Well, the gift-giving season is upon us, and my holiday present-making is beginning… a bit later than most other people’s, I imagine! So if there are any more craft procrastinators out there, here’s something for you – I thought I’d share this little messenger bag I came up with a while ago:
About a year ago, when I started riding my bike around town to dinner and pubs and whatnot, I discovered that there was a hole in my bag wardrobe, and what I really wanted was a purse-sized messenger bag. Something that would hold my wallet, phone, water bottle, and a light sweater, a bag that I could wear across my body on the bike and then the strap could be shortened up to a shoulder bag length to make it more manageable in crowded places. Of course, I wanted to make it. But when I went hunting for a tutorial online, I didn’t find exactly what I wanted. So I sat down with some graph paper and sketched out a sort of pattern/plan, and just went for it. (Click on the sketches to enlarge.)
Inspired by my Timbuk2 messenger bags (which I love, but they’re giant), I created a three-panel front with a pocket. There is also an interior zipper pocket as well as a set of patch pockets on the inside front. There is no closure on the front flap, I’ve found I haven’t needed anything and it stays closed on its own, but velcro could easily be added. Here’s a better look:
I’ve made two of these bags for myself so far (one in browns and one in greys, have to have one to match any outfit!). I wanted to make one for a friend for Christmas, so I thought I’d use the opportunity to photograph all the steps and put together a tutorial, if for no other reason than my own personal future reference. The sketched pattern is great, but I needed to document a sensible order of construction if I’m going to keep making these! I think this bag would make a great gift (obviously, since I’m giving this one to someone), or you could sew selfish and use your holiday break to make one for yourself!
I’ve used quilting cotton for all my bags (this one is fabric from the Avalon line by Jay-Cyn Designs for Birch Fabrics, aka Fabricworm (love that store!), but you could use a heavier weight canvas or something as well and not need interfacing. I think it’s a great showcase for your favorite fabric – large or small scale print (I sort of fussy cut this one to get the birds in good places), and one, two or three fabrics (the contrast pockets are fun but not at all necessary).
The finished bag measures 8 inches tall by 11 inches wide by 3 inches deep. It can probably be enlarged by adding, say, 10% to every measurement except the strap (which wouldn’t be practical any wider than 2 inches). But I like the small size – it’s a purse for your bike! Here are some pictures for scale:
The tutorial can be found after the jump. I’ve also made a pdf file of the tutorial to download (here), if you’d like to save it to your computer. Disclaimer: I am by no means a professional or even moderately skilled bag maker. I’ve made a bunch of bags from other people’s tutorials and used a lot of those techniques to construct this bag. If you’ve ever made bags before, most of the steps will be familiar to you. If you have questions or something is confusing, let me know, or check out other bag tutorials for a different look at the same step. I’ve also always thought that patterns and tutorials are springboards for customization, so make this bag your own! That is why we sew, after all, right?