How to make canvas fabric messenger bags

Written by michelle raphael
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How to make canvas fabric messenger bags
(Hemera Technologies/ Images)

The versatility of a canvas messenger bag allows you to use it to carry your belongings in most any situation. Whether you are carrying large books, or need a bag to put your personal items in overnight, a messenger bag would be your best option. If you want to save money, yet still get the perfect messenger bag, you can create one out of simple canvas fabric. The process of making a canvas fabric messenger bag is a bit detailed, but with a little practice you will be able to finish one in no time.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Canvas
  • Lining fabric
  • Scissors
  • Thread
  • Needle
  • Iron
  • Straight pins

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  1. 1

    Cut two pieces with your scissors to form the front and back of the bag. Also cut one flap, one long strap and three gussets. Gussets are the strips that will form the sides as well as the bottom of the bag. The size of the cuts will depend on how big you want your messenger bag to be. Two gussets should be as long as the sides of your front and back pieces, the other should be as long as the bottom edge of the front and back. Their width will depend on how thick you want the bag to be--the wider the gussets, the more the bag will hold.

  2. 2

    Sew the three gussets together from end to end on their short ends with needle and thread. Press the seams open with your iron. This will look like a long strip of fabric after sewing.

  3. 3

    Pin your gusset to the bag’s front piece--wrong sides together--and sew the seam in place. Pin your gusset to the back piece in the same manner and stitch this with your thread and needle as well. When you sew the seams as you go, you are giving yourself a more stable working frame.

  4. 4

    Pin your flap to the top of the bag and do the same for the right sides. Stitch these into place with your thread and needle and attach your closures to your bag’s flap.

  5. 5

    Pin the strap as well as the lining right sides together. Leave the short ends open as you sew the pinned pieces together with your thread and needle. Use your scissors to trim the seams.

  6. 6

    Turn the bag’s strap inside out to show the right side of the fabric. Use your iron to press the seams flat. Stitch the bag’s short ends and pin the strap to its side gussets. Sew the strap to the gussets using your thread and needle and trim the excess thread with your scissors.

  7. 7

    Complete the bag’s lining by pinning sewing the lining gussets together. Apply the same procedure as you did for your messenger bag’s outer shell.

  8. 8

    Pin and sew your gussets to the bag’s back and front pieces and hem the top edge. Use your thread and needle to stitch the lining’s top edge to the top edge of your bag’s outer shell.

Tips and warnings

  • When cutting the basic pieces for your messenger bag, do not worry about adding a few inches of allowance to provide room for sewing mistakes. You can always remove the excess fabric later on.

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