Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Messenger Bag Tutorial: Straps, Piping, Zipper Pouch

Find all tutorial links here.


  • Supplies needed for this step: 6" x 54" strip, (2) 4" x 6" rectangles, 4" x 4" square

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6" x 54" strip:
  1. Fold in short ends 1/4". Press.
  2. Fold strip in half along entire length (wrong sides together). Press. 
  3. Fold raw edges into center crease. Press. This will result in one long strap 1 1/2" x 53 1/2".
  4. Edgestitch around perimeter of strap. Add an additional row of stitching 1/4" in from the edge if desired.  
4" x 6" rectangles:
  1. Fold in half making a 3" x 4" rectangle. Press.
  2. Fold raw edges to center making 1 1/2" x 4" strip. Press.
  3. Edgestitch sides. Add additional row of stitching if desired. Leave short ends unfinished.  

4" x 4" square:
  1. Repeat process as above, making a 1" x 4" strip for key fob. Disregard if not including key fob. Adjust width of strip as necessary for size of key fob. Smaller hardware may require a 1/2" x 4" strip. 

Pocket Piping:

  • Supplies needed for this step: 1 package piping, (3) 1.25" x 19" strips if recovering purchased piping or cording

  • Subcut piping to (3) 18" strips. Unpick a few stitches from the ends and open piping. Clip off 1/2" of cording from each side of the 18" strip. Fold piping fabric back in place. This reduces bulk from side seams when stitching the bag together.

  • If recovering piping, center altered piping on 1.25" x 19" strip. 

  • Fold fabric over piping, and stitch a basting stitch with zipper foot or piping foot.

Making Pocket Panels (interior and exterior):

Supplies needed for this step: Altered piping, Pocket panel lining pieces (inner & outer), Pocket panel fabric pieces (inner & outer), zipper foot or piping foot

  • Attach piping to right side of pocket panel lining with a basting stitch. Aline top raw edge with raw edge of piping. Do not stitch too close to the piping stitches on this step. 

  • Attach pocket panel fabric to lining and piping piece. Place right sides together with piping sandwiched in between. Stitch with a regular stitch length as closely as possible to piping. A zipper foot works, but a piping foot is very helpful for this step. 

  • Flip right sides out and press. Topstitch 1/8" from top edge of panel fabric. Repeat with each pocket panel and corresponding lining.

Zipper Pouch:

  • Supplies needed for this step: 12" zipper, a 3" fabric rectangle, and four zipper pouch rectangles (9.5" x 13.5") from selected fabric

Head on over to The Busy Bean and follow her tutorial for installing a zipper in a pouch. We will be finishing the pouch differently, but zipper installation is the same. The zipper should measure just short of 12" when finished. Adjust zipper tabs and zipper length accordingly.
  • Completed zipper with tabs. My zipper was a 10" zipper. I added 1" finished tabs to reach a 12" length.

  • Once zipper is installed and sewn to both the lining and exterior pouch fabric, it should look something like this. Now place right sides of exterior fabric together and sew only the bottom seam. Repeat with lining, sewing only the bottom seam. Press seams open. 

  • Flip pouch right sides out and sew a basting stitch 1/4" from raw edges along both sides. 


  1. Your instructions are fabulous, Kati!
    I can't wait to get started.
    Thanks so much for putting so much time into this!

  2. I just need to fingd the right fabric and then I'm good to go! I just love this bag :)
    Thank you so much for your talent :)

  3. I'm stuck out of town for a couple more weeks, but I can't wait to get back home and start making your bag. I've got just enough soft canvas cloth, Paris-themed, I think, to do the outside. My art student daughter is going to flip! Don't suppose you also have a pattern for a roll-up paint brushes holder, do you? I would definitely buy one...especially since you're gifting the awesome bag pattern and instructions.

  4. Thank you so much for this tutorial. I am currently making one and was wondering what the seam allowance was when sewing the bottom of the zipper pouch? Sorry if i over looked it in your instructions. Thanks!

  5. It could be a lack of coffee right now, but I'm a little confused with the folding part of the straps. I get fold in half and press, but it's the other part I'm unsure of. When you say fold raw edges into centre crease do you mean that after you press the first fold, you open it back up, then fold them to the centre. (I'm thinking the coffee might have just started working because it's suddenly making a bit more sense!)

    I'm going to try this bag for a Reddit Gift exchange. I REALLY love your tutorial!!! Thank you so much. Once my match receives it, I'm going to post a link to your blog on the Reddit page!!