How To Sew a Messenger Bag

A courier or messenger bag is very much like a tote bag with zippers and storage pockets. This type of sack is designed to be worn with a strap over a shoulder and the bag resting on one’s lower back. It used to be a fundamental accessory for bicycle messengers but have recently become more popular with teenagers and hip adults. There are hundreds of designs available in department stores and online shops; however, to have a truly unique piece, it is a great idea to just make your own messenger bag. A courier bag could be the easiest and simplest type of bag that a beginner can sew. All you need are a few basic materials and equipment and you are all set in sewing your own messenger bag. This article is written to help beginners in putting together the bag which is why dimensions have been provided. For individuals with advanced sewing skills, you can create a bag based on your own measurements.

  • Go to the fabric store and get the necessary fabrics and other essentials. Decide on what type of material you want to use for your bag. If you are just starting out, make sure to get fabrics that have medium weight as they are the easiest to handle. Get a meter of plain fabric, half a meter of printed fabric, a meter and a half of fusible stabilizer, a 13-inch zipper with an open end, one set of snap closure (preferably the magnetic kind), and a spool of matching thread.
  • Cut and sew the front panel of your bag. Using a straight-edged ruler, trace two rectangular pieces on your plain fabric. One piece should measure, 11x12 inches and the other 14x12 inches. The smaller one shall serve as the front of the bag while the bigger one will be the pocket. Fold the fabric for the pocket in half. Make sure that the long and wrong sides are together. Press the fold with an iron. Position the pocket piece over the bag font piece, carefully aligning the longer edges. Secure the pieces with pins and baste the two fabrics together. Stitch along the middle of the pocket fabric to make equal slots. Make a pencil mark about six and a quarter inches away from the top of the pocket fabric and attach one half, the flat one, of the snap.
  • Cut and sew the back panel of the messenger bag. Make another two pieces of fabric for the back panel and back pockets of your bag. The piece for the back of the bag should measure 11x12 inches and the pocket piece will be 18x12 inches this time. Follow the same steps that you did for the front panel.
  • Make the flap of the bag. You need to cut out two 11x12 inches of fabric, plain one for the inner flap and the printed kind for the outer flap. From the center of the inner flap, go down one and a quarter inch and make a pencil mark. Attach the snap’s other part right above the pencil mark. Put the flap pieces together; face the right sides with each other, sew the sides and bottom parts together with ¼ inch seams. Push out the right sides and press. Do a topstitch, a quarter of an inch away from all the edges.
  • Sew on the zippers. Cut out two pieces of 3.75x12 inch plain fabric. These will serve as your zip panel. Fold short ends of the zip panels by half an inch. Fold the entire zip panels in half, making sure that the wrong and long sides are together. Press with the iron. Unzip the 13-inch zipper all the way to separate the sides. Get one of the sides and pin it on the edge of one of the zip panels. When you reach one corner, just curve the zipper and trim off the excess. Sew the sipper onto the zip panel. Follow the same steps for the other side.
  • Make the bag strap. You will need one piece of 6x42 inch plain fabric and a rectangular panel of the fusible stabilizer measuring 3x42 inches. Place the stabilizer in the middle of the wrong side of your plain fabric; fold the flaps towards the middle and press. Fold your fabrics in half, making a 1.5 inch wide handle. Press again. Sew the fabrics together.
  • Put the pieces of the bag together. Baste the bag flap along the top edge of the bags back panel. Make sure that the edges are aligned. Get the zip panel where the zipper pull is attached. With its wrong side facing outwards, align and baste this along the edge at the top of the bags back panel as well. Perform the same steps for the other zipper panel but attach it to the bags front. Sew on the handle.

Now that you have the basics for making a messenger bag, you can start experimenting with different cuts and sizes of fabrics. You can also begin exploring working with other types of materials, such as tarp and leather. When you have improved your sewing skills, you can begin adding linings to your bag masterpieces.


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