This free child-sized messenger bag pattern is the perfect shrunken size for the special kid in your life.
It’s a simplified messenger bag pattern of my adult-sized messenger bag and you can knock it out in a couple evenings. I was pressed for time so left out interior pockets and such but if your kid wants a couple of interior pockets in the messenger bag I can show you how to add those in too.
I made the messenger bag outside in black corduroy with a floral flap and lining. And you know that I like to add a little whimsy in my patterns here and there so I made peek-a-boo mini-portrait of Elise’s beloved pink monkey under the flap. Elise loves lifting the flap and seeing the homage to her best pal.
I used to sew handbags. A lot of handbags. Sold them with my friend Heather at Chicago boutiques and craft fairs out of recycled t-shirts and my precious vintage linen calendars. And then I burned out. I didn’t want to be saddled to just handbags. And I realized that my favorite part was actually dreaming up and figuring out the bag patterns …not sales and production. So I gave it up and started merrimentdesign.com and shelved all my handbag patterns in the back of my craft closet.
But here and there I’m dipping back into my old handbag stash and I will share my bag sewing patterns here at merrimentdesign.com for free. What type of bag pattern would you like to see next?
Supplies for making my kid-sized messenger bag free pattern:
- 1 yard fabric for outside
- 1/3 yard fabric for inside lining
- Disappearing ink pen
- Disappearing ink pen
- Good fabric scissors
- Glass head pins
- Rotary fabric cutter, ruler and self-healing mat
- Iron and ironing board
- Sewing machine
How to make a kid-sized messenger bag:
Step 1: Cut all the pieces out and interface a couple of them
Cut your kid-sized messenger bag pieces:
- One 12″ X 17″ piece of fabric for bag outside
- One 12″ X 17″ piece of fabric for bag inside lining
- One 12″ X 17″ piece of iron-on interfacing for bag outside
- One 26″ x 8″ piece of fabric for strap (NOTE: Measure your kid first and add or subtract strap inches as needed)
- Two 9.5″ X 8″ pieces of fabric for flap
- One 9.5″ X 8″ piece of iron-on interfacing for flap
Iron on your interfacing to the wrong side of the bag outside.
Fold your bag outside piece in half to make a rectangle. Draw teeny rectangles in each corner along the fold, 1″ tall by 1-1/2″ wide. This is going to make your messenger bag bottom.
Carefully cut out the marked rectangle from each corner (which is actually a larger rectangle because you’re cutting across the fold).
Repeat the folding, marking, and cutting on the lining piece of your kid’s messenger bag.
Step 2: Sew lining of the kid’s messenger bag
Now if you’re going to add an interior pocket, this is the time to do it. Go to my bird handbag tutorial to add any interior pockets. Any questions, let me know.
Now let’s sew up the lining.
Sew the left and right sides of the lining using 1/2″ seams, making sure to leave both the cut out rectangles at the bottom and the top of the messenger bag lining unsewn.
Iron the seams open. Pretty.
Now this is the magic part. Squeeze the unsewn corner rectangles into a flat sandwich with the seam in the middle. See how it’s making a bottom?
Sew 1/4″ from the raw edge to secure. Repeat on the other side.
And here is your lining bottom. Let’s move to the messenger bag outside …but first, I’m going to add in a surprise for Elise.
Step 3 (Optional): Add a special peek-a-boo friend
Here’s how to make an optional peek-a-boo monkey or any other special friend that your kid would like to see. Now alternatively, you could put an exterior pocket here if you’d like, just see my medium shoulder handbag free sewing pattern to see how to make a pocket.
Cut out your special friend from felt. Mark the mouth and use embroidery thread to make a smile.
And fill in the eyes using embroidery thread like I did here and also on my Halloween no-sew felt and VELCRO One-Wrap bracelets.
Place it centered on the bag outside piece about 1″ or 1-1/2″ from the top edge.
Sew close to the edge of the felt pieces to secure them to the bag outside. I left the monkey ears loose on the sides.
Step 4: Sew messenger bag outside
Now fold the handbag in half wrong sides together.
And sew 1/2″ seams making sure to keep the cut rectangles and messenger bag top unsewn. Iron open the seams. Sounding familiar?
Pinch the cut rectangles together with the ironed seam in the middle.
And sew 1-4″ seams to close the messenger bag bottom.
And here’s your handbag bottom.
Turn it right side out. Hi little Pink Monkey!
Step 5: Sew messenger bag strap
Fold the strap piece together length-wise and iron. The strap piece is 8″ wide so after you iron it you’ll have a 4″ width piece.
Now open up the ironed edge and carefully fold the sides in half again. This will make a 2″ strap.
Iron it all as flat as you can.
And topstitch close to the edge all sides around the messenger bag strap.
Place the strap and messenger bag outside together. Sew 1/4″ close to the edge back and forth a number of times to make sure it’s really secure. Repeat on the other side.
Step 6: Sew and attach messenger bag flap
Grab your two fabric pieces for your messenger bag flap. Iron on interfacing onto the outside piece of the flap.
Put the flap piece onto your cutting surface.
I rounded off the corners for my flap but you can leave them as corners if you’d like. If you do want rounded corners like mine, place a coaster or a glass on the bottom corners and trace the curve.
Cut off the corners and repeat on the other flap piece.
Place the flap pieces together, wrong sides together, and sew 1/2″ inch seams (making sure to leave the top edge unsewn so you can turn it) and clip the curves.
Turn the messenger bag flap right-side out.
And iron it flat.
Top stitch close to the edge.
Place the right side of the flap against the back of the messenger bag. Sew the flap to the back side of the messenger bag 1/4″ from the raw edge.
Step 7 (last step!): Attach lining to the bag
This step can sound tricky at first so read it all through before giving it a go. With the lining inside out, slip the outside messenger bag/straps/flap *inside* the lining. I know, it sounds weird. It’ll look like this:
Sew around the lining 1/2″ leaving about 6 inches open to turn the messenger bag right-side out in a minute.
Now turn it through the open gap.
Pin the open gap shut…
…and iron (or vice versa).
Topstitch around the messenger bag edge which will close your open gap…
…and also reinforce the flap a bit more.
I added some VELCRO Fabric Adhesive fasteners (if you want to use the sew-on fastener then you can affix those earlier when you’re making the bag outside and flap). Now it’s ready for your kid to fill with Thomas the Train and other take-along treasures.
Copyright schtuff: You’re more than welcome to use this free project and tutorial for personal use. Contact me for commercial use and etsy sales.