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Medium Messenger Bag

Messenger bag

Makower Fabrics have some great free PDF patterns on their website. They have kindly given us permission to remake this messenger bag project and add in step by step photos. The original project was designed and written by Janet Goddard. This easy to make messenger bag is just the right size to hold your day to day essentials in.

Finished Size 12” x 12” x 3” (30cm x 30cm x 7.5cm) excluding strap

Fabrics featured are from the Alison Glass Remix collection. kindly provided by Makower UK

Alison Glass fabric UK

Fabric requirements

Fabric one – for the outer bag, strap and strap loop – 75cm/30 inches – I used Stitched Charcoal

Fabric two – for the flap – 38cm/15 inches – I used Art Theory Charcoal

Fabric three – for the lining and pocket 75cm/30 inches – I used Geometry Sunset

Seam allowance – 1/4 an inch

Read the pattern right through before starting.

Cutting instructions

Fabric One:
Cut one (14” x 25”) rectangle
Cut one (2 ½” x 42”) strip
Cut one (2 ½” x 10”) strip

Fabric Two:
Cut one (12”) square

Tip from The Sewing Directory – If using the Art Theory panel like I did you need a little excess fabric on both sides as the circle is just under 12 inches so you will probably need to cut from the middle of the panel not one of the designs from the edge.

Fabric Three:
Cut one (14” x 24”) rectangle
Cut two ( 5 ½” x 9”) rectangles
Cut one (12”) square

Wadding or fusible fleece (I used Vlieselene H630)
Cut one (14” x 25”) rectangle
Cut one (1” x 42”) strip

Iron on Interfacing
Cut one (12”) square

Tip from The Sewing Directory You may wish to add a fastening to your bag so the flap doesn’t blow open, a magnetic clasp or even some velcro would work well. Read our guide to bag closures here.

Sewing the flap

1. Iron the interfacing to the reverse of the 12” square of the flap outer fabric (fabric two).

2. Put your flap outer fabric and flap lining fabric on top of each other right sides together. Pin
around all sides. Place an 8” diameter circle template or plate onto one bottom corner so that the
edges of the template touch both the side and the bottom corner. Mark the curve and then repeat for the other corner. Cut along both curves to give your flap a curved edge (see the picture above for guidance).

Clip curves when sewing

3. Stitch all the way around leaving a 4” gap in the middle of the top edge, backstitching at the
beginning and end. Clip corners and curves. Turn through, press then top stitch right around
the outer edge.

Makower bag making project

Sewing the outside of the messenger bag

4. Iron the large (14” x 25”) rectangle of fusible wadding to the reverse of your outer fabric rectangle.

5. Lay the flap right side up on the right side of the unit completed in step four, positioning the
straight edge of the flap 1 ½” from the top 14” edge. The curved edge of the flap should be facing upwards away from the large fabric rectangle as shown in the photo above. Stitch across the flap, securing the flap to the outer bag over the top of your previous stitches. Do a second line of stitching just above your first line.

6. Fold the outer bag in half, right sides together, tucking the flap down inside, out of the way. Sew down both sides.

Sew a boxed corner on a bag

7. To shape the base of the bag, match the centre fold of the base with each side seam. Measure in 1 ½” along the seam line from the outer point. Draw a line with a marking pencil from edge to edge horizontally, sew along the line and then trim off excess fabric. Turn the bag right side out and set aside for now whilst you make the strap.

Bag strap sew with fusible fleece

Sewing the strap and strap loops

8. For the strap loops take the (2 ½” x 10”) strip of fabric one and press under ¼” on each long edge. Fold in half so that the right side of the fabric is facing out and top stitch down the folded edge and then the opposite edge (see above). Cut the strip in half to make two loops.

9. Insert each strap loop into a rectangular ring. Fold the loop in half, making sure that the raw edges are even. Stitch across the fabric ¼” away from the ring.

10.  Attach one of the strap loops to each side of the outer bag, right sides facing, placing a loop over the centre of each side seam. Stitch two or three times to secure it to the bag.

11. To stitch the strap take the (2 ½” x 42”) strip of fabric one and press under ¼” on one long edge. Place the (1” x 42”) strip of fusible fleece down the centre of wrong side of the strap and the iron into place.

12. Fold the raw edge of the fabric to the centre of the wadding and then the folded edge on top. The folded edge should overlap the raw edge. Pin or wonder clip it into place and then top stitch down the folded edge then the  opposite edge. Do not attach it to the strap loops yet, put it aside for now. 

Sewing pockets for handbags

Sewing the lining

13. To make the pocket take the two small rectangles of lining fabric and put them on top of each other right  sides together. Stitch around the edge, leaving a 2” opening on one long side. Trim corners, turn through and press.

14. Take the (14” x 24”) fabric three rectangle and position the pocket 4” from the top on the right side of the fabric Top stitch around three edges, leaving the top open. Stitch down the middle of the pocket from top to bottom to create two small pockets.

15. Fold the lining up so that the right sides are facing and the 14” raw edges are at the top together. Stitch down each side.

16. To shape the base of the lining follow the instructions in step seven.

Free bag sewing patterns

Putting the messenger bag together

17. Place the outer bag inside the lining so that the right sides of the fabric are facing. Make sure that the pocket on the lining is on the same side of the bag as the flap.  Ensure that you push the flap and strap loops down between the two layers so you don’t catch them when stitching. Pin the outer bag and the lining together at the top, lining up the side seams and raw edges.

18. Sew around the top edge, leaving a 5” opening in the middle of the flap side for turning through. Back stitch at the beginning and end.

Sew your own handbag

19. Pull the bag through the opening you left then press the seam around the top edge of the bag to make it lie flat. Press under the seam allowance on the opening and then topstitch all the way around the top of the bag.

Sew straps for a bag

20. Finally to add the strap, thread the ends through the rectangular rings on the strap loops. Fold under the raw edge on each end of the strap and stitch it back on itself 2” up from the ring. Stitch across the strap several  times for extra strength with a double row of stitching.

21. Now enjoy using your new messenger bag.

Finished messenger bag