Messenger Bag Tutorial and Pattern


Who loves a good bag? I’ve got a thing for them. And for hot pink. And for Chevron stripes. Put them all together in this messenger bag and forget about it.

Messenger Bag Tutorial and Pattern by CrazyLittleProjects.com

That one’s my newest version which I LOVE. Here’s the original. (Which I also love.)

Messenger bag pattern and tutorial

I think I have a thing for sewing new bags. I don’t carry a purse, always just a bag of some sort, so maybe that’s why. My bag functions as my diaper bag and my purse all in one. Remember this little sling tote? I loved making that. And this reversible messenger bag? Yes, I like to sew bags. I have more planned still too.

I affectionately refer to my most recent bag as “the dungeon” because it is so large and full of so many random items. (Goggles anyone? How about an old french fry? Soccer sock?) I wanted to try to make a new bag that was less dungeon like-maybe more compartments or maybe a slightly smaller bag.

Well, I succeeded in making a cute bag, but I am not sure that it is going to be any less dungeony. Oh well. I still love it.

Free Messenger bag pattern and tutorial

Want to make it yourself? I know you do. Here’s my newest messenger bag pattern for you to sew!

 

Messenger Bag Tutorial:

Supplies:
1 yard of your main fabric
1 yard of coordinating fabric
1 yard of fusible fleece interfacing

Final dimensions on this messenger bag will be about 16 inches wide by 14 inches high. You can easily adjust it to be other sizes if needed though.

Instructions:

Start out by cutting out your pieces. The front of my bag is 17″ wide by 15″ high with rounded corners on the bottom: (yes, I should iron before cutting). Cut this out of your main fabric, your coordinating fabric and your lining. (Please note that these images show a lightweight interfacing. I really recommend fusible fleece instead.)

Diaper Bag Pattern and Tutorial

The back of the bag is the same width but is 26″ tall. Again, cut it out of both fabrics and your interfacing.

Cut 2 pieces that are 4 inches by 45 inches as well out of all of your fabrics. One of these pieces will be your strap and one will be the sides of the bag.

You should have 4 pieces total for each fabric.

Free Messenger Bag Patterns to Sew

If you want any inner pockets now is a good time to do that. I did a large pocket on the back inner part of my bag:

How to make a messenger bag

I made some compartments in my pocket for things like my cell phone and a pen simply by sewing straight lines down the pocket:

DIY Tote Bags

OK, next lets do the strap. Put 1 of the 45 inch strips from each of your two main fabrics together with right sides facing and the interfacing on the outside. Sew down each side:

Make a messenger bag

Turn it, press it and then top stitch it:

Messenger Bags pattern

Now let’s put the bag together. Starting with your inner fabric and your interfacing, put the other 45 inch strip along the edges of your front piece with the interfacing on the outside. Pin it in place all the way around the bag trimming any excess length off as needed.

Womens Handbag Patterns

Sew around the part your just pinned. Do the same thing with the back piece, matching it to the remaining side of your long 45 inch strip.

It should look like this when you are done:

Here’s a close up of the corners:

Do this to both the outer and the inner fabric.

Now let’s put it all together. Turn the OUTER fabric right side out:

and the INNER fabric inside out.

Slide the OUTER fabric down inside the inner fabric matching up all the seams from the two pieces. So you’ve got the two pieces of bag with one inside the other and right sides are together.

Tuck your straps down inside the bag on the side panels so that the ends stick out like this. The straps should be between the 2 layers of bag:

Starting at the top center of the flap sew around the bag-down the flap, across the middle, back up the other side of the top. Leave several inches open at the top of the flap.

Update: OK people, I’ve had person after person after person ask for a video tutorial of this step, so I finally did one. You need to know that my 10 year old shot this video with my ipad, so the quality isn’t good plus, I sit on the floor to sew, so my leg gets in the way for part of it AND you can see my laundry and fabric scraps in the background. Ugh! I will probably redo this video eventually, but for now, here you go.

I go over the strap part several times to make sure they are very secure.

Now, using your opening on the top, turn everything right side out and push the inner part down inside the outer part.

Press it nice and flat and smooth (that’s always my favorite part because it starts to really look like a bag.)

Top stitch all the way around the flap. This will close your opening and keep your flap laying nice and smooth:

And you’re done! This can also make a great diaper bag. I even tossed in my diaper and wipes carrier:

Diaper and Wipes Carrier

Pretty nice huh?

If you liked sewing this free messenger bag tutorial and pattern, here’s a fun kid’s version to try too:

Personalized Kids Messenger Bag Tutorial

And be sure to Join Me on Pinterest for more great project ideas:

 

 

Amber
Hey there! I'm Amber, mom of 4 crazy boys, wife of 1 and non-stop, always busy, crazy project doer. (There's a reason why we call it *Crazy* Little Projects.) I love chocolate, reading, sewing and being with people!
Amber
Amber

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Comments

      • says

        Hi Amber!
        I have been making tote bags and wanted to try my hand at a messenger bag. Of ALL the tutorials on the web I picked YOURS. I’ve got a brand new machine and even with that, I still got this done completely in just a couple hours. Great instructions! I recognized the fabric immediately!! I love Hobby Lobby! I actually have a piece of that black and white that I was going to use for the liner but opted for another color. I do love the grey and yellow with it!! I will be sure to share your page for the pattern for my sewing friends!! Thanks!
        Heather
        (PS cant wait to try the little one too! So cute!)

