color-it-in pockets tutorial

There are several fabrics that have arrived lately that are begging to be colored on, graphic two-tone prints like this one from Alexander Henry that call to my inner crayon artist. When Kathy showed me this blog post where they colored on Summersville, I knew I wasn’t the only one who thought so. Just check out the adorable video their family made on making a tote bag and pencil case with fabric you’ve colored yourself.

We were inspired, and got to work on another colored-in bag project. We picked up these Stained Sharpie fabric markers recently at Wal-Mart and used them to color on It’s a Hoot in Black/White, which we then added as a row of pockets on the Reusable Grocery Bag by Aunt Martha.

grocery tote with pockets

The Reusable Grocery Bag is the perfect blank slate to play with, and we really like the Sharpie fabric markers. No bleeding, the brush tip didn’t fray–definitely recommended.

This is a fun way to add some cute fabric and utilitarian storage to all sorts of totes. Here’s how we did it.



Prepare materials.
Square your fabric to 6″ x WOF, which will give you 5″ deep pockets. Use a wider piece if you’d like deeper pockets. Then, this is the fun part: color your fabric! coloring
Go as crazy as you want.
color it in

Press edges.
Press both long edges of your fabric under 1/4″, and 1/4″ again.
pressI debated turning them under just once, but decided to sacrifice laziness for not having to deal with fraying seam allowances.

Stitch down the hem along the top edge.

hem top

Then pin the bottom edge to the bag, about 2 1/2″ from the bottom of the bag.

pin bottom

Where the ends meet, trim selvedges off so the ends overlap about 1″, and line the overlap up on one of the bag’s side seams.

pin sideFold under the top edge, press, and pin down.

Edgestitch the bottom edge to the bag (about an 1/8″ from the fold).

sew bottom

Sew up the side seam. Create the pockets by sewing vertical seams up the fabric, about 4″ apart.

stitch pockets

Adjust the distance between pocket seams to accomodate for items you know you might want to put in the pockets: a thinner pocket for a phone, or a really skinny pocket for a pen. Press your seams to set, and voila!
Handy pockets all the way around your bag.
voila!Now fill your bag with all those things you don’t want to forget, and go shopping.

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