Exterior Pocket | Every Adventure Tote Bag

You can add an exterior pocket to the Every Adventure Tote with this tutorial! An exterior pocket tote bag is handy for extra storage and quick access of items! The pocket gets secured through the addition of longer bag straps so for this variation of the Every Adventure Tote, be sure to follow the information and instructions below.


Follow the supplies listed in the Every Adventure Tote tutorial with the following exceptions:

  • FOR THE STRAPS: Instead of what is listed in the original tutorial, cut (2) 5″ x 42″ fabric strips and (2) 1.25″ x 42″ foam strips. Alternatively, you can use 1.25″ cotton webbing instead. You’ll need (2) cuts each 42″ long.
    • Exterior fabric 8″ W x 6″ H
    • Interior fabric 8″ W x 6″ H
    • Interfacing (SF101) 8″ W x 6″ H
    • Binding scrap 8″ long (2.5″ x 8″)


1. Make the straps. If using webbing, skip to step 3. Press the handles fabric in half, open, and press both halves towards the center. Place foam inside one folded part and fuse in place. Repeat for the second handle.

2. Stitch on both sides of the handle approximately 1/8″ away from the end to secure all the layers. Set aside.

3. Fuse interfacing to the back side of the exterior pocket fabric, then place wrong sides together with the pocket lining fabric.

4. On the top edge of the pocket, sew the binding scrap to secure the pocket lining and exterior pocket fabrics together. Sew the binding on the lining side, then press to the exterior pocket side and topstitch in place.

5. Fuse the exterior main fabric for the tote bag to the top and bottom of the foam. Pay attention to placement of directional fabrics, they should both face OUT.

6. Find the center point on the tote bag on the 19.25″ side. Find the center point on your pocket, and line them up together so that the bottom edge of the pocket lines up with the bottom edge of the tote bag fabric.

7. Baste stitch in place 1/8″ from pocket edge on the right and left sides of the pocket.

8. Using the center point on the tote bag, measure 3″ from the center on each side. Pin the straps in place, lining up the bottom of the straps with the bottom of the tote bag fabric. Mark the strap fabric 1.5″ from the top, and 2.5″ from the top.

9. Stitch down the straps, stopping 1.5″ from the top of the tote bag and forming an X to reinforce that area. By stitching down the straps, you’re now securing the sides of your pocket.

10. Repeat steps 8-9 for the other strap on the other side of the tote bag.

11. Press back 1/2″ on the 19.25″ sides of the exterior base fabric. Find the center, and line it up with the center of the foam and fuse in place. (see steps 2-3 of the Every Adventure Tote tutorial for more details).

12. Topstitch the base fabric to the main exterior fabric with a 1/4″ seam allowance and a 1/8″ seam allowance. Repeat for the other side. Now the bottom edge of your pocket is also secured and enclosed.

13. Continue with the Every Adventure Tote tutorial, starting with step 8. What will you store in your exterior pocket tote bag?

More Every Adventure Tote Variations:



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