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Petite Cross Body Bag

cross body bag

This cross body bag project is written by Jenna Excell from Sew Happy Geek..


Fabric Choice – You will need a fat quarter bundle,  and if you’re careful with your cutting you’ll have enough leftover to make accessories, like a zipper pouch or a little wallet! 🙂  Here’s some great places to buy fabric bundles online.

Petite cross body bag butting instructions

Six strips of fabric, measuring 3.5” by 12”. 

Four lining and two main exterior – 9.5” x 12”

Four woven fusible interfacing (or simple medium weight fusible interfacing) 9.5” x 12”

Four fusible fleece 9.5” x 12”

10” zipper

Fabrics from Plush Addict


1x 4” x 11”

1x 4” x 56” (or longer if you’re tall or like your bag to be lower down on your body!)

1x 1” wide adjustable slide for strap

1x 1” wide flat rectangle rings for strap anchor

Optional pockets:

Patch pocket 6” x 7”

Zipper pocket 2x 6.5” x 7.5” and a 6” or 7” zipper


Sewing instructions

1. Join strips into two sets of three.

Sewing strips to make a bag

2. Stack pieced bits on top of each other, RSU (right side up). Cut a mildly wonky slice in the middle as shown in the picture. Switch tops and bottoms and join.

Quilt as you go bag

3.  Fuse the interfacing onto the back of the pieced sections, once cooled fuse fleece to the back of pieced sections and trim off a total of 2” from the tops of both sections. Quilt as desired! I just did simple lines.

Making a fabric bag strap
Bag project by Sew Happy Geek

4. Make tab and strap: fold in half longways as shown, then fold in the sides and fold in half as shown in the pictures. I interfaced the pieces but that’s optional and I probably wouldn’t do it next time I make this bag. Edgestitch down the long sides.

Cross body bag to make

5. Place flat rectangle ring on the 11” tab and fold in half. Lay pieced front RSU and place folded strap anchor 1.5” in from right side, matching raw edges as shown in picture. Lay lining RST (Right Sides Together) on top and sew along the top with a ⅜” seam allowance. Fold and press lining back and topstitch.

Free bag projects
Make a mini messenger bag

6. Using one end of the strap, repeat Step 5 with other pieced section. The strap will be finished in step 17, scroll down to read. 

Attach a bag strap

7. Trim linings even with the pieced sections along the bottom.

8. Fuse the remaining interfacing and fusible fleece pieces to the 2 main exterior pieces.

9. Place one pieced side RSU on top of one main body piece, lining up bottom edges. Baste sides and bottom with a ⅛” seam allowance.

10. Repeat Step 9 with other main exterior and pieced section.

 N.B. If you decide to do pockets, now’s the time to sew them to your interior pieces. 

Zipped pockets for bags

11. Lay a lining piece RSU and place zip along top edge. The zipper should be facing up. Baste in place. Place one main panel RSD (Right Side Down) and sew next to zip along the top. Press and fold back. Topstitch if desired.

Sew Happy Geek sewing projects

12. Repeat Step 11 with the other interior piece, as shown in the picture, then add other main exterior piece RSD. Again press and topstitch if desired. The outside of the bag should look like the picture above when you’re finished, the lining like the picture below.

Lining a bag

13. Unzip the zip halfway. DO NOT FORGET THIS STEP! Or it will be really difficult to pull the bag through when you’re finished! (Yes, of course I’ve made that mistake. Ugh.)

Sewing a messenger bag
Sew a lined bag

14. Place the main panels RST and the lining pieces RST with the zip sandwiched in between. Pin all the way around (or use clips like in the picture). Sew all the way around using a 1/2” SA, leaving a 4” gap in the bottom of the lining as shown. Make sure the strap and anchor are out of the way!!

Making a bag gusset

15. Prepare gusset by flattening corners and sewing across as shown in picture. I marked a line 1.5” wide with ¾” on either side of the seam line. Trim excess corners.

16. Turn the bag through the gap in the lining, press if the bag gets crumpled when you pull it through.  Close the gap in the lining with ladder stitch.

Sew a strap on a bag

17. Finish strap. In the picture you can see I’ve threaded the strap through the flat strap anchor, then I’ve poked the strap end back through the centre bar. Then I’ve threaded that end back through the centre bar and pinched it together. Sew a box across that. If your strap has an unfinished edge, just fold it under a little and it’ll be hidden by your box stitching. 

cross body bag