I was looking through some tutorials on messenger bags and honestly, I found them pretty confusing. But, the other day after a lot of thinking and 2 tries later, I finally figured out how these darn things work. :) I had some left over fabric from a dress I made my niece, and I decided I would make her a matching bag.
*Because this is a child-sized bag, the handles/straps are kid-sized. I’ll let you guys know what to use for adult measurements in the tutorial* The final dimensions are around 9″x 10.5″ for the body of the bag and 27″ for the strap. On an adult the this messenger bag’s straps would be purse-like.
Materials for a 9″ x 10.5″ Bag (For a bigger bag, you’ll need a bit more material) :
– Around 1/2 yard of main fabric x 52″ width. I highly recommend using flannel as your fabric. a) it’s pretty sturdy for a bag. b) Flannel looks… terrible after one wash. So since you are probably not going to be washing your bag, it’ll be the perfect fabric for it!
-Around 1/2 yard of lining/contrasting fabric x 52″ width. (again plz use flannel or a stiffer fabric. I bought my green fabric from joann for like 2$)
-Optional: Interfacing (Lining each of your fabric pieces with interfacing will make it sturdier. For my niece’s bag I did not use interfacing, but for my own bag I probably will)
Okay, let’s get crackin’! There will be a lot of pics and words, but making the actual bag is super easy. It’ll take only around 2.5 hours to make :)
- Cut out two 12″ x10″ rectangles on your main fabric
- Cut out two 12″x10″ rectangles on your lining/contrast fabric
- Cut out one 8″ x9.5″ rectangle on your main fabric
- Cut out one 8″ x 9.5″ rectangle on your lining fabric
- Cut out one 6″x29″ rectangle on your main fabric **For an adult cut out 6×46″**
Cutting the flap:
This is the 8×9.5″ rectangle on your main fabric. Since this will turn into the flap, you will need to make a curve. To do so, use any circular object…yes even a contacts solution bottle will work ;) Repeat this same process with your 8×9.5″ lining fabric.
For the zipper compartment piece, measure your zipper from opening to end. Add .5″ seam allowance on each side. So if your zip is a 7″ one, cut out an 8″ x8″ box. **If you want to add pockets, you can easily do so. Just cut out the size you need and add seam allowance**
Mark the beginning and end of your zip on one of your contrasting 12×10 rectangles
Place your zipper designated fabric on top of the rectangle you just marked. Sew a rectangle around the points, leaving 0.5″ allowance on the top. Cut into your fabric as shown in the picture.
Squeeze your fabric through the hole you made, and iron it down. Pin your zipper in place and sew.
Turn the fabric around. Fold up your 8″ square and sew the 3 seams shown above. The 2 sides and the top. (I have a seam on the bottom because I added more fabric) **Be sure to only sew your 8″ square! Do not sew into the 12×10″ rectangle!**
Wohoo! You just sewed on a zip! Not so hard, yeah?
Sew your 2 flap pieces together. Clip the circular portions, turn the piece right side up. Iron in place, and top stitch for a neat finish.
Mark the point at which you want your button to be on the flap. Using a button foot, sew a button hole. Test to see if your button fits. :)
If you need, here is a great tutorial for sewing button holes.
Taking both of your 12×10 main fabric rectangles, sew up 3 sides, leaving the forth unsewn. Do the same for your contrasting fabric
Fold the 2 corners that you’ve just made, matching seam to seam to create a triangle of sorts. Mark down 1 1/2″ and draw a line from edge to edge. Sew on this line. This will create a stable base for your bag. Do the same for the contrasting fabric.
Iron the bottom and the sides so create a nice base. Looking like a bag already, yeah?
Take your strap fabric. Iron the edges in.
Fold strap in half, and iron. Top stitch both sides. This will help you avoid making a tube that you’ll have to turn inside out.
Place the right side of your flap on top of the right side of your body and sew in place
On the sides on your bag, sew on your straps. Again, right side on top of right side, so that the wrong sides are facing you.
Woah are we done already?? Nope, sorry just a few more steps!
Turn your contrasting body inside out, so that you are facing the wrong side. Place your main body with the flap + strap inside the contrasting body. Pin to place if need be.
Leave a 4″ space un-sewn! **Your flap portion must be sewn entirely, so the part that should be unsewn is the side directly opposite the flap**
From the small hole we just made, squeeze your fabrics out.
Place the contrasting fabric inside the main fabric. Top stitch the entire opening of your bag, fold in the gap so it looks neat!
Sew on your button. **Make sure to sew only the outer fabric. You do not want to see any seam on the inside**
~Phew! You are done :)
Hmm…what’s that thing sticking outta the bag?
Is that a…?!
Yup it’s my niece’s monkey plushie. :)
Well, I hope you all find this tutorial useful. Ask me questions if you have any.
+ As always, hit the like/follow button if you enjoyed this.
Have a great day everyone! =]