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Tote Topper

Looking for your keys? There's no need to go scrabbling around in your tote bag. Just add a pocket to get all the small stuff under control.
Martha Stewart Living, April 2011


Looking for your keys? There's no need to go scrabbling around in your tote bag. 

Just add a pocket (and a cute closure) to get all the small stuff under control. With a swatch of Ultrasuede fabric, a button, and a few quick stitches, you're good to go.

Tools and Materials

  • Ultrasuede soft fabric, 46 inches wide, $60 per yd.,
  • Sewing machine or needle and thread
  • Craft knife and cutting mat


1. Download tote-closure template; trace onto fabric. Cut out with scissors; fold as shown in image 2 above. Sew along edges to create a pocket. Cut a vertical slit in top flap for buttonhole. Note: Ultrasuede fabric is easy to clean and doesn't fray. 

2. Position pocket inside top edge of tote [see image 3 above]; stitch across back of pocket, joining it to tote. Fold pocket flap over top of bag to opposite side; mark spot where buttonhole meets fabric; sew button to bag. 

Bull denim woven-cotton tote, in Beige, $12,americanapparel.netRounded wood button with shank, $4,


Comments (10)

  • martika58 9 Dec, 2011

    Buenos dias, por favor me explica donde va la pieza que dice this page serves only as a visual guide, seria muy bueno que nos dieran un paso a paso de la forma que se cose, muchas gracias por su colaboracion.
    los moldes son muy buenos de tamaƱo, se me dificulta por que estan en ingles, y en la parte de la explicacion cuando se traduce no sale muy claro.
    muchas gracias

  • pansy25 3 May, 2011

    Most fabric stores sell the Ultrasuede by the inch as it is expensive. 4 /12" wide piece would be 1/8 of a yard which would be $7.50. Also Ultrasuede doesn't need seam allowances as it does not ravel allowing you to use every inch of it. It is usually sold in 46" widths, so 1/8 would give you 4 pockets, making them less than $2 each.

  • pantaleimona 6 Apr, 2015

    Thank you for doing the legwork to discover the info regarding ultrasuede being sold buy the inch. I'd like to use it as an accent fabric on a variety of items from clothing to home decor and being able to purchase small amounts would make it affordable. Thanks!

  • janinesfunday 3 May, 2011

    That's AWESOME, Stonelady! My exact thoughts when I saw that price! But it doesn't look like you'd need a yard. However, I wouldn't even pay that much for material for a wedding dress! Or even a garter under it!

  • Stepon 3 May, 2011

    OK ladies...use your imagination. You can use different material. And you can probably even get it at your local thirft store. Staying positive today:0)

  • mcdooley 2 May, 2011

    Stonelady said it best!

  • stonelady 2 May, 2011

    Okay. I've got my keys. But I can't afford a car because I SPEND MY $ ON $60/YD MATERIAL!!!!!!!!!

  • ladyheartwell43 2 May, 2011

    I agree with "Houseblessings". $60/yard is OK for something REALLY nice. As much as I love Martha and all that she produces, there are times when it seems she forgets what it was like to REALLY have to struggle---like most of ones life. But, I love her anyway!!

  • Houseblessings 2 May, 2011

    Or a scrap of oilcloth, or.....

  • Houseblessings 2 May, 2011

    This is a clever way to make a plain tote more usable and its pretty, too. But $60/yd fabric? Doesn't that kind of defeat the purpose? How about using a scrap of denim from some cut off jeans? Or a pretty piece of wool felt?