Tag Archives: messenger bag

Quilted Messenger Bag Tutorial

Quilted Messenger Bag

Quite some time ago, I spent a lot of time making messenger bags. A lot of time. The story behind the bag is actually kind of cool. My daughter (10 years old at the time, she’s 16 now!), wanted a Gryffindor bag for her fifth grade year. She sketched what she wanted and I started thinking. Sometime during all that thinking, I had a dream that I’d made the bag. The dream was very real and when I woke up, I was disappointed to realized that I hadn’t actually finished the bag. The cool part of the story? In the dream, I figured out how to make the bag, and it worked. Perfectly.

Messenger Bag Notes

I sketched out what I’d dreamed and started figuring out the dimensions of the bag. I almost always start with a sketch when working on a new project, but rarely does that sketch start from dreaming the process! Usually, the sketches are pretty rough (note the super-scary Gryffindor Lion above), but they do the job for what I need.

What resulted from my daughter’s request was not only her messenger bag, but a slew of others (see below). It also became my most downloaded tutorial for quite a long time, written back in 2006.

Gareth's X-Men Bag  Elena's Gryffindor Bag Jen's Ravenclaw messenger bag for Vegas

Kimmer's Ravenclaw Bag annaonthemoon's bag Kimmer's Ravenclaw Bag LIzzie's Pigwidgeon Bag

 Kadi's Evile Slytherin Bag  Yellow Submarine Bag Doris' Leaky Cauldron Bag - Front   mini-messenger Bday gift for Joseé Turtle Bag for Steph

 Hufflepuff bag for delana - back Pirate Computer Bag Gareth's Star Trek Messenger wee dvd bag Recycled Denim Messenger


  • 1 1/2 yards of outside fabric for bag body (denim or corduroy recommended)
  • 2 yards of lining fabric
  • Approx. 1 yard or scraps of batting or fleece for quilting
  • One quilt square or the fabric panel of your choice for the front center of the bag – (I typically use 5″ quilt squares blown up to approximately 10″)
  • LOTS of matching/coordinating thread
  • Suggested supplies – marking chalk or pencil, rotary cutter and ruler. (You can do it without these, but it will go much faster and your bag will be much more accurate with it.)

Notes Free block patterns available on Sewhooked and Fandom In Stitches. All bag seams are 1/2″ unless otherwise noted. Cut 2 – 16″x13″ from outside fabric (inside & back) 3 – 16″x13″ from lining fabric (flap, inside & back) 4 – 4”x16″ pieces – 2 each from outside & lining fabric (long gussets for top & bottom) 4 – 4”x13″ pieces – 2 each from outside & lining fabric (short gussets for sides) 2 – 4”x 40″ pieces – 1 each from outside fabric & lining fabric (strap) extra lining fabric for pockets & divider – optional 3 – 15”x12” from scrap batting 2 – 3”x15” from scrap batting 1 – 3” x 38” from scrap batting Outside Flap For the outside flap – using your quilt square or fabric panel, border the square with enough outside fabric to bring the piece to 16″ x 13″ This may vary depending on how big your starting piece is. You can make the square centered, as shown, or off-set. Quilting After all your pieces are cut and your outside flap is made, you will need to quilt the following pieces.

  1. Front Flap
  2. Inside front
  3. Inside back
  4. Bottom and Top Gusset (4×16″)

ONLY the outside fabric is quilted. The lining is not quilted AT ALL, so make sure your quilting is only done on the outside pieces. You can use simple stitching to attaching the batting or fleece to the back of the bag. Stitch around the design on the front to add detail. For the back and inside, use straight stitching on a 45 degree angle or vary with a wavy/freeform stitch. The strap is the only piece that is quilted after it is made. STRAP

  1. Baste batting on wrong side of heavier fabric.
  2. Stitch outside fabric to lining fabric down long seams, leaving an 8-10″ opening along one side seam.
  3. Turn right side out.
  4. Draw chalk quilting lines as shown in gusset photo.
  5. Stitch down chalk lines, top stitch down both sides of strap, carefully closing the open seam used for turning.

Pockets (optional)

  1. If you want pockets, determine the size pockets you’d like to have, for example, big enough to hold a wallet, a cell phone, and sunglasses.
  2. Measure what you want to hold, cut a piece of fabric that when folded in half will be the size you want plus about 1 1/2″. For example, if you want a 3×4 pocket – cut a piece approximately 4 1/2 x 9″.
  3. Stitch together with right sides together, leaving a small space open for turning.

