Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Scrappy Messenger Bag

Last weekend I finished my first Moda Bake Shop project.  It’s a honey bun quilt from a beautiful new summery collection by Polly Minick and Lauri Simpson called “Charlevoix”.  I finished the quilt, wrote the tutorial and created the post, but have not been told when it will be published.  I’m really excited!!  :-)

After making the quilt, I had this pile of scraps left over…


Soooooooo, what’s a girl to do?  You know me, I just can’t throw them out!  I sketched out some fun purses to make, then my bee friend Linda had a great idea!


She suggested a messenger bag!  So, here it is!!  What a great idea!!


Wanna know how to make it?  Here ya go! 

I had the ends of eight 5 1/2” wide pieced strips from the quilt.  So, I trimmed them to the biggest length they could all be which was 4 1/2”. 


I sorted them into two groups of four and sewed them together, making 2 large pieces.  One for the front flap and one for a back outside pocket.


For the front flap, I added 3” wide strips of light fabric on three sides.  I rounded the bottom edges then used it as a pattern to cut out a piece of lining and two layers of batting.


I stitched around three sides, then turned it right sides out, pressed then top stitched it around the light edges.


I used scraps of the same light fabric to sew together a large enough piece to line the back pocket.


Place them right sides together and sew around all edges making sure to leave a 3” section open to turn it through.


Turn it right sides out and press.  Topstitch across the top edge and set aside.


Cut out two pieces of fabric 16” X 27”– one for the outside of the bag and one for the lining.  I used the same fabric for both.  And also cut out 2 pieces of batting a tad bigger, as well.  By the way, making these smaller projects is a great way to use up batting scraps, too.  And if your scraps are too small, you can easily zigzag those pieces together to create the size piece you need.


I layered the outside fabric on top of the doubled batting and free-motion quilted a simple meander all over then trimmed the batting to the edges.  Measure the lining piece with the now quilted piece and trim it to be the same size… I took off about 1/8” off one side and one end of the lining.


Center the pocket on one end of the quilted piece about 2” down from the top and equal distances from each side.  Stitch the pocket on all three sides.


Next, using the lighter fabric scraps, I made two pockets for inside the bag.  One smaller pocket for my phone and a slightly larger pocket to be stitched for pens and possibly glasses.  Cut one piece 5 1/2” X 11” for the smaller pocket and one piece 5 1/2” X 13 1/2” for the larger pocket.  Fold these pieces in half , sew around three sides leaving a space open to turn them through.


Turn them right sides out, press and topstitch across the top of each pocket.  Place the pockets on one end of the lining piece about 3” down from the top and 2” in from each side… just touching each other.


Stitch them down in place on three sides.  Then make two more lines of stitching on the larger pocket for the pen lines.


Sew the side seams together on both the outer quilted bag piece and the lining piece.  Make sure to leave a 5” section open on one side of the lining to turn the bag through.  Box the 2 corners of both pieces by folding the corners like the photo and sewing across the opened seam and triangular ends 2 1/2” across.  Set aside for now.


Time to make the strap!  Cut a 6” X 42” piece of fabric and two 2” X 43” pieces of batting.  Press 2” in on one long edge of the fabric and 3/4” in on the other long side.


Open up the 2” fold and insert the 2 layers of batting, then refold, enclosing the batting. 


Fold the other side in and pin closed. 


Sew right down the edge of this fold which will be the center of the strap.  I then topstitched down the center of each side of this center seam.  Trim the batting to the edge of each end.


I also wanted a key strap on my bag, so I cut a 3” X 6” piece of lighter fabric, pressed it in half lengthwise then opened up that piece and folded the two long raw edges into the center fold and pressed it again.  I topstiched down each long edge and down the center, too. 


You could use a circle ring or D-ring, but I had a square ring, so I used that.  I pulled the strap through the ring, then folded the end twice to enclose the raw edge and topstitched it closed.


