My Messenger Bag


Last school year I made my lunch bag for school, and on the day before school started decided I needed to make a backpack, too. Using this tutorial from Crazy Little Projects, I made a pretty plain messenger bag. It worked, but partway through the year it started to wear a hole through it- my fabric wasn’t very heavy. This year, I knew I needed something better.

I chose upholstery fabric because I knew it wouldn’t wear out- at least, not as easily. It looks fine a month into the school year, but with everything I cram into it, who knows how it’ll look come June? I chose plain fabric for the outside on purpose, because I had planned to hand-embroider a quote on it. I decided against that, but I think the strip of contrasting bee fabric gives it just the special touch it needs. Since my nickname is Bea, I have an affinity for bees as well as a lot of bee-themed things. This bee fabric was left over from a quilt I’m making. I didn’t plan on the bee fabric at first, though. I added it because I cut the back piece and flap too small. You see, this is what happens when I have a rotary cutter and have to cut something out without a pattern piece- I always cut something wrong. I decided that the front piece (which I cut right) should have the contrast strip too because it would look better, so I measured, remembered seam allowances, checked the measurements again, held my breath, and cut it. I sewed it and it was perfect! Whew.

An adjustment I made to the sides of the bag was to make them wider, so I would have more space in the bag. The sides and bottom are one strip, and the strap is supposed to be the same size, but I had to cut the strap down after making both bigger because it was ridiculously wide. I also measured the strap over my shoulder and cut it so the bag would hang at my hip- the strap on my previous bag was too long. This strap initially looked oddly short to me, but now I’m used to it and it’s the perfect length. I also added clasps.

I found this tag that says Handmade at Joann’s and I love it!

For the lining, I chose this bright flower print because I wanted something that would make me happy to look at. Also, I hand-embroidered the words Be Bold and sewed it to the inside of the bag. My neighbor always tells me to be bold, so I asked her to write it on the fabric and I embroidered over it. It definitely adds an inspirational, personal touch.


Here’s the pocket:DSC_0247

I cut out and appliquéd some of the flowers from the lining to the pocket because it looked too plain. I hand-embroidered the stems. My grandmother passed away a few years ago, but I found some bee appliqués in an envelope saying they were for me from her, so I thought it would be perfect to incorporate them into this bag.

I fussy cut the front lining so the flower would be centered:


So far this has been a great backpack for me, though it is a little annoying getting on the bus and walking between rows of seats with the backpack awkwardly behind me. Thankfully the straps haven’t ripped out, it doesn’t have a hole yet, all my books fit… I’m really happy with it!

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