Hi there I’m Vanessa and if you’re here from Made by Rae, welcome to Punkin Patterns!  Glad you could stop by and please take a look around.  While you’re here take a minute to enter my fabric giveaway – In honor of Celebrate the Boy month, I’ll be giving away 1 yard of Curious George Fabric.  Enter here.

Being a mother to both a son and a daughter, I know how easy it is to sew for girls and how it seems that boys are left behind.  I love that Dana and Rae have brought together so many talented women for a second time to make and create for our boys.  I’m so pleased to be a part of Celebrate the BOY month.

 

celebrate4

I love sewing and making things for my son.  He’s still at the age where he’s excited about things I make him and about how it’s made.  He’s always eager to test it out or to wear it as soon as it’s done.

cars0001
Car and Truck Stamps
boys-collage
1.  Upcycled Hoodie, 2. Car Mat, 3. Mr. Bear, 4. T-Rex Shirt

 

For quite some time I’ve had an idea for this bag in my head.  I went through many variations and options before I finally came up with this:

 

messenger bag

My son is my inspiration for this bag so I’ve named it after him – Connor’s Messenger Bag.  He loves camping and he needed a great little bag to take on hikes or walks with easy access to his notepad and pencil, compass, camera and binoculars.

 

messenger bag

Grommets, carabiner clips, and simple contrasting thread details give the bag a unique style.  This messenger bag is fit for any rugged little boy. Connor’s messenger bag is perfect to stash all of your cars, pencils, paper, books, leaves and twigs and whatever else your little boy can think of.
messenger bag

This messenger bag is a simple bag made from heavy twill or denim or even canvas.  The hefty weight of the fabric helps give the bag it’s shape.  It is unlined for a quick simple project.    

messenger bag

The green version of this bag is made with a heavy-duty twill.  The bias tape was made from the same material.  It was quite heavy and a little difficult to work with since it was only 1/4″ wide, but it has a nice effect.
messenger bag
 messenger bag

The other version is made with brown denim.  For this version I used a Alexander Henry’s mini 2-D Zoo in Chocolate for the bias tape and also replaced it for the cotton webbing.

 

messenger bag

I also added a simple pocket and more thread details on the inside. (optional)

messenger bag

 

For this project you’ll need:

Fabric pieces:
9″ x 11″ front piece
11″ x 18″ back and flap piece
3″ x 27″ side piece
4″ x 36″ strap piece (For and older boy, I’d recommend 4″ x 44″)
5″ x 11.5″ pocket (optional)

2 carabiner clips (which you can find at any sporting good store for about $1)
a 20″ piece of 1″ wide cotton webbing (the kind for belts) OR a piece of fabric 1.5″ x 19″
seam binding (see here for a great tutorial on making seam binding), you’ll need approximately 100″
7/16″ grommet kit (you’ll need 5 grommets)
thread (in the color of your bag’s fabric and a contrasting color for the decoration)
heavy duty sewing machine needle
hammer

messenger bag

Ok.  Let’s get started.  There are a lot of pictures here, but trust me the bag is super simple.  The pictures do vary between the green and brown versions, but everything is the same.

First we’ll add some of the details to the bag.  Grab the back and flap piece.  Sew on the cotton webbing about 3.25″ from the edge.  Sew in place.

messenger bag

If you’re using fabric instead of the webbing, take your 1.5″ x 19″ piece and fold each side under 1/4″ to make it 1″ x 19″.  Attach as you would above.  Set this piece aside.

messenger bag

Now we’re going to add the bias tape to the side piece (3″ x 27″) and front piece (9″ x 11″).  Grab your seam binding.  (I just love how this looks!)  If you don’t know how to make your own seam binding, there’s a great tutorial here.

messenger bag

There are two basic ways you can add seam binding.  The first is the quick and dirty method.  Let’s start with the side piece. Pin the seam binding around the short end of the side piece.

messenger bag

Simply sew in place.  This method works well here since we have a small piece and there are no curves.

messenger bag

Trim any excess seam binding.  And repeat for the other end of the side piece and then set it aside.

messenger bag

Grab the front panel (9″ x 11″).  We’ll add the seam binding to this piece now.  This method for adding the binding is a little neater and I recommend using it when you add it to the assembled bag.  Start by opening the seam binding and pinning the raw edges together.

messenger bag

Sew in the fold.

messenger bag

Next fold over the bias tape and pin in place.

messenger bag

Sew along the top, catching the seam binding underneath.  Set this piece aside.