Pin the flap and the ends of the strap and the end of the key strap to the top of the outer bag, making sure they are all positioned correctly.  The strap ends and key strap are centered over the side seams and all right sides are together. Stitch them with a 1/4” seam allowance.


Now place the top edge of the lining against them top edge of the outer bag with right sides together.  Pin carefully- aligning the side seams.


Sew this top seam with a 3/8” allowance.  Sew very slowly, removing the pins as you get to them, as this is a very bulky seam!


Carefully turn the bag by pulling it right sides out through the opening in the lining.


Pin and stitch that opening closed.


Then push the lining down into the bag and pin the top edge for topstitching through all thicknesses.  Again, sew slowly!!  And that’s it!  You’re done!


Doncha just love it?  It would be a great bag for an iPad, Kindle, Netbook or a small laptop.  Maybe you have some scraps sitting around in your sewing room you could use?


You could use some orphan blocks from your drawer for the top flap and back pockets, right? 


Still got some Christmas gifts to make? :-)



  1. Good golly Miss Polly!! You never cease to amaze me with your talents. The messenger bag is awesome:) Can't wait to see your quilt in the bake shop. I visit there often. I'm making my niece a quilt with some fabric she sent me using one of their patterns and found a cute skirt pattern using jelly rolls that I'm going to use for skirts for my granddaughters after the holidays. I know your quilt will be a big hit when it gets published. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year


  2. Oh Polly What a wonderful way to use up some of our scraps. Thank you for the tut
    Looking forward to seeing the quilt at Moda.

    Enjoy your Christmas with your family and all the best wishes for 2011

  3. I do just love!!!!Awesome bag........another project on my 'to do list' for the new year. Looking forward to your Moda Bakeshop quilt. Thanks for sharing...Happy Holidays and my 2011 be your best year ever!!

  4. Yet another inspirational bag by Miss Polly. Oh my word - you continually astonish me with your ability.

    I LOVE Moda Bake Shop and look forward to a new, fun project by Aunt Polly's Porch.

    Are you off for vacation holiday now?

  5. I love it. You make things so easy. Can hardly wait to make one myself. Thanks!

  6. Another great bag, Polly! You inspire me the way you can create. Thanks for sharing! Looking forward to your Moda quilt!

  7. Darling, Polly. Thanks for sharing the pattern!

  8. Love the bag! It turned out beautifully! Thank you for sharing the pattern with us. =)

  9. Dear Polly, What a wonderful blog. I will be back to read more. Thank you for showing me around. I LOVE your sewing room. Your newest follower. Gerry

  10. Thanks Polly, What a great bag...

  11. A Moda Bakeshop project - that's so exciting! Looking forward to seeing your project. Great way to use up scraps or orphan blocks. Thanks for the tutorial:) Happy Holidays! Are you off for the holiday break?

  12. Great tutorial Polly. I just made a couple of messenger bags this week but very, very simple ones. I need to make one more so I'll try your method next! blessings, marlene

  13. Oh my goodness..what an awesome tutorial!! That bag is just lovely. Really, really love it! Thank you for sharing!

  14. Love the bag and use of scraps! Thanks you for a awesome tutorial!

  15. Polly, I DO love it!! You are a genius!

  16. I am new here but love the way you took scraps and made this scrappy bag. I want to look around on your blog after the holidays. I did a lot of home made gifts this year, but next year will be on the way soon. I want to start early.

  17. I checked out the quilt over at the Moda Bake Shop and I was thinking that was pretty darn cool, until I saw what you cooked up with your THAT is COOL! I love love love your messenger bag! I love to design bags myself, but sometimes it's nice to just follow someone else's instructions and make one for fun! I'll have to bookmark this one!

    Thanks for sharing your treats!


  18. Hi Polly, love the pattern! I am doing counting by fives in patriotic prints. Quick question: in your instructions you have us pressing the seams open. Most of my quilting is pressed to the side. Is there an advantage/disadvantage to pressing the seams open?

    Thank you!


Thank you sooooooo very much for taking the time to leave a comment! I am always happy to know that someone is reading my ramblings!! Polly :-)