Whip up this trendy bag in a snap to carry to work or to take along on a spur-of-the-moment trip.
Messenger Bag
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Designer: Judi Ketteler

From Quilts and More, Fall 2007


  • 1 yard brown-and-green paisley (bag)
  • 1 yard light green paisley (bag lining, strap)
  • 1/3 yard brown-and-teal paisley (pocket)
  • 1 yard fusible fleece
  • 7" zipper
  • 3-fusible, hook-and-loop 7/8" squares

Finished bag: about 15x11x3"

Quantities are for 44/45"-wide fabrics. Measurements include 1/4" seam allowances. Sew with right sides together unless otherwise stated.

Cut Fabrics

From each brown-and-green and light green paisley, cut:

  • 1--22x19" rectangle
  • 1--13x19" rectangle

From light green paisley, cut:

  • 1--5-1/2x41" strip

From brown-and-teal paisley, cut:

  • 1--9x7-3/4" rectangle for pocket lining
  • 1--9x7" rectangle for pocket front
  • 1--9x2-1/2" rectangle for pocket front

From fusible fleece, cut:

  • 2--12x19" rectangles
  • 1--2x40" strip

Assemble Bag Body

1. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse a 12x19" fleece rectangle to wrong side of one end of brown-and-green paisley 22x19" rectangle (Diagram 1); fuse a second fleece 12x19" rectangle to wrong side of brown-and-green paisley 13x19" rectangle.


2. Referring to Diagram 2, sew together brown-and-green paisley 13x19" and 22x19" rectangles to make bag front and back. Press seam open. Fold 1" of single layer of fabric to inside over fleece and sew in place.


3. Layer bag front and back right sides together; sew together side edges (Diagram 3). Using tip of iron, carefully press seams open.


4. To shape flat bottom for bag, at one corner match bottom seam line to side seam line, creating a flattened triangle (Diagram 4).  Measuring 1-1/2" from point of triangle, draw a 3"-long line across triangle. Sew on drawn line. Trim excess fabric. Repeat with remaining bottom corner to make bag body. Turn bag body right side out.


5. Press bag flap side edges under 1/4". Press bag flap remaining edge under 1/2".

Assemble Bag Pocket

1. Using 5/8" seam, machine-baste together brown-and-teal paisley 9x7" rectangle and brown-and-teal paisley 9x2-1/2" piece along long edge (Diagram 5). Press seam open.


2. Center closed zipper facedown over pressed-open seam and baste in place (Diagram 6).


3. Using zipper foot on machine, sew on right side of fabric 1/4" from seam, clearing zipper teeth, to make pocket front. Remove basting.

4. Partially open zipper and sew together right side of zippered pocket front to wrong side of brown-and-teal paisley 9x7-3/4" rectangle (pocket lining). Turn pocket to right side through partially open zipper; press.

5. Center pocket on right side of light green paisley 22x19" rectangle, 4-1/2" from lower edge (Diagram 7). Topstitch pocket to lining.


Assemble Lining

1. Referring to Assemble Bag Body, steps 2 through 4, sew together light green paisley 13x19" and 22x19" rectangles. Fold and press lining front edge under 1"; join side edges. Sew lining bottom corners to flatten bottom. Do not turn to right side. 2. Press lining flap side edges under 1/4". Press remaining edge of lining flap under 1/2". Topstitch folded edges.

Finish Bag

1. Insert bag lining into bag body wrong sides together. Align folded edges and seams. Topstitch bag flap and top edge of bag together, pivoting stitching at side seams (Diagram 8).


2. Fold and lightly press light green paisley 5-1/2x41" strip in half lengthwise. Open strip and press short and long edges under 1/4". Layer 2x40" fusible fleece strip on one half of wrong side of light green paisley strip, avoiding turned-under edges (Diagram 9); fuse in place (do not fuse turned-under edges).


3. Fold strip wrong sides together and topstitch folded edges.

4. Pin strap ends to bag back just above side seams, aligning edge of strap with edge of bag. Sew handle to bag, stitching through all thicknesses.

5. Fuse hook-and-loop squares on bag front and flap as desired.