Sew the Perfect Slip Pocket for Your Bag

Sew the perfect slip pocket into your purse or bag pattern

One easy way to adapt any bag pattern is to add your own pockets to the design, and the slip pocket is the easiest way to add some extra storage and organisation space inside your bag.

What is a slip pocket?

Sew the perfect slip pocket into your purse or bag pattern

A slip pocket is a basic open pocket, usually on the inside of a bag, where you can simply ‘slip' something in easily.  It has no buttons, zips or closures and is the easiest pocket to sew.  It will be sewn onto the lining piece before the bag lining is assembled.  Let's look at how we can make one.

What makes the perfect slip pocket

What features might we be looking for?  Well, let's think about size.  If you want the pocket simply to hold your phone to make it easier to find in your bag, then make it the right size to perfectly fit your phone.  Want one for your pen?  Make it long and narrow, perhaps in between two other pockets.

Where is is going to be?  These kind of pockets are usually found about mid-way up the inside panel of the bag.  Too close to the top and they aren't easy to get things in and out of.  Too close to the bottom and they don't help you find what you need if you have to really rummage around.  The exception might be in a flat bottom bag such as the Carry All Bag, where your slip pocket might hold bottles or larger, heavier items and in this case it will usually be positioned at the bottom.

What should it be made of?  The slip pocket could be a heavily used area, so even if you have a light weight lining to the bag, you'll want to make sure the pocket is sturdy.  Making it in a contrast fabric helps you find what you want quickly and easily.  In this example, I'll be using a regular cotton, and for stability, adding a piece of fusible interfacing to one half of the pocket, although the interfacing is really optional, and can make your pocket edges a bit bulky.

How to sew a simple slip pocket

Start with a piece of fabric twice the size of your finished pocket, plus a little extra for your seam allowances.  Add interfacing to half (optional).

Sew the perfect slip pocket into your purse or bag pattern

Fold the pocket in half, right sides together and sew around the open edges, leaving a gap of about 3 inches at the bottom middle for turning.

Sew the perfect slip pocket into your purse or bag pattern

Before turning, press your pocket and pay attention to press back the seam allowances over the opened area. This will help later on. Clip the corners close to the stitching.

Sew the perfect slip pocket into your purse or bag pattern

Now turn the pocket, push out the corners neatly and then press again, making sure the edges are neatly turned in at the gap.

Sew the perfect slip pocket into your purse or bag pattern

Top stitch across the top of your pocket to stabilize it, about 1/4 inch from the fold.  Using a twin needle looks really nice here, or carefully stitch a second line, following the first one.

Sew the perfect slip pocket into your purse or bag pattern

Pin the pocket in place where you want it on your lining and stitch carefully on the sides and bottom, closing the gap as you sew. Make sure it's straight!

Sew the perfect slip pocket into your purse or bag pattern

Back stitch a little at the top edges as this is the area that will receive the most wear. I set my machine to a small, close zig-zag stitch for strength.

Sew the perfect slip pocket into your purse or bag pattern

If you are making a double pocket, mark a line to make the pockets the size you want, and then sew again from top to bottom.



Advanced pockets

If you want to take it a step further, how about adding a contrast trim to the top of your pocket.  Simply cut the pocket in two pieces, making one piece 1/2 or 1 inch taller than the other piece.  Join them together and when the pocket is turned out, you'll have a contrast strip across the top of the pocket and a matching lining.  Neat!

Sew the perfect slip pocket into your purse or bag pattern

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15 Responses to Sew the Perfect Slip Pocket for Your Bag

  1. Lesley McNeill says:

    I love internal pockets. Is there any way to add a pocket to a ready made purse or bag. I am guessing it would need to be hand sewn.

  2. Mary says:

    I love it and am going to make some for my carry on travel/overnight bags

  3. Marlene Stack says:

    Love it

  4. Heather says:

    So if you’re putting a contrasting trim would you put the fabric right facing or wring facing? I keep getting it wrong when I fold my fabric. I either have all that contrast as my pocket or it folds over into trim as the wrong side of contrast fabric. Ugh, I only started sewing a month ago, I think this has been the hardest challenge I’ve faced so far. How do I fold to give it a clean edge, twice?

    • Mayra Cecilia says:

      I don’t understand your question, but if you are trying to make a border at the top and the lining then you must apply the border and the front fabric print facing each other, then the lining print facing the back of the border. In fact you will have a sandwich with the border in the middle. Hope that answers your question if not please send me pictures with your project so I can understand what you are trying to do.

  5. Kelsea says:

    I’m going to be seeing my pocket into the front of my purse. Will my stitching go through to the outside of my purse?
    I know this is a strange question but I’m a beginner.

    Thank you so much for the tutorials!

    • Deby Coles says:

      You would normally add on your pocket to the lining of the bag separately, and then add in the lining as you assemble, so that the stitches will only be on the lining, and not show through to the outside of the bag. If you already have a ready made bag and want to add a pocket, then you’ll have to try to pull the lining out from inside the bag and carefully stitch your pocket on by hand I think. I hope it works out well for you.

  6. ishouldbemoppingthefloor says:

    This is really neat, Deby!

  7. This is great, I am currently looking for a new handbag but all the ones I like have very limited inside pockets. This idea will really expand my options, thanks for sharing on No Rules Weekend, glad I found it. Pinning this for when I find the right bag.

  8. I’m visiting from the Wildly Original Link Party. Love this pocket idea! Gotta love Craftsy classes – I’ve taken a few and have more that I haven’t watched yet.

  9. Carol says:

    Love the contrast top of the pocket. It makes it easier to find where the pocket actually is. I have made some inside pockets with a patterned lining and it is so well camouflaged, it is hard to find the pocket opening!

  10. M. Inez says:

    I love that you’ve added a slot for an ink pen. I don’t understand why anyone would make a purse and not include a place for a pen. I have some expensive purses and tote bags and they can’t be bothered to give me a place to put a pen. LOL!

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