to cut • 4 rectangles 9 1/2” x 14” for the top pocket but when cutting the iron on stabilizer, it says • From medium weight woven interfacing, cut: 4 rectangles 15” x 14” for the top pocket. There is nothing about 9 1/2” x 14” from the stabilizer. I am confused. Any help appreciated.

    1. Thanks for letting me know about that. The top pocket interfacing should be 9 1/2” x 14”. I fixed it. 🙂

  7. How do I show you the one I made today? Specs were great. The only thing I will do differently next time is totally reduce the bulk in the bottom boxing area. It was quite a hassle but we managed. This is a gift, I hope she likes it. Fun fabrics.

  8. Will be making this bag as a cancer care bag for a friend. Thank you for the wonderful instructions

  9. Emily Schaefer says:

    I always love your patterns/tutorials. However, my computer is in the complete opposite end of my house from my sewing room. I have been sewing for well over 70 years, so the written word is usually all I need. If I have a question, I just go to your site and check the issue out. I was wondering if is economically feasible to have a "Printer friendly" button that just has the verbiage???? Printer ink is so expensive, and this pattern/tutorial printed out entirely is 13 pages!

    1. Hi Emily,
      There is a green ‘print PDF’ button at the bottom of each post that will enable you to print it without ads, and choose the photos that you want to keep.

      Hope that helps!


  10. Mackenzie Teague says:

    Made my first purse 🙌. Only thing I didn’t see instructions for was putting in the actual button. I kinda winged it. I am new at sewing and I’m loving your tutorials. Tried to pay a pic but it wouldnt. let me.

  11. Betsy Waterman says:

    I just finished making this bag, but I increased the size by 1” all the way around as I wanted a slightly bigger bag. I also made a small bag to hold some small cosmetics item inside. I really love how it came out. Thank you.

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