DIY Messenger Bag

DIY Messenger Bag

This is a sewing pattern that shows you how to make a messenger bag.

What you need

Sewing Machine
finished dimensions are: 13″ long, 10″wide, and 2 1/2″ deep. The strap is 48″ long and the flap is 7 1/2″ long.


1) Cut out your fabric. The photo below shows the pieces you need. From top to bottom: cut 1 “flap” of fabric and 1 of lining; cut 2 “front and back” of fabric and 2 of lining; cut 3 “gusset” sections from fabric and 3 from lining (two gussets are the same size, and one is slightly smaller, for the bottom of the bag); cut 1 “strap” from fabric and 1 from lining. (Figure 2)

Fabric For Messenger Bag

2) If you’re using interfacing, sew or iron it on first – to each of the pattern pieces. I ironed mine on to the lining, since I used kind of a thin cotton for the lining and it needed some toughening up.

3) Sew the 3 gusset pieces together at the short ends, with one long section on each side of the shorter section. You should have one long strip of fabric with two seams. Press the seams open.


(Figure 4)

4) Pin the gusset to one of the “front and back” pieces (which are identical at this point). Here’s what it should look like. Pin the corners first: the way to do this is to clip the gusset seam a bit and pin it to the fabric like so: (Figure 5)


Pin the rest of the gusset on and stitch; trim the seam and clip the corners. Stitch the gusset onto the other “front and back” section in the same way. Here’s what it looks like when both sections are pinned/stitched to the gusset – you can see the bag starting to take shape:

(Figure 6)


Turn the bag right side out when both sides are stitched, and press seams.

5) Next you’re going to make the flap that attaches onto the front of your bag. First, attach one half of a magnetic snap to the lining. Pin the fabric and lining flap sections together and sew around three edges, leaving one long edge open. Trim seam, turn right side out, and press. Sew optional trim around the edges. Here’s what it looks like when finished.


(Figure 7)

Attach other half of magnetic snap to bag front: (Figure 8)


Pin the flap to the back of the bag, right sides together: (Figure 9)


6) Pin strap and lining sections together and stitch along long edges. Trim seam, turn right side out, and press. Top stitch along both edges. Pin the strap to the gusset sections, right sides together: (Figure 10)


7) I made two interior pockets – cut four rectangles from the lining material. Pin two pieces together for each pocket, sew around the edges, and leave a small opening for turning. Trim seams, turn, and press. Pin the pockets to the “front and back” lining sections. I made one a pen and pencil holder (in photo on right) and one is a regular pocket with a Velcro closure (Figure 11)


Top stitch around edges of each pocket; top stitch in 1-1/4″ rows for pen holder. Prepare gusset lining sections same as for main bag. The only difference is that you should leave an opening in one side to turn the bag right side out. Here’s a photo of the bag lining stitched together with the opening in the bottom: (Figure 12)


9) Pin lining and bag together at top edges, with bag inside lining and right sides together. Stitch top edges together, trim seam, and turn right side out through hole in bottom. Here’s a photo of the bag after turning: (Figure 13)


Press the top edges of bag, and sew up the hole in the lining. Push the lining down into the bag, and press the top edge again. Top stitch around top edge of bag, and voila!

This particular bag’s finished dimensions are: 13″ long, 10″wide, and 2 1/2″ deep. The strap is 48″ long and the flap is 7 1/2″ long.

You can make this bag any size you want, of course. This size can hold a good amount of stuff without feeling too bulky:

This project was contributed by Elizabeth.


  1. Great project, though it did take me a little longer than 3 hours. Easy to follow steps and I really appreciate the pictures. I wish you could see the one I made!!

  2. I adapted the pattern to make a messenger bag for my husband with a discarded pair of his blue jeans, using the recycled denim for all parts of the bag, lining, and strap. The thickness of the layers required a commercial sewing machine at the end, but the finished product is a triumph of form and function!

  3. i did this project and it so easy and turns out great! Thanks

  4. soo cute! defenitly going to do this! this was just what i was looking for πŸ˜€ thanks!!

  5. The bag is very, very nice and the instructions are clear and easy to follow. However the pictures are absolutely awful. There should be one step written, then the picture, then another step, then the picture. It will change your tutorial from being decent to something truly useful. You seem very talented – but this tutorial looks like it was created by a rank amateur.

  6. lovely!

  7. Hey, the instructions sound great, but all the pictures load in one big jumble at then end! Numbering the pictures would be a fantastic way to help circumvent loading/browser problems. That’s the only reason I took away a star from this otherwise great project design.

  8. I was looking for something cute to make that I would actually use, so thanks! I’m gunna try this tomorrow!


  10. you really need to number your pictures, but otherwise SO COOL! I’m gonna ask my mom to go to the fabric store ASAP!!!!!!!

  11. This bag is just what I was looking for! Thanks sooo much!

  12. ilovehorses says

    this looks awesome and easy! Ill try it this weekend for sure!

  13. 100% my style, thanks!

  14. Very cool!

  15. Very cool!

  16. reming205 says

    cool cant wait to make it!!

  17. Hay this prosses helped my alot i need to do for my personal proyect a bag made out of recycled materials and this hepled me by knowing how i was going to do it. Thakns!

  18. Verry stilyish i would wear!!! could u post some on making more masculine bags???

  19. Oh my gosh! This is soooo cool! I’ll make one (or 5) of them and use it as a school bag. You should stitch it with strong thread and use strong waterproof fabric to make sure it won’t fall apart and all of your stuff won’t fall apart and get messed up.

  20. I love this bag. I only wish I choose fabrics with a little more body to them.

  21. i made one earlier today, except i had a circular flap on mine, and i added pockets and it is so cool

  22. cute!

  23. So cool.

  24. AMAZING instructions. I am sooooo glad that I don’t have to waste my money and buy a $50 messenger bag. I can just make one!!!!! :^)

  25. sweet! nice bag, clear instructions!

  26. court_crash says

    I love this bag. A tip for the pockets: Measure them to fit your cell phone, wallet, sunglasses, ipod, etc. All my stuff fits perfectly.

  27. Very Nice. Everything.

  28. I Loved it. I especially liked the Bowie magaazine in it πŸ˜›

  29. I may change up the fabrics and make one for myself!

  30. I am SO glad I finnally found a sight with what I REALLY need to make my ideal bag! I googled it and could not find what I wanted then I clicked on your sight! Thanks SO SO very much!

  31. Iwunder01 says

    Love the instructions. I made my first one last night. Changed a few things but with your help I got the gist of the project!

  32. AWSOME!!! =D That is sooooooooo cool im so gonna try that!

  33. COOL!!!

  34. This is so cool I am going shopping for tons and tons of fabric, and the first thing I am going to make is this messenger bag! YOU ROCK! THanks so much!!!!

  35. ella_since_osix says

    thank You.

  36. Very awesome instructions. Waht I love about this is that you can make bags of any size (from laptop bags – small purses) just by changing your dimensions…I have this bookmarked

  37. Oh my goodness, I see the closed bag up top, nevermind! πŸ™‚

  38. I haven’t made this yet, and it looks great. Can you share a photo of the bag closed?

  39. i made this the other day. the directions were confusing ;( but i still made it! im using it 4 my schoolbag & its so freakin awesome i luv it πŸ™‚ u should make one 2 its really useful.

  40. Thanks! I’m making a bag and your instructions helped me know if I was on the right track: )

  41. Great. I’ll make one out of and old shirt I have

  42. so cool!!!

  43. Ugh.

  44. Great tutorial! You definitely did not need to give demensions! Anyone should be able 2 figure out the size 4 themselves, it’s not hard!

  45. i like this a lot. it is so cute, i think im gonna have to buy some fabric today.

  46. I love this and the instructions are so fantastic, but I really want this bag to be sturdy. What’s the best way to achieve a durable bag? Can any1 tell me which fabrics work best? I also want the straps to be very strong. Any tips? Thnx!

  47. Easy to follow instructions! My bag is a little smaller, but it really helped to have pics with the instructions. It’s exactly what I needed!

  48. ilovehorses says

    looks abit complicated. But its sooooooooo coooooooool!!!!!!:)

  49. Great images and instructions

  50. Should have given measurements for novice sewers.

  51. brilliant!!!!! on my list of things to do in the hols and its just what i wanted to buy but i couldnt find anything like it in the shops within my price range! thanks for the wonderful instructions and pics! does anyone now about any purses + fone holders

  52. good im gonna use it as a school bag cos it can fit loads of stuff in and it looks really cool

  53. On my list of projects to make! Lovely outcome final product.

  54. This is very cool. Thanks for the detailed instruction and the images!!

  55. great bag! by the way do you know any bags i can sew for 6 people which are quite large in a short time scale? thanks


  57. That is amazing! Thanks for providing such complete instructions.
    I’m making that right now!

  58. im making that for sure!

  59. cool cool cool

  60. el espanol ta tai

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