DIY Bags & Totes — Pocket Clutch

Big picture

Young designers will understand 2D to 3D pattern shapes and learn construction skills.

What’s the goal?

Young designers will practice using a sewing machine, understand layout diagrams, and interpret pattern markings. They will stitch straight lines with backstitching and ¼“ seam allowance, and pivot with needles in down position to make square corners.


Each designer will complete an individual project, but will work in pairs to help each other. Pair more skilled young designers with those that might need help.


  1. Prepare the patterns (make multiple out of cardstock or a thicker paper).
    1. Print one of each pattern piece. Cut along the solid line.
    2. Match pattern pieces at dots and tape pieces together to make the complete pattern set.
  2. Pre-cut the fabric pieces (saves time and lessens frustrations for young designers with less dexterious hands!).
    1. Cut one of each pattern piece – large clutch pattern (1,2,3,4 taped together), small rectangle, and flap – from the fabric. Cut pieces from different colors for more design choices.
  3. The stick-on Velcro dots can be used to fasten the flap of the bag

Seam/seam line: a line of stitching that joins two or more layers of fabric.

Seam allowance: the distance between the edge of your fabric and the seam line where the pieces are stitched.


  1. Finished bag is 7” wide x 4” tall.
  2. IMPORTANT: Use an oilcloth or a fabric that will not fray. The edges in this design are left raw.

    Oilcloth: a sturdy, water resistant fabric made of vinyl on a cotton mesh base.

  3. Pins are difficult to use on oilcloth – they leave small holes and are hard to push in and pull out. Instead, try clothespins, paper clips, or binder clips to hold together the clutch pieces.
  4. A size 16 needle or one labeled “for denim” works well on oilcloth.
  5. The presser foot tends to stick on oilcloth, so you might use a Teflon foot or simply apply painter’s tape to the bottom of the presser foot.
  6. Be sure that you have the young designers backstitch at the beginning and end of each seam.

    Backstitching: stitching back and forth a few stitches at the beginning or end of a seam to secure the seam so that it does not pull apart with use.

Let's get started!

In this activity, we’re going to learn how to make a two-tone bag to understand how flat pieces of fabric can be sewn together to make a fashion accessory.

  1. Place the Flap right side down on the wrong side of the Large Clutch piece. The flap should be centered and placed 1/4″ from the top of the square part of the large piece.pocketclutch1
  2. Sew a 1/4″ seam on the straight edge of the flap.pocketclutch2
  3. Fold the bottom square in half.pocketclutch3
  4. Sew a 1/4″ seam along the side seams.pocketclutch4
  5. Trim the corners and turn the square right side out.pocketclutch5
  6. Cut a small notch at both sides of the top of the new pocket to mark the location of the two side rectangles.pocketclutch6
  7. Fold the flap down and place the small rectangle 1/2″ in from the edge of the right rectangle. Sew the outer edge to the large piece, wrong sides together.pocketclutch7
  8. Fold in the side rectangles.pocketclutch8
  9. Sew the top and bottom edge of all the pockets.pocketclutch9
  10. Fold up the bottom section of the clutch and fold over the flap.pocketclutch10
  11. You’re finished!

Wrap it up

  1. What was the most challenging part of making this clutch?
  2. How would you use the pockets in this bag? Are they the right size for what you would want to carry in the bag?

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