Desk bags are a new must-have on many Back to School supply lists these days. They’re also handy at home when you need a little organization help, whether you homeschool or want to prepare a special place for homework. Sandra created this desk bag for her daughter, and shows you how to make one too in today’s tutorial. Learn more about Sandra in her introduction, and visit Sugar Cubes and Spice Cake for more sewing fun.

Materials Needed:

  • ½ yard heavy-weight fabric, such as duck cloth or denim (Note: Fabric width should be 57″ or wider; measure your chair first to be certain you get enough fabric. ½ yard heavy-weight fabric will work well on most kid-sized chairs.)
  • ¼ yard accent fabric
  • ½ yard pom-pom trim
  • ½ yard jumbo ric-rac
  • ½ yard 3/8-inch elastic
  • Package 1/2-inch bias tape
  • Thread
  • Fabric marker or chalk

1. Square main fabric, trimming to 18-inches X entire width (from selvedge to selvedge) of fabric.
2. Mark one of the short ends as the top. Don’t cut off the selvedge; you will use it instead of finishing this edge. From the top edge, measure and mark lines at the following intervals:

      a. 8 inches from top


      b. 23 inches from top/15 inches from first line


      c. 33 inches from top/10 inches from second line


      d. 43 inches from top/10 inches from third line


      e. 50 inches from top/7 inches from fourth line


    f. 57 inches from top/7 inches from fifth line

3. Start folding at first line from the top (wrong sides together) and fold the rest of the lines like an accordion (alternating right sides together and wrong sides together). Press a crease at each fold line.

In the picture below, the top is on the right, and the bottom of each pocket is on the left, indicated by the arrow.

4. Turn bag over so the back is on top and trim the extra fabric from the bottom, being careful not to cut the bottom of the pockets.

5. Unfold bag from the second crease. Measure in ½-inch from the sides at the first crease and mark.

6. Using a ruler, draw a straight line from the mark to the corner at the top edge. Using a ruler draw a second straight line from the same mark to the edge of the second crease line.

7. Repeat on other side of bag.
8. Trim along lines, cutting out a long, skinny triangle from each side.

9. Now, you will prepare your accent fabric. Cut accent fabric to 18 inches X 8 inches. Finish the top 18-inch-edge using your preferred method (serge, pink, zig-zag, etc.)

10. Fold finished edge ½ inch to wrong side and press.

11. Position folded edge over top folded edge of bottom pocket with the finished edge to the inside.

12. Top-stitch ¼ inch from the folded edge, securing the accent fabric in place.

13. Unfold the top pocket of the bag to get it out of the way and mark the center of the bottom pocket using your preferred method. (I use masking tape.) Top-stitch along the marked line, creating a divider between the two bottom pockets. Make sure you keep the bag unfolded, so you are only sewing through the front and back of the bottom pocket.

14. Pin the jumbo ric-rac along the top edge of the top pocket and stitch in place.

15. Place your pom-pom trim with the pom-poms toward the top of the pocket and the seam allowance along the bottom edge. Sew it in place through the accent fabric and the bottom pocket fabric only. Do not sew through the bottom folded edge of the top pocket.

16. Flip the bottom edge of the top pocket under so the seam allowance of the pom-pom trim is between the bottom edge of the bottom pocket and the bottom folded edge of the top pocket. Press. Top-stitch in place through all thicknesses and trim the excess off each side.

17. Fold under 1/2 –inch of the selvedge edge on the top flap. Stitch close to the edge to form a casing for your elastic.

18. Insert elastic into casing, pulling up to form a slight gather on the flap and sew across the ends to secure elastic in place. Trim excess elastic.

19. Line up right side of the bag so that all edges of the front pockets are even with the back. (Don’t trim the edges of the fabric to make them line up; just move the edges over until they line up.) Baste in place. Repeat for other side. (If you don’t trim, you will end up with more room in your bag.)

20. Do the same with the back flap, stretching the elastic, so you can baste the edges in place even with the sides of the bag.

21. Your bag will look like this.

22. Cut a piece of bias tape slightly longer than your side edge and apply using your preferred method, enclosing the entire raw edge.

23. Enjoy the big grin you get as payment for the cutest desk bag in the class!

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