Divider (optional)

  1. The divider is VERY simple. It needs to be cut from liner fabric 16×25. Fold in half, line 16″ edge up, right sides facing with one of the 16″x13″ pieces.
  2. Baste across bottom and sides. This becomes the Bag Front Lining piece.
  3. If a heavier divider is needed, sandwich interfacing or scrap fabric inside before basting.

Stitching the Body & Lining The body & lining are both stitches in exactly the same way. Please refer to photo, it will help. Messenger Bag Tutorial

  1. Sew seams in this order – Front Flap to Long Gusset to Bag Back to Long Gusset to Bag Front.
  2. This part can be tricky! Make sure your pieces are in the right order so that when folded, each piece will be in the proper places, pockets with openings up, etc.
  3. If you have made a divider for the lining, you need to make sure you’re catching the bottom in the seam and not the top.
  4. When you are done, you will have two long pieces.
  5. After your pieces are assembled, top stitch, making sure that your gusset pieces are pressed towards the bag pieces.

IMPORTANT NOTE – leave the center section of one side of the lining open between the gusset & bag bottom for turning right side out after the bag is assembled. Side Gussets Now that your body & lining are stitched, you will need to add the side gussets to each. Pin each side gusset to the bottom gussets as shown.

Messenger Bag Tutorial

  1. Start 1/2″ away from the edge of the fabric and stitch to within 1/2″ of the other seam, marking this measurement if necessary. This is VERY important for the next step to work properly.
  2. After sewing each end, you will line the long side of the gusset up along the side, making sure it is smooth, The 1/2″ you left open will help you do this without bunching up the fabric at the bottom. Start stitching 1/2″ in from the corner, right where you left off, making sure there is no gap between the thread.
  3. Sew all the side gusset pieces this way.

Finishing the Bag

  1. After the gussets are all sewn, you will have One Bag Outside and One Bag Lining.
  2. Turn the lining right side out. As mentioned earlier, make sure you left a partial seam open for turning.
  3. Pin the strap, right sides together to the long gusset on the bag. Baste with 1/4″ seam.
  4. Place lining inside of bag – right sides facing.
  5. Line up all edges carefully, making sure the seams and points all meet.
  6. Pin well!
  7. Stitch all the way around, being careful not to fold in gusset seam allowances. Backstitch on corners.
  8. After stitching, trim corners, being careful not to clip the threads.
  9. Turn bag right side out.
  10. Press, making sure all your seams are smooth. If they are not, now is the time to fix them! It may take a couple of minutes to align everything to your liking. Once you’re happy, you can close the open seam in the lining by either hand or machine stitching.
  11. Last, top stitch for extra strength & durability for your bag. If you have a walking foot, it’s a really useful tool to use for this part while you are sewing through all the thicknesses of the bag.
  12. Pin well, making sure everything is smooth. Top stitch around opening and flap of bag about 1/4″ away from edge. Stitch over the straps two or three times for extra strength.
  13. Yay, you’re done! Whew! That was a lot of work… time for a butterbeer!


Crafty Retrospective: Roar, Roar Gryffindor

Gryffindor Lion Pattern

It’s no secret that I’m an over-the-top, let’s-talk-theories-all-night-long and make-Pygmy-Puffs-until-we-drop Harry Potter fan.  I quilt Harry, craft Harry, costume Harry… and have spent several years now encouraging others to do the same.

There’s an entire Gryffindor bedroom in my house (my daughter’s), a Harry Potter-themed quilt in my living room (mine, all, mine), my cherished letter from J.K. Rowling framed for all to see, t-shirts, Harry Potter books in languages I can’t read, costumes, memorabilia and more brilliant crafts made by people across the world that I’ve shared, swapped and traded with than I can possibly count.

I am not a Gryffindor.   Gryffindors are brave and daring, and I am not really either, though I can be a tiny bit brave if the circumstances require it.

I identify more with Ravenclaws.  Study hard and prove yourself.  That was me at 11.

There is, however, one Gryffindor in my house, and lots of Gryffindor friends in my life.  Something I have done that is Gyffindor-related is make a lot of Gryffindor crafty items.

