The Two Pocket Cargo Pants Tote Tutorial

This was a very impromptu project! My husband threw away his favorite pair of pants this morning, due to rips and stains. After he left to go to work and I sat there drinking my coffee, staring at all of that wonderful material, I made a rash decision to make a cargo pants tote for him. I never sew him anything, because I’m always sewing for my girl, so this was a great opportunity to make something for the man I love from something that he loved.

Introducing the two-pocket cargo pants tote tute!

This tote holds three hymnal-sized books easily! Doesn’t everyone have three hymnals lying around?

Here are what the cargo pants looked like before.

Seeing as how this was impromptu, I did not write anything down or take photos, but here are the steps.

1. Cut out the waistband, making a snug cut. You can either capture the loops or cut out the loops. Just depends on your preference. This will be used for the strap.

2. Cut the legs off of the pants. You can salvage the back pockets if you want, but I’m going to use the big pockets for this project.

3. Cut the pants off below the big pockets. Make a good cut, because you are going to use the bottom pieces.

4. Cut the pockets out, leaving no “extra” material. Make a snug cut without getting into the thickness of the pocket.

5. Take the bottom two pieces of your pants leg and cut each of them into two pieces long ways along the seam. Discard the smaller piece of each one. The cargo pocket should fit nicely onto the larger piece, with room for hemming and seaming.

6. You will need to square up the edges of the material, so that you have two rectangles.

7. Lay the two rectangles right sides together. Seam and serge/overlock the bottom. Use 5/8 allowance or less.

8. Open up so that you are looking at the right sides of the material.

9. Place your cargo pockets on your rectangles, one on each side. Line them up. Make sure they are pointing in the right direction or you will have a tote with useless pockets.

10. Stitch the cargo pockets onto the material, one on each side. I just followed around the natural stitch line of the pocket.

11. Fold the tops over on each piece toward the inside (once or twice, depending on how much material you have) and hem them.  This picture is sideways.  The middle blue line is where the two pieces were just sewn together.

12. Place material right sides together again.  The areas you just hemmed will now be at the top, creating your tote opening. Stitch and serge/overlock around the long (side) edges of the bag.

13. Turn the tote right-side-out. Attach the waistband as your strap. One end to the top right of the front and one end to the top left of the back. Make sure that it’s not twisted before you sew it into place. This will give you a tote that you can sling over your torso.

14. Enjoy your tote!


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