 

messenger bag

Now let’s add some of the decorative stitching.

Increase the length of your stitch to approximately 6 stitches per inch (this is the longest stitch length on my machine).  Using your contrasting thread, sew three parallel lines on both sides of the cotton webbing (or fabric strip) each 3/8″ apart.

messenger bag

For the side piece, sew a line 1.5″ from the top and then sew 4 more lines (for a total of 5), each 3/8″ apart.  Repeat for the other end of the side piece.

 

messenger bag

To make the strap:  Grab the strap piece (4″ x 36″).  Place it right side down and iron flat.

 

messenger bag

Fold over lengthwise and iron.

messenger bag

Open it back up.

messenger bag

Fold the raw edges into the center fold and iron again.

messenger bag

Fold in half along the center seam and press again.

 

messenger bag

Stitch 1/4″ in from the end (on both ends) and down the center.

 

messenger bag

Fold over the end, approximately 2.5″ from the end.  Fold 1″ of the strap under again.

 

messenger bag

Sew in place.

 

messenger bag

Grab your carabener clips and attach them to the ends.

 

messenger bag

To make the optional pocket:  Grab the pocket piece and fold in half, right sides together.  Sew around the edge with a 1/4″ seam allowance leaving an opening at the bottom for turning.  Trim the corners.

messenger bag

Turn the pocket right side out and iron.

 

messenger bag

Add it to your front piece along with some decorative stitching if you like.

 

messenger bag

Adding the grommets:  Adding grommets is quite simple.  Make sure you do this on a concrete floor or outside on your driveway.  In your grommet kit you’ll get an anvil, an eyelet, a washer and the setter.  Don’t forget to grab your hammer.

adding grommets

Start by using the eyelet and trace a circle inside it to mark where to cut.  Center your mark between the bias tape and the decorative thread.

adding grommets

Cut out the marked circle.

adding grommets

Next place the anvil on your concrete surface with the eyelet on top.

adding grommets

Place your fabric (right side down) on top of the eyelet.

adding grommets

Place the washer on (prong side down).

 adding grommets

Place the setter inside the eyelet and hammer to secure the grommet.

adding grommets

Repeat for the other end of the side piece.

adding grommets

Now add grommets to the back/flap piece.  I centered mine in the decorative stitching 3″ from the bottom and then 2″ apart for the other two.  This is measuring from center to center of the grommet.

adding grommets

Now let’s assemble the bag.

Start by pinning the side piece to the front panel along one edge.  You’ll be using a 1/2″ seam allowance here.

 

messenger bag

When you approach the corner, stop 1/2″ from the end making sure your needle down.

 

messenger bag

Lift the pressure foot and rotate your fabric.

 

messenger bagmessenger bag

Make sure that your top and bottom fabric now line up.

messenger bag

Continue all the way around.

messenger bag

Trim some of the excess fabric away.

messenger bag

Now we’ll add the seam binding around this part.  I like to use the second method listed above for this step.  When you start out, make sure the top of your seam binding is folded down a little to give it a nice edge.
messenger bag
Start sewing in the fold as before.
messenger bag

When you reach the corner, keep the needle down and lift the pressure foot and rotate your fabric.  Make sure that you fold the seam binding up to the seam you just sewed.

messenger bag

 

Continue to the end, folding down a bit of seam binding at the end (again to give it a nice clean edge).

 

messenger bag

Fold the seam binding over and pin in place.

 

messenger bag

Topstitch around the seam binding to hold it in place.

 

messenger bag

Go slow around the corners to make sure you don’t pucker the fabric.  It looks puckered here, but it’s actually not when it’s opened.

 

messenger bag

Finish stitching all the way around.

 

messenger bag

messenger bag

Now sew on the back/flap piece using the same method above.  Don’t forget to trim the fabric around the seam line.

messenger bag

Now when adding the seam binding around this side, start at the bottom and leave a tail of a few inches.

 

messenger bag

Start sewing in the ditch (a few inches in from your tail) and go all the way around.  Stop a few inches before you reach the end.  Lay the two tails flat and pin together.

 

messenger bag

Pull it out from the edge and sew along your pinned line.

 

messenger bag

Lay flat again and finish sewing in the fold.  Then fold the bias tape over and secure in place.

