I think I have a thing for sewing new bags. I don’t carry a purse, always just a bag of some sort, so maybe that’s why. My bag functions as my diaper bag and my purse all in one.

I affectionately refer to my most recent bag as “the dungeon” because it is so large and full of so many random items. (Goggles anyone? How about an old french fry? Soccer sock?) I wanted to try to make a new bag that was less dungeon-like; maybe more compartments or maybe a slightly smaller bag.

Well, I succeeded in making a cute bag, but I am not sure that it is going to be any less dungeony. Oh well. I still love it.

Want to make it yourself? I know you do. Here’s my newest messenger bag pattern for you to sew!

Project Steps

Start out by cutting out your pieces. The front of my bag is 17″ wide by 15″ high with rounded corners on the bottom: (yes, I should iron before cutting). Cut this out of your main fabric, your coordinating fabric and your lining. (Please note that these images show a lightweight interfacing. I really recommend fusible fleece instead.)

The back of the bag is the same width but is 26″ tall. Again, cut it out of both fabrics and your lining.

Cut 2 pieces that are 4 inches by 45 inches as well out of all of your fabrics. One of these pieces will be your strap and one will be the sides of the bag.

You should have 4 pieces of each fabric.

If you want any inner pockets, now is a good time to do that. I did a large pocket on the back inner part of my bag.

I made some compartments in my pocket for things like my cell phone and a pen simply by sewing straight lines down the pocket.

OK; next let’s do the strap. Put one of the 45 inch strips from each of your two main fabrics together with right sides facing and the lining on the outside. Sew down each side.

Turn it, press it and then top stitch it.

Now let’s put the bag together. Starting with your inner fabric and your lining (if you are using it) put the other 45 inch strip along the edges of your front piece with the lining on the outside. Pin it in place all the way around the bag trimming any excess length off as needed.

Sew around the part your just pinned. Do the same thing with the back piece, matching it to the remaining side of your long 45-inch strip.

It should look like the first image when you are done.

The second image is a close-up of a corner.

Do this to both the outer and the inner fabric.

Now, here’s the trickiest part. Turn the OUTER fabric right side out and the INNER fabric inside out. Slide the OUTER fabric down inside the inner fabric matching up all the seams from the two pieces.

Tuck your straps down inside the bag so that the ends stick out like this.

Starting at the top of the flap and leaving an opening, sew around the bag. Go down the flap, across the middle, back up the other side of the top. Leave several inches open at the top of the flap.

I go over the strap part several times to make sure they are very secure.

Now, using your opening on the top, turn everything right side out and push the inner part down inside the outer part.

Press it nice and flat and smooth (that’s always my favorite part because it starts to really look like a bag.)

Topstitch all the way around the flap. This will close your opening and keep your flap laying nice and smooth.

And you’re done! This can also make a great diaper bag. I even tossed in my diaper and wipes carrier.

Pretty nice, huh?


If you liked sewing this free messenger bag tutorial and pattern, don’t forget to also check out these other bags:

Sling tote

Reversible messenger bag

Diapers and wipes holder