  1. Megan says

    Just a question. Do you think you could use one of those plastic tablecloths (the kind with the soft backing) for the interior? I was wanting to use something that I could easily wipe out. Thanks!

  2. meagan says

    Can you please tell us what kind of lining you used for this bag! I think I bought something that isn’t sturdy enough. I like how your bag has some structure to it. I have some Hobby Lobby fabric too….can’t wait to get it put together :)

    • Amber says

      Hmmm, what I used for lining I wouldn’t recommend. I think mine was actually embroidery machine stabilizer and it rips, so when I pick up my bag I can feel the lining ripping inside. Nice huh? :) If you want a heavy duty lining you could probably use felt or fleece, otherwise any sort of lining. (In my picture I have a cereal box or something in there to make it stand up so I could get a good shot of it. It’s not usually that stiff.)

  3. says

    Love the fabric! What a great tutorial too! Thanks for joining the party at Keep Calm and Link Up!
    Barbara at Chase the Star
    chasethestar dot net

  4. Tracy says

    Love the bag and the fabric. They don’t have that fabric in my hobby lobby, and can’t find it online. Do you have a link?

    • Amber says

      You know, I was at my Hobby Lobby yesterday and didn’t see it. Maybe it’s sold out. I bought it back in June or July? The brand is brother sister though.

  5. Megan says

    Just an FYI, I tried using the tablecloth vinyl with the flannel backing for the inside of this bag. I wouldn’t do it again. It’s not as sturdy as I had hoped. When I went to flip it right side out, it ripped. Otherwise it is SO CUTE!!!! Thanks for the tutorial!

  6. Erin says

    Idk what happened but I guess I’m doing something wrong. I’ve been sewing my whole life and hardly ever have problems. So can you tell me what I’m doing wrong? I have step 1-5 done. But I’m have a hard time figuring out where the pieces for the flap go.

    • Amber says

      The piece for the flap should have been part of the back piece. So you had 1 big long piece that forms the back of the bag and the flap all in one. Is that what you did?

          • Amber says

            I can’t find that in the tutorial-which part are you on? I found do this to both the outer and the inner fabric. Is that where you mean? If so, it means to sew the bottom/side piece to the front/back pieces of both the outside fabric that you are using, then set that aside and do the same to the inside fabric.

  7. Laura says

    Hi Amber, thanks for posting this. I had been wanting to make a messenger bag for a while and your tutorial was easy to follow. I didn’t go wrong once, and even added some elastic to keep my drink upright at one end of the bag! Laura

  8. Mercia says

    Thank you for the great tutorial and pattern – I have been wanting to try make a messenger bag – I am going to post your link on my sewing group <3

  9. Dezi. Lewis says

    This is awesome!!!! Messenger bags have always been my favorite! My boyfriend was just given a ton of old Army BDUs and I was thinking that the material and pattern would be awesome for a bag!! He even has some left over duffel bag straps that I could use in place of making my own strap. My problem will be the extremely thick material and a seeing machine that is muuuuuuch older than I am (25. This thing is a singer that came in a seeing desk from the 70′s or earlier). Lol. Wish me luck!

  10. Sarah says

    Love love love this bag looks soooooo good,carnt wait to have a go. Just one question im wanting to make it this as a baby changing bag (diaper bag) so am I better using an oilcloth material so I can wipe clean etc. Carnt wait to make it but very nervous I might mess it up.

  11. Kristy says

    Hi there,
    In the middle of making this bag and stuck on fguring out where to leave the opening to turn the bag. You say to leave the opening at the top of the flap, however when I go to turn the bag it only turns the flap right side out and I can’t turn the rest of the bag due to the seam across the middle. Have I left the right section of the bag open? Or is the top of the flap actually more in the middle of the bag?
    Thanks!
    Kristy :)

      • Kristy says

        okay, figured that part out, I guess I only stich across the bottom of the flap when I’m doing my top stich, so now it turns okay. however, my straps are now hidden within the fabric when i turn the bag. When you asked us to put the straps down to the bottom of the bag and have the strap hanging out on either end, did you mean between your inner and outer fabrics, or actually right inside the big pocket of the bag?
        Sorry for all the questions!

        • Kristy says

          Figured it out! Completely the operator’s fault! Once I slipped the strap between the inner and outer fabrics and turned the bag, the strap came out properly. Thanks for the great bag! I love it! :)

          • Amber says

            Oh good! It’s been a while since I made that bag so I was going to have to think pretty hard about the answer.

  12. Michelle C. says

    So if I wanted to make this into a diaper bag for twins… and say I increased the width of the sides of the bag to 6″… could I still leave the strap at your given dimensions? I sew lots of girls dresses, but never tried a bag before! Thanks.

