How to Make a Messenger Bag Out of Fabric: Tips and Considerations

How to Make a Messenger Bag Out of Fabric: Tips and Considerations
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Are you in the market for a new bag that is unique, stylish, and has all the right pockets in all the right places?

Hours and even days of searching can sometimes only result in something that is nearly perfect but not quite. So why not make your own?

If you are interested in how to make a messenger bag out of fabric, then you’re in the right place!

Making your own bag will not only ensure that you have precisely the pockets you need but will also mean that you end up with owning a unique, custom designed bag with a bit of your personality stamped onto it.

Your next biggest problem will be the line of friends and family who all want their own!

How to Make a Messenger Bag Out of Fabric

What You Will Need

Since we intend to help you make a messenger bag that suits your style and need, we have listed the necessary and optional items that you would need:

Necessary Items

  • Scissors
  • Ruler or measuring tape
  • A marker or sharpie
  • Fabric
  • Good quality thread
  • A messenger bag pattern you like

Optional Items

  • A strap (unless you make it out of your chosen fabric)
  • Strap attachments (unless you attach straight to bag)
  • Zippers, buttons, Velcro, or any other pocket closures

How to Make a Messenger Bag Out of Fabric

What You Need to Do

Ultimately, you can make your own messenger bag out of one long piece of material.

  1. Trace the pattern and cut the material.
  2. Sew up the sides, leaving a flap to “flap over” the top.
  3. Add in a piece of rope, cord, or use more fabric to make yourself a strap.
  4. Add your chosen closure.

However, it’s likely that you’ll want to put a bit more time and effort into it to make it sturdier and look nicer, so here are our top tips and considerations to get you started.


Choosing your pattern:

Some patterns will be very straightforward and be almost all one strip of solid fabric from front to back to flap, while others will have separate side pieces and bottom pieces which require a lot more sewing and accuracy. Hence, if you’re a beginner, look for an easier one.

Make a template:

Once you have found a pattern you like, then you can start measuring out your material. If you want a better result from cutting with scissors, then make yourself a template out of baking paper or cardboard.

You can then pin your fabric to the pattern you have made to keep the fabric still while cutting along the lines.


Pin your fabric together to let the bag take shape. This will help you orientate yourself as to which way up it will be and which side will make the front flap, etc.

After which, plot where you want all of your extra inside or outside pockets to go and sew them all into place before sewing the main body together so that all of the stitching is on the inside and hidden between the internal and external layers.

Things to Consider

Overall size:​

To determine the right size, you must answer how big the bag needs to be for your largest item such as your laptop and/or books that you plan on carrying with you?

Once you have that figured out, how strong will your fabric and stitching need to be to accommodate the weight? Finally, what size can you comfortably carry with you?


Using different fabrics for the exterior and interior of the bag can make it look great. If you want something quite plain for the outside, then maybe you can use a more exotic design for the interior or the inside pockets?


The best thing about making your own bag is having the right amount and perfect size pockets for all your belongings. What kind of things do you need to separate for easier access? Measure them and get planning on where you want them to be.

Zips or thread:​

You can either use matching zips and thread color to your fabric or go for something that compliments or clashes with it entirely. If you are hand sewing, then it’s probably wiser to stick to a similar color just in case the stitching isn’t as neat as you hope. If you have a sewing machine, you can go for a really striking color to give the bag more detail.


If you are using a plain fabric, then why not stitch your initials into the bag to make it stand out more? Further customization can be executed with stitching patterns and badges and is only limited by your imagination!

Bags of Personality

How to make a messenger bag out of fabric is very simple but the more time you put into it, the more customization you can add with specially designed pockets, zippers, and fasteners.

As long as you make sure the fabric you choose can hold the weight of your belongings and that the stitching isn’t rushed, your new bag may last a lot longer than the one you could find at your local market! Plus, it will have “bags” of your personality all over it.

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