Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Messenger Bag Instructions

School time is almost here!  As my kids get older they have strayed from wanting the traditional back packs to wanting a messenger bag style for their books.  I found a pattern on Pinterest so the sewing began!  It was actually pretty easy, and I ended up making a few bags.
I got the instructions/inspiration from Ginger Snap Crafts, here

I made 1 bag for my daughter

And 2 smaller reversible bags for my friend and I to take to Tupperware's Jubilee!

Here's an important thing to know- the iron on fleece is HIGHLY suggested! Notice how the two smaller bags are more limp? I thought the black fabric was stiff enough to give the bag body, but it wasn't.

For Kenzie's bag-
First I let her pick out some fabric she liked for the bag.
We re-sized the bag slightly making it 12 inches x 14 inches.  For the strap I measured my daughter and had her tell me where she'd like the bag to hang.  For her it was 44" long

Once you determine the size you want the bag to be here's your basic formula of what you want:

6 cut outs of the size you want the bag front and back to be.  (2 of these are with fabric that will show on the outside, and 2 are from your lining fabric, and two from iron on fleece)  So if you want the bag to be 12x14, 16x18, or whatever size- rectangle, square, rounded edges, however you want it's your choice!

3 strips of fabric for the sides of the bag. (1 for outside, 1 for lining, and one from iron on fleece) the way you determine this is by adding together the 3 sides of the front/back this will be sewn to.  For example, if your bag is 12 inches tall by 14 inches wide, the 3 sides that this will sew on to are 12+14+12, so you will want this to be 38" long.  The width to cut it will depend on how wide you want the bag to be.  I would recommend 4-6"

2 strips for the strap.  You can make the strap as thick/thin as you like, but keep in mind how wide you cut the sides of the bag to be.  If your bag will be 4" thick, you don't want a 1" strap.  I would suggest making your strap no less then half the thickness of the bag. (and it wont work if the strap is wider than the bag)  Typically I would recommend making your strap 2-4" wide.   For the length use a fabric tape measure and place it in place where the strap would be when wearing the bag to measure how long you want it to be.

3 cut outs for part 1 of the closure flap. (one for outside, one for lining, and one from iron on fleece) You'll want to make this the same width of the front of the bag, and then the width of the side....... so if your bag is 12x14, with a 6" depth on the sides (with 12 being the height and 14 being the width) you will want to cut this out 14" wide and 6" long.

3 cuts outs for part 2 of the flap. (one for outside, one for lining, and one from iron on fleece) this will be the same size as part 1 of the flap, but you can round the edges of one side, cut a zig zag, make it come to a point or anything else you want since this will be the closure flap that shows in the front of the bag.

If you don't want to use different fabrics for the outside of the bag you can make part 1 and part 2 one piece- just combine the measurements (so in this example it'd be 12x14).

Now how to start sewing the bag!
First Iron on the fleece to the back of each cut of fabric on either your outside fabric or the back of the lining (you don't want it to show- but the fleece will add stiffness/stability to the bag)

Sew the flap part 1 & 2 together

Next, sew the flap part 1 to the outside fabric back bag cut out.

Now sew your strap- here's a trick on how to sew long straps:  place right sides together and sew 3 sides (two long sides and one of the short sides)
Using your scissors, a pen, or any small long blunt object, place it at the short end that's been sewn, then pull the fabric back over itself onto the object.  Once you get to the end the object will poke out  showing the right side of the strap.  Grab the end, pull the object out, and now you just have to push the fabric that's bunched up back onto itself and it will be completely turned right side out!  Next sew a top stitch along both long sides of the strap to help keep it flat and prevent it from rolling.  I did a fun zig zag pattern on one bag, and a flower pattern on another one.

(this picture was taken once I started to remove the scissors)

Now it's time to sew the side of the bag onto the back.  This can be a little tricky!  you may have a little extra fabric left over (especially if you rounded the bottoms of the bag- just make sure  both the front, back and lining fabrics are all rounded at the bottom)  If you end up with extra fabric at the end you can trim it.

Next sew the front panel to the other end of the side, this is a little tricky again mostly just because the bag gets a little bulky at this point.
Now you have the formation of a bag!
Sew the strap to the two sides making sure the extra strap is not twisted inside the bag.

Now follow the same instructions for your lining fabric so you will have an identical looking bag (minus the strap) out of the lining fabric.

Turn the lining bag inside out (so the right side is facing out)  Next place the lining bag inside the first bag.

Now you're going to sew all along the top of the 2 bags- be sure to leave about 6" opening to turn the bag inside out of.  Sew along the flap and the top of the opening of the bag.

Once it's sewn turn the bag inside out through the opening.  Push the lining into the bag, sew the opening used to turn the bag inside out closed and you're done!  You can do a top stitch (I did) along the bag to hold the seams down and give it more of a professional look if you want.

If you want to make your bag reversible like the pink/black ones I made, just cut your lining to be fabric that will work for the outside too.

1 comment:

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