  13. Jorie says

    Great tutorial… one issue I ran into before even cutting… 1 yard is only 36 inches, and most fabrics are only 43″ wide… so how did you get your 45 inch long pieces?
    Also, if I’m sewing my second 45″ piece to my front along three sides, 15 + 15 + 17 = 47… Isn’t this going to come out too short to be the sides of the bag?

    I have the fabric bought and I guess I’ll end up just improvising on this.

    • Amber says

      My fabrics I get are usually about 45″ wide, so basically I just meant use the whole width of the fabric. Adjust it down just a little if needed.

      • Mackenzie says

        I had the same problem when making my bag last night… I caught it when I was trying to put the sides on… I just unpinned and made the bag a couple of inches smaller which was better for me anyway.

  14. Tanisha J says

    Great bag! Currently in the process of making it but I’m confused! How did you get from pinning and sewing the inner fabric and the lining to it being completely put together….when did you and how did you attach the outer fabric? Help?!

    1st time sewing….

    • Amber says

      There’s a step where you put the inner fabric down inside the outer fabric. It starts with this: Now, here’s the trickiest part. Turn the OUTER fabric right side out:

      Do you see that part?

      • Tanisha J says

        I just needed to read it! Totally got it…the bag’s all done and is gorgeous! Thanks for the tutorial! I love my bag!

      • Mallory says

        I was confused about that part too. I read it a few times but it’s hard for me to wrap my head around. ( I’m an inexperienced 17 year old.)

    • Laura says

      I did that too! I have a dachshund, and at JoAnn Fabrics I found some fabric with dachshunds on it for the outside, and fabric with dog bones for the inside. It looks adorable!

  15. says

    I love this! I have been carrying a timbuk2 bag for a while and want something different but wanted to try making something myself. I am definitely going to try making this very soon!

  16. tiffany says

    Love the bag but to big for me have you done a messenger bag for a pirse I cant find one online at all I love the bag though…but I wouldlwouldlove to make one big enought as a purse ….can u help me ?????

  17. Jen says

    Hi Amber,
    Just made two of these great Messenger bags today and they turned out fantastic! Thanks for the geat instructions!!! I plan on making a few more!

  18. Jenni says

    Super cute! I really like the chevron bag where the flap reaches all the way down to be even with the bottom. Did you just cut your first pieces longer than this tutorial calls for? Or are the dimensions in this post for the chevron bag? I’m a little confused since you show finished photos of both bags. Wasn’t sure which bag this tutorial was really for. Thanks!

    • says

      Hmmm, you know, frankly I didn’t even realize they were different. I didn’t use the measurements when I made the 2nd one (the chevron-I just eyeballed it. I have a bad habit of doing that). So, I’d say just add a few inches if you want it to fold all the way down. The measurements given will make it look like the gray one.

      • Kathy says

        I wanted to make this for my daughter going into middle school and was worried about it staying shut or her things falling out. If I wanted to add velcro closure what step should I do that ? Thanks!

        • says

          Sure-just add pieces of Velcro to the lining on the flap and to the outer fabric down near the bottom of the front. Do it before you sew them all together.

          • Kathy says

            Also, it looks big, but wanted to make sure. This is big enough to carry a binder and books for school, right? and…If I add a pockets do I need extra fabric? Thanks!

    • says

      At this point I am telling people yes, but please link back to me (my main page is fine) stating that you got the tutorial here. Thanks!

      • Stacie says

        I had the same question of selling some. I made one of these for myself and had SO many compliments and people wanting one! Thank you for being so kind to allow us to make and sell!!! I will definitely post link to your page! Thanks again!

  19. Darcy says

    Do you have any tips/tutorials for making the top of the bag a zipper instead of a messenger bag? I’m making it for my “Disney Days” carry-all, but want a zipper so I feel like everything inside is a little more secure.

  20. Pj says

    You read my mind
    I was thinking about making my next bag a messenger bag and next day found your posting on facebook
    Thank you

  21. says

    Am I crazy to want to sew this since ive never ever sewed in my life? I think I can follow it until you start flipping things inside out lol. Just so im not going mad, is this like two bags sat inside one another completely unattached? or do you sew the inside to the outside at some parts?

    • says

      No, it’s really not too hard. Have you seen my Learn to Sew lessons? (Top menu bar on the rightish side under Learn to Sew.) They will teach you everything you need to know for this bag in the first three lessons. Let me know how it goes!

  22. Sheridan says

    I am having a really hard time with this bag. I cut out all my pieces, I sewed the inner fabric and the lining but I am having a really hard time figuring out how to attach the outer fabric. I’m sure I’m missing a step somewhere. Please help me figure it out? Thank you so much!!

    • says

      You should have an assemble inner section and an assembled outer. Turn the inner section right side out and leave the outer one inside out. The stick the inner down into the outer. Pin the strap in place and sew all the way around the flap but leave a few inches opening at the top of the flap. Turn everything right side out and voila! You’ll have a bag.

  23. Amanda Nguyen says

    Hi,

    I just finished cutting up the pieces. I have a question though. I’d like to make a pocket for it, but I wasn’t sure exactly where I am supposed to put the pocket on the inner piece of the fabric?

