Monday, March 14, 2011

messenger bag tutorial (part 1)

So, I had a couple of requests to do a tutorial for the Moop knock-off that I did a while back... goodness, has it really been a whole month??? How time flies. Anyhow, it's still my absolute favourite bag that I've ever used (I can even squeeze my camera into it when I need to!), and I've decided to share how I made it.

There's a lot of steps to follow, so I'm dividing it up into bits so that it won't be so overwhelming.

Today I'm going to give you the materials list, and the cutting out.

For the outer bag:
Use a heavy-weight fabric... home-dec type, or denim or canvas. Interface it if necessary, or add a layer of flannel or thin batting to each piece as interlining.. I'm using 10-oz waxed canvas, and it doesn't require anything additional.

The fabric I used is 56" wide, and to start with, I cut it into three strips. A 12" strip, a 6" strip, and a 3.5" strip.

The 6" strip gets set aside til later - it's going to be the strap.

From the 3.5" strip, cut two 22" long pieces for the the bag sides. Trim the remaining piece (approx. 12" long) to 3" wide to use for strap pieces.

From the 12" wide strip, cut the following:
1 22" long piece for the main bag body
2 6" pieces for the front and back pockets
1 1" piece for the top of the zippered pocket
1 5" piece for the bag base
1 12" piece for the flap
1 3.75" piece for the front strap

For the lining:
Use a lighter-weight fabric... quilting cotton, linen or a light home-dec fabric. A sturdy silk (like dupioni, for example) can be used if you want to get fancy, but it may require more care and attention to prevent fraying.

From the main lining fabric, cut:
1 22"x17" rectangle for the main bag lining
3 6"x12" rectangles for the outer pocket linings and flap lining

From a coordinating fabric, cut:
1 5"x18" or 9"x10" rectangle for the inner pocket (I use scraps for this, generally, so I do whichever size fits the scrap I have. You could also use 2 5"x9" pieces.)
1 4"x10" rectangle for the key-ring strap

You will also need:
a zipper - minimum 12" long. I find it easier to use one that's a bit longer.
3 1.5" rectangular rings
1 1.5" rectangular slide (optional, if you want your strap adjustable)
a snap (and whatever hardware you need to install it)
a 1" swivel hook

So there's that. Any questions? Tomorrow I will start with the outer pockets, and assembling the main outer bag.


  1. Hi Wendy,
    I'm starting tonight with some test fabric! I'm wondering if you remember how long the 56" wide piece was? 

  2. The fabric I used is on a roll... I bought about 5 metres of it, I
    think. But adding up the width of the strips, I'm guessing I used just
    over 1/2 a metre. Have fun... and if any of my instructions seem
    confusing, just let me know and I'll try to explain better :)


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