Messenger bag pattern – and a sewing tutorial. Sew a large messenger bag with internal pockets using this free pattern for a messenger bag . If you need a small one, I have one too (this ipad bag pattern, it got really popular). But the one below might become your favorite diy messenger bag: sturdy, large and super practical. Scroll down to get the free pattern and start sewing!
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Messenger Bag Pattern
Now, on to the messenger bag: This bag would make a great birthday present or a diy Christmas gift, especially if you select a special fabric that resonates with the person you’re sewing for. This might be THE thing to sew this year. And this tutorial includes a free cutting template. You’ll love it!
A real multitasker here! You will be able to carry nearly anything and everything in this large messenger bag.
(If you need a smaller one, check out this popular slim-sized alternative!)
A messenger bag is one of the most useful (and popular) handmade gifts ideas, and a very versatile item to sew. A messenger bag like this one can be used pretty much everywhere and by everyone: as gym bag, for school, as diaper bag, for trips and hikes, and for any errands you run, even for grocery shopping (easier to carry than a simple tote).
FINISHED SIZE of this diy messenger bag:
Messenger bag finished size is 16″ width x 12″ height x 4″ depth (LARGE. I mean it.)
Large full-width pocket – finished size is 15″ wide x 9 1/2 ” tall
Small Pocket (Phone Pocket) – finished size is 6 1/2″ tall x 6″ wide
Let’s see how you can make this diy messenger bag yourself.
MESSENGER BAG TUTORIAL
- exterior fabric and lining fabric: 1 yard each, (some fabric will be left)
- accent fabric for bag flap: half yard
- contrasting fabric for inner pockets: a little over fat quarter (or use exterior fabric)
- stiff fusible vowen interfacing for straps: 43″ by 3″ for strap
- fusible fleece: 41″ by 45″ (Pellon Fusible Fleece has 45″ bolt width. Check out yours.)
WANT TO SAVE ON FABRIC?
Instead of using contrasting fabric for pockets, feel free to cut them from main and lining fabric – it will be enough left if you’ve got one whole yard of each, exterior and lining fabric.
Off course, you’ll get away using less fabric than stated here if you play around with the placing, but do mind if your print is directional. (I’ve drafted the fabric placement image to take into account the directional prints too!) Also, if you use a lower variety of prints, less fabric will be required.
Cutting Template And Instructions
1) First, cut from accent fabric
For Bag FLAP: 17″ by 15″ (2 pieces) + 16″ by 14″ fusible fleece
2) Cut from exterior fabric
For bag BODY EXTERIOR:
front and back pieces: 17″ by 13″ (2 pieces) + 16″ by 12″ fusible fleece (2 pieces)
gusset: 43″ by 5″ (1 piece) + 43″ by 4″ fusible fleece
For Bag STRAP:
43″ by 4″ stripe (2 pieces)
+ 42″ by 3″ fusible fleece (1 piece)
+ 42″ by 3″ stiff woven interfacing (1 piece)
3) Cut from lining fabric:
For bag LINING:
front and back pieces: 17″ by 12 1/2″ (2 pieces) + 16″ by 11 1/2″ fusible fleece (2 pieces)
gusset: 42″ by 5″ (1 piece) + 42″ by 4″ fusible fleece
4) Cut from various contrasting prints:
Internal full-width POCKET: 20″ by 16″ (1 piece) + fusible fleece (!) 9 1/2″ by 15″
Internal Small POCKET: 14″ by 7″ (1 piece) + fusible fleece (!) 6 1/2″ by 6″
TIPS to Use this diy messenger bag pattern:
Please note: bag exterior and bag lining pieces are NOT exactly the same measurements!! This will make your sewing project super neat, you’ll soon see how.
As you will also have noticed, the fusible fleece pieces are just a bit smaller than the exterior to prevent bulk when sewing. Since we’re using a 1/2 inch seam allowance, measure accordingly.
(!) – the pocket will be folded in half, hence the measurements of the fusible fleece do not match. Just in case you were asking yourself why the discrepancy…
Cutting Template For You
This cutting template will make your project even easier. I tend to forget to cut a piece or two if I only have a list to resort to – so, in addition to the cutting list above, here’s an image for us, visual learners 🙂
Please click on the image to enlarge. It is meant as a visual aid for cutting, you’ll still need to measure your pieces on the cutting table.
MESSENGER BAG TUTORIAL
1) Cut your fabric and fusible fleece as per cutting instructions above.
3) First, we’ll stitch the flap: place the 2 Bag Flap pieces on a flat surface, right sides together.
5) Topstitch along all three finished edges.
6) Flap finished, set aside for now.
Make Messenger Bag STRAP
7) Let’s make the bag strap now. It will be quite wide, 3 inch finished width. I opted for a fixed length of 43″ which I find ideal for a bag of these proportions, for men too. You can make adjustable straps if you want a crossbody version – adjustable strap tutorial HERE:
First, apply fusible fleece to one part of the strap fabric, and apply stiff woven interfacing to the other part. This is what I do when I want to make very stable bag straps.
9) Using a bodkin or a safety pin, turn the strap right side out and topstitch along both long edges. Bonus tip: I always use a longer stitch length when topstitching. This way, the stitching looks neat. Here, I may have gone a bit overboard, using a stitch length of 4, but it turned out great!
Make POCKETS For the Messenger Bag
10) POCKETS: Now it’s time to make and attach the inner slip pockets. Take the two pocket pieces, apply fusible fleece – each fabric piece will only be half-covered by fusible fleece, because we’re folding the fabric. Fold fabric right sides together:
11) Stitch your pockets, making sure to leave a hole for turning on each piece. The turn right side out and press. The turning hole will remain open until a later step.
ASSEMBLE Bag Lining and Bag Exterior
15) So, we’ll sew the Bag Lining first:
- You’ll need 2 bag lining pieces and the gusset piece for lining.
- Pin or use sewing clips to align one lining piece of 17 by 13 with the gusset piece.
- Notch the seam allowance of the gusset piece at corners to make a neat edge. Way easier to sew! Now stitch.
- Same way, attach the other lining piece to the other side of the gusset piece. Make sure to leave a 5 or 6″ opening at the bottom (see the spot marked by sewing clips in image No 4?)
IMPORTANT: Now the POCKETS (those sewn into the LINING) should be on the SAME side as the bag flap!
So, are the pockets touching the Bag Flap? Good, continue!
19) Press well and topstitch around the top edge. This will make your project look so much nicer!
20) Bury the thread ends when topstitching. Here’s a popular how-to that can help you with neat seam finishing:
So, this is your messenger bag, finished and ready for action. Enjoy!
P.S. Make sure to come back in a few days to find out the story behind this messenger bag.
Save this messenger bag pattern for later:
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Or …check out this popular PDF pattern – the Aiden Cell Phone Purse – Click through to see what’s on the back of this cool phone bag!