  24. Evi Peh says

    Hi ! I like to ask whether I can wash this bag in the washing machine ? Also, is the strap supposed to be short ? Because I’m 156cm and the strap only reaches my hip. It’s kinda short

    • says

      Yes, I just washed mine the other day and it help up great. My strap hits at my hip too. That’s where I wanted it. That’s at my hip with it across my chest.

  25. Ai says

    Would it be possible for you to clarify the part about joining the pieces together to create the bag? We literally spent several hours trying to figure out how to combine them but didn’t manage to because we found your instructions rather vague. It would be awesome if you could create a video tutorial?

    • says

      What are you stuck on? You should have both parts of your bag-one inside the other. The inside is turned right side out and placed down inside the outside which is still inside out. Then sew from the top of the flap, down the side of the flap, across the front part of the messenger bag and up the other side of the flap leaving about 3-4 inches open at the top of the flap.

  26. Bryn says

    Ok this is my first time sewing and I love this bag….So when this says now let’s start making the bag do you put some of your lining underneath the inner piece???
    -Bryn

    • says

      Yes, I HIGHLY recommend using fusible fleece and ironing it on to your outer pieces before starting so it will just be part of it.

    • Bryn says

      Also when it says do the same thing to the back piece is that the 26 inch one or the 17 by 15
      -Bryn

      1st time sewing

      • Bryn says

        I know I’m asking a lot of questions….I’m only thirteen and my mom thought this would be easy but how did you get from one piece of each fabric to them sewed together….

        • says

          The back piece is the biggest piece you have. Which part do you mean for the second question? You are going to sew the long and skinny piece between the front and the back and that will form a bag of sorts. Does that make sense?

  27. Megan M. says

    Hi, I need this bag done for Saturday (I’m writing this on Thursday night), and I just have a question. When you’re attaching the strap when everything is flipped around (the bag inner and outer right sides together), do you simply put the strap into the the bag and sew, or put it between the bag pieces…? I’m sorry if this is a rather silly question, and I’m sorry if I’m not communicating my problem clearly. Thanks for the tutorial. It’s very good, I just have a hard time picturing each step in my mind.

  28. Gina G says

    Since I don’t own a sewing machine, and have troubles sewing button back on, think you just need to sale these! Love the pink/grey, your choice of fabrics are great. They are trendy, but not over the top!

  29. says

    Hey , this is awesome !!! I just have a teeny favor , I am little bit confused about the part right after the sewing of the sides ot the front and back of the bag , could you make that a little more clearer , maybe a video or something ?? Thx !

      • Lisa says

        Ok – am starting to make this – you recommended fusible fleece – which I bought. Do I need to iron it to the fabric to make them stick together? Or does it sort of “float” between the two layers of fabric? Is this a strange question? Just want to make sure I do it right!

  30. Rhonda says

    Thanks for the messanger bag pattern and directions. My granddaughter and I are making one and I have a couple of questions. Are all of the pieces of the bag lined with the fleece, both the outside and the inside? Also, what seam allowance do you use? I am using 1/2 inch and it seems to be working fine, but I was just wondering what you used. Thanks again. We are having fun.

  31. karen says

    If the sides are 17″, and the bottom is 15″, that equals 49″. However, you say to cut the side strip to 45″. I know that curving the front and back pieces will take a little off the 49″, but will it shave off 4″? I wonder if anyone has had trouble with the side strip coming up short?

    • says

      Keep in mind that you will have sewn the pieces together which will shorten them a little, but go ahead and cut that piece a little larger if you want and then trim it as needed. That’s what I do a lot.

  32. Karen Larkin says

    Hi there, these bags are awesome, I have made 7 for presents so far but they all have puckered/bunched up seams where the back of the bag meets the sides, do you cut away most of the excess fabric before you turn it the right way around?

      • Karen Larkin says

        I think I’ve cracked most of the bunching up by cutting away as much of the extra fabric as I can close to the seams without the seams coming apart. :-) I have now made 10 and it’s much easier. I find iron on interfacing is a godsend as I now only have 2 lots of fabric to sort out instead of 3.

  33. iris strong says

    Love the messenger toteI am just wondering if the messenger tote will be big enough to hold a lap top ands diaper bag?

  34. Keelan says

    I am confused, on the part where you say “now lets put the bag together. That whole paragraph confused me. So on the inner lining put your coordinating 45 in strip with the 45 inch interfacing? Then what? See it? This is where I get confused. Where does the back come in and the outer lining come in? Do I see the outer lining seperating from the inner lining and then put them together?

    • says

      I’m going to go in to the tutorial and try to clarify right now. Not sure what you are saying here-you should have 2 pieces of bag-the outer fabric and the inner. One goes inside the other so that right sides are together and the strap is between them. Then you sew all the way around and turn it. Let me know what I can help with!

  35. Kelley says

    I’m extremely confused…could you possibly email me? I’m not sure if I skipped a step or what but I’m confused by the part of putting the outer shell and inner shell together.

    • says

      What part is confusing you? I’ve had a lot of readers confused with this part lately-I’m going to go look at it and see if I can clarify, but let me know if there is something specific you need help with.

