Friday, December 30, 2011

{a little birdie told me} Messenger Bag + Tutorial






My baby sister turns 20 today... She is headed off to college in a couple months so I decided to make her a messenger bag to carry her books and laptop in. 
I found this fabric (Alexander Henry: Beverly Glen and Heath) and fell in love with it. I love the birds, the colors, and love that it's different... It was the perfect fabric for my little sis.

So here is how I made it....

Supplies needed:
1 yard main fabric
1 yard coordinating fabric
(I used home decor weight for both fabrics)
1 yard fusible fleece
2 d-rings (1 1/4 inches)
6 inches of poly pro belting (you can buy this by the yard. I found it in the notions section of joann's by the elastic by the yard, velcro, and d-rings)
coordinating thread

To cut your fabric:

Main Fabric:
3 pieces 15x20 inches
1 piece 5x44 inches

Fusible Fleece: 
3 pieces 15x20 inches
1 piece 6x11 inches

Coordinating Fabric:
3 pieces 15x20 inches
2 pieces 7x9 inches
1 piece 6x11 inches

Step 1: Iron the fusible fleece to the 3 15x20 inch pieces of the main fabric.

Step 2: Create the pocket on the front of the bag...Take the 2 pieces of coordinating fabric that are 7x9 inches and put them right sides together and sew all the way around but leave a gap that is big enough for you to turn the fabric right side out. Turn it right side out and tuck the unfinished edges in and press with an iron.
 Step 3: Pin the pocket to front of one of the main pieces of fabric. Center it wherever you would like. I put mine in the center towards the bottom of the bag so that you could see it peeking out from under the flap. When placing, be sure to leave enough room underneath and on the sides of the pocket to allow for you to turn it into the bag. (make sure that you place the pocket so that the unfinished part is on the side or bottom so that the little place that is not sewn will get sewn shut) Once it is pinned in place, sew around the sides and bottom of the pocket.
I wanted my pocket to have two sections so I also sewed a line vertically down the middle of the pocket to separate it into two sections. The back of it looked like this-

Step 4: Take 2 of the 15x20 inch pieces (main fabric), and put them right sides together. (make sure that one of them is the one that you sewed the pocket onto) Pin and sew around 3 of the edges (leaving one of the 20 inch sides unsewn).

Step 5: Create box corners. If you need a good tutorial on how to do this- click here.

Turn the bag right side out. The corners should look like this.
 

Step 6: Take 2 of the 15x20 inch pieces of the coordinating fabric and pin them right sides together and sew around 3 edges, and then create box corners as well. Once done with this step you do not need to turn the bag right side out. 

Step 7: Create the flap. Take the remaining 15x20 inch pieces of fabric (you should have one of the main fabrics and one of the coordinating fabrics) Put them right side together and sew around 3 of the edges, leaving the top (20 inch side) unsewn. Turn right side out, press,  and sew along the 3 edges to give it more of a finished look.

Step 8: Create the handle. Take the 5x44 inch piece of main fabric and fold and press it in half, and then open up and fold edges into the center and press. Once the edges are in the center, fold back over. All of the raw edges should now be tucked into the inside and you should have a strap that is the thickness of 4 pieces of fabric.

 Step 9: Sew along both edges of the strap.
Step 10: Take the piece of coordinating fabric that is 6x11 inches and iron the fusible fleece onto it. Then fold the edges in 1/4 inch on both sides that are 11 inches long and sew. 
 Step 11: Fold in half and press, and then open up and fold the edges in and press them towards the center (exactly like you did with the strap). Once it is folded back up, measure and sew along the edges on each side. Be sure to leave a space in the center that is 1 1/2 inches wide so that you can slide the strap through. (when sewing this part, my machine had a heck of a time getting through the 4 thicknesses of fusible fleece and fabric, so I ended up having to put a new sharp needle in to make it work. Once there was a new needle in- it sewed like a charm)
 When it is finished and the strap is through it, it should look like this.
Step 12: Put your liner bag into the main bag and tuck the top unfinished edges into the bag between the outside bag and liner. Pin in place all the way around except the back top edge of the bag. Slide the flap in between the liner and outside bag and pin in place evenly.

Next you will need your d rings. These are the kind I used. I got them at a cute little sewing shop near my house, but Joann's carries the plain silver or gold kind too. Make sure you get the 1 1/4 inch ones.
Step 13: Take your 6 inch piece of poly pro belting and cut it in half so you have two 3 inch pieces. Take each piece and slide a d ring on each one.
Step 14: Take your piece of belting with the d ring on it and pin one on each side of the bag.
Step 14: Sew all the way around the top of the bag. (Again- this will be tricky at parts since it is so thick- if you machine has a hard time, try putting in a new sharp needle)

Step 15: Now it is time to sew the handle to the bag. Slide the handle into the d ring on one side and fold the unfinished edge over 1/4 inch and then up an inch or 2 and sew to the handle. I sewed 3 lines to make sure it was secure. Then repeat with the other side. Make sure that when you do the other side that the handle is not twisted at all. 


Now you are done! Enjoy!


44 comments:

  1. A great bag... Love the fabric!!!

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  2. That is adorable! I love the fabric, and what a sweet gift for your sister :-)

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  3. This bag is gorgeous! Your choice of the two fabrics are so perfect! Would love love love for you to share this at my Best of 2011 party going on now http://space46.blogspot.com. Happy new year! My

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  4. Gorgeous bag! Thanks for the tutorial as well! I would love to make one! Have a great holiday!

