Free Tutorial: Add a Water Bottle Pocket to Your Favorite Bag

Lazies, On these horribly hot days of summer, I make sure I tuck a bottle of water in my purse when I head out the door. I didn’t used to be like this. I think it started after a trip to Las Vegas nine years ago where I learned I had to be my own camel and pack a hump full of water. I’ve never understood why it’s so hard to get a drink of water in the desert…oh, wait a second, scratch that. I guess I should have thought that through before I started complaining.

Above is a view inside my Miranda Day Bag (LGD123). I added a water bottle pocket near the side seam. This pocket gets used all the time. It works for corralling anything from my stainless steel water bottle or travel mug to food and snack-i-poos.

I’ve included instructions and notes for adding the pocket during construction, after construction, and even an advanced Lazy approach using only the existing pockets during construction.

The Water Bottle Pocket
Our goal is to add a finished strip of fabric that goes across the bag interior, effectively creating a pocket to go around your water bottle. The strip will attach to the existing pockets with Velcro. To accommodate the bulk of the bottle, the bottom of the strip is free from the bottom of the bag, unlike the side pockets which are sewn in place at their bottom edge. Use this technique to add a water bottle pocket to many of our designs during or after construction. See which ones later. When not in use, I simply push the pocket against the inside of the bag where it rests comfortably out of the way.

Let’s take a quick look a the pocket without the bottle. Here we can see the extra strip of fabric situated in front of two small pockets near the side seam.

Materials Needed
– 11″ of Velcro (Fusible Fusion Velcro works best. Sew-in Velcro only works well if adding pocket during construction)
– Fabric strip for pocket, approx 12″ x 8″
– Bag in need of a water bottle pocket.
– Optional: fusible interfacing just a bit smaller than the folded stitched pocket in the first picture below.

Make the Pocket
To start, cut a strip of fabric the same height as the inside pocket fabric so everything is all matchy-poo. For Miranda as shown here, cut the strip 12″ high x 8″ wide (10″ x 8″ for Margo, Mini Miranda and Claire). We need to finish the raw edges and add some Velcro, simple as that.

Fold the fabric right sides together and stitch the 8″ edge at the bottom, making a tube. Optional: for more stability, cut and add a piece of fusible interfacing just smaller than 6″ x 6″.

Turn right sides out and press. Topstitch along the folded edge.

Fold over 1/2″ – 3/4″ of the raw side edges and press. Optional, stitch along folds to hold in place.

Cut the Velcro to just a little shorter than the height of the pocket. Fuse rough half of Velcro on top of the raw edges. Stitch in place if using sew-in Velcro.

Add Velcro to Bag
Ideally, this is most convenient to do during the construction of your project. But it’s still pretty simple to add after the bag is done using fusible Fusion Velcro.

During Construction
Attach the soft half of the Velcro to the inside pockets, about 2″ from the side edges. For those of you with any of my patterns that attach inside pockets in this manner, check the directions for attaching inside pockets, and place the Velcro near the first pocket separation or about 2″ from the side edge. The pocket separation is stitched through the lining which will help anchor your water bottle pocket.

Here’s a view during construction. If stitching in place, you can stitch through all layers. You can even stitch those little pockets shut a the top for better stability if you don’t need them. But I like to keep those little pockets functional so I fuse the Velcro in place.

Completed Bag
Here’s a view of the bag when it is done and turned lining-side out. If you are adding the pocket to a finished bag, start here. Simply fuse the soft half of the Velcro about 4″ apart, on top of the pockets.

Then simply put your pocket in place by lining up the Velcro. Having Velcro for the full length along the sides will make this pocket stay in place.

When you turn your bag right sides out, the water bottle pocket is ready to go.

Advanced Lazy Option
For the more advanced Lazy Girl, skip the extra pocket and Velcro entirely and simply don’t sew the last few inches of inside pocket panels to the bottom to the lining toward one side seam. When finishing that side seam, instead of sewing both pocket panel ends and lining fabric layers together in one seam as shown in my patterns,  simply sew those loose ends of the pockets to each other and finish their raw edges. Then sew the lining side seam without the pocket panels. You’ll sacrifice the two small pockets near the side seam, but your water bottle pocket will be permanent and done!

Use this technique with our designs (see our designs here):
– Margo Handbag (you can still zip Margo closed with a bottle in place) Add the pocket near the opening of the zipper for quick access.
– Miranda Day Bag
– Whimsy Bag
– Gracie Handbag (although the flap closure creates a nice divide and helps harness tall bottles in place)
– Mini Miranda Bag
– Claire Handbag
– City Bag

What to Carry
Consider picking up a stainless steel bottle and filling it at home. I have a 27oz bottle by Klean Kanteen which I use all the time. Go wild and choose a great color. Here’s the one I have. And here’s my leak proof stainless steel thermal mug for hot tea and coffee, I choose the beautiful limey green.

Thanks to Harriet for writing in and asking for this project. I actually prepared this more than two years ago, but forgot to post it! Sorry Girls!


[tags]free sewing project, tote pattern, purse pattern, sewing tutorial[/tags]