  36. arah says

    hello. I juist made this bag today. I LOVE it. I posted a photo on Instagram/facebook and have had a few people ask if I will make one for them. Are you okay with that? thanks

    • says

      Yup! I usually just ask people to give me credit somehow if possible. All I really want are readers, so as long as I get readers I am happy. :)

    • says

      I don’t but I bet a quick search of the internet will help you find an adjustable strap and you could use it for this bag. :)

  37. Amanda Kochkodin says

    I am new to sewing, and I am not sure I am doing this correctly. I am confused when it comes to putting the bag together. I do not understand about putting the shell together? Do you have a video lol? ??

  38. Lauren says

    Hey great ideas and I love your stuff! I have not used a sewing machine in years, but after I saw this bag on Pinterest I had to try it! I am a teacher in Houston and I am always on the look out for super cute bags that I can take to and from school. I made the messenger bag first and I must say for not having done anything like this in a while, it turned out great. I just got done with the reversible purse and I am about to make a second messenger bag for one of my girlfriends. I am in love with them :) Thanks for making it so easy!

  39. says

    Thanks for the great tutorial. I really love messenger bags, but I am trying to figure out a way to place a zipper so that when the flap opens the contents aren’t immediately accessible. I once had my change purse stolen from a messenger bag when I was on a bus so I am a little concerned about the top being completely open.

  40. Amy says

    Hi, I just found this tutorial and LOVE it. I reduced the size and made smaller ones for my niece and daughter and plan on making myself a larger one. I usually struggle with patterns, but this one was very easy! I can’t wait to try lots of the other tutorials you have too! Thank you for posting!

  41. Isabel says

    Instead of just pushing the inner fabric down into the outer fabric, can’t I just sew the pieces together beforehand and then make the bag normally? I don’t understand how to put the two separate bags together and then sew it. But I really want to make this bag! I already have the fabric and the interfacing.

    • says

      Yes, you could probably do it that way too. It’s really not hard to do it the way I described. Get your two pieces sewn up-outer and inner. Then put one inside the other and sew all the way around the flap leaving just a small opening. Then turn it right side out.

  42. figureskater11 says

    Thank you so much started today, I’m trying it with out the fusible fleece…well see how that goes. I’m going to make another wider one for my skates but use the fusible fleece when I do that! Thanks again!

  43. Judy Blinkenberg says

    This is a great bag. I have some Amy Butler I would like to use. What I especially like about this bag is the flap. I need one ro help keep my purse contents in. Thanl you.

  44. Gemma says

    I may have missed this info but what are the finished dimensions of the bag I’m wanting a good big uni bag so will need it to fit leaver arch folder + other things
    Thank you

  45. Dea Van Patten says

    I have been making bags similar to this for years — usually with a more rounded top, hobo bags. I find that heavy duty drapery interfacing is good for stiffness, and on the one or two bags that I wanted really stiff, I simply left the flap all the way open until after turning the bag, and put pieces of cereal box between the front inner and outer and back inner and outer panels. The sides are still soft enough that the bag can be stored flat, but the cereal box pieces (cut to fit just inside the bag front and back) give it that stiffness that I wanted.

    • Dea Van Patten says

      I forgot to mention: If you use the cereal box idea, DO NOT WASH the bag. The box will turn to mush! (I speak from experience!) If you need a really stiff bag but also think you might want to wash the bag, try using a piece of stencil plastic or something similar.

    • says

      Final dimensions on this messenger bag will be about 16 inches wide by 14 inches high. You can easily adjust it to be other sizes if needed though.

  46. Deborah says

    Wow – as soon as I saw this bag I had to make it. I used webbing for the strap as I needed it super long For someone over six feet tall. Thanks for the tutorial. I had a bit of difficulty putting it together to sew rhe bag inside out. Finally got it though. Worked like a dream!

  47. kerry says

    Hello, i was wondering if you have a video tutorial of this? getting confused. Only just started sewing so i’m not that great haha

  48. Karen Larkin says

    Hi Amber, just to let you know I have now made over 80 of these bags, all different sizes and fabrics, some with pockets and some without. I am having a Christmas Fayre stall and will need 100, 20 of these bags are already being used by friends and family. One thing I did add was a reinforcing insert in the bottom of the bag to keep the shape and a crochet flower on the edge of the flap for a bit of extra detail, everyone loves them. :-) You should see my Minion bag, it’s awesome.

      • Karen Larkin says

        Almost. lol I can make on in 2 1/2 hours but the minions take a bit longer. So far I have done 2 which were for friends and they adore them. They are going to be huge!!!

  49. Alyssa says

    No matter what these people say, I thought was extremely easy and I was very satisfied with the results, and I’m 13! Thanks for this great tutorial! {:)

  50. says

    Just made this bag tonight… I left a section of the lining open to use to turn it rather than the flap… I’m a bit bummed that my flap doesn’t come down as far as the first picture of the pink chevron bag above.. I was going for that look..I can adjust it for the next one.. Thanks for the tutorial!

  51. Tasha Reynolds says

    I just bought cute fabric to do a different purse pattern but I think I will have to try this one. Very cute. Thanks for sharing!

  52. Jenn says

    Hello!

