MAKE THIS CUTE MESSENGER BAG FOR YOUR CHILD.
If you have a child, you know they like to carry things around in little bags. Toys, money, pen and paper, etc. My son has been asking me to make him a messenger bag ever since I made his little sister one. So I created a tutorial for you so you can make one too. This messenger bag is open at the top but has a magnetic closure and is stabilized with medium weight stabilizer which adds durability.
Are you ready to make your own? Let’s get started! This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission but it won’t cost you a penny more)! Read my full disclosure policy.
Material needed to make a Messenger Bag
- Two fat quarters of coordinating fabrics
- Matching Thread
- 1 yard medium weight sew-in stabilizer
- Magnetic closure and pliers (optional)
- Legal size paper, pen, round object (to make template)
- Rotary cutter and ruler
- Wonder Clips or Pins
- Sewing Machine
How to make a Messenger Bag
Step 1. Prepare Fabric
Wash, dry, and iron fabric to prepare for cutting. Create your template with a sheet of paper and a round object. I placed a round object in one of my lower corners on the long side and drew around it to make a rounded corner. Then I folded my paper in half and cut both corners at once so they were both symmetrical.
Then use this template to cut two pieces from the outer fabric, lining fabric, and stabilizer. I folded my fat quarters so the short ends were touching and cut closest to the raw edges. That way, I could have the longest edge left over for the strap fabric.
On the remaining fabric, I cut two 2.5 inch wide strips of each fabric to make the straps. I need two strips of fabric for each fabric pattern because I need 36″ for the straps but my fabric isn’t long enough, so I sewed them together to make them longer. Then, you only need one strip of stabilizer that is 2.5″ wide by 36″ long. Also, cut a piece of fabric for the outer pocket that measures 6″x10″.
Now that your pieces are all cut out, we can construct the bag. You should have:
2 outer fabric pieces
2 lining fabric pieces
Pocket measuring 6″x10″
2 pieces of medium weight stabilizer
2 strap pieces that measure 2.5″ by 36″ long (I made mine long enough by sew two strips together)
1 stabilizer piece measuring 2.5″ by 36″ long
Step 2. Make Straps
Take your strap pieces, two fabrics and one stabilizer. Place the stabilizer on the bottom, the next fabric is face up, then the last fabric is face down. So, your two strips of fabric are right sides face together, on top of the stabilizer.
Then clip all your pieces together, and sew a 1/4″ seam allowance along the two long edges only. You don’t sew along the short edges.
After your edges are sewn, turn the strap right side out. I am using a turning tool called fasturn fabric turner. This makes turning really quick and easy. Place the fabric strap onto the tube, scrunching it all the way down.
Then there is this little wire that goes inside the tube and hooks onto the fabric. You then pull the wire back out, which pulls the fabric through the inside of the fabric turner tube, and turns it right side out. It only took me a few seconds to turn it right side out. You can do this by hand, but I tend to get frustrated with the turning process by hand, so this has saved my sanity a bit.
Once the strap is turned right side out, press with an iron and topstitch 1/4″ from the edge.
Step 3. Make Pocket
Next, we are going to make the pocket. Fold the pocket piece in half so the short edges match up. Press with an iron and sew around the open edges, leaving an opening to turn right side out.
Turn the pocket right side out and iron, making sure the opening edges get folded inside about a 1/4″ and are pressed. Then center the pocket on the right side of one of your outer fabric pieces.
Pin the pocket in place. Topstitch the pocket in place, sewing about 1/8″ from the edges. Leave the top open to create the pocket.
Step 4. Create bag
Take your outer fabric pieces and lay them together with the right sides facing together. Pin or clip these in place. Sew around the side and bottom edges with a 1/4″ seam allowance.
Repeat with the lining piece, but you’re going to layer this one a little different. Start with a stabilizer piece, then a lining piece that is face up. The next lining piece is face down, and the last stabilizer is on top. Here is a picture that will hopefully help you visualize. Clip these together and sew with a 1/4″ seam allowance like the outer fabric piece.
After these bag pieces are sewn together, clip around the curved corners so that when it is turned right side out there won’t be any puckering.
Also, on the lining piece, trim the seam allowance a bit, so it will fit better inside of the outer fabric shell better.
Step 5. Add Closure
I am now going to add my magnetic closure to the inner lining piece. If you are using a magnetic closure, make sure to read your directions for how to attach it to your project. My magnetic closure came with the two magnetic pieces, and then two metal circles for the closure to be clamped onto. The directions said to also add a little piece of cardboard, so I cut two pieces of cardstock with holes for the tabs to poke through.
I am placing my magnetic closure about 2″ below the top of my bag and centered in the middle. I placed my first piece where I wanted it to go and felt for the tabs though the fabric. Then I used a crafting knife to poke two holes through my fabric for the tabs of the closure to poke through.
Then I place the magnetic closure tabs through those holes, and placed the cardstock and metal circle on the wrong side of the fabric.
Using pliers, I bent the tabs towards the outside.
I then repeated this process for the other side of the magnetic closure.
Step 6. Construct Bag
Now that all of the pieces are constructed, everything can be put together to make the bag. First, start by clipping the strap in place. The raw end of the strap is going to be centered over the side seams. Do this on both ends of the strap, making sure the strap is not twisted. Clip these in place and then stuff the rest of the strap into the bag.
Lastly, turn the outer fabric right side out press with an iron. Then place it inside of the lining. The lining and outer fabrics should be facing right sides together and the strap is in the middle of the two.
Line up the side seams and clip everything together around the top.
Sew around the top of the bag with a 1/4″ seam allowance.
Turn the bag right side out through the opening you left.
Push the lining down into the main fabric.
Last step is to press the top seam with an iron and topstitch all the way around an 1/8″ from the edge. This will keep everything laying nicely and will close the opening.
You are all done and have a nice messenger bag for your little one. This would be a good size for an adult as well, but you will need to lengthen the strap to be longer.