How about a round up?  Yes?  I thought so, too!

Gryffindor Lion Wallhanging

Gryffindor Lion Crest wall-hanging.  10″ square, made some time in 2006.

House Unity Banner made for JKR

“House Unity” banner, made as a gift for J.K. Rowling in 2007 (I received a thank you, too!).

House Crest patterns.

Elena's Gryffindor Bag

My daughter’s Gryffindor messenger bag.  The original messenger bag, made early 2006, that started two years of messenger bag madness.

Messenger bag tutorial (pdf)

Gryffindor pencil bag

Gryffindor Pencil Bag, also my daughter’s.  I really like this little bag…it’s came out better than I anticipated.  2006.

Gryffindor Gift bag for Melissa Anelli

Gryffindor Gift Bag made for Melissa Anelli, Lumos 2006

Hope's Messenger Bag for Vegas

Hope’s Gryffindor Bag, made to take to Lumos 2006

Messenger bag tutorial (pdf)

Gryffindor's Sword, v.2

Gryffindor’s Sword (unposted pattern)

Plushie Gryffindor Hat & Scarf

Plushie Hat & Scarf for a Gryffindor Lion

Gryffindor Ipod Covers

Gryffindor ipod cases, first set

crochet ipod covers in Gryffindor colors

Gryffindor ipod cases, second set

HPC Back To School Swap - Sent to Alli

Gryffindor t-shirt made for a swap on Harry Potter Crafts, modeled after the Gryffindor Lion Crest Pattern

Team Gryffindor Stencil

Quilted Wallhanging for Doris - Hogwarts, Gryffindor & The Leaky Cauldron
Wallhanging made for DorisTLC (The Leaky Cauldron)

Harry Potter paper pieced patterns on sewhooked

Harry Potter Buttons

Harry Potter themed buttons…look closely and you’ll find a Gryffindor one!

Hmm, isn’t nostalgia lovely?

Feel like making something Hogwarts House related?  How about joining in our challenge at hp_paperpiecing?  We’d love to have you!

If you make any sewhooked crafts, I’d love to see a photo!  Email me or add it to the Friends of sewhooked flickr group.

Happy Crafting!

Paper Piecing: Bag Lady

Sue Upton, of PotterCast, receiving her Hufflepuff gift bag
during Lumos in Las Vegas, July 2006.

While I love all crafts, paper piecing is my One True Craft. (bold, capitalized, giant font ONE TRUE CRAFT). I love designing, making and sharing. The ideas come faster than I could ever possibly get them all down.

While paper piecing is definitely a quilting technique, quilting is definitely not just for quilts. I love using quilt elements in bags, pillows, clothing and art pieces.

I thought it would be fun to do a photo round up of some of the bags in which I’ve used paper piecing and other quilting elements.

All bags and block patterns were designed by me. Many of the patterns are available for free on sewhooked (see links below).

2 Hufflepuff gift bags
Hufflepuff Gift Bags (as seen above)

Gryffindor Gift bag for Melissa Anelli
Gryffindor Gift Bag, made for Melissa Anelli of PotterCast (gifted at Lumos 2006).

Slytherin gift bag for John Noe
Slytherin Gift Bag made for John Noe of PotterCast (gifted at Lumos 2006)

Hope's Messenger Bag for Vegas
Gryffindor Messenger Bag, made for Hope, 2006

Jen's Ravenclaw messenger bag for Vegas
Ravenclaw Messenger Bag, this one is mine all mine! Made in 2006.

mini-messenger Bday gift for Joseé
Ravenclaw mini-messenger, made for Josée, 2006.

Gryffindor pencil bag
Gryffindor Pencil Bag made for Elena, 2006

Hufflepuff bag for delana - back
Hufflepuff bag made for Delana, 2007.

Pirate Computer Bag
Jolly Roger Computer Bag (this one is mine, too!), 2007.

Kimmer's Ravenclaw Bag
Ravenclaw Messenger made for Kimmers, 2007.

LIzzie's Pigwidgeon Bag
Pigwidgeon Messenger Bag made for Lizzie, 2007.

Yellow Submarine Bag
Yellow Submarine bag made for Steph, 2006.

Gareth's X-Men Bag
X-Men Messenger Bag made for Gareth, 2006.