    I am a huge fan of your website. Your tutorials and lessons are super helpful. I am attempting to create your messenger bag and I feel awfully unintelligent because everyone else has comments about it being so easy. Hopefully, I can show you the part I am confused on and get some clarity from you if you have the time!

    Put 1 of the 45 inch strips from each of your two main fabrics together with right sides facing and the interfacing on the outside… Turn it, press it and then top stitch it.

    Does this mean that i take 1 strap from each fabric, iron the interfacing on, then sew them RST and then use a turning tool to turn it inside out?

      • Jenn says

        Thanks so much! I am stuck on another part. Is there any way I can email you pictures of where I am stuck? I can try to explain her too.

        So I attached my fusible fleece to my outside fabric and outside strap piece. I’ve got my strap piece attached to the inner fabric but I cant tell in the pic how you’re doing the attaching of the strap piece to the outer fabric. I’ve been looking at it off and on for hours, hoping if I leave and come back to it, I would understand, but I don’t! Would you mind helping me?

        Thank you!
        Jenm

        • says

          You mean to put the whole bag together? You are going to stick the strap down BETWEEN the outer and inner fabrics, then sew it all together as shown in the video. Did you look at the video?

          • Jenn says

            I am stuck on the “do the same thing with the back piece” part. I haven’t even sewn my outer part yet. I’ve only done my strap and bag innards. :) it’s just hard to see how you’re attaching the 45 in piece to the longer piece of fabric (the back part). I am so stuck !

          • Jenn says

            I think my brain was tired and occupied because when I came back to it last night, I totally understood it. So never mind! Thanks for your helpfulness! :-)

  53. Angela says

    A friend of mine wants me to came him a denim messenger bag. I really liked you tutorial. Would I be able to use this tutorial for a denim bag? Please reply. Thank you. :)

  54. Daisy Mayfield says

    I saw your messenger bag and just had to try it. Thought it would be so much fun, man was I wrong!

    Your tutorial leaves out a lot of steps. Your pieces should be more clarified instead of front may be you could call it the “A” piece and so on. This would make it more understandable, less confusing.

    You don’t mention when to put the front flap on or what to do with it. I guess you assume people who look at this, will already have a lot of experiences. Sadly this isn’t the case for everyone.

    So I guess the joke is on me and the fabric pieces are ready to go into the trash.

    Thanks for trying and the idea. May be putting out that some experience of sewing is needed, it would give a warning in advance.

    Thanks again, I don’t want to sound that I don’t appreciate free tutorials.

    I guess no one will see my comments, because it wouldn’t fit in.

    sincerely
    Daisy Mayfield

    • Leah says

      The front flap is part of the back piece. Once the back piece is cut, you don’t need to cut the flap off of it. It just hangs over

  55. Daisy Mayfield says

    One more thing,

    who sews with their feet up anyway!

    May be that’s the trick with the bag, got to try it!

    ;)
    Daisy Mayfield

  56. Kim McCulley says

    Thank you for the tutorial! I haven’t done much sewing for about 15 years, but got in the mood to give this bag a whirl. I used duck fabric to make it sturdier. I LOVE the way it turned out! It’s not quite perfect where the side/strap pieces curve into the front flap, but I think that would improve if I made another attempt. As it is, it’s still lovely for gift giving. I plan to fill it with an artist pad, graphite pencils and a few other artist supplies for my adult daughter. I can’t wait to see her open her Christmas gift! =)

  57. Nicholaix says

    Fabulous Tutorial!
    I just made 3 of these with leftover decorator fabric for Christmas presents. Messenger bags are such a classic.
    Didn’t have the link to my old tut on my new laptop, I am so glad I stumbled across yours.
    I am an experienced sewer and I found your directions clear and nice pics. Great job!
    Don’t suppose you have a clutch tut hiding away somewhere? hahaha

  58. Polli says

    I also sew on the floor! But I use my knee rather than my foot on the pedal…
    :)
    Love the tutorial!
    Making a bag out of a big pair of bluejeans and your patterns looks perfect for my needs!
    Thank you so much for sharing!

  59. Leah says

    Amber, quick question…. or several….. Have you tried adding plastic canvas (like this http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001DEGKMO/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=211189&creative=373489&creativeASIN=B001DEGKMO&link_code=as3&tag=lizmckjoh-20 ) to make the bottom, and sides sturdier? And have you thought about adding little feet or pegs to the bottom to keep it off the floor/table?

    Also, is there a material that you would recommend to be placed (or sewn) between the inside and outside pieces that would make this bag more thermal (like a lunch or cooler bag… to make it better for carrying pumped milk)?

    Lastly, is there anything that I could use to make the strap more durable? Or is that what the fusible fleece would do?

    This is absolutely adorable, and I am wanting to make a diaper bag with this tutorial. I’m not expecting, but I am ready. Now I just need to find a fabric that I like (I will likely go with a canvas outer for durability) and time off from work in order to make it!

