Mens Messenger Bag - For a Basketball Fan!

Mens messenger bag - See how to make a fully lined, sturdy mens messenger bag. Besides being one of the most popular homemade gifts ideas, it's a very practical item and easy to sew. A messenger bag like this one can be used pretty much everywhere and by everyone. Scroll down for the free tutorial.
mens messenger bag pattern

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You will be able to carry nearly anything and everything in this large messenger bag. Practical, sturdy and probably the best diy gift to sew for a sports fan!

UPDATE: If you need a smaller bag, check out this popular slim-sized alternative that fits an ipad, too! - and it's a crossbody!!

mens messenger bag pattern

Lately, I haven't 'done' much sport, unless you count in running after my toddler. Well actually she's gotten so fast this might be registered as an official form of recreation/sports. My partner, on the other hand, loves playing basketball, and the latest designs by Deena Rutter look a perfect choice for him.  I had so much fun with this gorgeous fabric and it was an absolute dream to work with. And I ended up with a brand-new tutorial and a free template for you to use - this mens messenger bag.

I made the bag larger than any bags I've noticed so far, and it will store tons of stuff. Plus, you can throw it into the washer - which makes it a perfect gym bag! 

mens messenger bag pattern

Pattern used: My NEW Messenger Bag - FREE PATTERN.
Fabric used: Varsity Basketball Collection by Deena Rutter for Riley Blake Designs

To make one of these large messenger bags, you'll need approximately 2 1/2 yard of fabric per bag. I used:

mens messenger bag pattern
These Varsity prints and RBD's Confetti Cottons IRON make a great team!
Finished Size
The finished size of the messenger bag is 16" width x 12" height x 4" depth (LARGE. I mean it.)

It has two slip pockets. The large full-width pocket is 15" wide x 9 1/2" tall. Actually, it imitates a bag divider as I made it as large as possible, without adding bulk to the side seams when constructing the bag. (Beginner sewers, you're always safe with me!)

The full-width pocket is interfaced and great for anything flat (iPad fans, anywhere?) I know I am, and always carry around my ipad crossbody bag. But for when I need to tote around more bulk, a large messenger bag like this one would save the day.

diy messenger bag

And a bag is not complete without a dedicated phone pocket. Agree? I've sewn this messenger bag for a tech enthusiast who will (I'm sure of that!) soon ditch his current phone for one of the latest phone models, so I made sure the phone pocket was large enough.

How do I know that? Because I googled the latest phones in the market. So I made the pocket 6 1/2" deep x 6" wide to cover all those models, just to be on the safe side, including Galaxy Note 9.

Fabric selection

diy messenger bag

Cutting Instructions

First, get the cutting template in the tutorial over here on the blog, it will go easier if you're a visual learner like me. If you prefer a simple cutting list, here it is, too:

For Bag FLAP: VARSITY Text Navy
17" by 15" (2 pieces) + 16" by 14" fusible fleece

For bag BODY EXTERIOR: Confetti Cotton IRON
for front and back pieces: 17" by 13" (2 pieces) + 16" by 12" fusible fleece (2 pieces)
for gusset:  43" by 5" (1 piece) + 43" by 4" fusible fleece

For bag LINING: VARSITY Diamonds Navy
for front and back pieces: 17" by 12 1/2" (2 pieces) + 16" by 11 1/2" fusible fleece (2 pieces)
for gusset:  42" by 5" (1 piece) + 42" by 4" fusible fleece

43" by 4" (2 pieces)
+ 42" by 3" fusible fleece (1 piece)
+ 42" by 3" stiff woven interfacing (1 piece)

Internal full-width POCKET: VARSITY Diamonds Gray
20" by 16" (1 piece) + fusible fleece (!) 9 1/2" by 15"

Internal Small POCKET: VARSITY Playbook Navy
14" by 7" (1 piece) + fusible fleece (!) 6 1/2" by 6"

Please note: bag exterior and bag lining pieces NOT exactly the same measurements!! This will make your sewing project super neat, and easier to finalize.

diy messenger bag

Are you familiar with this RBD Confetti Cotton basic I chose for the job? It's RBD's Confetti Cottons IRON. An amazing color to work with - it will literally go with anything! Just PERFECT for a mens messenger bag. I'll be getting more of this basic for my sewing projects.



To avoid this page loading forever because of too many photos (nobody wants that) I have made a separate tutorial page with tons of step-by-step photos.

Get the tutorial here.

messenger bag for men free pattern

And before I forget - in addition to all the step-by-step photos and sewing tips, there's a cutting template waiting for you! It will make your project even easier. Click through to the tutorial to download it.

diy messenger bag

I hope you liked the look of this mens messenger bag. It's so practical I might need to make one for myself, with a matching yoga mat holder :) My kids have already asked for a mini version of this messenger bag, as they would be perfect for a nature scavenger hunt. I agreed. Have I mentioned they are such collectors? (All their pockets stuffed with rocks, LOL!) My 6-year old son's favorite print is the VARSITY Playbook Navy. He's lucky - I've got some of this print left, and can start tomorrow.

Pin for Later:

diy messenger bag

Need a Smaller Bag? Check out THIS ONE

If you need a smaller bag, here's a popular iPad crossbody bag for you to try out: TEYA Crossbody Bag 
crossbody bag pattern
Get Teya Pattern HERE.

Want More Free Patterns+Tutorials?

Get email updates and never miss out on new patterns, printables and tutorials. If you sign up at THIS link, you'll also get the Fabric Hanging Basket Template for FREE, right now. A cute and easy-sew!

free pattern for a fabric hanging basket

Or ...go straight to one of my currently most popular PDF patterns - the gift bag pattern. 6 formats and sizes for all your gifts!
Or ...go straight to one of my currently most popular PDF patterns - the ZIP Pocket Coin purse:
sewing pattern for coin purse with zipper
Get This Pattern HERE.
A perfect match for the messenger bag! (use up any scraps you might have left from the messenger bag!)


  1. Would this bag be good for a laptop or is it too roomie?

    1. Hi SusanAnn,

      the bag is large, I guess it could store a laptop AND lots more. In addition to the main compartment, there is a full-width pocket (15" wide x 9 1/2" tall), and imitates a bag divider, without adding bulk to the side seams. You'd still have all the space available in the main compartment to tuck in a whole jacket or something like this :) It's really meant as a bag perfect for someone carrying a lot of things around. Hope this helps!

  2. It's hard to find items to sew for men. This bag is perfect! Showcased today...