Messenger bag TUTORIAL!

How To Make A Messenger Bag : Alida Makes
Hey y’all! Today I have a really fun project to share, a messenger bag tutorial!

How To Make A Messenger Bag

Here is what you will need for this project:One piece of outer fabric and one piece of lining fabric 42” by 16” (this will be the body of the bag)

Outer fabric 41” by 8” (this will be the strap)***Since everyone is different shapes and sizes please take a tape measure and double check the length here. Make sure you add a half inch to your desired length for a seam allowance.****
Outer fabric 11” by 7” (this will be the front pocket)
Outer fabric OR lining fabric 21” by 11” (this will be the inner pocket. I used outer fabric for this tutorial so it would be easy to see, but either is fine.)
JEANS NEEDLE! This is a must.
Two magnetic straps
Plastic grid 10”X 2” (found in the embroidery section of the craft store)
*If you use sturdy home decor fabric for the outer layer you probably won’t need batting. But if you are using something more flimsy such as cotton quilting fabric you will want to cut a piece of batting to the same measurements as the body of the bag.*

Lay the bag body pieces out one on top of the other. Measure 13” down and 2” in and cut the pieces out on either side. *If you’re using batting repeat this step with the batting.* That will create the FLAP PIECE. Then measure 1.5” down and 1.5” in from the top corners of the LINING fabric and mark it. Install the magnetic snaps on both sides there using the package’s instructions. (Make sure you only poke through the lining fabric!)
Fold the bag up like the picture above (you should still have both layers of fabric). Mark where the snaps hit the front of the bag and install the other end of your snaps there on the OUTER fabric.



Now we’re going to sew the pocket on! Take your pocket piece and either A) serge all the way around or B) fold each side down 1/4” and press and then repeat. Hem the top of the pocket.
Then pin the pocket to the bag 3” from the top edge as shown below. Top stitch around both sides and the bottom.
Now take the inner pocket fabric and repeat what you did before, only hem the both short ends. **DISCLAIMER** please forgive the horrible lines on the next picture, I don’t have fancy software to draw the straight lines so this was free-hand!

Put the pocket piece on the lining piece on the bottom part, not the FLAP PIECE. You can center it if you like but you don’t have to. I made mine so that one side was higher (and the pocket therefor deeper) than the other. Pin the pocket piece on. Now fold the lining piece so that the bottom of the bag body piece meets the bottom of the flap piece and press. Your crease is your guideline for the image above. Measure one inch to the right of the center and one inch to the left of the center and mark the pocket piece all the way across with your chalk. Then mark where you want to separate your pockets. Sew on the lines you marked like the diagram above.

WHEW! I hope that wasn’t too confusing. Now take your strap piece and fold and press it in half lengthwise. Now open it up and press each side into the middle crease like so:

Now fold that in half and press:

Now you should have a long tube. Unfold it quickly and press down each short end 1/4”, then fold it all back together and topstitch all the way around. You now have a strap!

Now it’s time to make a bag sandwich. Put your bag pieces together, right sides facing, and sew all the way around, leaving a 3 inch hole to pull it right side out when you’re done. *If you’re using batting put the batting on top of the bag sandwich before sewing.* Clip the corners. Then turn the bag body right side out and press.

Now topstitch all the way around. If you used batting stitch it 1/4” all the way around, if you didn’t use batting stitch as close to the edge as you can.

Now fold the bag inside out and stitch up the sides as shown above. Press the seams out.

Fold the corners down and press. Take a ruler and measure 2 inches across the corner and mark that with your chalk. You can do one of two things here. You can either serge across that line or simply sew and leave the corner on, it’s up to you. When you’re done it should look like this:

Repeat with the other corner. You’re almost done! Now sew your strap to the top of the side creases like so:

Make sure you reinforce it with an “X” in the middle. WOO HOO!!! Only one more step!

If you weren’t too confused by the inner pocket instructions this next part should work: turn your bag inside out and slide your plastic grid in the pocket at the bottom of your bag.
Aaaand you’re done! Now put your stuff in it!

And make sure you take a picture and send it to me 🙂

***I have to give credit to Sew Christine, the technique of sewing the inside pocket is totally hers. Here is her awesome easy Nappy Bag Tutorial.***
How To Make A Messenger Bag

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50 thoughts on “Messenger bag TUTORIAL!

  1. Great job! I’ll have to try this one! I love your blog by the way, I’ve never actually commented, but I’ve been following for a while!


  2. This looks like an awesome tutorial (just found you via UCreate. Thanks for sharing – am going to give it a shot to make a down-sized one for my 2 yr old.

  3. I just made this yesterday, and it was a blast! Sadly, I paid no attention whatsoever to the placement of my directional fabric, and the house ended up upside-down on the flap. Oh well. It was my practice run. I’ll carry it myself, rather than passing it along as a gift to a friend, as I had intended. Thanks for such a great tutorial! Rock on, Mama of Four!

    From a Mama of Five

  4. Just made one and it turned out great! There are a few mistakes I made that I learned from, so next time I expect it will be perfect! Thanks so much, I love my new bag!!

  5. Going to attemp this tonight. We will see how it goes.I think i will use it as a diaper bag once i’m done.

  6. Hi – Could you please let me know the finished dimensions of this bag? I have some great material I’d like to use but don’t want to cut into it until I’m sure the bag is going to be big enough!

    Many thanks
    Great site!


  7. Wow this looks fab!!
    I can’t wait to try it, I want a bag for my USA trip away and this is perfect!!!! I will use med weight fabrics so will leave out the batting, do you still reccommend using a jeans needle still?
    Thanks so much 🙂
    P.s love your work!

    1. There are certain spots where you’ll have to sew over 8 layers of fabric, so I would still recommend a jeans needle. It’s not a must, but it’ll be less likely to break on you!

    1. Yes, that is correct! Sorry you are confused! As you see in the photo, the body of the bag is laying out, and you cut a 13″X2″ strip out of the top of each side of the bag. Hope this helps!

  8. Beautiful. You are such a blessing. BTW, it’s my first time visiting your blog and must say you are a good teacher. Thanks a lot. I will be sewing this later today.

  9. Thank you for the great tutorial. Was looking for something to do today and made this. Thank you for supplying me with about 4 hours of total concentration. Kept me busy and now I have a great bag! Pictures will be emailed to you.

    Kind regards,

  10. I’m curious as to what the final dimensions are of this bag! I love love love it but want to make sure it fits a few different things. Please let me know! Thank you! 🙂

  11. Done – finally. Very easy to make and easy to follow instructions. Thank you for sharing this. I will send pics soon. The only change I made – apart from adding the ruffles as per this site,, was to put the little plastic grid – which provides a base for the bag – into a little calico ‘pillow case’ as I didn’t want any hard edges breaking through the lining – seeing as I had chosen such beautiful material. This is a present for my daughter – living in Ireland – I am in Australia. I hope she likes it. Thanks again.

  12. I love this bag! Made mine out of Jack Skellington fabric and lined it with lime green quilting cotton. I interfaced the main bag and also used the batting. And it only took two hours. You are a genius!!

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