How to Sew the Car Ditty Bag – Free Sewing Tutorial

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Keep everything you need handy – and organized – in the car with this sweet little bag! Mine holds my phone (and the cords, lol), a couple pens, and anything else I want to toss in there quick while I’m driving. But there’s more…

UPDATE: This blog post has been converted to an optional PDF that’s optimized for printing. Find it here. The blog post below is totally free to read, print, and sew! Just hit CTRL +P on your computer to print. The PDF download for $3 is totally optional.

If you love the shape and functionality of my Car Ditty Bag, don’t miss the newer (and free) Pocket Pod Basket Pattern. This fabric storage pod has a similar shape but is a little bit larger and has pockets on the inside or outside (or both). I included a free pattern template too. It will help you organize things in every room in the house!

The back has a welt zipper pocket where you can stash a few dollars or an emergency credit card in case you forget your purse. This was a reader suggestion! Β πŸ™‚

Another reader left the brilliant suggestion of using velcro to stick the bag to the floor to keep it from sliding around. It works great!

When I was writing this free sewing pattern, there was some concern about a bag putting unneeded pressure and pull on the stick shift. We decided to go ahead with this project anyway, and fix that by making the strap long enough so that the bag sits on the floor plus using velcro to hold it in place. I think we did a great job solving the problem!

If you are still uncomfortable putting a strap around your shifter, you could always hang the pouch somewhere else.

Let’s get started!

Finished size: Approximately 8’’ tall, 7 1/2’’ wide, and 2’’ deep. Strap customized to your needs.

Fabric and notions:

  • 1/2 yd fabric for the bag

  • 1/2 yd fabric for the pockets & strap

  • 1/2 yd By Annie’s flexible foam, fusible fleece, or other stabilizer

  • 1 zipper, at least 6” long (for hidden cash pocket)

  • 4’’ strip of hook tape (1/2 of a velcro set)


From the fabric for the bag, cut:

  • 4 squares 10’’ x 10’’

From the pocket & strap fabric, cut:

  • 1 rectangle 11’’ x 10’’ (exterior pocket)

  • 1 rectangle 12’’ x 8’’ (hidden cash pocket)

  • 1 strip 4’’ x desired length for strap + 1’’

From the interfacing, cut:

  • 2 squares 10’’ x 10’’

  • 1 strip 1’’ x desired length for strap + 1’’

Note: this little bag will be 8’’ tall. We (all of you & I) decided that it would be best for the car if the bag rested on the floor, so you will need to figure out the length of your own strap. Use your tape measure to measure from a spot about 7’’ off the floor of your car, then around the place where you will loop your strap and back to the same spot. That extra inch closer to the floor will give you some wiggle room to make sure it doesn’t pull on the stick shift or wherever you hang it. If you don’t care about this, just cut the strap whatever length you desire. πŸ™‚


I really like the curved top that I see in our inspiration Pin, so I decided to replicate it. This is how:

1. Stack two of your 10’’ squares together and fold in half. Make a mark 2’’ down from the top along the fold.

2. Using your rotary cutter (easier, IMHO) or scissors, start at the mark on the fold and cut into the square for about 1’’ and then curve upward to the corner.

Don’t stress this part. If you want you can use a large bowl to help you mark a curve, but it will probably look just as good if you just wing it.

3. Open one of the curved pieces, lay it on a square of interfacing, and trim the interfacing to match. Fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric piece or baste around all of the edges, 1/4’’ from the edge.

This is the front exterior.

4. Next apply interfacing (fuse or baste around the edges) to one of the square pieces. This is the back exterior.

The two bag exterior pieces (front and back) have interfacing. The bag lining pieces are not interfaced.

5. Cut 1’’ squares out of all of the bottom corners of the front and back pieces.

Make the front pocket:

3/8’’ seam allowance

1. Fold the 11’’ x 10’’ pocket rectangle in half with the 10’’ edges touching, right sides together. Pin and stitch along the long edge.


2. Turn the pocket tube right side out, and press. Topstitch along the long edge that you’d like to be the top of the pocket.

3. Lay the pocket over the curved front piece that has interfacing. Pin it in place 1/2’’ above the cut-out corners.

4. Stitch the pocket to the bag front 1/8’’ from the bottom edge. Baste in place along the sides, 1/4’’ from the edge.

5. Sew 1-3 straight lines to divide the pocket as desired. I know lots of you wanted a pen slot. I would rather have 2 larger pockets. πŸ™‚

Make the hidden zipper pocket:

3/8’’ seam allowance

1. On the back of the 12’’ x 8’’ pocket rectangle, draw a straight line that is about 7’’ long. Place the line 1’’ below the top 8’’ edge.

Draw another line the same length 1/2’’ below the first.

Connect these two lines with short lines that are 1/2’’ from either side edge.
You should now have a box that is 1/2’’ tall and 6’’ wide.

2. Lay the interfaced square (back exterior piece) on your work surface right side up. Place the pocket piece right side down with the drawn box on top and the top edge of the pocket piece 1’’ below the top edge of the interfaced square. Pin around the drawn box.

Finish sewing a welt zipper pocket using my Welt Zipper Pocket Tutorial starting on step 2 of the section called ‘Attach the pocket piece to the bag (or project).

Make the strap:

1. Fold and press the strap bias tape style:
Fold in half lengthwise, press.
Open and fold the raw edges to the center, press.
Insert the 1’’ strip of interfacing under one of the folds.
Fold the piece in half again and pin in place, if desired.

2. Stitch along both long edges, 1/8’’ from the folds.
Tip: A walking foot makes it easier to keep the fabric straight.

Make a loop with the strap and pin the ends to the top of the back exterior piece, centered above the zipper pocket. I pinned my two ends about 1/4’’ apart. Baste in place 1/4’’ from the edge.

Attach the scratchy velcro strip:

One of my readers suggested some scratchy velcro (hook tape) on the bottom of the bag would help it stick to the bottom of the car floor and not move around. It worked great!Β 

1. Center the strip of hook tape along the bottom of the back exterior piece, between the cut out corners and about 1/2’’ from the bottom edge.

2. Sew around the velcro close to the edge to secure it. Be sure to backstitch.

Sewing the bag together:

3/8’’ seam allowance

1. Pin the interfaced back and front pieces right sides together, and the non-interfaced lining back and front pieces right sides together along the sides and bottom.

2. Stitch the sides and bottom of both pieces, leaving a 5’’ opening in the bottom of the lining for turning.

3. To box the corners, pinch each corner, matching the side and bottom seams, and pin. Stitch across. Repeat for 4 corners in the exterior and the lining.

4. Turn the exterior right side out and place it inside the lining. Right sides should be together. Pin around the top edge.

Stitch all the way around the top edge.

5. Make clips in the seam allowance along the curved seam.

6. Turn the bag right side out through the opening in the lining and press.

7. Stitch the opening closed.

8. Topstitch around the top, about 1/4’’ from the edge.


And that’s it! If you had fun making my Car Ditty Bag, try my #10 CaddyΒ next so you can organize your sewing table! πŸ™‚

Happy sewing,

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. πŸ™‚