Patternless Messenger Bag Tutorial

View more tutorials on

Just in time for school, here is a patternless messenger bag for you to make for your favorite scholar. I used Echino Spring 2010 Ni-co Camera Gold since it is cool, hip and can work for the fellas or the ladies. I lined it with Jennifer Moore/Monaluna Mingle Steel for a more masculine look. The gold and steel combination look fantastic together.
Echino Cameras Gold @

Monaluna Squares Steel @
This bag measures 19" wide and 12 1/2" deep. The size of the bag can easily be adjusted so consider my measurement as guidelines.

Here is what you will need:
1 yard of Echino Ni-co Camera Gold or other heavy weight fabric for exterior
1 yard of Jennifer Moore/Monaluna Mingle Steel or other light weight cotton for lining
1 yard of heavy weight fusible interfacing
1 yard of light weight fusible interfacing
Coordinating thread
2/3 yard of velcro
2 rings for the strap - see Step 8 for an example
Heavy duty or denim needle

1. Cut one piece of the exterior fabric and one piece of the lining 20" wide and 36" long.

2. Apply the heavy weight fusible interfacing to the exterior fabric according the manufacturer's instructions. Do the same with the light weight interfacing and the lining. Have the pieces of interfacing be slightly larger than the exterior and lining pieces. Be patient with your iron and take your time to really fuse the interfacing to the fabric. Trim the excess interfacing when you are finished.

3. To make the body of the bag, fold one end of the bag over 12 1/2". Finger press the seam flat.

4. To create the flat bottom of the bag, make the following marks:
a. Mark 1 1/2/" on the bottom.
b. Mark 2 1/2" on the side.
c. Mark 1 1/4" up from mark a.

Connect mark b to mark c as in the picture below.
Cut out along the lines.

5. Sew the fuzzy side of the velcro across the front of the bag.

6. Sew up the sides using a 1/2" seam allowance and then pin the bottom openings together and stitch closed.

7. Turn the bag right-side out and admire your handiwork.

8. Cut two pieces 2" wide and 4" long. Fold over sides and top stitch.

9. Insert tab through the ring and stitch to the side of the bag one inch below the top of the bag. Be sure to reinforce these stitches because the tabs are going to get a lot of wear.

10. To shape the front flap of the bag, mark one inch from the top. Using a ruler, draw a line from the mark to the seam at the body of the bag. Cut along this line. This will create a better shape for the front of the bag. If the flap hangs too long over the body of the bag, you can also trim the top a little. Just be sure to cut the same amount off the lining.

11. Repeat the above steps for the lining by sewing up the side seams, creating the cut out for the flat bottom and sewing one of the bottom seams closed. Leave the other one open for later.

12. To create the interior pocket, cut a piece of the lining 7" x 14". Fold in half and sew along the sides and part of the bottom as in the picture below. Clip the corners, turn inside out and press.

Center the pocket on the back side of the bag (or anywhere you want it), pin in place and sew along the sides and bottom. You will sew the opening closed when you sew the pocket to the bag. It is hard to tell because of the print, but the pocket is sewn in the lining in the picture below.

13. Cut two pieces of the teeth side of the velcro and sew into the lining. By sewing the teeth side vertically and the fuzzy side horizontally, your bag will still close no matter how full it is.

14. Place the exterior of the bag inside of the lining. Be sure that the lining is wrong-side out (so you can see the interfacing) and the exterior is right-side out. Pin in place. Sew across the front of the bag and along the flap with a 1/2" seam allowance using a heavy duty needle. There are a lot of layers at the seams. Go slowly around the side seams and maintain the 1/2" seam allowance.
This is what the corners are going to look like when you are done sewing.

14. Clip the corners as close to the seam as possible. This is going to reduce the bulk from so many layers of fabric.

15. Clip the corners at the top of the bag too.

16. Gently pull the exterior of the bag through the opening in the lining. Straighten the bag out, and press.
17. Sew up the opening in the lining. Top stitch along the front of the bag and along the flap.

18. To make the strap, measure how long you want the strap. The strap for this bag is 90 inches long. Cut the strap 2 1/2" wide. Fold in the sides and press. Then thread the strap through the rings and sew the ends together, creating a big loop. Pin the sides in place and top stitch them together along both sides and across the wide of the ring.

Congratulations! You are all done.


Anonymous said…
Anonymous said…
I like your choice of fabrics and it's a very easy tutorial to follow. VERY cool!!!
Tommy said…
I think I could fit an iPad in that!

Now to find some orcs, trolls, or dragon fabric to go with it. This is a great tutorial and it makes it look so simple.
Grace said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
erins said…
Too funny. I just bought this camera fabric for my son and was browsing messenger bag tutorials. Great tutorial and taste in fabric :)
Mary said…
Great tutorial - thanks!
Unknown said…
I will definitely need to make one of these!!!
Love the camera fabric, btw!
I LOVE this tutorial. Thank you so much for sharing. Very clever on how you came up with leaving the opening in the lining for when you need to turn the bag right side out. I made one for my daughter, one for her American Girl doll and one for me. We're going to NYC next week so we needed something 'cool' to carry or stuff in when we visit the American Girl store. (Mine doesn't not match my daughters - that would not be 'cool'). Thanks again for the great tutorial!
Shelly G. said…
Too adorable!!! This is the FIRST messenger bag that I actually liked enough to consider making. The size is perfect. I will try this one day soon hopefully!
elnorac said…
What a great, easy-to-sew bag! Thanks for the super tutorial!
Sistahsister1 said…
This messenger bag is wonderful and easy to make. I will using it to teach young teens at the community centers to make for "Mother's Day Gifts". I needed a bag they could make in a two hr. time period...I just made a sample to show them...EASY...FAST...FANTASTIC..Thanks for the tutorial.
Brenda Boyd said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said…
Just found the project I have been saving out of style leather trenchcoat for. Thanx!
Unknown said…
You have a great artist in yourself. You have made a really trendy looking jewelry. Thank you for sharing a very valuable information to us. I will definitely to create for me as i'm not much creative I know it will not look as cool as you had created. I'll sure update this kind of stuff in my collection soon so you can even earn money for your creativity. Check this website for more collection of handbags products.
SonjaLoyd said…
Wonderful tutorial.
My children love these and I do too!
I think most people would agree with your awesome article which is specially related of laptop bags and I am going to bookmark this web site so I can come back and read more articles. Keep up the good work!