    • says

      I haven’t used anything stiff inside mine because I kind of like it soft, but you definitely could! If you do, let me know how it goes. I HAVE tried using thermal interfacing on other projects like this: http://crazylittleprojects.com/2013/09/kids-lunch-box-pattern-tutorial.html I haven’t tested it out well to see how effective it is but you could try it. I just got it at the fabric store. The fleece will add durability to your strap but if you really want it to hold up (as well as the bag) I would recommend using canvas/duck material. It will be much sturdier with that. Hope that helps!!! And good luck. :)

  60. Helen says

    Hi, thank you for this tutorial – found it on facebook :] I made the bag yesterday, I used a cheap main fabric and a fleece blanket for the inner bag [doing it on the cheap in case I mucked it up!!] Being a newbie to making things I didn’t round off the corners as I didn’t quite “get” where to do that on the larger piece and I didn’t have enough fusible interfacing to do the gusset and the strap but I figured the fleece would give it some shape :] It was an outstanding success, my daughter has the bag now {I didn’t get a look in} I am very pleased with it and I’ll be making another [for me] once I get some more interfacing :]

    Very pleased, thank you
    Helen :]

  61. Brandi says

    Hi! I am new to sewing and I just finished making 2 of the bags on your site, including this one. I really appreciate your “learn to sew” series and I appreciate all the time you took to write your tutorials. Thank you for making learning to sew a fun experience!

  62. Emma says

    I am stuck on the “do the same thing with the back piece” part. I can’t work out how you attach the 45 in piece to the longer piece of fabric. Please help! From what I can see the picture underneath where you say that “it should look like this” has no fleece attached at all – or is it underneath?!

    Also, jumping forward have I understood it correctly that I will put the inner bag/fleece material together separately to the outer bag material? Then sew them together later on?

    • says

      You are going to attach it the same way that you did with your front piece. Start at the bottom and work up the sides. You will obviously have flap piece left hanging. And yes, you will assemble the outer and then the inner and put it all together. When I did those pics I wasn’t using fleece, so that might be confusing you?

  63. Brandi says

    Hi! I’m making a couple of these bags as gifts for friends and I have a question. Are the corners of the bottom of the bag rounded? I see in one of your comments you mentioned that only the corners of the flap are rounded. But in the picture where you say, “Here’s a close up of the corners,” and in the picture just following that picture, the corners of the bottom of the bag look rounded. I am very new to sewing, so this might be a simple thing for some, but could you please help me out? I didn’t cut rounded corners on my fabric so I’m wondering what’s the best way to sew the corners correctly. Thank you!

    • says

      You can do it either way, but I usually make it slightly rounded as I go around the corners at the bottom of the bag. I don’t cut them out rounded, I just sew a slight curve as I sew those corners. Either way you do it is fine though.

      • Brandi says

        Thank you so much for your help! It’s so nice of you to take the time to read everyone’s comments and reply so quickly! Do you have any tips on sewing machine tension? My sewing machine tends to work fine for a while and then it won’t work for a while (I get little loops that show up on the top of the fabric and the back is all crazy looking). It’s in the not working phase right now, which makes it hard to finish projects that I’m working on. Just wondering if you have any tips. Thank you!

        • says

          With tension problems if you are seeing loops on the TOP of your fabric it means it’s the bobbin that is messed up. If it’s on the bottom then it’s the top thread that is messed up. When is the last time you had it tuned up? Sometimes I think machines just need a tune up from pros.

  64. TONYA says

    I am living this bag and really want to make it But I am having trouble finding the pattern. Am I looking over the link?

  65. Megan says

    Thank you for this great tutorial!!!
    My husband wanted a bigger/less girly bag for church (the one we have now has flowers on it) and this was perfect! I used a blue, yellow, red and brown striped fabric from Hobby Lobby and he loves it!
    Thank you so so much!
    P.S I love your diaper clutch too! Those Costco wipes packages are huge. I may need to make me one!

    • says

      I guess it’s confusing to call it a pattern. I have included the cutting guide in this post and you just follow that. Does that make sense?

      • Twila says

        I think I’ll use butcher paper to make a pattern. I work better visualizing. Thanks so much.
        Looking forward to making more of your sewing projects.

  66. Irene says

    Very nice tutorial. If you make your pocket on the front of both the lining and the outer fabric it can be reversible.

  67. Mia says

    I love this but im not sure where you have pin the straps along or where they are. Can you give a detailed explanation because i am determine to make such a cute bag

  68. Molly says

    I’m thinking about doing this for your February challenge and adding some piping, I’m so excited! I’m trying to think of where would be best to add the piping, I was thinking it would probably look best on the top flap, but I’m not quite sure how to add it to just the flap. Hopefully I can figure it out, but any thoughts are appreciated! My poor purses take a beating from trying to carry too much stuff in them, and I’m thinking a cute messenger bag would be just perfect!

  69. Jessie says

    Quick question…..Do you need to cut a piece of innerfacing for each piece of fabric you cut or just 1 per side?

