Anti Pickpocket Bag: FREE pattern, tutorial, and video sew-along

anti pickpocket bagThis is my take on an anti-pickpocket bag made of fabric with twisted handles.  I'm calling it Helsinki and here's the backstory to this design:

As many of our regular readers know, I was recently away on vacation with my family.  During the break, we managed to visit the Bernina factory in Switzerland, call in on what I'll argue is the finest fabric shop in the world in Italy, and as a final stop, we went in search of the famous design house, Marimekko, in Finland –all of which I'll be writing about in the near future.

My Bernina Sewing Machine Factory Tour In Switzerland

anti pickpocket bag

In search of Inspiration, a visit to Marimekko in Helsinki

In any case, while we were in Finland, in supposedly one of the safest cities in the world, my teenage daughter was pickpocketed and lost her very, very expensive new iPhone.  Needless-to-say, her father was none too happy about this.  The small handbag she was carrying was relatively open and the thieves just brushed up against her and it was gone.  Poof!  We were in a department store and the security cameras got it all on video, but it happened so fast and the perpetrators were gone by the time the tapes were reviewed.

anti pickpocket bag

It got me thinking that this can't be a rare occurrence and that I should design an anti-pickpocket bag with internal pockets, secure zippers, and strong straps to keep this thing from happening again.  I started designing and as soon as I got home, put this new bag together.  I think you'll find it an easy project to follow and the bag will not only be an attractive addition to your wardrobe but also super functional if you're traveling or spending time in crowded places.  The twisted fabric handles are relatively unique and very strong.  So Helsinki, this one is for you..

Skill Level: Advanced

If you have made a nag with lining and pockets, this project is easy for you to accomplish.  If you, however, have never done a bag before, you will find this difficult.

Key Features:

  • Secure main zipper with no gaps around the gusset making it is hard for a thief to access.
  • Zippered inner pockets for money and valuables.
  • Strong twisted fabric handles that will let you hold the bag securely.
  • Complete video tutorial and sew-along (links at the end of the article)
  • Dimensions 17″ by 11″

anti pickpocket bag

Materials for the Anti Pickpocket Bag

Recommended Fabric Options

Here are some suggestions for potential fabric options.

See the entire sewing tutorial series here:

  • 11:34
    Sewing the Anti Pickpocket Bag: Part 3, Assembling the Bag
  • 8:45
    Sewing the Anti Pickpocket Bag: Part 2, Sewing the Lining
  • 13:7
    Sewing the Anti Pickpocket Bag: Part 1, Making the Handles
Subscribe to the YouTube channel:

See next page for free pattern download.

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262 Responses to Anti Pickpocket Bag: FREE pattern, tutorial, and video sew-along

  1. Michele Dubois says:

    You say there is a video tutorial but I can’t find the link for that.

  2. Kathy Richardson says:

    RFID Cloth. I really like the purse and the fabric. Something to also think about now-a-days, add RFID material to keep the credit card thieves from taking your info while it is still in your bag. Thank you for sharing all you do. I love your videos and patterns and ideas. Kathy R. Church Hill, Tennessee, USA.

    • Mayra Cecilia says:

      Thank you, Kathy, thank you for letting me know. I will keep an eye out for your comments. I went to Tennesse when I was a teen studying in the USA, we took a road trip. What I loved the most was the warm, golden fields and how kind people were. One lady knitted a coat (wonderful shape) for me without even knowing me, I wore it for years. Maybe I will write about it in a post to remind me of those kind hands.

  3. Tim says:

    When you see the sides of the pockets did you then sew the top of the pocket?

  4. VB says:

    Do you have the instructions written out or just in video format? I don’t always have access to the internet and would like to have written instructions if possible.

    • Mayra Cecilia says:

      Sadly not at the moment. I can only add one file to the app at the time and of certain size. The institutions will remain free on these site for you to go back to whenever you can. Kind Regards,

  5. Sherry says:

    I am not able to get to the page to download the PDF for the anti-pickpocket bag. Can you email it to me? I would really appreciate this.


  6. Victoria Ann Sallese says:

    That was very interesring. I had no idea there is RFID fabric out there. Thank yoju

  7. Marianne says:

    I also got bag-slashed in a foreign country. I would line this bag with Kevlar fabric, and thread a 1/16”-1/8” stainless steel metal cable from the local hardware store through the handle with the end-loop hardware included internally, and connected to a thread of cable through the spine of the bag itself. This is often a feature of concealed-carry handbags. Also, making it a cross-body bag would make it harder for a thief to surprise-grab or to bump-distraction-grab. Those are the two main ways thieves operate. On important internal pockets, I’d make a zig-zag flap entry where only I know the way into the pocket, and I’d leave a booby-prize wallet with a note in it in the main pocket should they find their way into the main pocket somehow: “Sorry, you caught me on the last day of funds. If I catch you in my bag again, I will re-arrange your elbow joints. If I catch you in someone else’s bag, I will also re-arrange your elbow joints. Get a real career, because this one is hard on ALL of your joints, if you get my meaning.” Keep your bags in front if you and your backs to the walls, people. I was stolen from three times overseas in the same country, and all in aggressive, clever ways, and I considered myself pretty preventative. Most thieves use calculated techniques, it pays to study up on prevention and safe, airtight personal boundary-keeping.

  8. Bonnie says:

    Where do you get the metal rings??

  9. Mary Sue Lee says:

    When on tours in foreign lands, i carry a small cross-body bag UNDER my button-front shirt. My phone, currency, passport, etc are completely out of sight to any thief, but easy to access if i need something

  10. BonnieH says:

    I prefer a small shoulder bag worn over my shirt but UNDER a vest, sweater or jacket. Failing that, a vest or lightweight jacket with inside pocket. I know this is very limiting, but it works for me if I just carry a small wallet and cell phone.

    While a friend of mine was traveling in a foreign country, 2 jerks on motor bike buzzed past her and grabbed her purse right off her shoulder. It was hideously traumatic. Amazingly, she was not physically injured, but grossly inconvenienced.

  11. Cynthia A Burns says:

    I was wanting to know, how difficult would it be to lengthen the handles to make this a cross-body bag? I DO NOT trust over-the-shoulder bags.

  12. Sarah says:

    I just finished sewing this bag and it came out great BUT I can’t find the grommets like you used and the plastic ones from Joann’s don’t seem to work with the thickness. When I click the link for the grommets I get a message that says “unable to connect as there are too many redirects. I don’t know what that means but I can’t get to site to purchase….Please Help!

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Hi Sarah, you must have a window blocker because I tested the link and it is working fine.

      • Sarah says:

        The link finally worked and took me to Amazon but the grommets there are not the same as the ones you had, require a tool to install and I assume are not removable and reusable. Are these the grommets you are suggesting we use?

        • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

          HI Sarah i do have a Kam tool, and all the fittings for many sizes of grommets. If you are going to make bags I suggest to use this type of grommets, the removable ones are much more expensive and hard to find.

    • Cynthia A Burns says:

      Have you tried Hobby Lobby?

  13. Danielle S says:

    That bag is lovely and so clever. Makes me realize I really do need something to keep my information safe. Unfortunately there is no way I would ever be able to make one. Definitely not anywhere near that level. Thank you for the wonderful idea though.

  14. Marla says:

    This bag is very pretty. I think you have incorporated features to make it anti-pickpocket. My cousin had a bag similar in style and the thieves used a blade to slit open the bottom and empty her bag while she rode the bus. Needless to say, this is not a good experience. Maybe your bag will be better at keeping them away.

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