DIY tote bag with tablet pocket

July 22, 2019

This DIY tote bag is designed for the young woman/teen who carries a tablet with her. The tote bag is fully lined and features two slip pockets plus a padded pocket designed for a tablet.

To make your DIY tote bag with lining mix your fabric, use leather (an old leather jacket can be upcycled), or you could use jeans for the bottom section of the bag – have fun selecting your fabric choices. 

The bag has two slip pockets and a padded zipper pocket for a tablet – this will hold a tablet up to 10 by7″ (25.5 by 18cm)  in size.



Check out these fabulous free bag patterns:-

Sashiko Denim Tote

Large Tote Bag with Zippered Closure

Denim Tote Bag

10 Minute Tote

Alternatively, you find all my free bag patterns here.

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DIY Tote Bag with Tablet Pocket

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  • One leather piece 16 by 14 1/2″ (or contrasting fabric) (40.5 by 37cm)
  • Outer bag fabric, two pieces 16 by  12 1/4″ (40.5 by 31cm)
  • Two fabric pieces 13 by 12″ for slip pockets (33 by 30.5cm)
  • One piece of fabric 24 by 12″ for zip pocket (66 by 30.5cm)
  • Fusible fleece for zip pocket 24 by 12″ (66 by 30.5cm)
  • 8″ Zip (20cm)
  • Two pieces of Lining Fabric 16 by 19 1/2″ (40.5 by 49.5 cm)
  • Internal slip pockets cut out 13″ by 6 1/2″  per pocket  (33 by 16.5cm) I love them so have made two
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine
  • Leather sewing machine needle
  • Annies Soft and Stable 16 by 38″ (40.5 by 96.5cm)
  • Heavyweight iron on interfacing 16 by 19 1/2″ (40.5 by 49.5)
  • 2 Leather bag handles 1″ by 32″ (2.5 by 81cm)
  • Four 8mm double cap rivet
  • Leather hole punch
  • Rivet tool

Let’s get started making your DIY tote bag with lining

Outer bag

If you are using leather insert a leather needle into your sewing machine,  Place the 16 by 14 1/2 ” length of leather over the edge of the fabric, overlapping the fabric by 1/2″ (1.3cm). Use double-sided tape to hold in place (if you pin the leather the pin marks will always show).

Machine stitch in place, using a leather needle. Repeat for the second side of the fabric. This gives you one continuous piece of fabric for the out bag.

Cut out your Annies soft and stable, spray fabric adhesive to the soft and stable, place glue side to the wrong side of the bag fabric.

Fold the fabric in half, right sides of the bag together, machine stitch the sides together,

Box the corner

Mark the bottom corner, 1 1/2″ (3.8cm) square.

Cut out this corner. Fold the fabric so the raw edges are together, forming the base corner of the bag.

Machine stitch, backstitching at each edge.

Click here for a more detailed tutorial for boxing corners.


Iron heavyweight interfacing to the wrong side of the lining fabric, following the manufacturer’s instructions.

To make internal slip pockets

Fold the fabric in half, right sides together.

Stitch around two sides, trim the corners to reduce bulk, being careful not to cut the stitches.

Turn right side out then fold in the raw edge and press.

Place pocket 5″ (12.7cm) down from the top of the lining and 5 1/4″ (13.3cm) in from the edge. Ensure your unstitched pocket edge is at the bottom of the pocket.

Stitch the three sides of the pocket, doubling your stitching at the top of the sides for strength. check out my detailed tutorial for how to make a slip pocket.

To make the tablet zip pocket

Iron fusible fleece to the wrong side of your zip pocket fabric.

Place the zip pocket piece 2 1/2″ (6.35cm) down from the top.

On the wrong side mark out a rectangle which itself measures 1/2 by  8″ (1.3 by 20.3cm) from the top of the piece, centrally.

Place onto one side of your lining fabric 4″ (10cm) from the top. Pin to hold in place.

Stitch around your rectangle, secure your threads then cut as marked.

Pull the zip pocket through the opening. Iron a neat edge around your opening.

Place your zip so the right side of the zip faces the right side of the fabric. Tack in place.

Turn over and top stitch around the rectangle to secure the zip.

Turn over, fold up the bottom of the zip pocket to the top to create an envelope. Stitch all round to finish the enclosed zip pocket.

Find a more detailed tutorial for how to insert zipper pocket in a bag lining.

Fit the magnetic snap

Measure out the placement of the magnetic snap, place it centrally ” down from the top.

Place a 2″ (5cm) square of fusible fleece on the back. Place the metal washer in position and mark the rectangles.

Cut the markings with a seam ripper.

Insert the snap, on the reverse place over the metal washer and fold the prongs outwards.

Iron a piece of fusible interfacing over the top, on the back. This will help prevent the magnetic snap tearing the fabric over time. Read a more detailed tutorial for inserting magnetic snaps.

Assemble the lining.

Place the right sides together and sew the two side panels and along the bottom, leaving a 6″ (15cm) opening along the bottom. This enables you to turn the bag right side out shortly.

Box the corners as you did for the outer bag.

Assemble the bag

Place the lining over the external bag so the right sides are facing each other. Pin all around.

Stitch along the top of your bag, all the way around.

Turn the bag right sides out. Pull the lining down into the bag, pin along the top holding the lining in place.

Top stitch all around – due to the thickness of two layers of Annies Soft and Stable it will help your sewing machine if you place two layers of Annies soft and stable parallel so your machine foot is even horizontally.

Pull out the lining, fold in the raw edges along your 6″ (15cm) opening, pin

Topstitch to close.

Attach bag handles

Cut bag handles 1″ by  32″(2.5 by 81cm)  –  I sourced this leather at a car boot sale, as it is thin so I have stitched two pieces together.

Place the handle 2 1/2″ (6.35cm) in from the side of the bag and 1 3/4″ (4.5cm) down from the upper edge.

Check that your double cap rivet is the right size (depth for the bag). 

Hole punch two holes at each end of the handle, you may need to punch the hole in the bag first and then in the handle.

Place the male cap rivet through the handle and fabric, press the female side on.

Place the rivet so that the bottom cap lays inside the dip of the round portion of the rivet tool. Align the dipped in portion of the rod on top and give it a good hit with a hammer (ensure you are on a solid surface!). 

You have completed your DIY tote bag with lining. Congratulations – I hope you love your bag as much as I love mine.

Today I am taking part in a back to school sewing blog hop, here in the UK my children have not quite broken up for their summer holidays!! There are some fabulous projects for you to sew,

5 comments so far.

5 responses to “DIY tote bag with tablet pocket”

  1. What a beautiful bag, Vicky. I love the combination of leather + the striking blue fabric.
    Pam @Threading My Way recently posted…Showcasing ~ Emma Bag Made with SelvedgesMy Profile

  2. SUSAN RUSMAN says:

    Vicky I love this bag! Such a clever use of materials. I’m all for a bit of recycling – but this is done with style.

    Thank you for sharing.


  3. Jo says:

    One thing missing. What’s the finished size?

  4. Alejandra says:

    This is a beautiful bag, thanks for sharing the tutorial!
    Alejandra recently posted…Best Scissors For QuiltingMy Profile

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A passion for sewing, upcycling and caring for the environment - the perfect excuse to haunt charity shops for bargains!

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