pleated pouch with zipper and tote from a striped shirt

I made a striped reversible bag for my friend Amanda a few weeks ago when I went to stay with her. Since the bag doesn’t have any pockets, I wanted to make a pouch to go along with it. I didn’t have time to make one before I left to visit, but after I came back I made a pouch and a cat blanket for Amanda’s cat, Bob, and got them in the mail to arrive over Easter weekend. I was mostly happy with the pouch, but I did have a zipper issue. I’ll have to make it again and see if I can figure out what went wrong.

I followed the Pleated Zippered Pouch tutorial on Skip to my Lou and was pretty happy with it, apart from my zipper issues. I should have used my zipper foot but didn’t feel like changing out feet on such a small project, so I’m sure that was part of the problem. I’ve been having issues with zipper ends on pouches anyway.

The same fabrics that I used for the purse are in the pouch. I used the striped fabric for the lining because I wasn’t sure the textured fabric would work well on the inside.

Another project I completed was turning a second thrifted button-down shirt turned into a tote bag. (You can check out my first button-down to bag project here.)

Instead of turning my shirt cuffs into pouches this time, I sewed them to the lining of the bag and used them, along with the shirt pocket I removed from the outside, as pockets on the inside.

pinned in place

sewn down

I made this bag the same way I sewed my recent sweater bag. It’s pretty simple. First cut two rectangles (or squares) each for the lining and the outside. If you are using a shirt, I’d suggest sewing the button placket closed on both sides of the row of buttons. You can replace the standard buttons with something more fun or remove them altogether and just leave the buttonholes if you want.

Sew the outside together around the sides right-sides facing and then do the lining the same way, after you’ve added the pockets if you want them, leaving a hole in the bottom of the lining. I boxed the bottoms of the lining and the outside to give it a better shape, but I think it works better with stiffer fabrics than the thrifted bedsheet and button-down shirt I used for this project.

Then place outside inside the lining right sides together, inserting the straps and sewing around the top edges. Make sure your straps are down inside the bag and not hanging out the top. You can find more about making straps in the sweater bag post. Then flip your bag through the hole in the lining.

flipped, with button-down shirt side visible

flipped with pockets and back of shirt side showing

Once you’ve check to make sure everything is where it is supposed to be, sew the hole in the lining shut and stuff the lining down into the outside. Topstitch around the top of the bag after you’ve flipped it if you want, then you’re done!

finished inside view with pockets

finished outside view

I liked the colors of this shirt, even though they were faded and not something I would normally consider. I revisited the shirt on a few trips to the thrift store, but finally bought it after it went 70% off. The pocket area had a weird stiffness to it, but thankfully that washed out.

I’m not sure if I will keep this bag for myself, but it seems beach appropriate. Now I just need to plan our trip to the beach!


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