 

messenger bag

Finally attach the strap to your bag and you’re done!
messenger bag

Here’s a view from the back.

 

messenger bag

I hope your little boy likes it!  Please let me know if you have any questions.  I’d be happy to answer them.

Final bag dimensions: 10.5″ l x 2″w x 8.5″ h

UPDATE:  I’m entering this bag in the Lil Blue Boo / Dharma Trading Design Challenge!

Terms of use: For personal use only. 

on Connor’s Messenger Bag

  1. I LOVE this! I would totally make it for myself as well! I bet it would make a great daddy diaper bag if it were bigger. I’m expecting a baby in a couple of months, and I wonder if I could make a bigger version for daddy to carry, and a smaller, matching version for my almost 3 year old son to carry around? He’d love it, and he could carry his own things in it, thus freeing up the diaper bag I currently use for his little sister on the way.

  2. This is great! I love messenger bags to begin with and I love that this one is perfect for boys. I like the use of grommets as decoration. I think I know a certain sewing studio in S. Mpls that would love to have this as a class during the summer (before school starts). 😉

  3. If you only look at the pictures, it looks complicated but if you read the instructions it’s actually pretty simple! I want one for myself, I love messenger bags, specially because I have 2 little ones and I hate how the strap of a regular purse keeps falling off my shoulder. I dont need that when Im trying to put kids in their carseats! Thank you so much for this wonderful tutorial! Im gonna give it a try!

  4. This is fabulous! I can’t wait to pick up what I need to make one for my boy! How tall is your son? Just wondering if I should use the longer strap length or not. 🙂 Thanks for the tutorial!

  5. I just finished making this for my grandson’s 4th birthday. It’s SO cute; camo, of course. My hubbym though, said, “You’re making him a purse?” I told him to think of it as a briefcase with a shoulder strap… 🙂 Blog post AFTER said birthday!

  6. This is adorable. I want to make one for my son.
    How would you line this if you were to? Thinking about making a larger version for my husband. Thank you!

  7. Loved this. I saw it this morning and tried it. It turned out great! I can’t wait to give it to my lil guy when he wakes up tomorrow. The tutorial was very well detailed. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

  8. I had a few questions. My husband needs a bag and he really liked ur but he needs pockets and some dividers I was wondering if it would be able to add a lining to accomplish this. Also I do actions to raise money for the army family’s was wondering if I cwould use this? It would be one time oysters

  9. Hi, I am up to the part where I sew the side piece to the front piece. I cannot for the life of me make a 27″ piece fit around 3 edges that add up to 29″ am I doing something wrong??

    • It should work. You’re actually sewing around a piece that is 27″ (when you take out the seam allowances). You need to use a 1/2″ seam allowance or it won’t work right. Also don’t pin all three sides before you start sewing. Just line up one side (the side you start with), when you stop 1/2″ before the corner (keep your needle down and rotate. Re-align fabrics and continue. Do it again at the next corner and you’re eliminating 1/2″ from each side and 1/2″ from the bottom (on each side).

    • Where /what is Jo-Ann’s? I am in NSW…is there an online shop you could recommend?
      Also., I have some nice fabric I’d like to use but it is patterned on one side and plain on the other….which means I need a lining for the bag. Can you help? I’ve been trying to get my head around how to do it but can’t seem to figure it out!
      Would love your help!

      Thanks!
      Christina

  10. Great bag tutorial. I love the bags you have made! Thank you for sharing this free tutorial with us. I did link to your website, but wasn’t aware about the photos until later. If you have a problem with the photo, please let me know. I’ll remove it immediately.

  11. I love this bag and I am trying the make it for a friend who asked me to make him a man purse. I plan to make it bigger (maybe 15×17) I am trying to figure out how you came up with the number for the side piece. I thought it would just be the total of the two sides and the bottom.

  12. I made this bag a bit bigger and lined with a contrasting pattern so it is reversible. I made it for a teen and he loves it thanks for the awesome tutorial.

  13. Dear Connor’s Mom,

    I’d like to make one of these and have a basic question. Are you starting with a 3″x 27″ piece that yields a smaller bag having a depth of 2″. Or are you starting with a wider piece that aims for a sewn dept for the bag of 3″.

    Regards,

    Kati

    • The final depth of the bag is 2″. You start with a 3″ wide piece and use two 1/2″ seam allowances on either side resulting in a 2″ bag depth.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *