The 32-minute messenger bag tutorial

This little bag pattern is “easy-peasy-chunky-cheesy” as my 5-year-old likes to say.
You will feel so proud of yourself when it’s done in no time!

For an adult/bigger-kid size bag the fabric requirement are 2 coordinating half yards.
For a smaller child’s bag you will only need two pieces at 3/8 of a yard.

I will demonstrate with the larger bag
and give the measurements for the child’s bag at the end.

First: from both half-yard pieces, cut a 4″ strip off one end.
This will be for your strap.
Cut the remaining piece down to 14″ x 30″.
(You can save the remnant for a pocket, if you want.)

If you are going to put a pocket on, do it now. To make the pocket, fold the remnant in half and sew three sides shut with a 1/4″ seam, leaving an opening to turn right side out. Clip corners and turn right side out. Press, tucking edges in at opening. Fold outside bag piece in half and center the pocket where it will appear on finished bag. Pin in place and sew close to the edge along three sides, sewing opening shut as you go.

Now on to the bag: Place two 14″ x 30″ pieces right sides together and pin together at ends.
Sew 3/8″ seams on either end.
Now take to your ironing board.
Bring the seams to the center and match them up.
Press seams open.
You will now have your lining-piece folded in half on one side and
your outside piece folded in half on the other.

Pin open sides together, leaving a 3″ opening on one side of the lining fabric
for turning right side out. Sew 3/8″ seams on both sides.

Turn bag right-side out and top-stitch opening closed. It will look like a flat, empty pillow.Tuck lining fabric inside the outside bag fabric.
Now it’s starting to look like an actual bag!
To make the band of trim around the top of the bag,
roll the lining fabric above the bag about 1/4″.
Pin to hold fabrics in place and press.
Top stitch around the edge of the bag at the top of the outer fabric
AND at the top of the lining fabric.
This is easy, and it will give the bag a nice, finished edge.
Now, place both strap pieces right sides together
and sew down both long sides using a 1/2″ seam allowance.
Turn right-side out, press, and top-stitch along both edges.
Now is the time to decide how long you want your bag strap.
(This strap is meant to be worn diagonally across the chest.)
For an adult, it’s about the right length as it is.
For an older child, you might want to cut-off a few inches.

If you leave one end with selvage edges on the end you don’t
need to do anything to the strap before you start sewing.
If you cut-off one end, you may want to tuck raw edges under and press.

Now, pinch the end of the strap in half to find the center.

Line up that pinched crease with the seam on the side of the bag.
Place end of strap about two inches inside the bag.
Pin the strap in place
And sew around the edges and along the top of the bag,
creating a rectangle to secure the strap in place.
Repeat with other side.
And Voila! You are seriously done. Pretty awesome, huh?
To make a child size bag cut a 2 1/2″ strip off the side of both pieces.
Then cut the bag pieces 11″ x 24″.
Repeat all the same steps.
(You will probably want to shorten the strap.)
These are so fast, you really might get addicted. And the possibilities are endless.
We used a heavier, canvas fabric on the cowboy bag.
The other bag is made from the Wonderland by MoMo collection for Moda.

Have fun!

(and please feel free to ask any questions so I can clarify these instructions where needed!)

**A couple of people have asked where this fabric is from:
It is part of the Wonderland by MoMo collection for Moda, Spring 2009.


  1. says

    I love this! I can’t wait to make a bag. This is so great, Amy. What a fun project.<br /><br />And I like "Easy peasy, lemon squeezy," but "chunky cheesy" adds a nice variety. :)

  2. says

    these would make great library bags. Maybe I should make one for me and each of the kids for our library outings. That way I don’t have to stack and balance all the books to carry. <br />YOu have sooooo much talent!

  3. says

    Hey Amy! I just made one of these and it turned out great. Plus, it really only took 32 minutes (or would have if I had no been distracted by a baby). <br />Thanks for sharing!

  4. says

    this is great! thank you so much for sharing this tutorial. I can’t wait to make one. It’s a great idea for all those random scraps of leftover fabric…or an excuse to browse the Hancock Fabric’s scrap bin!

  5. says

    Really great tutorial!!!!<br />i think i’ll ad ti on my blog and i’ll try to make one bag ;)<br />thank you so much ,also for your lovely blog!<br />Simona

  6. says

    This was a great tutorial! It’s just too bad I like the bag so much… I’ve decided to make eight of them for an Indiana Jones birthday party for my soon-to-be five year old! Wish me luck.

  7. says

    I have one comment. the ends of the straps should not be visible. I sew them to the bag in an earlier step. Etti from Israel

  8. says

    Thank you!! I love your designs. They are very inspirating! <br />I am a spanish mother who is learning how to quilt and I was lucky to find your blog!!!<br /><br /><br />María

  9. says

    I&#39;m a new sewer and needed a bag to go down town germany but had no patterns. And then pops up yours the same day I needed it. <br /><br />Wow your tut is superb. I was never once confused like I so often am on other tuts. Thank you so much for this

  10. says

    Just wanted to let you know how much I love this bag. This has become my &quot;go-to&quot; gift for so many different occasions. I&#39;ve made several as gifts for little kids in all different shapes and sizes (depending on what scraps I have), and I&#39;ve got to say, each one is so awesome. The first one I made was earlier this year when I first dusted off my sewing machine. It took A LOT

  11. says

    I just found your blog from V and Co. I am completely in love with it! I just spent the last little while growing through a ton of your posts. I just love this messengar bag. Love it. I am going to blog about it (giving the credit back to you of course) I really love the way you have made it. I hope to try one soon!

  12. says

    Can you tell me the measurements to cut the straps? I&#39;m using fabric I already have, so it&#39;s not necessarily in 1/2 yard dimensions.

  13. says

    @amy – I didn&#39;t have an email to reply to your question – hopefully you&#39;ll see this here.<br /><br />I cut my straps 4&quot; wide x width of the fabric. Then I shortened them, depending on the size of the person the bag was for. Sew the strap to one side, and then measure and trim before you sew the other side.<br /><br />Hope that helps!

  14. says

    Thank you so much for this tutorial! I&#39;m planning on making one this week. Can you tell me the finished size of the bigger bag? Thanks so much!

  15. says

    Thanks Amy for making this so easy! It took me more than 32 minutes the first time, but next time it&#39;ll be a breeze. Love your quilt tutorials too. You&#39;ve given me the confidence to start. Made one last week and already started on my 2nd one. Have a great weekend!! God Bless!

  16. says

    Thanks so much for the tutorial. I have been working on a 4 square heart quilt, and I was having some trouble matching up the center seams of each heart block on each row. I needed a break and needed a quick project that I could be successful at before returning to the 4 square heart project. This messenger bag was perfect! I love the bag, and can&#39;t wait to make my daughters one!

  17. says

    This was my first sewing machine project!! I&#39;m so proud of myself and so thankful to you for sharing this!! I learned a lot from this project like what I need to do better next time and how much fun sewing is!! It took me longer than 30 minutes due to my beginner status and the fact that I used fleece as my outside fabric. That gave me some issues to figure out with my machine. Once I

  18. says

    I just made this as a last minute birthday present for a little boy-and it was very quick as promised. It turned out so great-thanks for the tutorial!

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