Sewing with Kate – Beginner’s Messenger Bag

My mom taught me and my friends how to sew during the summer months when I was young. This is something I will always remember and cherish. It is now my turn to teach my niece, Kate (who just so happens to be Deena’s daughter). We will call this series, Sewing with Kate. For Kate’s first project she wanted to make a small messenger bag, and I found this tutorial to use as a guide. I knew we could embellish it a bit and make it more personalized for Kate.



  • 1/2 yard each of two cotton fabrics (we used Deena’s wood grain fabric and stripe fabric)
  • 1/2 yard of craft fusible interfacing (Pellon 808)
  • thread to match
  • 6″x6″ scraps of solid fabric and heat n’ bond for monogram

Step One: Cutting Fabrics

  • There are 3 pieces to print and cut – Front, Back and Flap (pattern)
  • You will need to tape the Back and Flap together before cutting fabric
  • Lay pattern pieces on fold of fabric
  • You will cut a Front piece and Back/Flap piece from each fabric on FOLD
  • You will now have 4 fabric pieces
  • Cut interfacing in similar manner, but just one Front and one Back/Flap
  • For Strap, cut a 3″ strip the width of fabric (WOF) approx. 44″

Step Two: The Strap

  • Place the two long strips right sides together (RST)
  • Sew down each long side in a straight line, leaving the short ends open
  • Choose a 1/4″ or  1/2″ seam allowance
  • Remember to back stitch when you start and end
  • Carefully turn right side out. This is when small hands are useful:)
  • Press strap with the help of a grown up – irons are very hot
  • Top stitch along the edges to make it pretty

Step Three: Creating Bag

  • Iron interfacing pieces to the wrong sides of one of your fabrics
  • Using matching fabrics, place RST, lining up curved corners at bottom
  • Pin and sew around the edges
  • STOP sewing 1/2″ from beginning and ending points (see pins in pic)
  • Repeat with other matching pieces

  • Lay the two sewn pieces RST, matching Flaps
  • (The Back/Flap pieces are on outside)
  • Sew the pieces together just around the Flaps
  • Stop before you get to Front pieces
  • Turn bag right side out
  • One pocket should be tucked inside the other
  • Use a chopstick or finger to push out corners
  • Press flat and top stitch Flap
  • Fold the raw edges of the opening down 1/2″ toward each other
  • Press

Step Four: Adding Strap

  • Place strap around neck to measure for length (cut if needed)
  • Slide the unfinished strap ends into the edges of bag
  • make sure the strap is not twisted
  • Pinch or gather the strap ends so they take up less space
  • Pin in place and sew edges closed by sewing along the folded edges
  • Add another top stitch for stability and looks

Step Five: Finishing Touches and Monogram

  • Stitch a line across the bag where the flap folds for more stability
  • For the Monogram, print or draw a letter on paper the size you want
  • Our “K” is 2 1/2″ tall
  • Trace the reverse image (backwards K) onto the paper side of Heat N’ Bond
  • Press onto solid fabric
  • Cut around letter through fabric and paper, peel paper backing
  • Place the letter on the messenger bag where you want it
  • We put ours in the lower right hand corner
  • Press as directed

Your personalized messenger bag is complete (and reversible)! Your friends will ask where you got it, and you can proudly say, “I made it!”

Thanks for joining us for this first session of Sewing with Kate. Keep an eye out for our next beginner sewing lesson as Kate is choosing something perfect for handmade holiday gift giving.

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