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  5. Great bag and Great tutorial, your sister will love this. That fabric is great! Very unique.

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  6. Can you adopt me and then make me one!? :)

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  7. Very nice tutorial - I love the fabrics! I have an old wool coat and was thinking about using it for a messenger bag with a fun lining fabric inside.

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  8. Love your messenger bag! That is a really fun fabric choice. And thanks for take the time to write up a tutorial. This is going on my "to-do" list... tired of carrying around my boring black messenger bag!

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  9. I love this bag and your right that fabric is awesome. Great tutorial. Pinning this for later:>

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  10. Thannks for taking the time to show how to do this awesome project!!
    Happy New Year!

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  11. This is great! I have wanted to make one of these forever and couldn't find a good tutorial until now. I would love it if you shared this at my Fabulous Friday link party!

    http://herecomesthesun-kelly.blogspot.com/2011/12/fabulous-friday-6.html

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  12. Cute post! I'm having a Linky party too! I would love it if you would link up your favorite posts. Here is the link http://www.thesouthernproductqueen.com/one-stop-shoppe-linky-party

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  13. Very cute messenger bag tut! :)

    Stopping by via: Your Whims Wednesday Party
    Smiles, Suzanne in NW Illinois from WHYCUZICAN

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  14. Great bag and Grea tutorial! Thanks for sharing

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  15. Ashley- I love this! Thanks for the tutorial, too. I love the fabric you chose- it's great.
    I'll be featuring this on my blog tomorrow for Feature Friday. I hope you'll stop by and check it out!

    Valerie- www.occasionallycrafty.blogspot.com

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  16. WAY CUTE! You are incredibly talented!

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  17. Thank you for the great tutorial! I love how simple this is and so cute too!

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  18. hey! i'm featuring this tonight! i love it, and i'm sure your little sis will too!!! i've been seeing it all over blogland! congrats!

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  19. Okay, that settles it. First the gorgeous Kindle case and now this messenger bag. Going to have to find somewhere that sells that fabric in the UK and start sewing!

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  20. I love the fabric! :)

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  21. Thanks for the awesome tutorial! This bag is super cute!

    I also shared this tutorial in a collection of my favorite baby tutorials as an idea for a messenger bag. http://thelittlewaffleflower.blogspot.com/2012/02/baby-on-brain-and-bladder.html

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  22. Love it! I see where you said what type of fabric it is, but where did you buy it?

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    1. The fabric is by Alexander Henry and the main one is called Beverly Glen and the other is called Heath. I got it at a local sewing store nearby but I am pretty sure since it is older that you can't find it anywhere online. Good luck though!

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  23. Just finished making this bag tonight. I added a magnetic clasp, a leather belt for the strap,and a pocket that his ipad fits in (for my husband)he absolutely LOVES it! Thank you so much for the incredible tutorial!

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  24. This is super super super cute! I've been trying to make this and I am having a little bit of an issue...

    Is there a trick to pinning the flap in and sewing it? I am having trouble with this part...

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    1. Amanda... that was kinda a tricky part. For mine, I just laid it out flat on the ground and went slowly with the pinning to make sure everything was lining up well and used a lot of pins to hold it in place while I sewed. Measure once you have your pins in place to make sure that the flap is perfectly placed and then sew it. Hope this helps!!

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  26. Step 12: Put your liner bag into the main bag and tuck the top unfinished edges into the bag between the outside bag and liner. Pin in place all the way around except the back top edge of the bag. Slide the flap in between the liner and outside bag and pin in place evenly.

    When attaching the flap should the liner and outer bag be tucked in all the way around or what. I kinda got lost on that last part when tucking the liner in. You say to pin all the way around but not the back, you don't say if I should tuck the back in though. I know it may seem like common sense, but I'm lost. Help!

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    1. Hey Rachel... The liner and outside should be tucked in all the way around and then you slip the flap in between both and pin it to hold while sewing to the main bag.. does that make sense??

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  27. Ashley, I love this pattern. I'm about to sew this bag, and just wondered what the seam allowance is? I may have missed it somewhere, but it looks from the pictures that it was 1/2 ". Is that correct?

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  28. I think this is a great pattern, so have linked to it on my blog - http://alittlebirdmademe.wordpress.com/2013/06/01/list-of-30-free-bag-tutorials-and-patterns/.
    Thanks for sharing it with us!

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  29. I hope you do not mind, I have 'pinned ' this project. If you object, I will, of course, unpin it!

    Thank you!

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  30. I was just looking for a great Messenger Bag. Now, with your terrific tutorial, I can make myself a custom bag. thank you for sharing this free pattern and tutorial with us! Beth

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  31. Just a question, at what point, and where do I iron on the fusible fleece?

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  32. Could somebody explain step 12 in a more simpler way please! Im kinda stuck on that step, Thanks!!!

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  33. I didn't add my email address- pbl4him (at) aol (dot) com

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  34. I have one more question. Sorry to be a pest. I made the flap, and it is as wide as the bag. Yours looks like there is room on either side of the flap to accommodate the depth of the bag. I am not sure if I need to make the flap smaller or turn it so the 15 inch side is sewn to the bad top?

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  35. What are the finished dimensions of this bag? I like the pattern but I need to make sure it is big enough for what I need.

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Thanks for taking the time to comment. I honestly love reading every single one! If you have a question you would like answered- be sure to include your email so that I can get back to you!

Thanks so much for stopping by! Have a great day!
xoxo, Ashley