Most of us have a special tote or two sitting around full of sewing and crafting goodies, but having one with a zippered pocket is even more of a treasure. That pocket can hold those valuable threads and scissors so they don’t end up buried at the bottom of the bag. Adding a pocket to this tote bag is easy, especially with ThermOWeb Fabric Fuse™ Liquid Adhesive. Using a pattern or die punches gives the bag a little of your own personal touch.

Zippered Pocket Tote by Carol Swift, Just Let Me Quilt

Tote Bag a

Approximate finished size: 11” x 15” – (Pink flower cut with die punches, black flower cut with included pattern.)

What you’ll need:

HeatnBond® Fusible Interfacing – Light Weight

HeatnBond® Fusible Fleece

iCraft® Deco Foil™ Sheets

iCraft® Deco Foil™ Hot Melt Adhesive

ThermOWeb Fabric Fuse Liquid Adhesive


At least a 12” zipper (excess will be trimmed off)


Optional die punches or die cutters

Tote Bag b

Cutting instructions:

Cut 2 – 11” x 15½” fabric for bag

Cut 2 – 4½” x 12½” fabric for straps

Cut 2 – 11” x 15½” fabric for bag lining

Cut 1 – 10½” x 11” fabric for pocket

Cut 2 – 10½” x 15” HeatnBond Fusible Fleece for bag lining

Cut 1 – 5¼” x 11” HeatnBond Fusible Interfacing – Light Weight for pocket

Sewing instructions: All seams are 1/2” wide.

Step 1: Iron HeatnBond Fusible Fleece to wrong sides of 2 – 11” x 15½” fabric for bag following manufacturer’s directions. Set aside.

Step 2: Iron HeatnBond Fusible Interfacing – Light Weight to half of wrong side of pocket fabric, lengthwise, following manufacturer’s directions. Fold pocket fabric in half lengthwise, wrong sides together. Press to crease fold. Set aside.

Step 3: Adding designs using iCraft® Deco Foil™ Sheets and iCraft® Deco Foil™ Hot Melt Adhesive:

To prepare Deco Foil designs using attached patterns: Trace designs on smooth side of iCraft® Deco Foil™ Hot Melt Adhesive and cut out pieces. Follow directions below to adhere design to fabric.

Tote Bag c

To use a die punch or machine die cutter to cut out designs of your choice: Punch or cut designs out of iCraft® Deco Foil™ Hot Melt Adhesive. It helps to maintain the shape if you place adhesive between two sheets of parchment paper or regular computer paper. Follow directions below to adhere design to fabric.

Tote Bag d

Directions: Place design on fabric, adhesive side down (the rough side.) Cover with parchment paper. Iron to fabric following manufacturer’s directions. Let cool. Peel off backing and lay your chosen color of iCraft® Deco Foil™ over the adhesive shape. Place a sheet of parchment paper over foil and iron following package directions. Remove parchment paper, but do not remove foil until completely cool. Just walk away for at least 30 minutes or longer. Rub area with soft cloth before removing foil.

Tote Bag e

*Hint: It’s all about the pressure and length of time you apply to the foil that makes for good coverage. Put some muscle into pressing down on it or consider using a laminator. Plus, don’t remove the paper backings of the other pieces you are ironing if they are close together to avoid accidentally touching them with the iron.

To do a double layer of Deco Foil: Cut out/die punch a large design from iCraft® Deco Foil™ Hot Melt Adhesive. Iron adhesive on fabric following manufacturer’s instructions. Let cool. Remove adhesive’s protective paper. Cut out a smaller shape from Deco Foil. Place the foil shape on the adhesive. Lay a different color sheet of foil over the shape and adhesive. Iron as directed above. Allow to cool completely before removing foil. *Be careful not to touch other foils with iron!

Tote Bag f

Step 4: If desired, quilt back and front of bag. Quilting can change the size and shape of fabric, so be sure to square it up and make bag and bag lining fabric pieces all the same size. You can quilt on top of the Deco Foil or around it.

Tote Bag g

Step 5: To make the straps: Fold strap fabric pieces in half lengthwise, wrong sides together. Press to crease. Fold in long edges towards center. Press to crease. Fold in half again and press. Stitch down both long sides close to edges.

Tote Bag h

Step 6: To create zipper pocket:

Apply a thin line of ThermOWeb Fabric Fuse Liquid Adhesive along folded edge of zipper. Lay edge of fabric along adhesive and finger press in place. Allow to dry. Stitch close to zipper edge using a straight or decorative stitch.

Tote Bag i

Slide zipper open near edge of bag to enable sewing.

Tote Bag 29

Apply thin line of adhesive to zipper edge. Line up pocket with bottom and sides of bag placing zipper towards the top of bag. Pin/clip to secure in place and finger press zipper with adhesive in place on fabric bag. Allow to dry. Sew along top edge of zipper to secure it to bag. Baste around pocket’s raw edges to secure in place.

Tote Bag j

Step 7: Pin/clip straps to right sides of fabric on both bag and lining at top, placing them 2” from edges.

Tote Bag k

Stitch close to edge to hold in place.

Tote Bag 36

Step 8: Place right sides of bag pieces together. Open zipper a few inches. Sew around three sides, leaving top open. Be careful not to catch straps or zipper pull in seams.

Step 9: Place right sides of bag lining pieces together. Sew around three sides, leaving top open.

Step 10: Bag corners: With the bags turned inside out, form a triangle in the bottom corners by matching up seams. Measure in 1” from point and draw a line. Sew across on the line. Trim.

Tote Bag m

Step 11: Place the bag lining inside the bag, right sides together. Sew around the top leaving a 4” opening. Turn bag inside out. Press along top edge being careful not to touch the Deco Foil with your iron.

Tote Bag n

Topstitch around the top of the bag close to the edge.

Tote Bag o

That’s it! Now you can safely keep those precious items in a zippered pocket.

Tote Bag p

7 Comments on Create An Easy Zippered Pocket Tote

  1. selina
    August 18, 2016 at 9:29 am (5 years ago)

    Carol, Great tutorial. Very clearly presented. Great pictures too. Never tried adhesive when setting in a zipper. Need to try that in the very near future. Thanks

    • Carol S.
      August 23, 2016 at 9:44 am (5 years ago)

      Thanks, Selina! Using adhesive makes it so easy to add the zipper.

  2. Deonn Stott
    August 19, 2016 at 10:57 am (5 years ago)

    Wow, that’s the easiest zipper application I’ve ever seen. Thanks for letting us know about the fabric fuse liquid adhesive, I’ll have to try that! Plus it’s the cutest zipper ever. Great tips, darling tote. Thanks, Carol!

    • Carol S.
      August 23, 2016 at 9:46 am (5 years ago)

      Deonn, I think you’ll love how easy it is!

  3. Carolyn Kipp
    August 21, 2016 at 8:35 pm (5 years ago)

    okay, I’m a little slow. Did you create this zipper?

    • admin
      August 22, 2016 at 5:27 pm (5 years ago)

      Hi Carolyn…the zipper was purchased. Carol recommended at least a 12 inch zipper for the tote. Hope that helps!

    • Carol S.
      August 23, 2016 at 9:49 am (5 years ago)

      Hi Carolyn! That cute zipper was purchased, but any zipper will work using the method I shared. The adhesive makes adding a zipper a breeze!