Car Tote Bag

Oh, save me from Pinterest crafts without pattern details. More than that, save me from craft posts in languages foreign to me. What are the chances I would be asked to make one with no instructions—just a picture. Good, apparently.

So here’s the craft I was asked to recreate, and I think I did an okay job of it:

….and here’s mine:


It’s a bag that can carry your phone and sunglasses, as well as a book (like my copy of The Martian Chronicles) or a mobile reading device. I did not add a pocket for a pen, just because those are so passé (ha ha).

You will need the following to create my version of this bag:

2 fabric rectangles @ 22″ x 9″

1 fabric rectangle @ 10″ x 14″

short strip of seam binding, about 10″

10-12 inches of 3/4″-1″ wide webbing for strap

Clearly, you can make this bag with remnants, which is what I did. I chose two complementary patterns in the same colors, black and white dots and stripes. I chose to finish the top of the pocket with seam binding to make a smooth entry for glasses and phone screens, but you could make a simple hem. I squared off the bottom corners of the bag to give room for any bag contents, like books, so that any such contents didn’t put extra pressure on the external pocket contents.


  1. Using a dinner plate, draw then cut a curve at one end of the larger rectangles, leaving seam allowances on the sides. This curve makes it easier to place or take out objects in the large pocket.
  2. Fold the smaller rectangle in half, resulting in a 10″ x 7″ rectangle. The fold is the bottom of the outside pocket.
  3. Finish the top of the outside pocket with a hem or seam binding. The side edges of the pocket will be unfinished.
  4. On one large rectangle, mark the center, where the bag will be folded. Mark one inch above that center—towards the curved edge—to place the bottom of the outside pocket. You want the pocket to stop above the bottom that will be squared off.
  5. Pin the outside pocket on this line, 1″ above the center of the larger rectangle, and stitch across the bottom of the pocket.
  6. Stitch the center of the pocket from the bottom stitching to the top seam binding. This line makes two pockets of equal size. If you want different sized pockets, place such divider stitching as desired.
  7. Baste sides of pocket  to bag, adding fullness:
    1. The pocket is 1″ wider than the bag, so 1/2″ wider on each side. Let the pocket hang over at the bottom, but place the edges together with the bag on each side. This adds enough fullness to insert glasses and phones or other objects. the resulting over hang will look like a narrow triangle, which you can trim off after stitching the sides together. (see the photos below).
    2. You need to determine whether your pockets need more fullness and adjust the size of the pocket. The 1/2″ on each side adds plenty for my Ray-Bans, which fold at a thickness of 1 1/2″, and my large iPhone 6 Plus.
  8. Fold the bag (larger rectangle) with right sides together and stitch sides. My seams were about 1/4″-3/8″
  9. At the bottom of the bag, stitch triangles at a depth of about 1″ on each end to box the corners of the bag. Make sure you don’t catch in the outside pocket when you stitch the corners. Turn the bag right side out. Watch this video to see how to box corners:
  10. Now you have the complete outside bag. Stitch the sides of the other large rectangle and box the corners for the lining. Leave the lining wrong sides out.
  11. Slide the lining inside the bag, fitting the bottom corners together. Turn under and pin the top edges of the bag and lining, pinning the edges. Cut a piece of webbing to make a loop that will fit on your stick shift, leaving the bag hanging, without dragging on the floor. Insert the webbing in the top edge between the bag and lining. Stitch around the top edge, catching in the loop.

Now, pack up a book, phone, and sunglasses, and drive to a quiet park where you can sit and read in peace—but don’t forget to turn off your phone’s ringer.


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