How to Design Canvas Messenger Bags

Written by penny porter Google
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How to Design Canvas Messenger Bags
Create a custom canvas messenger bag to be both stylish and functional. (gripsack image by Ivan Hafizov from

Designing your own messenger bag allows you to create a bag that can provide you with all your storage and packing needs. By designing your own messenger bag you can create a pattern with which you or a seamstress can assemble and create the bag. You can sew together your messenger bag design if you have a sewing machine needle and foot that will withstand the thickness and heaviness of canvas material.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Brown paper sacks
  • Scissors
  • Masking tape

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  1. 1

    Determine a size for your messenger bag. Consider what items you commonly carry in other packs and satchels. Use the sizes of frequently carried items to help determine the ultimate size of your messenger bag. Make the bag a minimum of two inches taller and wider than the books or laptop you intend to carry. Additionally, make the messenger bag as thick as the thickness of 3 or 4 average-sized text books you can carry comfortably.

  2. 2

    Create a pattern for your messenger bag by making a model from pieces of brown paper bags. The parts of the bag will represent the sizes and shapes of canvas material you need to cut for the parts of the completed bag. Use the measurements you need for the bag and cut pieces of brown paper sacks to make a pattern for the messenger bag. Tape the parts of the messenger bag pattern or model together with masking tape.

  3. 3

    Reference the model and change design features, as necessary. Add pockets to the interior or exterior of the bag and create full-length dividers inside the bag to make separate sleeves for books and textbooks. For each inch of the messenger bag's thickness from front to back, you may add a divider; this allows ample room for various items inside each full-size pocket. When you create these dividers you must also decide if you want to enclose the bottom to prevent small items from working into different pockets. If you want to enclose the bottom of the bag, you must reinforce the inside of each pocket with an interior lining you can make simply from pockets of cotton material sewn into the inside of the messenger bag.

  4. 4

    Disassemble the paper model of the messenger bag. Use the paper parts as patterns for cutting the pieces of material to assemble your messenger bag. Add an inch on all sides of each paper piece to allow for the material seams.

  5. 5

    Choose a canvas material to use in making your messenger bag. You will have options for colour and patterns on the canvas as well as the thickness of the material. Thickness of canvas material receives a grade according to the yarn count per inch. The best way to ensure you choose the canvas thickness best for you is to feel the canvas and choose based on texture and pliability needs. Remember that even a lower grade or thickness canvas can support the weight of several books and items.

  6. 6

    Choose the finishing touches for the messenger bag before you prepare to sew. To close and carry the bag you must add a closure device and straps. Messenger bags have a shoulder strap that usually extends from the bottom of the bag and up the narrow ends of the bag. The strap should be of thick cotton weaving or leather to ensure it will not break under excessive weight. To attach the strap a strong needle and numerous horizontal stitches through the strap are necessary.

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