  70. Savannah Vanderwier says

    Okay I don’t get this at ALL I’ve got everything cut out and I did the strap and then I can’t figure out the rest. Can you PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE make a full length video. Because I seriously cannot figure this out so It would be VERY helpful. :)

  71. Sandra says

    I love this bag! So far I’ve made 3, with plans for another 2 in the works. Will be trying out your piping tutorial to edge the front flap of my next one. I also love that you can make the bag in any size, I have one that is my go-to overnight bag, a hand bag, a laptop bag and my next two will be another overnight bag and a laptop bag. Thanks for posting this tutorial :)

  72. Savannah Vanderwier says

    Can you please make a FULL length video. I’m more of a visual person and the tutorial is kinda hard for me to follow :)

  73. Jordyn says

    Hey, I was just wondering what you meant by turning, pressing, and top stitching the strap? Sorry, I haven’t sewn much before so I don’t know that much

  74. says

    Thanks for this tutorial – very clear and straightforward to follow! I used it to make a patchwork variation – there are a few photos on my blog. :)

  75. Crystal says

    Hi love your bag. I have laptop that I would like to use it for but it is a big one. What size of the bag inside?

  76. Jean says

    Hey! I started this tutorial and ironed my fusible fleece on all the outer fabrics but now am wondering if I was supposed to iron it onto the inner fabric? Help would be great. Thanks! :)

  77. Emma says

    Hi, thanks for a great bag pattern, I made a patch work version with a zip pocket at the back and an adjustable strap.

  78. says

    HELP! I am having trouble with the first instruction. The first picture where it says “Cut this out of your main fabric, your coordinating fabric and your lining. (Please note that these images show a lightweight interfacing. I really recommend fusible fleece instead.)” Is the main fabric, coordinating fabric and lining all facing the same way? Right sides out? Or are the main fabric and coordinating fabric right sides together and the interfacing behind the coordinating fabric on the wrong side? Sorry this got so long but I am stuck on the first instruction. I just need to know how all 3 pieces are when laid out. I think once I get this, the rest will be a “piece of cake”! Thank you so much.

  79. Joanne says

    Great tutorial! Thank you :) Just a question … could I easily reduce the size of this bag a little. I’d like one but not too big nor too small, for general use but large enough to carry a book or tablet in if needed. Thanks

  80. says

    Hi Amber,

    I like the Chevron bag because of the length of the flap. :) Did you use the same measurements to make that bag that you used to make the bag pictured in the tutorial?

    The gal who cuts my hair has been begging me to make a messenger bag for her for months–but I rarely have the time or energy to sew. :(

    Thank you so much for posting this!

    Hugs to you, Sweetie! <3

    Lisa

    http://LisasStitchingPost.com

  81. Hannah Park says

    1 yard of fabric is not long enough to make the strap or the middle bottom part of the bag, what did you do?
    I was thinking maybe use a scrap piece of denim for the bottom of the bag…it’s extra strong and useful, and sew the main fabric to it for the sides of the bag.

  82. Noelle Schumacher says

    Hi! I love the pink-chevron bag, (actually, I love all messanger bags ;) ) and I was wondering if the tutorial you show is the same one you used for that. It looks like the flap is longer and it’s a little shorter and smaller in the chevron one. Could you post the tutorial for the chevron one if it’s different? Thank you! :)

    • says

      Noelle, do you think the Chevron bag looks shorter (and the flap looks longer) because it maybe doesn’t have as many items in it as the gray, black and yellow bag?

  83. isabel :) says

    I’m totally going to try this! I just LOVE messenger bags!!!! <3 thanks for the great tutorial!

  84. Vikki C says

    Hey.
    I’m fairly new to sewing so please be kind!
    I was doing really well with the bag until I had to join the two pieces together. When I sewed round to join the inner and outer and turned right side, I have puckering at the transition from the handle to the flap. Any tips on how to avoid this?
    I haven’t had much practice at curves or anything.
    Thanks in advance.

    • says

      The main thing you can do is snip the curves. Cut little slits in the fabric right up to (but not through) the stitching you did. This helps it bend more easily.

  85. Sami says

    I have been dying to make a messenger bag for school but I was not sure it would be able to hold my binder due to the weight. If I were to make it bigger how much bigger should it be in terms of fabric? And is there a specific fabric to use?

      • Tay says

        So I was also wanting to make this for my daughter for school. She likes the messenger bags instead of the traditional backpacks. Was also wondering if it would be strong enough to hold the books, binders etc. if made from regular cotton fabric.

  86. ridaa says

    would it be a good idea to attach a zipper to the main compartment of the bag since i am going to be using it for school?

  87. Lisa says

    Hello! I am making this bag for my daughter and she is very excited ! I have all my pieces cut, and would like to add an inner pocket as well. Can you tell me how you determined where to place it on the inner fabric of the bag? I’m having a hard time visualizing where it should be sewn on. Thanks so much for your time!

  88. Lisa says

    I’m back with another question! I am up to the part where we start putting the bag together. I pinned the other 45 inch strip to the front piece with the interfacing on the outside and it looks like the picture. Here’s where I’m stuck : when it says do this to the back piece, is that without the outside fabric at this point ? And when and how do I add the outside fabric in to all of this?. When I try to figure it out, I end up with raw edges, not something reversible. I am really stuck, and have been trying to figure it out on my own for some time without any luck ! Thanks for your time, and no hurry :)

  89. Shiree says

    Hi I’m going to make a few of these and was wanting to make adjustable straps, so was wondering how wide the finished straps are? Thanks :)

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